Alana Watson

A new all-inclusive playground that allows children with disabilities and special needs to play alongside their peers is now open to the public in Bowling Green.

The Play and Learn Village was created to allow children of all abilities to play together without any boundaries. Bowling Green Parks and Recreation partnered with the city of Bowling Green, PNC Bank, United Way, and the state of Kentucky to provide the community with the playground. 

The city’s parks and recreation director, Brent Belcher said the project has been in the works for the last 40 years. 

The village is wheelchair-accessible, sensory play, and playground equipment specifically for children with disabilities. Playground equipment supplier, PlayPros, helped designed the playground and provided accessible equipment.


Nathan French

Nathan French signed up for a COVID-19 vaccination and is waiting for an appointment. The 22-year-old Transylvania University senior has had COVID-19 twice. 

“The first time it was asymptomatic, and I was thankful,” French said. “But the second time, I was stricken with lung issues, and it felt like my heart rate was faster than normal. I was horrified for my safety because I just didn’t know what was going to happen to me.”

French has a developmental disability, a form of the neuromuscular disease called Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, which affects his diaphragm and his nerves. French also has a heart condition. 


Laura Ellis | WFPL

Gov. Andy Beshear has issued an executive order expanding disability benefits for essential workers like grocery store employees, postal workers and child care providers who are still working during the coronavirus pandemic.

The benefits would apply if an employee is infected with coronavirus or takes time off because a health care provider recommends quarantining due to possible exposure.

La Tasha Buckner, Beshear’s chief of staff, said that coverage already applies to first responders and health care workers, but it needed to be expanded.

J. Tyler Franklin

The Kentucky Supreme Court will soon decide whether the Commonwealth of Kentucky should give a mom with intellectual disabilities another chance to regain custody of her child. The court heard oral arguments Wednesday in a case that could have far-reaching implications for the parental rights of people with disabilities in Kentucky.

The case before the court boils down to whether the Cabinet for Health and Family Services provided reasonable accommodations to a mother with autism and a low IQ. The state removed her baby shortly after birth, and the woman has spent years trying to regain custody.

The ARC of Kentucky

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed budget recommends eliminating state funding for 70 programs. One of those is a volunteer program that serves individuals with disabilities.

The ARC of Kentucky has volunteer chapters across the state that provide educational and community support for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, including autism and Down Syndrome.

Funding for ARC was already eliminated in July 2017, halfway through the last two-year state budget cycle. The group could no longer afford its paid executive director, so Sherri Brothers began in August 2017 as interim executive director – as a full-time volunteer.

Creative Commons

A surge in the number of people receiving disability benefits in Kentucky is partly due to the state’s aging baby boomer population and other demographic trends, according to a left-leaning think tank.

Last week, state officials released a report documenting the swell of Kentuckians receiving disability payments through social security. The study accused the Social Security Administration of boosting enrollment in the disability insurance program through lax enrollment policies.

Becca Schimmel

Thelma Daulton goes to the salon to get her hair done at the same time every Friday. She gets picked up at her house and greeted by one of many familiar faces from the Rural Transit Enterprises, Coordinated, or RTEC.

Daulton is 95 years old and has been riding the public transit system in Somerset, Kentucky, for about 15 years. Daulton said her daughter would like for her to move closer to Bowling Green, but Daulton likes her community and has no intention of leaving.

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

State officials say too many people are getting disability benefits in Kentucky, citing a new state report that shows disability enrollment has far outpaced the state’s population growth over the last 35 years.

The report was prepared by Kentucky’s Disability Determination Services and echoes rhetoric used by Gov. Matt Bevin in his push to revamp the state’s Medicaid system. Bevin wants to require beneficiaries to pay small premiums and prove they’re working, volunteering or seeking a job.