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. 

Rhonda J Miller

The chief executive of a Daviess County company says President Trump’s immigration plan could be beneficial for the American workforce. Trump’s proposal would change America’s system from prioritizing family connections to favoring English language and job skills.

Sun Windows President Frank Anderson says his Owensboro company wants the most qualified applicant to meet the job description, and if that’s a legal immigrant, that’s fine. He says there are enough Americans who are able to fill the open positions, but some who are on welfare are not motivated to work.

Community Action of Southern Kentucky

President Trump’s proposal to cut legal immigration by half and consider English language and job skills has set off a controversy about whether the nation is changing the welcoming message of the Statue of Liberty. The proposed immigration rules could affect businesses in Kentucky that face a shortage of entry- and mid-level workers.

When you talk to business owners in Kentucky, many say they have positions that are not filled because they can’t find enough people with the right skills, or willing to do the job. Some don’t arrive at work on time and some can’t pass the drug test.

Lu-Ray Park & Amphitheater

A city in Muhlenberg County that has a population of about 5,800 has a new amphitheater that can accommodate an audience of 5,000.

Central City built its Lu-Ray Park and Amphitheater with a standing invitation to folks from Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana to bring blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy concerts, movies and picnics.

The park’s Executive Director Melissa Recke said the facility will host shows designed to attract people across a wide region.

Alorica Owensboro Facebook

The California-based customer service company that opened its Owensboro office in July is putting down roots as a major corporate citizen.

Alorica already has 200 employees working in Owensboro in the former BB&T building that it’s renovating.

Company spokesman Ken Muche said 500 employees will be in the Owensboro offices by the end of this year and employment will reach 840 in three years.

Muche says the company is dedicated to having a long-term positive impact in every community where it locates. That’s done by partnering with regional nonprofits and encouraging employees to participate in the partnerships.

Rhonda J Miller

President Donald Trump’s sudden announcement - on Twitter - that transgender men and women will no longer be allowed to serve in the armed forces has ignited a firestorm of controversy.

U.S. Air Force Veteran Dennis Cain of Bowling Green says the president’s decision signals a step backward - to more of the type of discrimination he experienced as a gay man in the military.

Cain served for eight years during the 1980s. He was  a medic and with an F-16 fighter squadron for four of those years.  Cain says he had to keep his personal life as a gay man hidden, and it discouraged him from having a longer career in the Air Force. 

Rhonda J Miller

Migrant workers who come to Kentucky under the H2A visa program are a critical part of the agricultural workforce.

The Bluegrass State ranks seventh among the 50 states for the number farm workers who come under this visa, according to the Office of Foreign Labor Certification.

Phil and Jan Holliday's farm in Logan County has two workers from Mexico who have been coming for more than two decades, and they’re bringing the next generation.                     

The rows of green tobacco stretch to the horizon under a clear blue Kentucky sky. It’s midday and it’s hot – around 90 degrees.


NASA

As Bowling Green, Hopkinsville, Franklin and other Kentucky cities in prime viewing area prepare for the solar eclipse on Aug. 21, NASA is issuing a warning.

NASA has been alerted that some unsafe eclipse glasses are being sold to consumers. Special eye protection is needed for safe viewing of the astronomical event.   

NASA says the only glasses that should be used are produced by four companies – American Paper Optics, Rainbow Symphony, TSE 17 and Thousand Oaks Optical. 

The safe glasses must also have the reference number ISO 12312-2.

NASA has details on safe eclipse viewing glasses and on the solar eclipse on its website

The path of the eclipse runs across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. Locations nearest the center line will experience darkness for two-minutes-and-43-seconds.

Rhonda J Miller

Dignitaries from state and local government, and the military, will officially open the new Radcliff Veterans Center on July 21.

The center is a bright, comfortable skilled nursing facility that has the feeling of a lodge. It’s located on 200 peaceful acres donated by Fort Knox.

The first residents began arriving in May. One of residents of the first "household" of 10 veterans is William Wester.

When you get to  Wester’s room, it’s clear that this slim man with a twinkle in his eye is looking toward the future, beyond his current 101 years.

"I’m going on 102," he said.

Ohio County Economic Development Alliance

Ohio County is boosting its economic development, but not with a big manufacturing plant or a major expansion of an existing business. The county is launching a coworking space for entrepreneurs called The Hub on July 24.

The new business incubator called The Hub is in a renovated house on Peach Alley in the town of Hartford. It offers a workspace nestled in the rural environment of Ohio County, while connected to national or global businesses with fiber broadband.

A local entrepreneur, or one who wants to leave an urban environment, can work remotely from Ohio County and hold meetings through audio or video conferencing.

Western Kentucky University

The stars have aligned for a national organization of Corvette enthusiasts holding its national convention in Bowling Green, Kentucky beginning Aug. 21.

That’s the day of the solar eclipse and Bowling Green is in the prime viewing area.

Bowling Green is the only place the Corvette is made, so car clubs often have conventions in town and the GM Corvette plant is always on the ‘must see’ list.

Somerset Community College

Somerset Community College is offering regional businesses a chance to use 3D printing at no cost. The college has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture intended to spur economic development in rural areas.

Eric Wooldridge is a Somerset Community College professor of ‘additive manufacturing,’ often called 3D printing. He said the process uses a variety of materials including ABS, a type of plastic.

WKU Hardin Planetarium

Western Kentucky University is planning for its football stadium to be filled with a crowd of 8,000 to 20,000 school-age children for the solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21. 

WKU has invited area school districts to share the highly anticipated event that will cause the day to go dark for about one minute at 1:27 p.m. in Bowling Green.

The path of the eclipse runs across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. Locations nearest the center line will experience darkness for two-minutes-and-43-seconds. Bowling Green is at the edge of the “path of totality” for the eclipse.

Facebook/ROMP/Alex Morgan

The 14th annual ROMP festival attracted a record-breaking 26,000 people to the four-day bluegrass music event in Owensboro, Kentucky from June 21 - 25. That audience compares to 23,000 people who attended last year.

The International Bluegrass Music Museum produces the event. Chris Joslin is executive director of the museum and says the record number of people arrived despite challenges of rain and mud on some of the days.  He says the increased attendance is due to a combination of factors.

Owensboro Community and Technical College

An Owensboro area initiative helping to place high school students from refugee families into summer jobs is proving to be more successful than just temporary work. Many of the young people in the program  who have already graduated from high school have found permanent employment.

In this first year of the summer refugee youth program, sponsored by Owensboro Community and Technical College, 15 teenagers have found jobs. The 16-to-18-year-old students from Daviess County and Owensboro public schools are mainly from families who came to Kentucky from Myanmar, also known as Burma, and Somalia.

American Cinema International

Production of the second movie done in collaboration with the Southern Kentucky Film Commission is taking place during June in Hart and Barren counties.

The movie "Runaway Romance" is the story of a girl from Los Angeles whose car breaks down in Kentucky.

The filming at locations in Munfordville, Horse Cave and Glasgow has brought 65 actors and crew who will be in the area until June 29.

Chevonne O’Shaughnessy is executive producer of "Runaway Romance." She says the region has “the look” needed for the film, along with other advantages.            

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