Rhonda Miller

Rhonda Miller began as reporter and host for All Things Considered on WKU Public Radio in 2015.  She has worked as Gulf Coast reporter for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, where she won Associated Press, Edward R. Murrow and Green Eyeshade awards for stories on dead sea turtles, health and legal issues arising from the 2010 BP oil spill and homeless veterans.
 
She has worked at Rhode Island Public Radio,  as an intern at WVTF Public Radio in Roanoke, Virginia, and at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
 
Rhonda’s freelance work called Writing Into Sound includes stories for Voice of America, WSHU Public Radio in Fairfield, Conn., NPR and AARP Prime Time Radio.
 
She has a master’s degree in media studies from Rhode Island College and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University.
 
Rhonda enjoys quiet water kayaking, riding her bicycle and folk music. She was a volunteer DJ for Root-N-Branch at WUMD community radio in Dartmouth, Mass.
 

A new study finds that a program based in Louisville, Kentucky is having a positive impact on military veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

The results published in the Journal of Veterans Studies show that veterans with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury report an improved psychological outlook after participating in ‘Dancing Well: The Soldier Project.’ 

Dance educator Deborah Denenfeld offered the first version of the program in 2010 at the suggestion of a psychiatrist at Fort Knox, who thought it might help improve memory in veterans with these combat-related issues.

In 2014 Denenfeld launched the 10-week version Dancing Well in Louisville. It's essentially a community barn dance, slowed down and adapted to the physical and emotional comfort levels of this particular group of veterans.


The Kentucky Distillers Association has added four distilleries to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour, bringing the total to 20.

Those 20 distilleries are now grouped into four regions across the state and the distillers association has added incentives, including collectible coins and a tasting glass, to encourage visiters to stop at all the sites on the Craft Tour.

Those four distilleries new on the Craft Tour are Dueling Grounds in Franklin, Casey Jones in Hopkinsville, Boundary Oak in Radcliff and Second Sight in northern Kentucky.

Dueling Grounds founding owner Marc Dottore said being on the Bourbon Trail Craft Tour is important for his distillery.


A record number of Kentucky residents are registered to vote in the May 21 primary election. 

The Kentucky Secretary of State’s office reports that 3,421,796 Kentuckians are registered to vote in the upcoming primary.

That’s 18,891 more registered voters than in the General Election  in 2018.

Looking at the breakdown by political party, Democratic voters represent about 49 percent of the electorate, with about 1,684,200 voters.

The Map the Meal Gap 2019 report by Feeding America shows that Kentucky has more than 650,000 residents who are food insecure.

A food pantry in Bardstown is helping to close that meal gap for 700 local families who choose their own groceries.               

On a recent Tuesday morning, Bread for Life Community Food Pantry volunteer Don Bresnahan walked with a client along the produce aisle.

“Want some broccoli?” asked Bresnahan.


A new report from Feeding America shows that 187,000 children in Kentucky are at risk of going hungry. 

The report, called Map the Meal Gap 2019, details state and county data on food insecurity, which means that a person may not have consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life.

The report shows that food insecurity among children in Kentucky actually decreased slightly from 19 percent in last year’s report to 18 percent in the new report. 


The new U.S. Department of Agriculture census released April 11 shows the number of young farmers in Kentucky is increasing. 

The USDA Census of Agriculture is done every five years and the newly-released data on crops, acreage and demographics is for the 2017 year. The previous census used as a five-year comparison is based on 2012 data.

David Knopf is regional director of the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service based in Louisville. He said the census shows a significant increase in the number of young farmers in Kentucky. 


The new U.S. Department of Agriculture census released April 11 shows mid-sized farms in Kentucky farms are on the decline.

The new USDA Census of Agriculture is based on data collected from farms across the country for the year 2017. That census is done very five years, so the 2017 state-by-state data is compared to previous statistics from 2012.

David Knopf is regional director of the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service based Louisville. He said the new census confirms a trend in Kentucky that the number of  small and large farms are increasing, while those in the middle are disappearing. 


The controversy over Kentucky’s only abortion clinic continues to draw national attention.  The latest development is that Kentucky’s Democratic Attorney General filed a 'friend of the court' brief on April 4, supported by 21 attorneys general from across the U.S. in the effort to keep the clinic open.

The filing is related to a regulation requiring a 'transfer and transport agreement' that would have necessitated the EMW Women’s Surgical Clinic in Louisville have an agreement with an ambulance service to 'transport' a patient to a hospital in case of an emergency. A 'transfer' agreement would mean a hospital agreed to treat a patient of the EMW Clinic who shows up at an emergency room.


Workers at federal prisons in Kentucky are among those feeling the financial pressure of the partial federal government shutdown. A nurse who works at a prison in Fayette County said working without pay is raising the level of stress for employees.

Robin Goode works at the Federal Medical Center in Lexington. It’s a prison for about 1,500 male and female inmates who require medical or mental  health care.

Goode is president of Local 817, the local union with about 400 members that’s part of the American Federation of Government Employees.

She said she’s heard a lot of sad stories from prison workers since paychecks were suspended during the shutdown.


The partial shutdown of the federal government has impacted U.S. Department of Agriculture offices in Kentucky. 

One victim of the government shutdown is the USDA Rural Development program. Some of the services in that program include mortgage loans and grants to individuals in rural areas; investment in rural broadband and electric infrastructure; improved roads and ports; funding for water and wastewater treatment facilities.

Here’s part of the recorded message from a call today to the USDA Rural Development Kentucky State office:

“We are on furlough due to the lapse in federal government funding. Please leave a voicemail or email. Please note that we do not have access to email or voicemail due to the current lapse in funding. We look forward to returning your message once funding has been restored.”


The Kentucky Department of Education is holding a public hearing Nov. 29 on proposed new high school graduation requirements.

While some may still be catching their breath after the midterm election, candidates in the 2019 race for Kentucky governor are off and running. Democrat Rocky Adkins was at a union hall in Owensboro on the morning of Nov. 20, followed by an afternoon stop at a restaurant in Bowling Green.

Representative Rocky Adkins said his 31 years in the state legislature, including serving as minority floor leader, and his common sense approach to finding  solutions make him a strong candidate in what’s looking like a competitive Democratic primary in May.

After years of planning, the new Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Owensboro is inviting the public to celebrate the grand opening Saturday, Oct. 20 with a one-day music festival on the outdoor stage. The museum has moved from smaller quarters a few blocks away to the new waterfront home of bluegrass. 

This is what a typical day is bound to sound like at Owensboro’s new Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Carly Smith is the museum’s marketing director.

“It’s our Pickin’ Parlor. A lot of our guests happen to be pickers themselves. So we have some really nice instruments, above student level on the wall for them to grab and play.”‘ “So what’s here, available?”  “We have fiddles in all four sizes, quarter-size, half-size, three-quarter size, full size, a banjo, dobro, guitar, mandolin, couple more guitar and banjos and a bass.”  “So visitors can just come and sit down, somebody might be here?” “Absolutely, that’s the whole idea. We want to encourage people to make the music.”


A new study shows Kentucky is among the top 10 states in the nation where women are murdered by men. Women in intimate partner relationships are especially vulnerable.

The report called “When Men Murder Women” is by the nonprofit Violence Policy Center in Washington, D.C. and uses data from the FBI.

The report says having guns in the home can allow domestic violence to escalate to murder. And women are much more likely to be a victim at home than in any other place. 

Timothy D. Easley / AP

Although the Bluegrass State is outperforming some of its neighbors, Kentucky trails the nation in the growth rate of jobs, population and wages.

A judge in Warren Circuit Court ruled on Monday that the neighbor who attacked Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul over yard debris must stay away from the Republican lawmaker and his family. 

Senator Rand Paul suffered broken ribs and pneumonia after his Bowling Green neighbor, retired anesthesiologist Rene Boucher, attacked him over yard maintenance in November. The day before that attack, Boucher trespassed onto Paul’s property and set fire to yard debris. Boucher suffered some burns in the process.

Kentucky soybean farmers are struggling with uncertainty and loss of income because of tariffs imposed by China, in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s tariffs on Chinese products coming into the U.S. 

The impact of the escalating trade war between the U.S. and China began reverberating on Kentucky soybean farms about three months ago. The uncertainty hit the soybean market even before China’s 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans went into effect in July.

Jed Clark is vice chairman of the Kentucky Soybean Board. He farms 1,100 acres of soybeans in Graves County and said he’s seen the value of his crop decrease in the past few months because of the Chinese tariffs.

A statue of Kentucky native Alice Dunnigan will be on display at the Newseum, the Washington, D.C. museum that promotes an understanding of freedom of the press and the First Amendment. Dunnigan was the first African-American woman to get credentials to cover Congress and the White House.

Dunnigan was a sharecropper’s daughter from Logan County who became a teacher and then a journalist working for the American Negro press. In 1947, she was the first African-American woman to receive  Congressional press credentials. 

Her statue will be on display at the Newseum beginning September 21 and will remain there for several months. After that, the statue will become part of the West Kentucky African-American Heritage Center in her hometown of Russellville.

Michael Morrow, a volunteer historian in Russellville who serves as a guide at the African-American Heritage Center, said Dunnigan had to push hard to get access to the highest levels of government.


Kentucky has slipped to 37th place in a national ranking of states that provide a safe, secure and healthy childhood.      

The second annual report End of Childhood State Ranking 2018 by the international nonprofit Save the Children ranks states by factors that can prevent children from thriving. Those factors include violence, poverty, malnutrition, child abuse, incomplete education and homelessness. 

Kentucky has slipped four places since last year to 37th in the U.S. for states that provide consistent food, housing, prenatal care, safety from violence and abuse and access to early childhood educational opportunites. 

Educators from across Kentucky will be at the state Capitol this week encouraging legislators to restore funding that’s been eliminated in the governor’s proposed budget. Gov. Matt Bevin has proposed eliminating funding for 70 state programs. More than 40 of those programs are related to education.

Wednesday is Education Advocacy Day at the Capitol, an annual event sponsored by the Kentucky School Boards Association.

Jim Flynn is superintendent of Simpson County Schools and chair of the Green River Regional Educational Cooperative that represents 43 districts.

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