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. 

Amanda Matthews

A statue of Russellville native Alice Dunnigan is being unveiled Sept. 21 the Newseum, a Washington, D.C. museum that promotes an understanding of freedom of the press and the First Amendment. Dunnigan was a Kentucky journalist who broke racial and gender barriers.

Dunnigan rose from her childhood in Logan County as the daughter of a sharecropper and a laundress to become the first African-American woman to get press credentials to cover the White House and Congress. She achieved that journalistic breakthrough in 1947.

Sculptor Amanda Matthews created the statue of Dunnigan in her Prometheus Foundry in Lexington, Kentucky. Matthews said she got input from members of the Russellville community on how to express Dunnigan’s character in a sculpture.

"They wanted her to seem self-assured. They wanted her to seem humble but also knowledgeable," said Matthews. "They wanted her to be represented in a very fearless way.”

Mammoth Cave National Park

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Mammoth Cave National Park are marking the completion of a tree removal project on the Nolin River  with a ceremony on Sept. 18.

The 1 p.m. ribon cutting at the Tailwater Recreation Area boat ramp located below the Nolin River Dam signals the clearing of hundreds of trees that slid into the river when a major leak occurred at the 114-year-old Lock and Dam Number 6 in November 2016. 

Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives

Kentucky electric cooperatives have crews ready to be deployed to help with the recovery from Hurricane Florence. The exact destination, however, is still a moving target.

Hurricane Florence has been a shifting monster of a storm, taking a southward turn that’s been keeping recovery crews from Kentucky and many other states ready to assist, but waiting for the route to become clear.

Of the 24 local electric co-ops in Kentucky, 19 have crews ready to assist. At least 160 lineworkers are set to be deployed this weekend.

Joe Arnold is a spokesman for the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives. He said the deployment involves collaboration with electric cooperatives across the county and detailed planning.

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

Like states across the nation, Kentucky has a critical shortage of workers. The problem is even more severe in the Bluegrass State because the percentage of adults working in Kentucky is lower than the national average.

A new report, “A Citizens Guide to Kentucky’s Economy since the Recession,” shows Kentucky’s workforce participation rate is 55 percent. That compares to the national rate of 59 percent.

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President Dave Adkisson said Kentucky is thousands of workers behind the national average.

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

Although the Bluegrass State is outperforming some of its neighbors, Kentucky trails the nation in the growth rate of jobs, population and wages.

A new report called “A Citizens Guide to Kentucky’s Economy since the Recession,” shows the state added 180,000 jobs since 2009. That’s a 10 percent increase in job growth compared to the national increase of about 13 percent.  

Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Louisville Paul Coomes prepared the report for the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. He said some regions of the state have been showing steady progress in several economic indicators. 


Goodnight Memorial Library

The Goodnight Memorial Library in Franklin is beginning a $6 million renovation this month. The library in Simpson County was built in 1936 as a project of the Works Progress Administration and renovated in 1976. The current renovation will restore some of the original 1936 style of the library.

Library director Audrey Phillips says the move to temporary space is a major effort.

“We have over 40,000 items that are going to have to be moved. We have tried to weed some down, we’re only taking with us what we need, what we want on the shelf.”

Rhonda J. Miller

Western Kentucky University is launching a new center focusing on the health and wellness of the growing demographic of older adults in the state and the nation. The new Bowling Green facility opens Sept. 11.

The Center for Applied Science in Health and Aging combines several research specialties, including exercise, communication and psychology.  The center will expand current projects that take a holistic approach to the issues facing older Kentuckians.

Rhonda J. Miller

A father and son who share an entrepreneurial spirit are bringing a new product from their Kentucky farm to the regional marketplace. Tilapia is the first locally-raised fish from the Daviess County aquafarm. The project is part of Kentucky’s fledgling aquaculture industry that produces fish for commercial customers.

Inside the greenhouse at Thomas Aquafarms in Daviess County, water is constantly flowing through nine bright blue tanks that are shoulder height and eight feet in diameter. Each tank has about 500 tilapia of various sizes swimming around.

Forrest Wynne, an aquaculture extension specialist for Kentucky State University, is dropping a probe into one of the tanks.


Rhonda J Miller

A judge in Warren Circuit Court ruled on Monday that the neighbor who attacked Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul over yard debris must stay away from the Republican lawmaker and his family. 

Senator Rand Paul suffered broken ribs and pneumonia after his Bowling Green neighbor, retired anesthesiologist Rene Boucher, attacked him over yard maintenance in November. The day before that attack, Boucher trespassed onto Paul’s property and set fire to yard debris. Boucher suffered some burns in the process.

Rhonda J Miller

The agency with a mission to control and reduce pollution in the Ohio River is considering lowering water quality standards. The mayor of one riverfront city is urging the agency to maintain pollution controls.

Indiana, Kentucky and six other states are part of the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission.

In a letter to the commission this week, Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke said pollution controls must be enforced because the Ohio River provides drinking water to five million people and serves as a vital recreational resource.

United Soybean Board

Kentucky soybean farmers are struggling with uncertainty and loss of income because of tariffs imposed by China, in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s tariffs on Chinese products coming into the U.S. 

The impact of the escalating trade war between the U.S. and China began reverberating on Kentucky soybean farms about three months ago. The uncertainty hit the soybean market even before China’s 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans went into effect in July.

Jed Clark is vice chairman of the Kentucky Soybean Board. He farms 1,100 acres of soybeans in Graves County and said he’s seen the value of his crop decrease in the past few months because of the Chinese tariffs.

Nancy Dawson/facebook

The ‘8th of August’ is a day that holds special meaning for some Kentucky communities. It’s a time to remember emancipation and celebrate freedom.

It’s considered the day African-Americans in western Kentucky heard about the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 as a presidential order, but it wasn't until December 1865 that Congress ratified the 13th Amendment that permanently abolished slavery in the United States. 

Nancy Dawson, who lives in Russellville and is a former professor and director of African-American studies at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn., said emancipation is a part of history that everyone in the United States should remember. 


Warren County Regional Jail

The Warren County jail has launched a new program called the ‘Inmate ID Project.’ The goal is to make it easier for those who are released to start building a new life.

Four inmates at the Warren County Jail are the first to particpate in the project. They've received a state-issued Kentucky ID from the Circuit Court Clerk. 

The ‘Inmate ID Project’ is intended to give former prisoners a jump start on finding housing and a job by providing them with a state ID 30 days before they’re released.

Warren County Public Schools

Warren County's newest elementary school that opens Aug. 8 is on the leading edge in both sustainability and tech curriculum. 

Jennings Creek Elementary will have ‘coding’ as part of the curriculum from kindergarten through sixth grade. Coding, which is writing the language for computer programs, will be taught on an age appropriate level, so students naturally expand this essential 21st Century skill.

Morgan Watson is a spokeswoman for Warren County Public Schools. She said there’s another advantage of having coding embedded in the elementary curriculum.

Thomas Aquafarms

The Owensboro Regional Farmers Market will soon have a very different kind of locally-raised product for its customers. That new item is expected be ready in August.

Among the zucchini, tomatoes and cabbage at the Owensboro Regional Farmers Market, there will soon be tilapia.  The fish are being grown at Thomas Aquafarms in Daviess County.

Eric Thomas is co-owner of the aquafarm and created the unique environment to raise tilapia beginning with a traditional greenhouse you might see at a nursery.

“I designed and built the fish tanks for the fish to actually grow in," said Thomas. "So in the greenhouse currently we have over 12,000 gallons of space to grow our Blue Nile tilapia in.”

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