■ The National Federation of the Blind has awarded $1,000 scholarships to two blind Kentucky college students: Justine Taylor and Lauren Coffey. Taylor received the Betty J. Nicely Scholarship, which is awarded to a student who reads braille. Taylor is enrolled at Western Michigan University, where she is pursuing a master's degree in special education with an emphasis on visual impairment. Coffey is enrolled at the Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville.
■ Donna Ebelhar, a teacher at Southern Middle School, has been selected as the Kentucky Science Teachers Association's 2011 Middle School Science Teacher of the Year.
She has taught for 10 years in Fayette County Public Schools — all at Southern Middle — and this is her 26th year overall.
Ebelhar will be honored Nov. 4 during the KSTA statewide meeting at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Lexington. She will receive a complimentary conference registration, a plaque and a one-year membership to KSTA.
A native of Owensboro, Ebelhar graduated from the University of Kentucky with a bachelor's in education in 1985 and earned her Rank II in 1990.
■ Locust Trace AgriScience Farm, which opened this fall off Lees town Road, is receiving an award for its environmental efforts in helping the Fayette County community.
The Lexington Environmental Commission awards were to be presented Wednesday during the Green Kentucky Proud Breakfast at the E.S. Good Barn at the University of Kentucky. The commission teamed again with the UK College of Agriculture's Environmental and Natural Resources Initiative and The Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment.
Other award winners include The Arboretum for its new children's garden, Big Ass Fans, CDP Engineers, Fairway Neighborhood Association, Good Foods Market & Café, Ingersoll-Rand Trane, the Lexington Public Library and the Town Branch Trail. Several others were to receive certificates of appreciation.
■ Risha Leigh Mullins of Keavy has been given the 2011 National Council of Teachers of English/SLATE Affiliate Intellectual Freedom Award from the Kentucky Council of Teachers of English Language Arts. Mullins was nominated for her fight to keep popular young adult literature in her classroom and in her student book club. For more information about the award, go to NCTE.org/affiliates/awards/slate.
■ Ron Smith, longtime reporter/producer with WEKU-FM at Eastern Kentucky University, has received a national award for excellence in religion reporting from the Religion Newswriters Association.
Smith received a second-place award for radio and podcast reporting for a segment on young Muslims' efforts to improve Americans' perception of Islam.
For his award-winning piece, Smith interviewed Eboo Patel, founder and president of Interfaith Youth, on Patel's visit to nearby Berea College, and Rushda Majeed, an EKU graduate, when she returned to EKU to deliver a Chautauqua lecture.
WEKU, the public radio service of EKU, broadcasts to more than 50,000 listeners in Central and southeastern Kentucky.
■ The Georgetown College Department of Chemistry has received American Chemical Society approval and becomes one of only two private Kentucky colleges — the other is Centre College in Danville — with this prestigious recognition. Six public universities in Kentucky also have ACS approval.
ACS-approved programs offer a broad-based and rigorous chemistry education that give students intellectual, experimental and communication skills to become effective scientific professionals.
■ Kentucky recently was recognized as the distinguished 2011 State of the Year by the National Energy Education Development Project for its energy education program. The state's program partnered with the Children's Energy Education Program at Louisville Gas & Electric Co. and Kentucky Utilities Co. to help incorporate energy education into local schools.
Since 2009, the LG&E and KU program has reached 1,900 teachers in more than 600 schools within 66 Kentucky counties and 80,000 students throughout the service territory.
Fifty schools in Fayette County and several other Central Kentucky counties are central figures in this effort, enriching students with lessons on energy use and efficiency.
■ Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary, Paul Laurence Dunbar High School and KORE Academy in Lexington, and Woodford County High School in Versailles each received $1,000 from the SchoolsWIN Classroom Caravan.
SchoolsWIN is designed to help schools supplement the loss of money and resources, for technology and technology upgrades, as a result of budget cuts.
The Classroom Caravan is part of Windstream's campaign called SchoolsWIN, which will give $250,000 to schools. In addition to Classroom Caravan, SchoolsWIN consists of Classroom Connections, where schools are encouraged to participate in a community improvement project for a chance to earn $25,000.
■ Tickets are available for the 2011 Kentucky Music Educators Association State Marching Band Championships, to be held Oct. 29 at the Western Kentucky University Houchens Industries L.T. Smith Stadium. More than 130 high school bands from 84 Kentucky counties will participate in this year's event.
Regional quarterfinals will be held Saturday in six locations around the state: Madison Southern High School, Bourbon County High School, Bryan Station High School, Kentucky Wesleyan College, Hart County High School and Hopkinsville High School. Tickets for the quarterfinals are $10 and may be purchased at each event site. Tickets for the Oct. 29 semifinals are $10, and tickets for the finals are $12 and $17 and may be purchased in advance through KMEA or at the event sites. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (859) 626-5635 or go to KMEA.org.
■ Eastern Kentucky University's African/African-American Studies Program will host a benefit concert and silent auction at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Student Success Building's O'Donnell Hall to support UNICEF's worldwide relief efforts.
The benefit concert will feature internationally acclaimed Nigerian music artist Toby Foyeh and Orchestra Africa.
The concert is free, but The African/African-American Studies Program will collect donations at the door to support UNICEF's relief efforts around the world.
For more information about the event, contact Salome Nnoromele, director, EKU African/African- American Studies, at (859) 622-8676 or firstname.lastname@example.org
■ Eastern Kentucky University's Division of Natural Areas will host Family Nature Day at the Maywoods Environmental and Educational Laboratory from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
The free outdoor activities for children and adults will be led by EKU faculty, staff and students, and will include a creek crawl to explore the stream ecosystem and learn about its diverse inhabitants, a 1.4-mile hike to discover more about the oak-hickory forest ecosystem, a bird tracking adventure and a woodland creature hunt. For more information, go to www.naturalareas.eku.edu/currentevents and click on Family Nature Day. To register, email email@example.com or call (859) 622-1476.