A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

UnitedHealthcare Dental engaging providers and patients to reduce opioid painkiller prescriptions

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Oral health is a key component in fighting the opioid epidemic, and dental professionals and their patients in Kentucky are encouraged to take a more proactive role in prevention. Dentists and oral surgeons write 12 percent of all opioid prescriptions. While often necessary to combat dental pain, opioids come with a high risk of misuse and addiction. That’s...

IRS certified volunteers now available for free tax-preparation services at 200 sites across Kentucky

Mary Kuhlman Public News Service With tax-filing season officially underway, IRS certified volunteers are standing by to help Kentuckians crunch the numbers. There are nearly 200 free tax preparation sites across the state where low- to moderate-income filers can get assistance, including a mobile site operated by The Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Director of Economic Programming with...

Students to hear the conservative case against the death penalty at Campbellsville University forum

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Conservatives historically are pegged as champions of the death penalty, but some say there’s growing momentum to change that narrative. Hannah Cox, national manager of the group Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, will make the conservative case against capital punishment Monday night at a public forum at Campbellsville University. Death-penalty...

Senator Mitch McConnell speaks out against House campaign finance reform package

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Monday is the ninth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which has resulted in a flood of anonymous dark money into political campaigns. And while some see hope for change in a new package of reforms passed by the U.S. House this month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is on the attack. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell...

Federal officials say Kentuckians’ SNAP benefits will be protected as government shutdown drags on

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Federal officials say fallout from the government shutdown will not impact the food security of families already living on the edge in Kentucky and other states. There were concerns that funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP could dry up after January, but the Department of Agriculture announced this week that it is working with states...

Bill aimed at abolishing death penalty among first items of business as Kentucky lawmakers convene

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service A bill that would end capital punishment is among the first items of business for Kentucky lawmakers who began their new session on Tuesday. House Bill 115 was introduced by Rep. Chad McCoy, R-Nelson. In 2018, 25 people were executed in the United States, a record low for the fourth year in a row. (Photo from PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay via PNS) Aaron Bentley, who...

Life expectancy rises around globe as increased suicide, opioid crisis contribute to decrease in U.S.

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service It’s no longer a secret that Americans are dying at an alarming rate from a nationwide opioid crisis and increased suicide rate, and those factors also are contributing to reduction in life expectancy. Late last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a sustained, three-year drop in life expectancy not seen since 1918, when it was...

Kentucky youth movement calling for officials to act in 2019 on Green New Deal on climate change

By Eric Tegethoff Public News Service The Sunrise Movement, a youth movement calling for action on climate change, is set to make big moves in 2019. At the end of 2018, more than 1,000 young people, including 75 from Kentucky, gathered in the halls of Congress to call for support of the Green New Deal – legislation to address climate change and income inequality. Members of the Sunrise Movement...

EPA’s proposed changes to Clean Water Act could stymie Kentucky’s waste and pollution fights

By Eric Tegethoff Public News Service Some Kentuckians are concerned that proposed changes to the Clean Water Act could set back the fight against waste and pollution in their own backyards. The Environmental Protection Agency has announced a replacement for the Waters of the United States rule, lifting federal protections from water sources that are seasonal and wetlands that are not connected by...

A Christmas wish: Citizens of Martin County want clean water flowing from the tap

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Clean water flowing from the tap still is a luxury for many residents of Martin County who continue to experience the ripple effects of a 2000 coal slurry spill.  

Nina McCoy, chair of Martin County Concerned Citizens, says the disaster uncovered the water company’s deteriorating infrastructure, which has still not been resolved.  

McCoy says cracked,...

Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow set to outline troubling increase in e-cigarette use among teens

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Health groups in Kentucky say teens in the state have the wrong idea when it comes to the safety of e-cigarettes. Ben Chandler with Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow said 1-in-5 high school students uses e-cigarettes – also called vaping. That’s a 78 percent increase in the past year. With flavors like bubble gum and cotton candy, health experts believe...

Don’t let flu ruin your holiday plans, health officials urge vaccinations for everyone six months and older

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service With the holiday season here, health officials in Kentucky are urging people to take steps to help prevent spreading the flu. During last year’s flu season, 325 adults and five children died in Kentucky due to flu or complications from the virus, and there were a record number of hospitalizations. Christa Mitchell from Central Kentucky says she spent 49 days...

Advocates urge Congress to act to address harsh sentencing laws during lame-duck session

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service People languishing in federal prison for decades on nonviolent drug convictions may get a new chance at justice if the U.S, Senate finds the political will to pass sentencing reform in the final weeks of the lame-duck session. Groups on both left and right on the political spectrum support the First Step Act, a series of measures to give judges more freedom to get...

Three Kentucky cities awarded AARP grants to create age-friendly infrastructure in their communities

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Three Kentucky cities are seeing their ideas to improve livability come to fruition. Danville, Louisville and Lexington were awarded more than $25,000 combined in grants from the 2018 AARP Community Challenge Grant program. The money was to be used on quick action projects, which Rita Morrow, a volunteer with AARP Kentucky, explains are part of the organization’s...

Advocates concerned over rise of uninsured children in Kentucky, as 41,000 remain without coverage

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service For the first time in nearly a decade, the number of children without health coverage in the United States has risen; in Kentucky, it stands at 41,000. According to a new report from the Georgetown University Center on Children and Families, the number of uninsured kids rose by more than 275,000 in 2017, and nearly 4 million children in the U.S. now lack coverage. The...

Freed from death row: Gary Drinkard, wrongly convicted of murder, shares story with Kentuckians

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, Gary Drinkard spent six years on death row before the truth was revealed. Yesterday, he was in Kentucky to talk about his experience. Drinkard was sentenced to the death for a 1993 Alabama murder and was eventually exonerated due to prosecutorial misconduct. He may be a free man now, but Drinkard explained the capital...

Organizations working to educate Ky. families served by food banks on how to manage Type 2 diabetes

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service While helping to reduce hunger throughout the state, some advocacy groups also are spreading the word about how to avoid an all too common disease. The American Diabetes Association, the Kentucky Association of Food Banks and Passport Health Plan are working to educate families served by food banks about how they can best prevent and manage Type 2 diabetes. Kirsten...

10,000 Kentuckians face new struggle to provide for families as SNAP benefits work requirements begin

Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Putting food on the table has become a much bigger struggle this year for tens of thousands of Kentuckians. The state began reinstating work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on a county-by-county basis back in February. And since May, new data shows one-in-five people subject to the requirement have since lost SNAP assistance. More than...