A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Garrard County High School senior Alex Miller receives his golden ticket to Hollywood

By Jacob Perkins Kentucky Teacher Garrard County High School senior Alex Miller captured the nation’s attention with his recent American Idol audition. But for his hometown of Lancaster, the moment was years in the making. The 17-year-old Miller says his singing career began much like other country music artists, by singing in the church. According to his grandfather, G.B. Miller, Alex Miller and...

UK research seeks to understand, reduce environmental exposures in Eastern Kentucky

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky In a new study, University of Kentucky researchers and members of three community-based nonprofits will use a multidisciplinary, stakeholder-engaged approach to identify and reduce drinking water disinfection byproduct exposure in Martin and Letcher counties. Disinfection byproducts, also known as DBPs, form when halogen-based disinfectants, such as chlorine, react...

AppHarvest, an indoor farming operation, to start trading on Nasdaq on Monday; high-tech ag

AppHarvest, a company that aims to bring more high-tech agriculture jobs and fresh produce to Eastern Kentucky, is on a roll. The start-up, which Fast Company says may transform Appalachia into an “agricultural powerhouse,” shipped its first tomatoes a few weeks ago, got a plug from Martha Stewart, and now it’s set to make its stock-market debut. Preparing AppHarvest tomatoes for...

Center for Neighborhoods to hold virtual 2020 Neighborhood Summit event on Nov. 14

With safer and more sustainable neighborhoods topping the list of concerns for most of Louisville’s longtime residents, Center for Neighborhoods has announced their upcoming event, 2020 Neighborhood Summit. It will be a day of learning and networking with the goals of informing, inspiring and building bridges between local residents and local government and other partners. This event will take place...

Constance Alexander: How to best define Appalachian writing? Well, that depends…

Discussion begins with one word: Appalachia. What is the proper pronunciation? Long “a” or short? The dictionary confirms there is a “latch” in the middle, but is the latch fastened or not? Is the door opened, closed, or locked? Is it an entrance, exit, or both? Is there a secret password for admission, or are tourists welcome? Answers to these questions may spark disagreement because the way...

With the coronavirus pandemic roiling food supplies, local agriculture is experiencing a resurgence

By Liam Niemeyer Ohio Valley Resource Debby Dulworth has a lot of conversations with her cattle each day. She swings open a gate, driving the herd with repeated calls and the Hereford cattle respond in kind with groans and snorts. “They talk to me,” Dulworth said with a laugh, as the cows come bounding out into a fresh field of Kentucky fescue and buttercups. She’s been corralling them from pasture...

Who is responsible for cleaning up environmental mess bankrupt coal companies leave behind

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News service As more coal companies file for bankruptcy, it remains unclear what will happen to hundreds of thousands of acres of unreclaimed mine land in eastern Kentucky and the rest of Appalachia. Eight coal companies declared bankruptcy in 2019, and that number is expected to rise amid declining demand for fossil fuels. Mary Varson Cromer, deputy director at the Appalachian...

Kentucky-inspired independent film ‘The Mountain Minor’ to begin airing on KET this week

During the Great Depression, many Appalachian natives migrated to other parts of the country, desperate to find work. In the process, they brought with them the old-time mountain music that had been their primary source of entertainment, before phonographs and radio were widely available, especially in remote areas. The new independent film, “The Mountain Minor,” tells the story of one such family...

Nunn Center oral history collection explores legacy of creativity hub Appalshop on golden anniversary

By Whitney Hale University of Kentucky As nonprofit Appalshop celebrates its golden anniversary serving as one of Appalachia’s most celebrated hubs of creativity, the University of Kentucky Libraries’ Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History in partnership with UK alumnus and historian Jeff Keith have launched a collection of more than 50 interviews on the beloved organization online. Known globally...

Navigating Aging: A startling inequality gap emerges after age 65, and those who reach it are living longer

By Judith Graham Kaiser Health News In an era when “deaths of despair” — from substance abuse and suicide — are on the rise among middle-aged Americans, those who reach age 65 are living longer than ever. But there’s a catch: Seniors in urban areas and on the coasts are surviving longer than their counterparts in rural areas and the nation’s interior, according to an analysis from Samuel...

Rural Blog: Rep. Hal Rogers joins Democrat in filing bipartisan bill recreating abolished rural council

Two House members from Appalachian districts carried by Donald Trump have filed a bipartisan bill to restore the White House Rural Council, which the president disbanded soon after taking office. Rep. Hal Rogers Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright of eastern Pennsylvania’s 8th District and Republican Rep. Hal Rogers of eastern Kentucky’s 5th District said in a joint press release that their...

The Daily Yonder: Here are the top 10 stories, a diverse mix, about issues important to rural people and communities

It was a busy year at the Daily Yonder which published more than 250 articles over the past 12 months, about all manner of issues important to rural people and communities. To commemorate the year that was, here’s a look back at the 10 most popular stories in 2019. It’s a diverse mix, covering numerous topics you might expect, such as economic development, healthcare, broadband, agriculture...

UK gets $11 million grant to decrease cervical cancer in Eastern Ky; focus on smoking, HPV, screenings

The University of Kentucky has been awarded a five-year, $11 million grant to work toward reducing the rates of cervical cancer in Eastern Kentucky, a region that has some of the highest rates of incidence and deaths from it in the nation. The research will address three of the risk factors that contribute to these high rates — smoking, the human papillomavirus (HPV) and low rates of cervical-cancer...

Database shows Kentucky ranked second for most legal pain pills per person between 2006 and 2012

Between 2006 and 2012, drug companies distributed 76 billion doses of prescription pain medicine, “enough pills to supply every adult and child in the country with 36 each year,” Scott Higham, Sari Horwitz and Steven Rich reported in The Washington Post. And rural counties, especially in Appalachia, received some of the highest shares of pain pills per person. That’s according to...

Rural Blog: Appalachian Regional Commission report provides update on trends in Appalachia

The Appalachian Regional Commission has released an extensive report detailing trends in Appalachia from 2013 to 2017, including population, education, employment, income, poverty, and broadband access. Most data comes from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Among the ARC report’s key points: • Much of Appalachia has lost population since 2010, but some southern parts...

Carey, House, McCartt-Jackson named winners of Weatherford Appalachian book awards

The Weatherford Awards honor books that “best illuminate the challenges, personalities, and unique qualities of the Appalachian South.” Granted by Berea College and the Appalachian Studies Association, the awards commemorate the life and achievements of W.D. Weatherford, Sr., a pioneer and leading figure in Appalachian development, youth work, and race relations, and of his son, Willis D. Weatherford,...

Kentucky by Heart: Sharing nonfiction titles celebrating Appalachian Eastern Kentucky

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist Although I was raised in the northern part of Kentucky and have spent adulthood living in the central part of the state, I’ve developed a strong interest and appreciation of the Appalachian region of eastern Kentucky. Dad took our family on many trips through the mountainous area and I was amazed at the natural beauty of the landscape (though in the mid-sixties,...

Rural Blog: Appalachia hit twice by coal declines; fewer jobs, ‘crippling’ bills for more expensive power

“As coal mining has collapsed across Appalachia, residents in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia have been socked with a double whammy—crippling electric bills to go along with a declining economy,” James Bruggers reports for Inside Climate News. (KyForward file photo) American Electric Power subsidiaries Wheeling Power and Appalachian Power requested permission from the West Virginia...

UK researchers track genetic trail of ALS; one form found most common around Cumberland Gap

Two University of Kentucky researchers are on the genetic trail of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Their detective story has not reached its end, but it is told in fascinating fashion by Eric Boodman of Stat, the medicine-and-science publication of The Boston Globe. The story is based around the Cumberland Gap, where Kentucky meets Tennessee and Virginia....

Rural Blog: Nine Kentucky counties among 42 ‘bright spots’ identified by Appalachian health researchers

Appalachia’s major problems include poor health, but in the 420-county region there are counties that have better health than you might expect, given their socioeconomic status. The Appalachian Regional Commission issued a study Tuesday that points out 42 “bright spots,” 10 of them with case studies, that may suggest strategies for others in the region. This map spotlights the 10...