A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Beshear announces nearly $3 million in grants to create economic opportunities in Eastern Kentucky

Gov. Andy Beshear has announced $2,998,892 in grant funding for four projects in Eastern Kentucky for utility improvements, economic development and tourism advancements that will create economic opportunities in the region. The grant funding is through the Department for Local Government (DLG). Those receiving funds, from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and Tennessee Valley Authority’s...

Jackson woman, 95, doing her part by making masks during pandemic to help Breathitt County residents

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Delma Morgan will celebrate her 96th birthday on July 5, but she considers her age just a number. She showed as much when during the COVID-19 pandemic struck the state nearly two months ago. In an effort to protect her family members, Mrs. Morgan began making masks and did so with such success that her masks reached beyond the family tree. “I’m just doing it for my...

Jackson City School District may be small, but students have big plans for community’s future

Main Street in Jackson, in Breathitt County. (Photo provided) By Ron Daley Special to KyForward Jackson Independent School District students in Breathitt County are excited about their community’s future and expressed their desire to create their own jobs. And, while the J.D. Vance book “Hillbilly Elegy” has not been a positive portrayal of Breathitt, they believe the upcoming movie publicity...

More than 7,000 acres of Breathitt County hunting access area withdrawn from public use

A privately held area in Breathitt County totaling more than 7,000 acres is no longer part of a public hunting access program administered by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Hunting access area agreements are the outgrowth of the department’s efforts to work with private landowners to open more acreage to the public. These agreements are not permanent and may be altered or...

School bus drivers are often ‘unsung heroes’ in K-12 schools; Many Ky. districts struggling to find drivers

By Ron Daley Special to KyForward Kentucky K-12 bus drivers face many responsibilities being the first school official to warmly greet students and deliver them to their school for the day and return them home safely around eight hours later. Districts across the state are having difficulty recruiting bus drivers for this critical task in the education process. Most of the bus routes in rural districts...

Ron Daley: J. D. Vance’s book ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ fosters negative stereotypes of Eastern Kentuckians

J. D. Vance’s 2016 book “Hillbilly Elegy” about his family’s life in Breathitt County does not reflect the people I have been neighbors with for the past 44 years. Even though this Yale Law graduate spent his life in Middletown, Ohio, with some visits to his family’s hometown in the mountains, Vance’s microscopic description of his dysfunctional family will continue to foster negative stereotypes...

CHFS Inspector General finds mismanagement of child support funds in Breathitt County

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is seeking to recoup more than $85,000 in overpayments made to the office of Breathitt County Attorney Gary Salyers. The move follows an investigation into the Breathitt County child support enforcement program. The investigation specifically relates to use of the child support enforcement monies. The Breathitt County Attorney’s office is contracted with...

Startup indoor farming company Hydroponic Farms USA plans 121-job facility in Breathitt County

Startup indoor farming company Hydroponic Farms USA had announced it will invest more than $44.5 million in Eastern Kentucky’s Breathitt County and create 121 jobs with the construction of a new facility on a reclaimed mine in Jackson. “Appalachia has much to offer the world in terms of natural beauty and abundant resources, but what really makes this place special is its people,” said Tim Davis,...

UK obstetricians providing Appalachian mothers quality care a little closer to home

Elma Thorpe, left, says Dr. James Dawson is the ‘best doctor out there.’ Dawson is holding Thorpe’s son Nicholas, who was born prematurely. (Photo from UKNow)   By Elizabeth Adams Special to KyForward   Two years after her son Nicholas was born, Elma Thorpe still agrees with a phrase used to describe her baby in the first seconds of his life.   “He’s perfect,”...

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...

Once homeless, addicted and unemployed, Donald King now has college degree in sight

Donald King is turning his life around after being homeless, struggling with addiction and dealing with unemployment. (Photo provided)   By Evelyn M. Wood Special to KyForward   Donald King has a goal of getting a college degree, and failure is not an option.   Despite losing jobs, struggling with addiction and being homeless, King is turning his life around and is optimistic about...