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.

Adelina Lancianese

Western Kentucky District U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman didn’t hide his emotion when announcing federal charges against a coal company for faking coal dust samples.

“This is one of those that just made me angry, it just made me angry to see the impact on these miners,” Coleman said.

 

Coleman unsealed indictments Wednesday against eight employees of the now-bankrupt Armstrong Energy coal company for falsifying dust monitoring samples in two of its Kentucky mines.


Lisa Autry

Bowling Green resettled more refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo over a recent three-month period than from any other country. The size of some of those Congolese families is presenting challenges when it comes to finding living arrangements.

Evelina Gevorgiyan is the refugee program manager at the Bowling Green-based International Center of Kentucky. She said many of the Congolese refugees coming from Kentucky have large families, including one with 14 people. But many landlords will only allow two people per bedroom.

Becca Schimmel

The Ohio Valley’s auto manufacturing industry is growing increasingly nervous about the Trump administration’s trade policy. First came tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, key materials for vehicle makers. Now the Commerce Department is looking into taxes on imported automobiles and automotive parts. Both are ominous signs for an industry that employs more than 1.5 million people in the region. Ohio and Kentucky are the nation’s second and third biggest auto-making states, respectively.


Becca Schimmel

Protestors gathered outside U.S. Senator Rand Paul’s Bowling Green office Saturday in support of changes to federal immigration policy. An estimated 200 people rallied in Bowling Green as part of a national “Families Belong Together” campaign.

 

The group is calling for an end to President Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. Sabina Husic came to Bowling Green as a refugee with her family. Bowling Green is a refugee resettlement area and home to many Bosnian immigrants. Husic said America was something that her family dreamed about but never thought was possible.

public domain

An annual report measuring the health and well-being of Kentucky children shows progress in nine different categories, including the teenage birth rate, children living in poverty and children with health insurance. But the state still lags behind the nation in other areas, like in the number of babies born with low-birth weights and the number of young children not enrolled in school.

The annual Kids Count Data Book has tracked a steady decline in the economic well-being of Kentucky children for more than a decade, but this year the state improved in most categories, according to Terry Brooks, the executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates. He said improvements in the national economy are having a positive ripple effect on Kentucky’s children.

WFPL

A recent study shows Kentucky is one of just eight states that is holding more people in local jails than in state prisons. The problem is largely driven by the number of people in the commonwealth who are held in local jails while serving prison sentences.

 

Kentucky’s level of incarceration continues to grow at an explosive rate at the same time the nationwide trend is declining. Some counties are now considering expanding or building new jails to deal with overcrowding.

ThinkStock

A decision Thursday from the U.S. Supreme Court could mean increased revenue for Kentucky. The ruling will allow states to collect sales taxes from online retailers.

Previous rulings limited a state’s ability to collect that revenue if the business didn’t have a physical presence in the state. Kentucky Center for Economic Policy Executive Director Jason Bailey said while there won’t be an immediate effect felt from the Supreme Court decision, it will eventually lead to more money for the commonwealth.

Becca Schimmel

A contract to bring a wide variety of sports championships to Bowling Green will continue for seven more years. The Conference is made up of universities from across the southern and midwestern United States. The new contract expires at the end of fiscal year 2025.

Bowling Green held 14 Mid-South Conference championships during the 2017-18 season. The Conference is adding women’s wrestling and men’s volleyball. Mid-South Conference Commissioner Eric Ward said in addition to the contract extension, the organization will move its office to Bowling Green, making Warren County its headquarters. He said Bowling Green is the perfect size and has a lot to offer student athletes.

US Army Corps of Engineers Facebook

A Bowling Green microbrewery is teaming up with Western Kentucky University and two non-profit groups to celebrate conservation efforts in southern Kentucky. The White Squirrel brewery is releasing a new beer called the “Belle of the Green River”, which is made with water from the Green River.  

Lauren Hendricks is the chairwoman of the Forecastle Foundation, which works to conserve watersheds and restore the natural flow of waterways. The group supported efforts last year to remove Lock and Dam Number Six on the Green River in southern Kentucky. She said the foundation has already helped restore nearly 200 miles of the Green River by removing locks and dams.

Rhonda J. Miller

A $1 million grant awarded to the Kentucky Labor Cabinet is aimed at increasing the amount of registered apprenticeships throughout the state.

The purpose of this new funding is to help the state establish relationships with third-party organizations and connect apprentices with employers. The grant will also allow the Labor Cabinet to compensate businesses for expenses related to the required training and diversify the pool of apprentices in Kentucky.

Steve Pavey, Hope In Focus

Anti-poverty activists say they will continue a campaign of demonstrations and civil disobedience throughout the Ohio Valley despite arrests at some events and being blocked from Kentucky’s capitol building.

The Poor People’s Campaign has rallied in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia and campaign leaders returned to Kentucky Wednesday after the group was denied access at earlier demonstrations.


3DaysCount

Kentucky’s joining a national effort to reduce the number of people held in jail during pretrial. In Kentucky, counties pay the cost of housing inmates who are awaiting trial.

Pretrial is defined as the period from a person’s first contact with law enforcement through the resolution of any resulting charges, usually through trial, plea or dismissal. The Administrative Office of the Courts manages the state’s judicial system and is joining the 3DaysCount initiative.

Kentucky Poor People's Campaign

The Poor People’s Campaign is returning to Frankfort Monday for another rally. The group was denied access to the Kentucky state capitol building during the event last week. There will also be demonstrations at state capitol buildings in Tennessee and Indiana.

Monday’s rally will focus on living wages, housing and education. More than 30 states will be participating in the demonstration at 2 p.m. local time. Reverend Megan Huston, pastor of First Christian Church in Bowling Green was at last week’s rally when the group was denied access to the Kentucky State Capitol.

UN Jean-Marc Ferre

The United Nations has just published a report on poverty in the U.S. based on a fact-finding tour that included parts of the Ohio Valley.

The UN report says that of the 40 million poor Americans about 5.3 million live in “Third World conditions of absolute poverty.”

 

The study also suggests recent tax reforms will worsen the situation for U.S. citizens and ensure that the country remains the most unequal society in the developed world. UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Philip Alston was the report’s lead author. In an interview with the Ohio Valley ReSource, he said poverty has significant human rights implications.

“I think that if people are really living in very poor circumstances their ability to exercise a lot of their basic civil rights is greatly impaired,” he said.


Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center

Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center in Grayson County has been designated as a Level IV trauma center. The hospital is one of only five trauma centers in Kentucky west of I-65.

A level IV trauma center has 24-hour physician coverage for the emergency department, extensively trained nursing and support staff, enhanced medical equipment, and a comprehensive emergency care program. Twin Lakes is in between Rough River Lake and Nolin lake. Kathleen Peck is the Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center trauma coordinator. Peck said they see more trauma victims in the summer months.

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