Kevin Willis en Kentucky Demographer: State's Population Aging at Faster Rate that the U.S., While Also Less Diverse <p></p><p>One of Kentucky’s most respected demographers says the aging population in our nation will have a huge impact on the types of jobs available in the future.</p><p>Ron Crouch is Director of Research and Statistics with the state’s Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. Speaking to the Bowling Green Noon Rotary Club Wednesday, Crouch said the aging baby boomer population means health care will continue to be a major growth industry. But he added those jobs go beyond doctors, nurses, and physical therapists.</p><p>“Even in health care, you need your janitors, your maintenance men, your computer operators. There’s a lot of jobs in the health care industry that are actually not healthcare training jobs, but that will be in healthcare facilities.”</p><p>Crouch says Census data show the number of Kentuckians over the age of 80 in 2010 was more than double what it was in 1980. He points out that the number of health care jobs in Warren County alone grew by more than 33 percent over a ten-year period beginning in 2001. Wed, 23 Jul 2014 20:46:58 +0000 Kevin Willis 51536 at Kentucky Demographer: State's Population Aging at Faster Rate that the U.S., While Also Less Diverse Glasgow to Receive Federal Funds for Sidewalks, Pedestrian Bridge <p>The city of Glasgow is receiving federal funding to improve transportation options in part of&nbsp; the community. The Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) is providing $776,815 to expand residential sidewalks and the city’s shared-use path in the Carnation Drive neighborhood.</p><p>The goal is to increase the opportunities for residents to walk or bike to grocery stores, parks, and businesses. A proposed pedestrian bridge would link the neighborhood to the South Fork Creek Path, providing a direct connection to the west that’s currently unobtainable because of the wide span of the creek.</p><p>Glasgow Mayor Rhonda Trautman says many details still need to be worked out.</p><p>“We’re in the initial phase,” Trautman said. “We’ll have a design phase to complete, and then we’ll get items and services procured. It won't be quick, because federal money has a lot of rules and regulations. I’m hoping by late fall we’ll have our plan ready to go.”</p><p>TAP provides funding for communities that is used for transportation improvements, such as pedestrian and biking pathways, scenic routes, and beautification. The city of Glasgow is expected to commit $194,204 in local funding toward the project. Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:12:48 +0000 Kevin Willis 51506 at Kentucky Families Impacted by Impasse Over Adopted Children in African Nation <p></p><p></p><p></p><p>A decision by the government of an African nation is having a big impact on U.S. families trying to bring home adopted children, including at least 20 families in Kentucky. Citing concerns about the health and well-being of children previously adopted children, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) last fall cancelled the exit permits needed by adopted children to leave the country and join their new families abroad.</p><p>Bethany Meacham of Louisville is one of the mothers caught in limbo due to the decision. Bethany and her husband, Jon, decided to look into adoption after a miscarriage made them think they might not be able to have a child naturally. Bethany has since given birth to two children, now ages 4 and 1. But after learning about the conditions of orphans in the DRC and doing further research, the Meachams decided to adopt a son from that country.</p><p>“So we started the paperwork process to adopt from there, three-and-a-half-years ago before we ever set foot in Congo. Since then, my husband was able to go last November for the first time and meet our son, who was legally adopted and who was ours at that time.”</p><p>“His orphanage had actually just burned down, so my husband took supplies to the orphanage.”</p><p>The Meachams named their son Malachi, and he became their legally adopted son last July. But the Meacham’s hopes of bringing their son to Kentucky were derailed when the Congolese government announced it was halting the issuing of exit visas for foreign adoptions. Since then, Bethany Meacham says she has had to be content with getting bits and pieces of information about Malachi, the son she’s never really gotten to know. Tue, 22 Jul 2014 20:33:13 +0000 Kevin Willis 51466 at Kentucky Families Impacted by Impasse Over Adopted Children in African Nation Report: Mammoth Cave National Park Visitors Contribute $40 Million Economic Impact <p></p><p>A new report shows tourism related to Mammoth Cave National Park is responsible for $40 million in economic benefit to the region.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">The analysis</a> conducted by a group of economists with the U.S. Geological Survey measured the impact of tourism dollars spent by park visitors in 2013. According to the report, 494,541 visitors came to Mammoth Cave National Park last year, with tourism dollars supporting 567 jobs in the region.</p><p>Mammoth Cave acting superintendent Lizzie Watts told WKU Public Radio the nearly half-a-million visitors who came to the south-central Kentucky attraction did more than just spend money. She says they also walked away with an enhanced respect for the region that they take back with them to their communities across the U.S. and globe.</p><p>“The environment of Mammoth Cave is one of the most unique in the whole world. So just the experience of walking in the cave for many people, it’s the one time--and maybe the only time—they get that experience. And they can take that all over the world and say ‘yes, I was in the largest cave system in the whole world.’”</p><p>Watts says Mammoth Cave is seeing an increase in the number of visitors interested in boating along the Green River, as well as those using the eight-mile Big Hollow Trail, which was opened in December to mountain bikers, hikers, and runners.</p><p>“The park itself is really a mecca for recreation above the ground, in many ways, both biking and hiking, and boating and canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding.”</p><p>Overall, the new report says the 273.6 million visitors to National Park Service attractions in 2013 spent &nbsp;$14.6 billion in areas within 60 miles of a park. Mon, 21 Jul 2014 21:11:51 +0000 Kevin Willis 51400 at Report: Mammoth Cave National Park Visitors Contribute $40 Million Economic Impact U.S. House Majority Leader-Elect in Bowling Green to Raise Money for GOP Efforts to Win State House <p></p><p>Republican efforts to win control of the Kentucky House got a boost from a national figure Saturday.</p><p>The incoming U.S. House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, was in Bowling Green to raise money for the Republican Party of Kentucky House Trust. McCarthy visited the commonwealth at the request of the state’s 2<sup>nd</sup> District Congressman, Brett Guthrie of Warren County.</p><p>Speaking to reporters before the fundraiser, Rep. McCarthy said what happens in state legislatures can often trickle up to the nation's capital.</p><p>“I feel states are able to show and be a generator of ideas greater than Washington--that you can do the pilot programs,” the California Republican said. “The whole concept of welfare reform came from states. States don’t get to print more money. States have to balance a budget. States have to move forward. They carry out agencies they didn’t create.”</p><p>Democrats have controlled the Kentucky House for over 90 years, and the party’s state leaders say they will continue to hold the chamber despite the amount of GOP money being raised ahead of the November election. Republicans would have to win a net gain of five seats this fall to take control of the House.</p><p>Multiple super PACs have been created by Republicans this year to boost their party’s efforts to win the chamber, including <a href="" target="_blank">a group founded by GOP gubernatorial candidate Hal Heiner</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">a PAC run by a Kentuckian</a> who served as a top aide to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.</p><p><strong>Broadening the Republican Party’s Appeal? </strong></p><p>During his visit to The Club at Olde Stone in Bowling Green, McCarthy said he agreed with Kentucky Senator <a href="" target="_blank">Rand Paul’s recent statements</a> about Republicans needing to expand the party’s appeal to groups that haven’t recently voted for the GOP in large numbers, such as African-Americans, Hispanics, and young people. Sat, 19 Jul 2014 19:28:34 +0000 Kevin Willis 51332 at U.S. House Majority Leader-Elect in Bowling Green to Raise Money for GOP Efforts to Win State House Those Seeking Pastoral Counseling in Kentucky Can Now Bill Insurance Companies for Services <p></p><p>A new law that went into effect this week in Kentucky is changing the way the state views faith-based mental health counselors. Kentucky is now licensing such counselors, which means their services will be covered by insurance policies.</p><p>One of the faith-based counselors impacted by the new law is Joe Bob Pierce, who works with Cornerstone Counseling in Owensboro. He says the change in state law could encourage potential clients who might have been put off by having to foot the entire bill.</p><p>“Clients that otherwise might have to pay out-of-pocket to see a pastoral counselor now will be provided a bit of subsidy, or help, or in some cases their entire fee for counseling will be handled by the insurance company.”</p><p>Pierce’s counseling service is located inside Third Baptist Church in Owensboro. He says while many of his clients are deeply rooted in traditional Baptist beliefs, he has also counseled individuals who don’t claim any religious affiliation.</p><p>He says his clients are interested in receiving help from someone who will take into account the spiritual aspects of their lives,</p><p>“It may not necessarily be a dimension that is religious in terms of being attached to a particular faith. But I think it’s very much a part of our make-up as people.”</p><p>To be licensed by the state, pastoral counselors must have a master’s degree in the field and meet the same qualifications as other licensed counselors. Thu, 17 Jul 2014 16:18:12 +0000 Kevin Willis 51216 at Those Seeking Pastoral Counseling in Kentucky Can Now Bill Insurance Companies for Services WKU Likely to Announce Proposed Changes to Employee Health Plans by End of August <p></p><p>WKU is beginning to prepare its employees for likely changes to the school’s health plan. At a forum Wednesday afternoon, representatives from the school’s Human Resources Department told workers that WKU’s self-funded model is coming under significant strain.</p><p>The school says it saw a 13.3 percent increase in medical expenses in 2013 compared to the previous year, with expenses exceeding revenue by more than $2 million.</p><p>WKU is predicting that unless changes are made, the school’s health plan expenses could increase by 8 to 10 percent in 2015.</p><p>No definitive announcement was made, however, about whether employee premiums or deductibles will be increasing. Speaking to WKU Public Radio after the forum, Assistant Director of Human Resources Kari Aikins described the school’s timeline for announcing any changes.</p><p>“We’re going to continue to evaluate and model these options financially over the next month, month-and-a-half, and then start making some formalized recommendations to our leadership and President--through our benefits committee--and hopefully have something set in stone by the end of August,” Aikens said. Wed, 16 Jul 2014 21:48:47 +0000 Kevin Willis 51182 at WKU Likely to Announce Proposed Changes to Employee Health Plans by End of August Grimes Reports Over $4 Million Raised During Second Quarter, McConnell Takes in $3.1 Million <p></p><p>Kentucky’s two U.S. Senate candidates are reporting major fundraising hauls.</p><p>Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says she took in over $4 million during the second quarter ending in June, breaking the record for most money raised by a Kentucky Senate candidate in a single quarter.</p><p>That record was previously held by Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, the man Grimes is trying to defeat this November. McConnell raised $2.9 million during the fourth quarter of 2008.</p><p>Overall, the Grimes Senate campaign has raised nearly $11.3 million dollars to date.</p><p>Shortly after the Grimes camp released their fundraising totals Tuesday, the McConnell campaign announced they raised $3.1 million dollars in the second quarter. The incumbent reported $9.8 million in cash on hand--about $3.6 million more than his Democratic opponent.</p><p>The race between Grimes and McConnell is shaping up to be one of the most closely-watched Senate races in the nation, with many analysts predicting it could also be one of the most expensive Senate campaigns in history. Tue, 15 Jul 2014 19:06:43 +0000 Kevin Willis 51098 at Grimes Reports Over $4 Million Raised During Second Quarter, McConnell Takes in $3.1 Million Advocates for Veterans Want Long-Term Care Facility Built in Warren County <p></p><p>Some retired military veterans are asking Kentucky lawmakers to commit funding for a new long-term care facility for veterans that would be located in Bowling Green.</p><p>The commonwealth currently has only three such facilities, with a fourth veterans nursing home scheduled to open next summer in Hardin County.</p><p>Dr. Ray Biggerstaff served in Vietnam as a Captain with the 101<sup>st</sup> Airborne Division, based in Fort Campbell. He told state lawmakers in Frankfort that the number of veterans in the south-central Kentucky region makes Warren County a logical location for a long-term care operation.</p><p>“When we take a look at the demographic data for Bowling Green and the Barren River Area Development District, we’re looking at a total of 20,000 veterans in that particular area. Surrounding the area, we have an additional 22,000 veterans that are in the perimeter,” said Biggerstaff.</p><p>Biggerstaff said he also thought a long-term care facility for veterans in southern Kentucky could attract veterans who live in northern Tennessee.</p><p>In testimony before a joint committee on State Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection, Biggerstaff said backers of the proposed veteran’s nursing home in Warren County have identified a 30-acre site off I-65 near the Kentucky Transpark as a possible location for the facility.</p><p>The nursing home being built in Hardin County will sit on 195 acres of land donated by the Defense Department, and feature a dozen ten-person homes providing full nursing services to 120 veterans. It’s scheduled to open next June.</p><p>Kentucky’s three nursing homes for veterans currently in operation are in Hopkins, Jessamine, and Perry counties. Mon, 14 Jul 2014 15:40:05 +0000 Kevin Willis & Dan Conti 51021 at Advocates for Veterans Want Long-Term Care Facility Built in Warren County WKU Regents Vote to Privatize Health Services Clinic, with Graves Gilbert Taking Control Aug. 1 <p></p><p><span class="userContent" data-ft="{&quot;tn&quot;:&quot;K&quot;}">The WKU Board of Regents has voted to privatize the campus Health Services center. Graves Gilbert Clinic will take over operations ahead of the fall semester.<br /><br />The idea of giving up control of the health center was first announced by WKU President Gary Ransdell in March. Privatizing the health center that serves students, faculty, and staff gave the school nearly $1.1 million in relief for the bu<span class="text_exposed_show">dget that went into effect July 1.<br /><br />None of the three doctors or one nurse practitioner currently employed by the school will be kept on after the health center changes management.<br /><br />WKU Vice President for Finance and Administration said at Thursday morning's regents meeting that Graves Gilbert will make decisions on whether or not to retain the center's remaining employees within 10 days of the contract being finalized.</span></span></p><p>Mead added both parties have a lot to do in a short amount of time.</p><p>“We’ll be moving into helping Graves Gilbert transition to opening on Aug. 1. We want to facilitate Graves Gilbert’s family practitioners to be able to meet our leadership on campus, and start having the campus understand what services are going to be provided at our on-campus facility.” Thu, 10 Jul 2014 14:48:40 +0000 Kevin Willis 50838 at WKU Regents Vote to Privatize Health Services Clinic, with Graves Gilbert Taking Control Aug. 1