Ohio Valley ReSource

A regional journalism collaborative reporting on economic and social change in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia.

With support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, seven public media outlets across the three states have partnered to form the ReSource in order to strengthen news coverage of the area’s most important issues.

EPA Administrator Faces Questions Over C-8 Report

May 16, 2018
Kentucky.com

 

EPA Administer Scott Pruitt today faced questions over recently released emails that show White House and EPA officials attempted to delay a new federal standard for toxic chemicals in drinking water. Brittany Patterson reports the chemicals includ the compound C-8 and other similar substances detected in several water systems in the Ohio Valley, 

At a Senate hearing, Republican West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito pressed Pruitt on the emails.

Dairy Farmers Look For Lifelines In Flooded Market

May 13, 2018
Nicole Erwin/ Ohio Valley ReSource

LaRue County, Kentucky, dairy farmer Gary Rock sits in his milking parlor, overlooking what is left of his 95 cow operation.

“Three hundred years of history is something that a lot of people in our country cannot even talk about,” Rock said.

That’s how long the farm has been in his family. While the land has turned out tobacco, soybeans and other crops over the years, since 1980 dairy has nourished the family in and out of tragedy.

Courtsey Revolution

J.D. Vance, author of the best-selling memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” returns to his native Kentucky this week. But Vance isn’t selling books this time. He’s leading a bus tour of well-heeled venture capitalists looking for investment options in the region.

Legislators grilled representatives from five major opioid distributors Tuesday on how painkillers flooded West Virginia under their watch.

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing came as part of an investigation into why Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, McKesson, Miami-Luken and H.D. Smith failed to report suspiciously large orders of opioid painkillers at the beginning of the addiction crisis.

Becca Schimmel/Ohio Valley ReSource

With sunglasses perched atop his camouflage cap, Brady Carwile filled out an application at a job fair in a community center in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Carwile works at a local auto parts maker but he’s hoping for a maintenance position at Century Aluminum’s Hawesville Smelter.

“It’s one of the best jobs you can find around there,” Carwile said.

Becca Schimmel/Ohio Valley ReSource

Regional iron and steel industry leaders say they are disappointed by the Trump administration’s delay on a decision about which countries will face new import tariffs. President Trump has postponed until June a decision on which countries will be subject to new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. The decision had been due May 1.

This week in Kentucky politics, speculation flared that Kentucky’s new education leaders would try to take over Louisville’s public school district. Plus, a judge ruled that Attorney General Andy Beshear  can sue the governor over the pension bill that was signed into law earlier this month. Capitol reporter Ryland Barton has this week’s edition of Kentucky Politics Distilled. 

Separating parents will get joint custody of their children by default under a bill signed into law by Gov. Matt Bevin last week. although the new law creates an exception if a parent has a recent history of domestic violence. 

Kentucky is the first state in the country to create a “legal presumption” for joint custody in divorce proceedings. 

Supporters of the measure say that joint custody allows for more stable upbringing of children, but critics argue that it unravels protections against abusive parents

Wikimedia Commons

A Hepatitis A outbreak growing in the Louisville area since last summer reached a new peak recently with a travel advisory from Indiana health officials. They told Hoosiers heading to Kentucky to get a Hep A vaccine.

Soon, Kentucky’s Acting Commissioner for Public Health Dr. Jeffrey Howard was pushing back.

Still from White House video.

“Why don’t you just fire the guy?”

The question came in a press availability with President Trump soon after he learned that federal agents, acting on information from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, had raided the offices of his personal lawyer, Robert Cohen.

The president visibly warmed to the question. Arms crossed, he answered, “Many people have said, ‘You should fire him.’”

 

President Trump’s recent rhetoric has raised speculation th

New Map Shows Explosion of Fluorinated Chemical Contamination

Apr 20, 2018

 

The non-profit Environmental Working Group and a team of environmental health researchers at Northeastern University in Boston developed the map, which tracks publicly-known contaminated sites reported from both EPA testing and state and local agencies.

Nicole Erwin/ Ohio Valley ReSource

Billy Hobby’s days are largely filled by two things: church and pool.

“I play everyday, mostly,” Hobby said, sitting next to his wife, Barbara.

“Well, I enjoy watching him play,” Barbara Hobby said. “He’s got health problems, can’t go out of town and play all the time.”

 

 

Billy and Barbara were in Cadiz, Kentucky, about 20 miles from their home in Princeton so that the 86-year-old pool player could compete in a weekly tournament.

Trump Visits West Virginia Hints at Utility Bailout

Apr 5, 2018
Associate Press

President Donald Trump today visited West Virginia for a roundtable discussion on the recently-passed tax bill. The president also indicated the administration is looking closely at a recent emergency request made by regional electric utility FirstEnergy.  

Trump told a crowd in White Sulphur Springs he is looking closely at a request by the Ohio-based utility for emergency aid to keep its struggling coal and nuclear plants running.


Soy Vey! Ohio Valley Farmers Caught Up in Trade War

Apr 5, 2018
Nicole Erwin/ Ohio Valley ReSource

 

China buys more than half of the soybeans produced in the Ohio Valley. While a new 25 percent tariff is just a threat from the region's largest buyer, the signs of a trade war between President Trump’s tariff list and China’s has farmers caught in its crosshairs. This all comes as the US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue visits the region this week.

Each morning Davie Stevens wakes up to check commodities online, Wednesday morning was no different, except the market price of soybeans had dropped almost 40 cents.

“At a projected crop of 4.3 billions bushels of soybeans this year. Soybean farmers by overnight have lost 1.72 billion in value. So is it a big deal? It's a huge deal.”

 


Bureau of Prisons

The Bureau of Prisons has issued a record of decision signaling that it is moving ahead with plans to build a federal prison on the site of a former strip mine in the hills of Letcher County, Kentucky. But local opponents of the prison say they’re not giving up and are considering a legal challenge to prevent the construction of a new prison.

Poor People's Campaign Stops in Kentucky, West Virginia

Apr 2, 2018
REDIT JOEY ALOI VIA WEST VIRGINIA PUBLIC BROADCASTINg

A national campaign that aims to unite disenfranchised populations across the U.S. held events in Kentucky and West Virginia late last week.  Meetings are part of a two-month tour designed to highlight social inequity, and build on a movement begun 50 years ago by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mary Meehan/Ohio Valley ReSource

Howard Berkes/NPR

William McCool is a 64-year-old former coal miner from Letcher County, Kentucky, with an advanced form of black lung disease. Health experts say the condition is entirely preventable with dust control measures in mines. But today, more miners in Appalachia are being diagnosed with severe black lung than ever before.

Gov. Matt Bevin says it’s too early to say what he thinks of President Donald Trump’s proposal to institute tariffs on foreign-made steel and aluminum even though the policy could have a big impact on Kentucky. 

The tariff could benefit Kentucky aluminum manufacturers like Braidy Industries—the company that Bevin helped attract to the state with a package of economic incentives—and Century Aluminum, which announced it would hire 300 new workers in Hancock County if the tariff went into effect. 
 

Nicole Erwin/ Ohio Valley ReSource

 

 

 

 

  Jeff McGrew stood in line with about 30 other west Kentucky farmers awaiting certification that they’ve been trained to apply the herbicide Dicamba. The two hour session explained the Environmental Protection Agency’s new restrictions on use of the controversial herbicide. The session left McGrew uncertain about whether to use the spray.

Alexandra Kanik | Ohio Valley ReSource

Istock

 

Kentucky advance practice nurses got a big win in 2014. For the first time, they were able to prescribe routine medications, like antibiotics and blood pressure meds, to patients after spending four years collaborating with a doctor. This applied to…“nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and clinical nurse specialist…”

That was Jessica Estes , a nurse practitioner near Owensboro. She’s also the president of the Kentucky Coalition of Nurse Practitioners & Nurse-Midwives.

So this was a big win for these nurses. Nurse practitioners could basically set up their own shops - free from having to work with a doctor - but only if they didn’t prescribe controlled drugs, like opiates. They still have to have an agreement with a doctor indefinitely to prescribe those controlled drugs.

“We are now finding that APRNs are finding difficulty securing a collaborator , and they have to be of the same or a similar specialty, and licensed in Kentucky. And it’s creating some barriers.”

This ‘collaborative prescriptive agreement’ is a piece of paper, a form if you will. Doctors sign off on it. And every year, those doctors have the option of renewing that collaborative agreement.

Becca Schimmel/Ohio Valley ReSource

  President Donald Trump met with steel and aluminum industry leaders Thursday to talk about implementing steep tariffs on steel and aluminum which matters in the Ohio Valley as it is home to last US aluminum smelters and many industries depend on steel and aluminum. 

As a candidate Trump promised to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum. Now he says he’ll sign those tariffs into law next week. After the announcement the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped about 500 points as investors feared a trade war and retaliation against US exports. 

Benny Becker | Ohio Valley ReSource

A water system in eastern Kentucky that was on the verge of collapse could soon get much needed improvements. Many Martin County, Kentucky, residents were without water for long periods this winter. The crisis drew attention amid a national discussion about infrastructure priorities, and put a spotlight on the sort of water woes that are all too common throughout Appalachian coal country.

 


Becca Schimmel/Ohio Valley ReSource

Proposed Tariffs and Kentucky's Steel and Aluminum Industries

Feb 26, 2018
wkyt.com

The Ohio Valley’s steel and aluminum industries are closely watching what the Trump administration will do on imports. The Department of Commerce has suggested a massive 24 percent global tariff on steel and aluminum imports. Candidate Donald Trump promised to crack down on imports. Now, it’s unclear if President Trump will follow through. Becca Schimmel spoke to people in regional industries that could win or lose if tariffs take effect.

Aaron Payne/ Ohio Valley ReSource

 Social Autopsy

RAHUL GUPTA: If you have heart disease or you may be at risk of having heart disease there are a lot of risk factors. The doctor might often say you’re a walking heart attack about to happen and we need to do a set of things to lower your risk for that event

Fracking Waste Disposal: Still A Hot Mess

Feb 14, 2018
Bill Hughes

The slogan for Estill County is “where the bluegrass kisses the mountains.” But since 2015 the county, population 15,000, is widely known as the place where radioactive material generated by the oil and gas industry in a process known as fracking was dumped near some schools.

Immigration Court Expansion in Ohio Valley Region

Feb 8, 2018
Stu Johnson

With Congress in a heated immigration debate, the Ohio Valley region is adding to its immigration courts. Sources within the Justice Department say Kentucky will have a new immigration court operating in Louisville as soon as April, and Ohio is adding additional judges to handle deportations and other immigration cases. The changes in immigration policy have left many people with an uncertain future.

Peabody Energy, Inc., via Wikimedia Common

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