Health
11:53 am
Thu July 3, 2014

WKU Regents Put Off Vote on Privatizing Health Services, Ask for More Information

WKU Health Services facility on the school's campus
Credit WKU

The WKU Board of Regents is delaying a vote to privatize the campus Health Services Center.

At a meeting Thursday morning, board members requested that the university provide them with more information about the proposed agreement with Graves Gilbert Clinic. Regents specifically asked for copies of the “request for proposal” that was submitted to those interested in bidding on the health services contract.

The university announced earlier this year it would seek to privatize its health services operation, in an effort to save nearly $1.1 million in the 2014-15 operating budget.

Regent John Ridley of Bowling Green says today’s move by the board should not be seen as a vote of no confidence in either the proposed contract or the school’s administration. Instead, Ridley says the regents want to make sure they’ve had time to thoroughly review the proposal and have any questions answered before a vote is taken.

“The issue is that we have a board responsibility when we’re about to enter into a contractual arrangement, and if anyone has a question we need to get it answered, and then everybody’s happy,” Ridley said after the meeting.

Faculty Regent Dr. Patti Minter said it’s important that the regents make sure any and all concerns are addressed before conducting a vote on such an important matter.

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Summer Camp
8:46 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Photo Gallery: Center for Courageous Kids Camp

Two campers and one counselor take a canoe out on the lake at the Center for Courageous Kids in Scottsville, Ky on Wednesday, July 2, 2014.
Abbey Oldham

The Center for Courageous Kids in Scottsville, Ky., hosts nine different summer camps at no cost to their families.

They welcome up to 128 children who suffer from a different illness each week. The Center for Courageous Kids is a non-profit medical camping facility that has been open since February 2008. Since then, they have hosted over 16,500 campers from 40 different states. The Center sits on 168 acres on Scottsville and includes a bowling alley, indoor swimming pool, manmade lake, archery station, arts and crafts building, medical center, dining facility, and lodges for the campers. 

Photojournalist Abbey Oldham visited the Center on Wednesday, July 2, 2014, and took photos of what the Center offers its young campers.

Regional
8:41 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Army Study Analyzes Cutting 16,000 Personnel from Fort Campbell

A new analysis conducted by the U.S. Army offers the possibility of Ft. Campbell losing up to 16,000 members of its current personnel.
Credit Ft. Campbell

The Army has analyzed the impact of cutting 16,000 personnel from Fort Campbell, which would be about half of its current population.

This analysis was part of the Army’s Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment 2020 Force Structure Realignment,(SPEA) which studied the impacts of reducing the force from around 500,000 to between 440,000 to 450,000. The draft study found there would be no significant impact from the Army’s force reductions, though there are many factors to be assessed before reduction numbers are finalized for the 30 individual locations, including Fort Campbell.

The assessment indicates Fort Campbell is a major economic influence in Christian County, Kentucky, and Montgomery County, Tennessee, where the Armed Forces accounts for 23 percent and 14 percent of the workforce respectively. Hopkinsville Mayor Dan Kemp says the SPEA is only a study and has not affected Hopkinsville’s planning. He says there was no impact on Fort Campbell after a similar evaluation was done two years ago.

“We don’t know if anything will happen but we expect that there would not be a significant reduction at Fort Campbell because Fort Campbell is one of the most strategic military posts in the country,” Kemp said. “We’ve been briefed at Fort Campbell by the command down there and we’ve endeavored to obtain as much information as we can.”

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Respected broadcast journalist Ted Koppel is a commentator, occasionally contributing to NPR's midday news and talk show Talk of the Nation where, through conversations with host Neal Conan and callers into the program, Koppel provides analysis, commentary and perspective on the topics and events that shape our world.

His news experience and interests are wide-ranging, spanning topics from national security, values, privacy, health and the media to Iran, Iraq and the Mideast.

Education
4:41 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Education Commissioner Sides with Bowling Green in Non-Resident Student Dispute

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday has ruled in favor of the Bowling Green Independent School District in a non-resident dispute with the Warren County school system. 

Under the order, 750 non-resident students will be allowed to attend city schools in the 2014-15 academic year.

Non-resident students are county students who attend city schools.  State funding travels with the students. 

The county hoped to limit the number of non-resident students in the coming year to siblings of current students.

Commissioner Holliday accepted a state hearing officer’s recommendation issued at the end of May.  Warren County can appeal the ruling to the Kentucky Board of Education.

Warren County Superintendent Rob Clayton and Bowling Green Superintendent Joe Tinius could not be reached for comment when the order was issued late Thursday afternoon.

Business
3:50 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Construction to Begin Soon on New Aluminum Production Facility in Warren County

A new $150 million aluminum production facility in Bowling Green will create 80 new jobs.

Governor Beshear was on hand Wednesday morning at the Kentucky Transpark as ground was broken on the Japanese-European partnership. The joint venture between Contellium N.V. and UACJ Corporation will create finished aluminum body sheets for cars and trucks.

Construction on the 225,000-square-foot facility will begin this summer.

Regional
3:43 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

New Operator of WKU Health Clinic Promises Expanded Hours, Services

Credit WKU

On August 1, the Graves Gilbert Clinic in Bowling Green will take over operations of the WKU Health Services Center. 

WKU decided earlier this year to privatize the facility in a move that’s expected to save the university about $1 million  a year. 

Graves Gilbert Human Resources Director Debbie Diamond confirmed to WKU Public Radio that the three doctors and a nurse practitioner currently on staff were not retained.

"They have sent in applications and resumes to us.  At this time, we're not hiring any physicians," said Diamond.  "We're using our current family medicine physicians, but that could change down the road."

July 24 is the last day that doctors Patricia Blewett, Allen Redden, and Ray Rowland will see patients.  According to Diamond, the campus health facility will continue to offer the same level of care, with additional expertise.

"We have 89 physicians and over 21 specialties, so if a patient needed more specialized care, we have the internal departments that can offer that care.  I think everybody will have better access to health care," added Diamond.  "We'll also be able to offer more access to insurance carriers just because of our size and capability of negotiating with the carriers."

Starting August 1, the campus facility will be open to the general public and have new hours of operation from 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

The WKU Board of Regents will hold a special meeting Thursday to vote on a contract with Graves Gilbert.

Regional
3:40 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Federal Highway Trust Fund Insolvency Threatens $185 Million in Kentucky Projects

Gov. Steve Beshear
Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

Congressional inaction threatening the solvency of the Federal Highway Trust Fund may cost Kentucky $185 million for projects, drastically changing how the state pays for road construction, Gov. Steve Beshear said Wednesday.

Beshear and U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who was visiting the state, criticized Congress for  inaction that will reduce the amount the highway trust fund reimburses states for roadwork by 28 percent, affecting upwards of 700,000 jobs nationwide.

"Simply put, if you drive on Kentucky's highways, or if your business depends upon our roads to move your workers, your goods, your supplies or your customers, you will see a negative impact," Beshear said.

Of the $185 million in jeopardy, $150 million will affect the widening of I-65 between Bowling Green and Elizabethtown, a Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokesman said. The remaining $35 million is slated for "pavement rehabilitation" projects across the state.

Neither Beshear nor KYTC Secretary Mike Hancock offered a figure of how many road contracting jobs in Kentucky could be affected if Congress doesn't shore up the fund.

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Health
2:30 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Pet Owners Should Take Steps to Make Sure Animals are Safe During Fourth of July Holiday

What, me worry? Some pets can be especially sensitive to the sounds and lights associated with fireworks around the Fourth of July holiday.
Credit Kevin Willis

Local animal shelters are warning pet owners to take extra precautions heading into the Fourth of July holiday. The loud sounds and flashing lights associated with fireworks can frighten and disorient pets, and they often bolt from their owners or yard trying to get away from the noise.

“The best thing to do is to put them in an interior room, somewhere where there isn’t a window,” says Kendall Paul, executive director of the Vanderburgh Humane Society. “Dogs have been known to bust out screens, or even bust out glass windows if they’re that freaked out about the noise and light.”

Paul advises dog owners to leave their pets at home during holiday events featuring loud noises like fireworks.

For animal shelters around the country, the coming days are usually extremely busy ones.

“Usually the business day following the Fourth of July is one of our busiest days for lost and found reports for animals,” Paul told WKU Public Radio. “So make sure that your animal has proper identification on. We highly recommend that you microchip your animal. We also recommend that they wear collars with tags that have your cell phone number on it.”

Paul says having your personal phone number on the tag is much better than having the number of the pet’s veterinarian or shelter on it. If the pet is lost after hours, having an owner's phone number increases the chances of getting the animal back to its owner sooner.

Regional
1:52 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Beshear: Kentucky Road Projects Delayed Because of Highway Trust Fund Stalemate

In less than a month, states across the U.S. could see a 28 percent cut in funding for highway projects.  Congress hasn’t been able to pass a bill that would shore up the federal Highway Trust Fund. 

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear says the commonwealth has already put $185 million dollars’ worth of construction projects on hold because of the stalemate in Washington.

“Believe it or not, when it comes to absorbing the impact of this funding crisis, Kentucky is in better shape than most of the other states,” said Gov. Beshear. “We have been and will continue to use state-generated transportation funds to mitigate, as much as possible, short-term impacts in our federal program.”

But, Beshear says among the construction now on the shelf is a project that would widen Interstate 65 between Bowling Green and Elizabethtown.  U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx joined Beshear at a press conference Wednesday in Frankfort, urging congress to act.

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