Appalachia

Heather Watson

The Whippoorwill Festival is bringing more than 75 workshops to Beattyville July 19-21.

The workshops range from homesteading and natural medicine, to handicrafts and storytelling.

WEKU's Samantha Morrill talked to two festival volunteers about how the festival comes together each year. Listen to this interview with Melissa Calhoun and Ben Ibershoff.


'SWAP' Volunteers Make Low-Income Home Repairs

Jun 25, 2019
SWAP

Menonite Central Committee Appalachia's Sharing With Appalachian People program brings volunteers to southeastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia to repair homes for low-income families and individuals. Program Coordinators Keith and Charlene Barr talked to WEKU's Samantha Morrill about the relationships that are formed between volunteers and the people they are helping.

Appalachian Regional Commission

 

Central Appalachia lags behind other part of the region in employment, household income and other key measures. That's according to a new study from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The data comes from the American Community Survey, that’s like a smaller version of the census. It is conducted every five years.

Within Appalachia, different subregions have very different outcomes. In many cases, Central Appalachia, which includes parts of Kentucky and West Virginia, lagged behind other subregions.

 

Sydney Boles/Ohio Valley ReSource

When Seth Long first began experimenting with maple syrup production, he tapped hollow pegs called spiles into individual trees, collected drips of sap in milk jugs, and carried each gallon down the the steep mountainside on foot.

Now, Long rides an open-air buggy up muddy switchbacks to a 500-gallon collection tank from which translucent blue tubes branch out like arteries. There, gallons of sap accumulate from Long’s 270 maple trees before they flow through those tubes 900 feet down the mountain to Long’s grant-funded sugar shack.

 

Sydney Boles/Ohio Valley ReSource

On a cool but clear November day about a dozen residents from eastern Kentucky’s coal mining region crowded into the lobby of an office building in the small town of London, Kentucky. That’s where Kentucky’s powerful senior senator, Mitch McConnell, has his local field office.

McConnell’s staff let the local advocates for black lung treatment into the office a few at a time to make their case for funding the federal Black Lung Disability Trust Fund.

 

Courtsey Revolution

J.D. Vance, author of the best-selling memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” returns to his native Kentucky this week. But Vance isn’t selling books this time. He’s leading a bus tour of well-heeled venture capitalists looking for investment options in the region.

Wikimedia Commons

A Hepatitis A outbreak growing in the Louisville area since last summer reached a new peak recently with a travel advisory from Indiana health officials. They told Hoosiers heading to Kentucky to get a Hep A vaccine.

Soon, Kentucky’s Acting Commissioner for Public Health Dr. Jeffrey Howard was pushing back.

Poor People's Campaign Stops in Kentucky, West Virginia

Apr 2, 2018
REDIT JOEY ALOI VIA WEST VIRGINIA PUBLIC BROADCASTINg

A national campaign that aims to unite disenfranchised populations across the U.S. held events in Kentucky and West Virginia late last week.  Meetings are part of a two-month tour designed to highlight social inequity, and build on a movement begun 50 years ago by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Opioid Emergency Extended

Jan 22, 2018
Mary Meehan

Acting Health And Human Services Secretary Eric Hargan signed an order Friday to extend the public health emergency for 90 days. A post on the agency’s website, cited the continued consequences of the opioid crisis.


Mountain Comprehensive Care

A new report shows just how far Appalachia has fallen behind the rest of the country on key health measures such as rates of cancer, heart disease and infant mortality.

Researchers say the region’s health gap is growing and they hope the data they’ve compiled will spur new approaches to health care.   


Izzy Bloomfield

Nearly half of the people living in rural parts of the United States don’t have access to broadband internet, the high speed connection required for common uses many of us take for granted.

Government and survey data show that in 65 counties across Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia, the majority of residents don’t have access to broadband — that’s one-quarter of all the counties in the three states. 


Kenn W. Kiser/Morguefile.org

Many political leaders in the Ohio Valley approve of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.

But surveys indicate that public opinion across the region varies, with a slight majority saying they’d like the country to stay the course on climate change.


Aaron Payne | Ohio Valley ReSource

By most measures, health outcomes in the Ohio Valley region are not very good, with many parts of Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia ranking near the bottom among states.

But a team of health researchers may have found a few places within the region that stand out. They see them as potential “bright spots” — places with some health measures better than expected for the region. 


Benny Becker - Ohio Valley ReSource

Danny Ferguson didn’t like what he saw happening in Lincoln County, West Virginia, where he grew up. The downturn in the coal industry had hit hard, and young people had few job options beyond some fast food places.

“We don’t have nothing else for them to be employed,” Ferguson said. “Lincoln County is in bad shape and Coalfield seemed like the only one willing to take a chance in that area.”

Benny Becker | Ohio Valley ReSource

 On any given day in Martin County, Kentucky, the water system loses more water to leaks than it delivers to paying customers through their faucets. The water system is under a state investigation for the third time since 2002. Customers complain of frequent service interruptions and discolored water, and their bills come with a notice that drinking the water could increase the risk of cancer.

Sarah Jane Sanders

Candy, candy canes, candy corn and syrup. Those are the four basic food groups according to Buddy the Elf. And this time of year, the gluttonous season, it seems like he is onto something.

 

But researchers say that mindful eating –choosing quality over quantity and savoring your meals instead of, say, plowing through another pint of Ben & Jerry’s while watching “Westworld” — can make a difference.

kentucky.com

The U.S. Department of Labor is funding a grant that will help some coal miners in Eastern Kentucky as WEKU’s Brian Burkhart reports.

As coal restrictions and diminishing reserves have left thousands of miners without jobs, the grant of 3.4 million dollars will help retrain those affected by the job losses.    


Sara Day Evans of Midway is the founding director of Accelerating Appalachia, described on its website as a “nature-based” business accelerator. The idea is to support the growth of entrepreneurialism in areas like eastern Kentucky where the decline of coal mining and related businesses has cost middle class jobs and driven young talent out of the region in search of better opportunities.

Focus On Business: Jerry Rickett on the "Promise Zone"

Nov 17, 2015

President Obama designated Eastern Kentucky as one of the first five rural regions in the country to benefit from the administration’s “Promise Zone” program. Federal agencies partner with local communities and businesses to create jobs, improve educational opportunities, build private investment and improve public safety. All of this is being coordinated by the Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation where Jerry RIckett is president and CEO. He shared details with Tom Martin.

Writer’s Digest calls Barbara Kingsolver “One the most important writers of the 20th Century.  Her latest novel, “Flight Behavior,” was released last month.