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. 

Feeding America has determined that too many people in Barren County, Kentucky are food insecure. A new montly mass distribution is being launched get more food to residents in the Glasgow and Cave City areas.

Feeding America Kentucky’s Heartland, which is based in Elizabethtown, already distributes more than 12 million meals each year through food pantries, soup kitchens, and programs for children and seniors in 42 counties.

Even so, not enough food is getting into Barren County. The recent “Map the Meal Gap” report from Feeding America shows that 6,700 adults and 2,100 children in the county do not have reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. 


Dancing Well

A new study finds that a program based in Louisville, Kentucky is having a positive impact on military veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

The results published in the Journal of Veterans Studies show that veterans with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury report an improved psychological outlook after participating in ‘Dancing Well: The Soldier Project.’ 

Dance educator Deborah Denenfeld offered the first version of the program in 2010 at the suggestion of a psychiatrist at Fort Knox, who thought it might help improve memory in veterans with these combat-related issues.

In 2014 Denenfeld launched the 10-week version Dancing Well in Louisville. It's essentially a community barn dance, slowed down and adapted to the physical and emotional comfort levels of this particular group of veterans.


Rhonda J. Miller

A Bowling Green group that advocates reforming U.S. gun laws is holding a vigil on Saturday, Aug. 10. It's some of the local response to the fatal shooting of 31 innocent people in two states during the previous weekend. 

The massacre at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas that left 22 people dead and a shooting less than 24 hours later in an entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio that killed nine people has set in motion a call for laws to help end gun violence.

Haley Rinehart is the Bowling Green coordinator for 'Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.' She said the group supports background checks on gun sales, as well as red flags laws that temporarily allow guns to be taken away from someone who poses a threat themselves or others. 


Medium.com

Mass shootings are leaving an overwhelming shadow of grief for families who lost loved ones, as well as communities hundreds of miles away.

A group of interfaith ministers in Owensboro is sponsoring a 'grief service' on Aug. 9 to help people manage the troubling emotions that come with the feeling that no place is safe.

The Owensboro-Daviess County Ministerial Association is sponsoring the 'grief service' as a way for people to come together for mutual support and to connect with local organizations so they can channel their energy into community projects. 


Union Funeral Home

A memorial service is being held Aug. 7 for the worker who fell into a mine shaft in Muhlenberg County on July 31.

Sixty-two-year-old Richard Knapp was presumed dead after an explosion that occurred while he was working to close off the shaft at the Paradise mine near Central City.

The memorial service will be at Union Funeral Home in Knapp’s hometown of West Frankfort, Illinois.

Knapp is survived by his wife, a son, a daughter, three grandchildren and several other relatives.

Recovery efforts where obstructed for several days by high levels of methane in the mine shaft.

Those levels dissipated enough after a few days to allow cameras to be lowered into the 380-foot shaft with water at the bottom, but officials said there was no sight of the fallen worker.


Owensboro Public Schools

Owensboro is launching a new public school with the start of the academic year on Aug. 7. Owensboro Innovation Middle School has 300 students who represent all of the elementary buildings in the Owensboro Public Schools district.

The only entrance requirement for Innovation Middle is the interest of the student and parents. This year is first-come, first-served, and there’s already a waiting list.     

Innovation Middle School for grades 6-8 opens four years after the launch of Owensboro Innovation Academy, a public high school that focuses on hands-on, project-based learning. That requires students to take the contents of a subject, like science, math or English, and work in teams to solve problems.


Kenamerican Resources/Paradise Mine/facebook

A worker at the Paradise Mine in Muhlenberg County fell into a mine shaft at about 5:30 p.m. on July 31 as the result of a methane explosion.

Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet spokesman John Mura was at the site on Aug. 1 and said recovery attempts had been hindered by hazardous conditions in the mine. He said, at that time, it was not known whether the worker was alive.

Teresa Christmas

Four Kentucky residents took a week to travel to El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico to get a first-hand look at what’s happening at the U.S.-Mexico border and to find ways to help with the humanitarian crisis.

Summer Bolton, a graphic designer at The WKU Store at Western Kentucky University, said the Kentucky group went to a training session with the Border Network for Human Rights in El Paso on July 30. Bolton said a coordinator of that network said they could help by bringing supplies to an immigrant resettlement camp in Juarez, Mexico.

Amanda Matthews

The statue of the first African-American woman to be admitted to the White House press corps has come home to Russellville after being in the Newseum, the Washington, D.C. museum that promotes an understanding of freedom of the press and the First Amendment.

The legacy of Alice Allison Dunnigan is being honored during Russellville’s Emancipation Celebration that will be held Aug. 1-4. 

The bronze statue of  Dunnigan, a Logan County native, now has a permanent place on the grounds of the Russellville’s SEEK Museum district, which stands for Struggles for Emancipation and Equality in Kentucky. 


Rhonda J. Miller

When school is out in summer, hunger in economically-stressed communities can increase. That’s because students are no longer going to the school cafeteria for the free lunch, and often free breakfast, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Ohio County is one of the Kentucky school districts where buses take free meals to children in the rural communities where they live. WKU Public Radio's Rhonda Miller recently tagged along to see first-hand how the mobile summer program is impacting local youth and their families. 


Grace Clark

Seven retired thoroughbreds and one miniature horse who have been living at Old Friends farm at Kentucky Downs will be moving to Georgetown on Thursday, July 25. The last day visitors can meet the horses at the Simpson County site is Tuesday, July23.

The main Old Friends thoroughbred retirement farm is in Georgetown. Simpson County has been as a satellite location, but it hasn’t drawn enough visitors to make it economically feasible to keep the horses at that site. 

One of the staff members at the Simpson County Tourism Commission who has been giving tours of Old Friends farm is Karen Eaton. She said each horse has a story.


Lake Cumberland Slaves Memorial

The massacre of nine African-Americans by a 21-year-old white man at a Charleston, South Carolina church in 2015 ignited a project in Kentucky to emphasize the better side of human nature.

Now, the culmination of four years of effort to honor slaves buried in unmarked graves is an elegant sculpture rising from the heart of a community college.

The Lake Cumberland Slaves Memorial was installed at Somerset Community College in Pulaski County, Kentucky on July 9. The sculpture was secured to a trailer for the journey from the artist's studio in Georgia to the college campus. 


Sunstrand

Kentucky Attorney General and Democratic nominee for governor Andy Beshear released a major policy proposal on July 2 that focuses on giving military veterans more opportunities for job training. One element of Beshear's policy proposal is a vision for "agritech."

The combination of technical training many veterans gain during military service  and Kentucky’s strong agriculture industry offers a major opportunity in the growing agritech sector.

Andy Beshear said it’s an emerging industry that covers innovations ranging from the science of seeds before they go into the ground, to technology used in tractors, to data analytics that help determine what crops to plant.


National Park Service

Mammoth Cave National Park is seeking public input on its proposed environmental management plan. The comment period is July 1-30.

Mammoth Cave National Park attracts two million visitors each year, with about 500,000 of those taking a cave tour.

The mission of the park includes protecting its 53,000 acres with its unique karst geology, the limestone ground surface that allows water to drain underground and create caves.

Mammoth Cave National Park spokesperson Molly Schroer said public comments on the proposed Karst and Cave Management Plan can cover all aspects of the popular destination.


Owensboro Public Schools

Owensboro Public Schools Superintendent Nick Brake has announced he will leave that position at the end of December.

Brake has been leading the school district for more than six years. During his tenure, the district created two new schools, Owensboro Innovation Academy, a high school that graduated its first class this year, and Innovation Middle, which will open in the fall.

“I have accomplished much of what I set out to accomplish during my time at OPS,” said Brake. “The district has very capable leadership at all levels and a great board of education. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time and tenure as superintendent and I would not want to hold that position in any other district. The time is just right for me to explore new challenges in the future. The timing will help in the transition process and set up the person who follows me for success.”

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