Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Jennie Stuart to debut newsletter next month

By Nick Tabor, New Era Senior Staff Writer
Jennie Stuart Medical Center will soon start distributing a glossy four-page newsletter each month, spotlighting successful procedures and available services.
“We believe the public will learn something new every issue,” said James Goss, Jennie Stuart’s marketing director. As editor, Goss will write some articles himself and assign others to freelancers.
Each issue will feature at least two patients. The first edition, which is headed to the printing press, tells the stories of a cancer survivor and a woman who had complications while giving birth. Hospital personnel saved her life, Goss said.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Health department applies for accreditation Thursday

By Nick Tabor, New Era Senior Staff Writer
The Christian County Health Department applied for accreditation on Thursday afternoon — six months ahead of its deadline.
The next step is to get a national inspector here to spend a week conducting interviews and watching procedures. If the health department passes every test, it could get the accreditation before the end of the year.
Department Director Mark Pyle surprised his staff and board members with the news on Thursday. He invited Mike Cayce, director of the county’s board of health, to click the “submit” button on the website of the Public Health Accreditation Board. Watching it on a projector, the staff cheered and clapped.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Smoking ban’s full economic effects debated

By Nick Tabor, New Era Senior Staff Writer
Given how much Kentucky’s budget depends on tobacco taxes, would a statewide smoking ban deal it a staggering blow?
A new poll shows public support for a smoking ban is inching up every year. Though the ban likely won’t get a vote during this year’s General Assembly, state politicians, including those who represent this district, are confronting those economic questions more directly.
Between settlement payments and taxes, Kentucky collects an average of $321 million a year in tobacco revenue, according to a report from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, and Rep. Myron Dossett, D-Pembroke, both said they’d vote down a statewide ban for this reason.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Statewide smoking ban gets a push

Rep. Susan Westrom, a Democrat from Lexington, has filed a bill for a statewide public smoking ban. It's her third attempt.
As I reported earlier this week, more Kentuckians are supporting this kind of legislation every year. A poll released on Monday estimated public support at 54 percent. But the bill's chances of getting a vote this session still look slim.
Regardless, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has just launched an interesting campaign directed straight at Kentucky. "Kentucky has a lot to be proud of, but not the fact that we have the nation's highest smoking and lung cancer rates. It's hurting our health and our economy," the ad states.
Kind of a clever strategy. We’ll see whether it gives HB 193 a boost.

Dollar General to sell tobacco

Company official expects a short-term bump in sales
By Nick Tabor, New Era Senior Staff Writer
Four months after stocking their coolers with beer and their shelves with wine, the Dollar General corporation now plans to introduce cigarette sales as well.
It’s a “dying category,” said Mary Winn Gordon, vice president of investor and public relations. But for now, store managers are reporting that customers want them. So even if it only creates a one-time “bump” in revenue, Dollar General will take it.
Some Crofton residents are already boycotting the store just outside their town’s boundaries because it sells beer and wine. They’ve mostly given up the fight to have the store’s alcohol license revoked.
So the introduction of tobacco products is basically moot to them.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Growing up in Kentucky: Study finds discouraging trends for children

By Nick Tabor, New Era Senior Staff Writer
A new overview of Kentucky children’s advantages and disadvantages, from birth through high school, shows a heavy dependence on social safety nets, such as public preschools and subsidized meals.
Figures for Christian County reflect trends similar to the state’s.
They also show potentially discouraging gaps in parenting and education: low rates of college readiness, high rates of smoking during pregnancies.
The Kids Count County Data Book study, released by Kentucky Youth Advocates, consists of more than 100 datasets. It gives some broad recommendations but doesn’t delve far into causes. But walking through the numbers, in chronological sequence, gives a unique and useful perspective.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Birth indicators bode poorly for Todd’s future

Study: Nearly 40 percent of births to high school dropouts
By Nick Tabor, New Era Senior Staff Writer
Nearly 40 percent of children born in Todd County from 2007 to 2009 were born to mothers without high school diplomas, according to state records.
It’s a figure widely disproportionate to the percent of adults over 24 who have finished high school or gotten equivalency degrees — 74.9 percent, according to U.S. Census data.
Regardless, it doesn’t bode well for the future of Todd County’s population, according to literature from Kentucky Youth Advocates. Children born in these circumstances have higher rates of infant mortality, and it can hurt their school readiness skills, academic achievement and health outcomes, the Kentucky Youth Advocates study reports.