Eastern Kentucky

7:00 am
Tue February 18, 2014

For Water Supplies in Kentucky's Mountains, Look in Abandoned Coal Mines

Blaine Sergent, left, comes out of the mine at the end of the day's work. P V & K Coal Company, Clover Gap Mine, Lejunior, Harlan County, Kentucky.
Russell Lee U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Indiana's abandoned coal mines contain up to 172 billion gallons of water, according to a recent study. This is water that filters down through the ground and coal seams, pooling in the abandoned mines.

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Local News
1:01 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

This Eastern Kentucky Couple Got Married in a Grocery Store

Kristina Hall, Judge Leigh Anne Stephens and Clinton Stacy.
Credit Frankie Steele

This love story starts a decade ago in a Winn-Dixie in eastern Kentucky. Kristina Hall worked in the office. Clinton Stacy was a stockboy.

"I honestly don’t think we spoke to each other more than two words the whole time that he worked there," she recalled.

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9:00 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Kentucky House OKs College Scholarship Program for Coal Counties

Credit Decumanus / Wikimedia Commons

A bill that would provide up to $5,000 in college scholarships for high-school students in Kentucky's coal-producing counties has passed the state House.

Lawmakers voted 92 to 0 in support of the bill. It would establish the Kentucky Coal County College Completion Program, which would promote bachelor’s degree attainment for students in Eastern and Western Kentucky.

The plan will use about $4 million in coal-severance funds set aside in Gov. Steve Beshear’s proposed budget.

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2:44 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Film to Explore Appalachia's Future from an Eastern Kentucky Perspective

Credit "Appalachia 2050"

A new independent film explores the problems and potential that lies in Eastern Kentucky. The film is premiering as part of nonprofit group Kentuckians for the Commonwealth’s “Louisville Loves Mountains Week.”

Ralph Davis is a native of Floyd County in Kentucky.  Besides his foray into independent filmmaking, he runs the local newspaper and is the market manager for the Floyd County Farmers Market.

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6:48 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Gov. Beshear Proposes Expansion of Mountain Parkway in Eastern Kentucky

Steve Beshear
Credit Kentucky Governor's Office

The Mountain Parkway in Eastern Kentucky will expand to four lanes in the coming years under a proposal from Gov. Steve Beshear.

Beshear's proposal will be paid for with nearly $600 million in state and federal highway funding, and more than $150 million in funds recovered by toll revenues.

“The Kentucky Highway Plan that I will be recommending to the General Assembly will include a series of construction projects by which the Mountain Parkway will be four-laned, lengthened and thoroughly modernized by the year 2020," Beshear says.

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4:24 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Obama Announces 'Promise Zone' Initiative, Including One in Southeastern Kentucky

Harry Schaefer U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

President Obama has announced a new federal initiative to increase economic development in five areas around the country, including southeastern Kentucky. The commonwealth’s “Promise Zone” will include eight counties (Bell, Clay, Harlan, Knox, Leslie, Letcher, Perry and Whitley), all coal-producing.

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6:55 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Hollowed Mountains, Now Hollowed Towns: Coal in Eastern Kentucky

A truck in Harlan, Ky., proclaims its support for coal and coal miners.
Credit Erica Peterson/WFPL News

HARLAN—People in Eastern Kentucky are used to the ups and downs of a coal-based economy. Prices plummet. Production slows down. Coal miners get laid off. Several months later, prices rise. The phone rings. Miners pick up their helmets and go back to work.

We're in one of those slumps now—but, this time, things are different. In the hardest-hit counties, the bumpers of heavy-duty Ford pickup trucks still host Friends of Coal license plates, next to stickers telling other drivers that coal keeps the lights on. But the winding mountain roads are a little quieter.

You can drive miles without seeing one of the lumbering coal trucks that, for years, carried away the region’s resources.

Coal is embedded into the culture and image of Eastern Kentucky, but the industry is declining in the region. And it's declining permanently. The coal miners—who've known coal through the generations—are being left behind.

Kentucky political leaders largely resort to finger-pointing and rhetoric. 

The coal miners, however, are left with few options but to adapt.

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Local News
1:18 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Beshear, Rogers Announce Summit on Kentucky's Appalachian Economy

University of Kentucky

Kentucky political leaders are rolling out another initiative intended to find ways to bolster the economy in Appalachia.

Gov. Steve Beshear and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers held a joint press conference in Hazard today to unveil the latest effort, which they dubbed SOAR, Shaping Our Appalachian Region.

Beshear said the economic woes of recent years have hurt Appalachia and intensified the hardships of families in the mountain region. He and Rogers have scheduled a summit of public and private sector leaders to find solutions to problems the region faces.

6:54 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Congressman Andy Barr Knocks 'War on Coal' Ahead of First Lady Michelle Obama's Visit

Congressman Andy Barr, R-Ky.,
Credit Barr Campaign

Republican Congressman Andy Barr is welcoming First Lady Michelle Obama to Kentucky this weekend, but took time to criticize the White House's energy policy in the process.

The First Lady will attend the spring commencement ceremony at Eastern Kentucky University on Saturday, where she will deliver the keynote address.

Mrs. Obama is speaking at EKU as part of her Joining Forces initiative to assist military families. Long lines are expected for those seeking to attend.

Barr says he hopes the visit will give the district an opportunity to showcase its local economy including the horse industry, but took a shot at the Obama administration's environmental regulations.

"I hope the First Lady will also take back with her to Washington a better understanding of the detrimental effects of the administration’s 'War on Coal' that is raising energy prices and crippling the futures of many of the very graduates to whom she will speak," he says. "It is my sincere hope that she will benefit from her time in the Sixth District and return with a new appreciation about the need to support policies that will get Kentuckians back to work."

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Local News
9:38 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Artifacts Help Pinpoint Key Hatfield-McCoy Battle

The Hatfields
Credit Wikipedia Commons/Public domain

LOUISVILLE, Ky.  — Artifacts recently unearthed during the filming of a new National Geographic Channel show appear to pinpoint the location of a turning point in the yearslong feud between the Hatfield and McCoy clans.

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