U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner

It was a Friday afternoon, and a young man — the doctor called him “J” — needed help. J was addicted to heroin. The doctor, Mike Kalfas, had treated him several times before with buprenorphine, a drug that blocks opioid cravings and is part of a class of drugs most successful in keeping patients in recovery.

J had recently gotten out of jail on a drug-related charge, Kalfas said. There, he’d had to stop using buprenorphine because it wasn’t available.

“I wrote him the prescription, and it’s 5:30 p.m. on a Friday when he left my office,” Kalfas told Kentucky lawmakers earlier this month. “About 6:30 p.m. the paper comes over the fax machine, denying his medication.”

Kenn W. Kiser, morgueFile.com

Purdue University researchers predict lower electricity rates for homeowners and the end of coal power in Indiana as the state’s energy sector grapples with the demands of a changing climate.

Indiana is the eighth largest green house gas emitter among states, but as energy demands change and coal fired power plants reach the end of their lifespans, researchers conclude that coal will be replaced by natural gas, wind and solar by 2080, according to a Purdue Impact Assessment released Tuesday.

Brittany Patterson

There are approximately 14,000 “orphaned” oil and gas wells across the state of Kentucky, according to state officials.

Abandoned by the original operators, these wells litter forests and fields, limiting where farmers can grow crops and presenting environmental and human health hazards. Many have been left uncapped to bubble gas and leak oil for decades.

Now, after five years of stakeholder meetings between environmental groups and the oil and gas industry, Kentucky lawmakers have introduced House Bill 199 to plug orphaned oil and gas wells and abandoned storage tanks that threaten health, safety and the environment.

Kentucky Center for School Safety

One year after a student shot two classmates to death in Marshall County, Kentucky and a former student massacred 17 students and educators at a high school in Parkland, Florida, communities continue to search for ways to bring a sense of safety back to the classroom.

Kentucky has a free school safety tipline created by a former teacher and administrator who worked in the district where  a deadly high school shooting occurred more than two decades ago. 

Karen McCuiston was a teacher in McCracken County schools  prior to becoming the district’s public relations director in 1997.  She never expected that three months into her new job she would be the spokesperson for a tragedy that, until that time, was unimaginable in rural Kentucky. A 14-year-old student shot three classmates to  death at Heath High School in West Paducah on Dec. 1, 1997.


EnerBlu

When battery manufacturer EnerBlu announced it would suspend plans for a new factory in Pikeville, Kentucky, the company used an intriguing phrase. “Unexpected geopolitical factors,” the company said, had soured the deal. 

According to a former executive at the company, those factors tied the rural eastern Kentucky development project to one of the world’s largest companies, the Saudi Arabian royal family, and the international uproar resulting from the murder of a prominent journalist.

Since it announced in 2017 its plan to build a $372 million manufacturing plant and bring as many as 875 jobs to the struggling region, EnerBlu was hailed as a savior for Pike County and eastern Kentucky. Gov. Matt Bevin called the project “truly transformative.”


A program born out of Kentucky’s opioid crisis is putting drug offenders into treatment faster and reducing the cost of incarceration.

The Rocket Docket initiative allows local prosecutors to expedite non-violent felony drug cases through the judicial process.  It also allows certain defendants rapid entry into substance abuse treatment. 

The Prosecutors Advisory Council in the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office recently issued a report examining Rocket Docket in the three-and-a-half years since the program began.

Feed My Sheep Ministries/Mitzi Dowell

There’s a new soup kitchen and warming center in Somerset and the homeless and the hungry are quickly finding their way there.

While she was volunteering at the Living Bread Soup Kitchen in Somerset for more than a year, Mitzi Dowell saw the community’s need for a place for the homeless to get out of the cold – not a shelter with background checks, but a warming center open to anyone when the temperature gets below 32 degrees.  

The door remains open as long as no one interferes with the safety of others.  

Dowell is a member of Somerset First Church of the Nazarene and felt the call to set up a soup kitchen along with the warming center.

She collaborated with the pastor, Mike Grant, and Feed My Sheep Ministries was born three weeks ago, with Dowell as director.

Two dozen overnight guests have already stayed at the warming center at Somerset First Church of the Nazareen. Dowell said the guests are a reminder that unexpected circumstances often cause a person to become homeless, like one man who showed up after serving in the military in Afghanistan. 


Flickr creative commons, Ashland Community and Technical College

The company that’s promised to build a massive aluminum rolling mill in northeastern Kentucky is looking for a new loan of up to $800 million.

Braidy Industries is seeking the money from a federal program that hasn’t given out a loan in almost eight years.

The aluminum mill planned for Greenup County has been hailed by Gov. Matt Bevin as a major win in his administration’s efforts to attract new jobs and industry to the Commonwealth.

The Courier-Journal reports Braidy has applied to borrow up to $800 million from the U.S Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing direct loan program. That would cover almost half of the estimated $1.7 billion cost to build the mill that plans to supply lightweight sheet aluminum for automakers, creating more than 500 jobs.

Aaron Payne

Sue Meeks has worked with children for years as a registered nurse.

Meeks manages the family navigator program at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine in Athens, Ohio.

Several years ago, she started noticing three and four-year-olds coming into the program with certain distinctive behaviors.

“Children that appear to be neurologically very overstimulated,” she said. “They often aren’t social in your typical way. They don’t respond to trying to calm them or trying to divert their attention to something else, laughing with them, or getting a response from reading.”

  

WKU

A seismic generational shift is underway on college campuses across the globe.  With fewer college age students to pull from, the competition for enrollment and retention is intense. 

Jeff Kallay is CEO of Render Experiences, a national consulting firm specializing in the college experience.  He says services are the new amenities for Gen-X parents and their post-9/11 Gen-Z students.

“Academic advising, career services...so services that keep my son or daughter happy, healthy, and on target to graduate on time and to have an outcome to the next level of post professional school or graduate school or getting that job."


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LRS Live Replay: The Barefoot Movement & The Savage Radley

Nashville group The Barefoot Movement brought its blend of traditional bluegrass, original songs and pop cover tunes to the stage of the Capitol Arts Center in Bowling Green on Jan. 18 for the first Lost River Sessions LIVE of 2019. The Barefoot Movement features Noah Wall on lead vocals and fiddle, Alex Conerly on guitar, Katie Blomarz on stand up bass and Tommy Norris on mandolin.

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