Flickr/Creative Commons/John Bratseth

Citizen Foster Care Review Boards in 22 Kentucky counties are searching for volunteers.

Board members review the cases of children who have been put in foster care because of dependency, abuse, or neglect.  Volunteers complete a six-hour training session and must consent to a to criminal record and Central Registry check.

More information and application materials can be found here.

Dolores Smith is a unit supervisor with the review board program. She says the boards are looking for volunteers from many different backgrounds.

“The number one thing we look for is someone who has a genuine concern for child welfare—that’s the overriding feature,” Smith said. “Kentucky statutes also mention that we look for different professions, like education, social work, psychology, medical, and legal fields.”

Bevin Wants to Downsize Scope of KentuckyWired Project

Feb 6, 2016
Jacob Ryan, WFPL

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin wants to downsize a proposed 3,400-mile fiber optic network meant to make high-speed Internet possible throughout the state.

Bevin told the Saving Our Appalachian Region meeting Friday the project is off track. He said he still supports installing the network in eastern Kentucky.

A group of private businesses borrowed $289 million last year to begin constructing the network. Kentucky  government officials promised to pay the companies about $28 million a year for Internet service, which the companies would then use to pay off the loan.

But a key piece of how Kentucky  planned to pay back the loan has fallen apart. Bevin said Friday he wants to try and renegotiate with Macquarie Capital, the Australian-based investment company that is leading the project.

With the Iowa caucuses in the books, the focus of the political world has shifted to the first-in-the-nation-primary state, New Hampshire. New Hampshire voters, with their contrarian reputation, head to the polls Tuesday. Expect the unexpected.

Here are five things to know about how it all works:

1. Voting is straightforward

Powers Remembered as Kentucky Political Trailblazer

Feb 6, 2016
Kentucky Commission on Human Rights

Georgia Davis Powers' funeral turned into a celebration of a life that broke down barriers as a civil-rights icon and the first African-American woman elected to the Kentucky Senate.

The Courier-Journal reports the celebration Friday in Louisville included the reading of a letter from President Barack Obama and remembrances from religious leaders.

Powers died last Saturday at the age of 92.

Among those attending were U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

She helped organize civil rights marches in Kentucky, including the 1964 march in Frankfort to bring attention to the need for a law prohibiting discrimination in housing.

Powers served 21 years in the state Senate, fighting for African-Americans, women, the poor, the disabled, the disenfranchised.

LRC Public Information

The top Kentucky House Republican says GOP-backed legislation to ban labor unions from requiring employees to join them is unlikely to get a House vote this year.

House GOP Leader Jeff Hoover said Friday that right-to-work legislation isn't among the top priorities for House Republicans. Senate Republicans have identified it as one of their main priorities.

Hoover's announcement comes two days after a U.S. District Judge in Kentucky ruled that local right-to-work ordinances passed by 12 counties in the commonwealth are illegal.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo says right-to-work legislation doesn't have "a snowball's chance" of passing the Democratic-controlled House.

But House Republicans have been using procedural motions to try to force House votes on some bills. Hoover is downplaying the chances of such maneuvering for the right-to-work bill.

Hoover says he plans to keep pushing for an eventual House vote on legislation to put Planned Parenthood clinics last in line for family planning funds.

DCL/Keith Barraclough

A popular TV show featuring rescue dogs from across the country will have a Kentucky connection.

Two dogs from the Barktown Rescue animal shelter in Nelson County are participating in the 12th annual Puppy Bowl. The show airs Sunday afternoon on Animal Planet, ahead of the Super Bowl.

It’s the second year in a row that pooches from the facility in Boston, Ky., have competed in the program that encourages pet lovers to adopt from their local shelter.

The program was taped last fall.

The two Barktown Rescue puppies appearing in this year’s show are a lab mix named Gunner, and a terrier mix named Shylah.

Both dogs have been adopted since the show was taped.

Barktown vice president Heather Nelson helped drive the dogs from Kentucky to New York City to record the show in October.

Glasgow Independent Schools

Glasgow Police have made two arrests in connection with a Wednesday shooting incident.

Twenty-three year old Jaleel Wood was arrested at his workplace Thursday night and charged with attempted murder and two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment.

Twenty-seven-year-old Mary Ash was charged with attempted murder after turning herself into police Friday morning.

Both Wood and Ash are from Glasgow.

Police have an arrest warrant issued for 22-year old Anthony Wood of Glasgow, and are actively searching for him.

Three Glasgow city schools were placed on a soft lockdown Wednesday after 911 callers reported passengers in two cars exchanging gunfire.

No one was injured, and the lockdown was quickly lifted.

What Kentuckians Need To Know About The Zika Virus

Feb 5, 2016
Muhammad Mahdi Karim/Wikimedia Commons

The Zika virus has generated plenty of concern — and media coverage — as it spreads through Central and South America, with the the World Health Organization going as far as this week declaring a public health emergency.

The virus, transmitted through mosquito bites, is linked to the birth defect microcephaly, a congenital condition associated with incomplete brain development and abnormal smallness of the head.

International health officials expect the Zika virus to spread farther — but people may not have much of a risk of contracting it in Kentucky anytime in the near future.

Mapping Zika: From A Monkey In Uganda To A Growing Global Concern

The type of mosquito that is known to carry the Zika virus, Aedes aegypti, is rarely found in Kentucky, said Dr. Grayson Brown,  entomologist in the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

“It’s a mosquito that we have in Kentucky, but only about one out of about every 5,000 mosquitoes is an Aedes aegypti . So, they’re not very common and they don’t start showing up here until very late in the summer,” Brown said.

LRC Public Information

A bill that would eliminate the prevailing wage on public school projects on Thursday failed to pass a House committee.

The prevailing wage is the pay rate for construction workers on public works projects and is set by the state Labor Cabinet.

State Rep. Regina Bunch, a Republican from Williamsburg, argued that the wage is artificially high and drives up costs in public school budgets.

“To me it is simply just bad public policy for government to assist any group and guarantee wages and stifle competition,” Bunch said

Republicans in the state legislature have for years proposed bills to repealing parts or all of the prevailing wage.

Norton Healthcare

A new national survey shows Kentucky and Arkansas lead the nation in the largest drops of the number of people without health insurance.

The Gallup-Healthways survey shows more than 20 percent of Kentuckians did not have health insurance in 2013. Last year, just 7.5 percent of the state’s population did not have insurance. Arkansas had a similar drop.

The survey shows states that expanded Medicaid and operated a state exchange outperformed other states in the percentage of people who have insurance.

Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has already given the order to dismantle the state exchange and is seeking to reform the state Medicaid system.

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WKU Public Radio | Arts & Culture

WFPL News

When Gov. Matt Bevin offers his first state budget proposal on Tuesday, it’s unclear how much money — if any — will be set aside for the Kentucky Arts Council, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Rumors have swirled on social media and in arts social circles during the past couple days concerning the future of the state agency.

Arts Council board member Wilma Brown of Frankfort sent an email to friends and supporters on Thursday, saying Bevin would seek to eliminate funding for the agency and asking recipients to contact their state representatives in protest.

“It is not clear whether an alternative agency will be formed or whether the arts will be folded into another agency,” Brown wrote. “In either case, oversight of the arts will become political with changes in personnel and programs with each election.”

Requests for information from Bevin’s office went unanswered. Lori Meadows, the Arts Council’s executive director, directed inquiries to the governor’s office.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Piano! Piano!

David Bowie is being remembered by a Kentucky guitarist as one of the most influential and innovative rock stars ever.

Bowie died at the age of 69 Sunday after a bout with cancer.

Kentucky Headhunters guitarist Greg Martin told WKU Public Radio he’s been in awe of Bowie’s music for decades. But Martin admitted he didn’t immediately understand everything Bowie was doing musically.

"There were some things that just went over my head early on,” Martin said. “But there's been some times in the past ten years, when my mind was a little more open like it should be, and I'd catch some things on the radio, and I’d think this guy is right up there with the Beatles."

NPR: Bowie Wrote Anthems for the Alienated

Martin says he and his band mates were honored to meet Bowie at a record convention in the early 1990s.

“I'm happy to say we did have a brush with him early on in our career, and that's something we will always cherish, getting to talk to him."

Bowie passed away just two days after releasing a new album called Darkstar.

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