A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Shaping Our Appalachian Region organization launches statewide search for next executive director

Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR), a nonprofit and non-partisan organization that champions the future of Appalachia, is launching a statewide search for its next executive director. Jared Arnett, the founding executive director of SOAR, has announced his intentions to leave his position at the end of his current contract (October of 2020). After leading the organization for nearly six years,...

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seize meth embedded at candles, dishes in Erlanger facility

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers based in Northern Kentucky intercepted two shipments containing a total of 11 pounds of smuggled methamphetamine at a local express consignment facility. Meth packaged inside these candles was seized by U.S. Customs in Erlanger. (Customs photo) 
One shipment, labeled as “candles and crafts,” was being imported from San...

Beshear reports 463 COVID cases, two deaths, hoping it’s a plateau; urges caution, mask-wearing

Gov. Andy Beshear reported 463 new COVID cases and two deaths, bringing the state’s totals to 31,185 cases and 742 deaths. Eleven of the new cases were children age 5 and under. There were 80 new cases in Fayette County, second to Jefferson County’s 91 new cases. “We’ve made it to August, and while I know we all hoped months ago when this pandemic first arrived in Kentucky that we’d...

Kentucky Lottery sales set records in 2020 fiscal year; total sales of $1.2 billion a 6.2 percent increase

The Kentucky Lottery Corporation has posted record sales and dividend numbers for FY20. These include: -Total sales of $1,203,442,000, which is $73.8 million (6.2 percent) more than the previous record set in FY19. -Cash transfers totaled $278.5 million, of which $271.4 million went to the General Fund to pay for college scholarships, grants and education programs, and $7.1M from unclaimed prizes to...

Quarles warns against use of unsolicited seed packets from China — report immediately

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles is sounding the alarm about reports of foreign seeds being shipped unsolicited to Kentuckians across the Commonwealth. Kentucky is the fourth state known to receive suspicious packages of seeds that appear to have originated from China. “It is incredibly important that if you receive a package of foreign or unfamiliar seeds, you report it to the Kentucky Department...

Pandemic depressing vaccination rates, but it’s safe to take our kids to health-care providers

By Lisa Gillespie Kentucky Health News Not as many Kentucky children are getting critical vaccinations as they did previous years, tracking a nationwide trend of parents staying away from health-care centers to avoid the coronavirus. Last April, 27,906 Kentucky 1-year-olds were vaccinated for diseases such as Hepatitis B, influenza, polio and measles/mumps/rubella. But only 17,463 1-year-olds were...

State of Babies Yearbook: Study shows disparities that hurt rural children’s health

The Rural Blog Though rural living offers some benefits to health, such as increased community cohesion, many of the approximately 1 million infants and toddlers living in the rural U.S. face challenges that can hurt their health and stymie their development, Jessie Laurore, Gayane Baziyants, and Sarah Daily report for Child Trends. The brief relies on national- and state-level data compiled by...

State to work with national nonprofit to help young people who reach adulthood in foster care

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The state is launching a new program this month to help young people who reach adulthood in foster care, one of the groups the most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. 
The Kentucky Department for Community Based Services, an agency of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, has announced that Youth Villages, a national nonprofit organization, is offering the LifeSet...

CPE report predicts strong 10-year growth in health care sector; degree production on pace to meet demand

A new report from the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) shows that jobs in health care are expected to jump 12 percent during the next decade, expanding at nearly twice the average rate for all other jobs across the state. Meanwhile, Kentucky colleges and universities are on track to meet the demand for health care degrees and other credentials by 2024 following years of steady gains. The...

Kentucky creates nationally unique partnerships to commercialize academic tech innovations

Gov. Andy Beshear announced the creation of Kentucky Commercialization Ventures (KCV), a new public-private partnership unique in the U.S. that aims to develop academic innovations into job-creating tech companies. “We all want to grow Kentucky’s tech sector and create the high-paying, knowledge-based jobs that follow. A big part of doing so is turning Kentucky’s own academic research and development...

Keeneland announces realignment of racing and sales operations to better serve global clientele

As part of a strategic realignment of its core racing and sales operations, Keeneland has announced changes in roles for members of their executive leadership team. The Lexington-based Thoroughbred racetrack and sales company expects these adjustments to strengthen its ability to execute its mission and better serve the needs of its global clientele. Shannon Arvin Keeneland President-elect Shannon...

Bill Straub: Leave it to Mitch to make terrible situation unbearable, and welcome to McConnell World

With the Covid-19 juggernaut sweeping across the nation, sidestepping the federal government’s thus-far paltry efforts to rein it in, you can always count on Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell to make a terrible situation even worse. Despite recent bromides paying tribute to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases...

Billy Reed: Birthday remembrances with a baseball soundtrack playing prominently in the background

Today is my birthday, and a lot of things go through your mind when you reach my age. I remember, for example, Mickey Mantle’s famous quote before he died: “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d taken better care of myself.” I think a lot about baseball because the season always was in full swing on July 12. Not this year, of course, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. But I still...

Bill Straub: Art and history, statues and reality — removing any offending art does not change the past

A few years ago I had the privilege of visiting the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid to view Picasso’s Guernica, one of the most amazing and unsettling works of art imaginable. It depicts the April 1937 bombing of the Basque city of Guernica by the Nazis at the request of the Nationalists, led by Generalissimo Francisco Franco, during the Spanish Civil War. The painting, in stark black and white and greys,...

Berea College allowing prospective students to apply for admission without standardized test scores

Berea College will now allow its prospective students to apply for admission without requiring standardized test scores. Berea College joins more than 1,000 elite institutions like Harvard, Princeton, Stanford and Notre Dame who are offering test score optional admissions to their fall 2021 class. The COVID-19 pandemic has created insurmountable barriers for standardized testing for students across...

UK marketing experts explain how, why brands are tackling current social justice issues

By Lindsey Piercy University of Kentucky Ben & Jerry’s. Nike. Patagonia. These are just a few of the major brands and companies taking a firm stance against racial injustice and demonstrating their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. In the wake of protests across the United States, corporate America is shifting away from “business-as-usual” and instead, sharing messages of solidarity...

Al Cross: Does Amy McGrath have any chance against Mitch McConnell?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell surely smiled as he watched Amy McGrath slip, stumble and nearly fall to state Rep. Charles Booker in the Democratic primary for his seat. The first challenger who could match Mr. Money dollar for dollar had to drain half her campaign fund to fend off an upstart who was the ideal surfer of a historic wave of outrage about police treatment of his fellow African...

Bill Straub: Amy McGrath has won nomination to challenge Mitch McConnell; what will she do with it?

So, now that Amy McGrath has won the Democratic nomination to challenge Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch” McConnell in the fall, what is she going to do with it? Not much, if you listen to the analysts who are paid to handicap this sort of thing. Both Sabato’s Crystal Ball, ramrodded by Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, and the Cook Political...

BBB Trends: Face mask exempt cards are phony; DOJ issues warning to consumers about frauds

The U.S. Department of Justice has issued a warning regarding phony face mask exemptions cards. These printable cards found on social media from the Freedom to Breathe Agency claim to be issued by the Americans with Disabilities Act for citizens to be exempt from wearing face masks in public. One card read: “I am exempt from any ordinance requiring face mask usage in public. Wearing a face mask...

140th Fancy Farm will just be picnic on Aug. 1 — no political speeches this year; more details coming

By Mark Maynard Kentucky Today Fancy Farm’s annual picnic is still a go for August, but without the political speeches, organizers said this week on social media. 
Rev. Darrell Venters of St. Jerome Catholic Church posted on the Fancy Farm Facebook page about the 140th picnic on Aug. 1. He said there will not be any political speeches, WPSD and the Mayfield Messenger reported. Fancy Farm last year...