Kentucky Humanities/

Think History is our daily segment from Kentucky Humanities. Today, Bill Goodman tells us about​ the foodways of Kentucky's enslaved people.

A bill to increase penalties for those convicted of communicating with a child under 12 with sexual intent is moving to the Senate floor.  The measure passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday.

Testifying in support of the bill was Kathleen Niestadt who detailed sexual abuse by her grandfather and other men.  She said communication today is much different than 40 years ago. “Last week I bought a phone case and a box of my favorite writing pens on line.  Last week, a predator bought a child on the internet for sex,” said Niestadt.

Cheri Lawson

Ten- year- old Carmynn Blakeley is the 2019 reigning national champion, in her age group, for the National Braille Challenge. On this day she’s in Louisville to compete in the 10th annual Kentucky Regional Braille Challenge where she’ll put her braille skills to the test. “Braille makes everything easier to read and it’s a lot accessible and it feels good on my hands,” said Blakeley.

Governor Beshear Addresses Coronavirus Concerns

14 hours ago
Stu Johnson

The state capitol was a flurry of media activity Thursday afternoon as Governor Beshear and state health officials held a press briefing on the novel coronoavirus.  Thus far, there have been no diagnosed cases of the illness in Kentucky.  Following the briefing, Stu Johnson spoke with State Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack.  He was asked about the severity of health complications for the coronavirus compared to influenza.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has voted to prohibit the execution of anyone convicted of a capital crime who is deemed seriously mentally ill.  Similar legislation has failed to pass the full Senate twice in recent years.

Kentucky Mental Health Coalition Director Sheila Schuster testified and said people with these brain disorders are never cured of psychotic diagnoses. “They cannot think through the reality of what they are doing and the consequences of those actions.  I think the bill is very narrowly defined,” said Schuster.

Eastern Standard for February 27, 2020

21 hours ago

Eastern Kentucky’s cancer rate is highest in the nation. Why? | Markey Cancer Center turns to young Appalachians to help battle the disease in their communities and homes. | What’s happening in chain pharmacies and the prescription mistakes that result | An examination of a fundamental virtue: Patience.


Contact: Tom Martin at or leave voicemail at 859-622-9358

Sydney Boles

Just three bankruptcies of American coal companies have added more than $800 million in costs to a federal government program that funds health care for disabled coal miners, the Government Accountability said in a report released Wednesday.

Credit Creative Commons

The percentage of middle school students in Kentucky using electronic cigarettes and other vaping products has doubled since 2017. 

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted last spring shows the rate of vaping increased from 15.1% in 2017 to 31.4% in 2019.  High school students saw a nine percent jump in the same time period. 

A Moment in Kentucky History: Floyd Collins

Feb 27, 2020
Kentucky Humanities/

Think History is our daily segment from Kentucky Humanities. Today, Bill Goodman tells us about​ Floyd Collins.

Kentucky’s General Assembly session is in full swing and so far there hasn’t been much high profile discussion of environmental issues. 

Stu Johnson

By a vote of 33 to four, the Kentucky Senate has passed legislation that seeks to limit the time a governor can issue a pardon or commutation.  The measure comes following reaction to the high number of pardons issued by Former Governor Matt Bevin.

Full Senate To Take Up Splash Pad Legislation

Feb 26, 2020

Legislation to establish standards for the operation and maintenance of recreational splash pads in a safe and sanitary manner is moving to the Senate floor.  The measure comes as more and more Kentucky cities are constructing these water parks. 

Kentucky League of Cities Government Affairs Director Bryanna Carroll said splash pads are currently tied to pools in state statute.  She noted some of the requirements for a pool are not needed for a splash pad.

Lexington Mayor Announces Coronavirus Study Team

Feb 26, 2020

Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton announced Wednesday an internal city hall group has been formed to help ensure the bluegrass community is ready to respond to cases of coronavirus, if necessary. 

The mayor said, quote, “We’re planning, not panicking.  Acting, not overreacting.”  Gorton says a stakeholder meeting will be held next week.  Invited to participate are hospitals, schools, the airport, universities, businesses, Keeneland, assisted living facilities, shelters, and more. 

Think: Countdown to Super Tuesday

Feb 26, 2020

Super Tuesday is the single richest delegate day in the 2020 primary season. Fourteen states will vote, and the biggest prizes are California and Texas. In the special program Countdown to Super Tuesday, we’ll hear from journalists, experts and voters from those states, receive updates from NPR’s election team and key party strategists, and tackle the major storylines developing ahead of March 3, 2020.

Legislation Aims To Change Model Lab School Funding

Feb 25, 2020
Stu Johnson

The House Education Committee Tuesday approved a new financing method for operating the state’s only laboratory school.  Eastern Kentucky University’s Model Lab School has had an agreement with Richmond’s public school system for decades.  Former Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis said last September state support shouldn’t go to a school where tuition is also paid.

State Senate Passes Updated Version Of Marsy's Law

Feb 25, 2020
Stu Johnson

The Kentucky Senate voted 31 to six Tuesday in favor of a constitutional amendment calling for a crime victims’ bill or rights.  Passage of this form of “Marsy’s Law” legislation comes after the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled last summer the wording of the original ballot question in 2018 was too vague.


Lexington city officials say medical waste is becoming an increasing concern at the government’s recycling center.  The city is concerned about the safety of center employees who find the waste among recyclables.

The city says the medical waste can result in other material being sent to the landfill, much of which could have been recycled.  The dangerous waste items such as needles, dialysis bags and tubes, IV bags and tubes, and vials are biohazards that pose a threat to employees who play a key role in the sorting process. 

Black Lung Benefits Drop For Kentucky Coal Miners After Controversial Law Change

Feb 25, 2020
Adelina Lancianese, NPR

Lynn Estel Stanley was the kind of coal mine foreman who wanted to know if there was a safety problem, and would always be the one to go fix it himself. He was also the kind of miner who refused to slow down, even when his men told him he was overexerting himself. But when he was 69, his doctor told him it was time to stop for good.

Stanley wasn’t surprised. He knew he was getting sick. “It kept getting progressively worse and harder to breathe to the point where I just couldn’t do my job, I didn’t have enough oxygen,” he said.

Angela Hsieh/NPR

Democratic presidential hopefuls are on stage in South Carolina ahead of that state’s primary. The candidates’ battle follows Sen. Bernie Sanders’ wins in the New Hampshire primary and the Nevada caucuses. Follow NPR’s live fact checks and analysis of their remarks starting Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. EST.


Women in Hats is a Black History Month Celebration Friday, February 28, 2020 at the Richmond Active Living Center. Sandra Powell, Anthem Medicaid Community Relations, tells WEKU about this one-of-a-kind event that brings together history, heritage, and community. 

Lexington Gun Violence Advocate Dies

Feb 24, 2020

A Lexington activist known for bringing attention to issues related to gun violence has died.  Anita Franklin advocated for gun safety measures following the shooting death of her son in 2014. 

Investigation Continues Into Prison Fire

Feb 24, 2020

Officials continue to investigate a fire at an Eastern Kentucky prison.  Last week’s fire prompted a large group of inmates to be relocated.

Damage assessment continues at the Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex in West Liberty.   There were no injuries reported.  Officials have cited a mechanical failure as the cause of the fire. 

The State Department of Corrections says the fire caused electrical damage to one wing of a dorm.  Just over 100 inmates will be temporarily relocated and moved to other prisons. 

Eastern Standard Preview - February 27

Feb 24, 2020

The essays of future frontline warriors in the battle against cancer in Eastern Kentucky | What a national health reporter discovered about cancer in E. Ky. | Chain pharmacists, performance metrics and rising prescription mistakes | The foundational virtue: patience

Tune into Eastern Standard Thursday at 11a, 7p and Sunday at 6p on 88.9 WEKU and

Contact: Tom Martin at or leave voicemail at 859-622-9358

Kentucky House Passes Public Assistance Reforms

Feb 21, 2020

The Kentucky House voted Friday in favor of extensive changes to the state’s public assistance system.  Those include moving to one electronic benefit transfer card for each beneficiary and requiring drug offending recipients to seek treatment to maintain benefits.  Work or volunteering requirements are also in the bill.

EKU Basketball On A Roll Prior To OVC Tournament

Feb 21, 2020

Eastern Kentucky University’s men’s basketball team is gaining momentum after a big conference win Thursday night.  The victory puts the Colonels in a solid position during the stretch run of league play.

EKU jumped out to a 30-3 lead over Tennessee State  and ended up winning the Ohio Valley Conference game 83-62.  The Colonels are 11-4 in the OVC, and just one game behind Belmont who comes to Richmond Saturday night. 

2020 Nevada Caucuses

Feb 21, 2020
Michael Zamora and Caroline Amenabar/NPR; Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Follow NPR's live coverage of the 2020 Nevada caucuses, including results and analysis.




Thanks to a bill passed last year, more Kentuckians than ever will now be able to register as organ donors. Most of the time, people only get to register when they go to get their license renewed. Samantha Morrill talked to Shelley Snyder, Executive Director of Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks Trust for Life. Snyder says a new online portal will allow everyone to register whenever they like.

The Kentucky House Passes Medical Marijuana Measure

Feb 20, 2020

The Kentucky House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that would allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana in limited ways. This is the furthest an effort to legalize any form of marijuana has ever gone.

Sixty-five lawmakers voted in favor of the bill, while 30 voted against it. It was the first time a medical marijuana bill passed a chamber of the General Assembly.

Legislation calling for a new section of the Kentucky constitution to state it doesn’t secure or protect a right to abortion or funding of abortion passed out of a House committee Thursday.

Afterwards, Margie Montgomery with Kentucky Right to Life said, “It’s what we’ve been waiting for, for such a long, long time, is to overturn Roe V Wade.” “Abortion was illegal, abortion was prohibited until Roe V Wade and Doe versus Bolton were passed.  So, this is a time to bring protection again to pre-born babies and their mothers,” said Montgomery.

A wide ranging piece of legislation focusing on reforming Kentucky’s welfare program passed out of committee Thursday.  Proponents see it as a way to better serve those in need, create efficiencies, and address fraud.  Opponents worry it’s a punitive approach which will hurt those in need.