A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

New report shows obesity rates on the rise among Kentucky teens, improving for younger kids

A new report shows fewer young Kentuckians are obese, but the opposite is true for local adolescents. According to latest State of Obesity Report, more than 20 percent of Kentucky teens are obese, the third-worst rate in the country. That number has grown from just more than 18 percent a year ago. Meanwhile, obesity rates for younger kids are improving. Roughly 13 percent of Kentucky children ages...

Kentucky among worst states for children left in hot cars; why it happens and how to avoid it

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Temperatures continue to be hot and humid across Kentucky, and with that comes concerns about children being left in cars. Already this year, 25 children across the country have died of heat stroke after being left in a hot vehicle, including a 3-year-old in Franklin County in July. Ari Finkelstein, a spokesperson for the organization “Kars for Kids,”...

Rural Blog: One in five Appalachian miners who have worked at least 25 years diagnosed with black lung

One in five coal miners in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia who have worked at least 25 years has black-lung disease, according to a new study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. That’s the highest reported rate in a quarter-century. “We can think of no other industry or workplace in the United States in which this would be considered acceptable,” NIOSH...

Pew Trusts: Public Health officials say commonly prescribed drugs could be next drug epidemic

By Christine Vestal Pew Charitable Trusts The growing use of anti-anxiety pills reminds some doctors of the early days of the opioid crisis. Clonazepam (traded as Klonopin), diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax) are among the most sold drugs in a class of widely prescribed anti-anxiety medications known as benzodiazepines. Public health officials warn the pills should be used only in the short...

Mitch McConnell: Visits with constituents back home help to guide Kentucky’s priorities in Washington

Whenever the Senate is not in session, I enjoy working at home in Kentucky and hearing first-hand from my constituents. During the July state work period, I again traveled across Kentucky to meet with families, veterans, workers and students. I’m proud to represent them in Washington and always appreciate spending time with them in the Commonwealth. These conversations help me – as Senate Majority...

Jamie Vaught: Kentucky sophomore PJ Washington settling into role as one of the ‘old guys’ for Wildcats

In the one-and-done era, especially at Kentucky, PJ Washington is now considered one of the old guys. Even though the 6-7, 236-pounder from Dallas will be a sophomore, he will be expected to provide some guidance and leadership for UK’s 2018-19 squad which is loaded with a super crop of highly-regarded freshmen as well as a couple of key sophomore returnees Quade Green and Nick Richards. In addition,...

Wiedemann appointed Chief Executive Officer for AAA Club Alliance

AAA Club Alliance has announced the appointment of Thomas C. Wiedemann as Chief Executive Officer. Wiedemann replaces Bernhard “Berni” Koch, who had been with the organization since 2002 and had served as CEO since 2012. AAA Club Alliance, Inc. is the third-largest AAA club in the national AAA federation and serves more than six million members in Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky,...

Pew Charitable Trusts: Kentucky at high-risk to see revenues decline if negotiations on NAFTA tank

By Dave Nycaepir Route Fifty Implementation of U.S.-China tariffs or withdrawal from the North American Free Trade Agreement would have bigger economic effects on some states compared to the more limited impacts of other recent trade decisions, a new Moody’s Investors Service report found. U.S. talks with Mexico and Canada to renegotiate NAFTA though it remains unclear exactly when a new deal might...

Rural Blog: As black-lung cases have surged in Central Appalachia, so have lung transplants

A new study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine shows that, as black-lung cases have surged in the Central Appalachian coalfield, so have lung transplants. The expensive surgery can be risky, and most transplant recipients die within five years. The study, conducted by researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, “found that 62 black lung patients...

Kentucky by Heart: Some thoughts and musings about Kentucky, the special place we call home

In the course of writing a weekly column called Kentucky by Heart, a book series about everyday heroes in Kentucky, reviewing books of Kentucky’s authors or about the state, and just plain possessing a deep affinity for the place I’ve lived most of my life, you might guess that my Bluegrass mind-set hums continuously. You would be correct. This week, I’ll share some of my thoughts about this...

Transportation Cabinet asks organizations to glow orange during National Work Zone Awareness Week

The Bluegrass will soon be glowing orange with the help of local businesses shedding light on the importance of work zone safety. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) invites organizations and residents to pledge to light buildings, structures, bridges and homes in the color orange on Wednesday, April 11 as part of the “Glow Orange, Kentucky” initiative inspired by the nation’s observance...

Great Oak Funding announces second fund, available to small to mid-sized businesses in the region

Great Oak Funding, a private lending firm with offices in Cincinnati and Dayton, and operating in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, has announced a second fund available to small to mid-size businesses. Financing is available to existing companies with a proven track record of success. The purpose of the fund is to help existing companies grow and expand through short-term financing. Alexander “The new...

KBC asking Kentucky fans to help rebuild low blood supplies during Big Blue Slam January 22-26

The community blood supply is currently low, but Kentucky Blood Center (KBC) is giving donors a chance to help rebuild that supply while also proving they bleed blue during the 10th annual Big Blue Slam next week. Big Blue Slam, which is Jan. 22-26, pits Kentucky fans against Florida fans to see who can donate the most blood. Donors during Slam will receive a special long-sleeve T-shirt. “Big Blue...

Serving Up Solutions Dinner in Frankfort will benefit Kentucky’s hungry, focus on finding answers

United States Ambassador Kelly Craft, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President Joe Craft, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, State Representative Phillip Pratt, and State Senator Robin Webb will host a Hunger Initiative dinner in January to benefit food-insecure Kentuckians. Quarles Governor Matt Bevin and First Lady Glenna Bevin are scheduled to serve as the featured guests at the first Serving...

Mary Meehan: Real lives are at stake in rural areas and real journalism can help affect change

Hey there Blue State folks! Those of us out here in the rest of the country are glad that over the last year you’ve shown an interest in making our acquaintance. Recently, several prominent media organizations took it a step further, announcing support for local journalists. The Nieman Foundation recently announced the Abrams Nieman Fellowship in Local Investigative Journalism. These fellows will...

Susan Elkington named president of Toyota Kentucky, succeeding Wil James who is retiring

Toyota is announcing the latest in a series of female-led appointments with Susan Elkington slated to take the helm of Toyota’s largest plant in the world, located in Georgetown beginning in 2018.   As president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. (TMMK), Elkington will oversee a $7 billion operation, which employs over 8,000 people, and in a year, can produce as many as 550,000 vehicles...

Tobacco’s Toll: New push aims to curb the other addiction problem in country’s sickest states

By Mary Meehan Special to KyForward Hundreds of kids scurrying to buses are oblivious to a sign above them declaring Bourbon County High School “100 percent Tobacco Free.” But upstairs in the library, sophomore and anti-smoking advocate Jacob Steward unfurls a six-foot scroll with earth-toned papers trapped between clear sheets of laminate. He begins reading the anti-smoking slogans he’ll post...

Big Blue Crush celebrates 30th anniversary of Kentucky vs. Tennessee blood drive Nov. 13-17

This year marks the 30th time that Kentucky and Tennessee fans have competed to see who can donate the most blood for the holidays. The annual Big Blue Crush is Nov. 13-17. “Big Blue Crush is a fun week for donors and our staff, but it’s mostly about Kentucky patients. It’s our biggest blood donation week of the year and supports the healthcare of Kentucky during the holidays, a time when blood...

Citizen Foster Care Review Boards in 71 Kentucky Counties seeking case review volunteers

Citizen Foster Care Review Boards in 71 Kentucky counties are seeking volunteers to review cases of children placed in care because of dependency, neglect or abuse to ensure they are placed in safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible. The counties in need of volunteers to be trained soon are Barren, Bath, Bell, Boone, Boyd, Bracken, Breathitt, Bullitt, Butler, Caldwell, Campbell, Carter, Christian,...

Constance Alexander: Art of outreach is a give-and-take process, highlighted by Side by Side project

Lily Higgins stacked boxes in a pyramid and iced the surface with scads of glue glitter and pompoms to create “Racetrack Birthday Cake.” Garrison Kelly turned a piece of wood into a graceful mallet and used colored pencils to trim the ridges with a rainbow of blue, purple, yellow and orange. Jayson Walker’s inventive inclinations were sparked by storytelling, and he created a book called “Spiritual...