Aaron Payne

United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts fired up a crowd of thousands of union workers in Columbus, Ohio, with a simple chant: “Fix it!”

The rally last week came on the eve of a Congressional field hearing on problems plaguing multiemployer pension programs like the one retired miners depend upon.

“When the people get to marching, the politicians get to listening,” Roberts roared.


Tableau

A new report shows the average income of the top one percent of Kentuckians is more than 18.4 times greater than the average income of state residents.

Income for the wealthiest one percent of earners in Kentucky was more than $719,012 in 2015, compared to an average income of almost $39,990 for all other Kentuckians. The report from the Economic Policy Institute shows from 2009 to 2015 the top one percent income grew 23.2 percent while everyone else’s income grew only 7.2 percent. Ashley Spalding is a senior policy analyst with the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy.  

J. Tyler Franklin

This week in Kentucky politics, Rand Paul was one of the few politicians to defend Donald Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration restored vision and dental benefits to almost 400,000 people on Medicaid after taking them away earlier this month. And Kentucky’s bourbon industry ramped up its warnings about how a trade war would impact the state’s signature industry. 


Reversal: Kentucky Restoring Medicaid Benefits for Thousands

Jul 20, 2018
Flickr

Dental and vision care benefits will be restored for hundreds of thousands of Medicaid recipients in a sudden reversal by Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin's administration following an outcry over the recent cuts.

The coverage had been abruptly cut at the start of July after a federal judge rejected the Republican governor's plan to overhaul Kentucky's Medicaid program. The cuts triggered stinging criticism from Democrats and public health advocates.

The sudden about-face was announced late Thursday by the state's Cabinet for Health and Family Services and was welcomed by the administration's critics.

With less than four months to go, how much are this year's midterm elections at risk for the kind of interference sowed by Russia in 2016?

Region’s Black Lung Rates Highest In 25 Years

Jul 19, 2018
Howard Berkes/NPR

A new study by federal health officials finds the recent surge in cases of black lung disease is especially concentrated among coal miners in central Appalachia.

Researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health say the rate of black lung disease among experienced miners in central Appalachia is the highest they have seen in a quarter century.

Epidemiologist Cara Halldin supervises the coal workers’ health surveillance program for NIOSH, and is one of the study authors. She said the cases are concentrated among miners in Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia.  


Kevin Willis

The head of Kentucky’s bourbon association says he’s worried that a drawn-out trade war could slow down growth of the state’s signature distilling industry.

Kentucky bourbon is in the crosshairs of retaliatory tariffs from the European Union, Mexico and Canada after President Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum from those countries.

Kentucky Distillers Association President Eric Gregory said distillers are worried that if the dispute escalates, it’ll offset some of the industry’s massive growth over the past decade.

Thomas Aquafarms

The Owensboro Regional Farmers Market will soon have a very different kind of locally-raised product for its customers. That new item is expected be ready in August.

Among the zucchini, tomatoes and cabbage at the Owensboro Regional Farmers Market, there will soon be tilapia.  The fish are being grown at Thomas Aquafarms in Daviess County.

Eric Thomas is co-owner of the aquafarm and created the unique environment to raise tilapia beginning with a traditional greenhouse you might see at a nursery.

“I designed and built the fish tanks for the fish to actually grow in," said Thomas. "So in the greenhouse currently we have over 12,000 gallons of space to grow our Blue Nile tilapia in.”

Flickr/Creative Commons/ Lora Zibman

More than 2,000 Kentuckians will have to pay more to receive Medicaid benefits that help them avoid nursing homes. The news comes after state officials said they’ve been charging the incorrect amount for over half a decade.

The change is scheduled to take effect on August 1 and applies to people with disabilities who receive at-home and community-based Medicaid services in Kentucky and make more than $750 per month.

Kentucky Health Cabinet officials say that for more than 5 years, the state hasn’t been collecting the correct amount for the “patient liability”— the amount beneficiaries have to pay every month.

WKU

Three graduates of Western Kentucky University are being inducted into the school’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni this fall.

Becky Ann Baker is a 1975 WKU graduate and Broadway, film, and TV character actress. She’s appeared in two Judd Apatow series, Freaks and Geeks, and the HBO blockbuster Girls.

Nettie Depp was a 1910 graduate of Southern Normal School, the forerunner of WKU, and studied under WKU founder and first president Henry Hardin Cherry.

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Rob Taber

Photo Gallery: Lost River Sessions Arts & Music Festival

It was a hot afternoon May 12 at the first Lost River Sessions Arts & Music Festival. But that didn't stop hundreds from attending the outdoor festival at Fountain Square Park. Later that evening, Willie Watson, Joan Shelley and the Dead Broke Barons put on a fabulous show inside the Capitol Arts Center.

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Exploring the changing economy of Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia

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