A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Constance Alexander: Celebrating the simple gifts of the holiday season with ‘A Christmas Memory’

The weather has turned cold. Mornings are quiet because the birds have gone south, and when church bells ring, the sound cuts through, loud and clear, in the still winter air.   For a seven-year-old boy named Buddy and his elderly cousin, Miss Sook Falk, that means fruitcake weather has arrived. They have thirty cakes to bake and send to friends from near and far; a tree to be chopped down, dragged...

Wayne Lewis: KDE increasing opportunities for student success in college, career and life

One of my top priorities here at the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) is to increase the number and percentage of high school students successfully completing early postsecondary opportunities, such as dual credit, Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate and Cambridge Advanced International. These types of opportunities let high school students earn college credit before they graduate....

Bill Straub: ‘Tis the season; since lots of kids are hungry, can we figure out how to feed them?

‘Tis the season, as they say, and Kentuckians caught up in the spirit are ready to spread the sort of comfort and joy one might expect as Christmas draws near. Well, most of them anyway. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-SomewhereorotherLewisCounty, a sterling advocate of the “I’ve got mine I don’t care about yours’’ philosophy of Ayn Rand, is at it again. In a state where 20 percent of the children...

Letter to the editor: Ky. organizations stand against Trump administration attacks on immigrant families

A radical and punishing rule change proposed by the President’s administration would harm immigrant families in Kentucky and across the country. By keeping families from meeting their basic needs, jeopardizing immigration status and taking resources out of Kentucky communities, the proposal is an affront to our commonwealth. The “public charge” rule change would count legal participation in programs...

Constance Alexander: Graduation day marks transition from higher ed. to hire education

Saturday is commencement day at Murray State University. Approximately 730 graduates, decked out in blue and gold, will receive diplomas. As each one walks across the stage, arm extended for the farewell handshake, it might be assumed that their focus is shifting from higher education to getting hired, earning a living, and making a life. At the same time diplomas are being distributed on campus, Breanna...

Teresa Werner: Assessment details current, future economic climate change impacts; call legislators

The recently released National Climate Assessment issued by NASA, NOAA, the Department of Defense, and 10 other federal scientific agencies specifically details the current and future economic impacts of climate change. The study stresses that if left unchecked, emissions of heat-trapping gasses from the burning of coal, oil, and gas could eventually cost the economy hundreds of billions of dollars...

Bill Straub: When you don’t know anything, it is probably best to shut up and listen to those who do

Permit me to borrow a phrase that has been used consistently by Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell and any number of his colleagues on the GOP side of the aisle: I am not a scientist. Here is my curriculum vitae on the subject: I somehow managed to survive a high school chemistry class taught by Mr. George Barstow who had been a teacher since the Roosevelt Administration...

Constance Alexander: Once there were three siblings — but one grew up to make an ambrosia centerpiece

Of all the Alexander daughters, who would have thought Pamela would be the one? We’re talking about Pamela Jane, the middle child, known for secretly ordering six packs from the local liquor store and having them delivered to the house when the parents were out of town. This is the Alexander sibling who bullied her compliant younger sisters into doing her after-dinner chores. Unbeknownst to the parents,...

Dustin Pugel: Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program puts food on the table

This holiday season, as Kentuckians celebrate with friends and family around the table, we must also remember the impact policy choices are having on one of the best tools we have to ensure we all get enough to eat. The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, plays a critical role in improving the health and well-being of 580,000 Kentuckians, including...

Melissa Martin: Close your eyes and imagine your favorite holiday memory. Anything to do with food?

The main purpose of food is to nourish the body to keep humans alive. But, the taste experience around the holidays is a flavor festival. The sense organ of taste is the tongue. The receptors for taste, called taste buds, are sensory cells. Adults have between 2,000 and 4,000 taste buds in total. It’s a papillae palapalooza! Sweet, sour, salty, bitter and savory tastes can be sensed by all parts...

Bill Straub: A man and his guns (enough to get the job done) is example of how we don’t do the job

Over in the lovely old town of Springfield, located smack-dab in the middle of the commonwealth, police this week came across a patriot determined to exercise his rights under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, armed with the sort of firepower the 101st Airborne would have welcomed as it endeavored to fight its way out of Bastogne. This individual, one Matthew Smith, was seen sitting in...

Constance Alexander: Exploring history of local libraries offers look into the hearts of communities

“Our Towns” by Deborah Fallows and James Fallows, does not take long to get to the importance of the local public library in the community. On page 6 of the account of the couple’s 100,000-mile journey into the heart of America, Deborah Fallows declares unequivocally that in any town the library is her “favorite institution.” Ms. Fallows goes on to explain why: “You see the people, programs,...

Melissa Martin: Five things to say to yourself everyday; simple morning ritual can change your life

I am alive, I will choose my attitude for the day, I will be kind to myself, I will be kind to others, and I will not take anything personally. The goal is to begin every day focused on how you want to think, feel, act, and react.   However, the purpose is not a Pollyanna denial about our problems, or to put a guilt trip on ourselves, neither to pretend in painful situations. The point is to start...

Derrick Ramsey: Enhancing Kentucky’s workforce through apprenticeship; get Work Ready Skills

As Secretary of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, I am committed to finding new ways to help ensure Kentuckians are equipped with the necessary skills, education and training they need to continue enhancing the state’s workforce. Traveling across the Commonwealth, I consistently hear from parents and students about the rising cost of education. At the same time, local business...

John Schaaf: Legislative Ethics law — related to lobbyists — being defended in federal court

The Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission met in Frankfort this week to review several issues, including the Commission’s recent trip to federal court in Cincinnati to defend key provisions of the ethics law, which were challenged by State Senator John Schickel of Boone County. Schickel filed a federal lawsuit in 2015, arguing that his constitutional rights are violated by the ethics law prohibition...

Bill Straub: A new word to enhance your vocabularly; to describe ‘beyond shameful,’ try ‘mitchful’

Occasionally when following American politics you come upon a statement or claim that is so outrageous, so mind-boggling that characterizing it as shameless tends to understate the absurdity. Such statements extend well beyond the boundaries of shamefulness into a completely new territory. They are mitchful. Those of us who have witnessed the increasingly ghastly career of one Senate Republican Leader...

Constance Alexander: Music at the heart of Norton Cancer Center therapy helping patients find joy

Google “heartbeat sounds” and you’ll find an array of audio and video possibilities, ranging from a mere minute to a full twelve hours of lub-dub, lub-dub. There are soporific pulsations to pamper babies longing for the comfort of the womb and beats to becalm insomniacs. The most unusual and heartening sounds are associated with music therapist Brian Schreck. In his current position at Norton...

Mike Farrell: To truly honor veterans, we must change — and all be good soldiers for better government

Veterans Day gave Americans an opportunity to reflect on the service so many have given in defense of this country and the ideal we call freedom. Sunday marked the 100th anniversary of the signing of the peace treaty that marked the beginning of the end of World War I. Woodrow Wilson campaigned for re-election in 1916 on the slogan “He kept us out of war,” but he was unable to live up to his platform...

Letter to Editor: It’s Donor Sabbath Month and I am thankful for my donor heart; register to give

Letter to the Editor, November is a month of giving THANKS! It is a time that many take the time to enjoy family and friends and to remember all the “Good Things” in their life! Every November begins a new season of “giving,” and it is also a time that many around the world recognize as the “Donor Sabbath” month. During the National Donor Sabbath, faith leaders, donor families, transplant...

Greg Hardewig: Companies are pushing past just hiring veterans; we’re supporting their transition

Each time Veteran’s Day comes along, I think about the time when I transitioned from active service member to civilian, and began looking for a new career. It was the 90s, the beginning of the Internet age and job search engines were just being built. Organizations didn’t yet quite understand what experiences or skills sets military veterans could bring into their role. Veterans looking for civilian...