A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

Ky. community health center officials, advocates call on members of congress for long-term funding

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Community health center doctors, nurses and advocates are meeting with members of Congress in Washington this week, asking them to commit to supporting health-care access in low-income neighborhoods with long-term federal grant funding. Community health centers are nonprofit clinics offering sliding-scale fees to underserved populations. In many cities and rural...

Momentum continues building across party lines to abolish the death penalty in Kentucky

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Thirty lawmakers from all sides of the political spectrum are co-sponsoring a bill to abolish the death penalty in Kentucky. While House Bill 115 languishes in the House Judiciary Committee, supporters say the high number of sponsors indicates views on capital punishment in the state are shifting. Aaron Bentley is chair of the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the...

Fleming County school staff going extra mile to feed kids through Kentucky School Breakfast Challenge

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service School staffers in the Commonwealth are being recognized for their creative efforts to feed more kids a nutritious breakfast each school day. Lashonda Cooper, a cafeteria manager at Simons Middle School in Fleming County, received a “Rising Star Award” in the Kentucky School Breakfast Challenge, a statewide contest run by Feeding Kentucky and the Dairy...

Transition back into Kentucky’s communities can be a challenge for those who have faced incarceration

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Researchers are following 230 Kentuckians who either are incarcerated or have recently been released, as part of a national program designed to help people transition back into society after serving their time. By working with local corrections departments and community-based providers, the Safe Streets and Second Chances Initiative focuses on a holistic approach...

With eyes on Governor Matt Bevin, Kentuckians with felonies fight to regain their right to vote

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service People with felonies in their past are rallying in Frankfort today, calling on Gov. Matt Bevin to return voting rights to people who have been convicted of felonies. More than 300,000 Kentuckians can’t vote because of a felony conviction, according to the latest report from the League of Women Voters of Kentucky. Kentuckians with felony convictions who have...

Kentucky sets stage for legalization of medical marijuana for certain medcial conditions

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Kentucky lawmakers have taken the first steps toward legalizing medical marijuana. House Bill 136 is up for a House vote. It would allow patients with certain medical conditions to be prescribed medical marijuana by their physician and would permit marijuana plants to be grown in the state by licensed growers and dispensaries. Under House Bill 136, Kentuckians...

Kentucky’s groundwater pollution resulting from coal ash ranks among worst in U.S., new report shows

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service A power plant outside of Louisville ranks among the top 10 most polluted in the country for groundwater contamination by coal ash, according to a new report. Coal ash is the toxic leftover byproduct of burning coal, and coal plants produce millions of tons of it each year. The study by the Environmental Integrity Project and the environmental law firm Earthjustice...

Eastern Kentucky construction training program helping those in recovery build new lives

Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service A new job training program in Eastern Kentucky will teach people in recovery from substance abuse how to build homes. The Housing Development Alliance, a non-profit organization in Hazard, has partnered with Perry County drug court and Hickory Hill Recovery Center to provide on-the-job construction training for men and women in recovery. They’ll be paid for...