Health and Welfare

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.

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.

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.


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. 

Lexington Officials Say Homelessness Down

May 2, 2016

Lexington officials say homelessness in the community has dropped by a quarter since 2014.  The annual “point in time” count conducted each January shows chronic homelessness has been cut in half.  Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention Director Charlie Lanter says ongoing efforts need to focus on housing shelter residents. 

He says living in a homeless shelter is still considered homeless, “We’ve really had to put the emphasis on how do we help get people not just off the streets, but also out the shelter and into housing.”

WalletHub Study Ranks Kentucky Low in Gambling-Related Issues

May 2, 2016

With the Kentucky Derby just days away, much attention this week will focus on which horse to wager on.  A recently-released national study on gambling ranks Kentucky low in gambling related problems.

The study by the personal finance website WalletHub focused on what the site calls “gambling friendliness” and “gambling problems and treatment.”  Kentucky ranked 43rd overall. 

State Dedicates Workers To Cut Benefind Backlog

Apr 28, 2016
Ryland Barton Capitol Reporter

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is bringing 91 field workers from around the state to Frankfort to help deal with the backlog of applications in Benefind, the new umbrella portal for Kentucky’s welfare programs.

Since the February rollout of Benefind, people trying to get benefits have had to deal with long wait times at local Department for Community Based Services offices and over the phone. The system also erroneously sent out notices to some people that their benefits had been canceled.

Northern Ky. Police Target ‘Rush Hour’ Heroin

Apr 27, 2016

The Fort Thomas Police Department is running what it terms a "heroin rush hour" enforcement program. 

The anti-drug unit, comprised of three northern Kentucky officers, is tasked with working to get heroin-affected drivers off highways. 

Ky. Ranks Above Average in Health Emergency Preparedness

Apr 27, 2016


Kentucky is one of 18 states scoring above the national average when it comes to preparedness for health-related emergencies.  The national index program is sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Measures like flu vaccination rates, number of hospitals, and presence of food inspection programs are all used in charting the National Health Security Preparedness Index. 

Lexington Needle Exchange Offers Referral Counseling

Apr 26, 2016

Lexington’s needle exchange program is adding an on-site rehabilitation referral service beginning this Friday.

The Fayette County Health Department’s needle exchange program runs every Friday afternoon.  Starting this week, Substance Abuse and Violence Intervention Program Administrator Amy Baker will be available from 1:30 to 3:30 on Fridays. 

Rupp Arena to Use Walk Through Metal Detectors

Apr 15, 2016

Beginning this weekend, a new level of security will be made standard at Lexington’s Rupp Arena.  About a dozen walk-through metal detectors will be in position at various entrances Saturday night for a Christian ‘Outcry’ concert.  Arena Management Director Carl Hall says leaving bags and purses in vehicles can help speed up the security check.  “You come up, the express lanes are marked and you’ll be able to walk right up to the express lanes," Hall said.

Kentuckians Are Still Having Trouble Affording Health Care

Apr 13, 2016

Kentucky adults still have a hard time affording health care, according to a Kentucky Health Issues Poll.

In 2015, one in five Kentucky adults either didn’t get care or delayed care due to cost, according to the report. That’s down from 2014 and 2009, when 22 percent and 32 percent, respectively, went without needed care due to cost.

Susan Zepeda, president of Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, said having insurance coverage is a great start, but it doesn’t always get the whole job done.

Weekend Freeze Could Snuff Out Allergies Temporarily

Apr 8, 2016

A family physician in the bluegrass says we shouldn’t think chilly weather will put an end to springtime allergies. 

University of Kentucky doctor Oscar Perez says warmer days to come could bring with them high pollen.  “If you’ve sort of sensitized everybody a little bit to the new pollens and then it drops down some for a couple of weeks because it gets very cold, and then surges back in a couple of weeks or three, then people are going to suffer horribly,” said Perez.

Longer Flu Season Expected Across Ky.

Apr 6, 2016

For nine straight weeks, widespread flu activity has been reported across Kentucky.  

State Public Health Deputy Commissioner Kraig Humbaugh says that’s not uncommon.  But, the veteran epidemiologist says the peak period for influenza is later than usual.  “Normally in April we are seeing fewer cases and our activity level is decreasing, but it seems to be sustained through February, March, and now April,” said Humbaugh.

Rice Leach, Lifelong Public Health Professional Remembered

Apr 1, 2016
Fayette County Health Department

Lexington Commissioner of Health Rice Leach passed away Friday morning following a battle with cancer.   

A Kentucky native with public health professional experience at the federal, state, and local levels, Leach served as state public health commissioner from 1992 to 2004. 


Louisville State Representative and retired surgeon Bob DeWeese put Leach’s impact in six words.  “That was his life, public health."


Ky. Workgroup to Review State Water System

Mar 31, 2016

    Tom Fitzgerald with the Kentucky Resources Council will support the workgroup. Fitzgerald says the most recent evaluation of Kentucky’s water systems shows no major problems.  “There’s no particular issue that I’m aware of that drove creation of the group,” said Fitzgerald.

Jennifer Morrow/Creative Commons

The health care industry in Kentucky continued to add jobs in 2015, according to newly revised data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy analyzed the data and found 10,500 more people work in the health care industry in January 2016 than in the same month two years prior. Jobs in health care were up nearly 5 percent over 2014, while the overall economy in Kentucky saw 3.1 percent job growth in that period.

Creative Commons/flickr

State officials are recommending more restrictions on fish consumption.

The Courier-Journal reports the recommendations come after state officials found mercury in more fish from more waterways across the state. Officials now say everyone should limit how much locally caught fish they eat, not just pregnant woman and children under six.

Stu Johnson / WEKU News


A new program aimed at expanding training to better protect children from sexual abuse is being launched across Kentucky.  Attorney General Andy Beshear and First Lady Glenna Bevin are partnering in the effort.

Beshear said 1 in 10 Kentucky children will be sexually abused before age 18.  He says we have a moral obligation and a legal duty to report abuse.  “The abuse affects their interaction with society, impacts their education and careers, and often leads to substance abuse and mental health issues later in life,” said Beshear.