A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Shaping Our Appalachian Region organization launches statewide search for next executive director

Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR), a nonprofit and non-partisan organization that champions the future of Appalachia, is launching a statewide search for its next executive director. Jared Arnett, the founding executive director of SOAR, has announced his intentions to leave his position at the end of his current contract (October of 2020). After leading the organization for nearly six years,...

Letcher County District Judge Mullins believes in addiction recovery; Allison Rose is one success

By Joshua Ball Shaping Our Appalachian Region Allison Rose sits in a chair in the Letcher County District Courtroom looking at camera and ready to tell her story. 
Just behind her is the bench of Letcher County District Judge Kevin Mullins. Flanked with the seal of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Rose stood at that same bench nearly one year ago addicted and pregnant. Facing charges for paraphernalia...

Pew Trusts: Former Kentucky mining towns embrace change, turn to tourism in wake of coal’s decline

By April Simpson Pew Charitable Trusts The same Main Street winds through the old mountain mining towns of Cumberland, Benham and Lynch, crosses a river and runs alongside a creek. The early 20th-century coal mining boom drew people to this remote corner of southeast Kentucky until coal’s dizzying decline sent them away. Today, Main Street hints at a roaring past and the potential for change. Poor...

SOAR chosen to lead inaugural Regional Innovation for Startups and Entrepreneurs consortium

Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) was chosen as the first leader of one of Kentucky’s newly established hubs to serve, attract and develop more innovative entrepreneurs and startup businesses. KY Innovation selected SOAR to head a Regional Innovation for Startups and Entrepreneurs (RISE) consortium as part of its 120-county effort to modernize the way the Kentucky supports high-tech, high-growth...

Grimes marks National Service Recognition Day with roundtable of Americorps members in Frankfort

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes on Tuesday hosted a roundtable with Kentucky AmeriCorps service members in Frankfort to discuss service in the Commonwealth. The discussion coincided with National Service Recognition Day activities across the country. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes “AmeriCorps is one of our nation’s most vital civic service programs,” said Grimes....

SOAR hosting substance-abuse disorder educational and policy event at Pikeville on Oct. 3

Shaping Our Appalachian Region’s Healthy Communities program and the University of Pikeville will host a substance-use disorder education event Tuesday, Oct. 3 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the university’s Kentucky College of Optometry (Health Professionals Education Building). The meeting is for “health professionals and stakeholders who share the vision of reducing the scope and impact...

Appalachian Health Hack-a-thon discusses creative solutions on obesity, diabetes, substance abuse

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News In just three days’ time, 160 people came up with 19 innovative solutions to three of Appalachian Kentucky’s most challenging health issues – diabetes, obesity and substance abuse – at the first-ever Massachusetts Institute of Technology Appalachian Health Hack-a-thon in Somerset Oct. 6-8. The 19 teams, including six led by high-school students,...

State’s first SOAR Health Hack-A-Thon will focus on Eastern Kentucky’s health challenges

Registration is now open for the Appalachian Health Hack-A-Thon, an action-oriented event designed to create new and innovative solutions to the health challenges in Eastern Kentucky. “A Hack-A-Thon is an event in which people with different backgrounds and expertise form teams, collaborate within a limited time frame, and focus on a specific problem or idea in health care to come up with innovative,...

New ideas, new partnerships emerge as SOAR groups share top ideas for Eastern Kentucky

Ten working groups organized under the Shaping Our Appalachian Region, or SOAR, initiative have presented their top findings. And despite the different working group topics, several common themes emerged among the recommendations:   • The need for cross-agency collaboration, especially in economic development • Desire for training and investment in entrepreneurship • Strong interest...

First-ever Health Impact Series to address issues plaguing E. Ky.; CDC head to attend

The director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will participate in four events in Eastern Kentucky next week to discuss and look for solutions to the many health issues that plague the region.   Dr. Thomas Frieden and his team will take part in the first-ever Health Impact Series, which is part of the Shaping Our Appalachian Region initiative launched by U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers...

Web Commentary: SOAR initiative building on ideas to move Appalachian region forward

The following commentary from Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear concerns the progress of the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) initiative:     From Office of the Governor