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Sensitive Santa: A Kinder, Gentler Kringle For Kids With Special Needs

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I’m not usually one to name-drop but my brother Pat Meehan is Santa Claus. A real, professional Santa. Sitting in his home office fresh from work, he’s wearing black suspenders and a red T-shirt. There at least six other Santa outfits in his closet including beach Santa. His thick, white beard (yes, a real one)… Read More

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“A Failure Of Public Health.” Sexually Transmitted Diseases Rise As Health Budgets Fall

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Health officials are tracking record-breaking rates of sexually transmitted disease, including a resurgence of some infections which had been considered rare, such as gonorrhea and syphilis. These STDs are on the rise amid cuts to public health budgets dedicated to testing, prevention, and public outreach. In the Ohio Valley, for example, a review of state and… Read More

Healthy Debate: Ohio Valley Health Concerns Driving Competitive Midterm Races

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The political ads in the Ohio Valley are playing on what seems like a constant loop. That’s not unusual for election season. But what is unusual this year is how many ads focus on health care. Consider this one from Kentucky Republican Andy Barr, who’s facing a tough challenge in the 6th Congressional District from Democrat Amy McGrath…. Read More

Infection And Inequality: How The Income Gap Fuels Ohio Valley’s Hep A Outbreak

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Jim Thacker is frustrated. The spokesperson for the Madison County, Kentucky, Health Department said there is a real threat of a Hepatitis A outbreak at the detention center right down the road in Richmond. Built to house about 240 inmates, it holds more than 400. “It’s like a petri dish, they are packed so close together,” he… Read More

Battling An Outbreak: Businesses And Health Officials Respond As Ohio Valley’s Hep A Cases Climb

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The low rumble of industrial fans fills the Catholic Action Center in Lexington, a shelter that provides meals and other services for homeless people. It’s mid-morning on a hot July day and dozens of people sit camped on couches in the entryway, or slouch at tables nearby. Despite the fans the air is stale from too many… Read More

Regional Hep A Outbreak Linked To Ohio Valley Addiction Crisis

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A Hepatitis A outbreak growing in the Louisville area since last summer reached a new peak recently with a travel advisory from Indiana health officials. They told Hoosiers heading to Kentucky to get a Hep A vaccine. Soon, Kentucky’s Acting Commissioner for Public Health Dr. Jeffrey Howard was pushing back. “Let me say that it IS safe… Read More

Surgeon General Supports Needle Exchanges To Limit Disease From Opioid Crisis

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U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams threw his support behind syringe exchange services as an important tool to address the Ohio Valley’s high risk of needle-borne disease associated with the opioid epidemic. Adams visited Florence, in northern Kentucky, for an event to encourage more people to get trained to administer the overdose-reversal drug naloxone. Dressed in a full,… Read More

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Exchange of Ideas: How A Rural Kentucky County Overcame Fear To Adopt A Needle Exchange

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Greg Lee, Kentucky’s HIV/AIDS educator, starts the town hall on a somber note. “How many people in this room know someone who has died of an overdose death?” It is a standing-room only crowd. Most hands go up. “Amazing,” he says, sadly. The meeting is at the Bourbon County Public Health Department, just next to… Read More

Fracking Waste Disposal: Still A Hot Mess

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  The slogan for Estill County is “where the bluegrass kisses the mountains.” But since 2015 the county, population 15,000, is widely known as the place where radioactive material generated by the oil and gas industry in a process known as fracking was dumped near some schools. As the Ohio Valley ReSource reported in 2016, tons of waste from the drilling… Read More