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. 

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."

Americans have until Dec. 15 to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and residents in Kentucky’s Green River area are coming out to enroll  in high numbers. One local expert says uncertainty over the future of health care is a big reason why.

Many Americans, and many Kentucky residents, are unsure of what their options are for health insurance because of the national controversy over Obamacare, and some incorrect reports that it has collapsed.

Green River Area Development District

The small community of Rosine in Ohio County now has high-speed Internet thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The new service has led to the creation of a community Internet center and is even connecting to the father of bluegrass music.

Rosine is the home of Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass music, and a museum in his honor is under construction. Now the new museum will be able to have high-speed Internet. It’s one of the bonuses for Rosine that comes along with an $800,000 grant from the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service. The grant was awarded to the Evansville-based company Q-Wireless. 

Southern Heights Christian Church

After the massacre at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in Texas that killed 26 people and injured 20 more, churches across Kentucky and around the nation are struggling with the issue of increasing security, while still being welcoming.

Ministers in Somerset, Kentucky were already on high alert because a church caretaker had recently been murdered by a homeless man asking for food.

The murder of 70-year Carolyn New, widow of the former church pastor, inside Denham Street Baptist Church in Somerset in August put the town on edge.  Then the shooting at the Texas church made security a priority.

Owensboro Public Schools

The controversy over Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed pension reform has spilled over into academics. The uncertainty about the financial impact of pension changes has derailed plans for a unique new middle school program in Owensboro.

The increased costs that local school districts are expected to shoulder from pension reforms have put a halt, at least temporarily, to the launch of the Owensboro Innovation Middle program tentatively scheduled to launch in Fall 2018.

The Carl Brashear Foundation

The new Radcliff Veterans Center will be named for a U.S. Navy deep sea diver who overcame social and physical challenges during his 30-year military career.

A dedication ceremony will be held Thursday to name the facility the ‘Carl M. Brashear Radcliff Veterans Center.’

Brashear was the son of sharecroppers and grew up on a farm in Sonora in Hardin County. He joined the Navy 1948 and became the first African-American master deep sea diver.

Brashear overcame racial discrimination and the physical challenge of losing half of his left leg in a shipboard accident. He became the Navy’s first amputee diver.

Brashear retired in 1979 with the top enlisted rank of master chief petty officer. He died in 2006 at the age of 75.

Veterans Upward Bound at WKU

It’s a week before the official Veterans Day holiday, but Bowling Green will honor those who have served in the military with a parade on Saturday, Nov. 4. The parade is scheduled so it doesn’t interfere with other activities by local veterans groups on Nov. 11.

One group coming out in force for the parade is Veteran’s Upward Bound. The organization is based at Western Kentucky University and helps veterans get into college and succeed in their studies.

Davy Stone is director of Veterans Upward Bound at WKU. He said the parade might inspire some veterans to go back to school.

Kentucky Mesonet

The statewide weather and climate monitoring network Kentucky Mesonet has installed its 69th station, which is  in a high-risk area for tornadoes.

The new Mesonet station is near Tompkinsville in Monroe County in south central Kentucky.

Patrick Collins is the Mesonet systems meteorologist. He says the real-time data collected at the Monroe County site is important because the area, which is just a couple of miles from the Tennessee border, is prone to tornadoes.

hancockky.us

An Ohio company that’s developed an environmentally friendly process to manufacture chemicals used in paint and plastics is locating a facility in Hancock County that will create about 125 jobs. 

WhiteRock Pigments is investing nearly $180 million in a manufacturing operation near Hawesville. The company is renovating the former Alcoa building that has been vacant for nine years.

Glasgow Daily Times

A Kentucky ethics panel has filed charges against a family court judge who refused to handle adoptions by gay parents.

The judge, W. Mitchell Nance, submitted his resignation on Wednesday. Nance has been a family court judge for the 43rd Circuit that covers Barren and Metcalf counties in south central Kentucky.

Nance filed an official statement in April that under no circumstances would he consider “…the adoption of a child by a homosexual to be in the child’s best interest.”

Nance requested that any attorney filing a motion on behalf of a homosexual party notify the court so that he could recuse himself. He didn’t get that recusal option.

Flickr/Creative Commons/ NCSSM

Solutions to Kentucky’s pension crisis proposed by Gov. Matt Bevin and Republican lawmakers have stirred opposition from educators.

One of the proposals that concerns Somerset Independent Schools Superintendent Kyle Lively is that unused sick days would no longer be calculated into teacher pension benefits after July 2023. He said that change could have a dramatic impact on his district’s 137 teachers and administrators, because a large percentage of them are the 22- to-23-year mark in their careers. He fears they may decide to retire earlier than they had planned.

Kentucky Standard

The Bardstown fire chief unexpectedly resigned Tuesday, creating a mystery for city officials.

Bardstown City Hall issued a statement that Fire Chief Charles “Randy” Walker turned in his resignation, along with his cell phone and other city-issued property, without any advance warning to the mayor or other officials.

The Kentucky Standard reports Walker’s resignation letter was in the mailbox of the city human resources director. Since there was no other phone number for Walker, the human resources director drove to the home of the fire chief to talk with him – but he had moved out.

City officials said the fire department was operating smoothly and the mayor was pleased with Walker’s performance.

Human Rights Campaign

Kentucky has one city – Louisville - that earned top-ranking in a new report on towns that support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of the community. Bowling Green was at the bottom.

The “Municipal Equality Index,” published by the Human Rights Campaign, grades cities on a scale of 1-to-100, based on issues like non- discrimination laws in employment and housing. The index also includes grades for the relationship city officials and police have with LGBTQ individuals.

paringaresources.com

The Australian company developing a coal mine in McLean County reports that construction is accelerating. That move comes as county officials respond to a lawsuit filed by brothers who own land near the mine site. 

The Mclean County Fiscal Court and the McLean County Joint Planning Commission filed a response in McLean Circuit Court to allegations by brothers Gordon and Ken Bryant that approvals for the Hartshorne Mine were not in line with required procedures.

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