Health and Welfare

All across the nation Saturday, people will be throwing out un-needed medications in an effort to keep the drugs out of the wrong hands. 

It’s the annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, and Bowling Green-Warren County Drug Task Force Director Tommy Loving says there are several reasons to dispose of old prescriptions.

Health Officials Predict Flu Shot More Effective This Year

Sep 21, 2015

Local health providers this year are planning to boost promotion of the flu vaccine.  Flu shots are already available at various commercial businesses.  Lois Davis with the Fayette County Health Department admits a poor record of virus protection a year ago may still be on some people’s minds.  “Last year you know, the vaccine was not as effective as they had hoped," Davis said. "I think it was down in the teens as far as effectiveness.  This year they’re predicting it will be much more effective, you know 55-60 percent effective.”

Stu Johnson / WEKU News


Another Blue Grass Army Depot mock disaster drill is in the books.  Each year finds a little more anticipation about the start-up of chemical munition disposal in Madison County.

The number of people in Kentucky without health insurance fell 5.8 percent last year, the largest drop of any state in the country according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Kentucky was one of 31 states that chose to increase the number of people eligible to receive taxpayer-funded health insurance in 2013. Since then, the Commonwealth has added about 400,000 people to its Medicaid program and has been held up as an example by President Barack Obama of the success of his health care law.

UK Student Faces Charge Related to Drone Crash at Football Stadium

Sep 11, 2015
University of Kentucky


A 24 year old law student at the University of Kentucky is facing a wanton endangerment charge after crashing a drone into Commonwealth Stadium.   Police say it’s the first drone related incident on the Lexington campus.


Week two of Lexington’s needle exchange program is scheduled this Friday at the Fayette County Health Department. A health department official calls the first go round an “overwhelming success.”

Lexington Support Group Promotes Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Sep 9, 2015

The state of Kentucky is shining a light on ovarian cancer during the month of September. There are no definitive symptoms, making diagnosis a difficult task.   Sue Jacobs is president of the Bluegrass Ovarian Cancer Support Group.  She says Kentucky’s screening program is recognized nationally.  “The earlier you are diagnosed and the earlier your stage of cancer, the less chance of having recurrence, but it’s not uncommon,” said Jacobs.

Algal Advisory Issued In Kentucky

Sep 4, 2015
Kentucky Division of Water

Kentucky state officials are warning people to stay out of portions of the Ohio River, after harmful algal blooms were identified earlier this week.

These algal blooms are a type of cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae. It can irritate your skin if you’re exposed to it for a prolonged period. The algae can also cause nausea and other gastrointestinal problems.

Lexington Begins Needle Exchange

Sep 3, 2015
Stu Johnson / WEKU News


Lexington will launch a needle exchange program Friday at the Fayette County Health Department.  The initiative aims to reduce the spread of HIV and Hepatitis.

The needle exchange local option is just one facet of the state law aimed at addressing heroin related issues.  Lexington Health Commissioner Rice Leach says used needles should be transported in stick proof containers.  “If you’re gonna bring them in in a bag, okay,” said Leach. “But we’d rather you bring them in in a butter container or drop them down in a two liter Coke bottle or something like that.”

Three More Eastern Kentucky Counties Added to Disaster List

Sep 1, 2015

Three more eastern Kentucky counties now qualify for federal assistance following heavy rains earlier this summer.  

The addition brings the total number of eligible counties to seven.

Breathitt, Fleming, and Perry counties have been added to the list of counties for which individual assistance is available.  Grant money can be used for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners. 

UK Releases Survey on Safety, Sex Assaults

Aug 31, 2015

A campus-wide survey of safety at the University of Kentucky ranges from perceptions of safety to stalking to reporting of sexual assaults.  UK officials believe the Lexington school is among the first in the country to undertake a mandatory survey of these issues.  UK President Eli Capilouto says the findings indicate many students remain reluctant to report sexual assaults.  “Too many students, too many still believe that sexual assault is a shame and a scorn that they cannot share,” said Capilouto.

Colon Cancer Screening Grant to Focus on Appalachia and Louisville

Aug 25, 2015

Kentucky will receive over two and a half million dollars in federal money to boost the number of colon cancer screenings. The grant program focuses on at risk people in Appalachia and Louisville.

The money comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Over the next five years, state health officials will use the funds to focus on improving screening rates and outcomes, in terms of incidence and mortality. 

Rural Water Utilities Face Funding Concerns

Aug 24, 2015

More than 600 utility representatives are meeting in Lexington this week for the Kentucky Rural Water Association Conference. One of the most discussed topics is funding for water related improvements in rural areas.  Association Training Specialist Randall Kelly says many grant programs no longer exist.  Kelly says some rural utilities take out loans to pay for new water lines.  “That has to be budgeted for in their rates and so, some of these communities are poor communities, so they really can’t jack up their rates very much," Kelly said.  "It’s a tough balance.

Lawmakers Gather in Lexington to Review Heroin Legislation

Aug 10, 2015
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

Issues with drug abuse for mothers and their babies are an ongoing focus of neo-natal health care providers.  These matters were the focus of a legislative meeting in Lexington Monday.

Lexington Officials Consider Final Needle Exchange Draft

Jul 30, 2015

Fayette County's Health Commissioner is among those reviewing the final draft of plans for a needle exchange program.  Dr.

'Trooper Island' Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Jul 27, 2015

Kentucky State Police and thousands of former camp attendees are celebrating a half century of summertime recreation and mentorship.  The fun takes place on an island at Dale Hollow Lake in southern Kentucky.

KSP Spokesman Sargent Michael Webb says it's a structured environment with fresh air, good food, recreation, and esteem building activities.  "It's a wonderful respite for these children to be able to go and just get away from all the busyness and other cares of this world and just go there and just have fun," said Webb.

Eastern Kentucky flood victims can receive cleanup supplies and food this weekend at three different Red Cross distribution centers.  The sites have been established in Johnson, Rowan and Carter counties.  Joanna King with Red Cross says various items are being handed out including rakes, shovels, work gloves, bug spray and sunscreen. King says storage containers and food boxes that can feed a family of four for up to seven days will also be available.

King says there are other cleanup materials and hygiene kits available at the distribution centers. 

Abandoned Horse Database Established in Kentucky

Jul 23, 2015

State agriculture officials are hopeful the new Stray or Abandoned Equine Database will help with the proper care and upkeep of wandering horses.  The online database is one piece of a law approved earlier this year.  State Veterinarian Bob Stout says information about the horses is collected at county judges' offices.  "It certainly gives opportunities for people to legitimately claim their horse and we would hope then, when they recognize ownership of it, that they maintain responsibility that goes with owning a horse," said Stout. / Annie E. Casey Foundation

A new report says poverty remains the biggest problem facing Kentucky children, a trend affecting all other aspects of child well-being.

Paintsville Rec Center Providing Support to Flood Victims

Jul 16, 2015

The kitchen at the Paintsville Recreation Center is a busy place today.  Volunteers are there preparing meals for those affected by flood waters this week.  Bonnie Porter is director of the Paintsville Main Street Program.  "We're just working to try to help everybody, it's a very sad to see the devastation here and the T.V. stations don't do it justice how really bad it is up here," said Porter.

Mental Health Services Available for Flood Victims

Jul 16, 2015

Hundreds of families and emergency responders are coping with the aftermath of flooding in Eastern Kentucky.  Therapeutic counseling will also be offered.

Flood Victims Likely to Face Insurance Challenges

Jul 16, 2015

The focus in flood-stricken areas of Eastern Kentucky remains on immediate day-to-day needs of food and shelter.

Response to Flash Flooding Focuses on Physical, Emotional Needs

Jul 14, 2015

   Flash flooding in eastern Kentucky has caused loss of life, major damage, and general disruption for hundreds of families. 

Rural communities in Rowan and Johnson counties are some of the hardest hit areas.  Joanna King is executive director of the eastern Kentucky Red Cross Chapter.  She says aid goes beyond meeting physical needs.  "The Red Cross offers mental health counseling for people who are having a rough time with the situation that is going on," said King. "We have volunteers who are trained to assist with that as well." 

Emergency Response to Flash Flooding in Eastern Kentucky

Jul 14, 2015

Flash flooding is being blamed for at least one death in eastern Kentucky.  Rescue teams are continuing to search for a number of other people who are reported missing.  Communities in Rowan and Johnson counties were especially hard hit.  Buddy Rogers with Kentucky Emergency Management says there's been a lot of structural damage as well.  "Those communities within those counties have reported dozens, if not hundreds of homes effected," said Rogers. "Some totally destroyed, some washed away.  Several rescues and evacuations took place in both of those counties." 

Heavy Rains are No Drought Defender

Jul 13, 2015

Following consistent rainfall across the commonwealth, the Kentucky River is riding high. The river acts as a water supply for communities up and down the channel. Kentucky River Authority Director Jerry Graves says although the state is experiencing steady rainfall and the river is high, that doesn't equate to protection from drought.    "You know the Kentucky River can be up 15 foot one day and 10 days later, be down to a normal pool, sort of like a yo-yo," Graves said. "This has no effect on the long term as far as drought is concerned."

State officials won’t disclose the names or locations of Kentucky grocery stores accused of fraud in the Women, Infants and Children food assistance program.

Retired Generals Say Keep School Lunch Program As-Is

Jul 7, 2015
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

A non-partisan group comprised of former military leaders says 73 percent of Kentucky's young people are too obese to serve in the armed forces.  The information is in a report from the nonpartisan national security organization Mission: Readiness.

A home visiting project to help families raise healthy children that used to serve only first-time parents has expanded to include those with more than one child.

Kentucky Community Service Agencies to Split $3.7 Million

Jun 30, 2015

The state of Kentucky is the recipient of $3.7 million to support community service projects.  The AmeriCorps funding goes to 12 programs, many serving southeast Kentucky.  Operation Unite Education Director Debbie Trusty says a $543,000 grant allows 44 AmeriCorps workers to meet one on one with school children and provide math tutoring and drug prevention education.  "The program gives them activities to be able to be involved in where they can take a stand in their school and be a leader and practice drug resistance skills with a group of like-minded students," said Trusty.


This will be the fifth year that flying fireworks can be sold in many parts of the Commonwealth.  The Kentucky General Assembly enacted the change in 2011.  Prior to that, many Kentuckians traveled to Tennessee to get more powerful fireworks.  State Fire Marshal Bill Swope says the number of vendors selling in Kentucky hasn't changed much.  "I think it has remained rather consistent in terms of if we were to measure it against the number of vendors that are registering to sell,” said Swope. “That number has remained relatively consistent."