- Video Games
*Editor’s Note: Additional video footage featuring Public Health’s early childhood education obesity prevention program is available here.
FRANKFORT, KY (March 28, 2017) – As part of National Nutrition Month, First Lady Glenna Bevin is praising the efforts of the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), to address the prevalence of childhood obesity in its earliest stages, establishing a foundation of healthy habits to last a lifetime.
The DPH Obesity Prevention Program focuses on efforts to increase quality and access to healthy foods and beverages, place limits on screen time, promote physical activity and breastfeeding in early care and education centers.
“As a mom of nine, I know how important it is to establish these healthy habits early on,” said Mrs. Bevin. “Building a foundation based on healthy eating and physical activity is a challenge, so it is encouraging to see so many children being exposed to a healthy lifestyle in many of state’s early childcare education centers. This is an innovative approach and example of effective health policy.”
Here is an overview of several DPH program offerings:
• More than 14,450 children across the state have been impacted by the Early Care and Education Learning Collaborative. Through this intensive training (beginning its third cohort in 2016), child care centers adopt new policies and implement classroom changes that promote 5-2-1-0 healthy behaviors for all children.
• Nearly 422,000 students are participating in Farm to School throughout Kentucky. This program brings fresh produce from Kentucky farmers to schools and provides opportunities for students to learn about nutrition, agriculture, and the importance of supporting the local food system.
• More than 1,000 schools serving nearly 550,000 students across the state have joined the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program, creating healthier school environments for children to thrive.
• There are nearly 300 statewide groups and coalitions representing all 120 counties that are working to improve the health of Kentuckians.
• Kentucky has 52 bike/pedestrian plans. By working with communities to adopt a plan, we are addressing the walkability of places by ensuring that they are eligible for funding opportunities to make them safer and more inviting places to be physically active.
• There are 92 organizations, agencies, and businesses that have pledged their support for Step It Up, Kentucky! This collective endorsement demonstrates that walkability and active transportation are a priority for Kentucky.
• Of Kentucky’s 174 farmers markets –including 14 Fresh Stop Markets – 55 accept SNAP, 90 accept WIC, and 88 accept Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program benefits. Over 25 markets participate in the Double Dollars program, and many others are piloting Veggie Rx, Summer Meal Service Program, and partnerships with Food Banks.
• Better Bites healthy menu labeling program is currently operated in all 17 Kentucky State Park Resorts, three state-operated worksite cafeterias, four public swimming pools, and several after-school programs throughout Lexington and Owensboro.
“By providing extensive training, encouraging family engagement and promoting consistent policies, we will increase the number of Kentucky’s youngest children who receive care in a healthy, supportive center,” said CHFS Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson. “Reaching children before age 5 is critical to establishing lifelong healthy eating and exercise habits, which helps prevent someone from becoming overweight later on in life.”
The DPH program also focuses on policies and programs designed to improve the health of Kentucky communities. When specifically addressing early care and education stakeholders, the program highlights;
- Nearly one in three children in Kentucky enter kindergarten overweight or obese;
- Healthy habits established in early childhood build the foundation for lifelong health; and
- School readiness in Kentucky includes being healthy and physically prepared to grow, learn and succeed.
“Public health is actively engaged in numerous programs targeted at preventing obesity in children from early childhood education training and curriculum to school-based programming to encouraging community pedestrian plans,” said Elaine Russell, coordinator for Kentucky Obesity Prevention Program. “As part of National Nutrition Month, we hope more Kentuckians will take a moment to learn about how partners across the state are shifting the environment to improve food choices and opportunities for physical activity.”
DPH recently reported a drop in childhood obesity rates among 2-4 year old children participating in Kentucky WIC (Women, Infants and Children). Numbers showed a drop of nearly 5 percentage points since 2010, which put rates for this age group below the national average.
The latest WIC obesity prevalence numbers released in 2016 show the percentage of obese children participating in the WIC program has fallen from 18.2 percent in 2010 to 13.3 percent in 2014. The rate decline was observed in low-income children between the ages of 2 and 4 years old, according to WIC (Women, Infants and Children) data.
“When it comes to childhood obesity, prevention is the key to reversing the trends and that is clearly reflected in our current childhood obesity numbers,” said Dr. Connie White, senior deputy commissioner for DPH. “Our program has worked diligently to promote obesity prevention in early childhood centers around the state, emphasizing the importance of reaching children before they reach elementary school. We are inspired by the changes we are seeing and encourage other communities and organizations across the state to invest in obesity prevention and healthy lifestyle initiatives.”
National Nutrition Month runs throughout March and points to the success of various initiatives undertaken by DPH aimed at preventing young children from becoming overweight or obese.
“We are encouraged to see that childhood obesity numbers are starting to go down, meaning fewer children are at risk for diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which are both associated with obesity,” concluded Sec. Glisson.
The DPH Obesity Prevention Program leads the Partnership for a Fit Kentucky (PFK), a team of leaders, administrators, advocates, health professionals, and community members who care about the health and future of Kentucky citizens. This dynamic public/private partnership supports health policy, environmental, and system changes that promote healthy eating and active lifestyles. Follow PFK on Facebook and Twitter.
"Put Your Best Fork Forward" is the theme for National Nutrition 2017 which serves as a reminder that each one of us holds the tool to make healthier food choices. Making small changes during National Nutrition Month® and over time, helps improve health now and into the future. As nutrition experts, Academy members can help guide the public on gradually shifting toward healthier eating styles by promoting NNM activities and messages during March.
Be sure to visit the Academy's National Nutrition Month® website during the upcoming months for new and updated resources to help make the NNM 2017 celebration an infinite success!
Additional information about obesity prevention strategies can be found at the Association of Public Health Nutritionists website. The Association of State Public Health Nutritionists (ASPHN) is a 501(c)(3)non-profit membership organization that provides state and national leadership on food and nutrition policy, programs, and services.
‘The Obama Administration launched energy attack after energy attack on Kentucky and America’s middle class, threatening critical jobs and making coal more costly to mine and to use…Coal communities face enough challenges without Washington piling on more with these unreasonable attacks. Fortunately, we now have a president who will work with us to provide much-needed relief.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the Energy Independence Executive Order that President Trump plans to sign today:
“Throughout my career in the Senate, I’ve worked hard to defend coal communities and the jobs that they, and so many across the country, depend upon. These men and women have dedicated their lives to providing an affordable and reliable power source for our homes, businesses, and communities. They deserve our respect and our support. The same is true of America’s middle class more broadly. Middle-class families had a hard enough time the last eight years without Washington making things worse. I think they deserve respect and support, not fewer jobs and unaffordable energy bills.
“Unfortunately, the previous administration didn’t see things the same way. Instead, the Obama Administration launched energy attack after energy attack on Kentucky and America’s middle class, threatening critical jobs and making coal more costly to mine and to use. Indeed, a couple years ago, then-President Obama finalized a massive, regressive energy regulatory scheme that claimed to be about helping the climate but actually would have done little to truly impact global emissions. What it would have done is punish coal families, ship middle-class jobs overseas, and hurt the economy. It was also likely illegal.
“So, I sent a letter counseling governors to wait for the courts to rule on the legality of the regulation before submitting a compliance plan. It was not a popular move at the time. Turns out, it was the right one. I’m glad that nearly half of our nation’s governors agreed with my advice to take a ‘wait and see’ approach before needlessly putting their states in economic jeopardy. I’m proud to report that we will notch an important victory in this struggle later today. I commend President Trump for the decision to sign the Energy Independence Executive Order and send several anti-middle class regulations back to the drawing board.
“From the outset, I warned that regulations like these would hurt coal workers and America’s middle class. One report predicted that more than 40 states could have seen double-digit electricity rate hikes as a result of the CPP energy regulatory plan. And we all know that low- and fixed-income families would have suffered the most. And for what? This regulation would hardly have moved the needle on the climate anyway. Talk about bad policy. It’s important to remember how we got here.
“President Obama came into office with huge majorities in both houses of Congress. He could’ve done virtually anything he wanted and certainly tried. He pushed through one left-wing policy after the other. He even tried to push through a regressive, anti-middle class energy regulatory plan — one so extreme that he couldn't even get his own Democrat-controlled Congress to go along with it. Undeterred, he went around Congress and imposed a similarly regressive energy scheme anyway.
“It was evident that the Obama Administration had overstepped its authority. That’s why I sent the letter I mentioned earlier to the nation’s governors urging them not to comply with the CPP's demands, but to instead take a ‘wait and see’ approach before putting their states into economic jeopardy. Because of the legal uncertainty of President Obama’s plan, 27 states joined the fight in federal court. In February 2016, the Supreme Court issued an unprecedented nationwide halt on this regulation.
“Despite the Court’s order, the damage of President Obama’s ‘War on Coal’ has already negatively impacted middle-class families across the country and coal communities in Kentucky. When plants shut down and miners lose their jobs, the entire community feels the pain. With less tax revenue, local governments are unable to pay teachers and first responders. These hardships often lead to the rise of crime and drug abuse that trouble these communities.
“Moreover, the Obama Administration’s massive regulatory burdens were imposed during a period when production and supply of natural gas had been high and its costs relatively low — a devastating one-two punch to families already struggling to make it. To make matters worse, President Obama didn’t stop at the CPP; he also sought to impose similar limitations on any new plants in an attempt to prevent them from being built. It’s an equally concerning regulation, and one that would have further devastated coal communities. I’m glad President Trump will include it in his executive order today.
“Coal communities face enough challenges without Washington piling on more with these unreasonable attacks. Fortunately, we now have a president who will work with us to provide much-needed relief. Today’s executive order is good news for coal communities, it’s a victory for middle class families, and it’s another important step away from the overregulation of the Obama years.
“We all want clean air and clean water. But that’s not what President Obama’s energy regulatory policies were actually about. It was an ideological vanity project. It wouldn’t have even solved the problem it purported to address.
“Fortunately, the EPA will now have the opportunity to go back to the drawing board and get this right with balanced and serious policies. The EPA should work with stakeholders across the country to develop sensible policies that balance the economic needs of our communities with the realities of the environment. This way, we can protect America’s middle class, America’s miners, and America’s natural resources — all at once.”
Get ready for the spring and summer gardening season by attending the Boyd County Master Gardeners “Can You Dig It” gardening seminar.
Gardening expert John Marra (WSAZ), Kim Jenkins, Sweet Bay Landscape, Scott Freidof, Biologist, Ky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and Ken Imel, Imel’s Greenhouse will be the presenters.
Classes will include bees and pollinators, planting four seasons of color, care of annuals and perennials, basic landscape design and pruning.
County Extension staff and Master Gardeners will also be on hand to answer your questions about vegetable planting times, care of fruit trees and composting. Vendor booths will include Imels Greenhouse, Ashland Milling, Hanna’s Southern States of Grayson, the Boyd County Bee Keepers and the Master Gardeners.
The event will be held on April 8th at the Boyd County Fairground’s Franks Building, The event will run from 10 am to 3 pm. There will be door prizes and lunch will be provided. Cost per ticket is $10.00 per person in advance and $15.00 at the door. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Boyd County Extension Office in Catlettsburg. The number is 606-739-5184.
By Lori Bowling
Boyd Co Extension Agent
$200,000 Appalachian Regional Commission grant to assist 54 Kentucky counties water and wastewater training
Kentucky Press News Service
FRANKFORT – The Appalachian Regional Commission approved a grant for $200,000 to provide technical assistance and training in water and wastewater utility finance, management, and operations to rural utility services located throughout Kentucky’s 54 Appalachian counties.
The training includes water treatment and distribution system, asset management, rate analysis, Kentucky Infrastructure Authority (KIA) loan portfolio servicing and cost of service.
“I am pleased to hear the ARC approved this grant for a much-needed overhaul of water and wastewater management in Eastern Kentucky,” Senate President Robert Stivers said in a news release. “This grant is yet another critical step in ensuring our current infrastructure needs are addressed in the Appalachian regional counties.”
ARC funding will be further utilized to employ a full-time consultant to provide technical assistance and training to drinking water and wastewater operations throughout the entire contract period. It is anticipated that 80 public water utilities and 100 wastewater utilities will receive on-site technical assistance and training during the project period. In addition, 82 KIA water and wastewater borrowers will be served and improved through direct consultation and training as well.
The ARC program provides assistance for residential infrastructure, water supply and wastewater treatment projects to assist in alleviating environmental issues and public health concerns while improving the quality of life for local residents.
Appalachian regional counties in Kentucky include: Adair, Bath, Bell, Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Casey, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Cumberland, Edmonson, Elliott, Estill, Fleming, Floyd, Garrard, Green, Greenup, Harlan, Hart, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Lincoln, McCreary, Madison, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Metcalfe, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Nicholas, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Powell, Pulaski, Robertson, Rockcastle, Rowan, Russell, Wayne, Whitley, and Wolfe.
Friday, March 3, 2017 – 10:30 am
Kentucky Power Storm Update
Friday, March 3, 2017 – 10:30 a.m.
Service has been restored to about 96 percent of Kentucky Power customers who lost service Wednesday after storms with wind gusts up to 68 miles moved through eastern Kentucky. Assessors during restoration efforts found about 70 poles that were broken or damaged, as well as numerous downed power lines. Transmission structures also were damaged. At its peak, nearly 31,000 customers lost electric service.
Storm Response Efforts
Some 750 employees, contractors and mutual assistance workers from western Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Tennessee are working on restoration efforts. Many of the remaining outages are in hard-to-reach areas, some requiring bulldozers to build access roads. As service is restored, workers will be moved from Ashland and Hazard service areas to assist in the greater Pikeville region, where most of the remaining outages are located. Most customers served by the Ashland and Hazard service districts should have service by 10 p.m. Friday. Customers served by Pikeville Service District, including Floyd and Pike counties, should have service by midnight Saturday. Some isolated outages could extend beyond the projected restoration times. As of 9 p.m. Friday, customer outages remained in these counties:
A snapshot view of current outages affecting five customers or more is available anytime at https://kentuckypower.com/outages.The outage map is updated every 15 minutes. Restoration information is added when known. Click "View Outage Map" to access the map on a computer, cell phone, or tablet. Customers can report outages online, on their mobile device or to our Customer Solutions Center at 1-800-572-1113.
For More Information
This update provides a broad overview of the company’s restoration efforts. Customers can get specific information about the outages affecting their accounts via text message and/or email by subscribing to Kentucky Power outage alerts. To sign up, please visit www.kentuckypower.com/alerts. Information also is posted on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/KentuckyPower.
Kentucky Press News Service
LEXINGTON — The Bluegrass Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists will host a free public forum Feb. 23 titled, “Finding real facts in an alternative fact world."
A panel of local, regional and national professionals will examine the role of the news media and provide a better public understanding of how it works. The group also hopes to facilitate an ongoing conversation about the importance of a free press in a democracy. The event will be 6:30-8 p.m. in Room A of Central Library, 140 E. Main Street, Lexington.
Panelists include Ryan Craig, owner of The Todd County Standard, a weekly newspaper in Western Kentucky, and president of the Kentucky Press Association; Tom Eblen, columnist and former managing editor of The Lexington Herald-Leader; Campbell Robertson, national correspondent for The New York Times; Kathy Stone, assistant news director at television station WLEX-18; and Jim Waters, newspaper columnist and president of the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, a free-market think tank.
Moderating will be Ginny Whitehouse, Ph.D., a journalism professor at Eastern Kentucky University specializing in media literacy, ethics and law.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) praised Senate passage today of his measure to overturn the “stream buffer rule,” an anti-coal regulation that President Obama filed just before leaving office.
Senator McConnell was joined by Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and 28 of their colleagues in filing the resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) in the Senate. The House of Representatives passed the companion resolution yesterday. Now, the resolution goes to President Donald Trump for his signature.
“The Obama Administration’s Stream Buffer rule was an attack against coal miners and their families. In my home state of Kentucky, the Stream Buffer Rule would have threatened coal jobs and caused major damage to communities,” Senator McConnell said. “The legislation we passed today will help stop this disastrous rule and bring relief to coal miners and their families. I am heartened to know so many of my colleagues recognized the problems that face coal country, and I am glad that they joined with me to begin addressing them. Now with a friend of coal in the White House, the legislation will soon be signed into law. I am grateful for President Trump’s support, and I look forward to continuing to work with him to protect coal families and communities.”
Providing relief from this regulation — and the many others that have targeted coal workers -- is just one priority for which Senator McConnell has long fought, and was one of the priorities he identified in a letter to President Trump earlier this year.
Today on the Senate floor, Senator McConnell delivered the following remarks regarding the CRA resolution:
“This Republican-led Congress is committed to fulfilling our promises to the American people. That work continues now as we consider legislation to push back against harmful regulations from the Obama Administration.
“On its way out the door, the Obama Administration forced nearly 40 major — and very costly — regulations on the American people. Fortunately, we now have the opportunity to work with the new president to begin bringing relief from these burdensome regulations.
“Last night, the House sent us two resolutions under the Congressional Review Act — one of the best tools at our disposal to undo these heavy-handed regulations.
“This afternoon the Senate will have the opportunity to pass the first of these resolutions — a measure to overturn the Stream Buffer Rule.
“The resolution before us now is identical to the one I introduced earlier this week, and it aims to put a stop to the former administration’s blatant attack on coal miners.
“In my home state of Kentucky and others across the nation, the Stream Buffer Rule will cause major damage to communities and threaten coal jobs.
“One study actually estimated that this regulation would put as many as one-third of coal-related jobs at risk.
“That’s why the Kentucky Coal Association called it “a regulation in search of a problem.”
“They joined with the United Mine Workers of American and Attorneys General of 14 states on both sides of the aisle urging Congress to act.
“We should heed their call now and begin bringing relief to coal country.
“Today’s vote on this resolution represents a good step in that direction.
“Once our work is complete on this legislation, we’ll turn to another House-passed resolution that will protect American companies from being at a disadvantage when doing business overseas.
“Although the Securities and Exchange Commission may have had good intentions, the Resource Extraction Rule costs American public companies up to nearly $600 million annually and gives foreign owned business in Russia and China an advantage over American workers.
“We all want to increase transparency, but we should not raise costs on American businesses only to benefit their international competition.
“Let’s send the SEC back to the drawing board to promote transparency without the high costs or negative impacts on American businesses.
“These CRA resolutions keep the interests of American families and workers at heart. Today, we’ll continue to chip away at the regulation legacy of the Obama Administration with more CRA resolutions in the coming days as well.
“Let’s pass these two resolutions without delay so we can send them to the President’s desk and continue giving the power back to the people.”
By Dr. Glenn Mollette
The new medical insurance premium for my wife and I will be just a few dollars shy of $2,000 per month for 2017. This amounts to a total of $24,000 for the year. Should either of us have a serious illness or medical procedure then our out of pocket expense will be $11,000. Therefore we could potentially be out $35,000 in medical expenses in one year. I hope we aren't but the potential is always there. Of course, that would be better than a $100,000 medical expense or being shoved into bankruptcy because of medical bills. It is easy in today's world to rack up several hundred thousand dollars in medical expenses.
President Trump appears to be moving fast on his promises. I hope he acts fast on affordable health care because it's killing me.
I continue to hear from people who have achieved Social Security disability status. They were declared disabled by a doctor and were eventually legally approved. This not only means a nice monthly check from Social Security but it means medical care provided by the American taxpayers. Sadly, there are lots of reports of people who have obtained crooked attorneys with connections to crooked doctors who know a crooked Judge who help them get approved for disabled Social Security. I'm for anybody that is truly disabled to have this help from the American taxpayers. It's bad for America when people lie and fake an illness to get a disability check. Unfortunately when the government is writing checks multitudes line up to get their share whether they deserve it or not.
If I live a few more years I can apply for a full Social Security check and I will have Medicare. We will only have to pay for my wife's medical insurance for a little while and thus life will go on. The point is that most of us are feeling the pain of health insurance costs. Mr. President we need help fast.
Hospitals and doctors have been gouging the government and insurance companies for a long time. For years the government and insurance companies have paid it but things are changing some. Insurance companies are no longer paying for everything or paying the full price they are being charged. One doctor recently told me that he has to bill the insurance company about three times more than he would normally charge a patient to just receive close to the amount he needs for a procedure.
While our new government leadership is supposedly working on a plan to fix medical care they need to fix the rising cost of a college education. Too many college graduates are racking up $60,000 to over $100,000 in debt with horrendous interest rates being charged by some lending institutions. Colleges know they have a gravy train. Thousands of students across the country who meet the conditions can receive $5,815 in government money paid directly to their college of choice. Colleges then tack on thousands of dollars more that families or the students often have to borrow. Colleges in turn build bigger buildings and incur more debt that in turn requires more and more tuition from struggling students and families.
Many federally funded colleges pay big salaries. One college President in Kentucky made about $400,000 a year at a tiny private Christian college. That's not that huge as some Presidents today are making close to a million dollars a year. What is interesting is that his Board of Trustees promised him this same salary package upon his retirement for the rest of his life plus medical insurance, an apartment, a car and even his cell phone. Where does this money come from? The money comes from federal grants that we the taxpayers pay and from struggling students who rack up big debts so that a retired college President can receive almost $400,000 a year and additional perks for the rest of his life. Sadly, a lot of academic institutions are crumbling across this country. There are numerous cases of campuses closing and being sold to bigger institutions or closing altogether.
Average Americans can't handle what we are being handed in medical and college costs. We need help fast.
Glenn Mollette is a syndicated columnist and author of eleven books.
He is read in all fifty states. Visit www.glennmollette.com
INEZ, Ky. – Stephanie Osborne, a 2014 graduate of the Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) program at Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) was named Employee of the Year at the Martin County Health Care facility.
A floor nurse, Osborne has worked at the facility since her graduation. The award was voted on by her peers.
“It’s an honor,” said Osborne, who resides in Van Lear. “I work with so many great people.”
When asked about the most rewarding part of her job, Osborne paused and said it was hard to pinpoint.
“Seeing [patients] smile and getting to know them is special,” she explained. “It’s holding their hand as they depart this earth. I like to advocate for my patients, especially those without a voice. Rewarding is an understatement. They become a part of your family.”
The nursing program prepared Osborne for what she has faced as a nurse.
“It’s close to home, but it’s also top quality,” she added. “The rigor of this program prepared me for my board examination and my career here.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor introducing his resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn the “stream buffer rule”:
“For too long, coal communities in states like Kentucky were unfairly targeted by the Obama Administration as part of its ‘War on Coal.’
“We now have the opportunity to start providing relief to coal families whose only crime was working to support their loved ones. Easing the pain of these regulations is a priority I laid out in a letter to President Trump earlier this year. That letter was a continuation of efforts I began several years ago to push back against the previous administration’s assault on coal families.
“I am pleased that the President has already begun taking steps to provide relief from several different regulations imposed by the former administration — regulations that for too long have stifled growth and held our country back — and together we can do more, including right here in Congress through the Congressional Review Act, or CRA, process.
“One of the first regulations we’re working to address is the so-called ‘Stream Buffer Rule,’ a harmful regulation put into place by the Obama Administration at the 11th hour. One analysis estimated that it could threaten one-third of the nation’s coal mining jobs. That’s why so many across coal country have called for relief from this harmful attack.
“We’ve heard individual voices against this regulation, we’ve heard union voices in opposition like the United Mine Workers of America, and we’ve heard from groups like the Kentucky Coal Association who recently wrote to me about its negative impact: ‘The undeniable truth,’ their letter read, ‘is that… [this rule] will have a real impact on the real world. It will cause real harm to real people, who support real families in real communities.’
“This regulation is an attack on coal families. It jeopardizes jobs and transfers power away from states and local governments. Today I’m introducing a bipartisan resolution to overturn it.
“Congress will also continue acting to provide relief from other regulations that attack our economy and our constituents. In fact, the House will act on its own version of this Congressional Review Act resolution and several others this week. I urge our friends to do so quickly so we can pass them here in the Senate and start providing relief to our coal communities, to our national economy, and to our constituents.”
FRIDAY, JANUARY 27, 2017-- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is continuing his attack against newspapers and their local-government revenue sources. The Republican on Tuesday urged lawmakers to consider proposed legislation, dubbed the "newspaper revenge bill," that "would allow municipalities to post legal notices on websites instead of newspapers. All legal notices are posted and archived online through the New Jersey Press Association," Dustin Racioppi and Bob Jordan report for The Record and the Asbury Park Press.
"Multiple sources have said that Christie's intent on getting it passed is to punish newspapers for their critical coverage of him. He hasn't taken questions from state reporters in 140 days," Racioppi and Jordan write. The legislation lacked support last year,
"Christie contends that the bill is about taxpayer relief," Racioppi and Jordan write. "He contends that the bill's passage would save taxpayers 'tens of millions' annually, but his analysis to this point falls far below the $80 million he claims newspapers statewide make on the ads. Christie said his office analyzed legal notices in The Star-Ledger, the state's largest newspaper, and determined that it was paid $16.6 million for legal ads last year. The New Jersey Press Association has said the cost of legal notices in all state newspapers is about $20 million, with less than half of that being borne by taxpayers."
Tom Donovan, regional president of the Gannett East Group and publisher of The Record, said in a statement: “With all due respect to the governor, he doesn’t get to make up the facts when it comes to what the legal ad revenues are throughout the state of New Jersey."
Racioppi and Jordan write, "The proposed law change has been dubbed by a lawmaker as a 'revenge bill' because it came after coverage of the Christie administration’s Bridgegate scandal, which resulted in three convictions or guilty pleas from Christie allies from the 2013 George Washington Bridge lane-closure caper."
Written by Tim Mandell Posted at 1/27/2017 10:35:00 AM
Ringling Bros. has two touring circuses this season and will perform 30 shows between now and May. Major stops include Atlanta, Washington, Philadelphia, Boston and Brooklyn.
The final shows will be in Providence, Rhode Island, on May 7 and in Uniondale, New York, at the Nassau County Coliseum on May 21.
Read more: http://enewsbreak.com/ringling-bros-circus-to-close-after-146-years/#ixzz4Wnv9QXGr
After initially expressing serious concerns about Donald Trump’s pro-Russia secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio sold out and fell in line with fellow Republicans on the foreign relations committee.
Rubio’s vote – which was in question until earlier today – pushed Tillerson over the top by a single vote with the committee confirming him on party lines, 11-10. All Republicans voted in favor of Tillerson, while the Democrats on the committee opposed him.
Rubio recently expressed visible frustration during Tillerson’s confirmation hearing when the former CEO would not call Russian leader Vladimir Putin a war criminal for his country’s involvement in the Syria and interference in last year’s presidential election.
“Those are very, very serious charges to make, and I would want to have much more information before reaching that conclusion,” Tillerson told a frustrated Rubio.
“What’s happening in Aleppo is in the public domain, the pictures are there,” Rubio shot back. “It should not be hard to say that Vladimir Putin’s military has conducted war crimes in Aleppo.”
TUESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2017 -- The Appalachian Region Commission last week announced 28 awards of nearly $26 million in coal-impacted communities in five states. ARC said funds will "train more than 7,300 workers and students impacted by the changing coal economy in certificate, credentialing, and other workforce development programs. They will also create or retain more than 2,500 jobs, leverage an additional $31 million from public and private investors and create a more vibrant economic future for Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities."
The biggest award, $3.5 million, goes to Big Sandy Community and Technical College in Prestonsburg, Ky. Funds will "will enable three Eastern-Kentucky education institutions—Big Sandy, Hazard Community and Technical College and Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College—to launch a comprehensive, employer-driven workforce development program focused on building the digital economy and strengthening digital innovation and entrepreneurship across a 16-county region in Eastern Kentucky."
ARC awarded $1.92 million to Bevill State Community College in Jasper, Ala. for the Bevill State Community College POWER 2016 Initiative. "The project will create a new Rapid Training Center at Bevill State’s Jasper campus that will serve as a regional workforce training and job placement hub in northwest Alabama—an area that has been adversely affected by the recent retirement of coal-fired power generation facilities and the closure of multiple coal mines."
$1.5 million to West Alabama Works for job training services for growing automotive and advanced manufacturing industries in Western Alabama.
$1.5 million to Hazard Community and Technical College in Hazard, Ky. to construct a job training facility focused on: information technology, telemedicine and health sciences, mechatronics and eco-tourism/small business development.
$1.5 million to Marshall University Research Corporation in Huntington, W.Va. to assist businesses "return to profitability through the adoption and deployment of emerging advanced manufacturing —primarily 3D printing and additive manufacturing."
For a complete list of awards click here.
Written by Tim Mandell Posted at 1/24/2017 11:02:00 AM
MONDAY, JANUARY 23, 2017 --The way Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton utilized, or failed to utilize, RFD-TV, which specializes in rural-interest programming and is available in more than 46 million homes, may have been the difference in the presdential election, Cynthia Littleton reports for Variety. Patrick Gottsch, founder and president of RFD-TV, said "in the final two weeks before Election Day, Trump’s team spent $150,000 to buy every available advertising spot on Nashville-based RFD-TV." Clinton didn't by any advertising.
Gottsch told Littleton, “You could really see it turning in the last couple of weeks. I couldn’t find a woman in rural America who was going to vote for Secretary Clinton, and I found that odd.” Gottsch said he doesn't think it even mattered which party Trump belonged to, telling Littleton, “He could have run as a Democrat and won. It was the fact that he was so independent, and the fact that he was willing to tell everyone—Democrats and Republicans—to go to hell. Every time some [Republican] refused to endorse him, people went, ‘Oh good.’ ”
Gottsch, who said his two daughters were Clinton supporters, "chalks the loss up to her lack of outreach in rural areas, in addition to general economic frustration, and the belief that the status quo is 'rigged' against the little guy," Littleton writes. "Despite Trump’s 1 percent status and New York City pedigree, he gained favor because of his image as a maverick billionaire willing to shake up business as usual in Washington."
"In Gottsch’s view, the key to overcoming prejudice on both sides of the urban-rural divide is communication and a better understanding of one another’s worlds," Littleton writes. He told her, “We are not all a bunch of ‘Hee Haw’ hicks. We cannot exist as the U.S. if there is a wall between urban and rural America. We think that our job is to do more to connect city and country again. If we just keep doing ‘Duck Dynasty’ and that kind of thing, we are never going to get to a better understanding of who we are.”
Written by Tim Mandell Posted at 1/23/2017
Posted January 22, 2017 [ Kentucky Standard ]
A Bardstown man was indicted on assault and endangerment charges Wednesday after allegedly using a frozen roll of sausage to physically assault a woman. According to an arrest complaint, Derek Kiesler, 24, is accused of striking a woman several times in the arms and face on Jan. 11. Kiesler also allegedly struck an infant in the chin before using a frozen log of sausage to hit the woman in the head.
Posted January 22, 2017 [ Lexington Herald Leader ]
As the lunch crowd began trickling into Sandy Hook's Frosty Freeze restaurant Friday, owner Judy Pennington stood in front of a television and eagerly awaited the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump. “Even though he’s a billionaire — and that don’t cut no ice with me — he’s for the little people,” she said. “The veterans. The coal miners. The forgotten people.”
Posted January 22, 2017 [ Courier-Journal ]
Dr. Greg Postel was appointed interim president of the University of Louisville during the first meeting of the board of trustees meeting Saturday. Postel, who has been with U of L for 23 years, is the Vice President for Health Affairs. He came to the university from the Mayo Clinic and was later named chair of the department of radiology.
(FRIDAY, JANUARY 20, 2017) Trempealeau County, Wisconsin home to 29,000, is a perfect example of how Donald Trump's surprise presidential election was fueled by rural residents, Jenna Johnson reports for The Washington Post. The largely white summer tourist hub with a low unemployment rate has long voted blue—President Obama earned 56 percent of the vote in 2012 and 60 percent in 2008—but Trump won in November with 53 percent.
"The same flip happened in 50 other Midwestern counties clustered in western Wisconsin, southern Minnesota, eastern Iowa and northwest Illinois," Johnson writes. In the village of Trempealeau, "die-hard Democrats are still trying to figure out which of their roughly 1,600 neighbors were the 482 people who voted for Trump. Several lifelong Republicans say they voted for him, often reluctantly, but they didn’t expect him to win." Residents at a local bar, who were politically divided, "agreed that it will take at least another presidential election to see if this was a fluke or a lasting shift."
Kurt Wood, who has been Trempealeau village president since 1993 and voted for Clinton, told Johnson, “I just think that people were not feeling the greatest about the direction of the country and thought: ‘Oh well, I’m just going to throw my vote to somebody that I think will change things.’ Still, with the idea: ‘Well, he wasn’t going to win.' I think, in all honesty, people already realize what a mistake they made.”
Johnson writes, "The unemployment rate in Trempealeau County was 3 percent late last year, one of the lowest rates in the state. What’s missing are the higher-paying jobs for more-skilled workers, several residents said, and many feel as if their salaries or retirement savings haven’t kept up with their expenses, especially for health care. Trempealeau County is 97 percent white, but a growing number of Latinos have moved to the area for manufacturing and agriculture jobs."
Clinton, who didn't make a single visit to Wisconsin, was not popular in Trempealeau County, leading many Democrats to avoid voting for her, Johnson writes. Republican Treig Pronschinske, a technical-college graduate who worked in construction and unseated the Democratic state Assemblyman from the area, told Johnson of the Trump victory, “You could feel it coming. The comments were a lot of: ‘I agree with what Trump says, but I don’t really like how he acts.’ I saw right through that. They weren’t saying they wouldn’t vote for him. They just didn’t want to fight about it.”
Written by Tim Mandell
Posted at 1/20/2017 10:24:00 AM
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul suggested Sunday that Kentucky and other states that expanded Medicaid under federal health reform should have to raise taxes to keep it expanded and not rely on the federal government to continue the benefit.
Paul appeared on CNN's "State of the Union" to discuss his plan for replacing the law, which he said should be replaced the same day it is repealed. "Paul's plan did not directly address the future of states that signed on for expanded Medicaid offered as part of Obamacare," Gregory Kreig reports for CNN.
"That's the big question," Paul told host Jake Tapper. "And I don't think that's going to be in the replacement aspect."
Paul said the Obama administration misled the public about the federal government's ability to pay for the expansion, "So I'd say that if you want to have more Medicaid you should say we're going to have to have higher taxes to pay for it."
Those taxes could be considerable. Under the law, federal funds covered all the expansion cost through 2016. States are now paying 5 percent, and the law calls for that will rise in annual steps to its limit of 10 percent in 2020. Kentucky's share for 2017 and the first half of 2018 is estimated at $257 million.
The expansion covers people in households with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (about $33,000 a year for a family of four). It added about 44,000 Kentuckians to the program and was largely responsible for cutting by more than half the percentage of Kentuckians without health insurance.
A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky's other senator, asked to reveal McConnell's plans for the Medicaid expansion, said in an email, "Sen. McConnell will have lots more to say about this issue in the coming weeks."
Paul said his replacement plan would allow health-insurance companies to offer cheaper plans with less coverage. "We're going to legalize the sale of inexpensive insurance," he said. "That means getting rid of the Obamacare mandates on what you can buy. We are going to help people save through health savings accounts, as well as a tax credit."
"Under Paul's program, the bargaining power created by the state and federal exchanges would be replaced with a provision that allows individuals and associations like small businesses to create their own markets," Kreig reports. "He added that those negotiations with insurance companies could also be used to guarantee the availability of policies that "can't cancel you and guarantees the issue of the insurance even if you get sick."
Paul told Tapper, "Our goal is to insure the most amount of people, give access to the most amount of people, at least the amount of cost."
However, Paul is just one senator, and President-elect Donald Trump says he has his own plan. "Republicans have been at loggerheads over the timing and execution of their promise to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a cheaper alternative that will not disrupt the insurance market and leave millions of Americans without coverage," Kreig notes.
Posted by Al Cross
HAZARD, Ky. - U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) applauds the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) award of up to $11 million to the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP) in Hazard, Kentucky to provide training and employment services for approximately 1,450 laid off coal miners in Eastern Kentucky.
"This award will ensure that our former miners will have access to the assistance they need during a critical time in their lives," said Congressman Rogers. "EKCEP has worked diligently to help our laid off coal miners and their spouses get the training, education and certifications they need to build their resumes and find new employment that will support their families. I applaud EKCEP's commitment to compete for necessary funding to keep these important programs going."
Over the last three years alone, more than 8,000 coal miners have been laid off in Kentucky's Appalachian Region. During that same time, EKCEP assisted 3,218 dislocated coal miners and their spouses through the Hiring Our Miners Everyday (HOME) program, which was developed with a National Emergency Grant from the DOL Employment and Training Administration. This new grant will continue those services, bringing total funds for this project to nearly $22.5 million.
"The need to continue services for our laid off miners and their spouses remains high. These additional funds will enable EKCEP and our community partners to maintain services to assist these men and women enter new training, develop new skills, and enter new career paths," said Jeff Whitehead, Executive Director of EKCEP. "We are very grateful that the Department of Labor is maintaining its support for our region’s unemployed workers, and we look forward to continuing to work with Congressman Rogers on his efforts to improve the lives of Eastern Kentucky’s residents.”
EKCEP's programs work in concert with the mission of SOAR - Shaping Our Appalachian Region, helping launch a number of economic diversity and workforce development opportunities in Eastern Kentucky. Together, they have supported new projects and high-tech businesses in the region, including Interapt, BitSource, Teleworks USA and the eKY Advanced Manufacturing Institute.
If Congress repeals the health-reform law, struggling rural hospitals, many in regions that strongly supported Donald Trump, could be in danger of shuttering, Shefali Luthra reports for Kaiser Health News. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act "threw a number of life-savers to these vital but financially troubled centers. And its full repeal, without a comparable and viable replacement, could signal their death knell."
Luthra's example is Highlands Hospital in Connellsville, a poor rural town in Southwest Pennsylvania, which has struggled with the loss of coal mining and manufacturing jobs. Trump won Fayette County with 64 percent of the vote. Without Obamacare's expansion of Medicaid, the 64-bed hospital, the town's second largest single employer, could close, costing the town hundreds of local jobs.
"In Pennsylvania, 625,000 people enrolled in the expanded Medicaid program," Luthra writes. "Close to 300,000 came from rural areas, said Andy Carter, president of the Hospital and Health System Association of Pennsylvania. As of October, about 42,700 of Fayette’s residents had Medicaid, according to state data, an increase of about 8 percent from 39,460 in June 2015. (Pennsylvania‘s Medicaid expansion took effect in January of that year.) That’s close to one-third of the county’s population."
"Rural hospitals have long operated on the edge," Luthra writes. "In the past six years, more than 70 such facilities have closed, citing financial duress. Almost 700 more have been deemed at risk of following the same path. Meanwhile, the need for reliable health care remains pressing. Conditions such as heart and lung disease are widespread in rural areas. Addiction to the prescription painkillers known as opioids is acute. Nationally, the Medicaid expansion offered a bit of stability for some rural hospitals at risk of closure. Researchers say it disproportionately benefited such facilities—particularly here and other states with large rural populations, such as Illinois, Kentucky and Michigan."
Written by Tim Mandell Posted at 1/12/2017 02:01:00 PM
A federal jury has sentenced white supremacist mass shooter Dylann Roof to death.
Roof was convicted in December of federal hate-crime, obstruction of religion, and firearms charges brought after he killed nine people at the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17, 2015. He's the first person to be sentenced to death in a federal hate crimes case.
WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) will serve as Chairman of the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Agencies for the 115th Congress. Rogers was tapped as the congressional international ambassador after making historic strides as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee over the last six years.
"I count it a great honor to help lead our national security, international diplomacy and work hand-in-hand with our nation's allies to fight terrorism around the world," said Chairman Rogers. "With such intense turmoil overseas, it is vitally important that the United States maintain unwavering global leadership, while working tirelessly to protect our diplomats and promote democracy across the globe."
The Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations is tasked with protecting American embassies and consulates, supporting security for U.S. allies, prioritizing life-saving health and human aid around the world, and addressing health threats overseas before they reach American soil.
The Subcommittee also funds international narcotics control and law enforcement activities, as well as antiterrorism programs and peacekeeping operations.
As Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee from 2011 to 2016, Rogers reinvigorated regular order within the appropriations process, enhanced oversight and transparency, and restored fiscal discipline. Over the last six years, the House Appropriations Committee cut spending by $126 billion, considered 2122 amendments to appropriations bills on the House floor and conducted 650 oversight hearings. Rogers turned over the gavel to newly appointed Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen for the 115th Congress.
"Chairman Frelinghuysen and I have worked side-by-side on the Appropriations Committee for more than 20 years. He is a proven leader for fiscal responsibility and transparency, and it is with great confidence that I hand over the gavel to my friend and colleague from New Jersey," said Rogers. "Chairman Frelinghuysen has played a key role in restoring fiscal discipline to the appropriations process and will serve as a trustworthy leader at the helm of the nation's purse strings in the new Congress."