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. 

Facebook/Feeding America Kentucky's Heartland

The pandemic has caused thousands of people across Kentucky, and the nation, to lose their jobs and struggle to keep food on the table. 

Emergency food distributions, including two this week, are helping hundreds of Warren County families who are hungry.

Feeding Kentucky has already been bringing food once a month to Lampkin Park in Warren County. But since the pandemic, the food bank has added emergency distributions once a month at two additional parks.

Jamie Sizemore, executive director of the food bank that serves 42 counties, said many people may not realize how many families don’t have enough to eat.

“We’ve never in the history of this food bank, or any food bank within the Feeding America network, have we ever seen the magnitude of food insecurity due to so many issues," said Sizemore. "It’s just overwhelming.”


visitbgky.com

As hundreds of restaurants across Bowling Green scale back or temporarily close due to COVID-19 restrictions, the city is offering grants to help them survive the pandemic.

Bowling Green has designated $1,885,000 to assist businesses with 50 or fewer employees.

Bowling Green City Manager Jeff Meisel said code enforcement officers who are currently bringing information on COVID-19 regulations to dining establishments are also providing details about the BG CARES program.

"That’s why we want to get out, too, and publicize that we do have CARES money that we would happy to help with small businesses here in Bowling Green," Meisel said. "And we’re going to pass out information on that as we’re out and about with these businesses and restaurants and bars that have really been probably hit the hardest.”


Bowling Green Neighborhood & Community Services

The city of Bowling Green is beginning to send out code enforcement officers to assist in monitoring restaurants and bars for compliance with Kentucky's COVID-19 regulations. 

The four officers will serve only in an outreach and education capacity to assist the Barren River District Health Department.

Bowling Green City Manager Jeff Meisel said that will include site visits to provide bars and restaurants with information on requirements for masks, social distancing and outdoor dining.

“A lot of restaurants are trying to still do outdoor dining with putting up some tents and enclosing some areas," said Meisel. "But with that, there are still rules of leaving two sides open and things like that, so there’s air circulating and it doesn’t become indoor dining with a tent.”


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Kentucky has a website and hotline where anyone can report complaints about businesses, organizations or community gatherings that are not in compliance with state guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19.

So far, more than 100,000 complaints have been filed through KYSAFER.

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet complaint forms can include observations about non-compliance with state directives on work-from-home instructions, social distancing or other guidance related to the pandemic. 

Joyce Adkins

A caravan of cars with passengers mourning the more than 250,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19 rolled through Kentucky’s capital city on Monday.

Joyce Adkins, who worked as a public health educator for 30 years until she retired in 2017, is one of the Bowling Green residents who participated in the caravan in Frankfort.

The event, held in states across the nation, was organized by The Poor People's Campaign, an organization calling for a fair stimulus package and care for the poor and sick.

Adkins said the pandemic and its impact made it important for her to join the Poor People’s Campaign event, part of the organization's Moral Monday program.


facebook/Teresa's Restaurant

As COVID-19 surges across Kentucky, new statewide restrictions prohibiting indoor dining for bars and restaurants go into effect Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. and last through Dec. 13.

One local business impacted by the new restrictions is Teresa's Restaurant, a Bowling Green eatery known for home cooking.

The restrictions during the pandemic have caused financial strain for the popular restaurant and the newest rule that prohibits indoor dining is the last straw, at least until Dec. 13. 

Owner Heather McGuffey said the restaurant has no outdoor dining and a previous attempt at take-out meals during an earlier restriction on indoor dining didn't work out.  So she decided to close Teresa’s when the latest rules go into effect.

Daviess County Public Schools

The Daviess County Public Schools district is one of the latest in the state to announce changes to how instruction will be delivered, given the increasing spread of COVID-19. 

Superintendent Matt Robbins said in a letter to families in the Daviess County School District that although the alternating schedule has allowed  students the option to attend class in-person two days a week, the escalating rate  of COVID-19 requires a revised plan.

Robbins said the increasing incidence of the virus is creating challenges in staffing in the classroom and support roles.   

Owensboro Public Schools

With 80 Kentucky counties now identified as 'red zones,' where there is a critical spread of COVID-19, state officials have recommended that schools suspend in-person classes until the incidence of cases decreases. 

Owensboro Public Schools are going all virtual in line with that recommendation and in response to community spread of the virus.

Superintendent Mathhew Constant sent a letter to Owensboro Public Schools families and staff that the switch to an all virtual format will begin Monday, Nov. 16.


facebook/Med Center Health

Leaders in government, education, and health care who make up the Bowling Green-Warren County Coronavirus Work Group presented an alert Tuesday about the dangerous escalation of COVID-19 in the region.

The work group held a special virtual news conference with an urgent request for area residents to increase their adherence to CDC and state health guidelines, especially the wearing of masks, social distancing, washing hands, and staying away from crowds.

The most urgent message came from the leaders of local hospitals.

PerryCounty.ky.gov

A school district in southeastern Kentucky has shut down in-person and virtual learning through the end of November because of the spread of COVID-19. 

Perry County Schools Superintendent Jonathan Jett said in a social media post this week that the continued spike in coronavirus cases has led district leaders to the conclusion that in-person learning isn’t possible for the rest of the month. 

The superintendent said the decision to also shut down virtual classes was made in hopes of adding in-person classes at the end of the academic year in May.

CDC/Unsplash

With the Supreme Court hearing oral arguments Tuesday about the future of the Affordable Care Act, the upcoming decision will have a major impact on the health of Kentuckians. 

Kentucky ranks 3rd in the nation for the number of adults with high cholesterol, 4th in the number of obese children, and 6th in the number of obese adults.

The state ranks 7th in the number of adults with Type 2 diabetes.

Those are among the findings in the report 2020s Most Overweight and Obese States in America by the personal finance website WalletHub. 


freepik.com/macrovector

When cold weather causes communities to open extra overnight space for the homeless, Daviess County will have a new ‘white flag’ shelter in place. 

Keeping homeless individuals safe and warm when the temperature gets dangerously cold requires an additional layer of safety during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Owensboro Christian Church will open its doors on white flag nights under an agreement with Daviess County Fiscal Court and the city of Owensboro.

Daviess County Deputy Director of Emergency Management John Clouse said the church is a large facility that will have the necessary space to serve as the region’s new white flag shelter. 


Mika Baumeister via Unsplash

As COVID-19 continues its dangerous, often deadly, surge across the Bluegrass State, Gov. Andy Beshear and public health officials relentlessly ask Kentuckians to follow basic safety precautions: limit contacts, maintain social distance, and wear a mask.

Most businesses post signs at the door, telling customers that a 'mask mandate' is an effect, but this basic safety measure has erupted into a political battleground.

WKU Public Radio Reporter Rhonda Miller talked with Shawn Crabtree, public health director of the 10-county Lake Cumberland District Health Department about the challenges of the pandemic.


Sgt. Keith Stiff, Daviess County Detention Center

The COVID-19 pandemic is especially challenging in group living situations, including jails. 

The Kentucky Department of Corrections manages state prisons and works with the state Department of Public Health to confront and contain outbreaks of the virus, as it did at the Green River Correctional Complex in Muhlenberg County

But county jails don’t have that centralized management.  

Each county jail is independent and operated by an elected jailer and an elected county judge-executive or administrator. 

WKU Public Radio reporter Rhonda Miller talked with Daviess County Jailer Art Maglinger about the health precautions in place for the detention center that has more than 600 inmates and 80 staff.


Graves Gilbert Clinic Glasgow

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and health officials warn that the state is in a dangerous escalation of COVID-19.

They worry that some Kentuckians have “COVID-19 fatigue” and are becoming too casual about safety precautions, like wearing a mask, social distancing and avoiding group gatherings.   

WKU Public Radio Reporter Rhonda Miller spoke with Dr. William Travis, an internal medicine physician at Graves Gilbert Clinic in Glasgow. He said he’s seeing an increase in patients with COVID-19 symptoms and confirmed cases.


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