A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Commentary: An open letter to Sen. Mitch McConnell from Kentucky Voices for Health

Kentuckians and people who are struggling all across the country are counting on you for leadership. In the face of a global health crisis that has infected nearly 55,000 Kentuckians – and killed more than 1,000 of our friends, family members, and neighbors – your constituents need real relief. This pandemic is nowhere near over and the last round of federal relief passed in May isn’t enough...

White House coronavirus response coordinator commends UK’s restart plan during visit to campus

By By Kristi Willett and Brad Nally Special to KyForward The coordinator for the nation’s coronavirus response commended the University of Kentucky’s campus restart plans and what the university is doing to keep students and the community safe while visiting campus this week. “What we have seen in the states that we have visited in the last few days is that universities that spent the summer...

Jason Glass: As we start new school year under unusual circumstances, department stands united

I wanted to start my first column as Kentucky’s new commissioner of education to let you know how happy I am to be back home and how honored I am to have been selected to help move the Commonwealth’s schools forward during these unprecedented times. I know this is the most unusual opening Kentucky – and the rest of the country – probably has ever had. The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE)...

Report: Hotel industry six months into pandemic — 65 percent operating at below break-even threshold

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) released an analysis on the economic and human struggle of the hotel industry six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, with millions of employees still furloughed or laid off, and travel demand lagging far behind normal levels. Key findings of the report include: • Four out of 10 hotel employees are still not working.
 • Almost two-thirds...

Kentucky Health News: Tips for Safe outdoor, social gatherings during this pandemic-impacted holiday

As last days of summer and the Labor Day holiday approach and pandemic continues — here are tips for safe outdoot and social gatherings: First, remember that any such gathering needs to be small. Gov. Andy Beshear issued an executive order that only allows for gatherings of 10 or fewer people.  The order also calls for such gatherings to adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...

Kentucky’s COVID cases top 50,000 — adding 906 new cases, 10 deaths; Beshear says ‘take it seriously’

Gov. Andy Beshear on Thursday reported that Kentucky’s coronavirus cases have surpassed 50,000 with 906 cases bringing the total to 50,885. Children under 18 accounted for 124 cases. The youngest was a two-month-old baby from Henderson County. There were 68 cases reported in Fayette County. “COVID is a once-in-100-year pandemic and we’ve got to take it seriously. We’re seeing a rough week...

Kentucky Health News: Tips for safe outdoor, social gatherings during this pandemic-impacted holiday

As last days of summer approach and pandemic continues — here are tips for safe outdoot and social gatherings: First, remember that any such gathering needs to be small. Gov. Andy Beshear issued an executive order on July 20 that only allows for gatherings of 10 or fewer people.  The order also calls for such gatherings to adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to...

Greater Louisville Inc. connecting manufacturer’s to free services during coronavirus pandemic

Greater Louisville Inc.’s (GLI) Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics Network is partnering with Advantage Kentucky Alliance (AKA) to ensure manufacturing businesses in the Greater Louisville region can access no-cost services for operational support as they battle COVID-19. AKA is a statewide, nonprofit partnership of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership in Kentucky that is supported by the United...

Eric Friedlander: Vigilance, protective measures are essential to save lives from overdoses in pandemic

“Together, we are stronger than opioids.” It’s a uniting mantra we use as part of the Kentucky Opioid Response Effort to guide our purpose, affirm our hope and call upon our greatest asset in this commonwealth: one another. Together, we are building a system of care to reduce harms associated with opioid use and prevent misuse, connect more people with evidence-based treatment, including...

As COVID-19 pandemic drags on, an alarming rise in hunger found among older Kentucky adults

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service The state’s food banks say they’re seeing an alarming number of adults approaching retirement age who need help putting food on the table because of lost wages or employment due to COVID-19. Even before the pandemic, Kentucky had the highest rate of food-insecure older adults in the nation, but advocates said more newcomers, many who have never had...

Bill Carstanjen: Kentucky Derby tradition will move forward safely, responsibly with limited fans on site

On September 5th, in a little less than a month, we will hold the 146th consecutive running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs Racetrack. While this will be the first time since the waning days of World War II in 1945 that we have not run the race on the first Saturday in May, it was not a hard decision to postpone the event. The global pandemic arrived with a fury and caused all of us to make...

Survey shows impact of in-home school, childcare on Kentucky’s workforce during COVID-19 pandemic

A survey of business leaders across the state in the wake of changes to schools and childcare due to the COVID-19 pandemic shows a large part of the state’s workforce have children under 18 and will have to teach from home when school starts back while working. The survey, conducted by the Kentucky Society for Human Resource Management, was sent out with a goal of compiling information to help businesses...

Cancer, COVID-19 and the Kentucky economy: How ‘Sweet Annie’ could make an Impact

By Allison Perry Special to KyForward With the morning sun rising in the sky at the University of Kentucky’s sprawling Spindletop Farm, Patrick Perry is in high spirits, smiling behind his reflective shades as his tractor roars to life. His student workers, UK seniors Chris Bankes and Tyler Miles, take Styrofoam float beds loaded with tiny seedlings of the plant Artemisia annua and attach them to...

Heavy traffic during the coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on Kentucky’s state nature preserves

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service When state parks closed at the start of the pandemic, many Kentuckians ventured out to local nature preserves and natural areas, and experts say the heavy traffic has taken a toll on Kentucky’s public lands. Clare Sipple recently retired, but spent 18 years managing Lower Howard’s Creek Nature and Heritage Preserve in Clark County. Over the past few...

Many Kentucky counties lack syringe exchanges; includes 20 most vulnerable to disease outbreaks

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Most Kentucky counties now have harm-reduction programs to fight drug abuse, but the coronavirus pandemic has slowed their expansion and complicated the work of their syringe exchanges. Still, they’ve all continued to offer some level of service during the pandemic. Sixty-three counties have harm-reduction programs, and one more is in the works, but that...

Governor Beshear reports 572 new COVID cases, 5 deaths; LFCHD provides July numbers; wear masks

Gov. Beshear reported 572 new COVID-19 cases and five new deaths as of Saturday afternoon, bringing the states totals to 30,723 cases and 740 deaths. Eleven of the new cases were children age 3 and younger. “Our positivity rate is again lower today than it was yesterday. Facial coverings work. They are our best chance of saving lives and protecting the health of our people, ensuring our economy...

To evict or not evict, that is the question — and the answer is, well, confusing

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today New guidance from the Kentucky Supreme Court on staffing, access to jury trials and evictions has caused some widespread confusion, especially when it comes to the eviction section. 
The Administrative Order, which takes effect on Saturday, allows all evictions for non-payment of rent to resume on that date, except for those subject to the federal CARES Act. 
Leigh Anne...

Al Cross: Local, trusted voices are needed in a pandemic and doing the right thing should be exalted

Norman Chaffins and Donnie Keeton probably never expected to see their name in a column about Kentucky politics. But they’re elected officials who have done the right thing when it comes to the coronavirus, and they and their kind should be exalted. Chaffins, a Republican, is the sheriff of Grayson County, in west-central Kentucky. Keeton, a Democrat, is a magistrate in Morgan County, in Eastern...

Chamber president warns some employers could see major unemployment insurance tax increases

Kentucky’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund currently has a balance of $0. This comes as the Commonwealth has the highest unemployment rate in the nation and an unprecedented amount of benefits have been drawn throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President Ashli Watts told legislators Thursday employers across the state are facing huge costs to replenish...

Ben Brandstetter: Higher education shows commitment to power through COVID-19 pandemic

It would be an understatement to say that the last few months have been difficult. For me personally, it has been mentally exhausting to keep spirits up for my family and employees at our firm. However, these efforts have strengthened many of my personal relationships while also showing our company new ways that we can continue to serve our clients. Ever since becoming chair of the Council on Postsecondary...