A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bill Straub: On the way to discovering who we really are and want our country to be, stumble onto Nov. 3

The time has come to give the devil his due. President Donald J. Trump, aka President Extremely Stable Genius, aka President Great and Unmatched Wisdom, has attracted a ton of criticism since assuming office almost four years ago and it’s fair to say he earned every syllable. But there’s no denying that our boy has one great and resounding achievement that no one can deny. Trump has pulled off...

Commentary: Raise Your Guard, Kentucky! Time to return to your preventive medical care


By Dale Toney, M.D., Jeff Reynolds, M.D., and Ben Chandler   In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kentuckians flattened the curve by staying home as much as possible. While that action was necessary and saved lives, it also led to a large number of people putting off important medical care. Now that it can be done safely, it’s time we all return to the preventive medical care that will...

Constance Alexander: How to best define Appalachian writing? Well, that depends…

Discussion begins with one word: Appalachia. What is the proper pronunciation? Long “a” or short? The dictionary confirms there is a “latch” in the middle, but is the latch fastened or not? Is the door opened, closed, or locked? Is it an entrance, exit, or both? Is there a secret password for admission, or are tourists welcome? Answers to these questions may spark disagreement because the way...

Melissa Buchanan: As sister of a murder victim and advocate for victims’ families, I support Marsy’s Law

Letter to the Editor: As the sister of a murder victim and an advocate working daily with victims’ families across the Commonwealth, I was deeply disappointed to read state Senator John Schickel’s recent op-ed criticizing Constitutional Amendment 1 — Marsy’s Law for Kentucky. I personally know the pain, anxiety, and confusion that crime victims and their loved ones too often experience as...

Steven Weiss: How to watch the presidential ‘debates’ — though they aren’t really true to the term

Here’s an experiment you can try. Go to YouTube and type the phrase “good debate.” You might be surprised to discover that almost none of the search results are from US presidential debates. In fact, more of them are about sports topics, and most are about questions like “does God exist?” The few presidential debates you may come across are parodies from SNL skits. What explains this? The...

Al Cross: Power, precedents, and political pyromania — yes, indeed, Mitch McConnell is playing with fire

There is logic in Sen. Mitch McConnell’s argument for quickly filling the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but upon close inspection it reveals his flawed political nature – and its risk to the country. To many, the boss of the Senate seems to be following different rules than he did in 2016, when he declared hours after Justice Antonin Scalia died that the Senate...

Bill Straub: A pox on the Republic, rest in peace RBG, but word and honor don’t count in this game

Okay, let’s agree that President Donald J. Trump, aka President Extremely Stable Genius, aka President Great and Unmatched Wisdom,  has every right to provide a nomination for a vacant U.S. Supreme Court seat despite a national election looming around the corner. And there’s certainly nothing in the Constitution or statute law to prohibit Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’...

Commentary: An open letter to Sen. Mitch McConnell from Kentucky Voices for Health

Kentuckians and people who are struggling all across the country are counting on you for leadership. In the face of a global health crisis that has infected nearly 55,000 Kentuckians – and killed more than 1,000 of our friends, family members, and neighbors – your constituents need real relief. This pandemic is nowhere near over and the last round of federal relief passed in May isn’t enough...

Constance Alexander: Vigils attract mourners of all ages, nationwide, determined to prevail

But for the whisper of new moon and random dots of starlight, the night sky was soft as a bolt of black satin on Saturday night. All over America, people congregated at courthouses to honor Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In Murray, about forty people met in front of the Calloway County Judicial Building to celebrate the life and mourn the death of Justice Ginsburg. Her passing, of course,...

Alice Bannon: Brennan Center for Justice believes Ginsburg should not be replaced until after election

It is less than 50 days until Election Day. If Senate Majority Leader McConnell follows through on his pledge that he will consider a nominee by President Trump to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg it will be more than rank hypocrisy. It will be a full-on crisis for the country, the Supreme Court, and our democracy. The Court touches virtually every aspect of our lives — from marriage, to health...

Commentary: Federal aid hasn’t reached most Kentucky farmers, exposes fragilities of food system

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program has missed 70 percent of Kentucky’s farmers and has been largely inaccessible for direct market, small-scale, and specialty crop producers and farmers of color. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fragilities of our food system. The pandemic has stretched or broken the value chains that bring food from the farm to our plates....

Al Cross: Mitch McConnell should get Trump to stop contradicting science — that’s bad for public health

When I was a child growing up in one of the poorest counties in the nation, with one of the smallest percentages of college graduates of any county, I was lucky. I had parents who had been to college and knew something about public health and had even worked in it. Even the less fortunate folks in our community had respect for the local health department. We all knew that it was a trusted place with...

Bill Straub: Who to believe? New stimulus package (choose one: does, does not) look promising

It was Sen. George Aiken, a Republican from Vermont, who suggested in the fall of 1966 that the United States relieve itself from a growing quagmire in Vietnam by simply declaring victory and calling the troops home. “It may be a far-fetched proposal,” Aiken said in a now-famous floor speech, “but nothing else has worked.” Fast-forward 54 years and you’ll find Senate Republican...

Jason Glass: As we start new school year under unusual circumstances, department stands united

I wanted to start my first column as Kentucky’s new commissioner of education to let you know how happy I am to be back home and how honored I am to have been selected to help move the Commonwealth’s schools forward during these unprecedented times. I know this is the most unusual opening Kentucky – and the rest of the country – probably has ever had. The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE)...

Constance Alexander: Always prepared, Girl Scouts embrace fashion update, seek ‘something cooler’

Today, when a Girl Scout opens the door to her closet, she is not greeted by a sea of green. As a result of a recent fashion update, official Scouts-branded apparel now includes blue denim, black leggings, and a khaki utility vest with a notch collar, epaulet shoulders, and a gently cinched waist. With input from dozens of Scouts, a 3-person team of Fashion Institute of Technology students learned...

Alicia Whatley: Promoting cessation to end teen vaping — as usage of e-cigarettes has surged

In Kentucky, rates of youth cigarette smoking have been decreasing, but the usage of e-cigarettes has surged. The percentage of 12th grade Kentucky students using e-cigarettes jumped from 12.2% to 26.7% from 2016 to 2018. This upward trend for youth e-cigarette use is being seen by high schools nationwide with 25% of all high school students reporting use of electronic nicotine products in 2019. While...

Dr. Ty Sullivan: Don’t let COVID-19 prevent your child’s annual doctor visit; check immunizations

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the way of life in Kentucky, our country and across the world. In recent months, stay-at-home orders, mask-wearing and social distancing measures have created a “new normal,” and all of us have put activities on hold to reduce the spread of the virus. But one activity that you should not put on hold is a child’s annual doctor visit. With schools back in session...

Bill Straub: Overseeing destruction of the planet, president declares he is great environmentalist

With all the attention being afforded his derisive comments aimed at military personnel, his abject failure to address the COVID-19 crisis, the ever-increasing volume of his racist dog whistling and, well, his general imbecility, little notice is being given to President Donald J. Trump as he oversees the destruction of the planet. Fires are raging in California, hurricanes are popping up like bubbles...

A personal journey through prostate cancer, which needs as much a spotlight as breast cancer in women

By Steve Ranson Kentucky Health News Prostate cancer is to men as breast cancer is to women. The second-leading cause of cancer deaths in men comes from a small gland located between the bladder and the penis. If not monitored or treated, prostate can be a killer. Likewise, the No. 2 cause of cancer deaths in women is breast cancer. So what’s the difference? Over the years, more awareness has been...

Constance Alexander: Author Marisel Vera’s newest offering is a tough novel with a sweet story at heart

Reading Marisel Vera’s stunning new novel, The Taste of Sugar, was the perfect way to spend Labor Day weekend. A multi-layered story of enduring love, it exposes issues around colonialism, racism, economics, and poverty confronting owners of a small family farm in the mountainous region of Utuado, Puerto Rico. In the beginning of the novel, coffee is the crop of choice. In the end it is sugar in...