Forward Kentucky is built on the work of many people, and among the most important are our contributors. We value their insights, their varied experiences, and their willingness to share their expertise and their creative work with others. The best way you can thank them is to consume their work and engage them with your comments – but a nice Thank You sent to Webmaster@ForwardKY.com will work too! (And a special thank you to Mac Brown Media for all the professional portraits!)
Amye Bensenhaver is a retired assistant attorney general who, for twenty-five years, specialized in Kentucky’s open records and meetings laws. She is the co-founder of the Kentucky Open Government Coalition.
Catherine Hill is a Louisville writer whose work has appeared in numerous publications, including Insider Louisville, Business First, Valeo Magazine and Humana Military Healthcare Services newsletters.
Dr. Greg Leichty is a professor of Communication at the University of Louisville. His teaching and research interests are in the areas of conflict management, argumentation and qualitative research methods.
Ivonne Rovira, a teacher and an activist, is the research director for the statewide organization Save Our Schools Kentucky. Ivonne previously worked for The Miami Herald, the now defunct (and greatly lamented) Miami News, and The Associated Press. All three of her children are proud products of Jefferson County Public Schools.
Dr. Neal Turpin is a City Planner and Part Time Faculty in the University of Louisville’s Department of Political Science. He enjoys spending time with his wife and kids, working out at the Southeast YMCA, learning how to bake, and reading about public policy. He is active at Buechel Park Baptist Church.
Paul Wesslund retired in 2015 after 20 years as editor of Kentucky Living magazine, and is now a freelance writer focusing on energy issues, doing business as Highway 61 Communications, LLC.
Christina Conover is a retired teacher and lifelong Ohioan until two years ago when she and her husband Dale moved across the Ohio River from the east side of Cincinnati to Northern Kentucky. As an English and education major, she believes in the importance of effective and reliable communication—an essential ingredient in a functioning democracy, as is an informed electorate. A career in education, a passion for writing, and a desire to help educate the citizenry has prepared her, she believes, “for such a time as this.”
Robert Kahne is a graduate of the University of Kentucky’s Martin School for Public Policy. He works as a data scientist in Louisville, where he lives with his wife Kelsey, his dog Gertie, and his cat Cookie. In addition to hosting My Old Kentucky Podcast, Robert serves on the board of Highlands Community Ministries, volunteers with the Civic Data Alliance, and attends Highland Baptist Church.
Born and raised in Woodford County, Kentucky, Anora Marie Morton came to Louisville chasing her childhood dream of becoming a lawyer. She graduated from the University of Louisville with degrees in Criminal Justice and Paralegal Studies and is currently studying law at the University of Louisville, Brandeis School of Law. Anora is a first-generation college graduate who is passionate about criminal and social justice.
Aaron Smith has been drawing for as long as he could hold a pencil. He grew up in Eastern Kentucky before attending the University of Kentucky, where dozens of his editorial cartoons were published by the Kentucky Kernal, UK’s award-winning student run newspaper. His interests include social justice, bourbon and Saturday mornings, sometimes all at once. He currently lives in Louisville with his wife and two ferocious house cats.
Ariana Velasquez is an Appalachian activist, writer, and musician originally from Pikeville, Kentucky. She is currently a senior Political Science student at The University of Louisville.
Berry Craig of Arlington, Ky., is a professor emeritus of history at West Kentucky Community College in Paducah and an author of seven books and co-author of two more, all on Kentucky history. His latest book is Kentuckians and Pearl Harbor: Stories from the Day of Infamy, published last fall by South Limestone Books, an imprint of the University Press of Kentucky.
Nick Lacy began his love affair with photography when he was in high school at the suggestion of his mother. To get started on the right foot, she gave him her camera, a 1955 Leica IIF. He still uses that camera today. An Oregon native and archetypal observer, Nick describes himself as an “instinctual, from the hip shooter,” someone who reacts and clicks, as opposed to “an analytical photographer.” Nick moved to Connecticut in 1982, working as staff photographer for a weekly alternative newspaper, “The Hartford Advocate.” Nick wandered the streets of Hartford shooting whatever caught his eye. Today Nick is still wandering. He now lives in central Kentucky with his wife Shelly, photographing people, places, and fleeting moments.
Dr. Del Ramey has a doctorate in electrical engineering, and got into photography while in his senior year at the Speed School at UofL. He quickly caught on to the the mechanics and chemistry of dark room film and print processing, but as he said, “Figuring out what to point the camera at was a real learning process!” Nevertheless, through graduate school Del was the guy with the camera. Del is now the retired old guy with a camera who shows up at any happening that interests him. Usually the most liberal engineer in any room, his interests include a wide range of social justice issues, as well as arts and music, family, and just walking around.
Jazmin Smith is a born and raised Bullitt Countian. She holds a J.D. from the University of Kentucky College of Law and is now a public defender in Louisville. She is also a member of the Louisville Bar Association. When she’s not in Smoketown recording My Old Kentucky Podcast, you can find her at Yelp Elite events, Rooster’s, and the Louisville Free Public Library.
Marshall Ward taught high school history and economics for twenty years in Charleston, SC. He then moved to Murray, KY, where he taught AP history for seventeen years. He also taught at the Murray State Commonwealth Honors Academy, and was a supervising teacher for numerous student teachers from MSU. He is the former president of the Calloway County Retired Teachers Association, and serves on the executive council of the Kentucky Retired Teachers Association. In addition to writing for Forward Kentucky, he is a columnist for the Murray Ledger and Times.