Becca Schimmel

Multimedia Journalist

Becca Schimmel is a multimedia journalist with the Ohio Valley ReSource a collaborative of public radio stations in Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio.  She's based out of the WKU Public Radio newsroom in Bowling Green. 

Becca was born in Charleston, SC but grew up in Lexington, Kentucky. You can often find her behind a book or near a cup of coffee. In her time away from the newsroom she enjoys running and lifting weights. She’s a sucker for unintentional puns, a good cup of coffee, a nice craft beer and a story.

Becca earned her Bachelor of Science in journalism from Murray State University with a minor in psychology. She interned with The Paducah Sun in Paducah as a general assignment reporter. From there she went on to become Morning Edition producer and general assignment reporter for WKMS in Murray.

Daviess Co. Public Schools

Superintendents across the state are reacting to governor Matt Bevin’s proposed cuts to transportation spending for school districts. The proposal would require local districts to cover 75 percent of those costs--much more than the 42 percent they pay now.

Pulaski County Superintendent Steve Butcher, is concerned that the proposed cuts would make it difficult to get kids to school.

Creative Commons

Governor Matt Bevin’s proposed budget is drawing mixed reaction from the Kentucky School Boards Association. While the KSBA is glad the governor is promising to maintain per-pupil spending, the group has other concerns.

In his state of the commonwealth address Tuesday night, Bevin suggested schools consider dipping into their reserve funds to make up for any spending cuts they could see in the next year. Director of Governmental Relations for KSBA, Eric Kennedy, said not every school district would be able to follow the governor’s suggestion.

Still from White House video

Donald Trump loves coal.

He campaigned on a promise to put miners back to work and his first year in office included numerous Ohio Valley visits to highlight coal’s importance.

“I love our coal miners and they’re coming back strong!” Trump said to a roaring crowd at an August rally in Huntington, West Virginia.

At a March rally in Louisville the message was the same. “We are going to put our coal miners back to work! They have not been treated well but they are.”


The number of drug overdose deaths in Warren County declined slightly in 2017.

Warren County saw 18 drug overdose deaths in 2017, compared to 19 in 2016.

County Coroner Kevin Kirby said toxicology reports also show an increase in people with methamphetamine in their system. Kirby said while there’s more awareness about the risk of addiction with prescription opioids, that hasn’t dramatically reduced fatal overdoses in Warren County.

flickr creative commons

A new survey shows more people moved out of Kentucky last year than moved into the state. About 55 percent of those surveyed by United Van Lines said they left Kentucky because they found a new job somewhere else. People also reported leaving to be closer to family and relocating for retirement.

The biggest age group moving out of the state is those 65 and older. United Van Lines spokesperson Melissa Sullivan said it’s only in the last two years that Kentucky has seen more people leaving the state.

Mary Meehan

Imagine living and working somewhere designed to fit a couple hundred people. Now picture that same space crammed with twice that number. Madison County, Kentucky, Jailer Doug Thomas doesn’t have to imagine it. He lives it.

“I’m doing all that I can with what I have to work with, which is not a lot,” he said. “Because we’re a 184 bed facility with almost 400 people.”

According to the Madison County jail task force, roughly 80 percent of the people incarcerated there are jailed on charges that somehow relate to addiction. County Judge Executive Reagan Taylor wants to try a different approach.


Creative Commons

Braidy Industries released the names of its shareholders over the weekend. The aluminum company is planning a state-subsidized $1.3 billion facility in Greenup County.

 

The move came after the Courier Journal requested a list of investors and shareholders. That request was partially denied. The list the paper received showed only two previously known owners, with the rest of the names blacked out.

Becca Schimmel.

The International Center of Kentucky is hoping to reach their cap of resettling 300 refugees in the next fiscal year. Albert Mbanfu said keeping up with the different refugee bans imposed by the Trump administration has made it difficult to meet his group’s resettlement goals. Mbanfu is the director at the international center in Bowling Green.

He said his group has the capacity to resettle more than three-hundred refugees, but he’s unsure they’ll meet that goal.

Kentucky LRC

A western Kentucky Democrat has pre-filed a bill for the 2018 legislative session to reduce the criminal penalty for drug possession. The legislation would lower the offense for first-degree possession, or personal possession, of a controlled substance from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Representative Gerald Watkins of Paducah hopes the bill will pass in the next legislative session, especially because he’s not running for re-election. The legislation would require those found guilty of drug possession to complete a treatment program and community service. Watkins said now is a good time to propose this bill because the public’s attitude toward drug crimes is changing.

Office of Sen. Brown

Retired union coal miners are joining teamsters, iron workers and other union retirees in an effort to shore up their ailing pension plans, and they hope the ticking clock on a government spending bill will help.

Some Democrats want to see protections for retirement benefits included in the omnibus spending bill, which Congress must pass in order to prevent a government shutdown. That could set up a year-end showdown over the spending bill, with major implications for retirees in the Ohio Valley region.


MSHA

The U.S. Senate voted along party lines Wednesday, 52 to 46, to narrowly confirm President Trump’s  nominee to lead the Mine Safety and Health Administration, or MSHA. The country’s top mine safety position has been vacant since January as coal mining fatalities have risen to a two-year high. Trump’s choice to fill the post is facing opposition from congressional Democrats and safety advocates. 


Becca Schimmel

A southern Kentucky judge said the cost of incarceration is changing the way Kentucky deals with drug offenders.

Warren Circuit Court Judge Steve Wilson said he’s seen a shift in how Kentucky’s legislators view incarceration for drug crimes. He said legislators are increasingly talking to him and other judges about alternatives to jail. He said the cost of keeping people behind bars has a lot to do with that shifting mindset.

WalletHub

A new study shows Kentucky is the sixth fattest state in the nation. The study by WalletHub examines three areas--the number of obese and overweight people in each state; health consequences; and food and fitness. Kentucky ranked fifth for the highest percentage of adults with type two diabetes. The Commonwealth also ranked in the top five with the highest percentage of physically inactive adults.

Tennessee is the third fattest state in the nation and Indiana ranked tenth. WalletHub used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mary Meehan

When a Madison County jail task force examined overcrowding in their jails, they found that about 80 percent of the inmates were there on drug related charges. This led the county to look at how a public-private partnerships could help fund a new substance abuse treatment center

Judge Executive Reagan Taylor said the county’s jail is overcrowded and building a new one would cost about $50 million. He said a new jail would need to have 800 beds and it would probably be full or overcrowded in about ten years. Taylor said he didn’t want to use taxpayer dollars to build a new jail without looking at what they could do to reduce recidivism.


Rhonda J Miller

A group of education officials representing districts across the country will be touring a Warren County elementary school Friday to get a close-up look at an energy-saving material used in construction. They’re visiting to learn more about the construction of net zero schools, or schools that produce enough energy on site to cover their needs.

Jennings Creek Elementary will be a net zero ready school, meaning it’s built in a way that allows it to eliminate the cost of energy. The school is one of a many in Kentucky using insulated concrete forms, or ICF, to reduce energy costs. Warren County is home to the nation’s first net zero school--Richardsville Elementary, which opened in 2010.

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