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. 

Margaret O'Donnell

The Poor People’s Campaign will hold a rally in Bowling Green on May 10 that will be more of a celebration than the group’s usual marches or protests at the state capitol.

But  the group will still emphasize its main concerns – poverty, environmental destruction, systemic racism and social justice.

The rally signifies the group’s return to more public events as the COVID-19 pandemic eases with widespread access to vaccinations and a lifting of some state limitations on gatherings. 

Centers for Disease Control/Unsplash

When it comes to deciding whether to get the COVID-19 vaccine, a new poll found that Kentuckians overwhelmingly trust information from medical experts close to home. 

The survey done for the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky shows that 95 percent of Bluegrass State residents trust their physician or other health care provider when it comes to vaccine information. 

Ninety-eight percent of those who said they will get the vaccine said they trust their own doctor. 

Somerset Community College

Somerset Community College is offering a free class to certain prospective students in an effort to get their higher education plans back on track. 

The idea comes as many Kentuckians have put parts of their lives on hold during the pandemic and the resulting economic challenges. 

The offer from Somerset Community College is for a free class of up to three credit hours in a long list of subjects ranging from art to nursing to truck driving. 

The offer applies to students attending college for the first time, 2021 graduating seniors and returning students who have not attended Somerset Community College in the last five years.

Steven Cornfield/Unsplash

A pharmacy in Nelson County is scheduling COVID-19 vaccinations from a waiting list of more than 2,000 people.

Crume Drug Store in Bardstown has about 500 doses of the Moderna vaccine that arrived two weeks ago.

Ashley Coomes, co-owner of the drug store and a pharmacy technician, said there's a been a good response from the community for the vaccine.

“We were probably one of the only people in town that actually had a list of names going. And we probably had like 2,500 names," said Coomes. "So we’re calling down through the people that have had their names on the list and letting them know that it’s here and we can schedule an appointment for them and get everybody vaccinated, as many as we can.”


Rhonda J. Miller

With Mother's Day approaching this weekend, we're highlighting a mother and daughter who have a close relationship that's both personal and professional.

Amber Givens, 38, and her mom, Julie Horton, 57, work together in the mother-baby unit at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. 

WKU Public Radio reporter Rhonda Miller talked with them on a park bench near the hospital entrance on their way to begin their regular 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. overnight shift. 

Givens lives in Central City and went into nursing four years ago as her second career. Horton lives in Lewisburg and has been a nurse for more than 30 years. 


David Phillips

The first Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Owensboro Public Schools was born and raised in the city where he will now lead efforts to promote a “culture of equality.”  

The Owensboro Public School District announced the appointment of David Phillips to the newly-created position that it describes as “a response to the national movement to end systemic racism and to locally provide an even playing field for students, staff and community partners.”

Phillips is a 42-year-old African American and says there were some times when he was the subject of racial insults.

“Yes, I did have some personal experiences with that growing up," said Phillips. "That’s another reason why I want to help with racism any way I can, just to make it better for students we’ve got coming up, so they can have a better life and make sure that we provide all students with the necessary resources to be more successful.”


Taylor's Funeral Home

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the lives of more than 6,400 Kentuckians. The grief has been intensified by health precautions that limit how many people can attend a funeral.

A funeral home in Christian County has added a safe way for friends and family to grieve.

Taylor’s Funeral Home in Hopkinsville broke through a brick wall to add a four-by-eight-foot window two weeks ago.

 

The first window broke, but a new one is now in place to allow friends and family to safely view the funeral chapel from their cars.  

Owner Terry Taylor has been in the funeral business for 22 years and said even with COVID-19 safety precaution place, many people have told him they still don’t feel safe being indoors with a group of people. 

  

City of Henderson

The City of Henderson is providing free transportation to a new Community Vaccination Center that opens Thursday. 

The new vaccination center in Henderson is a partnership between FEMA and the state of Kentucky that’s bringing COVID-19 vaccines to underserved areas. 

Spokesperson Donna Stinnett said Henderson Area Rapid Transit, or HART, will  provide transportation to the vaccination center at the Henderson County Cooperative Extension site on Kentucky 351, also known as Zion Road.

"The city of Henderson made the decision that it would be good to support the efforts of that clinic and their efforts to reach out to as many people as possible, particularly in underserved areas, to provide some free transportation to that site, via our Henderson Area Rapid Transit Service," said Stinnett.

Ryan Van Velzer

Henderson County is one of two Kentucky locations chosen to partner with the federal government in a pilot project to make COVID-19 vaccinations more accessible to underserved communities. The site will open on Thursday, April. 29.

The pilot project with FEMA will open a Community Vaccination Center in the Expo Center at the Henderson County Cooperative Extension Service on Kentucky 351, also known as Zion Road.

Extension Service spokesperson Amanda Hardy said federal, state and local agencies are collaborating to create the new vaccination site.

Roger Starnes/Unsplash

A community partnership in Bowling Green that provides free transportation to COVID-19 vaccination sites has lots of requests, but has run out of money. 

Since making its first ride in early March, COVID Vaccine Transport has provided 150 trips for 80 individuals. Some of those trips are for second doses of the vaccine.

Bowling Green Human Rights Commission Executive Director Alice Waddell said those requesting rides include older adults who don’t drive, people of all ages with disabilities, and even some students from Western Kentucky University who don’t have transportation to get vaccinated.

“We have reservations up ‘til the end of April, so we need to service those people," said Waddell. "I would not like to call them and tell them we can’t do it.”

Dan Meyers/Unsplash

A new support group in Henderson is aimed at helping people who have lost a loved one to suicide.

The group’s founder, Cindy Weaver, said it’s called Infinite Hope because people who take their own lives have lost hope. 

Weaver said she’s met many survivors who haven’t sought help for the trauma and grief that followed the death of their friend or family member. 

“We want to be able, through our support groups and walking alongside the survivors to know they don’t have to go through this alone, help to restore hope back into their lives again, so they can move into a life that feels purposeful and has meaning in it once again,” said Weaver.


Sheldon's Express Pharmacy

One of the biggest challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic is getting vaccinations to people who are homebound.

A Bowling Green-based pharmacy is one of the health care providers that’s taken some of those life-saving “shots of hope” to the elderly and disabled who can’t get to vaccination clinics. 

As soon as Sheldon’s Express Pharmacy got the COVID-19 vaccine, the decision was made to offer vaccinations to homebound patients who were already getting medications delivered. 

Pharmacist Jack Downing said the owner of the pharmacy decided it was important to reach patients who are unable to get to a vaccination site

“This is just mainly a service to the community and to our patients,” Downing said. “That was the first thing that Steve Sheldon said, was we need to take care of the ones that we need to take care of, that are truly homebound, and offer it to them if they want it, and we’ll go to the house and do it.”


Henderson Community College

Henderson Community College is increasing support for students facing personal challenges that might have been intensified by the emotional and physical stress of the year-long COVID-19 pandemic.

The college has opened a new one-stop center offering support for issues that could prevent academic success. 

The HCC Care Center may be small in size, but it offers students connections to a big range of community services.

Career Services Coordinator Angie Watson said the HCC Care Center can help with a wide range of  issues.

“Substance disorders, domestic violence, housing issues, mental and physical issues that they may be facing," said Watson. "We’ve got some great mental health facilities that can assist them and offer crisis counseling.”


Steve Cornfield/Unsplash

Kentucky has hundreds of sites where residents can get the COVID-19 vaccine.

But for those who are homeless, it’s not easy to find out where to get the vaccinations or sign up for an appointment.

Hotel Inc in Bowling Green is one organization helping the homeless get vaccinated.

Hotel Inc provides services in Warren County related to food security, housing, and homelessness. The organization also has a street medicine team. Executive Director Rhondell Miller said Hotel Inc. is part of a regional task force addressing issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.


American Queen Steamboat Company

One promising sign that life may be returning to “more normal” will be at the  Henderson waterfront this spring. It’s the return of the riverboats.

The first riverboat to arrive in Henderson this spring will be the American Duchess on April 22.

It’s the first of at least 20 scheduled stops by riverboats this season after the COVID-19 pandemic forced cancellation of 15 stops in Henderson last year.

The Gleaner reports that when the luxury paddlewheeler docks it will bring more than 100 visitors to shop, eat and enjoy Henderson.


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