A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Richard Nelson: Instant Racing expansion will be a bust — pie-in-the-sky promises, economic bad bet

Churchill Downs and Keeneland announced a partnership to expand gambling into eastern and western Kentucky and promised they’ll “create hundreds of new jobs, stimulate economic growth and generate funds to increase purses and breeder incentives.” But if the deal ends up like so many communities lured by casino interests’ pie in the sky promises, the economic gains are a bad...

Eli Capilouto: Partnerships in Northern Kentucky with NKU, St. E Healthcare are examples of change, legacy

As the University for Kentucky, we are the institution our Commonwealth has charged with confronting the most profound of challenges — in education, economic development, health care, and cultural and societal advance — in Kentucky and beyond. Our Board of Trustees recently visited Northern Kentucky. This opportunity afforded us a moment to reflect upon our partnerships in Northern Kentucky,...

Bill Straub: Latest effort to repeal and replace ACA not about improving health care … it’s about winning

WASHINGTON – To quote Michael Corleone, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.’’ Efforts a few months back by the Republican Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, that dastardly program promulgated to bolster the nation’s health needs through an extensive insurance program, suffered an ignoble defeat, leaving Senate Republican Leader Mitch...

Kristy Deep: Treating pain with opioids may not be the best choice; there are other options

Treating pain is important and for many people, the reliance on opioids or narcotics may not be the best answer. The amount of opioids prescribed in the U.S. has quadrupled since 1999, but the overall amount of pain reported hasn’t changed. There are also risks from opioid pain medicines — including side effects and the risk of overdose. And according to some studies, as many as 1 in 4 people receiving...

Robert Couch: Physicians must help Kentucky out of the opioid epidemic, and not just during office hours

Constricted pupils, slowed breathing, blue lips and skin. Health care providers in Kentucky have become all too familiar with these telltale signs of a drug overdose. It’s not a pleasant sight, and last year alone, opioid overdoses caused the deaths of more than 1,400 Kentuckians.   During my 34 years as an emergency physician, I have never witnessed a public health issue as dire as the state’s...

Dorsey Ridley: Kentucky’s public pension faces very real challenges not met by switching to 401Ks

While I appreciate the Governor’s efforts to address Kentucky’s pension challenges, I fear the proposals would only enhance our problems further. Kentucky’s public pensions face very real challenges, but imploding the pension systems that provide benefits promised, and legally protected, to our current and retired public employees — city, county, state, teachers and other school staff —...

John Schickel: A grand idea has emerged, so you are invited to our field trip to Frankfort Oct. 19

Last Wednesday was our Boone County Senior Citizens’ Picnic. This annual event was started years ago by the much-beloved former commissioner, Irene Patrick, with a potluck at her home in Hebron for seniors. Today, this is a huge event which is held each September at the Boone County Fairgrounds and organized by the Boone County Fiscal Court. Companies generously sponsor the event so Boone County...

Richard Nelson: Fixing the foster care system critical to improving the lives of Kentucky children

If Hurricane Harvey’s record rainfall doused the fiery political climate, then the images of rescue workers saving children have softened embittered hearts in our politically divisive age. One evocative photo depicts a disaster relief worker slogging through muddied Houston waters carrying an Asian woman who is cradling her infant. Yet as Harvey leaves the battered Southeast Texas coast for...

Col. Blaine Hedges: Fort Knox military installation, home of U.S. gold depository, is ideal for growth

The Fort Knox military installation near Radcliff is world famous as the location of the US gold depository or vault. In fact, during the month of August, Governor Bevin had the opportunity to be a part of the first contingent allowed to see the nation’s gold reserves since 1974. However, keeping the majority of the nation’s gold supply secure is only a small part of this facility’s capabilities...

Bill Straub: EPA chief Pruitt playing games with nation’s health, safety to gain energy industry favor

WASHINGTON – Scott Pruitt, the Kentuckian in charge of what little is left of the Environmental Protection Agency since the Trumpsters took a chainsaw to it, is very much like the pet shop owner in the famous Monty Python “dead parrot’’ sketch. Confronted by an irritated customer demanding a refund for a rather obviously deceased “Norwegian Blue’’ purchased a half hour earlier, the pet...

Letter to Editor: Maryanne McGowan says RiverBlast fundraiser for Gateway raised $80k for students

“I’m there for Gateway because Gateway was there for me.” These were the inspiring words that Shannon Hart, a Gateway alumni, shared with the over 230 attendees at the Gateway Foundations’ eighth annual RiverBlast fundraiser. I am Maryanne McGowan and I had the privilege of serving as the chair for the event that raises funds for students like Shannon who overcome so many obstacles on their...

Mitch McConnell: Congress faces number of pressing issues related to disaster relief — and debt ceiling

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the Senate’s upcoming agenda items:   Congress has a number of pressing issues to address in the coming days.   There are three critically important things before us that need be done very quickly: pass disaster relief legislation to allow us to rebuild from Harvey and prepare for future disasters...

Eli Capilouto: Research one of the major factors helping to drive the state’s economy, workforce

At the University of Kentucky, we strive to be at the intersection of innovation and impact. We are called, as a $3.7 billion academic, research and health enterprise, to answer still lingering questions while daring to pioneer the questions yet asked. This discovery helps drive Kentucky’s economy. Our rare mix of top ranked programs in agriculture, engineering, medicine, and pharmacy positions UK...

Jason Bailey: Proposed 401Ks cost most than Kentucky’s existing defined benefit pension plans

The 401k-type defined contribution (DC) plans proposed by PFM in their final report would cost more than Kentucky’s existing defined benefit (DB) plans, according to data from PFM itself and the systems’ actuaries. Under a switch, the state would pay more for a plan that reduces the retirement security of its workers. PFM’s proposed DC plan would require employees to make a minimum three percent...

Dennis Keene: Public pension system must be stabilized to protect seniors, retirees counting on it

Governor Bevin’s pension consultant produced a report and recommendations last week that set off a firestorm of worry, uncertainty and mass retirements from a proposal that significantly cuts to pension benefits promised to Kentucky’s current and future retirees. It is abundantly clear that it is the responsibility of the General Assembly to adjust the public pension system in the fact of our...