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. 

Becca Schimmel

A health care policy advocated by U.S. Senator Rand Paul was signed by President Trump as an executive order Thursday. 

Paul, a Republican from Bowling Green, has been promoting the concept of 'association health plans' that allow Americans to purchase health insurance across state lines. Paul has been advocating for the plans in the White House, with Congress and across Kentucky.  

Paul said the president’s action approving association health plans is an important first step in moving away from the Affordable Care Act. 

Rhonda J Miller

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear said only three percent of sexual assaults result in a conviction in court and prosecution of those cases must be stepped up. He spoke on the campus of Western Kentucky University on Oct. 9 as part of events to mark National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Beshear said there’s an important development in the works that will increase the rate of prosecution for sexual assaults in Kentucky.

paringaresources.com

An Australian company constructing a new coal mine in McLean County has filed a response to a lawsuit filed by two brothers who own land in the area. 

The response filed in McLean Circuit Court by Hartshorne Mining generally denies a list of claims by brothers Gordon and Kenneth Bryant, whose family has long owned acreage in the rural area.

Hartshorne denies that the coal mine is out of compliance with McLean County’s comprehensive plan because the project was approved by the fiscal court.

Rhonda J Miller

With the Oct. 5 deadline for young immigrants to apply to renew their status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, a refugee resettlement center in Warren County, Kentucky has been helping some of them take this next step to an uncertain future.

The International Center of Kentucky in Bowling Green has helped 24 DACA participants apply to renew the status that protects them from deportation.

But International Center Executive Director Albert Mbanfu said these applications do not provide peace of mind for young people seeking to renew their DACA  status.

“Many of come in and question if their situation will change, or they will probably want to send them back, especially considering that they have their addresses and phone numbers and everything in the hands of the federal government. So there’s a lot of worry and they express that when they come in to renew their DACA applications.”

Flickr/Creative Commons

A recent state report shows 15 percent of high school sophomores in Kentucky have thought about taking their own lives. Some teenagers in Kentucky have done more than think about suicide.

The latest report from Kentucky Incentives for Prevention, or KIP, shows 12 percent of high school sophomores have made a plan to take their own lives. And eight percent have attempted suicide.

Joy Graham is director of the LifeSkills Regional Prevention Center in Bowling Green and a suicide prevention specialist who conducts training for area educators. Graham says said the community needs to talk about suicide because it does happen here.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Karen

The October ‘Open Jobs Report’ from the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce shows there are nearly 5,300 vacant positions in a 10-county region of South Central Kentucky.

The chamber launched the monthly jobs report in September as part of a regional snapshot in the effort to develop a trained workforce to keep up with the area’s healthy business growth.

Economic development leaders point to the increasing number of college and apprenticeship programs as the main avenue to meet the needs of businesses.

Some executives say many potential or new employees lack 'soft skills' like good communication or showing up to work on time. And some business leaders say many potential employees can’t pass the drug test required for employment.

www.ice.gov

New details have been released about five people arrested in Owensboro, Kentucky last week by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

Four of the five people arrested in Daviess County are from Mexico and one is from Guatemala. They range in age from 20 to 35.

A spokeswoman from the Chicago office of ICE said the arrests in Owensboro on Sept. 28 were part of a “targeted routine enforcement operation.”

University of Louisville

David Padgett has been named interim men’s basketball head coach of the University of Louisville.

The announcement comes two days after coach Rick Pitino was placed on unpaid leave after revelations that U of L coaches and a player are tied to an alleged bribery scheme.

Padgett has been an assistant coach at U of L. He was given a six-month deal.

Padgett played for Pitino and the Cardinals from 2005 to 2008 and is a former McDonald’s All-American. He joined the coaching staff in 2014 and became assistant coach in 2015.

warrencountyschools.org

An effort by a Warren County high school principal to help notify students about an upcoming deadline for  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, caused one parent to complain about 'profiling.'

It's one example of how schools are struggling to navigate the sensitive territory related to race and immigration.

Warren County Public Schools received a notice from the Migrant Legal Action Program asking them to remind students about the Oct. 5 deadline to apply to renew their DACA status. Without the approved status, they could be deported.

Paringa Resources website

A new coal mine in McLean County is another step closer to reality after approval was given for two parts of the project on Sept. 25.

A member of the McLean County Board of Adjustment, Nancy Wetzel, said the board approved a conditional use permit for coal washing operations and the refuse pile for the Poplar Grove Mine.

The Australian company Paringa Resources and its Evansville, Indiana affiliate Hartshorne Mining Group have begun construction of the mine. The project is on 270 acres in the rural community of Semiway between Calhoun and Sacramento.

WalletHub

The U.S. is in a state of uncertainty – and controversy– with impending changes on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, in the next few months. Immigration and diversity are ‘hot-button’ issues.

A new survey on diversity by the consumer website WalletHub found Kentucky near the bottom of rankings.   

WalletHub based its state-by-state rankings on diversity across several metrics, including household income, educational level, race, language, religion and variety of industries.  Kentucky came in at number 45 in the overall ranking of the most diverse states in America.

Henderson County Schools

Henderson County Schools have begun random drug testing of some students this academic year.

The random drug testing started this month at Henderson County High School, North Middle School and South Middle School. It applies to students in athletics and other extracurricular activities at those schools. Random drug testing is also for high school students who apply for a parking permit and anyone else opted in by their parents.

Megan Mortis is a spokeswoman for Henderson County Schools. She says the drug testing is confidential, with students identified by numbers.

“We are working with a private corporation that generates a random number of participants, 10 from the high school, three from North Middle and three from South Middle, that would be randomly selected every week. It is on random days and at random times.”

Wikimedia Commons

The rankings for the happiest states in America are in - and Kentucky is pretty far down the list. 

Kentucky residents won’t be cheered up by the state’s ranking of number 44 on the new WalletHub Happiness survey. The rankings are based on 28 metrics that include satisfaction with daily life, work environment, worries about money, rates of depression, volunteer rate and participation in sports.

In the category of ‘emotional and physical well-being,’ the Bluegrass State came in 46th.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Dave Dugdale

Kentucky's Republican governor wants to slash some spending by more than 17  percent this year to prevent a $200 million shortfall and protect the state's credit rating.

Gov. Matt Bevin's state budget director sent a letter to some state agencies on Friday. It says Budget Director John Chilton expects the state's reserve fund to run out of money when the fiscal year ends June 30, so it won't be available to help cover the shortfall. Chilton said exhausting the reserves could hurt the state's credit rating.

Heather Heyer memorial facebook

The Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky is honoring the woman who died during a white nationalist rally in Virginia that descended into deadly violence.

The center is posthumously giving Heather Heyer the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Social Justice.

Heyer was killed in August during demonstrations over the proposed removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

She was hit by a car that plowed into a crowd that had gathered to denounce the white supremacists.  

The 32-year-old Heyer was a paralegal known to stand up for causes of equality and justice.

The Ali Center says Heyer "embodied the spirit of the civil rights movement." 

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