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. 

Rodney Goodman/ Habitat for Humanity

The city of Bowling Green is partnering with Habitat for Humanity on a community of affordable homes. 

There are already nine homes in Durbin Estates west of downtown Bowling Green. The community is being developed by Habitat for Humanity.

The city has designated $500,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for infrastructure at Durbin Estates.

Brent Childers is Bowling Green's director of neighborhood and community services. He said affordable housing is a challenge in every market.

Somerset Pulaski County Development Foundation

A Houston, Texas-based company is investing $75 million in a new manufacturing plant in  Somerset. Extiel will use a unique technology to convert natural gas into synthetic waxes, oils and solvents. The company will manufacture products that may include ultra-clean synthetic fuels, like motor oil. 

The new plant will create 60 jobs within four years.

Martin Shearer is executive director of the Somerset Pulaski County Development Foundation. He says the company knows there’s an existing market.

Bill Monroe Museum

A long-time dream of the small town of Rosine in Ohio County has become a reality. The community opening of the Bill Monroe Museum on April 20 offers a first public view of a collection of memorabilia that’s long been in storage.

Two of the legendary musician's  mandolins will be on exhibit, along with a Gibson banjo played by Rudy Lyle, a member of Monroe's band, The Bluegrass Boys. Some larger items, will also be in the museum, including one of Monroe's Cadillacs, and another Cadillac owned by him and his son, and last driven by another music legend Ralph Stanley.

Special guests at the opening include the Ohio County Judge Executive David Johnston, and Bill Monroe’s son, James Monroe and the musician’s grandson, Jim Monroe.   

New exhibits will be added throughout the season, including memorabilia and photos from many in the community who knew Monroe, as well as from other musicians and their families.

Simpson County Detention Center/Facebook

Several inmates from the Simpson County Detention Center now have jobs at private companies under a new program called SCORE. 

Three men and two women are the first inmates taking part in the program called “Second Chance Offender Rehabilitation and Education” or SCORE.

Deputy Jailer Ashley Penn is program director for the jail. She said the inmates found their own jobs, went on interviews, got hired, and at the beginning of this month, began working at local companies.

Ryland Barton, Kentucky Public Radio

Teachers from across Kentucky are planning to travel to Frankfort on Friday to rally for better funding for schools. Educators are protesting Governor Matt Bevin’s vetoes of bills that impact schools and communities.

Some school districts are closing so teachers can attend the Frankfort rally on April 13 while others, like Bowling Green, are holding regular classes and sending delegations of teachers.

Kentucky Mesonet

The Kentucky Mesonet is adding its 70th station created through a partnership with the Pulaski County community. The new weather station will be located at Northern Elementary School in Somerset. Installation of that station is expected to begin later this spring. 

Stuart Foster is the state climatologist and director of Kentucky Mesonet and the Kentucky Climate Center. He said locating a weather station at a school offers educational opportunities.

Lake Cumberland Slaves Memorial

A Kentucky project to create a memorial to recognize slaves buried in unmarked graves has taken an important step to becoming a reality. Work has begun on the sculpture that will be on the grounds of Somerset Community College.

It’s been nearly three years since a young white man fatally shot nine African-Americans during a Bible study at a Charleston, South Carolina church known as Mother Emanuel.

That massacre spurred a group of Lake Cumberland area residents to launch a project to help create more understanding in their community and state.

They first found out that a section of the Somerset City Cemetery has slaves buried in unmarked graves, and then they heard about other similar sites.

Owensboro Regional Farmers Market

The Owensboro Regional Farmers Market opens for the season April 14.  The 34-year-old marketplace will soon feature a new look as it puts down permanent roots in the community.

The vendors’ tents at the Owensboro Farmers Market will soon be replaced by a permanent structure with a fabric roof. Construction is expected to be done by the end of this month on a rustic-style entrance building with cedar siding and a metal roof that will house rest rooms and a small service kitchen.

Bill Monroe Museum

A new museum honoring ‘The Father of Bluegrass’ opens April 20 in Bill Monroe’s hometown of Rosine. The museum that’s been a long-time dream of the Ohio County community is finally a reality.

This community opening of the Bill Monroe Museum will launch the tourism season for Ohio County that’s naturally focused on the legendary musician who’s given credit for creating a genre of music because, as he said, he “didn’t want to copy anybody.”

Rhonda J. Miller

The Hub in the small town of Hartford in rural Ohio County is a co-working space, business incubator and training site. After getting a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to train eight county residents, at no cost to them, in a $12,000 coding boot camp, The Hub has a second offering - a chance to be trained as a virtual assistant, also at no cost to the residents. The deadline to apply is April 7.

A virtual assistant is someone who manages an office remotely, doing tasks like bookkeeping, scheduling appointments, research or posting products online for e-commerce.

Flickr/Ira Gelb

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear wants to see final approval of a federal bill that allows owners of websites like ‘Back Page’ to be prosecuted for crimes like human trafficking. The U.S. House and Senate have both passed the legislation H.R. 1865. It now has to be signed by President Donald Trump to become law.

Beshear said that law would give states more power to investigate and prosecute traffickers who take advantage of those who are most vulnerable.     

“A couple of online sites, specifically Back Page, have served as an online haven for sexual slavery allowing people to post ads for human trafficking victims that result in oftentimes young girls or young boys being raped multiple times a day,” said Beshear. 


Kentucky residents who use Facebook are among 50 million people asking if their personal information is part of what may be a massive breach of privacy. Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear said  he’s trying to find out.

The British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica got information on 50 million Facebook users apparently targeted to influence voters in the 2016 election.

International Bluegrass Music Center

The opening date for the new International Bluegrass Music Center in Owensboro has been announced and plans are under way for a three-day grand opening celebration. 

It’s been a challenging construction process. The first general contractor, Evansville-based Peyronnin Constrution, began work in June 2016, then filed for bankruptcy in January 2017, causing an interruption of progress on the project.

Rhonda J. Miller

The Bowling Green community is holding a 'March for Our Lives' on Saturday in support of the national event organized to push for stricter gun laws after 17 students and teachers were fatally shot in Parkland, Florida in February. 

The Bowling Green 'March for Our Lives' is mainly to encourage legislators to pass laws to create safer schools and cut down on gun violence. Many students in Kentucky are on edge after two students were shot to death by a classmate at Marshall County High School in January, followed by the massacre at the Florida high school last month.

The Bowling Green march is being coordinated by the Center for Citizenship and Social Justice at Western Kentucky University. Leah Ashwill is director of the center and says speakers at the community event will take a broad view of gun violence.

Ryland Barton, Kentucky Public Radio

Teachers from across Kentucky are holding a rally in Frankfort on Wednesday, March 21 to protest proposed changes to the state pension system and support funding for education. 

It’s being called a ‘Day of Action’ and several school districts, mostly in eastern Kentucky, have canceled classes so teachers can participate. Some districts, like Owensboro, are holding regularly scheduled classes but sending delegations of teachers. The Owensboro Education Association is planning to send 21 teachers.

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