Health and Welfare

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."  

Lexington Gets Trailers to House Pets During Emergencies

Jun 29, 2015

Lexington's Humane Society has a new option for caring for pets during disasters or other emergencies.  The federal chemical stockpile program has provided funding to the agency for two trailers. 

Stu Johnson / WEKU News


Children and adults alike will be schooled this weekend in Lexington on a variety of safety issues.  Officials with the inaugural Summer Safety Fair aim to provide positive interaction between police and children.

Lexington Prepares to Institute Needle Exchange Program

Jun 23, 2015

The Lexington Council is endorsing a needle exchange program. The initiative is a part of a new state law aimed at lowering diseases related to heroin use, including Hepatitis and HIV. Fayette County Health Commissioner Rice Leach brought the plan before city leaders Tuesday.  He says participants must bring in a needle to receive a clean one.  "If you bring in one, you only get one” said Leach.

Andrew Wolfson/The Courier-Journal

A KentuckyOne Health cancer center has refused to take down an advertising banner in the heart of Louisville's medical center that some doctors have called "misleading."

New Vehicle Booster Seat Requirements Go into Effect

Jun 15, 2015
Stu Johnson / WEKU News


A ceremonial bill signing was held Monday for Kentucky's new, stricter vehicle booster seat law. But, enacting a new law doesn't guarantee parents will adhere to the stiffer guidelines. 

Stu Johnson / WEKU News

Kentucky's quality rating system for child care facilities is undergoing some changes.  State Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse-Haynes says the STARS for KIDS NOW program is being updated to help the state be more efficient and confirm that childcare facilities are providing the best care.  "This will help to ensure that we, as taxpayers, are getting a quality product out of it, and parents are getting a quality product with the overall goal making sure our kids are able to start school," said Tayse-Haynes


It's an historic time for Court Appointed Special Advocates of Lexington.  A record class of volunteers is being recognized this week.


Six youth detention facilities across Kentucky have been found to meet all compliance standards for the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act.  All 27 State Department of Juvenile Justice facilities and two contracted residential sites will have undergone audits by the end of next summer.

More Children Expected to Participate in Summer Meal Program

Jun 9, 2015

An added 40 thousand dollars is increasing the number of Kentucky's low income children who receive summer meals.  Governor Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear made the announcement Tuesday.

The funding goes to the Kentucky Association of Food Banks.  The Summer Food Service Program helps ensure children receive nutritious meals when school is not in session.  20 thousand dollars in state money is being matched with another 20 thousand in a private grant from 'Share Our Strength.' 

Getty Images/istockphoto

Public health officials warn that rural Appalachia might be just a few dirty needles away from an HIV catastrophe, as the region is gripped by an epidemic of injection drug abuse and hepatitis C.

Heroin Law Oversight Panel to Assess Impact of Legislation

May 29, 2015

Formation is underway of a task force that will oversee implementation of the state's new heroin law.  The co-chair of the task force says he witnessed heroin's rise in popularity in his community just over five years ago.

Emergency Dispatchers Needed in Kentucky

May 29, 2015

There's an ongoing demand for law enforcement dispatchers across Kentucky. Last week, the Public Safety Dispatch Academy at Eastern Kentucky University graduated its 100thclass. Training Supervisor Mike Keyser says upon receiving their degrees, the 20 new graduates began taking emergency calls right away.  "One of the graduates had to work that evening at four o’clock,” said Keyser.  “Whenever they graduated they went to work, either that day or if they had the good fortune to have a couple of days off, I guarantee you they were working by Monday morning."  

Federal Panel Observing Rural Health Issues in Kentucky

May 28, 2015

A central Kentucky community hospital is playing host this week to a federal panel studying ways to increase life expectancy in rural areas.  The National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services met Thursday at Marcum and Wallace Memorial Hospital in Irvine.  Hospital CEO Susie Starling says the panel is reviewing day to day experiences.  "It's providing them with real life situations and perspectives that they may not have gotten without coming into the communities and talking with the people who are actually living it every day," said Starling.