A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky attorney general Andy Beshear touts opioid manufacturer lawsuits as part of successful year

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear pointed to his nine lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors, his efforts to combat human trafficking and utility rate hikes as evidence that 2018 has been a good year for his office. During an interview with reporters on Monday, Beshear said his office is the “most aggressive Attorney General’s in terms of suing opioid...

Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow set to outline troubling increase in e-cigarette use among teens

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Health groups in Kentucky say teens in the state have the wrong idea when it comes to the safety of e-cigarettes. Ben Chandler with Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow said 1-in-5 high school students uses e-cigarettes – also called vaping. That’s a 78 percent increase in the past year. With flavors like bubble gum and cotton candy, health experts believe...

Pew Trusts: Kentucky among states to strengthen school-based suicide prevention laws in 2018

By Christine Vestal Pew Charitable Trusts For Portland resident Stephen Canova, thoughts of suicide came unexpectedly one December night. Then 20, a sophomore in college, unhappy and disconnected from his tightknit home community, he tried to kill himself. “I had no idea I had it in me,” Canova said. “I don’t remember a lot about that night. But I do know this — when I tried to kill myself,...

Boyd County jailer requests state remove 60 inmates from troubled detention center to alleviate pressure

By Mark Maynard Kentucky Today In an effort to relieve overcrowding, 60 state inmates are being removed from a Kentucky jail that is reeling from two years of problems, including the death of two inmates in the last week. Boyd County Jailer William Hensley, who was elected to the position in November but took over a month early because of the resignation of the previous jailer, asked for the state...

Advocates urge Congress to act to address harsh sentencing laws during lame-duck session

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service People languishing in federal prison for decades on nonviolent drug convictions may get a new chance at justice if the U.S, Senate finds the political will to pass sentencing reform in the final weeks of the lame-duck session. Groups on both left and right on the political spectrum support the First Step Act, a series of measures to give judges more freedom to get...

Lexington Mayor-Elect Linda Gorton names members of Transition Team to ensure smooth transition

Mayor-Elect Linda Gorton has named the members of her Transition Team, who will work with members of Mayor Jim Gray’s administration to ensure a smooth transition. “We want this transition to be seamless, and to put citizens first,” Gorton said. “There should be no interruption in the services the city provides citizens, and progress should continue uninterrupted on long-range projects.” Linda...

Concerns increase that Louisville’s Jewish Hospital could close or be sold as result of financial woes

Louisville’s Jewish Hospital continues to lose money, apparently raising the chances that it could be closed rather than sold. The hospital and St. Mary’s Healthcare, which operate as a unit of KentuckyOne Health, “recorded operating losses of $17.7 million in the quarter ended Sept. 30, which was slightly better than the period a year earlier, when operating losses exceeded $20 million,”...

Three Kentucky cities awarded AARP grants to create age-friendly infrastructure in their communities

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Three Kentucky cities are seeing their ideas to improve livability come to fruition. Danville, Louisville and Lexington were awarded more than $25,000 combined in grants from the 2018 AARP Community Challenge Grant program. The money was to be used on quick action projects, which Rita Morrow, a volunteer with AARP Kentucky, explains are part of the organization’s...

Boyd County Detention Center has second death in four days after multiple inmates overdose

Kentucky Today There was a second death in four days at a troubled Kentucky jail after multiple inmates overdosed on drugs Saturday into early Sunday morning. Two inmates were rushed to the hospital and one, Charles Shawn Finley of Ashland, was pronounced dead at the hospital. Boyd County Coroner Mark Hammond told The Daily Independent they “are suspecting fentanyl” because that’s...

It’s Winter Weather Awareness Week, so heed these tips for being prepared, regardless of what comes

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky Emergency Management, the National Weather Service and Kentucky Weather Preparedness Committee have designated Dec. 1–7 as Winter Weather Awareness Week.  
Snow, ice and freezing rain often blanket much of the Commonwealth, causing widespread traffic problems, power outages, and school and business closings. 
Michael Dossett, the Kentucky Emergency Management...

Mayor-Elect Gorton names Tyler Scott chief of staff, to head her leadership team

Mayor-Elect Linda Gorton today named Tyler Scott to head up her leadership team as Chief of Staff. Scott is returning to City Hall after serving as Gorton’s legislative aide when she was Vice Mayor. Currently, he works for UK Healthcare, developing strategies for growth and improving care for underserved populations. He also served as Senior Policy Advisor to the Gorton for Mayor Campaign. Tyler...

Advocates concerned over rise of uninsured children in Kentucky, as 41,000 remain without coverage

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service For the first time in nearly a decade, the number of children without health coverage in the United States has risen; in Kentucky, it stands at 41,000. According to a new report from the Georgetown University Center on Children and Families, the number of uninsured kids rose by more than 275,000 in 2017, and nearly 4 million children in the U.S. now lack coverage. The...

Kentucky American Water seeks recovery for investment of more than $100 million in upgrades

Kentucky American Water announced Wednesday that it has filed an application with the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) to adjust its rates for water service in the communities it serves. Kentucky American Water’s ongoing infrastructure investments, which will exceed $100 million in system improvements, are a key reason the rate increase is needed. These investments are necessary to maintain...

Ashland’s Heather Hughes wins big on Wheel of Fortune; it was a dream come true

Kentucky Today An Ashland woman realized a lifelong dream by spinning the wheel on the Wheel of Fortune and she came home much wealthier from the experience. Heather Hughes, who attended a wheel-mobile raffle in Charleston, W.Va., for audition purposes, was selected for the show and took home $67,700. Her appearance aired Monday night. Heather Hughes (Wheel of Fortune photo) “It was amazing, this...

Freed from death row: Gary Drinkard, wrongly convicted of murder, shares story with Kentuckians

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, Gary Drinkard spent six years on death row before the truth was revealed. Yesterday, he was in Kentucky to talk about his experience. Drinkard was sentenced to the death for a 1993 Alabama murder and was eventually exonerated due to prosecutorial misconduct. He may be a free man now, but Drinkard explained the capital...

School safety bill, job creation top priorities for Ky. Senate Republicans during 2019 General Assembly

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today State lawmakers return to work in January for the 2019 General Assembly and Senate Republicans, buoyed by their expanded supermajority from the General Election, are working on priorities for the 30-day legislative session. The Senate Republican Caucus holds its annual retreat at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park next week and Majority Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown,...

Climate Change: A look at the latest National Climate Assessment report — and a heads up

Staff report Thirteen federal agencies released findings this week in a 1,600-page report on climate change. The U.S. Global Change Research Program is a consortium of 13 federal agencies that include the Department of Defense, NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency. The fourth National Climate Assessment is the latest of required reports on federal research into climate change. Mandated by...

Kentucky American Water offers tips to help you avoid frozen water pipes as winter weather arrives

With colder weather in the Bluegrass, Kentucky American Water reminds customers of ways to help prevent water pipes from freezing this winter.   Frozen water lines typically occur in areas such as crawl spaces or along the outside walls where unprotected plumbing tends to be more vulnerable to the elements. Remember to disconnect your hose from your outside faucets. Following these tips now can help...

Pew Trusts: What are Americans thankful for now? See what survey says makes life meaningful

What makes life meaningful? Answering such a big question might be challenging for many people. Even among researchers, there is little consensus about the best way to measure what brings human beings satisfaction and fulfillment. Traditional survey questions – with a prespecified set of response options – may not capture important sources of meaning. To tackle this topic, Pew Research Center conducted...

10,000 Kentuckians face new struggle to provide for families as SNAP benefits work requirements begin

Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Putting food on the table has become a much bigger struggle this year for tens of thousands of Kentuckians. The state began reinstating work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on a county-by-county basis back in February. And since May, new data shows one-in-five people subject to the requirement have since lost SNAP assistance. More than...