Rhonda Miller

Reporter

Rhonda Miller joined WKU Public Radio in 2015.  She has worked as Gulf Coast reporter for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, where she won Associated Press, Edward R. Murrow and Green Eyeshade awards for stories on dead sea turtles, health and legal issues arising from the 2010 BP oil spill and homeless veterans.

She has worked at Rhode Island Public Radio,  as an intern at WVTF Public Radio in Roanoke, Virginia, and at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Rhonda’s freelance work called Writing Into Sound includes stories for Voice of America, WSHU Public Radio in Fairfield, Conn., NPR and AARP Prime Time Radio.

She has a master’s degree in media studies from Rhode Island College and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University.

Rhonda enjoys quiet water kayaking, riding her bicycle and folk music. She was a volunteer DJ for Root-N-Branch at WUMD community radio in Dartmouth, Mass. 

flickr/Brewbooks

Kentucky is out of the running in the fierce competition for Amazon’s second U.S. headquarters.

Louisville hoped to gain the attention of the Seattle-based company, and the 50,000 jobs that would come with the project. But Louisville is not one of 20 cities on Amazon’s short list released this week.

Kentucky Mesonet

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin presented his State of the Commonwealth on Tuesday. He suggested 70 programs that could be eliminated from the state budget.

One of those is the Kentucky Mesonet based at Western Kentucky University.  Rhonda Miller spoke with state climatologist and director of the Kentucky Mesonet Stuart Foster about the implications of the governor’s recommended budget cuts on farmers, businesses and individuals across the state.


McLean County Public Library

A library in western Kentucky is one of three in the state chosen for a pilot program to increase access to jobs and human services.

The McLean County Public Library has only been in existence for six years. It was the last public library formed in Kentucky.

Now it’s among the first – that is, one of the first three libraries in the state to launch a statewide initiative called the Library Economic Advantage Forum, or LEAF. The program makes the local library a hub for collaboration among community colleges and Kentucky Career Centers, as well as offering Internet access to residents who may not have computers at home.

Lake Cumberland Slaves Memorial

A project to honor slaves buried in unmarked graves in the Lake Cumberland region will be highlighted at a community breakfast in Wayne County on Martin Luther King Day.

The first part of the three-phase Lake Cumberland Slaves Memorial project is a sculpture to be erected at Somerset Community College. The project board of directors already has a drawing of the memorial designed by Ayokunle Odeleye, a sculptor and professor at Kenneshaw State University in Georgia.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

An elementary school in Owensboro is launching a program that uses a student’s fingerprint to keep count of meals served for breakfast and lunch. 

Sutton Elementary is piloting the program of finger image recognition technology called Biometrics.

Kaitlyn Blankendaal is the food service supervisor for Owensboro Public Schools and said the goal is to give students more time to eat.

Bardstown, Nelson County

The long-time Judge-Executive in Nelson County is facing competition as he seeks another term in office. 

Nelson County Judge-Executive Dean Watts is a Democrat who has held that office since 1994 and has filed for re-election. 

Watts faces a challenge in the Democratic primary from Kenny Fogle, whose experience includes serving as executive director of the United Way of Nelson County and 27 years with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

The one Republican who has filed, so far, for the Nelson County Judge-Executive position is Don Thrasher.

Owensboro Riverport

The Owensboro Riverport is moving forward with a rail expansion in the new year that will add space for automobile frame manufacturer Metalsa as it steps up production.

The $1.5 million rail loop project at the riverport is getting the majority of funding from a federal grant to improve air quality. That’s because Mexico-based Metalsa Structural Products is investing nearly $37 million in an expansion that will add 113 jobs at its Owensboro plant. That means a lot more auto frames will be produced and have to be shipped by either by truck or rail.

American Cinema International

The Los Angeles-based company American Cinema International is increasing its production in Kentucky. The first project filmed mostly in Hart County was a Hallmark movie called “An Uncommon Grace,” which aired in February 2017.

The second project launches a three-part mini-series called “Runaway Romance.” It was filmed in Glasgow, Horse Cave, Cave City and Munfordville and will air on Jan.7 on UP-TV, a small network for family-oriented movies. 

George Shamieh is CEO of American Cinema International. He said the assistance he’s been getting from the Southern Kentucky Film Commission and its founder, Hart County Judge Executive Terry Martin, keeps him coming back. Shamieh said one example of that assistance is a day when they were filming in a cave.

Nonviolent Owensboro Facebook

As Americans look toward the New Year, there’s a universal hope for peace in a world so often troubled by conflict and war. Members of a group called Nonviolent Owensboro are working to create a little more of that peace, beginning in their own community.

Nonviolent Owensboro was founded a year ago by Mary Danhauer, a family nurse practitioner at the Green River District Health Department. She launched the group after hearing about a similar organization in Carbondale, Illinois. It's part of a national effort called ‘Nonviolent Cities’ that has the goal of creating more compassionate communities, a mission that matches Danhauer's long-time interest in social justice.  

Rhonda J Miller

South central Kentucky is expected to have 22,000 open jobs in the next five years. That’s going to intensify the current shortage of workers in the state - an issue that’s facing the entire country.

One Warren County company saw refugees arriving at the International Center in Bowling Green as the way to get ahead of the competition for quality employees. 


NOAA

Residents of Bowling Green and Warren County will soon be able to get emergency alerts on their computer, land line phone or cell phone – or all of the above.

Warren County Emergency Management is launching a system called Alert Sense that can warn about situations like tornadoes, floods, hazardous materials or a missing person.

“We’re just really excited to roll this out because it adds that extra layer of security and protection for everybody in Warren County," said Melissa Moore, a spokesperson for emergency management. "Not everyone has a weather radio and a lot of people rely on our community outdoor warning sirens that you can’t always hear inside.”

Crews began filming a movie called “Prayer Box” in Edmonson County this week. It’s one of several productions lured to the region since the creation of the Southern Kentucky Film Commission in October 2016 by the Hart County Fiscal Court.

Rhonda Clemmons is executive director of the Edmonson County Tourism Commission and a board member of the Southern Kentucky Film Commission. She said there’s a lot of activity being generated by film.

Community Action of Southern Kentucky

The countdown is on as Americans approach the Dec. 15 deadline to enroll in a health care plan under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Even with all the political debate over health care, enrollments appear to be going smoothly so far in south central Kentucky.

There is some good news about health care enrollments in the 10 counties served by Community Action of Southern Kentucky. Melissa Grimes is the organization’s manager for the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange. She said many people who were worried about the cost of health insurance are breathing a sigh of relief. 

Rural Transit Enterprises Coordinated

A holiday trolley could turn into a permanent bus route in Somerset if there’s enough demand for the service. 

The pilot project is trolley service through downtown Somerset and to the major shopping centers along highways 27 and 80 during the Christmas season. But city leaders and the trolley company, Rural Transit Enterprises Coordinated, or RTEC, are seeing a possible long-term future for the service.

RTEC does provide service by request when people call and have to go to a doctor’s appointment or even shopping, but there’s no scheduled public transportation system.

Medical professionals say there’s a lot of confusion across America about the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.  Kentucky health care leaders are contacting residents individually and at public events to give them information and encourage them to enroll by the Dec. 15 deadline.         

Residents of the Bluegrass State can go online to the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange to find someone in their area to help with the application and enrollment for health insurance plans. Each county has "assisters" who can provide information and help with enrollment. These "assisters" were previously called "kynectors," when the state's kynect health care marketplace was in operation, or "navigators."

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