Touring Kentucky’s College Campuses

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

We should get out more – citizens, business leaders, educators, reporters, all of us. If we did, we might understand each other better.

By getting out more I mean to travel Kentucky and talk to people in other regions of our state. Take time to drive to a part of commonwealth you’ve always heard about but never considered visiting.

It’s worth the effort.

When you do, I suggest checking out our institutions of higher learning along the way. Visit a regional university, a community college, or a small school in one of Kentucky’s beautiful towns. Walk the campuses, talk to students and faculty, and marvel at the buildings where our best and brightest are preparing for their futures.

I want to do that more often. Two weeks ago, I visited my alma mater, Western Kentucky University, and was amazed at how the campus has changed over the years.

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be in Columbia to deliver the spring commencement address at Lindsey Wilson College. I’m eager to talk with President William T. Luckey Jr. about what’s going on at his school.

In June I’ll return to Spalding University in Louisville for their annual MFA alumni homecoming, where poets, playwrights, and authors gather to talk about, what else, the written word.

For me, those are examples of getting out more.

For KET’s year-long initiative on the opioid crisis in Kentucky, I recently traveled to Covington to a record a One to One conversation that will air later this month. I spoke was with journalist Sam Quinones about his book, “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic.”

The interview took place on the campus of Northern Kentucky University. While waiting for Quinones to arrive, I chatted with NKU Provost Sue Ott Rowlands. She told me about how their school is growing and offering new programs to students.

Energy Secretary Moniz on “War on Coal”

Friday, April 29th, 2016

U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz was in Lexington last week.

At a University of Kentucky energy innovation forum, Moniz told Lexington Herald-Leader reporter Bill Estep that he “dismisses Obama administration critics who have accused the president of waging a ‘war on coal’ through his administration policies.”

Moniz says the administration is committed to a future with less carbon being emitted into the atmosphere, but added the use of coal should be a part of any future electricity plan in the United States.

KET Associate Producer Lillie Ruschell talked with Moniz at the forum.

Adkisson, Bailey Evaluate the Budget and Legislative Session

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

It took until the last hours of the last day of the 2016 Kentucky General Assembly session but lawmakers finally passed a $21 billion budget for the commonwealth. The document is the result of many long, late-night discussions among legislators who struggled to compromise over the priorities House Democrats, Senate Republicans, and Gov. Matt Bevin brought to the negotiations.

So how do folks outside the halls of the capitol view the new two-year budget?

Business leaders see it as the most fiscally responsible spending plan the legislature has produced in years.

Education and social welfare advocates see a budget that continues a near decade-long trend of slashing funds for essential government services.

The spending plan puts more than $1 billion into the ailing pension plans for state employees and public school teachers. It also cuts most government agencies by 9 percent and higher education by 4.5 percent, while preserving funds for K-12 education. The budget sets aside about $125 million for a permanent fund that the governor wanted for future pension payments, and it includes $25 million for a new college scholarship program promoted by Democratic leaders. Finally there’s a new $100 million bonding pool for workforce development projects in each of Kentucky’s six Congressional districts, and small pay raises for state police officers.

Some of these details could change, though. Gov. Bevin still has a few days left to make line-item vetoes to the spending plan.

We wanted to know what two leading observers of Frankfort had to say about the budget and the legislative session as a whole. So we talked with Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President Dave Adkisson and Jason Bailey, the executive director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. The full conversation will air Sunday at 1 p.m. on One to One, but until then, here’s a preview.

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