Ohio Valley ReSource

WKU Public Radio is part of a new regional journalism collaborative known as the Ohio Valley ReSource.  It's made up of public media stations across Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia.  The collaborative will focus on the changing economy in the region and its effect on jobs, healthcare and infrastructure. 

Each station taking part in the Ohio Valley ReSource is hiring a reporter to contribute to the effort.  WKU Public Radio's reporter is Becca Schimmel, who will be based in the Bowling Green newsroom. 

The Ohio Valley ReSource is made possible by member stations and through a grant from the Corporation For Public Broadcasting. 

Ways to Connect

Nicole Erwin

In the rich land of Christian County, wheat is milled for McDonald's biscuits, corn is turned into ethanol, and grazing cows support the state’s leading dairy. This is Kentucky’s breadbasket, and a river runs through it: the South Fork of Little River.

 

Second-generation farmer David Brame grows a little bit of everything here, including corn and wheat. The Little River lines his backyard.

 

 

Mary Meehan

Days after sending mixed signals on his response to the nation's opioid crisis, President Donald Trump said Thursday that he plans to declare a national emergency to better address the epidemic.

“We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of money on the opioid crisis," the president said, announcing that his administration was drafting the paperwork to make the emergency declaration official.


Jesse Wright, WVPB

Big-ticket gas pipelines and other energy projects pending in the Ohio Valley have largely been in limbo because the federal body that issues important permits had too many empty seats.

Those projects in the pipeline of the federal process could soon move forward with the confirmation of two Republicans nominated by President Donald Trump to serve on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC.

The Senate confirmed nominations for former Senate aide Neil Chatterjee and Pennsylvania utility regulator Robert Powelson.

Rebecca Kiger

The Trump administration’s top health official backed away from a presidential commission’s proposal to declare a national public health emergency to address the opioid crisis. An emergency declaration could have big implications for the Ohio Valley, a region with some of the country’s highest addiction and overdose rates.

The top recommendation from President Trump’s commission on the opioid crisis was for the president to declare the opioid crisis a national public health emergency.


J. Tyler Franklin

Paramedics and police are already in the hotel room when Kyle Simpson walks in.

“What happened?” he asks.

A 37-year-old man in the room is barely conscious--just revived by the overdose reversal medication NARCAN.

Law enforcement officers survey the scene. They’ve found more heroin “rocks” on a table. One officer interviews a crying woman who was with the man when he stopped breathing.


Mary Meehan

The church choir in bright blue robes swayed and testified on a hot summer Sunday.

Pastor Anthony Everett, in his own robe of orange and brown, preached to his “saints” of Wesley United Methodist Church and they called back their approval with a staggered chorus of “Amen!”

But this Sunday, Memory Sunday, was different. Half way through the high-energy service was a quiet call to remember families coping with Alzheimer’s disease. From the pulpit came a call for the names of the suffering and after a brief silence, the response rolled through the pews.


Alexandra Kanik

Many towns and cities across the Ohio Valley try to improve their business environment with tax breaks, site development, and other incentives. But how about investing in compassion? A growing body of science points to compassion as an economic driver and more businesses and cities around the region are willing to give compassion a chance.

Report Reveals Contaminants In “Legal” Water

Jul 26, 2017
Nicole Erwin

An environmental group’s new report shows a broad range of contaminants occur in many drinking water systems in the Ohio Valley, even though the water meets federal requirements. The research highlights the gap between what regulations require and what many scientists and health advocates recommend for safe drinking water.

The Environmental Working Group compiled the report from data it collected from more than 50,000 public water utilities across America. The EWG created a scale based on the most stringent health standards and latest science and research at one end (like the California health standards which are generally more protective of health), and federal guidelines at the other. The online tool EWG created shows where a water system’s detected level of contaminants falls in that range.


Healthy Debate: What The Republican Health Bill Taught Us About Medicaid

Jul 24, 2017
Mary Meehan

It’s hard to find a spot on the map where the proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act would have a bigger effect than in the Ohio Valley. By one measure, for example, the proposal could mean West Virginia’s rate of people who lack health insurance would climb by nearly 300 percent -- the biggest such change in the country. The projected declines in Kentucky and Ohio are also more than twice the national average. This is largely due to proposed changes in Medicaid.

Pixabay

More than two million people across the Ohio Valley live in areas that lack any option for fast and reliable internet service. This week some of them had a chance to tell a member of the Federal Communications Commission what that means for their work, studies, and everyday life.

The Appalachian Connectivity Summit in Marietta, Ohio, explored possible local solutions. But the event came during a week that also saw large internet providers suing to stop one way to connect more people to broadband service.


Glynis Board

Thanks to singer-songwriter John Prine, Paradise Fossil Plant might be the only coal-fired power plant that has a household name. “Paradise,” Prine’s 1971 ballad, drew on boyhood memories from the small town of Paradise, in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, to relay the environmental and social costs of our dependence on coal.

“Mr. Peabody’s coal train,” he sang, had hauled away the Paradise from his childhood.

Bob Jagendorf/Flickr

Steel makers and manufacturers around the Ohio Valley are waiting for a report from the Trump administration that could trigger higher tariffs on imported steel and bring mixed results for a region that still has strong ties to the industry.

In the presidential campaign Trump told voters he would place sanctions on steel imports from China and other countries, and the report being prepared by the Commerce Department could provide a rationale for new tariffs.


Becca Schimmel

From the outside Summit Aviation, in the small town of Somerset, Kentucky, looks like any other nondescript, white warehouse. But inside workers craft parts for drones, weapons casings, wing stabilizers and other high-flying products.

Summit is one of many small manufacturers making up the growing aerospace industry in the Ohio Valley. Highly specialized companies are landing in Kentucky and Ohio for the proximity to important raw materials and the promise of some political sway.


Senators Take Heat On Health Care During Summer Break

Jul 6, 2017
Nicole Erwin

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell went to the western Kentucky city of Paducah this week to talk about improvements to a local flood wall. Instead he heard a flood of complaints from more than 30 protesters upset about the Senate bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. 

“We will not go away, don’t destroy the ACA!” the protesters chanted, and relayed their concerns about the Senate bill’s projected cuts.

Glynis Board

If you’ve ever enjoyed a Budget Saver twin popsicle on a hot summer day, you can thank the employees of the Ziegenfelder frozen treat factory in Wheeling, West Virginia.

Floor operator Sonny Baxter keeps the line of popsicles going in the cherry-scented worksite.

“You have to have a comprehension of how the line works, how to make them run as smooth as possible” he said. “You have to supervise the line workers that are bagging the popsicles. You’re a friend. You’re a leader.”


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