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. 

Kentucky Afield

State environmental officials have tracked down the cause of a recent fish kill in southern Kentucky to a cattle feed lot in Logan County. 

The state Division of Water found low oxygen and high levels of E-coli in water samples from the Gasper River and Clear Fork Creek when the fish kill occurred in late May. 

During the initial investigation, officials said thousands of fish died along 16 miles of waterways in Warren County - 11 miles in Clear Fork Creek and five miles in the Gasper River, which runs into the Barren River. That investigation by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is continuing and a final count of fish deaths has not been determined. 


Dueling Grounds Distillery

The Kentucky Distillers Association has added four distilleries to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour, bringing the total to 20.

Those 20 distilleries are now grouped into four regions across the state and the distillers association has added incentives, including collectible coins and a tasting glass, to encourage visiters to stop at all the sites on the Craft Tour.

Those four distilleries new on the Craft Tour are Dueling Grounds in Franklin, Casey Jones in Hopkinsville, Boundary Oak in Radcliff and Second Sight in northern Kentucky.

Dueling Grounds founding owner Marc Dottore said being on the Bourbon Trail Craft Tour is important for his distillery.


Owensboro Health

Owensboro Health has a model program that tackles two issues of concern to food aid organizations across the nation - hunger and food waste.

The health care organization is part of a collaboration that's bringing frozen meals to some of Kentucky’s homebound senior citizens.

The program recently won the 2019 Rurual Achievement Award from the National Association of Regional Councils.

The program arose from conversations among staff at Owensboro Health, its food service provider, Morrison Healthcare, and those in the Green River Area Development District who work with senior citizens.


Ellis Park

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approved the sale of Ellis Park racetrack on June 18, the second time in one year the Henderson facility has had new ownership. 

The new owner of the Henderson racetrack is Ellis Entertainment, a subsidiary of Laguna Development Corporation, based in Albequerque, New Mexico. Laguna Development is owned by the Laguna Pueblo tribe and operates hotels, casinos and highway travel centers.

Ellis Entertainment purchased the park from the Saratoga Casino and Hospitality Group for $11 million.


Webster County

The new Webster County Senior Center opens June 19 and will offer expanded services to elders in the community.

The new senior center in the town of Dixon is housed in the buildling previously used by the county ambulance service.

The completely renovated facility now includes a kitchen, community meeting rooms, exercise areas and space for crafts and other activities.

"This will be a chance for our county to show appreciation for those residents who have spent their lives making Webster County the place it is today, " said Judge Executive Steve Henry.

Owensboro Public Schools

Educators from Owensboro and Daviess County public schools are spearheading a new statewide organization to expand classroom instruction for English language learners. 

The new group is called the Kentucky Coalition for English Learners. The first conference was held June 10 and 11 at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville and  drew 250 educators. 

One of the organizers of the coalition is Matthew Constant, chief academic officer for Owensboro Public Schools. 

"The majority of people, and this was our target audience, were general education teachers," said Constant. "We have specialized English learner teachers that are trained in college to deliver specialized instruction, but many of our English learner students are in regular classrooms the majority of the day.”


AMR

Daviess County has signed a contract with a new ambulance company, but Owensboro Health will no longer provide backup service.

The new contract that goes into effect on July 1 is with American Medical Response, which also provides ambulance service for Evansville, Indiana.

Daviess County previously had a contract with Yellow Ambulance for 18 years.

The current issue of concern is the backup provider. Daviess County has had an agreement with the organization that is now Owensboro Health for backup ambulance service since 1978.

Rhonda J. Miller

Many older Americans face an issue that’s often kept behind closed doors: hunger.

A new report called The State of Senior Hunger in America shows that eight percent of Kentucky residents age 60 and older are food insecure. Community organizations in Russellville and Bardstown are among many groups helping older adults get enough healthy food.

At the Russellville Senior Center director Christie Lashley called folks to head to the serving table to pick up a tray with a hot lunch.

“All righty, we have Mr. Martin and we have Miss Barbara, Miss Nancy, go get your food….,” said Lashley.

Servers spooned out a plate of barbequed chicken, green beans and mashed potatoes to Tom Martin. 


Kentucky Afield

State officials hope to soon know more about why thousands of fish have died along waterways in southern Kentucky. 

The fish kill affects 16 miles of waterway in Warren County – 11 miles in Clear Fork Creek, and five miles in the Gasper River, which flows into the Barren River. 

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources spokesman Dave Baker said some fish were able to escape into a tributary or spring, but it was a substantial loss in a waterway popular with anglers.

Somerset Community College

Kentucky has launched a program that gives military veterans a fast track to earn certification in aviation mechanics. 

Veterans who have experience working on military aircraft can now get credit for their skills that can be used toward certification from the Federal Aviation Administration. The new program  called VALLO, which stands for Veterans Accelerated Learning for Licensed Occupations, is available at Somerset Community College and Jefferson Community and Technical College.

Rhonda J. Miller

The director of a Kentucky food bank told members of the Bowling Green Noon Rotary Club on May 22  not to assume they know what a hungry person looks like. 

A person who doesn’t have enough to eat might have had a medical emergency or car problem that used up their already tight budget.

Jamie Sizemore is executive director of Feeding America Kentucky’s Heartland, a food bank that serves 42 counties. She said there is hunger in communities across Kentucky and it often occurs when there's a family crisis and rent, utilities, car payments and gas to get work work take priority over food.


Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

As Democrats and Republicans in Kentucky head to the polls on Tuesday, May 21 to vote in the primary election for governor and other state officers, many election officials are expressing concern over the anticipated low turnout. 

Tuesday’s primary includes four Republican candidates for governor, four Democratic candidates for governor and others running for attorney general, state auditor and commissioner of agriculture.

Rhonda J. Miller

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear highlighted his support for teachers during a stop in Bowling  Green on Friday in his effort to gain the Democratic nomination for governor in next Tuesday’s primary.

The Jefferson County Teachers Association has endorsed Democrat Adam Edelen in the governor’s race.

But Beshear said he’s not running to get the support of any organization. He says he’s been fighting for teachers because it’s the right thing to do.

“When Matt Bevin tried to illegally cut their pensions, I took him to the Supreme Court. We won 7-0 and protected each and every pension," said Beshear. "When he’s attacked our teachers and is trying to fine them $1,000 a day for protesting at the Capitol, I’m standing up to him.”

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

With the primary election just a few days away, Daviess County is short 20 poll workers. 

The shortage of poll workers is a statewide issue, but Daviess County is keeping up the effort to get enough new workers trained before the Tuesday, May 21 primary.

Daviess County Clerk Leslie McCarty said those who would like to work in the nonpartisan position at the polls can show up this Saturday morning, fill out the necessary paperwork and take the training.

City of Owensboro

Owenboro’s efforts to boost its nightlife takes a step forward on Friday, May 17.  It will be the first evening people will be able to openly carry alcoholic drinks downtown.

Owensboro’s ‘Friday After 5’ this weekend is the first event to take advantage of the city’s newly created entertainment district. 

The way it works is that the city issues a permit for each event that wants to use what’s simply called 'The District.' It’s an area that runs along the riverwalk and for five blocks inland and includes the RiverPark Center, the convention center, the Bluegrass Museum, and downtown hotels and restaurants.

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