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."
Babies born in Kentucky would undergo a new medical screening under legislation approved in both houses of the state legislature. The full House yesterday unanimously approved the measure to begin testing newborns for Krabbe disease.
What's traditionally considered the tail end of the winter season has packed quite a punch for many sections of Kentucky. Lexington residents are weathering a historic snow event.
Mid February brought double digit snowfall to the Bluegrass . Now, less than three weeks later, central Kentucky has been walloped again. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray on Thursday gave a briefing on the city's response. "We fought off a 17 inch historic snowstorm with good planning and hard work," said Gray.
Snowfall totals varied widely across Kentucky Thursday. In some sections of the Commonwealth, records are expected to be broken. But, other sections find only a few inches on the ground. Jackson National Weather Service Meteorologist Kevin Sullivan says snow accumulation ranges from one to three inches in far southeastern Kentucky, to 20 plus in the central region.
Minors across Kentucky would not be allowed to use tanning beds under a bill narrowly approved in the House Tuesday. The measure, which has been previously considered, was passed 51 to 47. Western Kentucky Senator David Watkins is the bill's sponsor. "I don't think that there is a great desire for penalties,” said Watkins. “What we strictly want to do is see a decrease in our children using tanning beds at an early age, so that we would see hopefully a decrease in skin cancers."
An indoor air quality study of an eastern Kentucky county shows significant differences between smoke free workplaces and exempted establishments. Representatives of the Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy, and Pike County Health officials onMonday released the results of a survey of 15 businesses. Nurse Carol Riker with the Kentucky Center says levels of fine particle air pollution are much higher in certain Pike County workplaces. "We found that people in the areas that were not covered by a smoke free ordinance were approximately 6.3 times higher than workplaces that were covered b
Sizeable amounts of rainfall are expected this week in southeast Kentucky. That possibility coupled with a continuing snow melt is causing flooding concerns. Pete Geogerian is a meteorologist with the Jackson National Weather Service. "We are looking at generally two to three inches of rain to fall across eastern Kentucky between Tuesday evening through early Thursday morning," said Geogerian.
State officials say progress is being made to get water to southeastern Kentucky families who are without. Emergency response officials have been distributing bottled water in the region following last week's big snowfall and subzero temperatures that damaged water lines and clogged river intakes.
The unseasonably cold temperatures in the Bluegrass this week are creating life threatening conditions. Lexington officials continue to sound the alarm for safety strategies.
On Wednesday, for the third straight day, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray held a news briefing at city hall. "This weather is dangerous and it is unusual for us,” said Gray. “This is not something we're used to."
Water pipes around the home are always at risk of freezing during the Kentucky winter. But, that risk is greatly increased this week with temperatures expected to reach 15 to 20 degrees below zero. Kentucky Association of Master Contractors Director Tim House says home insulation standards in the Commonwealth require pipe protection for temperatures above zero. "And the house is insulated. Well, it's only insulated to a point. You don't typically design the insulation of a home in Kentucky for Alaska weather," said House.
Recovering from a major snow storm takes one step at a time, or one plowed road after another.
Lexington snow plow crews and area residents are digging out from this week's storm. Most all of the snowfall readings in the region hover around double digits. Lexington's main roads are mostly clear but many subdivisions remain difficult to navigate.
The forecasted weather for the remainder of the week across most of Kentucky is not likely to be fit for man or beast. University of Kentucky Agricultural Meteorologist Matt Dixon says the formula for a deep snow came with dryer conditions. "We had snow ratios closer to 15 to one, 15 inches of snow to one inch of liquid equivalent," said Dixon. "Usually around here it's closer to 10 inches of snow to one inch of liquid equivalent."
A big snowfall in the Bluegrass Region is not only taxing a number of government agencies, but it's also trying the patience of area citizens. The pace of the falling snow on Monday created its own challenges.
Significant snowfall across the state could result in power outages in communities east to west in the Commonwealth. Kentucky Public Service Commission spokesman Andrew Melnykovych says it may not be nearly as critical as when there is major ice accumulation, but power interruption is still possible. "Particularly if you are looking at situations where you've got like conifer type trees, pines and what not collect a lot of snow on their branches,” he said. “Certainly that’s potential for bringing some branches down on power lines and having some outages."
Two weekend incidents at Red River Gorge in which a camper died and a hiker was injured are serving to reinforce the importance of safety in the popular scenic area. Experts and regular visitors say such tragic incidents are far from rare.
A group of central Kentuckians is working to reduce drug addiction in their region. The Madison County Agency for Substance Abuse Policy sponsored a community forum on the issue last week in Richmond. ASAP Board Chair Jerian Petry says a state trooper spoke to the group about trends in alcohol use. "Inhaling it or breathing it in, instead of just drinking it,” said Petry. “There's also other avenues; kids are doing things like putting alcohol directly into their eyes to basically feel the sensation earlier."
Highway fatalities across Kentucky increased in 2014 following a record low year in 2013. Kentucky Office of Highway Safety preliminary figures indicate 667 people lost their lives on Kentucky roadways last year, up 29 from the previous year. KOHS Director Bill Bell says gas prices ‘went through the floor’ and more people were on the road. “On the initial look, that’s probably the main reason for the drastic increase we had in late November through the end of December,” said Bell.
Lexington's new 'mental health court' aims to help offenders get needed treatment and save taxpayer dollars. The goal is to keep those convicted of misdemeanors from becoming felony offenders.
Kelley Gunning with the National Alliance on Mental Illness Lexington says there are currently eight people enrolled in the program. "They have to have a mental health diagnosis, be willing to engage in treatment, and be willing to engage in whatever kind of mandate the court puts on them to remain out of trouble," said Gunning.
Jurisdictional boundaries are a thing of the past for more than 20 central Kentucky law enforcement agencies. The Bluegrass and Central Kentucky Unified Police Protection System was officially announced Wednesday.
An eastern Kentucky woman is the first patient in the state to receive a device designed to greatly reduce epileptic seizures.
Lowmansville native Cheryl Castle received a responsive neurostimulator implant in her brain in mid-November at UK Healthcare. Castle has suffered from seizures for 18 years and once had 42 seizures in three hours.
Kentucky's health care exchange, kynect, has newly enrolled 3,000 people in health coverage the past three weeks, and the state says more than 114,000 Kentucky residents have enrolled or renewed plans since open enrollment began eight weeks ago.
From Left to right. Jessica Tomlin-State Senator Chris McDaniel-Alex Elswick
Credit Stu Johnson / WEKU News
In a rare vote for the first week of a short legislative session, a Senate Judiciary committee has unanimously adopted a measure aimed at tackling Kentucky's heroin problems. The bill calls for increased treatment in jails, tougher sentences for traffickers, and wider distribution of a drug designed to reverse the effects of an overdose. Jessica Tomlin lost a sister to heroin. She says increased treatment is a priority.
Funds are being sought for a 40 foot mobile cancer screening unit to travel to underserved areas of the Commonwealth. The million dollar campaign was unveiled Tuesday. Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear says the vehicle could accommodate seven different screenings. "There is a new screening that they hope to be able to try with that, on this van, which is a breath test for lung cancer. So, it's an opportunity to do some of these preliminary kinds of screenings," said Beshear.