A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Daily Yonder: How Amy McGrath defeated Charles Booker in Democratic primary — by the numbers

By Tim Marema Editor, Daily Yonder Former Marine Corps pilot Amy McGrath took the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in Kentucky by winning in rural counties, small metropolitan areas, and the suburbs of the state’s two largest cities, Lexington and Louisville. McGrath defeated State Representative Charles Booker by 11,100 votes, which amounted to about 3 percentage points of the record-breaking...

Analysis of social media shows ‘confusion reigns’ around COVID-19 in rural swing state communities

By Tim Marema The Daily Yonder Social-media users in rural areas are increasingly confused by contradictory information about Covid-19, including whether the disease is as deadly as reported, how effective protective gear is, and whether untested treatments are effective. But the confusion has not decreased the large proportion of social-media posts that criticize President Donald Trump for the way...

Daily Yonder: Donors erase $10 million in medical debt for residents of Central Appalachia

By Tim Marema Special to KyForward More than 10,000 residents of primarily rural counties in Central Appalachia will receive letters in the next month telling them they no longer owe a combined $10 million in medical debt. The debt forgiveness means the individuals will receive no more bills, dunning letters, or telephone calls seeking payment for the medical services they received months or years...

Rural Blog: Kentucky historian laments the passing of country stores as large chains expand

The Rural Blog started reporting the impact of chain dollar stores on small, rural stores more than a year ago, and the trend seems to have accelerated, with reports recently from New England and Virginia, which noted that Dollar General Corp. has almost as many locations as McDonald’s. The closing of a small store in his neighborhood prompted David Cross, a lawyer and historian in Albany, Ky.,...

Daily Yonder: Advocates say new education secretary DeVos lacks knowledge about rural schools

By Tim Marema Special to KyForward A rural education advocate says the new Education secretary’s suburban, billionaire background doesn’t prepare her to deal with the nation’s small, public schools. How much will she learn on the job? The question rural school advocates have for Betsy DeVos isn’t whether she knows much about rural education but whether she’s willing to learn. “She’s...

Census Bureau shines spotlight on rural America, gives close look at changes in demography, work

By Tim Marema Daily Yonder The Census released its five-year American Community Survey data with a major focus on rural America. This is the year when there is more rural data available, but the release also comes after increased attention to the so-called information “bubble” after the presidential election. The Census Bureau put the spotlight on rural America recently when it released the results...

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack: We should expect more of our government

By Tim Marema Special to KyForward In making the rounds to promote the open enrollment period of healthcare exchanges, the Ag Secretary also said Americans need to help reverse the “30 years of attacks on government generally.” The secretary also describes the 24-page memo he’s written to whoever succeeds him and his hopes for the continuation of the White House Rural Council. Tom Vilsack is...

Corporate business plans, not local need, drive rural hospital closures, Kaiser report says

By Tim Marema Special to KyForward The number of rural hospital closures has increased every year since the Great Recession. A new report looks at three communities, including one in Kentucky, to learn why they lost their hospitals, and what happened when they did. Large, corporate hospital operators have closed rural healthcare facilities based on their business interests and haven’t considered...

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...

Daily Yonder: Veteran miner says the world he experienced not reflected by media reports

By Tim Marema Special to KyForward Gary Bentley earned his living in Kentucky coal mines for 12 years. He says the stories he sees in the media about miners and mining life don’t reflect the world he experienced on the job. With a new series of columns called “In the Black,” Gary intends to help share a more realistic view of working underground. Gary Bentley would like to shine a little light...

Daily Yonder: Slow-rate rendezvous? What Ashley Madison reveals about rural America

    The only Zip codes in America that didn’t have accounts for that “have-an-affair” website are rural. Unfortunately, that probably tells us more about our technology than our morals.   By Tim Marema Special to KyForward   Because we lack dependable national data on broadband access, we may never know the answer to a pressing question:   Are residents of Polvadera,...

Weekend Read: Study shows link between broadband access and population growth

Counties with lower levels of broadband access (plotted on the horizontal axis) tend to have lower or negative population growth (vertical axis), according to a study by Broadband Communities. Each dot represents one of the nation’s 3,144 counties. The blue line shows the general trend that is revealed by regression analysis: more broadband population correlates with higher population growth. (Click...

Daily Yonder: Should we stay or should we go? It’s hard to tell from reading NY Times

By Tim Marema Special to KyForward   In a magazine piece titled “The Problem with Eastern Kentucky,” Annie Lowrey says mountain residents should hit the road to find better economic opportunity. She argues that safety-net and anti-poverty programs are actually hurting the economy in the long run, because they don’t encourage mobility.   But Monica Davey reports from Detroit in a Times’...

Daily Yonder: Should we stay or should we go? It's hard to tell from reading NY Times

By Tim Marema Special to KyForward   In a magazine piece titled “The Problem with Eastern Kentucky,” Annie Lowrey says mountain residents should hit the road to find better economic opportunity. She argues that safety-net and anti-poverty programs are actually hurting the economy in the long run, because they don’t encourage mobility.   But Monica Davey reports from Detroit in a Times’...

Daily Yonder: Foundations give fewer grants to rural America than they did six years ago

By Tim Marema Special to KyForward   Foundations invest less money in rural America today than they did six years ago.   Two charts by researcher and writer Rick Cohen tell the story. (Cohen, a frequent contributor to the Daily Yonder, gave this information as part of his session on rural philanthropy at the 2013 National Rural Assembly in Bethesda, Md., on Tuesday, June 25.)   First,...