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. 

Rhonda J. Miller

America’s shameful history of lynching blazed into the spotlight with the recent  opening of The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama.  Some call it the “lynching museum.”

Russellville, Kentucky opened its own small lynching museum 10 years ago, the vision of one man who made a promise to tell the truth.

Billie Holiday’s haunting song Strange Fruit about “black bodies swinging in the southern breeze” plays quietly in a one-room lynching-museum in Russellville, Kentucky. The room is nearly filled by a tree with four rope nooses hanging from it.


Kentucky Mesonet

Kentucky’s statewide weather and climate monitoring network now has an app that’s especially useful for farmers. 

Kentucky Mesonet has 70 locations across the state that provide data including temperature, rainfall, humidity, dew point and solar radiation. Those details have been on the Mesonet website, but now they’re on an app for smartphones or other mobile devices that use iOS or Android operating systems.

Megan Schargorodski is manager of Kentucky Mesonet and said farmers are the main reason the app was developed. She said many tractors are equipped with tablets, so the Mesonet app makes the data readily available to farmers.

“They also look at the wind speed, probably most of all because they either spray or they irrigate and you can only do those under certain conditions," said Schargorodski. "It can’t be too windy and it can’t be too calm.”

Owensboro Regional Farmers Market/facebook

The new permanent structure for the Owensboro Regional Farmers Market this season is drawing more vendors and more shoppers than last year.

The market has a permanent fabric roof and a rustic-style entrance building with restrooms and a small service kitchen.

Vice president of the farmers market Bruce Kunze said there are 40 vendors this year, up from 32 last year.

Diocese of Owensboro

The separation of children from their families at America’s southern border that created a tide of outrage was reversed by President Donald Trump’s executive order on Wednesday. The Catholic bishop in Owensboro said that separation of families was disturbing.

Bishop William Medley of the Diocese of Owensboro said while Kentucky may be far away from the Mexican border,  taking children from parents who are refugees created a humanitarian crisis that reflected on all Americans.

U.S. Agency for International Development

A Somerset businessman is in Washington, D.C. Monday and Tuesday of this week with a group of state and national leaders to encourage funding for American development and diplomacy overseas. 

Somerset Recycling President Alan Keck is part of the Kentucky Advisory Committee at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition Summit in the nation’s capital.

The group is urging the Trump administration to fully fund the U.S. Agency for International Development, an organization that supports humanitarian efforts and promotes American prosperity through investments that expand markets for U.S. exports. Keck said the Trump administration has proposed cutting 30 percent of the USAID budget.

paringaresources.com

The CEO of a company behind a new coal mine project in McLean County, Kentucky has resigned. The announcement from the Australian mining company Paringa Resources said managing director and CEO Grant Quasha is resigning as of June 18 to “pursue another opportunity.”

Quasha said in a Fox Business TV interview in September 2017 that the election of President Donald Trump has “ended the war on coal” and allowed Paringa to raise 40 million U.S. dollars in financing in the Australian equity markets, in addition to $20 million in project financing from Macquarie Bank in Australia for construction of the McLean County mine that will produce thermal coal for regional utilities. The mine is in what’s called “the Illinois Basin.” 


Warren Wong/Unsplash

Western Kentucky University has received a federal grant to conduct research on suicide and self-harm in adolescents. The $413,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is for a three-year project to address a growing mental health concern. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for ages 15-to-34 in Kentucky. 

WKU Associate Professor of Psychological Sciences Amy Brausch is the lead researcher on the study.

“Non-suicidal self-injury is kind of the technical term for behaviors that are still self-injuring. So most people are familiar with cutting that sometimes adolescents will do. And it’s self-injury that does not have the intent to die. So it’s used for different purposes, usually to help regulate really strong negative emotions,” said Brausch.

Nicky Hayden/Facebook

The city of Owensboro is unveiling the statue of native son Nicky Hayden on Friday, June 8, to honor the  international motorcycle racing champion known as "The Kentucky Kid," who died last year in a bicycle accident in Italy.

Hayden’s family had a dirt track on their property and he grew up riding and racing. He turned pro when he was 16, and that made him a rather unusual student at  Owensboro Catholic High School. The school’s assistant principal Kurt Osborne was a teacher when Hayden was in school.

Kentucky Poor People's Campaign

Two Kentucky lawmakers have written a letter to Attorney General Andy Beshear requesting an opinion on why a group of peaceful demonstrators was denied access to the state Capitol on June 4. 

The request for an explanation is because about 400 demonstrators with the Poor People’s Campaign held an outdoor rally in Frankfort. Then a group from the anti-poverty movement  attempted to enter the state Capitol. The rally was led by the national co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign Rev. Dr. William Barber. The demonstrators were met by uniformed guards at the Capitol entrance and told they could only enter under the “two-in-two-out” rule that was put into effect a couple of weeks ago. 

Kentucky Poor People's Campaign

The national leader of the revitalized Poor People’s Campaign, Rev. William Barber, will lead a rally in Frankfort on June 4. About 350 Kentucky residents are expected to  take part in the movement launched by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Rev. William Barber has gained national attention leading a revitalized civil rights movement aimed at galvanizing a diversity of citizens around a few major issues that include poverty, health care, voting rights, systemic racism and environmental devastation.

Save the Children

Kentucky has slipped to 37th place in a national ranking of states that provide a safe, secure and healthy childhood.      

The second annual report End of Childhood State Ranking 2018 by the international nonprofit Save the Children ranks states by factors that can prevent children from thriving. Those factors include violence, poverty, malnutrition, child abuse, incomplete education and homelessness. 

Kentucky has slipped four places since last year to 37th in the U.S. for states that provide consistent food, housing, prenatal care, safety from violence and abuse and access to early childhood educational opportunites. 

400 Mile Yard Sale

Bargain shoppers will be out in big numbers over the next few days for the '400 Mile Yard Sale' along Route 68 in Kentucky.

When the 400 Mile Yard Sale started 14 years ago, it was to entice drivers to turn off highways and visit  local shops and restaurants along Route 68. At that time, it was the “road less traveled.”

But that yard sale has taken on a festival atmosphere and from Thursday, May 31 through Sunday, June 3 Route 68 will be one of the “most traveled” routes in Kentucky, from Maysville, located 66 miles northeast of Lexington, all the way west to Paducah.

Rhonda J. Miller

A business incubator called ‘The Hub’ in Ohio County has a second training program at no cost to residents. Ten people are enrolled in the ‘virtual assistant’ training.

The main goal of ‘The Hub’ is to create jobs, especially high-tech remote jobs, that offer Ohio County residents a chance to continue to live in this rural community and have a 21st Century career with a good income. 

Chase Vincent is Executive Director of the Ohio County Economic Development Alliance. He says the 10 residents who are currently enrolled in the ‘virtual assistant’ program are getting training that will prepare them to manage a distant office, for instance a medical practice, from home or from co-working space in ‘The Hub.”

Kentucky Poor People's Campaign

About 20 residents of Bowling Green will be at the state Capitol Monday, May 21 speaking out for the Kentucky Poor People’s campaign. 

Reverend Megan Huston is senior minister at First Christian Church in Bowling Green. She’s one of three Kentucky coordinators for the Poor People’s Campaign, a national effort originally launched in 1968 by Martin Luther King.

Huston says the goal of the campaign is to bring awareness to issues that include mass incarceration, voting rights, immigration, systemic racism and poverty.

Daniel Johnson, Bill Fishback, Jacob Moore

Three Democratic candidates are competing in the primary to represent the 19th state House district, which includes Edmonson County and part of Warren County. The race is among Bill Fishback, Daniel Johnson and Jacob Moore.               

There’s a priority issue that comes out loud and clear from the three Democratic candidates in the 19th District primary – the value of teachers.


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