A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Rural Blog: Justice Dept. shifts funds for proposed prison in E. Ky. to immigration enforcement

The Trump administration is dropping plans to build a federal prison in rural Letcher County, and said the $505 million allocated for it will be used instead to enforce immigration laws and improve national security. “Both budget proposals the Trump administration has sent to Congress have included provisions to take back the money approved during the final year of the Obama administration,”...

Former University of Kentucky basketball stars Hawkins, Willis part of TBT Bluegrass Boys Squad

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Kentucky will be well-represented in The Basketball Tournament next month. Former Kentucky players Derek Willis, Dominique Hawkins, Josh Harrellson, Marcus Lee, Ramon Harris, Kevin Galloway and AJ Stewart will form the Bluegrass Boys organized by former Kentucky player Mark Krebs and will be coached by Wayne Turner. The Bluegrass Boys will compete with seven more teams...

CDC’s ‘Tips From Former Smokers’ campaign urges smoking cessation in Eastern Kentucky

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Last week, Kentucky Public Health officials, community leaders and former smokers spoke to residents of Hazard as part of the Centers for Disease Control’s “Tips From Former Smokers” campaign. Amanda is a former smoker who has been traveling the country telling her story about how smoking affected the birth of her baby daughter. Amanda started smoking...

Eastern Kentucky residents gather to develop strategies for economic, community revitalization

By Ron Daley Special to KyForward “We must believe in our community and in our youth and create opportunities for our youth to remain in our communities and become leaders,” Jackson County Judge-Executive Shane Gabbard said, reflecting the spirit of the conversation at the gathering of eastern Kentuckians this week. “We must blur the county boundaries and develop partnerships with vision utilizing...

Eastern Kentucky construction training program helping those in recovery build new lives

Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service A new job training program in Eastern Kentucky will teach people in recovery from substance abuse how to build homes. The Housing Development Alliance, a non-profit organization in Hazard, has partnered with Perry County drug court and Hickory Hill Recovery Center to provide on-the-job construction training for men and women in recovery. They’ll be paid for...

Rural Blog: How a journalist’s murder by Saudis may have doomed new manufacturing plant in Eastern KY

The Rural Blog The October 2018 murder of Washington Post columnist and Saudi national Jamal Khashoggi may have dashed hopes for a high-tech plant in depressed Eastern Kentucky. Battery manufacturer EnerBlu cited “unexpected geopolitical factors” on Feb. 5 when it suspended plans for a $372 million plant in Pikeville that would have brought as many as 875 jobs to a region that has...

Kentucky by Heart: Sharing nonfiction titles celebrating Appalachian Eastern Kentucky

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist Although I was raised in the northern part of Kentucky and have spent adulthood living in the central part of the state, I’ve developed a strong interest and appreciation of the Appalachian region of eastern Kentucky. Dad took our family on many trips through the mountainous area and I was amazed at the natural beauty of the landscape (though in the mid-sixties,...

United Health Foundation Awards $1m grant to UK College of Dentistry to reduce oral cancer

A $1 million grant from the United Health Foundation will enable the University of Kentucky’s College of Dentistry (UKCD) to launch its “Eradicate Oral Cancer in Eastern Kentucky” project. The three-year project will raise public awareness of the symptoms of oral cancer and its links to heavy alcohol and tobacco use, provide approximately 1,000 oral cancer screenings at local health departments,...

Rural Eastern Kentucky school leaders working to make schools the center of community revitalization

The Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative (KVEC) and superintendents leading rural public schools in the mountains of eastern Kentucky are in the final stages of developing a position paper and call to action to address the urgent needs and opportunities facing their students and communities. At the start of the 2019 legislative session, they will propose research-based solutions and policy recommendations...

Department of Justice grant to provide $3.7 million to combat the opioid crisis crippling Eastern Kentucky

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The U S. Department of Justice has earmarked more than $3.7 million in federal grants to combat the opioid crisis in eastern Kentucky. 
The DOJ awards, which will go to six agencies involved in the fight, are part of $320 million in nationwide grants, which coincide with October being observed as National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. 
”President Trump has...

U.S. Department of Justice takes aim at Eastern Kentucky opioid crisis with new initiative

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Eastern Kentucky is one of 10 regions nationwide that will be part of a new initiative announced by the U.S. Department of Justice to combat the opioid crisis. Operation Synthetic Opioid Surge seeks to reduce the supply of deadly synthetic opioids in high-impact areas and to identify wholesale distribution networks and international and domestic suppliers, according to U....

Will Eastern KY capture a share of the enormous wealth to be transferred in the next generation?

By Ron Daley Special to KyForward Eastern Kentucky and the United States of America are in the midst of the greatest “transfer of wealth” (TOW) in the nation’s history. Research estimates that $72 trillion will transfer from one generation to another in the next decade, 2017 through 2026, representing a TOW opportunity of over $7.7 trillion. TOW is an estimate of American household wealth from...

Poll: 24 percent of adult Kentuckians know someone misusing prescription pain relievers

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Whether it’s the misuse of prescription pain relievers, heroin or methamphetamine, the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll findings indicate that many Kentuckians have a drug problem. The poll, conducted Oct. 24 to Dec. 2, found that nearly one in four Kentucky adults, or 24 percent, said they knew someone who had experienced problems as a result of prescription...

Ron Daley: Eastern Kentucky is one of the best places to live and not the worst as suggested

There is much more to the quality of life in your community than the determinations by socio-economic data such as 24/7 Wall St and other news outlets use describing the worst places to live in America. Two of the counties I have lived in eastern Kentucky were among the top “Worst Counties to Live In” by Evan Comen from the 24/7 Wall St released on March 10 and published on MSN. Knott County, where...

Grimes Working with county judges to bring solar energy opportunities to Eastern Kentucky

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes last week announced a strategic partnership she has formed with three Eastern Kentucky county judge/executives to explore a solar energy investment in the region. Last year, Grimes began facilitating discussions between a leading solar energy developer and Judge/Executives Scotty Alexander of Perry County, Zach Weinberg of Knott County, and Dan Mosley of Harlan...

Jerry Rickett: Kentucky Highlands Promise Zone shows bright spots emerging in Eastern Ky. economy

There is no better Kentucky product than our people – hard-working, resilient problem-solvers. That’s why our people must be the solution to transforming Eastern Kentucky’s economy. And that’s why people are the foundation of the Kentucky Highlands Promise Zone, which is celebrating its fourth year in Bell, Harlan, Letcher, Perry, Leslie, Clay, Knox and part of Whitley counties. Despite a continuing...

University of Kentucky’s Career Training in Oncology Program preparing next generation of cancer fighters

By Allison Perry and Alicia Gregory Special to KyForward For Carrigan Wasilchenko – and so many others hailing from Eastern Kentucky – cancer is not just a public health issue. It’s also a problem that hits far too close to home. “I don’t think I know one person who doesn’t know someone who’s been affected by cancer in some way,” said Wasilchenko, whose mother...

Weather report: Rains will continue through Sunday, more flooding with river high of 59.4 ft by Tuesday

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Earlier this month Eastern Kentucky suffered flooding due to heavy rain and now the central and western parts of the state are on the radar over the next week.   Joe Sullivan, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Louisville, said much of the problem is not being able to dry out after the repeated bouts of rain. 
“Much of the Ohio River Valley has had over...

UK Center for Applied Energy research partners with Hazard in effort to improve rural power generation

By Dave Melanson Special to KyForward The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) has received a $1.6 million U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant to develop an innovative partnership in Hazard, Kentucky, that could serve as a model for future energy projects in rural Eastern Kentucky communities. DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) funded the project, which...

Retiring Court of Appeals judge Janet Stumbo honored by colleagues at retirement reception

Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge Janet L. Stumbo, who serves 22 counties in Eastern Kentucky, was honored by the chief justice, her fellow Court of Appeals judges, court system employees and others at a retirement reception Dec. 14 at the Court of Appeals building in Frankfort. “On behalf of the entire court system, what can I say except thank you for your years of service and the way you have cared...