A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Ron Daley: J. D. Vance’s book ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ fosters negative stereotypes of Eastern Kentuckians

J. D. Vance’s 2016 book “Hillbilly Elegy” about his family’s life in Breathitt County does not reflect the people I have been neighbors with for the past 44 years. Even though this Yale Law graduate spent his life in Middletown, Ohio, with some visits to his family’s hometown in the mountains, Vance’s microscopic description of his dysfunctional family will continue to foster negative stereotypes...

Labor secretary says 1,074 teachers violated the law during ‘sickouts’ but will not face fines, this time

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky Labor Secretary David Dickerson announced Friday that no fines will be levied against teachers for protesting pension legislation considered during the 2019 General Assembly that resulted in at least 10 districts being forced to cancel classes due to teacher shortages.
 
The “sickouts” hit Jefferson County Public Schools, the state’s largest district with...

NASA recognizes UK graduate student James Tyler Nichols for ‘Excellent Work’ on Hercules Project

By Lindsey Piercy and Kel Hahn University of Kentucky Laying the groundwork for a new era of space exploration — that’s exactly how James Tyler Nichols, a graduate student at the University of Kentucky, is spending his summer. Nichols is one of four UK students, from a total of 16, who were selected for the highly competitive NASA Academy at NASA Langley Research Center. The academy is an intense...

Pressure builds for Ky. Blackjewel miners to get back pay, but they pledge to hold out until others also paid

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Pressure is building for Blackjewel miners in eastern Kentucky to get their back wages. But the laid-off miners blocking coal shipments there intend to hold out until former employees of the bankrupt company in several other states are paid as well. Jeff Willig from Harlan County is one of the group that’s been dubbed the “Fab Five” – the...

‘Juul-alikes’ fill niche after firm stopped some sales; Drug Free Lexington video target e-cig users

Pressed by the chief of the Food and Drug Administration last fall, Juul Labs “stopped selling most of its hugely popular flavored nicotine pods in stores last fall,” but now other companies are “trumpeting their own fruity and candy-flavored pods as compatible with Juul devices,” Sheila Kaplan reports for The New York Times. That illustrates “just how entrenched the youth...

As coal industry continues collapse, miners left with uncertainty, fighting for benefits and back pay

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service A wave of coal company bankruptcies has left miners fighting for back pay and medical benefits. Three large coal producers have gone under this year. At the same time, an epidemic of black lung disease is sweeping many coal mining communities. More than 1,000 coal miners were laid off after West Virginia-based Blackjewel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. (Photo...

Hepatitis A outbreaks shadowing growing opioid epidemic as number of cases rises across country

By Laura Ungar Kaiser Health News AKRON, Ohio — Just before the Fourth of July, Trenton Burrell began feeling run-down and achy. Soon he could barely muster the energy to walk from one room to another. A friend shared an alarming observation: “You’re turning yellow.” Within days, the 40-year-old landed in the hospital, diagnosed with the highly contagious liver virus hepatitis A, which in Ohio...

Rick Pitino’s attorney wants more information; UofL board of trustees were asked about payments

By Russ Brown Kentucky Today The fallout continued Wednesday from the bombshell revelation that a University of Louisville board of trustees member may have been a key figure in the sex parties. And it isn’t likely to die down anytime soon. For starters, Rick Pitino’s attorney in his suit against U of L, filed a motion to “explore David Grissom’s claim” that a trustee...

Bright and shiny, Fayette County’s Brenda Cowan Elementary full of anticipation on opening day

Students got right to work on the first day of school at Brenda Cowan Elementary. (Photo from FCPS) At Brenda Cowan Elementary, excitement was the buzzword for Day 1 of the 2019-20 school year. As teachers welcomed their classes, staffers tied bus/car tags onto backpacks, and students practiced carrying imaginary trays through the lunch line, everyone seemed in high spirits at the newest facility in...

Kentucky Proud Evenings offers up a ‘different kind of Western’ with Lexington novelist Margaret Verble

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky The Kentucky Proud Evenings series continues Aug. 22, with Lexington novelist Margaret Verble discussing her book of historical fiction, “Cherokee America.” The Fayette County office of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service hosts the free monthly series, which celebrates Kentucky’s rich literary and food culture with author discussions...

Bevin, University of Louisville, KentuckyOne Health strike deal for acquisition of Jewish Hospital

Gov. Matt Bevin and University of Louisville President Dr. Neeli Bendapudi have announced a plan to secure the future of the Jewish Hospital and other KentuckyOne Health properties and their employees. Under the deal, University Medical Center Inc., owned by U of L, would acquire Jewish Hospital and other KentuckyOne Health assets located in the metro Louisville region and then integrate them into...

Andy Beshear unveils economic and jobs plan; platform promotes agritech and manufacturing

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andy Beshear rolled out the first part of his economic and jobs agenda during a campaign stop Wednesday in northeastern Kentucky. Accompanied by his running mate Jacqueline Coleman, House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook and Rep. Terri Branham Clark, D-Catlettsburg, Beshear unveiled what he terms the first pillar of his “Kitchen...

Kash Daniel’s passion, drive an inspiration for his Kentucky Wildcats teammates, including offense

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Kash Daniel’s desire to succeed is well-documented and his passion for football has rubbed off on the rest of his teammates and his enthusiasm is comparable to Benny Snell. “He’s a lot like Benny, but on the defensive side,” Kentucky running back Chris Rodriguez said. “He’s a cool dude.” Like most players, Daniel listens to music as part of his pre-game...

115th Kentucky State Fair set to open Thursday for 10 days of rides, concerts, horse shows and more

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The 115th Kentucky State Fair kicks off this week with a 10-day lineup of rides, free music concerts, a horse show and more. The fair, which annually draws 600,000 people, runs Aug. 15-25 at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center. Activities begin Thursday with the Kentucky Commodity Breakfast at 7 a.m. at the Great Kentucky Cookout Tent. Kentucky Ag Commissioner Ryan Quarles...

Former UofL board chairman testifies president was aware a trustee funded basketball sex parties

By Russ Brown Kentucky Today Consider this: You are the chairman of the board of trustees at the University of Louisville. The U of L president tells you that a member of the board was the cash source of payments made to the strippers and prostitutes in the school’s sex parties two years ago. Would you: (a) demand to know the identity of the culprit; (b) pass that information on to authorities...

FCPS free Cutz-n-Curlz event provides fresh styles, relationship building prior to start of school year

Local barbers and stylists volunteered to help with the annual Cutz-n-Curlz. (Photo from FCPS) Students of all ages turned out for the annual Cutz-n-Curlz, where they scored free haircuts and fresh styles for the 2019-20 school year. “They feel like a new person with a sense of confidence,” said Marc Petitfrere, manager of King Kuts in Lexington, which brought its entire staff of barbers to help...

Fayette County Public Schools celebrates official opening of Brenda Cowan Elementary

(Photo from FCPS) Family, colleagues, and local officials agreed at the Aug. 12 ribbon-cutting ceremony that naming the newest elementary in Fayette County Public Schools after the late Brenda Cowan was an easy call. “She was a hard worker with a great attitude and an unmatched sense of humor,” Lexington Fire Chief Kristin Chilton said during the outdoor program. “She was the type of person you’d...

Research group head, Ky. native says gun violence incidence in state twice as high as New York City

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Kentucky tops New York City when it comes to gun fatalities, according to Mark Bryant, a Harlan County native and Lexington resident who leads the Gun Violence Archive. Formed in 2013, the research group compiles gun death information from thousands of sources around the country. Bryant said no one had been keeping accurate statistics on gun deaths. Nearly 64%...

FDA probing 127 reports of seizures and other neurological issues possibly related to e-cigarettes

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating 127 reports of seizures, tremors, fainting or other neurological symptoms that may be related to electronic cigarettes, and is asking people to report if they have such symptoms, the agency announced last week. “The FDA is continuing its scientific investigation to determine if there’s a direct...

Former WKU receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers coach and Louisville native Darryl Drake passes away at age 62

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receivers coach Darryl Drake, a former Western Kentucky University football player and coach, passed away Sunday morning at age 62 in Latrobe, Pa. The Steelers did not disclose a cause of death and canceled their training camp practices on Sunday and Monday. “We are all saddened to learn of the passing of Darryl Drake,” said Todd Stewart, WKU’s director of...