Fayette County Health officials are continuing to wrestle with higher than usual gastrointestinal illnesses in both children and adults. The upcoming swimming pool season will bring with it another opportunity for the sickness to spread.
Communities all across the country are participating this week in the national PrepareAthon. It's a campaign to raise awareness about emergency preparedness for issues including severe weather and chemical spills. John Bobel is with Lexington's Division of Emergency Management. He says two nearby interstates and heavily traveled rail routes always present the risk of a hazardous event. "Most days nothing happens, but we need to be aware if something does happen to a tanker carrying hazardous materials, that there is going to be a response," said Bobel.
Medical research participants in eastern Kentucky Wednesday had the chance to quiz investigators about their findings. The first Appalachia Research Day event was held in Hazard. Debra Moser works in UK's College of Nursing focusing on heart health issues. "You know we report our research at professional meetings and we publish but if we don't really present back to the people who participated in the research,” said Moser. “It seems like we haven't closed the loop."
Many Kentuckians may be seeking to lend financial assistance to the earthquake ravaged area in Nepal. One option is through contributions to the American Red Cross. Bluegrass Chapter Director Terry Burkhart says there are online and traditional mailing options for donors. "We would say whatever is most convenient for the donor; if it's easier to just go online and make the donation that's great," said Burkhart. "If you'd rather be more comfortable providing the check through our office, that works too. Either works just fine."
This year's winner of the Kentucky Smoke-free Advocate of the Year Award says candidates running for governor need to hear from citizens regarding a statewide smoking ban. Allison Adams, director of the Buffalo Trace District Health Department, was recognized Thursday during a Lexington conference. "It's really nice that Allison Adams talks to the governor candidate and says 'what do you feel about smoke free?' but I'm just one vote," said Adams.
From left to right, Becky Cox, Marion Cox, Dr. John Slevin
Credit Stu Johnson / WEKU News
A Georgetown man is benefiting from a portable infusion pump that delivers a drug to treat his Parkinson's disease symptoms. The device is designed for patients who have seen little success with traditional, oral methods. 70 year old Marion Cox participated in a University of Kentucky clinical trial. Cox says the drug delivery method has made a big impact on his life. "I've referred to it as a new lease on life, where I came from versus were I am," said Cox. "It's hard for me to believe and it was in my skin."
The official opening of a new outpatient center in Lexington also marks a rebirth of a portion of the former Turfland Mall. The 85-thousand-square-foot University of Kentucky HealthCare at Turfland sits on the one-time site of a Dillard's store.
Chief of Ambulatory Services Dr. Marcus Randall says family and community medicine takes up a big part of the center, "So that's a large chunk of the space. Not only do they have their clinic space here, but they also have their academic offices here. Their teaching location is here.”
Picking up litter in central Kentucky's downtown communities will be widespread this Wednesday. The effort is connected to the 45th Earth Day Commemoration.
The main street clean sweep program is being coordinated by Bluegrass Greensource, which serves 19 central Kentucky counties. Director Amy Sohner says the trash pickup blitz will take place in many towns this week from 11 am to 1pm. "And the idea is to go in mass, 15 communities, 15 cities in central Kentucky, picking up litter all at the same time to celebrate Earth Day," said Sohner.
Rain is continuing to fall in many parts of Kentucky. Buddy Rogers, with Kentucky Emergency Management, says so far, no formal requests for assistance have come from county governments. He says residents are dealing with the third wettest spring on record. "The ground is wet and has remained wet all spring and until we get a good solid week of sunshine, I think our water tables are gonna stay high and the ground is gonna be saturated," said Rogers.
Breast cancer survivors from across Kentucky met at Keeneland Wednesday. They participated in Pink Day, an annual event held in conjunction with First Lady Jane Beshear's Horses and Hope Program. Kentucky Cancer Program Director Debra Armstrong says for some breast cancer survivors, it's their first day at the track.
"The race tracks have developed a bit of a following of women, who are now coming in from all across the state and have found that this is a very exciting event and they feel a part of it," said Armstrong.
Last week's heavy rainfall is still impacting travel in many sections of Kentucky. The forecast of additional rain this week only serves to complicate the situation. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Spokesman Chuck Wolfe says sections of four roads and four bridges remain washed out. "Any time something like that happens, it obviously has a bad effect on people who may depend upon that roadway to get back and forth between home and work or school or whatever," said Wolfe.
April is child abuse prevention month in Kentucky. A commemoration ceremony was held Monday at the Fayette County Health Department on Louden Avenue. Department Spokesman Kevin Hall says an in-home visitation program offers the opportunity to counsel new parents on proper discipline. "Particularly in terms of child abuse, they're working to differentiate between proper punishment and when it veers into excessive punishment and into abuse," said Hall. "You want to make sure parents know the difference."
A four legged investigator is being credited with helping to find answers related to a southeast Kentucky wildfire. The case got the attention earlier this week of Magic, a K9 arson dog.
The fire was on Warrior's Path near Stinking Creek in Knox County. Division of Forestry officials knew where the fire began, but were not sure who started it. Investigators found barbed wire rolls and a fencing tool present at the origin.
A new program in Fayette County aims to help place healthy produce on the tables of more low income families. As WEKU'S Jonese Franklin reports, funding for the initiative comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The measles outbreak that happened late last year in the western U.S. has renewed discussion about vaccination policies. That very issue was the main topic of a panel discussion Tuesday at the University of Kentucky.
Spring time temperatures coupled with breezy conditions are prompting wildfire concerns this afternoon. An open burning ban is in place for the Lexington area.
The open burning ban is being issued in response to a National Weather Service Advisory. It states that a dry cold front passing through is producing gusty west winds coupled with relatively low humidity levels. Officials with the Lexington Fire Department say it’s creating dangerous fire weather conditions.
Kentucky Association of Food Banks Director Tamara Sandberg with Team Food Chain Founder Chad Kamen
Credit Kentucky Association of Food Banks
Food banks across Kentucky will benefit from a fundraising effort by a 16 year old Louisville student. Chad Kamen formed the nonprofit Team Food Chain about six years ago. Kamen says the idea for the project came from his interest in a television show. "I had a huge interest in 'Top Chef', the TV show and I was in love with cooking,” said Kamen. “My mom and I would cook these family dinners together and I started to kind of think about well I guess someone else probably can't have a family dinner somewhere."
Physical inactivity could be considered a polite way of saying someone is 'sitting around too much.' There was a lot of talk about that subject Wedneday at the Physical Activity Across the Lifespan Conference in Lexington.
Many of the workshops at the day-long event focused on exercise. The keynote address came from Duke Professor of Medicine, Bill Kraus. "So the lack of physical activity is a disease because it leads to disease," said Kraus. "And then the question is, how much exercise do you have to do to prevent that worsening over time?"
After years of debate in Frankfort, the state legislature has approved a measure to add civil protections for dating couples. The legislation has passed in the Democratic House numerous times, but fallen short in the Republican led Senate. Louisville Representative Joni Jenkins, who worked at the Center for Women and Families for a decade, called the passage a 'long time coming.' "I know that this is gonna be a great tool for especially college campuses, whereas none of those protections would have applied to folks,” said Jenkins.
Kentucky's vehicle booster seat law is getting an upgrade. Final approval came last night at the state Capital. The measure increases the height restriction to include any child under 57 inches and applies to children under age eight. Louisville Representative Steve Riggs says the new standards will protect more children. "Several hundred accidents a year involving children and it will help make sure that the seat belt, the restraint is in the right place," said Riggs.
Northern Kentucky Representative Dennis Keene has been working for six years to help pass an ignition interlock bill and now passage appears closer than ever. The modified bill needs to see action Tuesday, if it's to clear during this session. Keene almost lost his daughter to a drunk driver. "It's not everything that we wanted in the House, but it's definitely gonna save lives and that's what's important,” said Keene. “It doesn't matter who's name's on it. It just matters that it accomplishes and saves families anguish of losing their children."
This is Environmental Health Professionals Week in Kentucky. Fayette County Health Department inspectors review some 1,700 permitted establishments each year. Environmental Health Specialist Amy Sullivan says about 60 percent of the health department's reviews occur at restaurants. She says several are shut down every year. "Each year there are numerous establishments that do have to be closed for various reasons, whether it's not electricity or not have water," said Sullivan. "Often times we get reports of a sewage back up in the food preparation area."