A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Briefs: KY woman commands ‘Old Ironsides,’ Rose the penquin, Chamber in Frankfort, equality ranking

Kentucky woman commands ‘Old Ironsides’

Paducah native Cmdr. Billie J. Farrell will become the first woman to lead the crew of the 224-year-old warship, popularly known as Old Ironsides, this week, the U.S. Navy announced.

Cmdr. Farrell

Farrell will take over the U.S.S. Constitution from Cmdr. John Benda this week.

Farrell is a 2004 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and most recently served as the executive officer aboard U.S.S. Vicksburg, a guided missile cruiser, according to her Navy biography.

The Constitution, based at Boston’s Charlestown Navy Yard, is the world’s oldest commissioned warship still afloat. It played a crucial role in the Barbary Wars and the War of 1812 and defended sea lanes from 1797 until 1855. The ship was undefeated in battle and destroyed or captured 33 opposing vessels.

It earned the nickname Old Ironsides during the war of 1812, when British cannonballs were seen bouncing off its wooden hull.

It is crewed by active-duty sailors, about one-third of whom are women.

Cinci Zoo penguin chick named for Betty White character


As a tribute to the late Betty White, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden names is month-old blue penguin, Rose, after the character White played on Golden Girls.

“Betty White was a huge Zoo supporter and animal lover,” said Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard. “I had the pleasure of making her acquaintance years ago when she attended a Cincinnati Zoo fundraiser. We introduced her to our first ambassador cheetah, Angel.”
Zookeepers often get creative with animal names.  All of the Zoo’s king penguins are named after famous kings… Martin Luther, Bibi, Burger, Larry Stacey and Stephen.
According to bird team head keeper Cody Sowers, Rose is healthy and on track to move to the little blue penguin habitat soon. She will join the colony of 30+ penguins, and visitors will get to see her when the weather gets warmer.
Penguin Days runs through March 11. Enjoy discounted admission and catch Penguin Parades, featuring the king penguins, Friday – Sunday at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. through the end of February.

NKY Chamber Day in Frankfort 

The Northern Kentucky Chamber’s annual legislative “Day in Frankfort” is Wednesday, March 2. The event will be filled with opportunities to engage with and hear directly from the members of Legislative Leadership, the Northern Kentucky Legislative Caucus, and Beshear Administration officials. 
Attendees will be discussing the legislative priorities of the NKY Chamber with elected officials. The goal is to have a variety of speakers and panel discussions during the day and allow time for registered participants to personally engage with the elected officials and ask questions. Details on timing and speakers TBA. Click here to register now.

Governor appoints Black to Kentucky Fire Commission

Chris Black of Petersburg, captain of the Burlington Fire Protection District, has been appointed to the Kentucky Fire Commission by Governor Andy Beshear.

He will serve for a term expiring Nov. 30, 2025.

Kentucky ranks 3rd on equality metrics from Census

A Pew Research Center survey conducted in July 2021 found that half the respondents believe a lot more needs to be done to ensure racial equality. Separately, about 38% of those surveyed by U.S. News & World Report said the same.

U.S. News followed up with a census data on metrics such as the disability emplyment gap, education gap by race and income gap by gender. In the rankings of the 10 most equitable states, Kentucky was #3.

To see what U.S. News & World Report said about Kentucky: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/kentucky

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