A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Vietnam Veterans invited to belated “welcome home” Thursday at Fort Campbell Army Base

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Vietnam veterans will receive a proper “welcome home” this Thursday, in a special ceremony at Fort Campbell Army base. Organizers say the event aims to celebrate and thank service members, many of whom were scorned when they first came home from the war decades ago. Memphis resident and Vietnam veteran Harold Beaver is traveling to Fort Campbell to...

As prices continue to skyrocket, more and more diabetics in Kentucky can’t afford cost of insulin

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service The cost of insulin is skyrocketing, and health-care advocates want Kentucky lawmakers to take action to stop it. According to the American Diabetes Association, the list price of insulin has jumped by 64% since 2014. In August, Louisville resident Angie Summers told the state’s Interim Joint Committee on Banking and Insurance that she’s had to self-ration...

Lawmakers urged to fund ‘complete overhaul’ of Kentucky’s aging national park infrastructure

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Eight in 10 registered voters support cleaning up and repairing the nation’s aging national parks, according to a poll by The Pew Charitable Trusts. House lawmakers are considering legislation that would channel up to $6.5 billion in funding to the National Park Service to begin upgrades to crumbling roads, outdated water and sewer systems, and eroding trails...

Medicaid changes will allow Kentucky’s local school districts to expand behavioral health services

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Local school districts will soon be able to hire more licensed psychologists, counselors and other behavioral health professionals, thanks to upcoming Medicaid changes that will allow schools to use federal dollars. Kristi Putnam, deputy secretary of the state’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services, says schools will be able to offer more supports to help...

Pressure builds for Ky. Blackjewel miners to get back pay, but they pledge to hold out until others also paid

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Pressure is building for Blackjewel miners in eastern Kentucky to get their back wages. But the laid-off miners blocking coal shipments there intend to hold out until former employees of the bankrupt company in several other states are paid as well. Jeff Willig from Harlan County is one of the group that’s been dubbed the “Fab Five” – the...

Allstate agents offer financial education classes to Kentucky domestic violence survivors

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Allstate insurance agents are helping domestic violence survivors with financial literacy by teaching financial education classes at shelters across the Commonwealth. Kimberlie Rigsby is an Allstate agent in Brown County who also is a domestic violence survivor. She teaches women the basics of budgeting, bank accounts and credit scores. Rigsby says many people...

Kentucky program pays farmers to work with local food banks to provide those in need local produce

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Many Kentucky farmers are participating in a statewide program that channels produce to local food banks. The program – one of the first of its kind in the country – pays farmers to harvest, pack and transport produce from the field to families in need. In 2018, more than 3 million pounds of fresh produce were distributed to Kentuckians in need through the...

Office of Drug Control policy report shows Ky’s overdose deaths decline for the first time in six years

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service For the first time since 2013, drug overdose deaths among Kentucky residents are on the decline, according to a report released by the state Office of Drug Control Policy. The 15% drop is a turning point from the more than 1,400 Kentuckians who overdosed and died in 2017. Drug overdose deaths in Kentucky decreased by 15% in 2018, yet fentanyl continues to be...

Kentucky ‘Strike Team’ offering hepatitis A vaccines at county jails, other locations to curb outbreak

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service The Kentucky Department of Public Health’s “Strike Team” of nurses is offering hepatitis-A vaccines at county jails and other locations across the state. The effort comes as Kentucky’s hepatitis-A outbreak has become the deadliest in the country, with a death toll of 58. In some rural communities, said Dr. Jeff Howard, Department of Public...

Government report shows agriculture lenders still discriminating against women, farmers of color

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Women and minority farmers are consistently denied agricultural loans, according to a report released this month by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Farmers and ranchers rely on loans to buy land and purchase supplies and equipment. Most farmers in need of cash apply for credit through commercial banks, a network of lenders known as the Farm Credit System,...

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...

Letcher County residents stop Federal Bureau of Prisons from building on former coal mine site

By Nadia Ramalagan Public News Service Local activists in Letcher County have forced the Federal Bureau of Prisons to withdraw its intent to construct a new $510 million federal prison on a former coal mine site. Spearheaded by Rep. Hal Rogers, the facility would have been the fourth federal prison to be built in Eastern Kentucky’s 5th congressional district and the most expensive one in U.S....

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....

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...