A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

God’s Pantry Food Bank coordinates COVID-19 response to reduce hunger in Central, Eastern Ky.

God’s Pantry Food Bank is rapidly responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by safely providing food to families through a network of 400 food pantry and meal programs. Last week, the Food Bank saw a 35 percent increase for food assistance across our 50 county service area. In Fayette county needs increased 50 percent in the past 8 days. God’s Pantry Food Bank is committed to providing the critical services...

Eastern Kentucky students hold press conference in Capitol Rotunda to promote 2020 U.S. Census

By Ron Daley Special to KyForward Eastern Kentucky student leaders held a press conference in the Kentucky Capitol Rotunda at 11 a.m. on March 10 to discuss efforts they are making to promote the U.S. Census to ensure every person is counted. They called their initiative “Every Community Counts.” The students stated they considered their work vital since the U.S. Census Bureau has designated eastern...

Former federal strip-mine inspector leads decades-long effort to reforest mines in Eastern Ky.

Rural Blog Coal companies are required to reclaim mined land when they’re done with a site, but one Interior Department inspector realized that the companies’ practices weren’t encouraging forests to grow back. So the native of Eastern Kentucky has spent the past two decades bringing them back on his own, Gabriel Popkin reports for The Washington Post Magazine. Patrick Angel on his...

Department for Public Health issues health, safety guidelines in wake of severe flooding in Eastern Ky.

The Department for Public Health (DPH) is reminding Kentuckians to follow safety guidelines following severe flooding and water run-off events from recent rainfall across the state. Governor Andy Beshear, who today visited the Eastern Kentucky areas hardest hit by flood, praised residents for helping each other and told them his administration will support them. “We will use every resource available...

Ron Daley: Beshear is a listening governor who can revitalize Eastern Kentucky, rural areas

Gov. Andy Beshear’s ability and willingness to listen is just what Eastern Kentucky and the rural areas of the Commonwealth need to in order to advance economically. Not all political leaders have the inclination to listen to the people, but instead desire to speak and pontificate on their own agenda. Over the past four years I have had the opportunity to observe Beshear interact as a listener with...

Rural Blog: Eastern Kentucky miners block Quest Energy coal train near Kimper over back pay

Coal miners in far Eastern Kentucky are blocking a coal train from leaving a Quest Energy mine near Kimper; they say it’s because they haven’t been paid in weeks, and that they don’t plan to go back to work until they get their back pay. “Miners said they worked from Dec. 16 until now without getting paid for that work. They came home last Thursday after a 17-hour shift, expecting...

Investment in high-speed internet is transforming local economies in Eastern Kentucky Counties

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service It’s been five years since a rural phone cooperative in Eastern Kentucky completed the installation of super-fast, fiber-optic cables across two counties, giving every home and business in the region high-speed internet. Today, advocates say that $50 million investment has brought an influx of jobs to the region, mainly in tech support. Keith Gabbard is...

Eastern Kentucky opens Ohio Valley Conference play Thursday with 74-59 victory over Tennessee Tech

Eastern Kentucky opened Ohio Valley Conference play Thursday night with a 74-59 victory over Tennessee Tech at McBrayer Arena. Tre King led EKU (4-10, 1-0 OVC) with 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting. He also had two blocks and two steals. Ty Taylor hit three 3-pointers and finished with 13 points, five rebounds and two assists. Russhard Cruickshank also knocked down three 3-pointers and scored 13 points...

Murray State names Dean Hood football head coach; brings 30 years of college coaching experience

Murray State University has named Dean Hood as the head coach for the Racers football program. Hood, Murray State’s 19th head coach, was introduced in front of faculty, staff, regents, community friends and supporters at Heritage Hall. He brings with him an intense desire to lead a storied program and a wealth of experience building successful football programs at both the NCAA Division I FBS and...

MACED storytelling campaign reveals positive community work in Eastern Kentucky

In the first six months of a new storytelling campaign called Appalachia’s New Day, more than 45 stories have been shared about positive community work happening in Eastern Kentucky. The Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED) launched the campaign in June 2019. MACED is working collaboratively with community members to identify stories about businesses, programs and initiatives...

Flu spreads in Kentucky as holiday season begins; best advice is to get vaccinated, don’t shake hands

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Kentucky has seen 785 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza since the flu season started in late September, and health officials say there are many more. So far the hot spot has been around Hazard. A recent uptick in cases has prompted the state health department to upgrade the state’s flu activity level to “regional,” a classification that...

Eastern Kentucky middle school students hope to start businesses, help build their communities

Students from seven Eastern Kentucky middle Schools participated in the 2019 Regional Entrepreneurial Competition held in Knott County last month (Pnoto provided) By Ron Daley Special to KyForward Eastern Kentucky middle school students demonstrated their entrepreneurial and creative abilities during the 2019 Regional Entrepreneurial Competition held in Knott County last month showing their potential...