A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky State Parks, Kentucky Horse Park open for daytime use only to prevent spread of COVID-19

As part of an ongoing effort to ensure the health and wellness of the public as Kentucky fights aggressively to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet announced that the Kentucky Horse Park and Kentucky State Parks will be open to the public for daytime use only. Effective Friday (April 3), Kentucky State Parks and the Kentucky Horse Park will suspend all overnight reservations...

Rural Blog: Meth from Mexican cartels increasing in Appalachia, fed partly by move to cut opioid access

Central Appalachia has been long known as a hotbed of opioid addiction, but, aided by a Mexican drug cartel, methamphetamine abuse has been surging in the area for the past few years, presaging a nationwide increase in abuse of a more powerful form of the drug. Crystal methamphetamine (DEA photo) “The region where Kentucky meets Ohio and West Virginia has served as a harbinger of national drug...

KDA relaxing guidelines to allow more Kentuckians to receive food from food banks

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) is temporarily relaxing income requirements through April 30 to allow more Kentuckians to receive food from food banks during the COVID-19 pandemic. “This is an extremely tough time for many Kentuckians who have lost their jobs or had their income slashed because of the coronavirus pandemic,” Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles said. “Our...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: April is crappie month in Kentucky; vary tackle and techniques for success

A crappie is a crappie… well not exactly. The two species found in Kentucky waters look a lot alike, but their seasonal movements and habitat preferences are slightly different, so anglers need to vary their tackle and techniques for success. Here’s some strategies and observations about fishing in April, arguably our best month to catch crappie: Black Crappie (Image from U.S. Fish and Wildlife...

UK’s James B. Beam Institute providing sanitizer to health care workers, instructions to spirits industry

By Aimee Nielson University of Kentucky The COVID-19 pandemic is creating shortages of sanitizing products in hospitals. Across the nation, spirits distillers are stepping up to help and using their products and equipment to make hand sanitizer for healthcare workers. At the University of Kentucky, The James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits is making sanitizer and going a step further by creating...

Think before flushing, plus other tips for protecting yourself and Kentucky’s water resources

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky The coronavirus has forced people to either retreat into their homes or get out and explore the natural world more. Either way, water is a big part of everyone’s daily lives, and it’s important to protect Kentucky’s most valuable natural resource. For many Kentuckians pushed inside by COVID-19 social distancing practices, sanitizing anything that doesn’t...

UK extension service offering free ‘Horticulture Webinar Wednesdays’ to bring spring into your home

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky Stuck in the house and dreaming of spring and gardens? The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service is offering free “Horticulture Webinar Wednesdays” on a number of topics. Participants will glean information they will need as the days grow longer and they spend more time “social distancing” outside in their gardens. UK specialists and...

Public-private partnership helps shore up local farms during uncertain times of COVID-19 pandemic

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky When the University of Kentucky sent its students home to continue their classes online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the effects of that decision rippled out beyond campus to the local farmers who supply UK Dining Services with food. Suddenly, producers lost a valuable market for their products. Aramark Corporation, UK’s partner in dining services, The...

UK Forage Extension YouTube videos can help producers work through issues this spring

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky Spring is a busy time for livestock and forage producers. Producers are turning animals onto pastures, renovating fields that need a little TLC and preparing for the first cutting of hay. While the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way UK forage and livestock specialists connect with producers, they are still available to serve them. “Although our delivery method...

UK ag beef specialists say planning for emergencies, disasters is best practice for cattle producers

By Aimee Nielson University of Kentucky The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of planning for the unexpected. Now is the time for cattle producers to review their emergency management plans to make sure their operation is not only able to withstand the consequences of the pandemic but also other future disasters. “Ideally, most operations have been cross training workers all along,...

Kentucky 4-H encourages families with youngsters to visit the backyard, get hands dirty growing gardens

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky With the COVID-19 pandemic upending most people’s sense of normal, Kentucky 4-H is encouraging families with young people to take to their backyards and get their hands dirty growing a garden. “Gardening can give young people something to look forward to, as they watch plants grow and develop. It also helps them get more physical activity and relieve stress,”...

Programming in packages: UK extension agents reaching clients through innovative ways

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing, agents with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service are finding innovative ways to reach, educate and entertain their clients. One way they are doing so is by packaging up the extension office and making it available to their clients. “We are doing a lot of online program delivery during...

UK livestock specialists say people can learn important lessons from animals in tough times

By Aimee Nielson University of Kentucky With all the uncertainty in the world during the COVID-19 crisis, University of Kentucky animal scientists say people could learn quite a few lessons from farm animals. Animals have their own culture in how they deal with life and the stresses that come along. They have relationships, disagreements, collaborations and many other things to which humans can relate. “Cattle...

Quarles praises Kentucky farm community On National Ag Day; recognizes ag economic impact

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles is encouraging all Kentuckians to celebrate Kentucky’s agriculture community on National Ag Day and all week long during National Ag Week. “It’s important to realize during National Ag Week that Kentucky’s 75,000 farm families are responsible for more than 352,000 jobs and $45.86 billion of economic output in the Commonwealth,” said Quarles....

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Most outbreaks of disease like covid-19 trace to consumption of wildlife in China

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a family of viruses common in animals that can cause human illness ranging from the symptoms of the common cold to life-threatening respiratory infections. According to a posting on the World Health Organization website, COVID-19 is the latest version of Coronavirus, a strain discovered in 2019 that was not previously found in humans. Coronavirus is a zoonotic disease, meaning...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Wading is an excellent and inexpensive way to fish in state’s abundant streams

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward Anglers in Kentucky often learned to fish by wading the abundant streams that course over the surface of our state. Many of these streams flow over a rocky bottom and hold substantial populations of smallmouth bass. Several streams flowing in the mountains of east Kentucky or streams powered by springs receive trout stocked by the Kentucky Department of Fish and...

New poll shows Kentuckians favor allowing sports betting at race tracks, Speedway and by mobile apps

Sports betting is a political winner in Kentucky. Two-thirds of voters support allowing sports betting in the Commonwealth, according to a new survey from Republican pollster Public Opinion Strategies. By a 66%-27% margin, voters support allowing sports betting at Kentucky horse race tracks, the Kentucky Speedway, and mobile betting through online apps. Support for sports betting extends across party...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Let’s go fishing which is best in Spring; we’re blessed with abundance of lakes and streams

We are blessed here in Kentucky with an abundance of streams and lakes, excellent fishing and no closed seasons. While the unofficial start to spring fishing begins with the new license year on March 1, we can fish year-round, weather permitting. Quality crappie is the name of the game at Taylorsville Lake, 3,050 acres in Spencer, Anderson and Nelson counties. (US Army Corps of Engineers photo) If...

KDA responds to students learning at home due to pandemic by generating education opportunities

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) is responding to the state’s school students currently learning at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic by generating ag education opportunities for students. “The KDA is announcing two ways that students can learn about agriculture at home during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles. “We are extending...

University of the Cumberlands to finish semester with online classes due to COVID-19 threat

In response to the increasing threat of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), University of the Cumberlands has announced that all remaining in-person classes for the spring semester will be delivered through an online platform. “Based on recommendations from public health officials, we believe this is the most prudent course of action for all involved,” said Cumberlands President Dr. Larry Cockrum....