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

A state legislator who says he will work to eliminate poverty is running to win the state’s Democratic U.S. Senate primary.

Representative Charles Booker brought his campaign to Bowling Green on Monday with stops at the Warren County Democratic Woman’s Club and other events.

Charles Booker said when he was growing up in the west end of Louisville, he remembers his mother going without food so he could eat. 

Booker said, in his opinion, big corporations get too many tax breaks while many working people struggle to make ends meet.


WKU

Western Kentucky University has canceled some study abroad programs involving Italy, as that country deals with a substantial outbreak of the coronavirus.            

WKU has cancelled two study abroad courses in Italy based on warnings from the State Department and the Centers for Disease Control.  Both programs were scheduled for May 25 through June 26 during the university’s summer term.

One cancellation is the faculty-led 'Photography in Rome' course. 

The second cancellation is the 'WKU Bands Performance Tour and Study Abroad' which included locations in Venice and Milan, Italy, as well as stops in Greece, Albania and Croatia.

In addition, 14 other students planning to go to Italy for summer programs with partner schools will have to find other destinations.

The CDC has issued a Level 3 Warning to avoid nonessential travel to Italy due to widespread community transmission of respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus. 


U.S. Census Bureau

Kentucky residents can expect notices in their mailboxes beginning next week with information on filling out the 2020 Census questionnaire. There are new options for this census.

The once-in-10-year count of everyone living in the United States is shifting into high gear, with letters from the U.S. Census Bureau expected to arrive in mailboxes across the nation March 12-20.

The letters will have detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone, or by mail.


Rhonda J. Miller

In south central Kentucky, and across the nation, there’s an increasing demand for truck drivers and medical assistants. A federal program offers paid training in those specialties. 

One career advisor has her office wall lined with what she calls  ‘success stories’ of people who often arrive in a financial crisis and walk out with a new lease on life.

At her desk in the Kentucky Career Center in Bowling Green, Amy Settles offers a chair to Tim Woodard. He’s about 6'6", neatly dressed, and ready to go to work.

“I just lost my job at Bendix,” Woodard tells Settles. 


Rhonda J. Miller

The Bowling Green Housing Authority has gained national attention for its programs, especially its Envision Center. 

A group of visitors from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development  and the philanthropic organization Scholarship America recently came to see some of the activities at the Bowling Green facility. 

The group included Michael Browder, deputy regional administrator for Region 4 of HUD, which covers eight southeastern states, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

paringaresources.com

The Australian company that owns a coal mine in McLean County announced on Feb. 21 that it's selling the troubled project and the Kentucky company operating the mine has filed for bankruptcy.

The Poplar Grove mine in rural McLean County, about 30 miles south of  Owensboro, is operated by Hartshorne Mining Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Paringa Resources, based in Perth, Australia.

Paringa has filed for Chapter 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Kentucky.


Brittany McFadden

There’s a new wildlife rehabilitation center in Ohio County, Kentucky, launched by a woman who found a need and decided to fill it.

Brittany McFadden saw a posting on Facebook by Ohio County Animal Control asking for a local person who is a “wildlife rehabber” to come pick up an animal.

That gave McFadden the idea for Shamar Wildlife Rehab and Sanctuary, which opened in January.

McFadden said Shamar is a Hebrew word, suggested by her mother, that means “to keep, guard, protect and save life.” McFadden said it just seemed natural for her to launch this project.

“I’ve always had a love for animals, and I always wanted to do something with animals. I’m literally living my dream," said McFadden. "I imagined it would be cats and dogs, but there are people advocating for cats and dogs. There’s no one advocating for the wildlife, so that’s why I chose to take care of the wildlife.”


Paringaresources.com

McLean County officials are finalizing plans for a “rapid response” to assist coal miners who recently lost their jobs on one day’s notice.  

The Poplar Grove coal mine that began operations in December 2018 has encountered a series of financial and geological troubles.

The Poplar Grove mine, about 30 miles south of Owensboro, is owned by the Australian company Paringa Resources and operated by its wholly-owned subsidiary, the Hartshorne Mining Group.

Hartshorne sent a letter to some employees on Feb. 17 informing them they’d be terminated the following day. 

McLean County Judge Executive Curtis Dame said he’s talked with some of the miners and estimates at least 40 of them have lost their jobs, about half the workforce at the mine.


paringaresources.com

Some of the employees at the Poplar Grove coal mine in McLean County, Kentucky, received a letter on Feb. 17 informing them that their employment will end Feb. 18.

The letter is from Hartshorne Mining Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Paringa Resources in Australia.

The letter said the project will transition from two mining units to one and some employees will be retained as the effort continues to seek additional financing or possibly the sale of the mine.

Paringa has encountered financial and geological problems at the Poplar Grove mine.

Rhonda J. Miller

Mike Broihier is one of 10 Democratic candidates competing in the May 19 Kentucky primary to be the nominee for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Senate Majority Leader Mitch Connell, who has seven Republican challengers in the primary.

Broihier is a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer who lives on a 75-acre farm in Lincoln County in central Kentucky with his wife, also a retired Marine Corps officer. 

Broihier stopped by the WKU Public Radio studio in Bowling Green to talk with  reporter Rhonda Miller.


paringaresources.com

An Australian company operating a new coal mine in western Kentucky is requesting an extended suspension on the trading of its stock.

The company has been having financial and operating issues at the Buck Creek Mining Complex in McLean County. 

The owner of the mine, Paringa Resources, made a request to the Australian Securities Exchange to keep the stock off the market until Feb. 25.

Paringa previously suspended trading of its securities until Jan. 28 to give it time for discussion with the company’s lenders.

The Kentucky mine is operated by Hartshorne Mining Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Paringa.


Rhonda J. Miller

A retired Marine Corps officer and farmer running to win Kentucky’s Democratic U.S. Senate primary brought his campaign to Bowling Green on Monday.

Mike Broihier came by the WKU Public Radio studios before his stops at the Warren County Democratic Woman’s Club, Little Fox Bakery, and other campaign events.

Broihier is traveling across Kentucky in a face-to-face campaign to gain name recognition and support for his progressive agenda in a crowded field of 10 Democrats competing in the May primary. 

The winner will advance to the November general election, likely against Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, who has seven primary challengers. 


Rhonda J. Miller

The annual survey of the homeless in Kentucky called K-Count reveals that people often end up on the street or in a shelter because of relationship or medical issues.

Some who have become homeless offered to take part in the survey when they were in a Bowling Green shelter on the evening of Jan. 29, when the 2020 K-Count took place. 

On that night, seven women and 21 men seeking shelter arrived at Room in the Inn Bowling Green by the 5:30 p.m. registration time. 

After those 28 guests had been transported to host churches for the night, program coordinator Sharli Rogers hopped into her car.


Rhonda J. Miller

Community groups and volunteers across Kentucky are taking part this week in the annual count of the homeless. 

In Kentucky it’s called K-Count, and most of the counting was done Jan. 29 at homeless shelters, in the woods, behind buildings, and wherever people who have no place to live might be sleeping. 

Some of the count was also done at shelters on the morning of Jan. 30, with homeless individuals who were not counted on the previous night.

For the first time, K-Count data collectors used an app this year to upload information, in addition to traditional paper forms.

In the Bluegrass State the count is coordinated by the Kentucky Housing Corporation, with projects done regionally, mostly by social service nonprofits and volunteers.


Somerset Community College

An innovative collaboration among Kentucky colleges and universities is launching a new program to address the state and national shortage of nurses.

The new partnership lets nursing students earn an associate’s degree, which is a Registered Nurse or RN program, at Somerset Community College. Then the students can remain at the Somerset campus to earn a bachelor of science in nursing, or BSN, from the University of Kentucky.

The program is offered through the University Center of Southern Kentucky that launched in fall 2019. It’s a collaboration based at Somerset Community College in partnership with five four-year colleges and universities.


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