Dear Friends:
Most of us know all too well that Kentucky is not a very healthy state. We are overweight and don't exercise enough. We eat and smoke too much. Health insurance costs are high, and so are Kentucky's rates of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. This crisis reaches beyond health to other critical issues facing the commonwealth. It reduces our quality of life. It costs money that could otherwise be invested in education or jobs. And an unhealthy work force limits our economic productivity. Nowhere is this crisis as pronounced as in our Medicaid program. Medicaid is the health insurance program for the poor, elderly, and disabled that Kentucky operates with the federal government. Kentucky's Medicaid program is very expensive - costing $4.7 billion this year and rising. It is a one-size-fits-all program that offers little or no choice to members about their care. And it focuses on simply treating members when they get sick, not keeping them healthy in the first place. This contributes to the commonwealth's unhealthy population.

If this all sounds like a recipe for disaster, that's because it is. Through Medicaid, Kentucky pays too much for medical care that is often delivered in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and without proper patient involvement. What caused this crisis? Simply put, Medicaid is an outdated government program that struggles to cope with the realities of health care today. Medicaid hasn't changed much since it took effect in 1966, except in one key aspect. That year, it cost American taxpayers a total of $1 billion. Last year, it cost more than $309 billion. Along with the Medicare program, Medicaid was intended to prevent Americans from having to choose between food and medicine. Today, it forces states like Kentucky to choose between paying for Medicaid or funding other priorities such as better schools and safer highways.

From coast to coast, states are dealing with runaway Medicaid spending, often by cutting tens of thousands of people from the rolls or slashing benefits. States like Kentucky are left to treat a 21st century problem with a 1960s health plan. When a program like Medicaid still offers the same one-size-fits-all treatment to its many different members, it's no wonder costs are skyrocketing without corresponding gains in peoples' health.

My administration will not neglect this problem. That's why we're modernizing Medicaid to meet Kentucky's 21st century needs. A central part of Medicaid modernization is our application for a "waiver" from the federal government. Known as Kentucky Health Choices, this waiver will give us flexibility to avoid many cumbersome federal regulations and design programs specifically for the commonwealth. We realize there is a big difference between the health needs of seniors in nursing homes, children with disabilities, and pregnant women. What we don't understand is why Medicaid currently treats them all the same. Under the new waiver, these categories of Medicaid members will be served by unique health plans tailored to their specific needs. We also realize that empowering people to make choices about their medical care will lead to better decisions and better health.

Today's Medicaid benefits are largely free and unfettered. So it's not surprising to see instances of overuse and abuse, with some individuals taking dozens of prescriptions at the same time, or visiting the emergency room 50 times in a year. No incentives exist for members to make responsible decisions, such as choosing a family doctor over an unnecessary ER visit. By making wise choices like this one, Medicaid members can improve their own health and the state's financial outlook.

Kentucky's Medicaid program has come a long way in two short years. Last year, we balanced a $526 million projected deficit without cutting anyone from the Medicaid rolls. We actually reduced our pharmaceutical costs in 2004, after they had skyrocketed by 80 percent over the previous four years. But these measures alone are not enough. Over the next three years, Medicaid spending growth could consume all new revenue growth. That leaves no money to fund other priorities such as better schools and universities - the long-term investments that Kentucky needs to get ahead in the new economy.

At age 40, Medicaid faces a midlife crisis. To emerge from it, Kentucky must take bold action by modernizing the program for the 21st century. And as the leader of this commonwealth, I intend to do just that. In the months and years ahead, Medicaid will look much different from the 1960s-era relic we see today. These changes won't be easy, but they're necessary for progress in Kentucky.

As we move forward, I need and appreciate the support of the General Assembly and concerned citizens like you. Together, we can guarantee a modern and enhanced Medicaid program will be around to serve our children and grandchildren.

Ernie Fletcher

Greetings! As the old year draws wearily to a close and the new one beckons with promise and hope, I'm pleased to tell you that the Governor's Office of Minority Empowerment is holding its own in the race to achieve our goals. At times we have stumbled, certainly, but our will has never retired and our faith has never weakened.

On Nov. 19, the opening of the Muhammad Ali Center on Main Street in Louisville sent a message to the world that Kentucky will not tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion, or culture. It sent the message that equal opportunity, in Kentucky, will be more than an empty phrase.

Naturally, the Governor's Office of Minority Empowerment embraces the Ali Center's goals, and, as fate would have it, our work also was recognized by the Kentuckiana Minority Business Council in the same month that the Ali Center was opened.

The Council inducted the Commonwealth of Kentucky into the "Million-Dollar Club" in honor of the fact that Governor Ernie Fletcher's administration spent more than $1 million with minority-owned vendors during 2004. The Fletcher administration has increased state spending with minority-owned vendors by a whopping 86 percent and increased the number of minority vendors by 41 percent.

In addition, the KMBC honored me as the recipient of the Ferda C. Porter Advocate Award for "demonstrated outstanding civic leadership" and taking extra steps to devote personal time to minority business development initiatives. I was indeed quite humbled by this acknowledgment.

With Governor Fletcher's blessing, we established the Minority Action Committee (MAC) to be an adjunct of the Governor's Office of Minority Empowerment. The MAC consists of high-ranking minority executives in state government, and one of its first items of business was to develop a strategic marketing/communications plan to showcase the commonwealth's diversity and attract more minorities to visit and/or relocate in Kentucky.

Here's some more good news:

* Minority employment in state government increased from 7.95 percent as of December 15, 2003, to 8.4 percent as of August 19, 2005. At the director level and above, the improvement has been especially dramatic. In those key jobs, the number of females has increased from 247 to 285 and the number of racial minorities from 52 to 61.

* The Fletcher administration has provided federal dollars to expand the construction training program for women and minorities. The purpose of this program is to increase the pool of qualified disadvantaged business enterprises by enhancing their technical, managerial, and entrepreneurial skills in the highway industry. Originally based solely in Lexington, the program now is operating in Louisville, Hopkinsville, Paintsville, and northern Kentucky.

* The Administration supported and endorsed the passage of Senate Bill 109, which raised the minimum contract amount requiring performance and payment bonds in order to give small businesses a fairer chance to procure state contracts.

Now, in 2006, we need to pick up the pace. We need to "make it happen."

Due mainly to the widespread influx of Hispanic workers, our culture has changed dramatically since Governor Fletcher took office and will change even more in the foreseeable future. It is the goal of the Office of Minority Empowerment to embrace these changes and assure all our citizens that Kentucky whole-heartedly endorses diversity and inclusion.

I wish you all a happy holiday season and a bright new year.

Tierra Kavanaugh Turner
Executive Director of Minority Empowerment
Office of the Governor



Title VI Workshop
December 15, 2005 (8:30 am - 1 pm)
Lexington Public Library, 140 E. Main St., Lexington, KY
The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission is co-sponsoring this workshop which will focus on the Best Practice on Improving Access to Persons with Limited English Proficiency. To register call 859.252.4931 or email lfuchrc@qx.net.

Deadline: January 2, 2006
The Henry Faurest Memorial Fellowships for Art Educators will provide two 14-night residencies at the Center in southern Indiana. The awards include all meals, a studio, a stipend, a private room, and time to focus. One fellowship is open to pre-college art teachers who need time to do their own artwork. The second fellowship is open to retired art educators (62 years old and up) who have taught art classes on an elementary, middle, high or college level. Deadline for both fellowships is January 2, 2006. Residencies need to be completed by October 31, 2006. For an application, please download the form at www.maryandersoncenter.org or phone 812-923-4602. The fellowships are named in honor of Henry Faurest, who was a strong arts advocate and former board member of the Center.

Deadline: January 15, 2006
Inscape is an annual Morehead State University publication with a long history of cutting edge visual and literary art. Media and genres of work range from prose, poetry, short story, long narrative, nonfiction and creative essays to photography, printmaking, painting, design & digital art. Inscape is currently accepting submissions from a national pool of artists to have their visual art work juried into the interior of its Spring 2006 publication. Notification will be made by the end of February. All selected artists will receive a copy of the publication in mid-May 2006. For complete details and submission guidelines please contact Jennifer Reis at j.reis@morehead-st.edu.

Homeownership Education Workshop
The Governor's Office of Minority Empowerment along with the Kentucky Housing Corporation announces the Come Home to Your Home, Yes You Can...Own a Home, Homeownership Education Workshops. The workshops are held around the state throughout the year.

If you need answers to your credit questions (no credit, credit problems, etc.), help with a down payment or closing costs, details about the home buying process, loan prequalification information, or home maintenance guidance and information, this workshop is for you. We can help! Register to attend our workshop when it's in your area by calling the Governor's Office of Minority Empowerment, 502-564-2611 ext. 370 or send an e-mail to kyome@ky.gov.

Don't pass up this opportunity to learn how to become a successful homeowner.

The Come Home to Your Home workshops are currently scheduled for:
January 21, 2006:
9-11 am: 1st Baptist Church, 300 Francis St., Richmond, KY 40475 (This will be a Budget/Credit Class only)
2-4 pm: Consolidated Baptist Church, 1625 Russell Cave Road, Lexington, KY 40505 (This will be a Budget/Credit Class only)
March 27, 2006, 9 am - 2 pm: Boyle County area
May 20, 2006:
9-11 am: Franklin KY area (This will be a Budget/Credit Class only)
2-4 pm: Shelbyville, KY area (This will be a Budget/Credit Class only)
July 22, 2006, 9 am - 2 pm: Christian County area
August 19, 2006, 9 am - 2 pm: McCracken County area
September 23, 2006, 9 am - 2 pm: Hardin County area
November 18, 2006, 9 am - 2 pm: Jefferson County area

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Kentucky's Historical African American Parks

African-American Family History Resources

African-American Trail Map Lexington

Paris-Bourbon County Tour of African American Sites

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The mission of the Commonwealth’s Personnel Cabinet is to take care of state government employees, as well as, those seeking employment with the state. Thus, we invite you to peruse their website at http://personnel.ky.gov/employment/meritsystem.htm We are confident you will find the information beneficial.

Kentucky State Police
Applications are now being accepted. Find out how you can become a Kentucky State Trooper.

Department Of Military Affairs
Maintenance Branch Manager,
1031; Salary: $3,048.34 - $4,038.62; Grade: Grade: 15; Division: Facilities Division; Location: Jefferson County; Duty Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.; Requirements: Education: High school graduate. Experience: Must have five years of building maintenance, grounds maintenance, general trades, skilled trades or mechanical maintenance experience. Substitution Clause: Education: Formal training in industrial arts, horticulture, mechanical engineering or a related field will substitute for the experience on a year-for-year basis. Experience: Experience in one of the above or related fields will substitute for the education on a year-for-year basis. Duties: Responsible for the work management system; preventative, recurring emergency maintenance, minor facility modifications, alterations and minor construction. Maintains records. Supervise state maintenance employees at KYANG base, Standiford Field. Recommend scope of work and costs concerning renovations, repairs and new construction projects. Develops and recommend policies concerning training, maintenance program and equipment purchases. Assures compliance with KRS concerning construction and repair part purchases. Other duties as assigned. In Order to Apply for this Position the Following Must be Followed: Any individual interested in applying for this position shall submit one completed application to the Personnel Cabinet (Personnel Cabinet, 200 Fair Oaks Lane, 5th Floor, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601) and request placement on the register. You may be required to pass the appropriate examination or selection method before being placed on the register for any job classification. This Office Is Not Responsible for Assuring You are on the Register for this Position or Any Other Position. It is the Responsibility of the Applicant. HOW TO APPLY: Send one updated application to: ATTN: Crystal Simpson, Office of Management and Administration/Admin. Svcs., Boone National Guard Center, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601. DEADLINE: Applications must be submitted no later than the close of business on December 17, 2005.

Kentucky Educational Television (KET)
Please click here to see KET Internships available.


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Interested in doing business with the Commonwealth? One must be registered to do so. All potential vendors seeking a contract with the Commonwealth and/or wanting to be notified of opportunities to do business with the Commonwealth should be registered. Registration allows vendors the opportunity to identify products and services they wish to offer to the Commonwealth. In addition, vendor registration makes it easier for agencies to find your company. Vendors may register and review current bid opportunities on the eProcurement website: https://eprocurement.ky.gov/. A vendor registering for the first time may go to the New Vendor Registration section on the eProcurement page and provide the requested information.

HURRICANE CONTRACTING INFORMATION CENTER: On October 11, 2005, Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez unveiled the Hurricane Contracting Information Center (HCIC) to assist U.S. businesses, especially small, minority and women-owned businesses, in participating in the Gulf Coast rebuilding efforts. It is important to note that the HCIC will not award contracts. It will provide a clearinghouse of information for businesses who want to become involved in Gulf Coast reconstruction. The mission of the HCIC is to provide a one-stop portal for businesses to successfully participate in Gulf Coast contracting, subcontracting, and reconstruction efforts. HCIC can be contacted by visiting www.RebuildingTheGulfCoast.gov or by dialing 1-888-4USADOC. If you require further information on the HCIC, please contact Nat Wienecke, Acting Assistant Secretary for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs, at 202-482-3663.

ATTENTION NEW CONTRACTORS! If you are interested in viewing the Transportation Cabinets' "Notice to Contractors," please visit their web page at: http://transportation.ky.gov/contract/. This is a listing of all upcoming projects to be bid upon during the upcoming letting. If you have any questions, please contact the Transportation Cabinet at 502-564-3500.


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Governor's EEO Conference marks another success for the Fletcher Administration
Nearly 400 state and local employees attended this year's Governor's EEO Conference. The conference featured over 14 different workshops including a panel on Hispanic Outreach Efforts. Participants heard from several state executives including, Office of Minority Empowerment Executive Director Tierra Kavanaugh Turner, and Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Executive Director, Linda Murnane. Personnel Secretary Erwin Roberts gave the keynote address for the luncheon and for the second time Governor Ernie Fletcher offered his support and commitment by speaking at the Governor's Award's brunch. Governor Ernie Fletcher poignantly told attendees, "We are united by a common belief in the dignity and inherent goodness of humankind, regardless of race, religion, gender, age or socio-economic status." For further information on the 19th Annual Governor's EEO Conference please contact Mary Stoddard at (502) 573-0325.

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Minority Health Resources: The Office of Minority Health (OMH) works closely with state, tribal and local governments, as well as nonprofit organizations to improve health status and eliminate health disparities among Americans of all racial and ethnic groups. The combined resources of CDC/ATSDR and its partners provide the vital link between policy and practice.

Minority Health Disparities: Learn more about what the Cabinet for Health & Family Services is doing.

View the Cabinet for Health & Family Services (CFHS) Wellness Website

CHFS Focus on Wellness monthly newsletter

National Women's Health Indicators Database - National, regional, state and county data are available by gender, race, ethnicity and age at the National Women's Health Indicators Database. The website allows users to customize tables, graphs and maps.

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Julia Britton Hooks

Julia Britton Hooks attended Berea from 1870-74 and was the first African American faculty member of the school. Born in Frankfort, Ky., she was a musical prodigy who began playing piano publicly at age five, and at age 18 joined Berea's faculty, teaching instrumental music from 1870-72. Her sister, Dr. Mary E. Britton, also attended Berea, and became a physician in Lexington, Ky. Julia eventually moved to Memphis where she married Charles Hooks.

She was very politically active, and was a charter member (1909) of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the world's largest and oldest civil rights organization. Benjamin Hooks, her grandson and retired director of the NAACP, remembers that she was "born to rebel" and was arrested on several occasions for disobeying Jim Crow laws. Her descendants have been active educators, businesspeople, and public servants.

Mrs. Hooks founded the Hooks School of Music in Memphis, teaching harmony to blues legend W. C. Handy, and opened the Hooks Cottage School in her home. She also founded an Orphans and Old Folks Home, partially funded through her benefit concerts. Her concern for all people in need in the city of Memphis earned her the title "The Angel of Beale Street".(source: http://www.berea.edu/publications/bereacollegemagazine/

Mary E. Britton

Mary E. Britton, sister of Julia Britton Hooks, was Kentucky's first female licensed medical doctor. Britton was born in Lexington, KY in 1855, the same town where she eventually practiced medicine. Britton first attended Berea College and then graduated from the American Missionary College in Chicago, IL. She returned to Lexington and practiced medicine from 1904 through 1923 at her home at 545 North Limestone Street. In her medical practice she specialized in treatments known as hydrotherapy and electrotherapy. Hydrotherapy is the use of water in the treatment of disease, and electrotherapy uses electricity in disease treatments. Her services provided much needed medical care to the African American community.

Aside from being a doctor, Britton was an outspoken and eloquent social activist. She wrote hundreds of newspaper articles arguing against racial segregation laws. Britton organized and attended rallies in support of desegregation. One such rally was the 1906 demonstration in Frankfort against separate railroad coaches for people of color. Her spare time was spent being an activist in the post-Reconstruction movement to improve the lives of those with African ancestry.

Before becoming a doctor, Mary Britton taught school at several local segregated public schools. A newspaper article dated August 15, 1897, from the Lexington Leader told of her departure from her teaching position and her new ambitious career choice of becoming a physician. Britton also served as secretary to the board for the Colored Orphans Home, a large institution which housed orphans and the elderly.

After almost twenty years of medical practice, she retired in 1923. Britton died in 1925 and is buried in Lexington's Cove Haven Cemetery. (source: http://www.kytales.com/mbritt/mbritt.html)

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