Courtesy of Goodwill

Efforts to help individuals with criminal records are continuing in Kentucky despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Goodwill Industries of Kentucky is still offering services like expungement clinics, its soft skills academy, and its Louisville-based RISE program through virtual methods.

Normally, individuals who complete Goodwill's RISE Louisville program would gather in-person for the week-long class. It provides students information on topics like computer lieracy, banking and wellness.

Goodwill Industries of Kentucky Director of Reentry Services Dennis Ritchie said the group worked to make sure people could still access their classes once they went online.

Ryland Barton

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’ll only support sending more federal funds to state and local governments if the money is spent on responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and governors across the country have been pleading with Congress to prop up struggling state budgets during the pandemic amid a massive decline in income and sales tax revenues—taxpayers are making and spending less money.


J. Tyler Franklin

A rally at the Kentucky State Capitol on Sunday ended with “several people” hanging an effigy of Gov. Andy Beshear from a tree and then marching to the governor’s mansion, chanting “Come out Andy,” according to tweets from a Courier Journal reporter

The governor lives in the mansion with his wife and two children.

Reporter Sarah Ladd sent out a string of tweets from the rally late Sunday afternoon, including a photo of the effigy with a noose around its neck. 

J. Tyler Franklin

Due to a steep drop in money gleaned from taxes during the coronavirus pandemic, Kentucky is bracing for a $457 million revenue shortfall by the time it closes its financial books on June 30th.

The shortfall will require Gov. Andy Beshear to make cuts to the current year’s state budget, the spending plan for a wide range of state services like education and health care.

Beshear hasn’t said what he will cut yet, but during his daily news conference on Friday he said cabinet secretaries will help decide.

J. Tyler Franklin

A group of women with ties to Kentucky’s Green River Correctional Complex is urging Gov. Andy Beshear to release more inmates amid the pandemic. A dozen women calling themselves “Prison Wives of Green River Correctional Complex” gathered outside the governor’s mansion and the Kentucky Capitol on Saturday afternoon, carrying homemade signs and wearing T-shirts with pictures of their loved ones who are behind bars.

As of May 22, 357 inmates and 50 staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus at Green River, a state prison in Muhlenberg County. Three men have died, although the state says the exact cause of death for one of those men is still pending.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear says the number of coronavirus cases is on the decline in Kentucky, a key metric he has said would be used to determine whether businesses can reopen during the pandemic.

“We now think we have not just plateaued, but we are in a decline on overall number of cases, especially when you look at the amount of testing we’re doing” Beshear said during his daily press conference on Friday.

“And that is really good news.”

The announcement comes as restaurants across the state are allowed to open at 33% occupancy and groups of ten or fewer are allowed to gather amid the pandemic.

Lisa Autry

More than 8,000 Kentuckians have been sickened so far by the coronavirus.  A vast majority are survivors, yet they can face a long road to recovery.  Among them is Morris Hogue of Scottsville.

“What are we having for supper, baby?," Hogue recently asked his wife Kim, while being visited by a reporter. 

"We’re having leftovers from last night," she replied. "Tenderloin, and you know how good it is."

"I want fried chicken," he joked.

Until just recently, Morris and Kim Hogue took for granted sitting in rocking chairs on the front porch of their home in rural Allen County. 

Lake Cumberland District Health Department/Facebook

As businesses open back up across Kentucky this week, Lake Cumberland District Health Department Executive Director Shawn Crabtree is reminding residents of the Bluegrass State to to keep taking safety precautions related to COVID-19. 

“I have had several people ask me questions this week about issues of safety. Like is it safe to go out? Is it safe to go to a restaurant? Is it safe to go back to church? Nothing is absolutely safe," said Crabree in his weekly COVID-19 update on May 20. "It’s all a matter of reducing your risk.”

State and local health officials continue to encourage Kentuckians to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the virus by social distancing, wearing a mask and avoiding large groups, even with the easing of restrictions. Individuals who are most vulnerable, including those over 60, or with underlying health conditions, are urged to continue to remain safe at home as much as possible.

Tony Gonzalez | WPLN News

The state of Tennessee is now allowing restaurants and retail businesses to increase capacity, so long as social-distancing recommendations can still be met.

Starting this weekend, establishments will no longer have capacity restrictions. And entertainment venues can reopen, though they have some very specific guidance that was just released Wednesday afternoon (listed here, like suspending “pop-up” performances that might gather an uncontrollable crowd).

At performance venues, musicians are supposed to be kept 15 feet away from audiences as a sort of spit zone, since singing expels more germs than speaking does.

Updated at 12:10 p.m. ET

The U.S. could have prevented roughly 36,000 deaths from COVID-19 if broad social distancing measures had been put in place just one week earlier in March, according to an analysis from Columbia University.

Underlining the importance of aggressively responding to the coronavirus, the study found the U.S. could have avoided at least 700,000 fewer infections if actions that began on March 15 had actually started on March 8.

Sydney Boles / Ohio Valley ReSource

Indoor dining at restaurants across the Ohio Valley is “reopening” under new guidelines. Kentucky, and West Virginia are requiring these businesses to at least temporarily reduce maximum occupancy, among other social distancing recommendations. 

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear has set out the most stringent requirements and suggestions for food service of the three states. Restaurants in Kentucky cannot exceed 33 percent of their maximum occupancy. Additionally,  Beshear has suggested that people not living in the same household should not be permitted to sit at the same table.

Kentucky Restaurant Association President Stacy Roof said requiring reduced capacity is a challenge, and places with outdoor seating will have an easier time than those without it. 

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced $300 million in CARES Act funding for city and county governments that will go out starting Thursday morning. 

During his Wednesday briefing, he said the money will reimburse local governments for expenses they accrued from the pandemic, such as personal protective equipment, or PPE, purchased for health and safety workers, costs from disinfecting public spaces and buildings, and payroll expenses for public workers responding to the crisis.

“You do not have the success we’ve had against COVID-19 without strong local leaders and the expenses that they put into it,” Beshear said.

The United States is still losing jobs at an alarming pace two months after the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

Another 2.4 million people filed claims for unemployment last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That's down 249,000 — or 9% — from the previous week, but still painfully high by historical standards.

In the past nine weeks, jobless claims have totaled 38.6 million. That's roughly one out of every four people who were working in February, before the pandemic hit.

Lisa Autry

Cash registers are ringing in Kentucky for the first time in two months. Retail outlets reopened on Wednesday following a shutdown from the coronavirus.

Dixieland Boutique in Bowling Green opened Wednesday without a lot of fanfare. Owner Brittany Blackerby said normally when there’s a sale or special occasion, the clothing store will heavily promote it and do giveaways.

“I was little hesitant to do it in the same way this time because we need to maintain social distancing, so we didn’t want a line at the door or a lot of people coming in at once," Blackerby told WKU Public Radio. We wanted it to be like a normal day.”

Blackerby said customer traffic steady was steady throughout the day.

Two-thirds of Americans do not expect their daily lives to return to normal for at least six months, and as states reopen, three-quarters are concerned that a second wave of coronavirus cases will emerge, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds.

"There's a great sense that normalcy is not around the corner," said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, which conducted the poll.