A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Carl Shoupe: Crisis in the coalfields and what Mitch McConnell can do about it

My name is Carl Shoupe, from Lynch in Harlan County. I married a Benham woman, so now reside in this great little community that is struggling, much like my fellow miners in coal counties throughout Eastern Kentucky. I’d like to explain a little about the dreaded coal miner’s disease of black lung, national legislation that pays the health care each month for those miners with the disease, and...

Tyler White: Don’t burden coal country with a tax increase on the industry; coal needs to compete

Black Lung is a terrible disease. Just one case is a case too many. All miners who suffer from black lung must receive the benefits they deserve.  These are indisputable facts. But we need to ensure the systems in place to secure benefits for those who need them are the right solutions. Handled incorrectly, future funding for The Black Lung Disability Trust Fund could do unintended damage...

“Appalachian Mining Town” video game designed by EKU students a finalist in national competition

“Appalachian Mining Town” might center around an abandoned mining town in eastern Kentucky, but the video game recently developed by a team of Eastern Kentucky University students wasn’t forgotten by the E3 College Competition, which selected the product as one of five finalists for the national event. “This is an amazing honor,” said Dr. George Landon, EKU Gaming Institute director. Landon...

Rural Blog: As black-lung cases have surged in Central Appalachia, so have lung transplants

A new study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine shows that, as black-lung cases have surged in the Central Appalachian coalfield, so have lung transplants. The expensive surgery can be risky, and most transplant recipients die within five years. The study, conducted by researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, “found that 62 black lung patients...

Congress boosts black lung treatment funding in 15 coal-producing states by $10 million

“Rural medical clinics that are struggling to respond to an epidemic of a fatal lung disease plaguing coal miners received a 40 percent boost in federal funding with the passage of the omnibus spending bill last week,” reports NPR’s Howard Berkes, who can claim some credit for the increase. Twenty-eight black lung clinics in 15 coal states will get a $10 million bump in funding, up...

Daily Yonder: A musician or a coal miner? It’s a question that deserves an answer

By Gary Bentley Special to KyForward After several days on the road with his band, Black Lung, Gary finds himself back at the mine — late for work and smelling like booze. “Bentley, you going to be a coal miner or a musician?” the superintendent asks. It’s a question that deserves an answer. The lights whipped by like lightning bugs in summer air. The sound of car horns and...