A national safety award has gone to more than 300 workers who are constructing the chemical–agent disposal facility at the Bluegrass Army Depot. Work on the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant is expected to reach the halfway point later this year. Disposal of nerve and mustard agents is scheduled to begin in 2017 and take two to three years to complete. Michelle Sotak with the U.S Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA presented officials and workers at the plant the Voluntary Protection Program Star Status plaque. “They have a good program in place..the employees feel comfortable reporting injuries…they also feel comfortable in doing it the right way..not taking the short cut and that plays a big part in the injury rate,” said Sotak.
Kentucky lawmakers are encouraging the public to give money to breast cancer research by checking box 36 on their tax returns. A coalition of Democratic and Republican lawmakers, along with First Lady Jane Beshear, held a news conference today to remind citizens of the state fund, which was created in 2005. “If just half of [Kentucky's 1.8 million] taxpayers donated ten dollars to the fund each year, 9.1 million dollars could be raised annually," says Representative Joni Jenkins, a major sponsor of the announcement.
Bhavika Sheth and her husband have owned Frankfort's Eastwood Shell for more than two years, and they say they oppose selling synthetic drugs – commonly known as bath salts and synthetic marijuana. She said the money to be made off the drugs is not worth the potential cost. “I know some places have made a killing off that stuff, but I know if I brought my kids into a store selling that, I wouldn’t feel safe, so we won’t have it here,” she said. Eastwood Shell on Versailles Road was one of about 25 businesses that Frankfort and state police visited Tuesday with educational letters about synthetic drugs.
Officials from the National Weather Service will visit Franklin County today to determine if Tuesday’s downed power lines and roof damage were caused by straight-line winds or a tornado. About seven storage units at Ratliff’s Self Storage Center on U.S. 421 were damaged after strong winds tore through the area around noon Tuesday, said manager Leslie Driskell. One of those units belongs to KB Construction, and the owner, Kevin Breeck, was inside when the storm came through. He said he was just leaving when the winds picked up.
The communities of far western Kentucky were among the first to feel the effects of methamphetamine production and addiction several years ago. Both meth production and use have spread to most all corners of the commonwealth. The problem can’t always be measured in the number of meth labs in a given area. Lexington police detective Byron Smoot says local investigators typically find only a handful of meth labs in a given year. But, he says Lexington ranks second in the number of pharmacies among Kentucky cities. Smoot says groups of four to five people often come to Fayette County to buy cold remedies with pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in meth production.
A new center dedicated to student wellness has opened at the University of Kentucky. The Promoting and Achieving Wellness for Students Center, or PAWS, is intended for students with broad questions about their health. Fadyia Lowe, Health Education Coordinator for the University Health Service, says the center, which will provide health screenings and guidance for students, has been in the works for some time.
The healthy way to a kid’s stomach may be found at a pool concession stand during the swimming season. An expanded menu of healthy foods is planned in Lexington this summer. The ‘Better Bites’ menu includes fruit, a grilled chicken sandwich, and bottled water. It was posted at the Woodland and Southland Aquatic Centers this past summer. Anita Courtney is chair of the Lexington Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition. She says the healthy menu will be offered at two additional pools this year.
Kentucky Youth Advocates will propose three main recommendations this week for changes to the state’s child welfare system, according to executive director Terry Brooks. Nearly 250 Kentuckians attended a summit this weekend to discuss those changes, including Janie Miller, secretary for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Attendees heard dozens of recommendations but the decision to narrow down ideas came down to the ideas’ impact and feasibility for government to make the change, said Brooks.
Kentucky lawmakers may soon vote on legislation that would require a prescription for cold medicines commonly used for making methamphetamine. Several local officials believe meth production in Kentucky will drop dramatically if such a law takes effect. The chemical in this medicine, pseudoephedrine, is the only ingredient absolutely necessary for making meth, Commonwealth’s Attorney Lynn Pryor said.
Meteorologists will tell you severe weather can strike most any time of the year across Kentucky. Just prior to this snowy cold snap, the threat of thunderstorm activity was a part of the forecast. That includes the possibility of tornadic activity. Pat Dugger, Director of Lexington’s Division of Emergency Management, says more attention is being given to building ‘wind resistant’ homes and businesses.
A summit to address the problems facing Kentucky’s child welfare system will be held in Louisville Saturday. Kentucky Youth Advocates has been a leader in questioning the state’s child welfare system since criticism of its practices arose last year when an employee for the Department of Health and Family Services was accused of not adequately investigating a case that led to a child’s death.
New technologies in pace making could reduce the need for some open heart operations in the years ahead. So says Lexington electrophysiologist, Dr Gery Tomassoni who’s worked with the ‘Unify Quadra.’ The cardiac device features four electrodes on the end of a pacing lead. He says it can significantly improve ‘quality of life’ in heart patients.
Officials from outside of Kentucky are encouraging state lawmakers not to repeat their missteps in the fight against meth. At a joint meeting of the House and Senate Judiciary committees, officials from Oklahoma and Mississippi testified about how they've restricted the purchase of pseudoephedrine (PSE)—a common decongestant in cold medicines and an integral ingredient in meth.
Therapists who work with abused, neglected and at-risk children told a legislative panel Wednesday that they might have to close their doors if they don't receive back payments from the state soon. "Our business is struggling to keep the doors open," said Peggy Smith-Puckett, a licensed family and marriage therapist from Glasgow. "We have received only a small fraction of the money we have billed."
Lexington city employees and their families now have a place of their own to see a doctor or get healthy living advice. This morning Mayor Jim Gray became the first official patient, by getting a blood test and having his blood pressure checked, at the new Dr. Samuel Brown Employee and Retiree Wellness Center. The mayor says the clinic will mean substantial savings for the entire community.
University of Louisville Hospital officials say Gov. Steve Beshear’s decision to reject the proposed merger with two other health care entities will likely lead to cuts to indigent care. Beshear met with U of L merger officials last week after rejecting a three-way merger with Jewish/St. Mary’s Health System and Catholic Health Initiatives. Last week Jewish/ St. Mary’s and CHI officials announced they have reached an agreement to merger without U of L, retroactive for Jan. 1, 2012.
Two Bowling Green women are taking on nationally known Internet sales sites to stop the spread of synthetic marijuana marketed as herbal incense or potpourri. "We want it banned as many places as we can get it banned so it's not accessible to anyone," said Amy Stillwell, who has become a local anti-drug activist after her 18-year-old daughter smoked the herbal potpourri known as 7H last year and landed in the emergency room from the reaction caused by the drug.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has again rejected a proposed merger involving University of Louisville Hospital with Jewish/St. Mary’s Health System and Catholic Health Initiatives. Last month, the governor found business consolidation would result in the loss of a public asset and blocked the deal. The merger would’ve put University Hospital under a contract inspired by Catholic doctrine that would have blocked certain reproductive health procedures and change employee benefits.
Officials for Jewish/St. Mary’s Health System say they’ll merge with Catholic Health Initiatives without University of Louisville Hospital. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear rejected the merger between the three healthcare systems late last week after Attorney General Jack Conway—who previously ruled University Hospital is a public entity—said a merger with CHI may lead to loss of control of a public asset.
Gov. Steve Beshear Wednesday announced funding for eight projects that encourage and enable children to walk or bicycle safely to school. “Once completed, these projects will provide an opportunity for more of our children to safely practice a healthy lifestyle by walking and riding their bikes to school,” Beshear said in a press release from his office.
Contrary to efforts by some Kentucky counties, a Franklin County official is hesitant to call synthetic marijuana and bath salts a concern until he has more evidence. While bath salts have been banned in the state, County Attorney Rick Sparks says he would not support adding similar laws locally until he finds evidence the current ban is flawed when it comes to enforcement. Sparks says “the General Assembly spoke,” and he wants to work under the existing law to find if there are violations.
The body count from prescription drug overdoses has risen in Kentucky, and narcotics officers face a daily dilemma in trying to find time to investigate prescription drug trafficking while also being ready to dismantle a methamphetamine lab on a moment's notice. From 2009 to 2010 in Kentucky, prescription drug overdose deaths climbed from 78 a month to 82. While this year's statewide overdose death numbers won't be available until the middle of 2012, the drug task force in Warren County has seen a 30 percent increase in prescription drug trafficking cases in 2011.
About one in 11 Northern Kentucky adults has used a pain reliever such as OxyContin, Vicodin or codeine when not prescribed or for the experience it caused, a new poll shows. That's higher than the one-in-16 statewide rate uncovered in the Kentucky Health Issues Poll. It also was the highest rate of any region in the state – including eastern Kentucky, where prescription drug abuse is a particular problem.
Most of the men living on a campus of three aging homes off Versailles Road have mental illness or developmental disabilities. "I get the ones that nobody else wants," said owner Ralph Messner. He says he runs a good home and often works more than 65 hours a week to meet the needs of the residents. But Kentucky officials have been investigating allegations of poor living conditions and have expressed a concern about the lack of government oversight at the homes for at least the second time since 1996.
Once again, UK HealthCare will send roses and messages of hope to Pasadena, California for inclusion in the Donate Life float as part of the annual Tournament of Roses Parade. On Monday, the university paid tribute to 30 families whose loved ones posthumously gave so that others might live. Dr. Andrew Bernard, chief of trauma surgery at UK HealthCare, says more than 750 Kentuckians currently are on a waiting list for an organ or tissue transplant.
Civic advocacy groups and individuals met Monday to discuss what actions they can take against the proposed hospital merger between University Medical Center, Jewish/St. Mary’s Health System and a division of Catholic Health Initiatives. The Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression organized a discussion at City Hall around the controversial merger that has been criticized for lacking transparency.
The day before Thanksgiving, 2-year-old Logan Esenbock went into a trance-like state, then screamed for an hour. Logan suffers from PKU, a rare metabolic disorder that makes it hard to break down protein. The condition was caught 10 days after his birth through a state newborn screening program and he was formally diagnosed at the University of Kentucky. Until this summer, he'd been under the care of Dr. Charlton Mabry at UK's Mabry Metabolic Disease Unit. But Mabry, 81, retired this summer and hasn't been replaced. Instead, Logan's appointments — along with some 50 other patients being treated by Mabry — were canceled, and his mother was told another doctor wouldn't be available until January.
Increased need for specialized medical care is prompting Hospice of the Bluegrass to add 10-12 nursing positions and cut 16 social workers, including three from the Frankfort office. According to Deede Byrne, chief clinical officer for Hospice of the Bluegrass, feedback from staff and families indicates a rise in nursing interventions over the last 10 years. “Our patients are a lot sicker than they used to be,” Byrne said in an interview with the State Journal. “A decade ago, the situation may have looked like a nursing home. Now it looks more like an ICU room.”
Kentucky-grown tobacco could someday be used in the fight against influenza. It’s the premise of research work underway at Kentucky Bio-Processing in Owensboro. C-E-O Hugh Hayden says the western Kentucky company has worked on the experimental program with the U-S Department of Defense. Hayden says proteins found in tobacco could be used to cultivate flu vaccines.
Carol Waldemayer is breathing and sleeping a lot easier these days. The Elizabethtown resident was diagnosed with sleep apnea roughly three years ago and has been receiving treatment ever since, the benefits of which have transformed her life for the better.