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. 

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.

Melanie Carter-Hack

Twelve percent of high school sophomores in Kentucky have a suicide plan and eight percent have attempted suicide. A report by Kentucky Incentives for Prevention says there’s also a disturbing national trend among younger children. The suicide rate for 10-to-14-year-olds doubled between 2007 and 2014.

The tragedy of adolescents taking their own lives is a reality in Kentucky.  A Hardin County mom, Melanie Carter-Hack, talks about the bullying that she believes contributed to the suicide of her 12-year-old daughter, Reagan Carter.

"We were living in Bardstown, Kentucky in Nelson County and Reagan was a 7th grader at Bardstown Middle School. We had never had any issues in the primary school, the elementary school. I mean, these were kids she had grown up with. And then 7th grade year was just a little bit different.

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.

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