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 From left,  Terry Samuel, Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation chief operating officer;  Kris Kimel, Exomedicine Institute founder; State Rep. Rocky Adkins: Dr. Wayne D. Andrews, MSU president ; Dr. Ben Malphrus, MSU’s Space Science Center executive director; and Kyle Keeney, Exomedicine Institute executive director. From left, Terry Samuel, Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation chief operating officer; Kris Kimel, Exomedicine Institute founder; State Rep. Rocky Adkins: Dr. Wayne D. Andrews, MSU president ; Dr. Ben Malphrus, MSU’s Space Science Center executive director; and Kyle Keeney, Exomedicine Institute executive director.


MOREHEAD, Ky.---Morehead State University has been awarded a $300,000 grant by the Exomedicine Institute, a Kentucky based nonprofit that fosters medical research and development in the microgravity environment of space, for the creation of the Exomedicine Center for Applied Technology.

The official presentation occurred Tuesday, Jan. 31, at MSU’s Space Science Center.

The first of its kind, the Exomedicine Center for Applied Technology will bring together scientists, researchers, entrepreneurs and students to design, develop and execute experiments which will then have the opportunity to be carried out aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

“Morehead State University is proud to be at the forefront of space-based medical research,” said Dr. Wayne D. Andrews, MSU president. “The Exomedicine Center for Applied Technology will allow our students and professors to be a part of cutting-edge experimentation that has the potential to change lives and the future of life science research as we know it. This center has huge potential for MSU.”

“I was honored to include language in the 2016 budget bill that made this appropriation possible. I worked closely with Morehead State University and the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation on this important investment,” said State Rep. Rocky Adkins. “This type of innovation provides us with the potential to find cures for terrible diseases like cancer, while also creating the type of 21st century jobs our people need and deserve. It’s another important step toward rebuilding and diversifying the economy of Eastern Kentucky.”

This unique opportunity is made possible by the center’s partnership with the Exomedicine Institute, located in Lexington, which maintains infrastructure aboard the ISS to conduct such experiments. Findings from these experiments will be used to improve medical treatments for patients on Earth.
“The microgravity environment of space represents a vast, untapped laboratory for exploring new medical solutions. Our investment in Morehead represents an important step toward mainstreaming this exciting new field,” said Kyle Keeney, executive director of the Exomedicine Institute. “Researchers are already discovering valuable new information about cancer, pharmaceuticals and even tissue regeneration from experiments on the International Space Station.”

Also speaking during the presentation were Kris Kimel, Exomedicine Institute founder; Terry Samuel, Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation chief operating officer; and Dr. Ben Malphrus, MSU’s Space Science Center executive director.

Dr. Malphrus read a statement from Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton:
“Exomedicine is a fascinating and exciting new field of medicine. It is amazing that within our lifetime people could be shuttled to low-Earth orbit environments to receive medical treatments. Exomedicine is the perfect marriage of science, technology, math, medicine, and aerospace, which presents tremendous opportunities for today’s students in terms of engaging curriculum and practical applications. Breakthroughs in the field of Exomedicine also translates to revolutionary and high-paying future employment opportunities for the generations of tomorrow. The future is certainly bright for Exomedicine in Kentucky.”

The Exomedicine Center for Applied Technology is expected to be fully operational by May 2017.

To learn more about the Exomedicine Institute and space-based medical research, visit www.exomedicine.com.

Additional information is available by contacting Dr. Malphrus at 606-783-2381 or visit www.moreheadstate.edu/ssc

 

Department of Financial Institutions Offers Password Tips

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 27, 2017) - The Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) is promoting national Data Privacy Day on Saturday, Jan. 28, by encouraging Kentuckians to create strong online passwords to keep their personal information secure.

Data Privacy Day is an international effort led by The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) to raise awareness about the importance of protecting personal information. According to NCSA, weak or stolen credentials, including passwords, are a leading cause of online data breaches.

“Creating stronger passwords is an important first step in safeguarding your financial and personal data,” said DFI Deputy Commissioner Brian Raley. “You can improve your passwords by changing them often and creating unique login credentials that cannot be predicted by cyber criminals.”

DFI recommends the following best practices for creating strong, secure passwords:

*  Do not use the same password for each account.

*  Make your password unpredictable by including uppercase and lowercase *  letters, numbers, and special characters.

*  Passwords should be 8 to 12 characters in length.

*  Do not use a common date, name, or word in your password.

*  Change your password every 3 to 4 months to provide added protection.

*  Do not use the “remember passwords” setting on your devices or accounts.

*  If you experience a personal data breach, you should notify your bank and credit agencies and immediately change your passwords.

DFI provides online data privacy resources at http://kfi.ky.gov/.

For more information about Data Privacy Day, visit https://staysafeonline.org/data-privacy-day/about.

DFI is an agency of the Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet. DFI’s mission is to serve Kentucky residents and protect their financial interests by maintaining a stable financial industry, continuing effective and efficient regulatory oversight, promoting consumer confidence, and encouraging economic opportunities. To learn more, visit http://kfi.ky.gov.

 

Ky. EPA HEADQUARTERS NEWS RELEASEKy. EPA HEADQUARTERS NEWS RELEASE

Slawson Exploration Company, Inc., to Make System Upgrades and Undertake Projects to Reduce Air Pollution in North Dakota

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Justice today announced a settlement with Slawson Exploration Company, Inc., resolving alleged Clean Air Act violations stemming from the company's oil and gas production activities in North Dakota, including on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. The settlement resolves claims that Slawson failed to adequately design, operate, and maintain vapor control systems on its storage tanks at its approximately 170 oil and natural gas well pads in North Dakota, resulting in emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are a key component in the formation of smog or ground-level ozone, a pollutant that irritates the lungs, exacerbates diseases such as asthma, and can increase susceptibility to respiratory illnesses, such as pneumonia and bronchitis.

As part of this settlement, Slawson’s total expenditures on system upgrades, monitoring and inspections are estimated to be $4.1 million. These improvements will significantly reduce VOC emissions and include the use of advanced technology such as infrared cameras and electronic pressure monitors to better detect and respond to air emissions. In addition, Slawson will spend at least an estimated $2 million to fund environmental mitigation projects and pay a $2.1 million civil penalty.

“This settlement puts Next Generation Compliance technologies to work to reduce air pollution across communities in North Dakota, including on tribal lands,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance at EPA. “EPA is committed to making sure that domestic energy development grows in a responsible way that protects public health and complies with the law.”

“Safe, responsible, and lawful development of domestic energy resources and technology is of great importance to a sustainable future for all Americans,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This Clean Air Act agreement will bring better air quality and lasting health benefits to communities in North Dakota, including the people of the Three Affiliated Tribes.”

EPA estimates Slawson’s system upgrades, many of which are already in place, will reduce the emission of at least 11,700 tons of VOCs, 400 tons of hazardous air pollutants, primarily benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes, and 2,600 tons of methane annually. Improved operation and maintenance will result in additional emissions reductions, as will the replacement of all pit flares used to control emissions from storage tanks.

Many of Slawson’s North Dakota wells are located on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation; governed by the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation. Nearly all of the electronic pressure monitors will be installed at operations on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation; Slawson will replace all pit flares on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation with control devices capable of achieving greater efficiency. These measures, in addition to the other injunctive relief and mitigation projects Slawson will carry out on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, will result in a substantial reduction in harmful emissions.

Slawson’s oil and natural gas production operations in North Dakota use storage tanks to store produced oil and water prior to transport. Multiple storage tanks are typically present at a well pad and are frequently controlled by the same vapor control system. Today’s settlement resolves alleged violations at all of Slawson’s well pads in North Dakota with wells in production.

This settlement is part of EPA's national enforcement initiative to reduce public health and environmental impacts from energy extraction activities. For more information about EPA's enforcement initiative: http://www2.epa.gov/enforcement/national-enforcement-initiative-ensuring-energy-extraction-activities-comply

The proposed consent decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court. To submit a public comment: www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees

For more information on this settlement: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/slawson-exploration-company-inc-clean-air-act-settlement

 

Visitors got a sneak peek of the NASA Hubble Traveling Exhibit at the East Kentucky Science Center and Varia Planetarium during a VIP Reception for the NASA Hubble Traveling Exhibit on Friday, January 20.Visitors got a sneak peek of the NASA Hubble Traveling Exhibit at the East Kentucky Science Center and Varia Planetarium during a VIP Reception for the NASA Hubble Traveling Exhibit on Friday, January 20.

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. – Big Sandy Community and Technical College’s East Kentucky Science Center and Varia Planetarium (EKSC) will house a special Hubble mission exhibit from NASA through August.

“We are very fortunate to bring such an innovative exhibit to the people of eastern Kentucky,” said Steve Russo, director of the EKSC. “This exhibit takes visitors through the life and history of the Hubble mission.”

The EKSC held a VIP Reception for community members to get a sneak peek of the NASA Hubble Traveling exhibit on Friday, January 20.

Others who spoke at the reception were: Les Stapleton, mayor of Prestonsburg; John Rosenberg, a founding member of the EKSC, and Maurice Henderson, NASA lead outreach coordinator.

“As the leading STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) facility in the region, it is important that we bring world-class exhibits, such as the NASA Hubble Traveling exhibit, to the people of eastern Kentucky,” said Dr. Alan Scheibmeir, interim president of Big Sandy Community and Technical College. “This exhibit will empower visitors through the power of science and engineering to shoot for the stars.”

The 2,200-square-foot exhibit immerses visitors in the magnificence and mystery of the Hubble Space Telescope and introduces the James Webb Space Telescope. Featuring a scale model of the Hubble Space Telescope and several satellite units, visitors will get a hands-on experience of the same technology that allows Hubble to gaze at distant galaxies and contribute to the exploration of planets, stars, galaxies and the universe.

Visitors will also learn of the various instruments aboard the telescope and the role each of them plays in providing images and discoveries. The exhibit will also feature data taken by Hubble of planets, galaxies, regions around the black hole and many other fascinating cosmic entities that have contributed to science for decades.

The EKSC is a state-of-the-art facility located on the Prestonsburg campus of Big Sandy Community and Technical College. The center provides visitors an innovative and interactive platform to explore STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects and careers.

The planetarium features a 40-foot dome and the Spitz Sci-Dome projection system, one of only two dozen in the world. Additionally, the planetarium has the state’s only GOTO Star Projector, which brings space exploration to life for visitors.

You can visit the EKSC Tuesday through Thursday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and noon to 4 p.m. each Saturday. The center offers school and group tours and a variety of special classroom programs for schools and students.

Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for children and children four and under are free. Admission includes the exhibit and planetarium shows. For more information, call (606) 889-8260.

 

 

FRANKFORT – The Kentucky Public Service Commission has allowed East Kentucky Power Cooperative, Inc. to offer its customers the opportunity to use solar power without putting solar panels on their roofs, according to a PSC news release.

In an order issued Tuesday, the PSC approved an EKPC proposal that will allow customers to purchase licenses for – in effect, to lease - one or more of the 32,300 panels in a large-scale solar electric generating facility the utility will build in Clark County. The total capacity of the project is 8.5 megawatts.

Customers will pay a one-time fee of $460 per panel for a 25-year lease. The electricity generated can be used to offset up to all of a customer’s electric usage, and customers will also receive solar renewable energy credits that can be sold or retired.

In approving the proposal, the PSC found that the solar facility fills an unmet demand for renewable energy by EKPC customers. Even if no customers participate, the potential impact on EKPC’s future rates would be very small, the PSC noted.

Community solar projects are intended to give customers an alternative to rooftop solar panels. In its application, EKPC stated that its proposed facility will cost – per-kilowatt of capacity - about half the median cost of rooftop solar, and will be somewhat less expensive to operate.

The EKPC facility is the second community solar project approved by the PSC. Earlier this month, the PSC authorized Kentucky Utilities Co. and Louisville Gas & Electric Co. to establish a 4-megawatt community solar facility in Shelby County.

The joint KU-LG&E facility is based on a different financial model than that of EKPC. Unlike the EKPC facility, KU and LG&E will not build the facility all at once, but will add panels in half-megawatt increments as customers purchase subscriptions.

EKPC is owned by and generates and transmits power for 16 electric distribution cooperatives. Together, those cooperatives serve about 520,000 retail customers in 87 counties in eastern and central Kentucky.

In its application, EKPC cited a 2013 study that indicated that between 7,870 and 15,741 of those retail customers were likely to participate in a community solar project.

EKPC has contracted with Lendlease (S) Public Partnerships, LLC to plan and construct the solar project. The $17.7 million facility will be built next year adjacent to the EKPC offices in Winchester. It is expected to begin producing power in November 2017.

Each of the member distribution cooperatives will be able to reserve a portion of the solar facility’s capacity. Customers who wish to participate will then lease panels through their distribution cooperative.

In its order, the PSC directed EKPC to file annual reports on participation in the project.

The PSC’s order and the case file are available on the PSC website, psc.ky.gov. The case number is 2016-00269.