A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Franklin County Court Judge Phillip Shepherd rules Kentucky’s death penalty protocol unconstitutional

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service A Franklin County judge has ruled the state’s protocol for carrying out the death penalty is unconstitutional. The ruling by Judge Phillip Shepherd came in response to a case filed by a group of death-row inmates, who argued corrections department regulations don’t protect people with intellectual disabilities. Kentucky spends about $10 million annually...

Hundreds of veterans from across U.S. coming to Louisville for 39th annual Wheelchair Games

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Hundreds of veterans will be in Louisville next week to compete in the 39th annual National Veterans Wheelchair Games. Men and women with spinal-cord injuries, amputations and other impairments will compete in a variety of sports. U.S. Army veteran Ted Rake is coming from Indiana to be part of the games. Rake was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in his 40s, and...

Kentucky Center for Economic Policy report indicates staying in jail in Ky. may depend on where you live

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Where you live in Kentucky might determine whether you stay in jail before trial because you can’t afford the cash bail, according to a new report from the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. Researchers found the number of people released from jail before their trial without monetary conditions differs drastically depending on the county – from just 5%...

Kentucky officials announces six counties selected for audits following May 21 primary election

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Six Kentucky counties have been randomly selected by state officials for post-primary election auditing. State officials will conduct post-primary election auditing in six Kentucky counties. (Photo from Adobe Stock, via PNS) Investigators will visit Bourbon, Carter, Fleming, Marion, Muhlenberg and Scott counties to inspect election forms and interview county officials....

DV8 Kitchen SoulFull Enterprise Event will teach other Ky. businesses how to help those in recovery

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service DV8 Kitchen, a restaurant and bakery focused on hiring and training people in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, is now teaching other Kentucky businesses how to do the same. The two-day SoulFull Enterprise Event begins Tuesday in Lexington. Owner Rob Perez says he hopes to lessen the stigma for other business leaders about the idea of hiring “second-chance”...

New watchdog organization report ranks majority of Kentucky’s hospitals as average for patient safety

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service A new report ranks most Kentucky hospitals average for patient safety. Published by the watchdog organization Leapfrog, the report ranks hospitals by letter grade. An estimated 160,000 lives are lost every year from preventable medical errors in hospitals. (Photo from Adobe Stock, via PNS) Out of 52 hospitals, 25 received a C grade for the incidence of infections,...

Russell County pilot program aims to help support children dealing with adverse childhood experiences

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service A pilot program launching in one rural Kentucky school district this summer aims to help schools better support children dealing with the violence, addiction and other trauma known as Adverse Childhood Experiences. Nearly 27% of Kentucky children have experienced two or more so-called “ACEs” by the time they’re 17, according to a 2018 America’s...

New survey shows Kentucky’s child care centers received leg up from $42 million in additional funding

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Kentucky’s child care centers are able to offer support to more working families since the state received $42 million in additional funding last year, according to a survey by the advocacy group Kentucky Youth Advocates. More than 120 child care providers in 43 counties said they used the funds to increase access to child care for foster parents, and to...

Three Kentucky school districts receive federal funding to improve mental health resources

Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service School districts in Bullitt, Henderson and Warren counties have received $9 million in federal funding to improve mental health services for students. Kentucky is one of only four states to get this year’s Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education (AWARE) grants. The School Safety and Resiliency Act, which requires public school districts in Kentucky to...

CDC’s ‘Tips From Former Smokers’ campaign urges smoking cessation in Eastern Kentucky

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Last week, Kentucky Public Health officials, community leaders and former smokers spoke to residents of Hazard as part of the Centers for Disease Control’s “Tips From Former Smokers” campaign. Amanda is a former smoker who has been traveling the country telling her story about how smoking affected the birth of her baby daughter. Amanda started smoking...

Kentucky ranks 49th in mental health for those 60 and older in Latest America’s Health Rankings Report

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service More older Kentuckians are struggling with mental-health issues. The latest America’s Health Rankings Report found Kentucky is one of the states where high numbers of people age 60 and older report experiencing depression, frequent mental distress and social isolation. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 24.8 percent of Kentucky’s population will...

Kentucky’s roads and bridges in need of critical repairs, but some lawmakers focused on airports

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Kentucky’s roads and bridges are in dire need of repair, but some lawmakers are focused on airports. U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., has proposed raising the Passenger Facility Charge, a $4.50-per-flight fee used to fund airport projects. However, Pete Sepp, president of the National Taxpayer’s Union, said Passenger Facility Charge revenue has climbed...

Kentucky farmers forced to navigate options as shrinking cash flows cause financial pressure

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News service With a downturn in the farm economy, many Kentucky farmers are under increasing financial pressure – and there’s a new resource guide that could help. Low commodity prices are shrinking cash flow for many farmers, forcing some to take out more or higher interest loans. But Jonathan Shepherd – a farm management specialist in the University of Kentucky...

National Green New Deal tour to draw more than 300 to Frankfort Saturday to discuss plan’s impact on Ky.

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service More than 300 people are to gather in Frankfort this Saturday to talk about what the Green New Deal could mean for Kentucky. Sponsored by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., Green New Deal legislation aims to jump-start the U.S. economy and curb global warming by shifting the country to 100% clean, renewable energy sources...

Survey finds that student loan debt is the number one cause of financial hardship for Kentuckians

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service A new survey of nearly 400 Kentuckians finds that student loans are the number one cause of financial hardship for respondents. Other reasons for experiencing financial hardship include medical debt, rent, payday lending, credit cards and car payments. Student loans, medical debt and car payments are some of the reasons Kentuckians are feeling financially pinched....

Northern Kentucky nonprofit removing tattoos of formerly incarcerated citizens starting new lives

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service A small nonprofit in Northern Kentucky is removing face, neck and hand tattoos for people starting a new life after serving time in prison. It all started several years ago when Jo Martin retired from a long corporate career and began tutoring GED subjects to people incarcerated at the Kenton County Detention Center in Covington. Martin realized that even with...

During National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Kentucky urged to “face it,” reduce numbers

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and Kentucky ranks number one in the country for cases of child abuse, according to the latest U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report. In response to the report, state organizations are banding together to raise awareness of child-abuse prevention. Carla Hay is a pediatric forensic nurse at Kentucky...

Older Kentuckians demanding lawmakers intervene to regulate high cost of prescription medications

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service AARP members in Kentucky are calling on lawmakers to stop price-gouging by pharmaceutical companies. New surveys from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and AARP show nearly three-quarters of Americans over age 50 worry about the rising cost of prescription drugs. Of those surveyed, 80% said they regularly take at least one prescription drug – yet...

Federal judge’s ruling blocking Medicaid work requirements leaves many confused about eligibility

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service The Kentucky HEALTH program, which would have required Medicaid recipients to work or volunteer in order to get health coverage, will not begin this week. A federal judge recently blocked implementation of the program, originally slated to go into effect Mon., Apr. 1. And yet, many Commonwealth residents remain confused about their eligibility. The state says Medicaid...

New report finds majority of Kentucky’s more than 8,000 foster children are being placed with families

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service More Kentucky children in foster care are being placed with families, according to a new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. More than 8,000 children in Kentucky are in foster care, and about 81% live with relatives or in a family setting, compared with an 86% family placement rate nationally. The findings show Kentucky is in line with other states in working...