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.

Kentucky Law Enforcement Magazine

Kentucky’s new Commissioner for the Department of Criminal Justice Training says he’s focused on preparing new and future law enforcement officers to safely deal with the opioid crisis. Payne said officers have to be careful when handling drugs such as fentanyl because they can become ill if their skin comes in contact with the substance.

“Nowadays that mistake can kill you because of things like fentanyl. So there’s all kinds of dangers, new dangers, because of drugs that we have to prepare these young people for and that’s sad,” he said.

Becca Schimmel

With sunglasses perched atop his camouflage cap, Brady Carwile filled out an application at a job fair in a community center in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Carwile works at a local auto parts maker but he’s hoping for a maintenance position at Century Aluminum’s Hawesville Smelter.

“It’s one of the best jobs you can find around there,” Carwile said.

Just a few years ago Century was laying workers off, not hiring them on. Century idled 60 percent of its capacity in 2015 and laid off more than 300 workers here. Now that the Trump administration is placing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, Century plans to bring the Hawesville smelter back to full capacity, invest $150 million, and create up to 300 new jobs.


Becca Schimmel

Regional iron and steel industry leaders say they are disappointed by the Trump administration’s delay on a decision about which countries will face new import tariffs. President Trump has postponed until June a decision on which countries will be subject to new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. The decision had been due May 1.

Nucor Corporation CEO and president John Ferriola was among the steel and iron industry representatives who discussed the delay in a press briefing on Tuesday. Nucor has facilities in Kentucky and Ohio. Ferriola said the delay is disappointing because it gives other countries more time to undercut domestic producers with unfairly priced goods, a practice known as dumping.


Thinkstock

Kentucky is taking part in a new research program aimed at reducing the recidivism rate of the state’s prison inmates. Kentucky is one of four states participating in the project.

The Safe Streets and Second Chances program will be funded by the Koch Industries network. The project will begin in June with 200 randomly chosen inmates in Kentucky prisons. The program’s advisory board chair Mark Holden said the idea is to begin the process of preparing an inmate for reentry as soon as they’re incarcerated.


Appalachian Regional Commission

Not long after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky squared off with President Trump over funding for the Appalachian Regional Commission, the ARC has a new federal co-chair with strong ties to McConnell.

Long-time McConnell aide Tim Thomas said he can see a day when the Appalachian Regional Commission is no longer needed. But that’s not something he expects to come any time soon.

“It will not happen on my watch, it will probably not happen on the watch of my successor, but I can see that day on the horizon,” Thomas said. “My vision for ARC is to see the day that this agency can shutter its doors because its goals and objectives have been reached in large measure.”


Becca Schimmel

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has introduced a bill aimed at addressing the impact the opioid epidemic is having on the nation’s workforce.

The Comprehensive Addiction Recovery through Effective Employment and Reentry, or CAREER Act, creates a pilot program focused on the states most devastated by substance abuse. The legislation encourages local businesses and treatment groups to form partnerships. McConnell said having stable employment is about more than a paycheck and supporting a family.

WalletHub

A new study ranks Kentucky the third least environmentally-friendly state in the nation.

Vermont was ranked the most environmentally friendly, with West Virginia coming in last.

 

The WalletHub study compared states across three key factors--environmental quality, eco-friendly behaviors, and climate-change contributions. Kentucky ranked 48th overall, and last in the category of environmental quality.

Wikimedia Commons, Ichabod

Allen County schools will now have a school resource officer for each of its four schools after the Board of Education decided to hire two additional officers.

 

Previously Allen County schools had two resource officers, who were splitting their time between the schools. Assistant Superintendent of Operations Brian Carter said the district decided to add the new officers because of the recent school shootings at Marshall County High School in western Kentucky and Parkland, Florida.

Becca Schimmel

Students and university employees gathered on Western Kentucky University’s campus Thursday at a rally for higher education funding. The event was intended to bring attention to budget cuts, pension increases and faculty and staff reductions.

Governor Matt Bevin recently signed a new pension bill into law that will preserve most benefits for current and retired teachers but moves new hires into a hybrid plan that puts less risk on the state. Jeremy McFarland is a senior at WKU and was registering people to vote at the rally.

Flickr-Creative Commons-Floyd Wilde

A bill signed into law by Governor Matt Bevin is aimed at helping Kentucky veterans start businesses by waiving filing fees.

 

The law applies to veterans and active duty military service members. Veteran owned businesses started after August 1-2018 are exempt from paying filing fees for articles of incorporation, articles of organization, and other documents.

flickr creative commons Virginia Department of Transportation

Inmates at the Daviess County Detention Center will be able to participate in a work program again, thanks to the renewal of a contract with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and increased staffing at the jail.

The Daviess County Detention Center had a contract with the state’s transportation cabinet last year but couldn’t implement the program due to staffing shortages. The Messenger-Inquirer reports inmates will work for eight hours a day and a maximum of 160 hours a month.

Flickr/Creative Commons/John Bratseth

A new private preschool catering to special-needs children is opening in Owensboro.

The 30-week program will accept children with and without special-needs.

 

The Messenger-Inquirer reports Play Smart Preschool is the third private special-education preschool in the state, with the other two in Frankfort and Louisville. The maximum class size will be 18 students.

Angel's Envy

The Kentucky whiskey distiller Angel’s Envy is planting more than 12,000 trees in the Daniel Boone National Forest. The move is part of the company’s sustainability program.

In September of last year Angel’s Envy fans shared photos on social media with #AE4THETREES. The company counted more than 12,000 photos and posts with the hashtag, so they’re planting a tree for almost every post. Kyle Henderson is the production manager at the Louisville-based Angel’s Envy. He said it means a lot to him to be part of the sustainability effort.

flickr creative commons Gage Skidmore

The Democratic National Committee is paying close attention to recent teachers’ rallies in Kentucky and other states. Kentucky educators have been rallying at the state capitol in an effort to fight for their pension benefits and increased state support for public education.  

DNC chair Tom Perez said the teacher rallies in Kentucky, West Virginia and Oklahoma are inspiring. He said he’s glad to see teachers standing up and taking action. He told WKU Public Radio the renewed activism and energy is an opportunity for the Democratic party.

WKU Athletic Communications

Greg Collins was officially introduced as the 11th Western Kentucky University women’s head basketball coach Wednesday. He’s been a collegiate assistant coach for 16 years, including the last six seasons at WKU.

He said he worked closely with previous WKU head coach, Michelle Clark-Heard, and doesn’t expect to change much about the program. Collins said he stayed at WKU because he never wanted to bounce around from place to place.

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