Here are the topics covered in this edition of Byline (full audio below):
At the top – The Kentucky Senate has passed a bill aimed at battling the state’s heroin problem. The Senate on Thursday voted 36 to 0 in support of the bill, which includes multiple provisions to address what’s being called a growing epidemic of heroin abuse across the state. It calls for new punishments and funds treatment. Joining us to talk about that measure and other action this week in the Kentucky General Assembly is Kentucky Public Radio Frankfort Bureau Chief Jonathan Meador.
6:40 – The archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville, Joseph Kurtz, has begun his two-year term as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The archbishop sat down for an interview for the KET program Up Front with Jonathan Bastian, produced in partnership with WFPL. We hear an excerpt of that interview.
12:50 – A chemical plume from a spill in West Virginia reached Louisville this morning. Some of the thousands of West Virginia residents affected by the spill have been told their tap water is again safe to consume, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has suggested pregnant women in West Virginia wait a bit longer. The Louisville Water Company says it doesn’t believe there’s any public health danger here. We check in with WFPL environment reporter Erica Peterson for an update on the spill and its aftermath.
16:30 – Kentucky poet laureate Frank X Walker is among the nominees for the 45th annual NAACP Image Awards. Walker is nominated in the category of Outstanding Literary Work — Poetry, for his latest book, Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers. He joins WFPL’s Jaison Gardner and Kaila Story to talk about the award and what he hopes his legacy will be in Kentucky.
21:00 – In a $16 billion deal announced this week, Japanese beverage giant Suntory announced it plans to purchase Beam Inc., the maker of Jim Beam bourbon and the owner of other popular bourbon brands like Maker’s Mark. Those and most other bourbons are made in Kentucky, and the deal has some hoping the drink’s growth in the global market won’t come at the expense of its uniquely Kentucky heritage. Rick Howlett reports.
24:05 – WFPL’s Gabe Bullard speaks with city planner Jeff Speck. His latest book is called The Walkable City. He tells us about efforts to make American communities more pedestrian-friendly, and the benefits.
30:25 – According to numbers from the University of Scranton, 71 percent of those who made New Years resolutions lasted past the first two weeks. That number drops to less than half after six months. And only 8% are actually successful in achieving and maintaining their resolutions. So, given the success rate, are resolutions such a good idea? Rick Howlett speaks with Stacy Vicari, a Louisville-based life coach.
38:00 – In the Arts Segment, we hear from Louisville writer Kyle Coma-Thompson. His first collection of short stories, “The Lucky Body,” was published in December by Seattle’s Dock Street Press. Coma-Thompson visited WFPL’s studio this week to read a story from the book, and we have an excerpt. Then, WFPL’s Erin Keane speaks with a member of the Louisville Ballet, which opens its new Choreographer’s Showcase next week. For this annual event, the members of the company create new pieces to be performed by their fellow dancers.