Ohio Valley ReSource

A regional journalism collaborative reporting on economic and social change in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia.

With support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, seven public media outlets across the three states have partnered to form the ReSource in order to strengthen news coverage of the area’s most important issues.

Still from White House video.

“Why don’t you just fire the guy?”

The question came in a press availability with President Trump soon after he learned that federal agents, acting on information from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, had raided the offices of his personal lawyer, Robert Cohen.

The president visibly warmed to the question. Arms crossed, he answered, “Many people have said, ‘You should fire him.’”

 

President Trump’s recent rhetoric has raised speculation th

New Map Shows Explosion of Fluorinated Chemical Contamination

Apr 20, 2018

 

The non-profit Environmental Working Group and a team of environmental health researchers at Northeastern University in Boston developed the map, which tracks publicly-known contaminated sites reported from both EPA testing and state and local agencies.

Nicole Erwin/ Ohio Valley ReSource

Billy Hobby’s days are largely filled by two things: church and pool.

“I play everyday, mostly,” Hobby said, sitting next to his wife, Barbara.

“Well, I enjoy watching him play,” Barbara Hobby said. “He’s got health problems, can’t go out of town and play all the time.”

 

 

Billy and Barbara were in Cadiz, Kentucky, about 20 miles from their home in Princeton so that the 86-year-old pool player could compete in a weekly tournament.

Trump Visits West Virginia Hints at Utility Bailout

Apr 5, 2018
Associate Press

President Donald Trump today visited West Virginia for a roundtable discussion on the recently-passed tax bill. The president also indicated the administration is looking closely at a recent emergency request made by regional electric utility FirstEnergy.  

Trump told a crowd in White Sulphur Springs he is looking closely at a request by the Ohio-based utility for emergency aid to keep its struggling coal and nuclear plants running.


Soy Vey! Ohio Valley Farmers Caught Up in Trade War

Apr 5, 2018
Nicole Erwin/ Ohio Valley ReSource

 

China buys more than half of the soybeans produced in the Ohio Valley. While a new 25 percent tariff is just a threat from the region's largest buyer, the signs of a trade war between President Trump’s tariff list and China’s has farmers caught in its crosshairs. This all comes as the US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue visits the region this week.

Each morning Davie Stevens wakes up to check commodities online, Wednesday morning was no different, except the market price of soybeans had dropped almost 40 cents.

“At a projected crop of 4.3 billions bushels of soybeans this year. Soybean farmers by overnight have lost 1.72 billion in value. So is it a big deal? It's a huge deal.”

 


Bureau of Prisons

The Bureau of Prisons has issued a record of decision signaling that it is moving ahead with plans to build a federal prison on the site of a former strip mine in the hills of Letcher County, Kentucky. But local opponents of the prison say they’re not giving up and are considering a legal challenge to prevent the construction of a new prison.

Poor People's Campaign Stops in Kentucky, West Virginia

Apr 2, 2018
REDIT JOEY ALOI VIA WEST VIRGINIA PUBLIC BROADCASTINg

A national campaign that aims to unite disenfranchised populations across the U.S. held events in Kentucky and West Virginia late last week.  Meetings are part of a two-month tour designed to highlight social inequity, and build on a movement begun 50 years ago by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mary Meehan/Ohio Valley ReSource

Howard Berkes/NPR

William McCool is a 64-year-old former coal miner from Letcher County, Kentucky, with an advanced form of black lung disease. Health experts say the condition is entirely preventable with dust control measures in mines. But today, more miners in Appalachia are being diagnosed with severe black lung than ever before.

Gov. Matt Bevin says it’s too early to say what he thinks of President Donald Trump’s proposal to institute tariffs on foreign-made steel and aluminum even though the policy could have a big impact on Kentucky. 

The tariff could benefit Kentucky aluminum manufacturers like Braidy Industries—the company that Bevin helped attract to the state with a package of economic incentives—and Century Aluminum, which announced it would hire 300 new workers in Hancock County if the tariff went into effect. 
 

Nicole Erwin/ Ohio Valley ReSource

 

 

 

 

  Jeff McGrew stood in line with about 30 other west Kentucky farmers awaiting certification that they’ve been trained to apply the herbicide Dicamba. The two hour session explained the Environmental Protection Agency’s new restrictions on use of the controversial herbicide. The session left McGrew uncertain about whether to use the spray.

Alexandra Kanik | Ohio Valley ReSource

Istock

 

Kentucky advance practice nurses got a big win in 2014. For the first time, they were able to prescribe routine medications, like antibiotics and blood pressure meds, to patients after spending four years collaborating with a doctor. This applied to…“nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and clinical nurse specialist…”

That was Jessica Estes , a nurse practitioner near Owensboro. She’s also the president of the Kentucky Coalition of Nurse Practitioners & Nurse-Midwives.

So this was a big win for these nurses. Nurse practitioners could basically set up their own shops - free from having to work with a doctor - but only if they didn’t prescribe controlled drugs, like opiates. They still have to have an agreement with a doctor indefinitely to prescribe those controlled drugs.

“We are now finding that APRNs are finding difficulty securing a collaborator , and they have to be of the same or a similar specialty, and licensed in Kentucky. And it’s creating some barriers.”

This ‘collaborative prescriptive agreement’ is a piece of paper, a form if you will. Doctors sign off on it. And every year, those doctors have the option of renewing that collaborative agreement.

Becca Schimmel/Ohio Valley ReSource

  President Donald Trump met with steel and aluminum industry leaders Thursday to talk about implementing steep tariffs on steel and aluminum which matters in the Ohio Valley as it is home to last US aluminum smelters and many industries depend on steel and aluminum. 

As a candidate Trump promised to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum. Now he says he’ll sign those tariffs into law next week. After the announcement the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped about 500 points as investors feared a trade war and retaliation against US exports. 

Benny Becker | Ohio Valley ReSource

A water system in eastern Kentucky that was on the verge of collapse could soon get much needed improvements. Many Martin County, Kentucky, residents were without water for long periods this winter. The crisis drew attention amid a national discussion about infrastructure priorities, and put a spotlight on the sort of water woes that are all too common throughout Appalachian coal country.

 


Becca Schimmel/Ohio Valley ReSource

Proposed Tariffs and Kentucky's Steel and Aluminum Industries

Feb 26, 2018
wkyt.com

The Ohio Valley’s steel and aluminum industries are closely watching what the Trump administration will do on imports. The Department of Commerce has suggested a massive 24 percent global tariff on steel and aluminum imports. Candidate Donald Trump promised to crack down on imports. Now, it’s unclear if President Trump will follow through. Becca Schimmel spoke to people in regional industries that could win or lose if tariffs take effect.

Aaron Payne/ Ohio Valley ReSource

 Social Autopsy

RAHUL GUPTA: If you have heart disease or you may be at risk of having heart disease there are a lot of risk factors. The doctor might often say you’re a walking heart attack about to happen and we need to do a set of things to lower your risk for that event

Fracking Waste Disposal: Still A Hot Mess

Feb 14, 2018
Bill Hughes

The slogan for Estill County is “where the bluegrass kisses the mountains.” But since 2015 the county, population 15,000, is widely known as the place where radioactive material generated by the oil and gas industry in a process known as fracking was dumped near some schools.

Immigration Court Expansion in Ohio Valley Region

Feb 8, 2018
Stu Johnson

With Congress in a heated immigration debate, the Ohio Valley region is adding to its immigration courts. Sources within the Justice Department say Kentucky will have a new immigration court operating in Louisville as soon as April, and Ohio is adding additional judges to handle deportations and other immigration cases. The changes in immigration policy have left many people with an uncertain future.

Peabody Energy, Inc., via Wikimedia Common

Trump Takes Enforcement Approach To Opioid Crisis

Jan 31, 2018

President Donald Trump addressed the opioid crisis affecting the Ohio Valley region in his first State of the Union address Tuesday night.

“We must get much tougher on drug dealers and pushers if we are going to succeed in stopping this scourge,” he said. “My administration is committed to fighting the drug epidemic and helping get treatment for those in need.”

 


Nicole Erwin/ Ohio Valley ReSource

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has denied a petition by the National Chicken Council to remove the speed limit on work at some slaughterhouses, a move that food safety advocates are calling a victory for workers and consumers. 

Still from White House

Trump got a warm welcome from the farm bureau crowd. Farm country likes his promises to reduce regulation. But on trade, many growers are growing nervous. Smith thinks it is too early to see a direct impact from Trump’s first year in office, and he’s hopeful but nervous about Trump’s tough talk on NAFTA.

 

 

In Wake Of School Shooting, A Look At How Kids Get Guns

Jan 25, 2018
Nicole Erwin/ Ohio Valley ReSource

Heather Adams sat in a line of cars along Kentucky Route 95, cars filled with parents who had just received the call no parent wants to get: A shooting at her child’s school, Marshall County High in Benton, Kentucky. Two 15-year-old students were killed and another 18 injured.  

Adams was waiting anxiously to pick up her children, a 15-year-old and a ten-year-old. Both were safe and so she could relax enough to talk a bit. Earlier, she was at the high school with other frantic parents looking for answers about their children. 

 


Opioid Emergency Extended

Jan 22, 2018
Mary Meehan

Acting Health And Human Services Secretary Eric Hargan signed an order Friday to extend the public health emergency for 90 days. A post on the agency’s website, cited the continued consequences of the opioid crisis.


Alexandra Kanik | Ohio Valley ReSource

Donald Trump loves coal.

He campaigned on a promise to put miners back to work and his first year in office included numerous Ohio Valley visits to highlight coal’s importance.

“I love our coal miners and they’re coming back strong!” Trump said to a roaring crowd at an Augustrally in Huntington, West Virginia.

Mary Meehan

A small gaggle of reporters points their microphones at reproductive rights activist Marcie Crim as she bluntly decries  the shrinking access to abortion in the region. Crim stands just a few feet from the open door of the office of Governor Matt Bevin near the Capitol rotunda. Crim and Bevin may be physically close in in this situation, but they could not be further apart on the issue.They personify the opposing poles of the decades-old debate surrounding abortion.

Bevin has been vocally supportive of legislative restrictions on abortion access such as longer waiting periods.

Analysis Shows Toxic Sites In Flood Zone

Jan 2, 2018
Wikipedia Commons User Markzvo

The Ohio Valley has long been home to some of the dirtiest industries in the nation. Coal, plastics, and chemical plants and their waste sites dot our river valleys. Even those no longer operational leave their legacy in the soil and water.

Distler Farm sits just on the outskirts of Louisville in Jefferson County, Kentucky. Its pastoral name is misleading. During the 1970s it served as a landfill for liquid waste, including medical and agricultural refuse.

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