A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Owsley County High School student leaders working with officials and the community to rebrand county

Owsley County students (L-R) Abby Oliver, Keely Begley, Shelly Campbell, and Amelia Murray are among the students involved in the rebranding project. (Photo provided) By Ron Daley Special to KyForward Owsley County High School students are leading the effort in their community to highlight the positive assets of their local area and re-brand their county. Working with several groups in the county,...

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...

This ‘Neighborhood’ holds great promise for kids in Clay, Jackson and Owsley counties

Early Childhood Specialist Jennifer Bryant works with children in Owsley County, one of three counties in Berea College’s Promise Neighborhood. (Photo provided)   By Beth Dotson Brown Special to KyForward   When Kentucky released its kindergarten-readiness scores in January, the Berea College Promise Neighborhood staff celebrated. And with good reason.   Since 2012, the scores...

This 'Neighborhood' holds great promise for kids in Clay, Jackson and Owsley counties

Early Childhood Specialist Jennifer Bryant works with children in Owsley County, one of three counties in Berea College’s Promise Neighborhood. (Photo provided)   By Beth Dotson Brown Special to KyForward   When Kentucky released its kindergarten-readiness scores in January, the Berea College Promise Neighborhood staff celebrated. And with good reason.   Since 2012, the scores...

Rural Blog: African American writer examines ‘invisibility of white poverty’ in E. Kentucky

In this Miami Herald photo by David Stephenson, Samuel Riley buys cigarettes in Booneville, located in Owsley County, one of the nation’s poorest counties.   Lenoard Pitts Jr., an African American reporter for the Miami Herald, recently traveled to Eastern Kentucky—an area that was called the Big White Ghetto by one reporter and that was the focus of a story with the headline What’s...

UK receives $3.75M to promote screening, prevent colon cancer deaths in rural Kentucky

  By Mallory Powell Special to KyForward   At 44, Sherry Payne was uncommonly young to be diagnosed with colon cancer. She was also too young to have started regular colon cancer screenings, so by the time she developed symptoms and went to the doctor, the disease had already progressed to Stage 3. It was 1998, and she was given two years to live.   “As you can see, I did not...

Farm to School served 21 million students nationwide, including 350,000 in Kentucky

Staff report   Students saw, touched and sometimes tasted produce that were new to them at schools participating in Farm to School. (USDA photo by Lance Cheung) The first-ever census of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm to school program shows it purchased and served more than $350 million in local food during the 2011-2012 school year. That translates to 38,000 schools and 21 million...

Seventeen districts in Kentucky apply to state to be Districts of Innovation, a school re-think

A total of 17 Kentucky public school districts have submitted applications to the Kentucky Department of Education to become Districts of Innovation.   The Districts of Innovation legislation, House Bill 37 (2012), provides Kentucky public school districts the opportunity to apply for an exemption from certain administrative regulations and statutory provisions in an effort to improve student...

Owsley Co. strip mine becomes golf club, bringing jobs, money, people to community

Sag Hollow in Owsley County has nine holes, with nine championship tees. (Photo from SagHollow.com)   By Mary Jo Harrod Special to KyForward   Kentucky’s Owsley County is a rural area with 4,000 residents and little industry. For that reason, community leaders in the town of Booneville thought economic development was needed to bring jobs to their town, giving the residents an opportunity...

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...

Daily Yonder: Rural, exurban counties lag
in income; Kentucky’s Owsley among lowest

By Bill Bishop Special to KyForward   Only 376 rural or exurban counties had median family incomes that were equal to or greater than the national median of $50,502 in 2011, according to the U.S. Census.   Remember, “median” means the middle. Half the households in the U.S. had income greater than $50,502 in 2011 and half made less. The map below shows the median household income in each...