A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Pew Trusts: Many first-time growers still don’t have buyers, but keep dreaming big with risky hemp crops

By April Simpson and Sophie Quinton Pew Charitable Trusts Standing between two rows of thigh-high hemp crops close to the Tennessee-Kentucky border, the retired owner of a New Hampshire convenience store cheerfully recalled why he chose to grow his first hemp crop this year. Barry Paterno, 67, is a gardener, not a farmer — he likes to grow tomatoes and corn. But he saw on the local TV news that an...

Owensboro residents discuss meth at community forum; police say they’re losing battle with drug

The methamphetamine problem is so bad in Owensboro that the city commissioner hosted a community forum to discuss it, Katie Pickens reports for the Owensboro Times. “This issue affects almost everyone in this community,” Commissioner Larry Conder told a crowd of more than 100 at the Sept. 10 forum. Methamphetamine is also called meth, crystal, chalk and ice, among other things. It is an extremely...

AAA: True cost of annual vehicle ownership rises to $9,282; spike in finance costs drives increase

It’s going to cost more for those looking to buy a new car this year. Finance costs on new car purchases have jumped 24 percent in 2019, according to new AAA research, pushing the average annual cost of vehicle ownership to $9,282, or $773.50 a month. That’s an overall annual increase of $433 – or nearly 5 percent – from last year. This is the highest cost associated with new vehicle ownership...

State begins tracking possible cases of severe pulmonary disease related to vaping

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) is working closely with health care providers, local health departments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to gather information and investigate severe pulmonary disease related to e-cigarette product use or vaping, primarily among adolescents and young adults. “While there have no reported...

God’s Pantry Food Bank, hunger relief agencies designate September as ‘Hunger Action Month’

Nearly 250,000 people in Central and Eastern Kentucky are food insecure, meaning they cannot afford enough nutritious food to regularly fuel a healthy lifestyle. Supplying food and resources through more than 400 food pantry and meal programs God’s Pantry Food Bank is leading the fight against hunger by providing assistance across its 50-county service area. The Food Bank cannot do it alone – they...

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%...

Pew Trusts: Real ID causing real problems as states cope with changing rules and late rollouts

By Elaine S. Povich Pew Charitable Trusts In half a dozen states, including the most populous state of California, the Real ID rollout is a real mess. Technical glitches, delays and miscommunication are roiling the Real ID implementation in those states, calling into question whether residents will have the secure driver’s license needed to travel by air or enter government restricted areas after...

New hepatitis C treatment service to provide option for patients in parts of Kentucky, Tennessee

A new hepatitis C treatment service will provide an immediate impact for patients living in southeast Kentucky and northeast Tennessee. With the assistance of a USDA grant, Dayspring Health purchased a FibroScan machine for its clinic in Jellico, Tenn. Previously, patients were traveling to Lexington or Knoxville to receive a liver scan to start treatment. “Our community no longer needs to travel...

CSG selects 2019 Toll Fellowship Class; Tommy Druen chosen as Kentucky’s representative

Forty-eight state leaders from across the country have been selected to participate in The Council of State Governments’ 2019 Henry Toll Fellowship, the nation’s premier leadership development program for state government officials. The members of the Class of 2019 hail from 33 states and represent all three branches of state government. A committee of program alumni reviewed applications and selected...

Pew Trusts: Exchange programs helping Kentuckians embrace new areas, think beyond urban vs. rural

The Rural-Urban Exchange steering committee at the University of Minnesota, Morris, in 2017. RUX brings together Kentuckians interested in getting to know different areas of the state while developing their professional and leadership skills. Participants build connections across cultural, racial, economic and geographic divides. (Courtesy of Gerry Seavo James, via Pew Trusts) By April Simpson Pew...

After more than 600 public comments, CHFS updates proposed tattoo administrative regulations

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services has filed an updated proposed administrative regulation, outlining requirements for tattoo studios in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. In the process of drafting the regulation, the Cabinet received more than 600 public comments. This input helped to inform the decision-making process and ensure the regulation was appropriate for modern industry standards. After...

Kentucky chosen to participate in National Governors Association’s multi-state convening in Minnesota

The Commonwealth of Kentucky was chosen to participate in the National Governors Association’s multi-state convening, entitled Child Health, Wellbeing, and Safety in School and Communities, this week in St. Paul, Minnesota. Gov. Matt Bevin selected a cross-agency core team to attend the convening, including members of Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Adam Meier“CHFS...

Rural hospitals remain at risk of closure; Medicare won’t pay hospital rates for scaled-down services

Rural hospital closures are a growing trend, and federal policies don’t support a model that would include a scaled-back version of services. But that’s what many rural hospitals need to do in order to ensure their future, Mary Meehan reports for Ohio Valley ReSource, a public-radio partnership that covers Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia, especially their Appalachian areas. “The reality...

Ryan Quarles: Hemp History Week — take a moment to reflect on where we’ve been with this versatile crop

George Washington. Thomas Jefferson. Henry Clay. These great Americans grew hemp in the United States long before it became illegal over much of the 20th century. This year, Kentucky has around 1,000 licensed hemp growers and more than 130 licensed hemp processors who are joining the ranks of the great Americans who have grown hemp. This Hemp History Week, it’s important to remember where our state...

Aaron Thompson: Don’t listen to skeptics about its value — college is still worth it for many reasons

To all of the students who recently graduated from a Kentucky college or university, thank you for having the fortitude and determination to make it to the finish line. You’ve achieved something powerful and transformative that will dramatically improve the quality of your life — a college credential. You may have noticed that people are more skeptical about the value of college than they used...

Kentucky launches initiative to fast track veterans, transitioning military personnel to aircraft mechanics

Transitioning military personnel and veterans with aviation or power plant mechanics experience are now eligible to become Federal Aviation Administration certified in Kentucky. Through a collaborative effort among the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC), Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), the University of Louisville, and the Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs...

Ky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary April 2019 unemployment rate remains unchanged at 4 percent

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary April 2019 unemployment rate was 4 percent, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency within the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. The unemployment rate for April 2019 was unchanged from March 2019. The preliminary April 2019 jobless rate was down 0.4 percentage points from the 4.4 percent recorded for the state...

Effort mounted to identify, treat cases of Hepatitis C to stop spread; many don’t know they’re infected

“A multimillion-dollar effort to fight hepatitis C was introduced Thursday in Louisville with the help of Gov. Matt Bevin as well as medical professionals and health advocates,” Darla Carter reports for Insider Louisville. The five-year, five-state project in Kentucky and four other states will use screenings, community partnerships and prevention programs, and strengthen the health-care...

Appalachian residents more likely to die from smoking-related diseases; how to decrease smoking

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News It’s well documented that people in Appalachia die sooner than other Americans, and are more likely to die from smoking-related diseases. It doesn’t have to stay that way; a new report offers a detailed list of strategies and policies proven to decrease smoking, the cause of many premature deaths. The report was created by Appalachian Regional...

Prevention may ease bear issues for Kentucky residents; most problems with bears center around food

The arrival of spring means bear activity is on the rise in Kentucky. An increase in activity can also mean an increase in bear complaints for those living in areas with established populations. For those experiencing bear problems, it may be easier to change your own habits, rather than trying to change the bear’s habits. Most bear problems center around food, according to John Hast, bear program...