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Coal mining employment has fallen from 31,000 in 1990 to just over 6,300

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Lawmakers in coal-producing Kentucky voted Wednesday to lift a ban on building nuclear power plants in a move one detractor called a “kick in the teeth” to the slumping coal sector.

According to The scientific American magazine, coal ash is more radioactive that nuclear waste.According to The scientific American magazine, coal ash is more radioactive that nuclear waste.The House passed the bill 65-28, sending it to Gov. Matt Bevin. The Republican governor has signaled he would not veto the measure if it reached his desk.

For years, efforts to open the door to nuclear energy melted down in a state that has been culturally and economically dominated by coal. Kentucky is the country’s third-largest coal producer, and politicians from both parties have promised to revive the struggling industry.

But the measure is on the verge of becoming law in Kentucky’s first legislative session in memory where Republicans controlled the House, Senate and governor’s office.

The bill’s House supporters said Wednesday it would take a decade or more for developers to get a nuclear power plant operational in Kentucky due to the rigorous permitting process.

But that didn’t satisfy Republican Rep. Jim Gooch Jr., who represents some of western Kentucky’s coalfields. Gooch invoked coal’s historic role in powering the state and the sector’s deep slump while speaking out against the measure.

“While I don’t really believe that this bill does that much to really affect coal, I think it’s a kick in the teeth that our coal industry shouldn’t be facing right now,” he said.
Kentucky’s coal industry has been steadily declining for decades. Coal mining employment has fallen from 31,000 in 1990 to just over 6,300. Three years ago, coal-fired power plants provided 93 percent of the state’s electricity. Today, that has fallen to 83 percent, according to the Kentucky Coal Association, as older plants are being shut down and replaced by natural gas.

The bill lifting the decades-old moratorium has been pushed by local government and business leaders in western Kentucky, which was home to a uranium enrichment plant that closed in 2013. That left the area teeming with skilled workers who had no hope of employment in their field.

Western Kentucky lawmakers who shepherded the bill through the House said lifting the moratorium won’t result in any immediate nuclear power plant construction.

“There is no expectation that the commonwealth will have a nuclear reactor constructed in it anytime soon,” said Republican Rep. Steven Rudy. “Should this bill become law, as a matter of fact, it will take a decade or more, probably decades, before an applicant could possibly wade through the regulatory environment before bringing a reactor online.”

Kentucky is one of 15 states that restrict the construction of new nuclear power facilities, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The bill requires Kentucky officials to review the state’s permitting process to ensure costs and “environmental consequences” are taken into account.

 


FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 10, 2017) – The Senate gave final passage to a measure this week to expand the state’s broadband access by codifying the Kentucky Communications Network Authority (KCNA). Created through an executive order, KCNA is responsible for managing the Commonwealth’s open-access broadband network known as KentuckyWired. KentuckyWired’s focus is to position Kentucky as a national leader in high-capacity internet services.

House Bill 343, sponsored by Rep. Larry Brown, R-Prestonsburg, will specifically help rural communities that do not have access to a broadband network.

“Through these changing times, internet access is imperative to the success of our rural communities,” said Rep. Brown. “We continue to work to diversify Eastern Kentucky’s economy, and KentuckyWired will not only allow that diversification to proceed, but grow our tourism, advance higher education, improve healthcare access, and better the overall lives of Kentuckians. I commend the General Assembly for swiftly passing this measure and supporting the advancements of Eastern Kentucky.”

Kentucky currently ranks near the bottom of national and international rankings of broadband capacity, putting our state at a major disadvantage for attracting jobs and expanding education. The KCNA, through KentuckyWired, will better the Commonwealth by promoting economic growth and drastically improving our quality of life.

The bill is headed to Governor Bevin’s desk for his signature.

 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

 

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2017

SOCIAL MEDIA CREATES ECHO CHAMBERS THAT HURT DEMOCRACY, JOURNALISM, SAYS AUTHOR/LAW PROFESSOR

Social media limits exposure to different viewpoints and hurts democracy and journalism, Harvard University law professor and author Cass Sunstein told NPR's Kelly McEvers on "All Things Considered." Sunstein's latest book, "#Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media," looks at how social media creates echo chambers, leading to news filters where people only look at news that reflects their ideals.

"You're listening to people who just agree with you or reading news sources that fit with your own preconceptions, it's not as if you just stay where you are," Sunstein said. "You tend to end up more extreme, which makes us get kind of blocked as a society, which isn't good for democracy and which makes it possible for people to see people who disagree with them not as fellow citizens, but as enemies who are crazy people or dupes. And that can make problem solving very, very challenging."

"Well, we're early days, really, still for Facebook and social media," he said. "And so my expectation is that Facebook and Twitter will do some experimenting on this count. It is true that kind of a quick reaction is provide people with content that they will look at. And that might be the information cocoon effect. But lots of Americans have not just a desire to see, you know, what they already think, but a desire to see some stuff that'll be challenging or eye-opening."

Sunstein suggests following people with different viewpoints. He said, "if you're left of center, have a little plan in the next two weeks to follow some smart people who are right of center. And if you're right of center, and you tend to ridicule or contempt for people on the left, follow some liberals. Find some who have at least a little bit of credibility for you. Or make a determined judgment whether you're left or right. See what you can get from the other side. And this is, you know, individual lives, but as the framers of the constitution knew, a republic is built up of innumerable individual decisions. And whether we get a well-functioning system or not depends on, you know, countless individual acts." (Read more)

Written by Tim Mandell Posted at 2/23/2017 11:25:00 AM

 

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.