A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Pew Trusts: Hemp cannabidiol products may be natural, but does that mean they are safe?

By Sophie Quinton Pew Charitable Trusts At a recent conference Denver, city and Colorado public health officials recounted their scariest hemp CBD manufacturing stories to a packed hotel ballroom. There was the woman who was making hemp oil in her kitchen crockpot and selling it online. The manufacturing facility with no sinks for workers to wash their hands. The facility where dogs ran underfoot....

Pew Trusts: Real ID causing real problems as states cope with changing rules and late rollouts

By Elaine S. Povich Pew Charitable Trusts In half a dozen states, including the most populous state of California, the Real ID rollout is a real mess. Technical glitches, delays and miscommunication are roiling the Real ID implementation in those states, calling into question whether residents will have the secure driver’s license needed to travel by air or enter government restricted areas after...

Pew Trusts: Kentuckians among farmers forced to reckon with push to raise tobacco-buying age to 21

By Max Blau Pew Charitable Trusts Burley tobacco once lined nearly every road in Shelby County. But when Paul Hornback drives through his hometown, the 62-year-old tobacco farmer rarely sees the leafy crop. Despite his fears about tobacco farming, long the lifeblood of his community, Hornback supports the push to ban teenagers from buying cigarettes. Last month, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell,...

Per capita income in U.S. rose from 2017-18 but slowly, just 1.4% after inflation

The Rural Blog Per capita income in the U.S. rose from 2017 to 2018, but more slowly than in recent years, according to Bureau of Economic Analysis data, Tim Henderson reports for Stateline, the nonprofit, nonpartisan news service of the Pew Charitable Trusts. Kentucky data Nationwide, per capita income rose 1.4% in 2017-18 after inflation, a bit less than the previous year’s 1.6%. Between...

Rural Blog: Rural residents are having a harder time affording rent; analysis has data for every county

Change in percentage of county residents with severe cost burden for housing in 2010-17(Stateline map; click on the image to enlarge it or click here for the interactive version) It’s getting harder to find affordable housing in rural America. “Nearly one-fourth of the nation’s most rural counties have seen a sizeable increase this decade in the number of households spending at least...

Pew Trusts: Kentucky among several red states willing to expand Medicaid in exchange for work

Editor’s Note: This story is part of Stateline’s 2018 Legislative Review. By Christine Vestal Pew Charitable Trusts Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin says he doesn’t want more able-bodied poor people to get Medicaid in his state unless a portion of them are required to work. And when Republicans in Virginia agreed to expand Medicaid this year, they also said recipients who are able...

Pew Trusts: Free tuition spreading from cities to states; Work Ready KY targets specific interests

By Marsha Mercer Pew Charitable Trusts To churn out more workers with marketable skills, an increasing number of states are offering residents free tuition to community colleges and technical schools. The move also is a reaction to fast-rising tuition costs — increases that stem, in part, from states reducing their financial support of public colleges and universities. Morley Winograd, president...

Kentucky among 27 states adopting new app mapping opioid overdoses in real time

By Christine Vestal Special to KyForward In the summer of 2016, drug overdose deaths in Baltimore were exploding and health commissioner Dr. Leana Wen told federal Drug Enforcement Administration officials the city needed real-time data to better manage its public health response. Four months later, the DEA’s Washington/Baltimore High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) team had developed a...

Rural Blog: Could medical marijuana be the solution to Appalachia’s opioid addiction epidemic?

Could medical marijuana be the answer to the nation’s opioid epidemic, which is a major concern in rural areas, especially in Appalachia? Christine Vestal reports for Stateline, “Some medical practitioners and researchers believe that greater use of marijuana for pain relief could result in fewer people using the highly addictive prescription painkillers that led to the epidemic.” About...

Growing opioid epidemic results in more grandparents raising their grandchildren

An increasing number of grandparents are raising their grandchildren, largely because many of the children’s parents are addicted to heroin or prescription drugs, both increasing problems in rural areas, Teresa Wiltz reports for Stateline. In 2015, 2.9 million kids were living with their grandparents, up from 2.5 million in 2005. “Child welfare officials say drug addiction, especially...

Rural Blog: Youth suicide rates up in at least 36 states; decline in prescribing antidepressants blamed

At least 36 states saw a rise in youth suicide rates from 2006 to 2014, Michael Ollove reports for Stateline. The overall rate for suicides among people 19 and under rose during this period from 2.18 per every 100,000 teens to 2.72. The biggest increase was in Utah, where youth suicide rates rose from 2.87 for every 100,000 teens to 6.83. (Stateline map: Change in teen suicide rates from 2006-14) Incidents...

Are you one of them? 35 million eligible American voters are not yet registered to vote

At least 35 million eligible Americans are not registered to vote, Rebecca Beitsch reports for Stateline. Maps are available to compare voter registration in states in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014. Stateline map: Voter registration by state in 2014: Hawaii has the lowest rate of eligible residents registered to vote, at 64 percent, followed by Wyoming (67.4 percent), Nevada (68.5) and Utah (69.9).  One...

Kentucky has nation’s fourth highest painkiller prescription rate, officials call for limits

Kentucky has the nation’s fourth highest rate of painkiller prescriptions, at about 130 prescriptions for every 100 people, Christine Vestal reports for Stateline. The high rate of painkiller prescriptions is being blamed on a rising rate of overdose deaths, leading health and government officials in many states to call for a limit on the number and strength of painkiller pills prescribed by...