A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

President Biden approves Beshear request for disaster declaration in response to winter storms

Less than two weeks after Gov. Andy Beshear requested a major disaster declaration from the federal government, President Joe Biden approved the request late Wednesday and ordered federal assistance to support Kentucky communities with recovery from devastating winter storms. “This declaration will make sure Kentuckians and our communities have the necessary resources to rebuild after the devastating...

Rural Eastern Ky. high school vocational education programs training next generation of prison staff

By Anya Slepyan Special to KyForward There are three prisons within 35 miles of Jenkins Independent High School, in Letcher County. In a region where the decline of the coal industry has left jobs scarce, the archipelago of state and federal prisons scattered throughout the area have become significant employers. A few years ago, a student at Jenkins Independent came to guidance counselor Tammy Meade...

University of Kentucky students and staff rally around those affected by Eastern Kentucky flooding

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky “It takes a village” is a common saying, but in the case of a natural disaster, it can take an entire state. University of Kentucky students and staff stepped up when they recognized the need to help their fellow Kentuckians who are victims of the recent Eastern Kentucky floods. A group of 19 UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment students from the...

Rural Blog: Residents, experts weigh in on Biden’s ability to deliver on promises to coal country

The Central Appalachian coalfield is home to some of the poorest areas in the country, and economic revitalization is badly needed. President Biden has promised to bring high-paying jobs to the region through his climate-change plan, “but after generations of promises, communities once reliant on coal mining are understandably skeptical. Administration after administration has tried to bring...

UK Cooperative Extension collecting supplies, opening doors for Ky. counties impacted flooding

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service is collecting items and providing relief efforts for Kentuckians impacted by recent floods. The Wolfe County Extension office is serving as the collection site for Eastern Kentucky counties impacted by flooding. On campus, extension will collect supplies at the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s...

Eastern Kentucky still feeling impact of wicked winter storm, some could go another week without power

By Mark Maynard Kentucky Today Nearly 20,000 Kentucky Power customers in Eastern Kentucky are still without electricity and it could be another week or longer before some of them have their power restored, the company said Saturday morning. At the peak, 59,204 customers were out of power after the second ice storm in a week and now with more than 68% restored, approximately 19,500 customers remain...

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...

White Christmas leads to 8,000 without power across Eastern KY, road conditions slowed response teams

By Mark Maynard Kentucky Today Many residents of eastern Kentucky not only had a White Christmas but one without power. Photo by Mark Maynard/Kentucky Today 
Snow and gusty winds swept through the state Thursday and left about 8,000 without power in areas of eastern Kentucky. The storm brought anywhere from four to eight inches of blowing snow and took out utility lines, causing nearly 160 outages,...

Stuff Your Stocking online silent auction to fight food insecurity in Central and Eastern Kentucky

Stuff Your Stocking and support God’s Pantry Food Bank while shopping from the comfort of your home this holiday season. The Food Bank is introducing Stuff Your Stocking, an online silent auction and Pappy Van Winkle raffle, proceeds from which will help feed those facing food insecurity in Central and Eastern Kentucky. The silent auction is open now until 9 p.m. on Dec. 15 and will have items that...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Eastern Kentucky’s Dewey Lake, a mountain reservoir with a mix of fish species

Editor’s Note: This is the eighth article in a series about Kentucky’s major reservoirs. Dewey Lake is a mountain reservoir located near Prestonsburg in Floyd County. (Photo from Kentucky State Parks) Dewey Lake is in eastern Kentucky’s Floyd County. The dam is about 4 miles northeast of Prestonsburg, off Ky. 3. Impounded from John’s Creek, a tributary to the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy...

Beshear, Rogers announce more than $8 million in funding for Eastern Kentucky during SOAR summit

Gov. Andy Beshear and U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) announced two new projects in Pike and Boyd counties have been selected for more than $8 million in funding through the Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) Pilot grant program. The announcement came during the 2020 Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) virtual summit on Thursday. Pikeville Medical Center, if approved by the federal Office of Surface...

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...

Beshear awards four grants of $2.3 million to improve infrastructure in Eastern Kentucky counties

Gov. Andy Beshear has announced $2,356,381 in grant funding for four infrastructure projects that will improve utility services in Eastern Kentucky communities. The grant funding is through the Department for Local Government (DLG). Those receiving funds, from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the Regional Development Agency Assistance Program (RDAAP), are Floyd County, Harlan County, Johnson...

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...

Research project in nutrition allows UK student to make impact on Eastern Kentucky community

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky A University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment student is contributing to research that could lead to healthier habits and lower negative health outcomes in her native Eastern Kentucky. “I have always wanted to give back to Eastern Kentucky,” said Lucinda Smith, a senior human nutrition major from Corbin. “When I learned through one...

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...

University of Kentucky faculty and staff refurbish and provide medical equipment in Eastern Kentucky

By Lauren Thompson University of Kentucky Roughly one in seven Americans live with a disability that impacts daily mobility. The average cost of a wheelchair ranges from $500 to $2,000 without insurance, seriously curbing access to this essential equipment for patients who lack proper coverage. The University of Kentucky’s Center of Excellence in Rural Health (CERH) in Hazard is working to bridge...

Study reveals children in Central, Eastern Kentucky more likely to face hunger than overall population

God’s Pantry Food Bank announced the release of Map the Meal Gap 2020, the latest report by Feeding America on food insecurity and the cost of food at both the county and congressional district level. It is the only study that provides food insecurity data at the local level. Map the Meal Gap 2020 reveals that food insecurity exists in every county in God’s Pantry Food Bank service area. It also...

Fund helping Appalachian businesses receives big boost from James Graham Brown Foundation

Businesses and nonprofits in rural and mountainous areas of Eastern Kentucky are among the hardest hit by the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing. A new fund set up in late March to help these Appalachian organizations has received a big boost with a $500,000 contribution from the James Graham Brown Foundation. This brings the Regional Response & Recovery Fund, established by...