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.

Mary Meehan | Ohio Valley ReSource

A tax reform bill that passed Monday by Kentucky lawmakers is now awaiting a decision from Governor Matt Bevin. Some economists are saying the tax plan is more of a tax shift from wealthy individuals to middle and low income Kentuckians.

 

The plan would reduce the income tax rate for individuals as well as corporations. It would also broaden the services that could be taxed, such as landscaping, pet grooming and janitorial work.

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A study by a Campbellsville University professor finds Kentucky has a lack of standardized programs aimed at helping former inmates re-enter society.

 

The Kentucky Department of Corrections released more than 1,200 inmates in 2017. According to the report, two-thirds of those inmates will be rearrested within three years.

Dale Wilson is a professor at Campbellsville and author of the study. He said while there’s high participation in substance abuse programs, there’s a lack of programs that prepare inmates for getting a job once they’ve served their time.

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Kentucky is ranked the second most federally dependent state in the nation.

A recent study by WalletHub looked at two key factors: state government dependency and resident dependency. Kentucky’s government is ranked fourth in dependency on federal money, but is only ranked 23rd in the share of federal jobs. Analyst Jill Gonzalez said there are some drawbacks to being so dependent on federal money.

Owensboro Health

Owensboro Health Regional Hospital is now one of just ten Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-Ready--or “SANE”--facilities in the state.

The SANE certification was created by the state legislature and signed into law in 2016. The 100-hour training program is available to registered nurses in the state.

Creative Commons

A bill to arm some Tennessee teachers is moving along in the state’s legislature.

The legislation would allow a select number of teachers to carry guns at schools across the Volunteer State.

The Tennessean reports it would expand a 2016 law that already allows two rural counties to have armed teachers on school grounds. Supporters say the bill is necessary because less than half of the state’s schools have a school resource officer due to a lack of funding.

Becca Schimmel

Bottles of bourbon make their way through the assembly line at Maker’s Mark, one of ten distilleries on the Kentucky bourbon trail. They’re cleaned, filled, capped and then dipped in the company’s signature red wax, a tradition that started with the wife of the distillery’s founder, Bill Samuels.

"She took red sealing wax, she put it in her family's deep fryer right there in the kitchen, dipped the first bottle of Maker’s Mark right there in her kitchen,” a tour guide explained. “She brought it out to Bill Samuels Sr. as he was sitting there in the kitchen and he hated it. Well, you see who won."


The Kentucky House Judiciary committee has approved a bill banning a certain type of abortion procedure after about 11 weeks. The measure now goes on to the full House for a vote.

 

The procedure some lawmakers want to prohibit is called dilation and evacuation. It involves removing the fetus using suction and surgical tools which some lawmakers say is brutal. The Courier Journal reports the legislation would ban abortions that result in the bodily dismemberment or crushing of a fetus that is 11 weeks old or more, except in medical emergencies. Republican senator Addia Wuchner of Florence supports the bill.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Pete Prodoehl

Century Aluminum Executive Vice President Jesse Gary said his company will begin hiring up to 300 new workers for its Hancock County smelter as soon as a proposed tariff order is signed.

President Trump is expected to announce a 10 percent tariff on aluminum and a 25 percent tariff on steel this week. Century Aluminum said its smelter in Hancock County could be back to full capacity by 2019 if the tariff order is signed.

NPR

An analyst from the Tax Foundation said raising the state cigarette tax is the wrong approach to creating new revenue in Kentucky. The Kentucky House passed a 50 cent cigarette tax hike last week as part of a two-year budget bill.

The Tax Foundation said Kentucky’s 2009 cigarette tax increase provided an initial boost in revenue, followed by a significant decline in the following years. Morgan Scarboro with the Tax Foundation said cigarette tax revenues are a volatile and unreliable source of revenue.

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The two-year spending plan passed by the Kentucky House allocates $70 million to reopen three private prisons.

 

Daniel Cameron is a spokesperson for the criminal justice reform group Kentucky Smart On Crime. He said the money being spent to incarcerate people for low level drug offenses could be better spent elsewhere.

“For every dollar that’s eaten up by the corrections budget that’s another dollar that can’t be utilized to go after serious violent offenders,” he said.

flickr creative commons

Kentucky won’t be feeling as much of the effect of the federal tax reform law as most other states. That’s partly because the commonwealth doesn’t combine the standard deduction and the personal exemption.

According to a report from the Tax Foundation, Kentuckians won’t see significant changes in their state tax filings. But they will see that some of the exemptions they’ve previously claimed are more limited now.

Senior Policy analyst with the Tax Foundation Jared Walczak said the federal tax law changes are pro-growth and give states a chance to reform their own codes to become more competitive.

Becca Schimmel

The Ohio Valley was once synonymous with steel. Even after the industry’s sharp decline the region is still home to many industries that produce or use steel and aluminum. Those industries are closely watching what the Trump administration will do on steel and aluminum imports.

The Department of Commerce has suggested a massive 24 percent global tariff on those imports. As a candidate, Donald Trump promised to apply tariffs. Now, it’s unclear if President Trump will follow through.

Mary Meehan

A liberal leaning policy institute is suggesting the state focus more on raising revenue and less on cutting social programs.  A new report shows that over the past decade the state has had 19 rounds of budget cuts. The governor’s proposed budget includes across the board cuts, as well as reduced funding to some social programs and educational resources.

 

The report from the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy says the state could raise revenue by limiting income tax breaks, taxing online purchases and repealing some tax exemptions. Executive director Jason Bailey said lawmakers seem more willing to look at taxes as an option for raising revenue than they have been in the past.

Ryland Barton

A spokesman for a regional Kentucky Transportation Cabinet office said his agency isn’t as affected by state budget cuts as some other parts of government. But he said the legislature needs to talk about updating the funding model to keep up with technological changes like electric vehicles.

The transportation cabinet relies on a gas tax for the majority of its funding. Because Kentucky has so many interstates that tax often provides the money needed to maintain and update roads and bridges. Spokesman for the state transportation cabinet office in Elizabethtown, Chris Jessie, said lawmakers will have to consider new funding models given the increasing popularity of electric cars.

Becca Schimmel

The final chapter of the National Corvette Museum’s sinkhole saga has closed four years to the day that the earth opened up beneath the Bowling Green attraction. Eight vintage vehicles were swallowed up when the sinkhole collapsed in 2014. The museum unveiled a restored version of the 1962 Corvette that was damaged that day.

David Donoho of Zionsville, Indiana, was the proud owner of the ‘62 black Corvette with a red interior. His friend Beth Sease was at the unveiling on behalf of Donoho, who passed away in 2013. She remembered Donoho as a quiet and unassuming man who loved two things, trains and his Corvettes.


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