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. 

Warren County Sheriff's Office

The Warren County Sheriff’s Office held a memorial ceremony on July 12 to honor a member of its team that died under suspicious circumstances. The law enforcement agency is continuing the investigation into the death of K-9 Kane.

The only K-9 with the sheriff’s office was found unresponsive in his outdoor kennel at the home of his handler, Deputy Aaron Poynter, in late April. Kane was rushed to the vet, but couldn’t be saved.

"A necropsy was done immediately and evidence was sent to numerous labs for testing," said Sgt. Curtis Hargett, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office. "As time went on, we have determined now that the cause of death was foul play.”

Prometheus Foundry

A statue of Kentucky native Alice Dunnigan will be on display at the Newseum, the Washington, D.C museum that promotes an understanding of freedom of the press and the First Amendment. Dunnigan was the first African-American woman to get credentials to cover Congress and the White House.

Dunnigan was a sharecropper’s daughter from Logan County who became a teacher and then a journalist working for the American Negro Press. In 1947 she was the first African-American woman to receive  Congressional press credentials. 

Her statue will be on display at the Newseum beginning September 21 and will remain there for several months. After that, the statue will become part of the West Kentucky African-American Heritage Center in her hometown of Russellville.

Michael Morrow is a volunteer historian in Russellville who serves as a guide at the African-American Heritage Center. Morrow said Dunnigan had to push hard to get access to the highest levels of government.


Community Farmers Market Bowling Green/Facebook

A new program called ‘Fresh RX for Moms’ is for pregnant women who are on Medicaid and seeing a doctor or a certified nurse-midwife. 

The Community Farmers Market in Bowling Green  began the program on July 7. The goal is to provide fresh produce for pregnant women so they maintain good nutrition during their pregnancy.

Community Farmers Market spokeswoman Nikki Gray said it’s a quick and simple process for women to join the program.

“All they’ll need to do is come to the market, show us their ID, as well as their Medicaid card, fill out a short informational survey and then from there they get $20 in tokens each week to spend on fresh food at the market.”

Poor People's Campaign

The Poor People’s Campaign in Kentucky will be back at the state Capitol July 10, expecting to enter the building in a group after previously being required to go in two at a time. 

Police at the Kentucky state capitol previously told demonstrators with the Poor People’s Campaign that they could enter only two at a time for safety reasons. The policy was put into effect after previous rallies by the anti-poverty group.

An opinion from Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear said proper procedures were not followed to begin the two at a time policy. 

Prairie View A&M University

As the U.S. House and Senate consider legislation to finally make lynching a federal crime, a Kentucky historian who has written a book on racial violence said the shameful actions of the past have lessons for us today.

The anti-lynching legislation being considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee (S. 3178) and the House Judiciary Committee (H.R. 6086) is seen as a way to acknowledge the wrong done by the lynching of more than 4,000 people, mostly African-Americans, from the mid-1800s through the mid-1900s.

The legislation mentions the opening in April of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama that is dedicated to the legacy of African-Americans terrorized by lynching.

Kentucky native George C. Wright is president emeritus of Prairie View A&M University in Texas and author of the book Racial Violence in Kentucky 1865-to 1940: Lynchings, Mob Rule and "Legal Lynchings." He said understanding the reasons behind lynching has lessons for today.


Emil Moffatt

The International Bluegrass Music Museum's 2018 ROMP festival held during the last four days in June was so successful that organizers had to stop selling tickets at the gate. 

This year was the first time in the 15-year history of ROMP that one-day ticket sales for Saturday had to be stopped about 3 p.m. That final day of the festival on June 30, featuring headliners Alison Krauss and Sam Bush, maxed out the site at Yellow Creek Park in Daviess County, mainly for parking.

Art Matters / Facebook

A rally will be held in Bowling Green Saturday in support of the national 'Families Belong Together' event. 

Thousands are expected in Washington, D.C. and in cities across the county to protest the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on immigration that separated more than 2,000 children from their parents.

Now the administration is scrambling to adhere to a court order to re-connect those children with their families.

Teresa Christmas is owner of the ‘Art Matters’ studio in Bowling Green and works with many children of immigrant families in her art classes.  She's taught English as a Second Language at the International Center of Kentucky in Bowling Green.

Rhonda J. Miller

America’s shameful history of lynching blazed into the spotlight with the recent  opening of The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama.  Some call it the “lynching museum.”

Russellville, Kentucky opened its own small lynching museum 10 years ago, the vision of one man who made a promise to tell the truth.

Billie Holiday’s haunting song Strange Fruit about “black bodies swinging in the southern breeze” plays quietly in a one-room lynching-museum in Russellville, Kentucky. The room is nearly filled by a tree with four rope nooses hanging from it.


Kentucky Mesonet

Kentucky’s statewide weather and climate monitoring network now has an app that’s especially useful for farmers. 

Kentucky Mesonet has 70 locations across the state that provide data including temperature, rainfall, humidity, dew point and solar radiation. Those details have been on the Mesonet website, but now they’re on an app for smartphones or other mobile devices that use iOS or Android operating systems.

Megan Schargorodski is manager of Kentucky Mesonet and said farmers are the main reason the app was developed. She said many tractors are equipped with tablets, so the Mesonet app makes the data readily available to farmers.

“They also look at the wind speed, probably most of all because they either spray or they irrigate and you can only do those under certain conditions," said Schargorodski. "It can’t be too windy and it can’t be too calm.”

Owensboro Regional Farmers Market/facebook

The new permanent structure for the Owensboro Regional Farmers Market this season is drawing more vendors and more shoppers than last year.

The market has a permanent fabric roof and a rustic-style entrance building with restrooms and a small service kitchen.

Vice president of the farmers market Bruce Kunze said there are 40 vendors this year, up from 32 last year.

Diocese of Owensboro

The separation of children from their families at America’s southern border that created a tide of outrage was reversed by President Donald Trump’s executive order on Wednesday. The Catholic bishop in Owensboro said that separation of families was disturbing.

Bishop William Medley of the Diocese of Owensboro said while Kentucky may be far away from the Mexican border,  taking children from parents who are refugees created a humanitarian crisis that reflected on all Americans.

U.S. Agency for International Development

A Somerset businessman is in Washington, D.C. Monday and Tuesday of this week with a group of state and national leaders to encourage funding for American development and diplomacy overseas. 

Somerset Recycling President Alan Keck is part of the Kentucky Advisory Committee at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition Summit in the nation’s capital.

The group is urging the Trump administration to fully fund the U.S. Agency for International Development, an organization that supports humanitarian efforts and promotes American prosperity through investments that expand markets for U.S. exports. Keck said the Trump administration has proposed cutting 30 percent of the USAID budget.

paringaresources.com

The CEO of a company behind a new coal mine project in McLean County, Kentucky has resigned. The announcement from the Australian mining company Paringa Resources said managing director and CEO Grant Quasha is resigning as of June 18 to “pursue another opportunity.”

Quasha said in a Fox Business TV interview in September 2017 that the election of President Donald Trump has “ended the war on coal” and allowed Paringa to raise 40 million U.S. dollars in financing in the Australian equity markets, in addition to $20 million in project financing from Macquarie Bank in Australia for construction of the McLean County mine that will produce thermal coal for regional utilities. The mine is in what’s called “the Illinois Basin.” 


Warren Wong/Unsplash

Western Kentucky University has received a federal grant to conduct research on suicide and self-harm in adolescents. The $413,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is for a three-year project to address a growing mental health concern. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for ages 15-to-34 in Kentucky. 

WKU Associate Professor of Psychological Sciences Amy Brausch is the lead researcher on the study.

“Non-suicidal self-injury is kind of the technical term for behaviors that are still self-injuring. So most people are familiar with cutting that sometimes adolescents will do. And it’s self-injury that does not have the intent to die. So it’s used for different purposes, usually to help regulate really strong negative emotions,” said Brausch.

Nicky Hayden/Facebook

The city of Owensboro is unveiling the statue of native son Nicky Hayden on Friday, June 8, to honor the  international motorcycle racing champion known as "The Kentucky Kid," who died last year in a bicycle accident in Italy.

Hayden’s family had a dirt track on their property and he grew up riding and racing. He turned pro when he was 16, and that made him a rather unusual student at  Owensboro Catholic High School. The school’s assistant principal Kurt Osborne was a teacher when Hayden was in school.

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