Ky. Budget Looks Bleak, Changing W.Va. Politics, Acid Mine Drainage In Art, Annual Bird Count & More


Kentucky lawmakers face tough money decisions this year.

Is West Virginia moving from blue to red?

Some Pennsylvania artists find a good use for acid mine drainage.

And bird counters are documenting the winter population.

Ky. Money Outlook: We move from the holiday season to the political season, when legislators get ready to head to their state capitols for this year’s legislative session. A new report says Kentucky lawmakers must either raise revenue or make drastic cuts to services. Kentucky Public Radio’s Jonathan Meador reports that a study from the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy paints a bleak outlook for the state’s upcoming budget.

Ky. Doctor Shortage: Under the Affordable Care Act, Kentucky chose to expand Medicaid eligibility, which means an additional 300,000 Kentuckians now qualify for health care coverage. But with more patients able to visit primary care physicians comes a problem. There aren’t enough doctors. Kentucky Public Radio’s Whitney Jones has more on why rural areas have difficulty recruiting those physicians.

W.Va. Political Change: In this midterm election season we’ll no doubt be hearing a lot about red states, blue states and purple states, where voters tend to elect Republicans, Democrats or can swing either way. West Virginia has traditionally leaned Democrat, and still has more registered Democrats than Republicans. But as West Virginia Public Radio’s Ashton Marra reports, some political scientists see signs that West Virginia is changing.

W.Va. Pipefitter Classes: As the natural gas boom continues in northern West Virginia, some young people are finding work as pipefitters. There’s an apprenticeship school in Morgantown. West Virginia Public Radio’s Glynis Board stopped in to investigate and brings us this report.  

Pa. Acid Mine Drainage as Art: The brilliant rust orange iron oxide that’s pulled out of waterways polluted with acid mine drainage is finding its way into the hands of artists and craftsmen.  The dried and powdered material is being used to color T-shirts, wood stain, concrete, and even the “burnt sienna” shade of Crayola crayons.  Now, as The Allegheny Front’s Jennifer Szweda Jordan reports, a nonprofit is helping turn creek contaminants into pottery glaze.

Pa. Bird Count: Every year at this time since 1900 bird enthusiasts have taken to the great outdoors for the annual Audubon Society bird count. The goal: to monitor the status and distribution of the winter bird population. Those who can’t go out to count birds can keep track of the species visiting their feeders. The count started December 14 and ends this weekend. The Allegheny Front’s Kara Holsopple went on one count in southwestern Pennsylvania and has this report.