Kentucky’s Earth Day Awards For 2015

The Kentucky Environmental Quality Commission recently recognized the achievement of Kentuckians (and businesses) for Earth Day 2015.

Here they are:

Safelite AutoGlass, Louisville
Safelite AutoGlass, the nation’s largest provider of vehicle glass repair and replacement, has a large recycling program. The company’s Kentucky locations have recycled 43,227 windshields, saving more than 756 tons of waste, and recycled nearly 40 tons of cardboard in 2014. Their sustainability policy is to increase efficiency by reducing solid waste and wasted energy.

Newport Aquarium, Newport
With more than 700,000 visitors annually, the Newport Aquarium has an opportunity to educate its guests about water and its role in daily life. With the “Water Story” project, the aquarium has developed a fun, relevant way to reach its audience and presents ways the public can get involved in conservation efforts.

Berea College Student EcoChallenge Team
The Berea College Student EcoChallenge Team, a diverse group of 11 student volunteers, produced the first carbon-neutral green basketball in Kentucky. The group’s goal is to increase awareness with those who would normally not be involved in such environmental efforts by involving various organizations on campus. Berea College placed first in the National Recyclemania (to increase recycling) and Campus Conservation National (to reduce energy consumption) competitions.

Deborah Payne, Berea
Deborah Payne serves as project director of the Health Impact Assessment of Shawnee Fossil Plant. Her goal is to increase community dialogue around health as it connects to both the environment and the local economy. Her success was measured by the level of increased stakeholder involvement through open dialogue and literature review.

Eddie Atherton, Owensboro
During his 24 years of service in the city of Owensboro, Eddie Atherton has been involved with the beautification of the original Smothers Park in the early 1980s and currently the riverfront revitalization. To ensure that the distinguished “Tree City USA” designation is upheld, he plants hundreds of trees in the city parks and on other city properties. Other projects include the Greenbelt, Frederica Street Island Improvements and various other city medians and rights of way. He has proven to be an effective manager of the grounds of Owensboro.

Banklick Watershed Council Inc., Covington
The Banklick Watershed Council Inc. is comprised of volunteers whose mission is to restore, protect and promote Banklick Creek and its watershed. There are 12 different local jurisdictions within the boundary of the Banklick Watershed. The council works in partnership with Planning and Development Services of Kenton County, the Northern Kentucky Health Department and Sanitation District No.1.

Cayley Crum, Louisville
As a cadet-level girl scout, Cayley Crum, now 15, decided to start a project called Re-Tree Shively, officially founded in February 2013. Cayley’s goal was to plant and tag 115 trees including 32 different native tree species on Arbor Day. Working closely with her mother, they developed relationships with Shively’s businesses, organizations, residents and city agencies, raising more than $10,000 to pay for the trees. Cayley’s overall goals are to help decrease Shively’s heat index, improve air quality, and beautify the parks.

Elizabeth Schmitz, Frankfort
Elizabeth Schmitz’s energy and environmental education installation at the Capitol Education Center, developed under the direction of Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear, is raising awareness of how personal actions affect the environment. The Capitol Education Center is dedicated to environmental sustainability and civic engagement. The center hosts more than 60,000 students and adults annually. In 2002, Elizabeth also spearheaded Bowling Green’s first producer-only farmer’s market. She is now executive director of the Kentucky Environmental Education Council.

Public Service Award – Floyd County Conservation District
The Floyd County Conservation District’s goal is to help the community gain a better understanding of our natural resources. It is a holistic education program for residents of Floyd County, offering workshops on fruit trees, hay, and pasture maintenance and development. The district provides a work-based learning location for the Carl D. Perkins Job Corps Center, where participants are able to gain a better understanding of environmental and agricultural issues.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Joyce Bender, Frankfort
Joyce Bender is the first and only manager of Kentucky’s nature preserves. Since 1986 the state nature preserves system has grown from 16 preserves totaling 5,703 acres to 63 preserves, encompassing 27,663 acres. Her coordinated efforts and partnership development, along with volunteers and local officials, have minimized damage to the preserves in the wake of dumping, timber theft, off-road vehicles and illegal marijuana growing operations.

“It’s an honor to recognize Kentuckians for their tireless efforts and unwavering advocacy to environmental protection,” said Arnita Gadson, executive director of the Environmental Quality Commission. “This year’s recipients are diverse and their efforts will have positive lasting effects in our state.”

Fun bonus: The Energy and Environment Cabinet and the EQC apparently haven’t produced a state of the environment report in 15 years:


Some Guy Changed His Name To Gatewood Galbraith. For Real. Stupid Beams On HIGH.

First lady Jane Beshear says donors across the state contributed nearly $800,000 in money and supplies to the state’s 15 domestic violence shelters on Saturday. [H-L]

Fourteen federal student loan borrowers refusing to make their monthly payments to protest the U.S. Department of Education’s shoddy oversight of for-profit colleges met with senior government officials on Tuesday to share their stories and learn about the department’s plan to help them. [HuffPo]

Kentucky lottery sales continue to show mixed results, but the sale of instant tickets has been especially strong, the lottery corporation directors were told at a recent board meeting. [C-J/AKN]

Private-sector employers added 189,000 jobs in March, the first time in more than a year that monthly gains fell below 200,000, payroll processor ADP reported on Wednesday. [The Hill]

An Eastern Kentucky University has filed a lawsuit against the school alleging he was the victim of racial discrimination. [Richmond Register]

Membership in the United Auto Workers union rose by more than 12,000 people to 403,466 in 2014, the fifth consecutive year of small gains for the American union, according to an annual filing with the U.S. Department of Labor. [Reuters]

Controlling county clerk offices is a tricky game of estimating budgets, maintaining paperwork and managing all the county’s business, according to area clerks in northeast Kentucky. [Ashland Independent]

Undocumented immigrants who make it to college face a host of financial and logistical barriers. But they are dramatically more likely to succeed if they were beneficiaries of President Obama’s executive action program, according to a new Institute for Immigration, Globalization, and Education study. [ThinkProgress]

T.J. Samson Community Hospital’s impact on the community is huge, according to its CEO, spending nearly $73.6 million on employee wages and salaries and purchases of supplies and services in one year. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A number of messages to lawmakers purporting to be from average constituents who oppose the Obama administration’s net neutrality rules don’t appear to have come from people within their districts, according to the company that manages the technology for some House members. The notes have identical wording to those organized by a group called American Commitment, which is led by Phil Kerpen, a former top aide at the Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity. [Politico]

This year’s theme for the Governor’s Derby Exhibit is ‘celebration.’ Two local (Morehead) artists now will be celebrating their selection to have their creations displayed in the Capitol Rotunda. [The Morehead News]

The US has pledged to tackle climate change by cutting its carbon emissions 26-28% by 2025. [BBC]

The stupid is thick these days. Saying he hopes to “warm” the grave of Gatewood Galbraith, a Pulaski County man has filed to run for governor as an independent after legally changing his name in honor of the late perennial candidate. [H-L]

Former Louisiana prosecutor A.M. “Marty” Stroud III made a mistake 30 years ago that cost an innocent man named Glenn Ford nearly half a lifetime of freedom. Now, Stroud is sharing his story, both as a cautionary tale and as a call to action for ending the death penalty. [HuffPo]

Coal Coal Coal Coal Coal Coal Coal

The collapse in energy prices is dealing another blow to the struggling Appalachian coal industry, with estimates that two-thirds of Eastern Kentucky’s coal output is now unprofitable. [H-L]

We’ve long known that children from affluent families get a head start that can translate into a long-lasting advantage, especially when it comes to academic achievement. Now, scientists have found what may be part of the explanation: Children who grow up in higher-income families appear to have larger brains. [HuffPo]

If there’s ever a measles outbreak in Louisville, Lashawnda Starling won’t have to fret about her 4-year-old daughter. [C-J/AKN]

A group of business economists said Monday that they expect the U.S. economy to grow at a faster pace over the next two years. [The Hill]

The Berea Chamber of Commerce has submitted a proposal to the city of Berea to form a new partnership for economic development. [Richmond Register]

The largest association of U.S. pharmacists approved a measure on Monday at its annual meeting in California calling on members to avoid participating in executions, saying it violates a core value of the profession, an official said. [Reuters]

Area residents donated 1,500 non-perishable goods to Safe Harbor of Northeast Kentucky during Shop and Share Day. The annual one-day drive was Saturday with the Russell and Ashland Kroger stores and the Food City store in Louisa serving as partners. [Ashland Independent]

US astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko have arrived for the start of a 12-month tour of duty on the International Space Station. It will be the longest continuous stay anyone has had aboard the 400km-high (250 mile) orbiting platform. [BBC]

The Cave Region Trail Initiative Steering Committee met for the second time Monday night to continue work on a federal grant application. [Glasgow Daily Times]

In many municipalities around the country, the days of sorting your recyclables for curbside pickup are long gone, replaced by a system called “single-stream” recycling. But what happens after all those bits of plastic, paper, glass and metal trash get put in the bin? [NPR]

“Advancing Our Legacy” is the theme of the St. Claire Foundation’s 2015 Annual Fundraising Campaign, which is being launched this week. [The Morehead News]

Medicare’s spending on drugs to treat hepatitis C soared more than 15 fold from 2013 to 2014 as new breakthroughs came to the market, according to previously undisclosed federal data. The drugs cure the disease, but taxpayers are footing the bill. [ProPublica]

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear said Kentucky’s religious-freedom law, similar to one signed by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence last week, should be clarified to include protections for the LGBT community. [H-L]

Don’t you just love watching Steve Beshear embarrass Kentucky on the national stage again? [HuffPo]

WKU Did A Thing That Is Pretty Great

University of Kentucky graduate Reginald Smith Jr. was one of five winners Sunday in the final round of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. [H-L]

Deception is deception. And, as with Congressman Mark Foley, whom reporters later admitted they knew was gay even as he voted for the Defense of Marriage Act a decade before he resigned in disgrace after a scandal involving male pages in 2006, had reporters exposed Schock’s deception earlier, they might have stopped the later corruption. In both cases I believe the media is implicated in the ongoing corruption by looking the other way on this particular type of deception earlier on, not seeing it as valid. [HuffPo]

There has been some very sobering science news breaking on climate change lately, but what came out of Western Kentucky University is not among those depressing headlines. [C-J/AKN]

The United States assured Afghanistan’s leaders on Monday it would keep funding Afghan security forces at a targeted peak level of 352,000 personnel at least into 2017 to provide stability as foreign troops withdraw from the country. [Reuters]

When settlers made their way to Kentucky overland from North Carolina and what is now eastern Tennessee, they followed a “trace” that Daniel Boone and a party of men in 1775 marked by blazing trees with axes. [Richmond Register]

An influential coalition of the biggest liberal donors is quietly distancing itself from the national Democratic Party and planning to push its leaders — including Hillary Clinton — to the left. The Democracy Alliance funders club at a private April gathering in San Francisco is set to unveil a five-year plan to boost causes on which some of its members contend leading Democrats like Clinton have been insufficiently aggressive. [Politico]

The housekeeping team in Rhonda Bloss’s office worked quietly and efficiently, wielding broom, dustpan, spritzer bottle and cleaning rag to sweep her floor and wipe her desk clean. [Ashland Independent]

The number of new diabetes cases identified among poor Americans has surged in states that have embraced the Affordable Care Act, but not in those that have not, a new study has found, suggesting that the health care law may be helping thousands of people get earlier treatment for one of this country’s costliest medical conditions. [NY Times]

Following an executive session Tuesday, Rowan Fiscal Court authorized Judge-Executive Walter Blevins to make an offer on a tract of property to be used as the site of a new detention center. [The Morehead News]

Every now and then, the universe rises to make clear the enormity of its size — and our relative place in it. One such moment was in February 2013, when an asteroid exploded over the Russian city of Urals, inflicting panic, broken windows and injuries upon more than 1,000 people. People were stunned by what happened, but one asteroid expert named Andrew Glikson was watching from Australia, thinking it could have been much worse. [WaPo]

A Frankfort man says he was protecting his grandchildren from a being kidnapped when he shot a stranger on Saturday evening. “He said that God sent him to get one of the kids,” Redmon told LEX 18’s Josh Breslow. “I’m thinking the man’s crazy and he’s going to hurt one of my grandkids.” [WLEX18]

Republican Ted Cruz has made individual liberty the key theme of his presidential campaign announcement. It’s just a shame he can’t spell “liberty” and is crazier than a shithouse rat. [BBC]

When the University of Kentucky’s Gatton College of Business publishes its annual Kentucky Economic Report, most people just pay attention to the front of the book, which predicts whether the state’s economy will rise or fall, and by how much. [Tom Eblen]

California Gov. Jerry Brown said Sunday that it is a “disgrace” that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to thwart the Obama administration’s plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. [HuffPo]

Another Fun Pipeline Controversy In Kentucky

Spoiler alert: no one’s gonna fly in or out of Pikeville. Nearly five months after Appalachian Air celebrated its first flight from Pikeville, Kentucky, to Nashville, Tennessee, officials say a marketing campaign is necessary to try to jump-start the airline’s slow take off. [H-L]

Pope Francis says nothing can justify the use of the death penalty and there is no “right” way to humanely kill another person. [HuffPo]

State and local government officials are warning road construction projects will be delayed, potholes will go unfilled and highway workers will be laid off if the General Assembly does not act quickly to stabilize Kentucky’s plunging gas tax collections. [C-J/AKN]

A federal judge ruled on Friday that the U.S. government must release photographs showing the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and other sites. [Reuters]

The Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents, in a special meeting Friday, unanimously approved a student fee that will help fund two cornerstone features of a proposed Center for Student Life. [Richmond Register]

Taxpayer-owned coal is the single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress and The Wilderness Society. [Think Progress]

The amount of money involved in the missing tire investigation for the city of Ashland has grown since the case was first announced in December, according to City Manager Ben Bitter. A exact dollar amount for the new total was not given by Bitter, however, unconfirmed reports from public officials said damages are now approaching the $200,000 range. [Ashland Independent]

An award known as “the Nobel Prize for water” has been given to an Indian campaigner who has brought water to 1,000 villages. The judges of the Stockholm Water Prize say his methods have also prevented floods, restored soil and rivers, and brought back wildlife. [BBC]

State Sen.-elect Steve West shared his thoughts and heard citizen concerns at Wednesday’s NewCity Morehead-Rowan County luncheon. [The Morehead News]

When he signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act last fall, J. C. Ciesielski estimated his income at $19,400, qualifying him for a federal subsidy that cut his premiums in half. But Mr. Ciesielski, an actor, earned an extra $2,340 from a voice-over job in December, and that welcome bit of income proved problematic when he did his taxes this month. [NY Times]

Unless there is another appeal, which seems unlikely, the board of directors for T.J. Samson Community Hospital and its parent company, T.J. Regional Health, will not be replaced by a group that filed a court challenge to be recognized as the lawful board. The Kentucky Court of Appeals on Friday issued an opinion upholding a ruling from Barren Circuit Court in favor of the hospital – and its board as normally selected. [Glasgow Daily Times]

In the three months since Marty Paone took on the job as President Obama’s chief liaison to the U.S. Senate, he has helped plot strategy on the confirmations of top administration appointees, a partisan showdown over funding the Department of Homeland Security and the president’s request for the authorization for use of military force. [WaPo]

A company’s proposal to change the product flowing through an existing natural gas pipeline, and to reverse the flow through that interstate line, is drawing increasing concern and comment from Kentuckians. [H-L]

Nancie Atwell, who over the weekend won a $1 million award for her accomplishments in education, has been a teacher for more than four decades — but she said she would not advise her students to go down the same career path. [HuffPo]

Rand Paul Revisionist History Is Cringe-Worthy

Uh, Lil Randy, your hero Saint Ronnie loved him some South African apartheid, as did your Republican colleagues. Rand Paul called for a boycott of Saudi Arabia on Saturday, saying Americans should shun the kingdom as it did the apartheid regime in South Africa. [H-L]

America’s middle class is shrinking in every state in America. [HuffPo]

A ruling by the state Court of Appeals has rescued most Kentucky public libraries from a 60 percent budget cut that would have forced some to close and others to scale back services including Internet access and literacy programs. [C-J/AKN]

A federal judge in Wisconsin ruled as unconstitutional on Friday a state law requiring any doctor performing an abortion to have privileges to admit patients to a nearby hospital. [Reuters]

Following a special called meeting of the Perry County Fiscal Court last Thursday, the county has now assumed full ownership of the City of Vicco’s water and sewer systems. [Hazard Herald]

Sen. Bernie Sanders is planning to offer an amendment to the GOP budget next week that would impose a new tax on millionaires to finance U.S. military operations. [The Hill]

During the next three weeks, weather permitting, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park will be conducting a prescribed burn in the “Hoot Owl Hollow.” This 105 acre burn unit, in mixed hardwood and conifer forest, is located along the park boundary on the north side of the community of Arthur, Tenn. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

As Seattle prepares for the April launch of the highest minimum wage law in America, conservatives are warning that businesses are already shuttering under the pressure of higher labor costs and pointing to a recent report of a rash of restaurant closures as evidence. The problem is, the actual owners of those restaurants say that they’re not closing because of wages, and the city seems to be enjoying robust growth in that industry. [Think Progress]

Jennifer Perkinson and her husband, Clay, knew for a long time that they wanted to be foster parents and, if the situation presented itself, adopt children. [BGDN]

Judicial Correction Services (JCS), the for-profit probation company at the center of the recently settled Georgia “debtors’ prison” suit, is now being sued by the Southern Poverty Law Center for violating federal racketeering laws in Clanton, Alabama. In the federal lawsuit, SPLC accuses JCS and its Clanton manager Steven Raymond of violating the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, by threatening jail time for probationers who failed to pay their misdemeanor fines and probationer fees in a timely fashion. This, the group argues, is plain and simple extortion. [Mother Jones]

Two young children have been placed in protective custody in Wayne County after allegations of sexual abuse by their parents. Because of their age, police are restricted as to how much information they can release about the case. However, the condition of the home that the children were living in speaks volumes. [WLEX18]

Brooke Barzun explains how she is trying to re-invent the rules of diplomacy by asking the great and the good to relax. [Belfast Telegraph]

An eastern Kentucky man whose ancestor helped Daniel Boone blaze a trail through part of Appalachia is hiking along the same path. [H-L]

But back in McConnell’s home state of Kentucky, state officials are plunging ahead with their work on a compliance plan with the new rules, which still have yet to be finalized. A piece in The (Louisville) Courier-Journal earlier this month highlighted this incongruity with McConnell’s efforts to rally other governors, citing statements from Dick Brown, the spokesman for the Energy and Environment Cabinet within the administration of Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D), that indicate this coal-dependent state is at work on its compliance plan. [HuffPo]

United States Representative Andy Barr (KY-6) endorsed the campaign of Ryan Quarles for Commissioner of Agriculture today. Barr, a Lexington native who represents Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District, called Quarles a longtime friend with a lifelong passion for agriculture. [Press Release]

Hal Rogers Got Into A Big Slapfight

Lexington’s longtime garbage contractor is challenging the city’s decision to award a five-year pact that could be worth up to $17 million to a new contractor with a landfill in Scott County. [H-L]

Americans are being spied on, but does anyone care? [HuffPo]

Fifth-generation Brown family member Campbell Brown will be the new president of the Old Forester brand beginning May 1, the first family member to have that job since company founder George Garvin Brown. [C-J/AKN]

The U.S. returned dozens of artifacts to the Iraqi government Monday. The cultural treasures, some dating back more than 4,000 years, were looted from Iraq and smuggled into the United States. [NPR]

Morehead State University will break ground Thursday on three projects with an estimated total cost of $48.3 million. [The Morehead News]

Liberals are pressing for Hillary Clinton to disavow Obama policies. [The Hill]

Kentucky gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin was no stranger to Mary Wood Weldon Memorial Library or to the Barren County Patriots Association. [Glasgow Daily Times]

VICE founder Shane Smith interviews President Barack Obama, discussing a host of issues important to Americans, from foreign policy and marijuana legalization to global warming and political gridlock. [VICE]

With challenges including an aggressive Environmental Protection Agency’s policies toward coal-fired electrical plants, Kentucky Power President and Chief Operating Officer Greg Pauley told members of the Ashland Rotary Club every decision the company makes is determined by how it will affect both industrial and residential customers. [Ashland Independent]

Although bankruptcy should only be viewed as the last option for consumers drowning in a sea of debt, even this final-straw course of action won’t help Americans with getting out from under hefty student loans — but it wasn’t always this way. [Consumerist]

The St. Joseph Berea Foundation, part of KentuckyOne Health, has received a $20,000 grant from the Kentucky Breast Cancer Research and Education Trust Fund to provide mammograms for the uninsured through the foundation’s “Yes, Mamm!’ program. [Richmond Register]

“I don’t care about the office of inspector general. … You’re in charge,” said Republican Representative Hal Rogers, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. “We want to get to the bottom of it right away and I’m disappointed that you have not waged your own vigorous, tough investigation of this.” [Reuters]

University of Kentucky students from the Bluegrass State will pay 3 percent more for tuition and fees this fall, an increase that brings tuition to $10,780 a year for first-year students. [H-L]

Facing the prospect of imminent oversight by a newly created government regulator, the much-reviled payday loan industry’s lobbying machine surged into action. [HuffPo]