Kentucky’s Connection to the Jackie Robinson Story

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

For decades radio commentator Paul Harvey had a nationally syndicated broadcast titled “The Rest of the Story.” The segment consisted of little-known or forgotten stories on a variety of subjects with a key element of the tale (usually the name of some well-known person) withheld until the end. Harvey always concluded these broadcasts with his signature sign-off, “And now you know… the rest of the story.”

I felt like Paul Harvey this week. Let me tell you why.

PBS and KET are airing a wonderful documentary on baseball great Jackie Robinson. Produced by Ken Burns and his daughter, the film examines the life and times of Robinson, who in 1947 lifted a nation and an entire race on his shoulders when he crossed baseball’s color barrier. (You can watch the program here and here.)

Burns reveals fascinating stories about the legend’s life on and off the field. But like many documentaries there was just too much history to cover in a four-hour production. For example I noticed that Burns only devoted one sentence to A.B. “Happy” Chandler, who was the commissioner of Major League Baseball when Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

ABChandler

Former Kentucky Gov. A. B. “Happy” Chandler was commissioner of Major League Baseball from 1945 to 1951.

Happy played semi-pro baseball in his youth and went on to become a U.S. Senator and two-term governor of Kentucky. He succeeded founding MLB Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who opposed allowing blacks to play in the big leagues.

Curious to know more about Happy’s role in the Jackie Robinson story, I called former 6th district Congressman Ben Chandler to see if he’d like to tell me what he knows about his grandfather’s involvement.

Boy, did he ever.

Chandler is an avid history buff, which he gets to indulge in his current job as the executive director of the Kentucky Humanities Counties. We sat down for a conversation about his grandfather and Robinson for this week’s edition of One to One. Here’s an excerpt of the full program that will air Sunday at 1 p.m. on KET.

Then you’ll know the rest of the story.

Bright Minds and Thoughtful Leaders Discuss Drug Abuse

Friday, April 1st, 2016

What do President Obama and some of America’s leading health professionals and addiction specialists have to say about the epidemic of drug abuse?

Find out Monday at 8 p.m. as KET airs highlights from a national summit on prescription drug and heroin abuse. The program features remarks by the president and comments from U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and others. The gathering was presented by Operation UNITE, an organization U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers (KY-5) created in 2003 to fight drug abuse in eastern Kentucky. The group’s annual drug summit is now in its fifth year.

In introducing Obama at the meeting in Atlanta, Rogers said the opiate epidemic “quietly began in the hills of Appalachia has now exploded onto the national scene. It is a challenge confronting our nation’s brightest minds and her most thoughtful leaders.”

Here’s a preview of Monday night’s program and KET’s year-long look at drug addiction issues in the commonwealth.

Summit Explores Growing Crisis of Opioid Abuse

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

Greetings from Atlanta.

KET is here for the National Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit. The meeting is the largest national collaboration of treatment providers, health professionals, law enforcement, government officials, and many others concerned about the growing epidemic of opioids and heroin abuse across the nation.

The summit is organized by Operation UNITE, which stands for unlawful narcotics investigations, treatment, and education. Congressman Hal Rogers (KY-5) created the group in 2003 to help rid communities in 32 southern and eastern Kentucky counties of illegal drug use.

This afternoon President Obama will address the nearly 2,000 attendees. He’ll also participate in a panel discussion moderated by Rogers and CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, which will include opiate and heroin experts as well as two recovering addicts who will tell their stories.

You can follow the proceedings on Twitter with the hashtag #RxSummit and the account @RxSummit.

Over the course of the next two days, I’ll talk with addiction experts, look at federal and state programs that are working, and explore how law enforcement officials are refocusing their efforts on opioid and drug abuse. We’ll record these conversations for a special series of One to One programs that will air in May.

I’ll speak with Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, who has done extensive research on how the brain becomes addicted to drugs and other stimulants; and Michael Botticelli, director of the White House Office of Drug Control Policy, who addresses community involvement in the drug epidemic and how important it is to change the language we use to discuss opioid and heroin addiction. I’ll also sit down with Congressman Rogers and Jackie Steele, the commonwealth’s attorney for Knox and Laurel Counties, to learn how they are tackling the crippling disease of addiction in our state.

As Operation UNITE President and CEO Nancy Hale says, “It is not possible to separate the prescription opioid epidemic from the rise of heroin use – both are destroying lives.”

And that’s why this drug summit is so important.


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