Health and Welfare

Ride Inspectors Busy Before State Fair

Aug 12, 2016


The Kentucky State Fair is set to open one week from today (next Thursday).  Two tragic amusement ride related incidents in Kansas and Tennessee are causing increased attention to public safety.

Pipe Art Project in Lexington Park Tracks Groundwater

Aug 2, 2016
Stu Johnson-WEKU News


Bright fluorescent green pipes in Lexington’s Jacobson Park signal a new interactive art project.  It’s an auditory experience.

Graduation Focuses on Fostering Sucess

Aug 2, 2016


The State Department of Community Based Services has held its first Fostering Success graduation.  The pilot program focuses on helping foster children as they leave the system.

Federal Review Request of Flood Damaged Counties

Aug 2, 2016

   Kentucky officials are calling for a federal review of areas in the Commonwealth damaged by July flooding and severe storms. The storms that occurred in early July left a large impact on almost two dozen Kentucky counties.

The level of damages that occurred from July 3rd through the 9th  warranted a joint assessment from both the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Kentucky Emergency Management.

Twenty-three counties all across the Commonwealth, including Clay, Lawrence, McCracken, and Union all incurred damages from the severe storm system.

Future of Zika Virus in Central Ky. Hard to Predict

Jul 26, 2016


In the wake of Lexington’s first Zika virus case in an infant, health officials continue to stress ways to fend off further cases in the area.  Fayette County’s Health Commissioner admits it’s hard to predict the number of future infections.

More than 14 hundred cases of Zika virus have now been reported nationwide.  All have been determined to be travel related and not through local transmission. 

Estill County Residents to Rally on Radioactive Waste Concerns

Jul 15, 2016

The state attorney general’s office has determined there is insufficient evidence to seek criminal charges in the disposal of radioactive waste in an Estill County landfill.

Still, a number of residents plan to rally this weekend.  Tom Bonny is with the newly created Concerned Citizens of Estill County.  “We’re just very concerned that this landfill could become a dumping ground for any and everything and would cause a risk to the citizens who live around it on all sides of it,” said Bonny.

Officials with the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet say $15.7 million dollars will go to help address substance abuse problems. This amounts to an extra five million this year to assist eight programs in the Commonwealth.

For Kentucky workers who have health insurance through their employers, the number enrolled in high-deductible plans has risen sharply over the last eight years. That's according to a new report by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky reported in the Daily News.


Testimony Taken in Final Medicaid Reform Hearing

Jul 6, 2016


Governor Bevin’s plan to substantially change the state Medicaid program got another public review Wednesday.  The third and final public hearing in Hazard attracted a room full of onlookers.

In announcing the plan to transform Medicaid, Governor Bevin said it would empower people to improve their health while ensuring its financial sustainability.  Among other things, it calls for able bodied Kentuckians to work, volunteer, or do other community engagement to receive benefits. 

Madison County Needle Exchange Under Review

Jul 6, 2016

Members of Madison and Clark County Medical Societies have reviewed dismal Kentucky health statistics. A meeting Tuesday night included talk of smoking cessation and the Zika virus. Much attention also centered on bringing another needle exchange program to Central Kentucky.

University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky’s Center for Excellence in Rural Health is one of 38 organizations to receive funding from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services. The $1 million grant will be used to help children in Appalachia get the health insurance they need, as well as provide to families that are eligible to coverage. Many Kentucky families are unaware they qualify for healthcare coverage so do not look into signing up for them or their children. This is especially difficult in rural parts of Eastern Kentucky, where healthcare providers have a hard time gaining access to those that need it most.

Fireworks Sales and Safety Tips Leading Up to Fourth Weekend

Jun 27, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News


Preparations for the upcoming Fourth of July weekend will kick into high gear this week.  That will likely mean a lot of tent perusing for fireworks’ buyers.

State Health Officials Offer Zika Prevention Reminders

Jun 23, 2016

With the heat of summer kicking in, lots of Kentuckians will be heading to a lake or park for recreation.  With that in mind, state health officials are reminding citizens to think about mosquito bite prevention.  It comes with increased attention tied to the Zika Virus. 

Tornado Watch for Central Kentucky

Jun 23, 2016

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for several central Kentucky counties until 10 p.m. Thursday evening.  A tornado warning was issued just before 5 p.m. for Scott County.  The watch area includes the counties of Bourbon, Harrison, Scott, Clark, Madison, Fayette, and Nicholas.  A watch means conditions are favorable for a tornado to develop.

The first of ten regional meetings on the issue of food insecurity in the commonwealth took place Tuesday in Northern Kentucky.

The inaugural meeting in Highland Heights established the goals of the Hunger Task Force which was initiated earlier this month to combat what seems to be a growing problem in the Commonwealth.

Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles says the regional meetings will serve the purpose of displaying the need for the task force with statistics from foodbanks as well as developing attainable and measurable methods to fight the hunger inequities.

Lexington Officials Offer Pet Preparedness Advice

Jun 16, 2016

In times of disaster, many Kentucky pet owners are hesitant to part with their dog, cat, rabbit, ferret, or other animal. June is National Pet Preparedness Month.  Safety suggestions came Thursday during an event at the Lexington Humane Society.  John Bobel, with the city’s Division of Emergency Management, says during an emergency many people want to take their pets with them.  “If they’re not sure whether or not a shelter or facility has capabilities for their pets, they will stay at home.  And in some cases, that’s very dangerous.”


Ky. Appeals Court Orders Lexington Clinic to Halt Abortions

Jun 16, 2016

A Kentucky appeals court Wednesday ordered a Lexington clinic to stop performing abortions until it gets a license from the state.  Republican Gov. Matt Bevin says EMW Women's Clinic has been performing abortions without a license.      

The clinic's owner says he is exempt from the licensure requirement because the clinic is a private physician's office. Bevin sued, asking a judge to force the facility to close.

Pilot Study on Jockey Injuries Begins this Summer

Jun 14, 2016

    A pilot study could lead to increased standards for health and injury care for jockeys. The University of Kentucky-Jockey Guild review covers a three-year period.

The study is the first of its kind within the horse racing industry. There is no current database for tracking when a jockey has any type of injury, especially dangerous concussions.

School Resource Officers Say Social Media Issues Loom Large

Jun 14, 2016


School Resource Officers from across Kentucky are meeting at Eastern Kentucky University.  They are being briefed on everything from constitutional rights of students to social media trends.


A portion of monies generated through a Kentucky attorney general settlement with Purdue Pharma continues to be distributed to recovery and treatment centers.  Tuesday’s announcement concerns a Prestonsburg facility.

Animals rescued from an Edmonson County shelter are being nursed back to health at several facilities in our region.

Kentucky State Police raided the shelter in Edmonson County Saturday morning, and sent about 60 cats and dogs to shelters in Bowling Green, Glasgow, and Owensboro.

Many of the animals found at the Bee Spring facility were malnourished and suffer from respiratory problems.

Jamie Ray, director of the Barren River Animal Welfare Association in Glasgow, says the 16 dogs and 11 cats they took from Edmonson County will be adoptable.

Creative Commons

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is expecting a busier-than-usual mosquito spraying season.

While state officials have reported only a handful of infections, fears of the Zika virus have the department ramping up operations.

Keith Rogers, chief of staff for Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, says the department has enough pesticides to last through the summer.

Zika Concerns Affecting Lexington Mosquito Spraying

May 19, 2016

Attention given to the Zika virus is affecting the Fayette County Health Department’s summer mosquito control program. Health Department trucks will take to Lexington streets in the early hours overnight in June. 

Environmental Health Supervisor Luke Mathias says routes could be modified during the spray season.  “If we do find areas that we find a lot of stagnant water, we may adjust the spray areas to be a little bit closer to certain roads, certain streets,” noted Mathias.

Group Depression Support Program Starting in Hazard

May 19, 2016

    Some eastern Kentucky women wrestling with depression could benefit from a new program taking place this summer.  It’s being developed in a region where treatment options are


Depression among rural women in Kentucky runs four times higher than the general rate of depression in the U.S.  Poverty and violence can be contributing factors.  This issue was one of many discussed at the Annual Research Day program in Hazard Wednesday. 

Lexington Hosts Forum on Opiate Abuse

May 17, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

Various issues related to problems with opiate addiction in Kentucky have been highlighted in a central Kentucky community forum.  A packed room listened to a panel discussion Monday at the “Bluegrass Forum on Opiate Use Disorders: A Time for Community Action.” Participants were told four Kentuckians, on average, die every day from overdoses. 

Lexington Forum to Focus on Opiate Abuse Planning

May 16, 2016

A Forum in Lexington Monday is aimed at a broadening understanding of health dangers associated with opiate addiction. 

The program is labeled “Bluegrass Forum on Opiate Use Disorders: A Time for Community Action.”  Dr. Alan Brenzel, medical director with the State Department for Behavioral Health, says opiated use disorder has been one of the most complex health issues facing Kentucky and the country. 

Red Cross Seeks Help for Mayfield Tornado Victims

May 12, 2016


Volunteers with the Western Kentucky Chapter of the American Red Cross are going door-to-door in Mayfield to assist families affected by this week’s tornado.  

The EF-3 storm ripped through western Kentucky devastating a section of Mayfield and leaving 25 individuals displaced. Graves County officials estimate $3 million in damages.

Chapter Executive Director Evelyn Miller says the Red Cross is distributing vouchers for food, clothes and hygiene products to those affected while they search for permanent housing.

Graves County Officials Assess Tornado Damage in Mayfield

May 11, 2016

Officials in Graves County are assessing the damage from a tornado that touched down north of Mayfield Tuesday. In a media conference Wednesday, National Weather Service Meteorologist Rick Shanklin says initial reports indicate the tornado peaked at the low end of EF3 on the sale, with 140 miles per hour winds. 

Ky. Officials Organize for Zika Prevention

May 10, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News


Kentucky officials in areas from public health to agriculture are launching a Zika virus awareness and prevention program.  The start-up, announced Monday, comes before any reported cases of local transmission of the mosquito-borne disease. 

Zika is known to cause birth defects in some babies born to infected women during pregnancy.

Ky-based Refuge for Women Expanding

May 4, 2016

    A Kentucky-based program working to help sexually-exploited women is expanding.  An awareness and fundraising event for the program occurred last weekend in Lexington.

The-faith based Refuge for Women is described as “aftercare for the trafficked and sexually exploited.”  There are four safe houses in Kentucky. Other programs are forming in states such as Georgia and Illinois.