Teresa Wilson’s first apartment of her own was a big deal.
“She felt like she was gaining more independence. And I think the more she tried to gain that independence, I think the violence grew worse in her relationship,” Her sister, Tonia Thomas said.
Thomas understands the intricacies of intimate partner violence — especially when addiction is involved. She’s a team coordinator at the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
“They are less likely to reach out for help, they can be vulnerable, just physically and cognitively, right, when they are intoxicated or high,” Thomas said. “They often times use drugs and alcohol to ease the pain, to ease the abuse, to self-medicate.”
The situation for Wilson grew worse. Her partner ultimately killed her.
Kentucky continues to see a drop in new COVID-19 cases and positivity rates as the omicron variant appears to loosen its hold on the region.
At a news conference Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear reported 46,639 new cases over the past week, down from more than 74,000 the week before.
The positivity rate has dropped to 23.5%, down from over 33%. Beshear said some of the drop could be due to testing site closures last week because of the ice storm. And while he’s happy to see a drop in cases, he said the numbers are still far too high.
“We are really excited about the trajectory of cases, but remember this is the fifth highest week in our entire COVID experience,” he said. “So while we are moving in the right direction, there is still a whole lot of virus out there.”
Kentucky has among the highest number of orphan oil and gas wells in the country, but will soon receive federal funds to help clean them up.
The state is set to receive nearly $104 million from the U.S. Department of the Interior to aid in capping the abandoned wells, which blight communities and pose risks to human health and the environment.
Both Gov. Andy Beshear and Sen. Mitch McConnell say the funds will help to solve long overlooked problems in the state.
“The abandoned oil and gas wells littered across Kentucky are a liability to our Commonwealth, providing no jobs or output. This is a problem in nearly every county, but until now, our local governments have not had the funding required to complete cleanup projects on a large scale,” McConnell said.
Home of the Louisville Slugger, the city also played host to several teams from the Colonels and Eclipses, the Negro League’s White Sox to today’s Louisville Bats.
Photos acquired by the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory in 2018 helped curators uncover a team lost to history: the Louisville Unions.
Those photos have been blown up to take up the space of an entire wall. Three pictures display the Unions’ players in various poses, ready to play. In between the sepia images are plaques with information detailing the discovery and history of the team. Large, white lettering reads, “The Best Black Baseball Team You’ve Never Heard Of.”
“Working together to build a better Kentucky means maintaining the infrastructure we have,” Beshear said in a press release. “These projects address long overdue needs and bring improvements that will mean safer, more reliable services and clean drinking water for thousands of residents in this area.”
The 2022 Kentucky General Assembly is about one third of the way through its session and the House has already passed a state budget bill which usually happens much later in the session. Some view this as a positive sign for tax reform.
Any official move to alter state taxation originates in the House. The word “tax” in any piece of legislation often prompts significant scrutiny from lawmakers. But, this year, state finance documents show a large revenue surplus boosted by federal coronavirus recovery funds.
The surplus has created an environment where tax changes are being considered. Louisville GOP Representative Jason Nemes said members have been working on tax reform for a number of months. A primary emphasis is on lowering the state’s income tax and broadening the sale tax to other services. While a state like Tennessee has no income tax and a much higher sales tax, Nemes doesn’t see Kentucky going that route. “So it will never be all sales and no income. There will be a variety of various taxes and there are also occupational taxes at the local level and I don’t think any discussion about removing those at this point. For the local taxation we’re talking about providing many more options,” said Nemes.
Amid a nationwide backlash against school curriculum that centers marginalized voices, Senate Education Committee Chair Max Wise filed a bill Thursday that would force teachers to talk about the history of the United States in a certain way. Some teachers call the bill “propaganda,” and worry that it will stifle classroom discussions on racism.
The bill is the third filed in Kentucky that seeks to limit teachers’ ability to talk about race. It’s the latest push in a national conservative movement that opposes anti-racist initiatives, which many refer to as “critical race theory.”
Survivors of December’s tornado outbreak in western Kentucky are still facing heating needs as below-freezing temperatures are expected to linger following an ice storm bearing down across the state.
Among the grassroots efforts to meet those needs is Micah Seavers, who owns Southern Red’s BBQ and Catering in southern Graves County. Since late December, he said he has made thousands of deliveries of kerosene and propane fuel to those who need it in northwest Tennessee and multiple western Kentucky counties.
He took up the task to make sure people had heating fuel and food – working most days and finishing some delivery days around 1 a.m. – because he saw needs going unfilled. He estimated he made deliveries to 86 homes Wednesday, with total deliveries reaching up to about 2,500 since he started.
“If people are hungry and people are cold, we've failed them somewhere. And so we've got to make sure that the basic necessities are taken care of,” Seavers said.
People in custody and awaiting trial in Kentucky would have the right to a release hearing after spending three to six months in jail under a bill introduced in the state Senate.
Senate Bill 31 is the latest in a yearslong effort to reform the state’s bail system, which critics say penalizes low-income people who can’t afford to pay their bail.
Sen. Brandon Storm, a Republican from London and bill sponsor, said the measure would bolster Kentuckians’ rights to swift trial under the Sixth Amendment as well as the state constitution.
“So if it’s a right that we have, the right to go to church, the right to free speech, we shouldn’t have to ask to invoke that right,” Storm said during a discussion in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. “This is a conservative bill, it’s about liberty, it’s about the fact that we have constitutional right to a speedy trial.”
The Kentucky Senate judiciary committee moved a bill forward Thursday that would allow parents to sue if they believe the government is interfering in their parental rights. Opponents worry it would make it harder for social workers to remove children from unsafe home environments.
The bill, Senate Bill 40, is the latest attempt by Republican Sen. Stephen West to pass the proposal. Similar legislation passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2019 and 2020, but never received a vote on the Senate floor.
West told the committee he’s proposing the legislation because of attempts “across the country” by “states and others to delve into the area of parental rights.”
“Although I don’t see a lot of problems in Kentucky right now, there are a few problems—not a lot—this is really a pre-emptive attempt to stop things that may be coming along,” he said.
February's Lost River Sessions LIVE show at the Captiol Arts Center in Bowling Green was a special one. Fans saw local singer and songwriter Dax Evans take the stage, performing some heartfelt original songs. Meanwhile, Nashville artist, and former music therapist Kyshona, blessed the venue on the eve of her album release with new music.