A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Rural Blog: Winner of Berea College Appalachian narrative essay contest counterpoints Hillbilly Elegy

So much of what pop culture says about Appalachia comes from the outside and is often riddled with stereotypes and ill-informed judgments. The “Appalachian Narratives for Our Time” contest from Berea College’s Loyal Jones Appalachian Center is a breath of fresh air, with personal essays about the realities of living in Appalachia. Berea recently announced the winners, which were...

Bluegrass Tomorrow presents IdeaFestival day for juniors; Astronaut Story Musgrave to speak

Famed NASA Astronaut Story Musgrave, who holds one of his several graduate degrees from the University of Kentucky, returns to Lexington to headline IdeaFestival (IF) Student Day on April 16 for nearly 1,000 Fayette County Public School juniors. Presented by Bluegrass Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Higher Education Consortium, the program is designed for students to focus on the next step into their...

Berea College announces winners of ‘Appalachian Narratives for Our Time’ awards

Berea College’s Loyal Jones Appalachian Center has announced the winners of the “Appalachian Narratives for Our Time” award for essays about how Appalachians thrive in the places they call home. The submitted essays focus on the authors’ compelling life stories and illustrate the challenges of coming of age, working and living in the realities of family and community. “Appalachia has a rich...

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,...

Dervish to perform Irish music at Berea College’s Stephenson Memorial concert on March 14

Dervish, acclaimed as one of the biggest names in Irish music internationally, will perform at Berea College’s Stephenson Memorial concert on March 14 at 8 p.m. in Phelps Stokes Chapel. Described as “an icon of Irish music” by the BBC and “the most soulful Irish traditional folk band playing today” by Irish journalist and broadcaster Stuart Bailie, Dervish has played at festivals from Rio...

Berea College recognized as one of top-producing U.S. institutions for Gilman International Scholarship Program

The U.S. Department of State has recognized Berea College as one of the U.S. higher education institutions that sent the most students overseas through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program in academic year 2017-18. Berea was noted for its success in making international study and internships more accessible and inclusive for American students of all backgrounds through the Gilman...

Berea College awarded $109 million in GEAR UP grants; will enable services for over 19,000 students

Partners for Education at Berea College has been awarded two Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) grants worth a combined $109,177,600 to serve students in Appalachian Kentucky. The United States Department of Education grants will provide 19,496 students in 19 counties with an array of services aligned to accomplish four overarching goals: lift educational aspirations,...

Kentucky by Heart: Celebrating Kentucky’s own James Bond, and all of the state’s ‘overcomers’

Reading and writing about overcomers from Kentucky is a passion of mine. Overcomers are often fueled by faith and an amazing persistence, along with the capacity to lay feelings of bitterness and self-pity aside. They don’t come “a dime a dozen,” and celebrating their stories, I believe, can inspire others with their struggles. A good place to find such noble people from Kentucky can start with...

Kentucky by Heart: What makes your college that ‘special’ school? Kentuckians share their thoughts

Note: Following is the first of a two-part article about individuals sharing comments about their “special college” in Kentucky. It was always a given that I’d go to college after graduating from Campbell County High School back in 1971. The best I could tell, there were few in the Flairty or Fryer lineage who set forth on that path, so I guess I was a bit of a pioneer. Understandably, the particular...

IdeaFestival Student Day for middle, high school students coming to Norton Center on March 29

IdeaFestival Student Day is returning to the Bluegrass Region March 29, highlighted by the unique Career Maker Faire which focuses on helping students with their college and career awareness. IF Bluegrass will take place at the Norton Center for the Arts, presented by the Bluegrass Higher Education Consortium, an initiative of Bluegrass Tomorrow.  IF Bluegrass, a one-day festival, is free to middle...

Mitch McConnell: Budget act ensures Berea College can continue mission for Kentucky’s students

Last December, Bernie Sanders, a liberal Senator from Vermont, led every single Senate Democrat to impose an endowment tax of around $1 million per year on Berea College. This was a particularly outrageous act of partisan hypocrisy from a Senator who claims to want free college for all. But when it came to this particular college – which already provides tuition-free education for students whose...

Jeff Rubin: Key to creating jobs, retaining businesses? A stronger connection to the arts

How to create jobs, retain business, and attract new industry are major concerns to many communities, large and small, across the Commonwealth and around our nation. That’s why what the American Planning Association, The American Arts Council, The Kentucky Arts Council, Berea College and similar organizations are doing to address it is worth writing about here. It starts by encouraging a stronger...

Bringing Hope: Eastern Scholar House provides single parents housing and support

With a smile as sunny as the September skies above, Whitney Ballew looked out over the large crowd assembled at the dedication ceremony for the Eastern Scholar House on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University. There was a time not that long ago that Ballew had about given up on her pursuit of a college degree, after having attended EKU and Bluegrass and Community and Technical College (BCTC). It...

People in the News: Patterson named KCTC system director; Newman to lead Dominion Senior Living

Daniel Patterson has been named system director of virtual student services for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS). Daniel Patterson He most recently served as a system financial aid program coordinator. Prior to that, he was interim financial aid director at Somerset Community College and was outbound operations supervisor for Presidium, Inc., now Blackboard Student Services,...

Author Crystal Wilkinson wins two Appalachian book awards for The Birds of Opulence

University Press of Kentucky author Crystal Wilkinson’s novel The Birds of Opulence has been named the winner of the 2016 Weatherford Award for Fiction and the 2017 Judy Gaines Young Book Award. Both of these awards are for books from the Appalachian region. These recognitions come on the heels of Wilkinson winning the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence which recognizes rising African-American...

University Press reissues short story collections by award-winning Kentucky author Wilkinson

When Kentucky Poet Laureate Frank X Walker coined the term “Affrilachia” in the early 1990s, he and a group of like-minded writers founded the Affrilachian Poets to challenge the perception of a racially homogenous Appalachia and to highlight the under-represented presence of African Americans in the mountain South. Among that group was Crystal Wilkinson, whose love and fond regard for the land...

Lester Walters’ heart was ‘broken,’ so UK HealthCare doctors gave him an artificial replacement

By Allison Perry Special to KyForward Relaxing in a recliner in the corner of his ICU room, Lester Walters is all smiles. His red hair askew, he casually jokes with his wife and the nurses who come in regularly to check on him. The 59-year-old Berea native is waiting to be listed for a heart transplant, but he’s already one step ahead of most patients on the list — as of Dec. 12, 2016, Walters...

Parents increasing recognized as ‘missing piece’ in helping students become college, career ready

By John Kim Special to KyForward As public schools in Kentucky work to reform and improve the academic achievement of students, ensuring that they are college and career ready to deal with life in the 21st century, the recognition of parents as the critical “missing piece” in helping students meet these challenges is becoming more apparent. One county is actively working to include this important...

Berea College receives NEA grant to help ‘transform’ communities in Eastern Kentucky

Berea College has received a National Endowment for the Arts’ Our Town award of $100,000 to support “creative placemaking” projects in Eastern Kentucky communities. Such projects are designed to help “transform communities into lively, beautiful and resilient places with the arts at their core,” according to a press release.   NEA Chair Jane Chu announced 69 Our Town...