Ron Smith, WEKU news

Pages

7:30am

Thu December 15, 2011
Kentucky Arts and Culture

Al Smith Defines Role of Citizen Journalist

It’s safe to say Kentucky journalist Al Smith has led a full life. During his teenage years, he was an award-winning writer and speaker.  But, then, Smith nearly sank in the sea of alcoholism. He recovered to become a successful newspaper owner, the head of the Appalachian Regional Commission, and for 33 years, Smith hosted “Comment on Kentucky” on Kentucky Educational Television. The soon-to-be 85 year-old has collected his memories in a new book, “WORDSMITH, My Life in Journalism.”  WEKU’S  Ron Smith spoke with him… 

1:00am

Mon November 28, 2011
Kentucky Arts and Culture

Book Profiles U.S. Grant's Final Difficult Year

The last 14 months of Ulysses S. Grant’s life were difficult to say the least. He lost all of his wealth in a Wall Street swindle. Then the former president learned he had terminal mouth and throat cancer.  Facing family ruin, Grant decided to write his military memoirs.   Richmond author Bracelen Flood chronicles events in his new book, “Grant’s Final Victory”…Ulysses S. Grant’s Heroic Last Year.” Flood spoke with WEKU’S  Ron Smith about the memoirs origins…  

2:29pm

Fri November 11, 2011
Kentuckians at War

At Ease: EKU Leads National Celebration

Veterans at ease in front of Powell Student Center at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond.
Ron Smith WEKU News

Eastern Kentucky University was among more than 180 colleges and universities to observe the Remembrance Day National Roll Call. Starting early this morning, campus and community volunteers read the names of all the casualties of the conflicts.  

Read more

9:38am

Fri November 11, 2011
Kentuckians at War

A WEKU Veterans Day Special: 11-11-11

Phillip McKenzie is enrolled at the University of Kentucky where’s he’s studying business management.
Nunn Center, University of Kentucky

Veterans of America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are coming home.  Withdrawals are underway in both countries.  While the wars are winding down, their legacy will live on in America through their veterans.   Over the last ten years, an estimated two-point-three million Americans fought in those wars.  Today, we hear about their experience through the stories told by eight Kentuckians.

Read more

1:00am

Fri November 11, 2011
Kentuckians at War

Flight Mechanic Carries "Fallen Angels" From Combat

Nunn Center, University of Kentucky

The adjustment to military life was relatively easy for Rebecca Stinsky.  Her mother, stepfather, and siblings all wore service uniforms.  Their experience encouraged her to join Navy junior ROTC in high school.  After graduation it was a natural progression to the Marines.  As an aviation mechanic Stinsky wanted to work on the ‘biggest, baddest helicopters the Corps had to offer.”  But Stinsky found out maintaining a military helicopter and filling in as a door gunner were two very different jobs.

Read more

1:28pm

Thu November 10, 2011
Business and the Economy

Improving Service for KU, LGE Customers

Improvements in service are planned for Kentucky Utility and Louisville Gas and Electric customers.  The Kentucky Public Service Commission plan hopes will address numerous customer complaints.  An independent audit found numerous faults with the utilities, ranging from mistaken meter reading to unresponsive call center.  Commission spokesman Andrew Melnykovych predicts KU and LGE customers will notice an improvement.

Read more

2:03pm

Tue November 8, 2011
Kentuckians at War

"11-11-11, a Veterans Day Special" on 88.9 WEKU

War stories as told by 9 student-veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are broadcast Friday on 88.9 WEKU. “11-11-11, A Veterans Day Special” offers stories told by veterans who now attend Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky.

Read more

1:00am

Mon November 7, 2011
Kentuckians at War

"I Lost My Left Leg Below the Knee, Pretty Much Instantly"

Nunn Center, University of Kentucky
  • An error occurred ingesting this audio file to NPR

Jonathan Herst was the stereotypical big man on campus. He went to college on an athletic scholarship, and admits to spending a lot of time partying and chasing girls. But after getting his undergraduate degree in 2001, Herst felt something was missing in his life. He decided to do something, as he puts it, “for a bigger cause.” So he joined the Army and was eventually sent to Iraq. By 2005, Herst had survived many dangerous patrols without a scratch. But as his squad neared the end of one mission in 2005, Herst felt something bad was going to happen.

Read more

12:00am

Mon October 31, 2011
Kentuckians at War

"It was like mob mentality now, so you can’t just fire at someone who’s unarmed."

Former US Marine MP and Kentucky college student Noah Melgar.
Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Marines are trained to fight proficiently with deadly weapons.  But when an unarmed mob in Iraq turned violent, such weapons were literally overkill.  Kentuckian Noah Melgar found himself in just such a situation.   As a military policeman with the Marines, Melgar had to fight hand-to-hand.

Read more

2:00am

Mon October 24, 2011
Kentuckians at War

"You Become a Real Connoisseur of Eyeballs and Ankles"

  • Audio processing, please check back momentarily.

52 year-old Rocco Pepe has had numerous military deployments. Too many campaigns, he says, to name.  His 20 year career with the Marines began in 1976, followed by several years in the Air National Guard.  Today Pepe’s an officer with the Georgetown/ Scott County Emergency Management Agency.  He boasts about seeing 35 percent of the world without paying a penny for transportation.  The veteran grew up in Paterson, New Jersey, in sight of the New York City skyline. Despite the cosmopolitan surroundings and his military travels, the veteran is not immune to culture shock, abroad, and in the U-S…

Read more

12:18pm

Thu October 20, 2011
Eastern and Central Kentucky

KY Libyans See Gaddafi Death as Closure, Hope

Libyans living in Kentucky are celebrating the demise of dictator Moammar Gaddafi. The Libyan strongman was killed Thursday in fighting with rebels. Lexington businessman Ibrahim Bakoush says Gaddafi’s death brings closure to decades of atrocities. Libyans now, he says, are looking ahead. “Now it should be their concentration, what’s my future, what’s my kids’s future, how I can manage my kid’s future, there is a bright future for my kids, that’s what I’m hoping for,” said Bakoush.

Read more

2:00am

Mon October 17, 2011
Kentuckians at War

"I'm not going to avoid memories of what I did in Iraq"

Nunn Center for Oral History University of Kentucky

Some casualties of war are the minds of soldiers thrown into combat. Travis Martin is such a case. As an 18 year-old, the Somerset, Kentucky native found himself driving heavy trucks in Iraq. The target of several ambushes, the soldier suffered head and shoulder wounds when his vehicle ran over a roadside bomb.  For two years his hands shook uncontrollably, and his personality changed for the worse. He was not diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, but insists he’s a victim of P-T-S-D. After two tours of duty, Martin earned a master’s degree in English literature at Eastern Kentucky University.  In the latest in our series on student veterans, Martin talks about coping with severe anxiety…

Read more

12:20pm

Thu October 13, 2011
Eastern and Central Kentucky

Dorm Fire Investigated at EKU

Police are conducting an arson investigation at Eastern Kentucky University.  Authorities say at about 4:13 am Thursday, hallway bulletin boards were set on fire on two floors of the 20-story Commonwealth Hall. The fires caused minor damage to the walls, but a sprinkler system was activated and the building was evacuated. The dorm houses 422 students. A major event on campus just two weeks ago stressed fire safety. Richmond Fire Department spokesman Corey Lewis thinks some people didn’t get the message.

Read more

2:00am

Mon October 10, 2011
Eastern and Central Kentucky

Upcoming Summit Focuses on Lack of Rural Wireless

With wireless internet almost fact of life, there remain sections of America where residents don’t have fast and easy access to the internet.  The Center for Rural Strategies in Whitesburg next week co-hosts a discussion on how improve broadband internet service in central Appalachia.  Center spokesman Tim Marema says access to digital communication is a modern must.

Read more

2:00am

Mon October 10, 2011
Kentuckians at War

"We actually caught 3 young men that were making a bomb"

Fighting a war often immerses a soldier in a foreign environment and culture. That was the case for Phil McKenzie, the latest in a long line of McKenzies who served in the military.  As a 20 year-old Bradley tank driver, the eastern Kentucky native and Tennessee National Guard member, recalls his first impressions of Iraq, its first real election after the American invasion, and the bomb that wasn’t…

Read more

10:01am

Tue October 4, 2011
Business and the Economy

Poor Ky. Economy Could Jeopardize Workplace Safety

These tight economic times could tempt some companies to cut back on workplace safety. Kentucky Labor Secretary Mark Brown says that may mean spending less such things as protective equipment and training sessions. Brown understands business concerns but insists there’s no substitute for safety.

Read more

2:00am

Tue October 4, 2011
Kentuckians at War

"Did that just happen? Did I just kill somebody?"

Nunn Center, University of Kentucky

As a 19 year-old Army paratrooper, Jeremy Bowen was thrust into the bloody battle of Falluja, Iraq. In comments made as part of the University of Kentucky’s oral history project with student veterans, “From Combat to Kentucky”, Bowen recalls a night mission in an area nicknamed “Little Detroit” when he and his team shot two insurgents.

Read more

1:14pm

Wed September 28, 2011
Education

EKU Begins New Diversity Effort

Thirty-five percent of college students from Eastern Kentucky come from backgrounds where there’s little diversity of race, religion, and culture. At a diversity breakfast Wednesday, Eastern Kentucky University President Doug Whitlock asked those students a blunt question. “If you’re not exposed to people who look different from you, have a faith that is different from yours, might have sexual orientation than you do, have different political thought than you do, how are you going to be able to think critically if everybody you meet looks like you, thinks like you and believes like you?”, asked Whitlock.

Read more

3:58pm

Mon September 26, 2011
Education

Fire Safety Project Launched at EKU

The mother of a Murray State University student killed in a 1998 dormitory fire is involved in a new project that promotes fire safety on campus. After Michael Minger’s death, Gail Minger pressed Kentucky lawmakers to pass laws making sprinkler systems mandatory in all state university residence halls. But the law does not apply to all colleges. Speaking at Eastern Kentucky University today Minger said that deficiency needs to be corrected.

Read more

6:00am

Mon September 26, 2011
Kentuckians at War

Former UK Player says Experience Helped Shape War Discipline

UK student Brandon Lawrence
University of Kentucky

The teamwork mentality required in football can ease a transition into the military. In the latest installment of our series of interviews based on the University of Kentucky’s oral history project, “From Combat to Kentucky,” WEKU’S Ron Smith focuses on a walk-on football player turned soldier…

Read more

12:58pm

Thu September 22, 2011
Kentucky Arts and Culture

EKU Arts Center Ready for Inaugural Performance

The stage is set for Saturday’s inaugural performance at Eastern Kentucky University’s new Center for the Arts. Executive Director Debra Hoskins says ticket sales for Saturday’s performance by Kentuckian Wynonna Judd have been unbelievable. “The support that the Center has gotten from Madison Countians, from Lexington, from the entire region has just been unbelievable. I am so proud of the people in this area who are supporting this venture and all that they’re doing to make sure that it’s a continued success”, said Hoskins.

Read more

6:47am

Mon September 19, 2011
Kentuckians at War

Silent Service and its Veterans often Overlooked

Former submariner Eric Perry.
The Nunn Center, University of Kentucky

America’s war on terror features familiar images of soldiers in body armor, Humvees and attack helicopters.  Submerged in war coverage is the role played by submarines and their crews.  In the latest installment of our series of interviews based on the University of Kentucky’s oral history project, “From Combat to Kentucky,” WEKU’S  Ron Smith has memories from a submariner…

Read more

7:30am

Mon September 12, 2011
Kentuckians at War

"In surgery there’s a sheet up so you don’t have to connect face to face"

The Nunn Center

Kentucky veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are telling their stories while they’re still fresh in their minds. The recollections are the basis for an oral history project at the University of Kentucky, “From Combat to Kentucky.” Beginning this month WEKU will air capsule versions of the original interviews.  Today, we profile Army Reservist Stephanie Murphy, a veteran of the Iraq war.

Read more

6:00am

Fri September 9, 2011
Faith and Values

Richmond Clergyman Recalls 9-11 Counseling

In good weather, retired clergyman Bob Vickers spends much of his time driving his snazzy, green sports car with the top down. On the afternoon of September 11, 2001, Vickers, then Director of the Chaplaincy for the Southern Baptist Convention in Atlanta, was in a van headed to New York, to counsel victims of the attacks. As he approached the city, Vickers was overwhelmed by the sight of billowing smoke, and the silence. “In the far distance you could hear a few sirens, but it was just, it was eerie. It was like another world that I could not imagine”, recalled Vickers. Vickers spent the next two weeks in New York counseling first responders and others. He remembers two firefighters in particular.

Read more

6:00am

Thu September 8, 2011
Faith and Values

Richmond Man has Mixed 9-11 Emotions

The 10th anniversary of the September 11th terror attacks is burned in our memories.  WEKU reporter Ron Smith  says the occasion is  meaningful on several levels to a Richmond man. Many Americans shared Mustapha Jourdini’s initial reaction to the events of 9-11. “Aaaaahhh…it’s, it’s very depressing actually, since I heard the news, I’m psychologically depressed,” recalled Jourdini.  At the time of that September 12th, 2001 interview, Jourdini was a 24 year-old Eastern Kentucky University student. Today he’s academic advisor in EKU’s Honors program. Jourdini, who’s a native of Morocco, was not only saddened by the loss of life that day.

Read more

2:27pm

Mon August 22, 2011
Eastern and Central Kentucky

Lexington Libyans Hopeful of Gadaffi Fall

For Libyans living in Lexington, it’s not another August day but more like the 4th of July.  With rebel victory over dictator Moammar Gaddafi seemingly at hand, emotions are running high. A Libyan expatriate in Lexington has no words to describe his feelings amid rebel gains in his homeland.  Ibrahim El Bakoush has been waiting for the Gadhafi regime to fall for decades.

Read more

12:14pm

Mon August 15, 2011
Education

EKU President Touts Accomplishments, Challenges

Classes begin next week at Eastern Kentucky University, but a combination pep rally/reality check took place Monday on the Richmond campus. The fall annual convocation drew hundreds of faculty and staff. President Doug Whitlock says to expect about 16-thousand-500 students. Although that’s about the same as last year, Whitlock sees positives in the numbers.

Read more

1:04pm

Sat August 13, 2011
Education

EKU Anchors First Responder Training

A federally funded program based at Eastern Kentucky University is helping rural communities across the country prepare for emergencies and disasters. Consortium director Amy Hughes says the program is meeting a real need.

Read more

7:47am

Mon August 8, 2011
The Commonwealth

Motorcyclists Raise Money for KY Guard

For many Kentuckians, next Saturday will literally be a day to remember.  Hundreds of motorcyclists and others from around the state are expected to converge on Lawrenceburg to honor Kentucky National Guard members killed in the line of duty. Kentucky National Guard Memorial Fund Board member Jason Lemay recalls a man who died in the great flood of 1937.

Read more

2:00am

Tue August 2, 2011
Eastern and Central Kentucky

Despite Progressive Image, Berea's Fairness Law Stuck

Ron Smith WEKU News

Berea has a history of being in the forefront of social change, but an effort to protect citizens based on their sexual orientation faces an uncertain future.  WEKU’S Ron Smith has the story. This report contains language that’s objectionable to many people.

Read more

Pages