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. 

Green River Area Agency on Aging and Independent Living

Two new reports on hunger among older Americans show Kentucky has the nation’s highest rate of food insecurity for those who are in their 50s, and it’s also a major issue for Kentuckians over 60. In the Green River region alone, more than 300 elders are on a waiting list for a daily hot meal. 

A first-time report by Feeding America, Hunger Among Adults Age 50 to 59 in 2017, shows for that age group Kentucky has the highest rate of food insecurity in the nation at 19 percent, compared to the national rate of 11 percent.

In the complementary report, The State of Senior Hunger in America in 2017, which focuses on  those who are 60 and over, the Bluegrass State has a food insecurity rate of about eight percent, slightly above the national average.  

Wikipedia

A report from the National Transportation Safety Board about the crash of a small plane in Henderson, Kentucky shows the pilot was not supposed to be carrying passengers.

The crash killed two people and left questions about money and drugs found inside the wreckage.

The preliminary NTSB report shows the student pilot, 48-year-old George Tucker, had a Federal Aviation Administration certificate issued in February 2018 that specifically said “carrying passengers is prohibited.” 

  

hopkinsmedicine.org

A new survey by the consumer finance website WalletHub shows Kentucky ranks eighth in the nation for states with the biggest drug problem. 

 The national survey is based on metrics that include drug use, addiction, law enforcement, health services and rehabilitation.

While Kentucky ranks eighth in the nation overall for its drug problem, some categories in the survey point out the biggest drug issues in the Bluegrass State.

flickr/Theresa Thompson

A record number of Kentucky residents are registered to vote in the May 21 primary election. 

The Kentucky Secretary of State’s office reports that 3,421,796 Kentuckians are registered to vote in the upcoming primary.

That’s 18,891 more registered voters than in the General Election  in 2018.

Looking at the breakdown by political party, Democratic voters represent about 49 percent of the electorate, with about 1,684,200 voters.

Lost River Cave

The odor of gasoline from an unknown source has closed down cave tours and boat rides at Lost River Cave in Bowling Green. The popular tourist attraction has an additional challenge – rain.

The odor of gasoline first showed up at Lost River Cave at the end of March.  The odor became consistent, so walking and boat tours inside the cave were suspended on April 7.

Annie Holt is director of the Nature Education Center at Lost River Cave. She said meters have shown the vapors have been at zero for several days.


Rhonda J. Miller

The Map the Meal Gap 2019 report by Feeding America shows that Kentucky has more than 650,000 residents who are food insecure.

A food pantry in Bardstown is helping to close that meal gap for 700 local families who choose their own groceries.               

On a recent Tuesday morning, Bread for Life Community Food Pantry volunteer Don Bresnahan walked with a client along the produce aisle.

“Want some broccoli?” asked Bresnahan.


paringaresources.com

The first shipment of coal from a new mine in McLean County in western Kentucky has been sent to utility companies in the state. 

The Australian company Paringa Resources announced on April 28 that it loaded 1,500 tons of washed coal from its new Poplar Grove mine onto barges at its dock on the Green River. This first shipment of coal went to Kentucky Utilities and Louisville Gas & Electric. 

Paringa said in a news release that it plans to bring in additional mining equipment and ramp up operations.

Kentucky Wesleyan College

The president of Kentucky Wesleyan College  has resigned and a long-time Western Kentucky University administrator will temporarily fill the position.

Bart Darrell has served as president of Kentucky Wesleyan College in Owensboro for five years and will step down from that position on June 1. His contract was set to run to 2021.

A statement on the school’s website quoted board chairman, Judge Phillip Shepherd, as saying Darrell was ready to "...embark on new changes in his life and career.”

Darrell's statement about his resignation is on a video at the KWC website.

The statement on the KWC website also credits Darrell with reversing enrollment declines, with growth in Kentucky Wesleyen’s first-year student class size and retention. 

Rhonda J. Miller

With Kentucky’s primary election just three weeks away, Democratic candidate for governor Rocky Adkins described himself as an experienced, moderate legislator during a May 1 presentation at the Bowling Green Noon Rotary Club.

State Representative Rocky Adkins is pushing to differentiate himself from his two strongest rivals for the Democratic nomination for governor, Attorney General Andy Beshear and former State Auditor Adam Edelen.

Adkins is emphasizing his centrist stances on issues, especially those that might appeal to the state’s more conservative Democrats. 


Feeding Kentucky

A new report from Feeding America shows that 187,000 children in Kentucky are at risk of going hungry. 

The report, called Map the Meal Gap 2019, details state and county data on food insecurity, which means that a person may not have consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life.

The report shows that food insecurity among children in Kentucky actually decreased slightly from 19 percent in last year’s report to 18 percent in the new report. 


Ryland Barton, Kentucky Public Radio

The Poor People’s Campaign brings its national bus tour to Kentucky on April 29 with stops in Eddyville, Hopkinsville and Bowling Green on its mission to focus attention on the challenges facing those who live in poverty. 

The Poor People’s Campaign was organized by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968 to push for economic justice for those in poverty in the United States.

North Carolina pastor Rev. William Barber revived the greassroots movement with rallies at state capitol buildings and other public locations across the country, including Kentucky, to lead what’s called “A National Call for Moral Revival.”


Wikipedia

The wreckage of a small plane discovered near the Henderson City-County Airport Wednesday morning contained a duffel bag with a large sum of cash and suspected cocaine.

The crash killed Sanford, North Carolina residents 47-year-old Barry A. Hill and 48-year-old George Tucker. The plane was taken without permission from the owner in North Carolina.

Kentucky State Trooper Corey King said there’s information leading investigators to think one of the men knew the owner and said he was considering buying the aircraft. That may be how Tucker, who had some training but wasn’t a licensed pilot, got access to fly the plane.

Rhonda J. Miller

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its five-year census on April 11, and for the first time it includes a category for military veterans who are farming. The census shows that Kentucky currently has about 13,000 farmers with miltary service. 

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture recognized the value of this combination in 2013 with the creation of a program called Homegrown By Heroes. It's a marketing initiative to spotlight and support agricultural producers with military experience.


Kentucky Farm Bureau

The new U.S. Department of Agriculture census released April 11 shows the number of young farmers in Kentucky is increasing. 

The USDA Census of Agriculture is done every five years and the newly-released data on crops, acreage and demographics is for the 2017 year. The previous census used as a five-year comparison is based on 2012 data.

David Knopf is regional director of the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service based in Louisville. He said the census shows a significant increase in the number of young farmers in Kentucky. 


KY Grains

The new U.S. Department of Agriculture census released April 11 shows mid-sized farms in Kentucky farms are on the decline.

The new USDA Census of Agriculture is based on data collected from farms across the country for the year 2017. That census is done very five years, so the 2017 state-by-state data is compared to previous statistics from 2012.

David Knopf is regional director of the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service based Louisville. He said the new census confirms a trend in Kentucky that the number of  small and large farms are increasing, while those in the middle are disappearing. 


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