A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Ron Daley: Student loan debt and loan defaults adversely impact Kentucky and its rural areas

The growing national student loan crisis is having an even more devastating effect on families in rural eastern Kentucky. The average student debt in the United States is $32,731, while the median student loan debt amount is $17,000. The rising costs of tuition have increased total student loan debt up around 302% since 2004. Data shows that the increasing student loan debt is having a greater adverse...

Constance Alexander: Communities benefit when their workplaces are accessible and inclusive

When Carrissa Johnson sends me an email, I pay attention. As Satellite Office Manager of Murray’s Center for Accessible Living, she champions causes affecting people with disabilities and shares valuable information associated with this often overlooked and under-employed group. The other day she forwarded an announcement about a free screening and panel discussion of an important film, “Bottom...

Monalisa Tailor: Immunization are an important part of personal health no matter how old you are

After one of the worst influenza seasons to date, it’s become clearer than ever to me that nature is constantly adapting. Viruses are getting smarter and we must adapt to protect ourselves.  Thanks in large part to advances in medicine, physicians have an arsenal of tools to help patients stay ahead of preventable diseases.  One of the most important tools, the vaccine, exposes your body to features...

Sue Cross: Criticism of media is fine and needed, but shouldn’t mean systematic attacks on the whole

Today, the Institute for Nonprofit News joins journalists across the country in asking you, the public, to stand up for your rights to free speech and an open government. This started as a campaign by the Boston Globe to ask the President of the United States to knock off attacking the news media. But the President’s attacks on the press aren’t ultimately about the press. “The press” is just...

Bill Straub: ‘Knock ’em out, drag ’em in’ Bevin shows how divisions just get wider and more bitter

So, just what is it with this Bevin guy? It used to be during the long, sultry, Kentucky summers, with lawmakers out of town and anyone with a lick of sense off somewhere drinking sweet tea in air-conditioned comfort, a governor would lay low, hope things remained calm and start planning for his/her political future. Not so with Mad Matt, obviously. First, there was the contretemps over his rather...

Ryan Quarles: State fair offers a chance to come together for Kentuckians from all walks of life

As a people who brim with pride for our state, each year Kentuckians of all backgrounds have an opportunity to embrace one of the Commonwealth’s time-honored traditions: the Kentucky State Fair. Growing up as a farm kid in Scott County, I would count down the days until I visited with Freddy Farm Bureau, watched livestock shows, and chowed down on a Kentucky Pork Producers sandwich. The 114th Kentucky...

Constance Alexander: Online resources can help in getting the straight scoop on complicated issues

“In today’s digital age, it can often be challenging for consumers to determine what information is truly reliable. But whether it goes by the name of ‘propaganda,’ ‘hype,’ or ‘spin,’ it is possible for news readers to identify ‘fake news’ and avoid it entirely.” So said Laura Harvey, a reporter for The Messenger, Madisonville’s newspaper, in a recent article about how discerning...

Chris Girdler: Later school start dates would benefit Kentucky’s economy, families and students

This time of year, I find myself reflecting on one of the great witticisms of Yogi Berra, who once said, “It’s like Déjà vu all over again.” Unfortunately, many people across our great Commonwealth find themselves asking, “is summer over already?” For most Kentucky students, the answer is “yes”. In an effort to preserve prosperity enjoyed by Kentucky’s tourism...

Bill Straub: Andy Barr is finding Amy McGrath a formidable opponent for 6th Congressional seat

It hasn’t been a very good last few days for Rep. Andy Barr, which is bad news for a financial industry that controls his every tic in Washington but potentially good news for the residents of Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District. Barr, R-Lexington, whose accomplishments during his first five years in office couldn’t fill a thimble, unexpectedly finds himself in a tough re-election campaign...

Constance Alexander: A lesson about living gracefully as flowers fade and summer ends

The hydrangeas are past their peak. Blue-green fades gracefully to a luminous, pearly luster, while rose-colored bursts ease toward rust. Brawny weeds and muscular green leaves threaten to overpower, yet they seem unconcerned. Grazed by a gentle breeze, they nod their shaggy heads and bow, still cheerful as summer ends. Years ago, I wrote a piece about the last roses. Mourning their loss before it...

Jason Nemes: Brett Kavanaugh exceeds the standards for appointment to the Supreme Court

Shortly after Judge Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to fill the current vacancy on the Supreme Court, partisan political opponents began their rounds on the cable news circuit and social media, issuing bombastic comments about the imminently qualified jurist. Perhaps none was as egregious as was tweeted by former Democrat National Committee Chairman and Clinton family confidant, Terry McAuliffe.  His...

Andy Beshear: From coffee grounds to opioid disposal pouches, Kyians join fight against addiction

Over the years, you have heard me say that in order to tackle our state’s opioid epidemic, it’s going to take all of us coming together as a community. That everyone has a role in building a better future. Andy Beshear One of my efforts to build that future is the Kentucky Opioid Disposal Program, which provides drug deactivation pouches to help Kentucky families safely dispose of the dangerous...

Jonathan Shell: Republicans in Frankfort have enacted policies to make Kentucky more prosperous

The Fancy Farm Picnic, perhaps the greatest political tradition in the country, is the unofficial kickoff to the fall campaigns. As we all look forward to West Kentucky barbeque and old-fashioned stump speeches, it is important to remember all that Republicans in Frankfort have accomplished over the last two years, including the following: 1. Right-to-Work and Prevailing Wage Repeal: Right-to-work...

Bill Straub: Enough is enough is enough, it’s time for press corps to take the gloves off and tell the truth

For better or worse, I spent six years back in the early 2000s as the White House correspondent for Scripps-Howard News Service. Believe me, that’s neither a boast nor a brag, as George M. Cohan might say. I always remember the words of Ron Hutcheson, the one-time White House guy for Knight Ridder while we were sitting at a hotel bar in Waco, TX, with nothing to do but twiddle our thumbs while then-President...

Eli Capilouto: A powerful message about student success and the workforce we’re building for Ky.

Consider this economic fact: A recent national study from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce concluded that 95 percent of jobs created in the recovery of the last 10 years went to applicants with some college experience. In other words, a college education — some training and development beyond high school — has never been more important. The challenge — and the opportunity...

Constance Alexander: Rita Dragonette’s new novel explores coming-of-age conflicts, conscience, war

Every would-be novelist struggles to explain what sets her fiction apart from others. The alphabet soup of categories begins with action/adventure, beach books, and classics, and goes on to include romance, science fiction, westerns, and zen. Every once in a while, however, a writer ventures into territory that has not yet been claimed, and Rita Dragonette’s first novel is one of those.   Set in...

Commentary: Solutions to student debt problem requires more understanding of reasons for default

By Ingrid Schroeder and Erin Currier Pew Charitable Trusts No one who has recently attended college, or is a parent of someone who has, needs to be told that student loan debt is a fact of life for many these days. But for some former students — whether at major universities, community colleges, or another type of post-secondary institution — repaying loans can be a life-altering struggle. More...

Commentary: Passport Health Plan, Bluegrass Harvest partnership increasing food access

Health care is more than going to your doctor and taking medicine. When we take a closer look beginning in the home, and extending to the workplace, our schools, and our neighborhoods, we see that the social determinants of health play a major role in overall health and well-being. Research on the social determinants of health is fairly new, but there’s no question that access to food, income, education,...

Bill Straub: Trump Derangement Syndrome aside, there are legitimate questions about Putin and Trump

To Sen. Rand Paul, it can all be chalked up to Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS). The Republican lawmaker from Bowling Green, famously referred to as a “wacko bird’’ by one-time presidential candidate Sen. John McCain of Arizona – a member of Paul’s own party, it should be noted – insists the vitriol that greeted President Trump’s (YIKES!) recent session with Russia strongman Vladimir...

Constance Alexander: ‘All the King’s Men’ sparks conversations about politics, power and corruption

Six hundred-sixty-one. That’s a passel of pages to read. Just figuring out how long it takes to reach the end of such an epic is exhausting; nevertheless, “All the King’s Men” is worth the slog. The novel begins like a travelogue, giving directions to Mason City on Highway 58. It could be a description of driving on the West Kentucky Parkway: “…straight for miles, coming at you, with the...