A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

UK Cooperative Extension Service helping cattle producers improve operations, nurture environment

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky Most cattle producers want to run as efficient an operation as possible while nurturing a healthy environment in which their livestock can thrive. A University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service program in Jackson County is striving to help local producers do just that. David Coffey started a farm management program in 2017 in the county to focus on producers’...

UK, local schools and agribusinesses team up to combat ‘brain drain’ in rural economies in Kentucky

By Carol Lea Spence UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Brain drain, the term for a community’s loss of intelligent, highly trained people, is a serious problem for local economies in Kentucky. Often, many from the younger generation leave home for an education and never return, because of a lack of opportunity. Faculty and staff in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food...

Rural Blog: Kentucky native Lora Smith works to help Appalachian nonprofits with innovative impact fund

Community builder Lora Smith is working to help Eastern Kentucky with a unique approach: a first- of-its-kind impact fund that gives a financial boost to nonprofits serving the area. The organization also invests directly in communities through real estate acquisition and development to improve dilapidated small town downtowns. “Smith co-founded the Appalachian Impact Fund with Louisville philanthropist...

Jackson County case that resulted in death of five-year-old, beating of mother sent to grand jury

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The case of a Jackson County man, accused of killing a five-year-old and severely beating his mother, is being sent to a grand jury. Lonnie Belt, 41, had a preliminary hearing on Monday in Jackson District Court. He’s accused of killing 5-year old James Spoonamore, after beating Jessica Durham and throwing her from a cliff. Lonnie Belt WYMT-TV reports Detective Charles...

Man charged with kidnapping, assault after woman seriously injured, son found dead in Jackson County

Kentucky State Police are investigating the kidnapping and assault of a Jackson County woman and her son. In the morning hours of Saturday, September 9 around 10:45 a.m., the Kentucky State Police and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office responded to an injured female found by hikers. Jessica Durham was located and rescued at the bottom of an 80 foot cliff near Sparks Ridge Road. Durham was able...

Daily Yonder: Two of Kentucky’s poorest counties feature some of the nation’s fastest Internet

By By Tim Marema Special to KyForward FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler visits a Jackson County, Kentucky, phone cooperative that built a state-of-the-art network capable of delivering 1 gigabyte-per-second download speeds. “I hope you realize what a big deal this is,” Wheeler says during his technology tour of southeast Kentucky with U.S. Representative Hal Rogers, the chair of the House Appropriations...

Johnathan Gay: Entrepreneur ignores sad statistics, finds Jackson Co. ‘ready to work’

Launching a new business venture in a county purported to be one of the worst in America is not something you’d ordinarily expect from a successful entrepreneur, especially one who lives nearly three hours’ hard drive away. But, that’s exactly what Tim Robinson did.   Did he read all those dreary stats the New York Times assembled? Poor educational attainment, household income, jobless...

Promise Neighborhood leading ‘new charge’
in Clay, Jackson, Owsley school districts

Manchester Elementary student J.P. Hensley works on a project as teacher Mamie Bowling looks on. (Photo from Berea College)   By Beth Dotson Brown KyForward contributor   When the Kentucky Department of Education released school test scores in November, Clay County found itself in the bottom 10 schools in the state. But educators there were already aware they had a lot of work ahead. One...