A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

UK doctors providing dental care in Appalachia rewarded with reduction of student loan debt

By Olivia McCoy Special to KyForward By supporting a region that desperately needs dental providers, two University of Kentucky College of Dentistry students will have their student loan debt significantly reduced. Drs. Candace Flora and Adam Tackett were each awarded $100,000 through the Appalachian Dental Loan Forgiveness Program. Started in 2015 through the bipartisan efforts of then Gov. Steve...

People in rural Appalachia more likely to die early, mainly due to greater drug overdose rates

“People in rural areas of Appalachia are more likely to die early deaths than in other parts of the country,” and a big reason is that they “die from drug overdoses at greater rates than the rest of the country,” writes Kery Murakami, the Washington, D.C., reporter for Community Newspaper Holdings Inc.’s CNHI News Service. Murakami notes that in Leslie County, Kentucky,...

Dr. Nikki Stone: Leading UK’s Mobile Dental Program to serve the children of Eastern Kentucky

By Ann Blackford Special to KyForward When Dr. Daria ‘Nikki’ Stone, associate professor at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry, became the director of the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile program in Hazard, she realized she was finally in the right place at the right time; where her piece of the puzzle fit in the big picture. Growing up in Blackey, Kentucky, a tiny town in Letcher...

Rural Blog: Hepatitis B cases on the rise in Kentucky while remaining stable nationwide

The number of hepatitis B cases in Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia increased 114 percent from 2009-13, while hepatitis B cases remained stable nationally during the same time period, says a study released recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study, which cites intravenous drug use in Appalachia for the rise in cases—rates were highest among non-Hispanic whites ages...

Silas House names winner of Transylvania University’s inaugural Young literary award

  Author Silas House selected a fast-paced Kentucky mystery as the inaugural winner of Transylvania University’s Judy Gaines Young Book Award, which honors a work from the Appalachian region.   Silas House (Photo provided) The Next Time You See Me, the debut novel from Holly Goddard Jones, chronicles a woman’s disappearance in a rural Kentucky town and the secrets its residents are keeping.   “I...

UK receives $3.75M to promote screening, prevent colon cancer deaths in rural Kentucky

  By Mallory Powell Special to KyForward   At 44, Sherry Payne was uncommonly young to be diagnosed with colon cancer. She was also too young to have started regular colon cancer screenings, so by the time she developed symptoms and went to the doctor, the disease had already progressed to Stage 3. It was 1998, and she was given two years to live.   “As you can see, I did not...

Six Eastern Ky. counties among 10 worst U.S. places to live, New York Times analysis shows

The six Kentucky counties considered among the hardest to live in are Clay, Breathitt, Jackson, Lee, Leslie and Magoffin – all of which are located in Eastern Kentucky coal country. (Graphic from Kentucky Health News)   Six adjoining counties in the Eastern Kentucky Coal Field rank among the nation’s 10 hardest counties to live in, as defined by six factors compiled by The New York...

Johnathan Gay: Eastern Kentucky screaming for an artisan economy … why not embrace it?

These days, there’s lots of talk about how to diversify the economy in Appalachia in the wake of the coal bust. But what are our options? It doesn’t appear that an industrial renaissance is going to hit the mountains anytime soon. A manufacturing economy seems ill suited for our region, lacking as it in major population centers and readily available, qualified workers in spades. At the other end...

Lewis Donohew: A memoir of the 'War on Poverty' – Would we be able to carry this off?

Bouncing along in a rented Jeep through creek beds that were the only routes into some of the remote households of Appalachia, we were members of a team out to analyze the “War on Poverty.” How would our army of strangers be received in these backwoods areas as we poked around and asked them hundreds of questions? What would we find?   In many ways, the slice of the region we were...

Lewis Donohew: A memoir of the ‘War on Poverty’ – Would we be able to carry this off?

Bouncing along in a rented Jeep through creek beds that were the only routes into some of the remote households of Appalachia, we were members of a team out to analyze the “War on Poverty.” How would our army of strangers be received in these backwoods areas as we poked around and asked them hundreds of questions? What would we find?   In many ways, the slice of the region we were...

Everyday Heroes: Raising hope in Appalachia a lifelong vocation, avocation for Sue Sword

This story is taken from Steve Flairty’s 2008 book, Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes. Sue Sword, now in retirement, is a caregiver for her husband, who is ill. Her productive, professional life experiences continue to attract many who seek her wise counsel.   By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist   Sue Sword grew up in Melvin, just outside the mining town of Wheelwright in Eastern...

Daily Yonder: Hatfield-McCoy 'reality' White Lightning just another insulting stereotype

The cast of the TV show ‘Hatfields & McCoys: White Lightning.’ The show scripts a new reason for the mountain families to interact. (Photo from The Daily Yonder/the History Channel)   By Janney Lockman Special to KyForward   Different regions of the country seem to take turns getting picked on by pop culture. New Jersey had its moment, and between Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty,...

Daily Yonder: Hatfield-McCoy ‘reality’ White Lightning just another insulting stereotype

The cast of the TV show ‘Hatfields & McCoys: White Lightning.’ The show scripts a new reason for the mountain families to interact. (Photo from The Daily Yonder/the History Channel)   By Janney Lockman Special to KyForward   Different regions of the country seem to take turns getting picked on by pop culture. New Jersey had its moment, and between Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty,...

Everyday Heroes: Fighting for the poor, protecting the land is life’s work for priest

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist   This story is taken from Steve Flairty’s 2008 book, Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes. Since the story was written, Father John Rausch has continued to work on issues of social justice, including the mining practice of mountaintop removal, and shared messages aimed at uplifting the people and land of Eastern Kentucky. He will retire in September as director...

Robert Treadway: Creason was to Kentucky what Cronkite was to America, and I miss him

I miss Joe Creason. That’s why I was thrilled to pick up a used copy of Crossroads and Coffee Trees: A Legacy of Joe Creason, posthumously published by the Louisville Courier-Journal, for which Creason wrote for 33 years. The book is a sequel to the 1972 Kentucky classic Joe Creason’s Kentucky, a collection of Creason’s shorter columns, published a couple of years before his untimely death in...

Judy Clabes: Do yourself a favor and head
to Day in the Country at Ky. Folk Art Center

With Morehead State University graduation behind them, the good folks in Morehead are gearing up for another influx of visitors Saturday to another special annual ritual – A Day in the Country, Kentucky’s original folk art fair.   A true Kentucky gem, the Kentucky Folk Art Center offers the annual event which will draw more than 50 folk artists from 10 states, making it one of the largest...

Tony Pence: Bone-cutting, truth-revealing music is Clarence Kelly’s unique calling card

Clarence Kelly (Photo by David Slone, IDigBluegrass.com)   These personal soul journeys we call life have intrigued me since I was a small child growing up in northeastern Kentucky along the banks of Tygart Creek. Perhaps it was the many hours I spent alone watching the water slowly meander its way over the ripples on its way to the Ohio River and what would happen then that instilled my need...

Daily Yonder: Finding common ground key for moving past coal debate for Appalachia

By Thomas Miller Special to KyForward   Tom Miller argues that local entrepreneurs and the economic and social changes they bring are the best hope for rural regions like Appalachia. Mike Grimm and Erich Purpur, shown in the workroom of Misty Mountain Threadworks, are making climbing harnesses in Banner Elk, NC. (Photo from Misty Mountain Threadworks) At least we Appalachians don’t hide our...

Daily Yonder: Finding common ground key for moving past coal debate for Appalachia

By Thomas Miller Special to KyForward   Tom Miller argues that local entrepreneurs and the economic and social changes they bring are the best hope for rural regions like Appalachia. Mike Grimm and Erich Purpur, shown in the workroom of Misty Mountain Threadworks, are making climbing harnesses in Banner Elk, NC. (Photo from Misty Mountain Threadworks) At least we Appalachians don’t hide our...

Tiny town’s vote for fairness ordinance shouldn’t be so surprising, native writes

By Ivy Brashear Special to KyForward   The city council of Vicco, Ky., passed a fairness ordinance earlier this month with little local fanfare. There were no protests, no letters to the editor in the local newspaper, The Hazard Herald, no Westboro Baptist Church members holding offensive signs on Vicco’s one street corner.   The council passed this law the same way it approves the city...