Kentucky Edition | August 7, 2023 | Season 2 | Episode 48 – PBS

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Kentucky Edition
Season 2 Episode 48 | 27m 29s  | Video has closed captioning.
A recap of the big speeches at Fancy Farm, how one education group is hoping to break the cycle of poverty, why school choice is likely to be debated in 2024, a group is sounding the alarm about the future of reliable energy in the U.S., and how dedicated farmers are offering their community fresh options.
Aired: 08/07/23

Rating: NR
August 7, 2023
Season 2 Episode 48
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The troops were there and they didn't hold back.
Well, recap some of the zingers and punchlines from Fancy Farm and still pushing paper and pushing dirt.
Now a banker returns to the mountains and the family business.
It is not the same town that I opened my bridal store in six years ago, and we visit a small town in central Kentucky that's looking to put itself back on the map.
Production of Kentucky Edition is made possible in part by the KET Endowment for Kentucky Productions, the Leonard Press Endowment for Public Affairs and the KET Millennium Fund.
Good evening and welcome to Kentucky Edition on this Monday, August 4/7.
I'm Renee Shaw.
Thank you for starting off your weeknight with us.
Exactly three months to go before the November 7th general election and many call the Fancy Farm Picnic and Graves County in West Kentucky, the unofficial start of the fall campaign.
You saw it live on Saturday.
Speeches by the candidates for Kentucky's constitutional offices, including the first face to face encounter between Governor Andy Beshear and Attorney General Daniel Cameron.
I've been watching Frankfort, N.D., up close for nearly four years, and I have just one question.
Governor, are you auditioning for a job with Bud Lights Marketing team?
This governor this governor lives more than 100 in tax return.
But here's the truth.
His record is one of failure, and it flies in the face of true Kentucky values.
Andy Beshear locked the schools and threw open the jails.
He said the state police after Christians on Easter Sunday, he closed down Main Street and bent over backwards for Wall Street.
There are fewer people working today.
And when Andy Beshear took office, and that's a fact.
But folks, he doesn't have to be that way.
We can recover for our children.
What Andy Beshear took from them.
We can restore law and order.
We can build a future that's based on true Kentucky values.
Instead of the Beshear Biden radical ideology.
Governor, I know you guys are obsessed with pronouns these days.
But come November, yours are going to be has Ambien.
Here you see a contrast.
This race is a difference between vision and dumb vision.
See, they're trying they're trying to fit us against each other, calling everybody names who disagrees with them, telling you it's okay to yell at, even hate your fellow Kentuckians.
I'm ready to prove that's a losing strategy in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
See, people here know there's no Democrat and Republican bridges that are good job.
Is it red or blue?
And the most important thing for a governor is getting the job done.
We're getting the biggest projects done in our history.
We're for letting the Mountain Parkway building the bridge, Spence Bridge without tolls and moving I-69 forward all at the same time.
We brought a half a billion dollars in clean drinking water, the largest investment in the expansion of Internet access.
I've signed 627 bipartisan bills, 627 All of the candidates for statewide constitutional offices, including those down ballot and both parties, spoke Saturday at Fancy Farm.
And you can watch it tonight.
A recap at eight Eastern, seven Central right here on KCET.
I'm glad Governor Beshear finally decided to come to Fancy Farm.
It's been the first Saturday in August for 143 years.
But Andy only seems to make time for you all when he's staring down Election Day.
That was U.S.
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who spoke over some in the crowd chanting Retire.
His 28th visit to the annual picnic came less than two weeks after he froze mid-sentence while talking to reporters at the U.S. Capitol.
His appearance at Fancy Farm had been listed as pending in the days leading up to the big event at a GOP breakfast in Graves County Saturday morning.
McConnell vowed this year's fancy farm picnic would not be his last.
It's August and that means it's back to school time for Kentucky students.
The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence was just awarded nearly $50 million from the U.S. Department of Education.
The money will be used to establish full service community schools.
Well, I recently sat down with the Prichard Committee's Bridget Blom, who explains what these community schools are and how they can help break the cycles of generational poverty.
Let me ask you about the full service community schools and the grant applications that are now open for that.
First of all, tell us what that actually means and what a benefit this could be before we ever get really excited.
The committee has been working to improve education outcomes for 40 years now.
We've seen improvement, we've seen decline.
We've seen efforts that can add improvement again with this $47 million award from the U.S. Department of Education.
We will be investing $1.5 million in 20 school districts across the state, 30 million total for school districts to bring communities into the conversation, to really bring communities to the table, to align and coordinate community assets, community resources to support students and families uniquely based on local context, with the intent of improving those outcomes, particularly in high poverty districts.
And many would say, isn't that already happening?
And isn't that kind of the role of a school based or site based decision making councils when it comes to community involvement?
So the research over about the last 20 years has shown that full service community schools, when implemented effectively result in improved student outcomes, a decrease in dropout rates, improved student health and well-being.
And while Kentucky approved and has invested for the last 30 years in Family resource use service centers lovingly known here in Kentucky as Friskies, they were kind of the first community school model in the nation, one of the forerunners.
But as the research and work in other states has evolved, they've moved into something that is a much richer model than our Family Resource Youth Service Center.
So this grant is allowing us to build on top of that promising practice, align it with the best research available coming primarily from the Learning Policy Institute, and to ensure that we are getting those those extra gains for students that we can when we more fully coordinate and align.
So think about, you know, Kentucky also has a rich system of investment in public health in all 120 counties in the state.
So if we better align the investment in our school districts with the investment in public health through all of our health departments, with the investment in other community based organizations for mental health, for out-of-school time learning, for medical and vision, health, and we really bring communities and families to the table.
We're getting not only we're getting the one, two, three, four, five punch that particularly high poverty communities really need.
So it's removing all the academic barriers to support the highest quality teaching and learning in the classroom for the students who need it most.
Yes, Kentucky is, you know, really fortunate to receive this grant and also a state that is much in need because we still sit six from the bottom of the nation in poverty.
So we're excited about the next five years and feel like we can really show what's possible because we have a great place to do it.
So geographically, is there a particular concentration of where these dollars are going?
So initially in the proposal, we'll be working in Jefferson County, in Rowland County, which is Moorhead in Owensboro and Davis County, Jonesboro, Independent in Davis County.
So we just released published on our website Prichard Committee dot org the application for the additional 16 districts that we'll work with.
So we're looking forward to those applications rolling in and choosing the other 16 to start working with.
That application closes August 25th.
So rural and urban, really rural and urban, we want geographic diversity.
We want a diversity of student population across the state.
We'll have some of the 20 districts who are really focusing in the early learning space, early childhood, kindergarten through third grade reading, proficiency, math proficiency.
We'll have other districts that maybe choose to focus more intentionally in the high school and transition to post-secondary space.
So the first phase of this work, if you will, is, again, really bringing communities and families to the table to say, here are the research and evidence based best practices that support student outcomes.
They are mental and physical health supports, extended learning time both out of school and through the summer months, community and family engagement and all of this in service to supporting high quality teaching practices.
So what we want our families and communities to tell, to tell us, to tell, to tell educators in the school district.
Here's how we think that can be designed best.
And then for everybody to roll up their sleeves around the table and design it.
So public schools are our Kentucky schools.
And so part of this is really inspiring that level of agency in each one of our communities that improving outcomes for students and families is everybody's business.
And we need to bring everybody to the table to do that.
You mentioned public health.
I'm thinking also of the business community because they are also major stakeholders in educational outcomes, because hopefully they're the ones who will employ these future leaders and future workers.
Are they also considered to be part of the community?
Oh, my gosh, yes.
And so one of kind of as another component of the Prichard Committee's work right now, which will connect to the full service community schools, is ensuring a meaningful high school diploma.
So we know the high school diploma is oftentimes reflective of seat time and high school employers and even colleges will say high school graduates are not fully prepared to be successful.
So how do we ensure that they're fully prepared to be successful?
We know that's a combination of academic learning, content mastery, as well as the skills that they develop through high school and through extracurricular opportunities, like for age is one of my prime examples of what we want out of a high school student is when you see a4h participant present their body of work.
If if listeners have never had the chance to see that, I encourage you to check out for H. But so the meaningful high school diploma work is part of what we also want to connect to communities to ensure that that transition into the post-secondary environment.
The post high school success environment is everything that Kentucky needs it to be from an employer standpoint as well as a post-secondary standpoint, and our young people being prepared not only for the jobs that are available today, but to be the job creators of Kentucky's future.
And we can't say that often enough.
We need an entrepreneurial and an innovative mindset in Kentucky to move from six of the bottom, six from the bottom of the nation in poverty to the top tier of all states.
And so we need to be educating Kentucky's young people with an entrepreneurial mindset.
So they are the job creators of our future.
Over the course of the five year grant, the Prichard Committee will work with up to 40 community schools across the state.
A new school year means renewed talks about the quality of learning in Kentucky's classroom.
One group devoted to expanding educational options for students in Kentucky.
Talk to me at the Fancy Farm Picnic about their quest to let Kentuckians decide on school choice options.
That choice, Kentucky, was formed over ten years ago advocating for the students in Kentucky so that they may receive the best education possible and not be limited by zip code and things of that nature.
Most students are now assigned today based upon their zip code and where they go, and that has limiting factors, and we want that to be open to everybody because parents know best and money should follow the student.
We're going to be advocating for a constitutional amendment.
The Supreme Court overturned the tax credit scholarship legislation unanimously.
Of course, you talk to Andy in the past.
We know we have our feelings on that.
But our way forward now is is to give it to the people.
The overwhelming polls show that parents favor ed choice.
So let's put it in the hands of the people and let's see if they see if they can decide.
In other news, it was a record year for the Kentucky Lottery.
The lottery says sales topped $1.8 billion for the fiscal year that ended June 30th.
That's the biggest total in the lottery's 34 year history.
It's up almost 10% from the previous year.
That means prize money to Kentuckians was also up and the lottery sent more than $380 million to the state, which means more scholarship and grant money for Kentucky students.
Some experts are sounding the alarm about the future of reliable energy in the U.S.. PJM is one of only nine grid operators in North America and oversees about half of Kentucky.
A spokesman for the company recently testified in Frankfort, warning policymakers about the real potential of an energy supply crunch by the end of the decade.
So we have particular number of a gigawatt system today.
We're forecasting pretty significant retirements towards the end of this decade, and we are not seeing new entry match the rate of retirements.
PJM said the country is in the middle of an energy transition and that more energy will soon be needed for among other things, the growing demand for electric vehicles.
Some lawmakers suggested Kentucky should continue to rely on its fossil fuels, touting coal as a reliable and more affordable source of energy.
Others wanting to know if the state is ready for the shift received anything but an assurance.
We have this current shift to electric vehicles.
Can we handle the load, the usage that it's going to put on our grid?
We we don't know yet, but we are concerned that with increased electrification and increased retirements.
So these trends that we're seeing that we may not have enough, but we don't know for sure, which is why we're sort of presenting the concern and again saying that we're going to take action to try and resolve that concern.
According to Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray, the number of electric vehicle owners in the state has doubled in the last two years to more than 7000.
Summer farmers markets are a fixture of most rural Kentucky towns, but the hills and mountains of eastern Kentucky don't always provide the best land for growing produce.
Still, dedicated farmers in the region are committed to offering their community fresh, healthy and local food options.
I was in banking for 30 years and retired from that and still pushing paper and pushing dirt.
Now, and we produce several different vegetables from corn to beans to potatoes, cabbage.
We just started growing brussel sprouts, zucchini, summer squash and just started growing okra.
This part of the state has been known more for energy production and timber than for food.
And because of that, most of the food production here has been very small scale.
But through the farmers market and through the folks that participate in that market, they are producing food locally.
We take our produce to the widespread farmers market and it means the world to us to take fresh produce from the farm and give it back to the community, especially after the devastating floods of last year.
The locals benefit from having things that are produced right here.
They know the grower every step of the food chain or the supply chain is right there for them to see, and it's good for the local communities.
As far as those moneys are recir A lot of their programs at the farmers market is incentive.
We have an incentive program with Mt.
Comprehensive Care.
Those folks have health issues related to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and they are given $35 on a weekly basis.
So it's encouraging to give fresh produce to those individuals.
I would compare farmers markets to family reunions or a sporting event.
You know how there is this kind of excitement and it's kind of festive and people are talking a lot and they're laughing and there's music.
And maybe you run into people that you haven't seen in a little while.
That's something that you get from the farmer's market every time that we harvest.
We know that we're taking the best product that we can put out there for them.
And it's fresh.
It's healthy.
And it makes you feel good.
Makes you feel good as a farmer.
Rocket Farms uses a high tunnel which acts as a sort of greenhouse to extend their growing season.
It allows them to sell produce up until November and some years.
Continuing our Mondays on main series, we're hitting a new Kentucky town.
Our first stop was Russellville and the western part of the state a couple of weeks ago.
Today, we're heading over to Mt.
Sterling, the seat of Montgomery County, to see how a decades long revitalization project has brightened up their downtown Main Street.
This downtown area has really just taken off in the last decade.
A group of people came together and just looked at our downtown, which we've got a great downtown.
We always have, but just said, we can do better.
We can start doing small things to just try to make noticeable impacts downtown.
So in 2010, a small building came up for sale.
It had been unoccupied since 1997 and I was able to purchase that building.
And that sort of started my love for the downtown and I was able to refurbish that.
And there was only two businesses that had survived more than three years in downtown, and every building was basically vacant.
Unless you were a lawyer or a bank.
And so we were trying to figure out how could we improve our downtown, make it more user friendly, walkable for growth.
We needed economic growth.
You cannot be successful as a solo business, so you have to have other businesses to support you.
I love my story of how I came to Mt.
I came for a visit and we were coming through town and we got stopped at the traffic light.
And I look to my right, which is the building that I'm in now, and it was empty, ran down, and I said, Oh, look at that building.
It is beautiful.
It would make a beautiful bridal store.
I lived in Florida and I already had an established bridal store where I custom designed all of my wedding gowns.
And my husband's like, Well, whoa, whoa, whoa.
This is your first time to town.
But I fell in love with the town immediately.
And all the warm, welcoming people.
And about three years later, we opened up Rene's bridal here in Mount Sterling, and no regrets whatsoever.
I think we have, as a city offered small business facade grants and then so we have offered those grants to help businesses here in the city fix up the outside of their businesses, whether it's a paint job, a new window, a new door, maybe it's a new sign, but to make their business more inviting so people want to come in.
And so over the last ten years, we've really just seen so much excitement for people to want to join together and do what they can to make this community grow this street.
$4 million street.
We came in and redid the waterli did this whole streetscape, planted flowers, redid the sidewalks.
And look what it's done.
Businesses now want to invest here.
They want to have a business on this street.
This coffee shop, I mean, wow, what a what a great impact to our downtown area to have this wonderful coffee shop here.
It is not the same town that I opened my bridal store in six years ago.
And the businesses just keep coming and coming better.
And the reason why we're able to do that is because there's a strong heartbeat here in our sweet, beautiful town to shop local, support the local, and to really, really back us.
And so we couldn't do it without them.
It's a really a beautiful town.
Mount Sterling's most popular festivity is court days, a 220 year old tradition that draws thousands downtown.
Thousands cheered Charles Lindbergh in Kentucky just months after his famous flight across the Atlantic.
And the Big blue played a big part in helping the U.S. bring home the gold during the 1948 Olympics.
Toby Gibbs has that and more.
And this look at this week in Kentucky history.
Governor Burton Jones was hurt as his helicopter crashed on August 7th, 1992, in Shelby County.
Five other people were on board.
Everyone survived.
Here's some happier aviation news.
10,000 people watched as Charles Lindbergh landed in his famous spirit of Saint Louis in Louisville on August 8th, 1927.
He was on a goodwill tour three months after becoming an international celebrity after his solo flight across the Atlantic.
Kentucky had a great view of a total solar eclipse on August 7th, 1869.
Louisville, Harrodsburg and Manchester were among the towns with the best view.
Astronomers descended on Shelby College in Shelbyville.
The college with the third best telescope in the U.S. worth $4,000.
The great Triple Crown winner citation from Calumet Farm in Lexington died August 8th, 1970 at the age of 25.
It won the Triple Crown in 1948 and was the first horse to win $1,000,000 man of war fold at Nursery Stud in Lexington lost his only race, The Sanford Stakes in Saratoga Springs, New York, on August 13th, 1919.
The winning horse was named upset the United States won the gold medal for basketball at the London Olympics on August 13th, 1948, beating France 64 to 21.
It helps when you have the University of Kentucky's fabulous five on the team.
And that's how things look this week in Kentucky history.
I'm Toby Gibbs.
Thank you, Toby Gibbs.
If the product of a year long effort to chronicle a natural disaster that took 17 lives in the city of Bowling Green.
But we wanted to make sure that we told our story as a city, what we did, what we hope to accomplish, how we did it.
The result is a body of work called The Greatest Challenge.
That's tomorrow on Kentucky Edition.
What it covers and how it may serve as a guidebook for other cities who experience a similar tragedy.
Well, I hope you'll catch that story and many more coming up on Kentucky Edition tomorrow night at 630 Eastern, 530 Central, where we inform, Connect and Inspire.
Subscribe to our weekly email newsletter and watch full episodes and clips at Ket dot org Look for us on the PBS video app on your mobile device and smart TV.
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Public Affairs at Ket dot org.
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I'm Rene Shaw.
Thank you for joining us and I'll see you tomorrow night.
Take good care.
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