A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentuckians open their hearts, wallets to help abuse survivors through Shop and Share fundraiser

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Domestic-violence shelters throughout the Commonwealth have their hands full this month – but for a good reason. They’re busy sorting and distributing nearly $600,000 in food, personal products, gift cards and other items donated by Kentuckians during the “Shop and Share Fundraiser” that was held Feb. 2. The event is coordinated by the Kentucky...

ORSANCO expected to vote this week on future of pollution standards impacting Kentucky waterways

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service A long-awaited vote is expected this week on the future of water-quality standards that impact nearly two-thirds of Kentucky’s waterways. The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission is reconsidering its role in setting limits on pollution discharges in the river. The agency has been around for nearly 60 years and is comprised of commissioners from eight...

UnitedHealthcare Dental engaging providers and patients to reduce opioid painkiller prescriptions

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Oral health is a key component in fighting the opioid epidemic, and dental professionals and their patients in Kentucky are encouraged to take a more proactive role in prevention. Dentists and oral surgeons write 12 percent of all opioid prescriptions. While often necessary to combat dental pain, opioids come with a high risk of misuse and addiction. That’s...

IRS certified volunteers now available for free tax-preparation services at 200 sites across Kentucky

Mary Kuhlman Public News Service With tax-filing season officially underway, IRS certified volunteers are standing by to help Kentuckians crunch the numbers. There are nearly 200 free tax preparation sites across the state where low- to moderate-income filers can get assistance, including a mobile site operated by The Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Director of Economic Programming with...

Students to hear the conservative case against the death penalty at Campbellsville University forum

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Conservatives historically are pegged as champions of the death penalty, but some say there’s growing momentum to change that narrative. Hannah Cox, national manager of the group Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, will make the conservative case against capital punishment Monday night at a public forum at Campbellsville University. Death-penalty...

National Safety Council data shows opioid overdoses now pose greater risk of death than car accidents

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service The opioid epidemic is hitting closer to home than some Kentuckians might realize. According to the National Safety Council, the odds of dying from an opioid overdose are, for the first time, greater than the odds of dying in a car accident. The odds of dying from an opioid overdose are 1-in-96, compared with 1-in-103 for motor vehicle deaths. Manager of Statistics...

Federal officials say Kentuckians’ SNAP benefits will be protected as government shutdown drags on

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Federal officials say fallout from the government shutdown will not impact the food security of families already living on the edge in Kentucky and other states. There were concerns that funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP could dry up after January, but the Department of Agriculture announced this week that it is working with states...

Bill aimed at abolishing death penalty among first items of business as Kentucky lawmakers convene

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service A bill that would end capital punishment is among the first items of business for Kentucky lawmakers who began their new session on Tuesday. House Bill 115 was introduced by Rep. Chad McCoy, R-Nelson. In 2018, 25 people were executed in the United States, a record low for the fourth year in a row. (Photo from PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay via PNS) Aaron Bentley, who...

Life expectancy rises around globe as increased suicide, opioid crisis contribute to decrease in U.S.

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service It’s no longer a secret that Americans are dying at an alarming rate from a nationwide opioid crisis and increased suicide rate, and those factors also are contributing to reduction in life expectancy. Late last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a sustained, three-year drop in life expectancy not seen since 1918, when it was...

Don’t let flu ruin your holiday plans, health officials urge vaccinations for everyone six months and older

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service With the holiday season here, health officials in Kentucky are urging people to take steps to help prevent spreading the flu. During last year’s flu season, 325 adults and five children died in Kentucky due to flu or complications from the virus, and there were a record number of hospitalizations. Christa Mitchell from Central Kentucky says she spent 49 days...

Three Kentucky cities awarded AARP grants to create age-friendly infrastructure in their communities

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Three Kentucky cities are seeing their ideas to improve livability come to fruition. Danville, Louisville and Lexington were awarded more than $25,000 combined in grants from the 2018 AARP Community Challenge Grant program. The money was to be used on quick action projects, which Rita Morrow, a volunteer with AARP Kentucky, explains are part of the organization’s...

Advocates concerned over rise of uninsured children in Kentucky, as 41,000 remain without coverage

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service For the first time in nearly a decade, the number of children without health coverage in the United States has risen; in Kentucky, it stands at 41,000. According to a new report from the Georgetown University Center on Children and Families, the number of uninsured kids rose by more than 275,000 in 2017, and nearly 4 million children in the U.S. now lack coverage. The...

Freed from death row: Gary Drinkard, wrongly convicted of murder, shares story with Kentuckians

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, Gary Drinkard spent six years on death row before the truth was revealed. Yesterday, he was in Kentucky to talk about his experience. Drinkard was sentenced to the death for a 1993 Alabama murder and was eventually exonerated due to prosecutorial misconduct. He may be a free man now, but Drinkard explained the capital...

Organizations working to educate Ky. families served by food banks on how to manage Type 2 diabetes

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service While helping to reduce hunger throughout the state, some advocacy groups also are spreading the word about how to avoid an all too common disease. The American Diabetes Association, the Kentucky Association of Food Banks and Passport Health Plan are working to educate families served by food banks about how they can best prevent and manage Type 2 diabetes. Kirsten...

10,000 Kentuckians face new struggle to provide for families as SNAP benefits work requirements begin

Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Putting food on the table has become a much bigger struggle this year for tens of thousands of Kentuckians. The state began reinstating work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on a county-by-county basis back in February. And since May, new data shows one-in-five people subject to the requirement have since lost SNAP assistance. More than...

COLA increase taking effect in 2019 not a game changer for Kentucky’s more than 580,000 retirees

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service The cost-of-living increase or COLA that takes effect next year for people on Social Security will be the most generous in seven years, but it’s still mostly grocery money and not a trip to the beach. The average Kentucky recipient collects more than $1,300 a month from Social Security, so with the increase, the typical senior is looking at about a $40 monthly...

Felony voting ban keeps an estimated 300,000 Kentuckians from casting ballots on election day

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service They’ve paid their dues for mistakes of their past, however an estimated 300,000 Kentuckians are not allowed to cast a ballot on Election Day. Kentucky is one of four states that takes away the voting power of all people with a felony conviction for their entire lifetime. A partial pardon from the governor can restore voting rights, but it’s a tedious...

National Diabetes Month: Experts raising awareness of gestational diabetes among pregnant Kentuckians

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service National Diabetes Month started this week, and at 14 percent, Kentucky has the third-highest rate of diabetes in the U.S. While diabetes can affect people of all age groups, experts are particularly concerned about gestational diabetes in women, or abnormal blood-sugar levels during pregnancy. An increasing body of research indicates the problem doesn’t stop...

New initiative aims to change the trajectory for children exposed to adverse childhood experiences

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Children exposed to traumatizing events can suffer physically and emotionally as they grow. And a special initiative in Kentucky is working to help change the trajectory for these youth. Adverse childhood experiences, also known as “ACEs,” include witnessing violence or domestic abuse, the death of a parent, and poverty. Dr. David Finke is co-chair of...

Many Kentuckians will decide more than just the election this fall as they review health care options

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Candidates in the upcoming election aren’t the only choices Kentuckians need to make this fall. Some workers will have to decide on health insurance options for 2019. Executive Director of United Healthcare of Kentucky Paul Brophy explains it’s the time of year when many companies set aside a two-week period for employees to select health benefits for...