Ryland Barton

Lawmakers say they want to do more to prevent child abuse in Kentucky after years of troubling reports ranking the state as one of the worst for child mistreatment.

The legislature’s Oversight and Investigations Committee met Thursday to discuss findings and recommendations from the state’s Child Fatality and Near Fatality External Review Panel, which, as it does annually, released another report this year detailing substance abuse and mental health issues as leading drivers of child abuse in the state.

Melissa Currie, a doctor at Norton Children’s Hospital and a member of the panel, said since the panel’s inception 10 years ago, the state hasn’t seen a drop in abuse cases.

“No, absolutely not, we’re not seeing a huge drop in the numbers. And we’re seeing worse and worse cases,” Currie said.

screenshot via WFPL

 Louisville Metro is in favor of a federal study into the historical and lingering impacts of slavery in the United States and reparations for Black descendants of slavery. 

Mayor Greg Fischer signed a resolution Thursday affirming that position and throwing the city’s support behind Congressional legislation. 

HR 40 would create a commission to “examine slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies.” 

Council Member Jecorey Arthur, a Democrat who represents District 4, co-sponsored the resolution.  

During a press conference, he said this kind of resolution is “long overdue.”

Breya Jones

 A new program aimed at diverting some 911 calls away from a police response and to a mobile crisis response team is closer to becoming reality. 

In February, Louisville Metro Council approved funding for research into non-police response models across the country. 

The University of Louisville’s Commonwealth Institute of Kentucky and Spalding University worked to research and develop the program’s model.

“Based on this work, we recommend a multilayer model for Louisville to include public and private partners to operate synchronously as a system connecting people in crisis to the resources they need to feel and be safe,” said Susan Buchino, the assistant director of Commonwealth Institute of Kentucky at U of L, at a press conference Wednesday.

Suhail Bhat

 For the second year in a row, Kentucky has the highest rate of childhood obesity among kids ages 10-to-17 at 23.8%.

That’s according to a new report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released this week. Senior Program Officer Jamie Bussel said rates are too high across the country.

“They’ve been exacerbated by COVID, and we’re finding that in a number of different data that’s coming in,” Bustle said. “Kids of color and kids that live furthest from economic opportunities continue to be at greatest risk.”

In West Virginia, the childhood obesity rate is 21.9%. Both Kentucky and West Virginia’s rates are much higher compared to the national rate of 16.2%. Ohio's childhood obesity rate is slightly above the national average at 17.2%.

Lisa Autry

A veteran of the war in Afghanistan is preparing to welcome Afghan refugees into his Bowling Green home. 

Bill DeLong served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. 

The retired Sgt. First Class says it wasn’t a hard decision to open his doors.

"We're Americans, we're supposed to stick together. I think a lot of people have forgotten what happened after 9/11 when we came together," DeLong said. "We're that bright, shining village on a hill. We're supposed to set that example."

About 50 host families are needed in Bowling Green where 200 Afghan refugees will be arriving over the next several months. Bill DeLong and his wife Renee are still waiting for an individual or family to be placed with them. The couple spoke to WKU Public Radio about their motivation for hosting and what they're expecting from the experience.

Lisa Gillespie

So far two Democrats are running for Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional District seat with long-time Rep. John Yarmuth announcing he won’t run for reelection next year.

State Rep. Attica Scott and state Sen. Morgan McGarvey are the only ones officially vying for the seat at this point, but Yarmuth’s retirement announcement could open the floodgates for more candidates to get into the race.

Scott was first. When she launched her campaign in July, it was a long shot primary challenge against Yarmuth, a well-known 16-year incumbent and powerful chair of the U.S. House Budget Committee.

After Yarmuth announced he wouldn’t run again Tuesday, Scott congratulated him on his retirement and said she was honored by people who supported her campaign early.

David Brinkley

The Chief Justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court has announced plans to retire after serving 30 years on bench. 

In an interview on Wednesday with WKU Public Radio, John Minton, Jr. of Bowling Green announced he will not seek re-election next year. 

Minton says although his term doesn’t expire until January 1, 2023, he wanted to announce his intentions early.

“One of the rules of traditional politics would be that an elected official, such as the chief justice, would never confirm that he wasn’t seeking re-election because the concern is that you become immediately irrelevant," commented Minton. "Well, I don’t intend to become irrelevant. I’ve got more than a year left to serve.”

WFPL

Kentucky’s lone Democrat in Congress, John Yarmuth, won’t run for reelection next year after 16 years in office, creating a likely contentious primary battle for the Louisville-area district.

Yarmuth is the chair of the powerful House Budget Committee. The 73-year-old said Tuesday he wants to have “more control of my time in the years I have left.”

“The desire to have more control of my time in the years I have left has become a high priority. Candidly, I have found new and incomparable joy in spending time with my young grandson. And I would like to spend more of my golden years in Louisville,” Yarmuth said in a video posted to Twitter.

Yarmuth was first elected in 2006 after defeating incumbent Republican Rep. Anne Northup. He will step down in January 2023, at the end of his eighth term.

Kyeland Jackson

The U.S Supreme Court heard arguments on Tuesday over whether Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron is allowed to defend a Kentucky abortion law that was struck down by a federal court.

The blocked law at the center of the case passed in 2018. It would ban a common abortion procedure called “dilation and evacuation.”.

Former Republican Gov. Matt Bevin defended the law until he lost reelection in 2019. The following year, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling that struck down the law and Gov. Andy Beshear declined to continue defending the case.

Cameron is asking the high court to let him intervene. During the Supreme Court hearing on Tuesday, Deputy Attorney General Matthew Kuhn argued Cameron’s office should be allowed to continue appealing the case.

J. Tyler Franklin

A bipartisan pair of lawmakers wants to require people accused of animal abuse to pay for housing and upkeep of their animals while their court cases are pending.

Republican Rep. Kim Banta, of Ft. Mitchell, and Democratic Rep. Cherlynn Stevenson, of Lexington, are sponsoring a bill that would create the “cost of care” law in Kentucky. It would allow courts and shelters to sue owners of animals seized in cruelty cases to pay for care until cases are resolved.

During a legislative hearing last week, Banta said the measure is good for animals and taxpayers.

“When animals are seized, taxpayers and the agencies are picking up the cost of care while the animals are being housed and taken care of,” Banta said.

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Bryan Lemon

LRS Live Replay: Kyshona & Dax Evans

February's Lost River Sessions LIVE show at the Captiol Arts Center in Bowling Green was a special one. Fans saw local singer and songwriter Dax Evans take the stage, performing some heartfelt original songs. Meanwhile, Nashville artist, and former music therapist Kyshona, blessed the venue on the eve of her album release with new music.

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