A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

Changes to SNAP program leave thousand of Kentuckians struggling with food access

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Thousands of Kentuckians classified as able-bodied adults without dependents are losing Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program or SNAP benefits, according to a new report. Researchers at the Urban Institute found at least 13,122 Kentuckians lost food assistance between January 2017 and September 2018, after the state put back into place a rule limiting SNAP...

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...

Kentucky senate to take up two separate bills proposing additions to Medicaid coverage

Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Two new bills introduced in the Kentucky Senate would require Medicaid to cover dental and eye doctor visits and would prohibit healthcare providers from charging co-pays to Medicaid recipients. Current dental coverage for Kentucky adults receiving Medicaid is limited. Senate Bill 78 would allow them the same range of dental care as children and young adults, including...

Lawmakers question reasons for cancellation of health study on affects of surface coal mining

Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Democratic lawmakers are probing the reasons why a National Academy of Sciences study on the health effects of surface coal mining in Central Appalachia was canceled. The U.S. Interior Department halted the study in 2017, calling it a cost-saving measure. Airborne micro-particles from surface mining are believed to be linked to a variety of health problems (Photo...

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...

U.S. House proposed public lands legislation would create two Civil War monuments in Kentucky

Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service As part of a major package of public lands legislation, the U.S. House is set to vote on permanently reauthorizing a federal program that uses revenue from offshore oil and gas drilling to protect public lands. If passed, there’s new life for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and two new national monuments for Kentucky – Camp Nelson in Jessamine County,...

Kentucky House to consider bill that would add mental health services in all Kentucky schools

Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service The Kentucky House will now consider a bill that passed unanimously in the Senate. Senate Bill 1 focuses on addressing the gap in mental health resources for students. Sponsored by Sen. Max Wise of Campbellsville, the bill calls for providing mental health professionals in every school, one for every 1,500 students. Young people struggling with mental health issues...

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...