A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

National leaders, UK officials launch HEALing Communities Study to stem tide of opioid deaths

Flanked by national leaders in the fight to reduce deaths from opioid use – including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar – the University of Kentucky Monday officially launched the HEALing (Helping End Addiction Long-term) Communities Study – Kentucky. “Today’s launch symbolizes – in the most powerful and compelling way possible –...

UK Alum Nick Wilson is big winner of $1million prize on season finale of ‘Survivor’

Whitley County has a new millionaire and maybe a new hero. 
Nick Wilson, a University of Kentucky alum and Whitley County native, captured the 37th season of “Survivor” on Wednesday night. 
A self-proclaimed superfan of the show, it was his dream just to be a contestant, reports Kentucky Today. 
And now he’s a champion.

“I’m an aw-shucks Kentucky boy, and everybody thought I couldn’t...

House passes 58 opioid bills, including two from Hal Rogers; McConnell aide says package a priority

The U.S. House passed a massive opioids package last week that includes two measures sponsored by Rep. Hal Rogers, Republican from Eastern Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District. “The Treating Barriers to Prosperity Act will expand the Appalachian Regional Commission’s efforts to combat the deadly drug abuse epidemic in the Appalachian region, where the opioid-related overdose rate...

Bill Straub: McConnell sees Trump budget as ‘progress,’ but it’s at the expense of the have-nots

WASHINGTON – Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root ‘n Branch’’ McConnell has had almost nothing to say about the hullaballoo surrounding President Trump and his administration’s curious ties with the Kremlin but he is waxing enthusiastic about a $4.1 trillion budget for 2018 proposed by the White House that, as you probably already have guessed, gives to them that’s got and takes from...

Rural Blog: Trump’s budget proposal contains major Medicaid cuts; passage in House doubtful

President Trump’s budget proposal, which was released Tuesday and will cut Medicaid by more than $800 billion over 10 years, will largely hurt the rural working-class voters who propelled him into the White House, Andrew Restuccia, Matthew Nussbaum and Sarah Ferris report for Politico. While Trump promised to help American workers, his “spending blueprint follows established conservative...

Bill Straub: Barr’s clouded judgment leads to backing health bill denying coverage to his voters

WASHINGTON – Rep. Andy Barr, R-Banks and Financial Institutions, held a town hall in Lexington recently and it’s fair to say he didn’t receive the sort of welcome accorded the Chicago Cubs after they won the World Series last year. What the way-back bench lawmaker did get were the raspberries from a constituency fed up with his kowtowing to the rich money lenders who own him and for his falling...

Rural Blog: McConnell says he favors long-term fix for miners’ health benefits, but mum on pensions

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote in an op-ed for Kentucky newspapers saying that he favors a long-term fix for coal miners’ health benefits, which Congress recently extended through April 2017 to 12,500 retired miners and their families. McConnell did not mention miners’ pensions, which are also at risk due to the coal industry’s decline. Senate Majority Leader Mitch...

U.S. Office of Surface Mining awards Harlan County $2.52 million grant for energy manufacturing center

Gov. Matt Bevin and U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) announced that the Harlan County Industrial Development Authority, Inc. has received preliminary approval from the U.S. Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation Enforcement (OSMRE) for a $2.52 million grant for an alternative energy manufacturing center in Harlan County, Ky. The funds will be used to leverage an additional $10.5...

Federal surface mining grant will fund development of $12.5 million Appalachian Wildlife Center

Gov. Matt Bevin and U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) announced Tuesday that the U.S. Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation Enforcement (OSMRE) has approved a $12.5 million grant for the development of the Appalachian Wildlife Center in Bell County, Ky. The money will fund the wildlife center that, when opened to the public in 2019, would contain a museum of natural and regional...

Getting people screened still most critical part of puzzle in Appalachia’s battle against cancer

Leaders of the National Institutes of Health spent several days last week in Hazard with Fifth District U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers and local health leaders to examine efforts to combat high rates of cancer and substance abuse in Appalachian Kentucky. “Cancer rates in the region have been something we have been battling for many years and in more recent years this region has become...

Commentary: KentuckyWired part of the Obama administration’s war on the Internet

By Drew Johnson Special to KyForward The Bluegrass State is already reeling from the Obama administration’s war on coal. Now the people of the Commonwealth are preparing to feel the sting of ObamaNet, the administration’s attempt to seize control of the Internet. Just as President Obama used the Environmental Protection Agency as a means to shutter most coal-fired power plants in the U.S. – and...

Eastern Ky. economic effort is ‘most exciting’ thing happening in community development

Pine Mountain (SOAR photo)   By Al Cross Special to KyForward   The bipartisan effort to revive and diversity Eastern Kentucky’s coal-dependent economy “is the most exciting thing occurring in local community development and revitalization anywhere in this country,” the federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission said at an ARC economic development conference...

Officials celebrate state broadband project; government facilities among first to benefit

      To celebrate the construction of the statewide KentuckyWired I-Way broadband network, Gov. Steve Beshear, Congressman Hal Rogers, state and local officials, and citizens gathered at Hazard Community and Technical College yesterday to learn more about the project and its future.   The broadband project will begin in Eastern Kentucky and, over the next three years, will spread...

Bill Straub: America’s roads, bridges, dams literally falling apart; where is Congress?

WASHINGTON – In case you haven’t noticed, America is falling apart – literally.   The American Society of Civil Engineers, in its most recent study, concluded that an investment of $3.6 trillion is urgently needed by 2020 to bring the nation’s infrastructure — roads, bridges, dams, sewer systems and what have you — up to snuff before the entire system crumbles like a sand...

Bill Straub: America's roads, bridges, dams literally falling apart; where is Congress?

WASHINGTON – In case you haven’t noticed, America is falling apart – literally.   The American Society of Civil Engineers, in its most recent study, concluded that an investment of $3.6 trillion is urgently needed by 2020 to bring the nation’s infrastructure — roads, bridges, dams, sewer systems and what have you — up to snuff before the entire system crumbles like a sand castle...

Tom Block: It's a new year, a new Congress and a new set of deadlines in nation's capital

It will be a big year for Kentucky in D.C., with our senior senator, Mitch McConnell, becoming majority leader and junior senator, Rand Paul, in the presidential spotlight. In addition Kentucky Congressman Hal Rogers will continue as chair of the House Appropriations Committee as it develops the budgets for each department of the U.S. government.   The new year and the new Congress, will face...

Johnathan Gay: If given time, SOAR has potential to transform Eastern Kentucky

Legend has it that in 1972 the Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai was asked to give his assessment of the French Revolution. Although the uprising began in 1789, Zhou cryptically answered “it’s too early to tell.” Folks looking for the full impact of the Shaping our Appalachia initiative would be well advised to take Zhou’s long-term view of history.   Last week, 10 working-groups, headed by...

Everyday Heroes: Shad Baker closer to dream of creating hiking route along Pine Mountains

(Photo provided)   This story about Shad Baker and the Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail is taken from Steve Flairty’s 2008 book, “Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes.” Baker is hopeful of completing the project within about five years. Go to www.pinemountaintrail.com for up-to-date information.   By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist   In 1996, Jenkins resident Shad Baker and...

$10M grant to six KCTCS colleges will be used to train students for high-demand tech jobs

Training for a new career in a high-demand information technology field like mobile app development or medical billing may now get faster and easier for Kentuckians.   The U.S. Department of Labor awarded six Kentucky community colleges $10 million to support job-driven training programs. Hazard Community and Technical College received $5.5 million to lead a consortium of six community and technical...

Bill Straub: Paul’s digs at Rogers unusual strategy for someone with eye on presidency

Here’s a bit of advice: Don’t invite Rep. Hal Rogers and Sen. Rand Paul to the same dinner party, or BBQ, or picnic or any other sort of social event.   Rogers, the Somerset Republican who was rarely seen roaming the Capitol without a cigar clenched between his teeth before the no smoking rules were imposed, and Paul, his fellow Republican from Bowling Green who faithfully avoids what used...