A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

With sex education on decline, traveling ‘Sexy Sex Ed’ workshop aims to educate Appalachian youth

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Access to sex education is on the decline in rural areas, but one eastern Kentucky native aims to fill the knowledge gap with a traveling free sex education workshop called Sexy Sex Ed. According to the Guttmacher Institute, in 2006, 71% of rural women were taught about birth control as an option to prevent pregnancy. That number shrunk to 48% by 2013. Tanya Turner,...

Kentucky poised to take over top spot in college basketball rankings as they roll past EKU Friday

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Kentucky is still riding high and showed no signs of a letdown with a 91-49 win over Eastern Kentucky in its home opener Friday night. Coming off a 69-62 win over top-ranked Michigan State, the second-ranked Wildcats started fast and never let up in winning their 12th straight home opener under John Calipari.  Kentucky is poised to take over the top spot when the Associated...

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet completes 100th bridge project through Bridging Kentucky program

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has reached a major milestone, completing its 100th bridge restoration project through the transformational Bridging Kentucky program. KYTC also recently awarded a contract to restore 106 bridges through an innovative design-build project – a move that will efficiently deliver critical bridge projects in 21 Eastern Kentucky counties. Bridging Kentucky is a six-year,...

Agreement between Blackjewel, Department of Labor case will provide back pay to Eastern Ky. miners

An agreement has been reached between the United States Department of Labor, Blackjewel, LLC, and Blackjewel Marketing and Sales Holdings to pay back due wages to miners in Eastern Kentucky. “Today is a great day and one we’ve longed to see come,” said Dan Mosley, Harlan County Judge/Executive. “The order that has been signed to pay miners the wages they’re owed is the action...

Bevin announces new state-run prison in Eastern Kentucky to address overcrowding in county jails

Gov. Matt Bevin joined the Kentucky Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Personnel Cabinet on Friday to announce plans to operate a new state-run prison in Floyd County to address overcrowding in county jails. Southeast State Correctional Complex will be housed in an existing privately-owned, 650-bed facility in Wheelwright, providing much-needed space for medium-security inmates. The prison will...

Economic transition continues in Eastern Kentucky through arts and culture with endowment gift

Art and culture will continue to help spur the revitalization of Eastern Kentucky with the help of a new endowment gift that will fund a full-time position to lead the long-running Higher Ground community theater project, housed at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College. The endowment, made possible by entrepreneur and philanthropist Brook Smith, will fund an executive director position...

Getting recruited by Coach K was just start of story for David Couch, who focused on Internet for schools

By Ron Daley Special to KyForward   Johnson County’s Paintsville has an amazing athletic tradition with the likes of major lead baseball player Johnny LeMaster, UK basketball player John Pelphrey, and UK football greats Joey Couch and Kash Daniels. It is also home of country-western music star Chris Stapleton with Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle just down the road from Butcher Hollow. There’s...

Pew Trusts: Libraries are becoming key to improving public health as hospitals shutter in rural areas

By Sarah Baird Pew Charitable Trusts It’s a sweltering Wednesday morning in Somerset, but at 9 a.m., the Pulaski County Public Library is already bustling. From the community room, the hum of sewing machines echoes into the entryway, as the “pedal pushers” club stitch up their latest creations. An elderly man in sneakers examines a sign advertising a free nutrition workshop for October, which...