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Louisa-Lawrence Co, KY

In God We Trust - Established 2008


September 14, 2016

New Census data released Tuesday shows Kentucky’s historic progress in reducing the share of Kentuckians without health insurance coverage has continued to grow.

The new American Community Survey (ACS) data shows Kentucky’s rate dropped 8.3 percentage points between 2013 and 2015, thanks to our state’s decision to expand Medicaid and set up the successful Kynect marketplace.

Kentucky is one of only four states with at least an eight percentage point drop in the uninsured since 2013, along with California, West Virginia and Nevada.


According to the Census, 355,000 more Kentuckians had health insurance in 2015 than prior to Medicaid expansion and the creation of Kynect. While 14.3 percent were uninsured in 2013 and 8.5 percent in 2014, only 6 percent were uninsured in 2015.

“Affordable, reliable healthcare is essential to any thriving community,” Jason Bailey, Executive Director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, said. “These numbers are another piece of evidence that Kentucky is a national leader in health coverage, which isn’t just a ranking, it’s changing people’s lives.”

The expansion has meant more Kentuckians have been able to get needed care for chronic conditions, make and keep primary care appointments, use the emergency room less and be more likely to report having excellent health according to a Harvard School of Public Health study published in August.

Not only has the decision to expand Medicaid in many states resulted in a greater number of people covered, but it has meant private health insurance premiums are seven percent lower on average in expansion states when compared to states that did not expand, according to a report from the Department for Health and Human Services (HHS).

There are significant economic benefits as well. Hospitals have seen a $2 billion reduction in charges for uncompensated care thanks to Medicaid expansion and the state is projected to save a net of $53.6 million during the next two fiscal years due to expansion paying for health services state agencies would otherwise be responsible for covering, according to analysis from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

And as of July of this year Kentucky has added 11,500 health care and hospital jobs in the last two years as coverage from Medicaid expansion has grown.

“Because Kentucky has seen the greatest gains, we also have the most to lose if harmful changes to Medicaid are approved,” Bailey said of the proposed waiver that was recently submitted to federal officials. The plan introduces barriers to coverage like premiums, lockouts and work requirements that would reduce the number of Kentuckians covered. “Our hope is that the Bevin administration will negotiate in earnest with the federal government to find a way to build on our successes and not move backward on our health progress.”

You can view the data here.

The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy is a non-profit, non-partisan initiative that conducts research, analysis and education on important policy issues facing the Commonwealth. Launched in 2011, the Center is a project of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED). For more information, please visit KCEP’s website

Let’s Prevent Diabetes!

More than 1 out of 3 American adults have Prediabetes. 9 out of 10 of them don’t know they have Prediabetes. Prediabetes is when your blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough yet for a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes.  If you have ever been told you are “borderline diabetic” or “have a little sugar” or anything telling you that your blood sugar is high, you possibly already have Prediabetes and are at high risk to develop Type 2 diabetes in the next 5 years.  

The Lawrence County Health Department is offering a class series to aid you in lifestyle changes that can Prevent Type 2 Diabetes!  Through the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) you will meet with trained lifestyle coaches to develop coping skills, learn healthier eating habits, problem solving, and how to deal with triggers in your environment, all while receiving guidance and support from the coaches and others in the class.  Class goals include reaching 5% weight loss and increasing physical activity.  NDPP is proven to reduce the risk of developing diabetes by 58%. (Diabetes development reduced by 71% for those age 60 years and older!) 

Please feel free to call at the health department for further information on this program and to sign up to participate.  We will hold an information session Tuesday, October 11 at 5pm at the health department.  During this session, participants can sign up and gain more information as to what to expect during the course.  Anyone who is interested in participating in this program series is welcome to come and receive more detailed information as to what the program will entail without further obligation to continue the program for the full year. Classes will begin the following Tuesday, October 18 and will normally be scheduled Tuesdays at 5 pm.  This is a year-long program.  Participants will meet 16 sessions during the first 6 months and 6-8 sessions for the final 6 months. 

Class size is limited and registration is required by October 18, 2016.  

Contact Ashley Wilks or  Tiffiney Burchett at the Lawrence County Health Department for more information. 606-638-9500

Please call now or join us October 11 at 5pm.

 Let’s Prevent Diabetes!



Ashley E. Wilks, R.N., C.L.S.    

Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Coach

WIC Coordinator

Breastfeeding Specialist

Community Health



The other day, as part of a practical culinary final, I was served a kale salad by an Advanced Techniques student. I thought at that moment that the circle had finally been closed, the connection between the real world and what we teach in lab was complete.

But alas I was only partially correct; seasonal eating had been established, at least with that student, trends in eating had been observed and copied, but the actual production of the dish suffered from a lack of extensive research to determine exactly which type of kale was suitable for raw salad and what type of techniques needed to be used to make the salad edible.

Kale is a funny green, one of the most nutritious of vegetables it portrays itself as tough and bitter. Buy organic, as conventional tends to be grown along with nitrogen rich fertilizers which create an overabundance in the kale which is naturally nitrogen soluble. Buy in cooler weather, or if you must buy young tender leaves.

The best kale comes in the late fall after a good frost when the kale turns sweet. My favorite is the dinosaur or lacinato kale and spring winter or fall we look for the youngest, tender leaves to grill, roast, sauté and wilt under a warm bacon vinaigrette. Had the student known all or any of this their salad would have been markedly better, but still they got high marks for creativity.

The best kale comes in the late fall after a good frost when the kale turns sweetThe best kale comes in the late fall after a

good frost when the kale turns sweet

And that is where a gap continues to exist, from the mind to the plate. Too much is made of the new and exciting ways to twist food in many directions. Too little work is done by student and chef alike to actually understand the food they are working with. Should we be turning things into foams and powders without a full knowledge of the best use of the product, simply to attract attention?

Does the act of disguising one food as another, done since the advent of the restaurant in post royal France really accomplish anything more than a parlor trick? I do not attempt to denigrate anyone’s culinary skills and I know I am horribly out of date with most but what can replace a perfectly roasted chicken, and shouldn’t we focus on that first?

If I were to re-design a culinary curriculum I would start with a trip to a supermarket, a farmers market and a farm in that order. The trip from familiar to the exotic to the otherworldly couldn’t help to have an impact on most culinary students. It wouldn’t include the pedantic rant of the moment, how we all should be eating local and organic.

Rather it would focus on true identification of fruits, vegetables, herbs and animals. In using this technique you start from the beginning of the process and in a student’s head that backs the thinking up to a few steps before the food magically arrives in the labs born form the commissary and delivered by the commissary manager. With this technique the dialog between student and teacher takes on a deeper more relevant tone, one that Thomas Keller touched on with his “rabbit story” revealed in The French Laundry cookbook.

In order to really cook the rabbit well you had to not only be the cook of the dish but the taker of life, only then could you understand the connection and respect its roots. Chef Keller’s food can be playful, flirt with science, and still stay true to the essence of the product. It’s done primarily through meticulous research, sourcing and incredible technique, all things that cooks should aspire to and culinary schools should focus on.

And the general consumer should not be left out, nor should they abdicate their role in cooking from the ground up. While it may be fun to play around in the kitchen, it can become very expensive in a short amount of time. There is also the role that every home cook plays in the trends of the moment. There is a rising tide of cooks both professional and amateur who will deal only in organics, leaving out a large segment of growers who do a great job of agricultural husbandry.

This attitude can be counterproductive for a large part of our society that can’t afford organic but would buy local if offered a chance. Farmer’s markets react by planting and selling more organics and raising prices to make their bottom line. Left out is the consumer who just wants some kale to cook, the way they learned to cook it when they were the student and an adult was the teacher.

Opportunity is lost by one group when the trend of the moment is embraced by another. Restaurants can even rise on fall directly on the wrong choices they might make on what’s really popular. I would prefer to focus on what’s really good, whose technique is sharp, where the quality local goods are sold and maybe at the end, a twist I hadn’t seen coming or a method I wasn’t familiar with. But it should start with an understanding of the food, a respect for where it comes from and a love of bringing the best out of it that we can, almost like raising a child!

The many ways I like kale

I do not have many memories of kale, mine are more of cabbage, with corned beef or on its own.

Early in my culinary career kale was what we garnished trays with, hard and brittle but durable as a border for cheese and fruit trays. The dinosaur or lacinato kale intrigues me with its versatility and flavor. At The Sage Rabbit we often strip the rib out (save for stock!) dress it with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast it until crisp and slightly brown in a hot oven.

Tossed in a pan with a bit of fresh tomato, garlic and a little balsamic it’s a great side to roast pork or chicken. If I’m tossing it as a salad I’ll blanch it quickly in boiling water and then chill it. If that’s too limp for you look for very young kale or it will be too bitter and tough. Once wilted it great with grain salads and a strong mustard vinaigrette.

Finally I will treat it like spinach and simmer it with some cream, the richness of the cream taking some of the natural edge off.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

John Foster is an executive chef who heads the culinary program at Sullivan University’s Lexington campus. A New York native, Foster has been active in the Lexington culinary scene and a promoter of local and seasonal foods for more than 20 years. The French Culinary Institute-trained chef has been the executive chef of his former restaurant, Harvest, and now his Chevy Chase eatery, The Sage Rabbit.

To read more from Chef John Foster, including his recipes, click here.


 Lawrence County now has high school and middle school soccer

PHOTO/Doug Strickland, Chattanooga Times Free PressSoccer is a growing sport, increasingly in rural areas, where the game can be played by children of all skill levels. It's also becoming an increasingly dangerous sport, says a study by researchers from the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital published in Pediatrics.

The study found that among youth 7 to 17 years old, the number of soccer-related emergency-room cases increased 78 percent from 1990 to 2014 and the annual rate of all soccer injuries went up 111 percent. Also, the rate of concussions and closed-head injuries increased 1,596 percent, though concussions and other head injuries only accounted for just over 7 percent of all injuries.

Most injuries were sprains or strains (35 percent) fractures (23 percent) and soft tissue injuries (22 percent). Thirty-nine percent of injuries were when a player was struck by the ball or another player and 29 percent from falls.

Huiyun Xiang, senior author of the study report and director of the research core at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital, said: "The sport of soccer has changed dramatically in the last 25 years. We’re seeing athletes play year-round now thanks to club, travel and rec leagues, and the intensity of play is higher than it ever has been. These factors combine to lead to more risk of injury.”

The U.S. Soccer Federation in November 2015 issued guidelines for youth heading, recommending that players 10 and under no longer be allowed to head the ball. Also, players 11-12 should be limited to heading the ball a maximum of 30 minutes per week, with no more than 15-20 headers per player, per week.

Written by Tim Mandell Posted at 9/12/2016 


 Average yearly salaries are $38,000 or more

Veteran Chris Bowyer guards a grow. (NYT photo by Ryan David Brown)A booming business in Colorado is connecting military veterans with jobs protecting legal marijuana businesses, Julie Turkewitz reports for The New York Times. More than 200 young veterans have taken jobs as security for Colorado's cannabis industry—legal in the state since 2014, but not under federal law.

"They spend their days and nights in urban marijuana shops and suburban warehouses and on rural farms, warding off the burglars who have become hallmarks of this cash-heavy, high-value business."

"For some, a cannabis security job is a way station toward the police department or law school," Turkewitz writes. "For others, though, it is a vocation with purpose, a union of two outsider groups leaning on each other in a nation uncertain about how to accept them."

The cannabis handles lots of cash "because the federal government considers marijuana illegal" and many banks won’t work with producers and buyers, Turkewitz writes. With 978 marijuana-shop licenses and 1,393 growing licenses in Colorado. that's a lot of untraceable cash floating around. Making all that cash more enticing to criminals is that "a pound of marijuana worth $2,000 in Colorado can be sold for $4,000 or $6,000 across state lines."

Another problem is that some businesses fail to report break-ins, for fear that it will make them easy targets for criminals and attract the attention of inspectors looking for violations, Turkewitz writes. While pay the isn't the draw—jobs typically starts at $12 an hour, with an average yearly salary of $38,000—it's the camaraderie, the feeling that the former soldiers are back working in a unit to offer protection. Veteran Chris Bowyer told Turkewitz, "This is my therapy. This is what we did in the military.” (Read more)

Written by Tim Mandell Posted at 9/08/2016 12:01:00 PM