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Katie Zdunek Long Reads Place story Spring 2018 Senior Show

A Day in the Life of a School Shooting

By Katie Zdunek

The sky in Fairdealing, Kentucky, is overcast when Sheriff Kevin Byars begins his morning routine at 6 a.m., no breakfast. Afterwards, he makes the 10-minute commute from his county home to Benton. One of his office workers is on maternity leave. He opens the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department with another employee. There’s an ordinariness to the cold Tuesday morning. It’s Jan. 23, 2018.

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Kacie Brockman Long Reads Spring 2018 Senior Show

A Crisis in the Commonwealth: The Opioid Epidemic

By Kacie Brockman

Josh Justice was an all-American type of boy growing up. He was athletic, a star on his high school football and basketball team, ran cross-country and participated in almost any outdoor activity he could during his adolescence. He went on to play basketball at the University of Pikeville.

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Jessica Voorhees Spring 2018 Senior Show

Reclaiming ‘Paradise’

Land, Legacy and Promise in Post-Coal Kentucky


By Jessica Voorhees

In the soft, golden light of an early-evening sun, an elk flinches and hides its head behind spindly brush. The elk’s mangy, chestnut coat blends in with the surrounding landscape of browns tinged in green from a late start to spring.

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Helen Gibson Long Reads Spring 2018 Senior Show

Never the same

Inside the community that experienced America’s first major school shooting of 2018


By Helen Gibson

Darkness covered Mike Miller Park in Benton, Kentucky, on the evening of Thursday, Jan. 25, but the lights from their candles illuminated the spaces between them. Children, teenagers and adults held these candles in their hands as they sang songs and prayed, hugged one another and cried.

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Long Reads Profile Sille Veilmark Spring 2018 Senior Show

While we wait

By Sille Veilmark

David Brinkley, 49, is dressed in blue. His jumper is tangent to gray, his jeans are whiter on the knees, and the rubber along the sole of his running shoes is shining white. The shoes have no marks on them yet, and  they carry him back and forth to the sound of a running dishwasher in the kitchen of his home in Alvaton, Kentucky.

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Hannah McCarthy Long Reads Profile Spring 2018 Senior Show

Congolese Refugee Rebuilds a Life of Service in America

Story and photos by Hannah McCarthy with photo contribution from August Gravatte.

Out of the misty haze of the early morning, a gleaming white picket fence signifies the entrance to Perdue Farms in the small town of Cromwell, Kentucky. The fence lines the half-mile road, cuts through a grassy field and stops at the first brick building of the sprawling chicken processing plant. Smoke from large chimneys mixes with the morning mist, and the faint smells of blood and chemicals hang in the air.

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Callie Miller Long Reads Spring 2018 Senior Show

A Hazy Horse Market

By Callie Miller

In one immobilizing instant, the only thought in Kristy Weistroffer’s mind when she screamed was the safety of her 3-year-old child.

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Michael Allen Profile Small business Spring 2018 Senior Show

Words in Ink: Owner of a Local Tattoo Shop Makes Permanent Memories

By Michael Allen

There are artists who do not work with paint or canvas, who do not perform on stage or screen, and whose work will never be framed at a museum or on a collector’s shelves. Some of them work with a buzzing needle.

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Erian Bradley Long Reads Spring 2018 Senior Show Trend

Graduating While Black: graduation and retention rates

By Erian Bradley

In the fall of 2012, Camille Williams walked onto Western Kentucky’s campus anxious about the future that was ahead of her. There were buildings all around her with cars in the surrounding parking lots, and incoming freshmen waiting in the lobby as her family waited outside to grab her things. She said she was ready to start her new journey as a college student. As she entered Hugh Poland Hall, she said she was intimated by the many students around her.

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Jennifer King Long Reads Spring 2018 Senior Show

Every Day for God: La Luz Del Mundo Church in Bowling Green

By Jennifer King

Dozens of cars file in to the parking lot behind La Perlita, a small Mexican grocery next to a taquería, a tortilleria and a church with a dome in Bowling Green, Kentucky.