A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Jesse Brewer: As Boone County grows, zoning becomes key; here are checks, balances in place

Over the last several years Boone County Kentucky has been blessed with growth and economic development. Our geographical location in the united states gives us a distinct advantage over several other places in the United States. For starters, our airport is ranked #7 in the amount of cargo it ships per year. You can reach over 68% of the country’s population within a day’s drive and we are no...

Commentary: Kentucky Senate, it’s time to make Kentucky schools tobacco free

By Ben Chandler, Terry Brooks, Kerri Shelling, Jack Hillard, David Adkisson   Kentucky students need a statewide tobacco-free schools law to protect them from secondhand smoke, e-cigarette aerosol and tobacco product messaging at school. Nearly 60 percent of Kentucky kids attend schools that do not have such policies, so they smell, breathe and otherwise absorb tobacco emissions and messaging during...

Ryan Quarles: ‘Check the box’ for Kentucky’s hungry when you file your state income tax returns

Nearly 1 in 6 Kentuckians – including 1 in 5 Kentucky children – don’t know where their next meal will come from at some point in the year. That’s why I launched the Kentucky Hunger Initiative nearly three years ago: to combat the unfortunate reality that so many of our friends and neighbors are food insecure. With tax season upon us, you can “check the box” to join the fight to reduce...

Charlie Schicht: Children, families need afterschool programs; all kids deserve chance to succeed

All kids deserve an opportunity to succeed in life. Yet, by ending federal funding for afterschool programs across the country, President Trump’s new budget would disinvest in the futures of nearly 18,000 Kentucky children. Afterschool programs are critical to our young people. They make a huge difference in their lives. Take, for example, Jessica. Jessica always had a thing about math. She didn’t...

Kim Moser: Tackling the methamphetamine crisis in our communities also an ongoing challenge

The epidemic of illegal drug abuse is one of the most difficult challenges facing our communities.  Our region’s harrowing experience with opioids has been well documented and remains an ongoing struggle for those who are addicted and their families.  Rep. Moser Increasingly, the scourge of methamphetamine abuse has grown alongside opioids as a destructive force tearing apart our communities. A...

Bill Straub: Welcome to Tombstone (aka Kentucky) where the right to bear arms is truly unlimited

On March 11, a gentleman named Larry Walters got into an argument, subject unknown, with another patron at Uncle 7’s Bourbon Bar & Grille, an establishment off Clays Mill Road in the southern part of Lexington, leading to a physical altercation. According to police, Walters took exception to the course of the disagreement and felt compelled to draw a firearm. The 69-year-old veteran began firing,...

Jason Bailey: Watch out for attack on pensions on legislative session’s final day, March 28

The General Assembly adjourned for the veto period without providing relief from soon-to-spike pension costs to quasi-governmental organizations like regional universities and community mental health centers. The legislature can still prevent an unaffordable increase on the session’s final day — March 28 — but must reject attempts to attach harmful pension changes that would set Kentucky...

Amye Bensenhaver: A new exception to open records should always raise legislative red flags

Twice this week we were reminded of a common argument used by public agencies to avoid their statutory duties under the open records law. The first reminder came in the form of judicial repudiation of the argument. The second reminder came in the form of legislative acceptance of the argument in a newly enacted, but wholly unvetted, exception to the open records law. The argument is based on the agencies’...

Terry Brooks: March Madness meant upset wins for Kentucky kids in legislature, but we need slam dunks

A high and holy season in the Bluegrass is upon us – March Madness! I will deeply dive into the metrics of winning basketball before completing my bracket.  And my grandkids will consider elements like favorite mascots and team colors before completing theirs – and they will beat me. So, while I may be unable to accurately project winners, this I know. At some point during the tournament, a player...

Al Cross: As General Assembly ends, it did not — in most big ways — act in the public interest

FRANKFORT – With almost all its work done, has the current session of the Kentucky General Assembly acted in the public interest? In many small ways, yes. But in most big ways, no. And, of course, it depends on how you define “public interest.” For example, what some see as needed competition for failing public schools, and more opportunity for students, is seen by others as a drain on schools...

Commentary: Advocates say Kentucky needs a citizen-based defense of sunshine laws

By Amye Bensenhaver 
and Jennifer P. Brown Sunshine Week is upon us and with it the inevitable meteorological metaphors for open government climate change at the federal, state, and local level. These metaphors carry meaning, especially in 2019. There is no better time than now for all Kentuckians to be aware of potential serious threats to laws that protect the public’s right to know how government...

Bill Straub: Worth it or not, the time is coming for decisions to be made and it has to be right

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi created a bit of a stir in political circles this week when she told The Washington Post that she opposes impeaching President Trump (yech!) because the spectacle of attempting to remove him from office would prove “divisive to the country.” In something of a coda, Pelosi, a California Democrat, further offered that the blackguard currently holding down the nation’s...

John Henson: Ewell Balltrip, longtime community journalist, editor, was dedicated to Eastern Kentucky

In its history stretching back well over 100 years, the Harlan Daily Enterprise had been the home of many outstanding journalists. Not many, if any, could compare to Ewell Balltrip, whose long battle with illness ended last week. 
Balltrip was a reporter, then editor and then publisher during an Enterprise career that ran from the late 1960s to the early 1990s, where he taught several generations...

Joseph Cotton: Everyone knows the country is ‘going to pot’ — and the good news is you can profit from it

As everyone knows, the country is going to pot. But the good news is that you can profit from it. Pot stocks, which used to be mostly made up of hyped, penny stocks and scams have become mainstream….with a vengeance. The impetus behind the huge resurgence in pot stocks has been the legalization of recreational and medicinal marijuana in an ever-growing list of states, and also the recent legalization...

Fernando Figueroa: Work-based learning and apprenticeships provide opportunities for employers

In our current labor market, identifying a pool of suitable workers can be challenging for many employers. Today, some of the more traditional ways of recruiting a talented workforce seem to be ineffective. However, this conundrum may be a blessing in disguise if it causes employers to be open to considering new opportunities, such as offering work-based learning and apprenticeship experiences, as...