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.

US Army Corps of Engineers

Locks and Dam 52 on the Ohio River in western Kentucky is open to traffic after a week of being closed. The Corps of Engineers reports water is rising and expects the river to return to normal summer levels by the weekend.

The wickets at Dam 52, function like a bathtub to keep water in and establish a navigable level of water. During times of low water, wickets have to be raised individually.

Last week the corps was unable to raise about five wickets near Paducah, creating a hole and further lowering the water to an impassable level. Communications Director Carol Labashosky said they’re continuing work on Dam 52 but a more permanent fix is in progress.

MSHA

Lawmakers and union leaders are raising concerns about the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration’s practices amid an increase in coal fatalities.  

West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin asked MSHA for more information after receiving what he calls “alarming” reports about how the agency is implementing its new Compliance Assistance Program.

In a September 7th letter, Manchin wrote that he’s heard of miners being denied the ability to assign a representative to accompany MSHA inspectors and that those inspectors have been instructed to leave their credentials behind before inspecting a mine.


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jon Fleshman

Another breakdown at an aging lock and dam has halted river traffic on the Ohio in western Kentucky. It’s the second such interruption in less than a year for a stretch of river that carries some 90 million tons of cargo annually.

“A lot of commerce does go through that section and delays cost the industry money,” Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District public affairs officer Carol Labashosky said. “That’s a very, very important, crucial spot on the Ohio River.”

Nicole Erwin

The impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma is reigniting talk about national infrastructure needs. Parts of southern Kentucky recently saw flooding after Harvey moved inland. Kentuckians are facing billions of dollars in water infrastructure needs, and uncertainty on a federal infrastructure spending plan.

 

President Trump has mentioned the need for a one-trillion-dollar national infrastructure investment, but no details have come out. Most of the projects on Kentucky’s infrastructure wish list deal with highways and roads, not water.


Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Daviess County Fiscal Court has unanimously passed a resolution that supports separating the County Employees Retirement System, or CERS, from the Kentucky Retirement System. A vote at Thursday night's fiscal court meeting in Owensboro.

There are 250 Daviess County employees enrolled in the County plan. The resolution doesn't result in any change in law, but calls on the state legislature to break CERS away from KRS.

MSHA

A rash of fatal coal mining accidents in the Ohio Valley region pushed the nation’s total number of mining deaths to a level not seen since 2015, sparking concern among safety advocates.

Already this year 12 miners have died on the job in the U.S., compared to eight fatalities in all of 2016. Two miners were killed in Kentucky and six in West Virginia.

Becca Schimmel

Approximately 2,000 people gathered at Western Kentucky University’s football stadium to view the total solar eclipse, with the much-anticipated  event bringing in school students from around the region.

Keith Brown, principal at Western Elementary in Ohio County, said he was looking forward to viewing the totality and having his students there to see it as well. 


A Bowling Green clinic that evaluates potential organ transplant patients will not be impacted by the decision to put Jewish Hospital in Louisville up for sale.

The Bowling Green Jewish Hospital Trager Transplant Center outreach clinic opened in June. Jewish Hospital is the second largest organ transplants locations in the state, and is being sold by its parent company--KentuckyOne Health. David Lewis is the director of transplant services at Jewish Hospital.

Becca Schimmel

President Trump’s call to cut legal immigration by half over ten years would have a significant impact on Kentucky’s economy. Immigrants and refugees in Kentucky are more likely to start their own business than native born Kentuckians.

Trump said the U.S. has a history of taking in too many low-skilled workers from other countries. Anna Baumann, with the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, a left leaning research institute, said a lot of skilled labor in Kentucky actually comes from immigration. Baumann noted one of every twenty immigrants in Kentucky is a small business owner.

Becca Schimmel

A vigil calling for solidarity with Charlottesville, Virginia, and an end to white supremacy was held in downtown Bowling Green Sunday night. The event was in response to the deadly attack on counter-protesters at a white supremacist rally Saturday in Charlottesville that killed one person and injured at least 19 others.

About 200 people attended the vigil, holding candles in support of victims and signs in protest of white supremacy. Will Heller brought his son to the event to show him how people can come together and unite against hate.

 

 

Becca Schimmel

Congressman Brett Guthrie said he’s not sure if his Republican colleagues in the Senate will be able to repeal and replace Obamacare this year. He made these comments at a town hall style gathering Wednesday in Bowling Green.

Guthrie said he supports repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act at the same time. The Bowling Green Republican said the House did its job by sending a bill to the Senate that would have accomplished that task. But the Senate wasn’t able to get 50 votes to pass several versions of reform. Guthrie said he isn’t sure if repeal and replace will happen this year.

Students at a Hardin County elementary school will have access to a unique behavioral health program this fall. The program is a partnership between Meadow View Elementary and Communicare, a mental health clinic in the region.

The program will accept up to ten students who have severe mental or behavioral health problems. Raquel Strickland, manager for Communicare, said participating students will take their classes separately from other students for an average of nine weeks.

Becca Schimmel | Ohio Valley ReSource

The Islamic Center in Bowling Green is sponsoring a first-of-its-kind Unity Festival Friday.

The Islamic Center hopes the event will bring local officials and the Muslim and refugee population closer together.

Backpacks and school supplies will be handed out to the 210 children expected to attend. The event is not open to the public, because the Islamic center is only providing supplies to the children expected to attend.

Flickr/Creative Commons

Owensboro Health is beginning a new partnership with the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center. It will focus on sharing research and resources for clinical trials.

Under the agreement announced Wednesday, cancer patients being treated at Owensboro Health's Mitchell Center won’t have to travel to participate in clinical trials. Eligible patients will now have access to new treatments in Owensboro.

Becca Schimmel

The Tennessee Valley Authority’s combined cycle gas plant in Muhlenberg County has produced more than one million megawatts of energy in its first three months of operation. It’s part of the federal utility’s effort to diversity its energy portfolio.

The natural gas facility in Drakesboro produces about 1,025 megawatts of electricity, or enough power for half a million homes. The cost of the project is estimated at about $850 million. Bob Deacy is a TVA senior vice president and has been building plants for more than 30 years. He said there’s a lot of fuel switching going on across the country, and having a diverse energy portfolio will save consumers money.

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