Eastern Kentucky

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The leader of a non-profit economic development agency in Eastern Kentucky sees promise in the results of a just-released workforce survey. It’s partly focused on efforts to lure new firms to the region that could offer employment to out-of-work coal miners. 

Joel Bowen slips slowly down a telephone pole, his boots fixed with little metal spears to grip the wood.

"It's just like starting all over again, but I figure a couple of years the money will start rolling in better," he says, his face dripping with sweat from the Kentucky humidity. "It has to be better on my health. I won't be breathing in the coal dust and the rock dust no more."

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Kentucky's Energy and Environment Cabinet secretary is not expecting any short term rebound in the eastern Kentucky coalfields. Charles Snavely appeared before the senate’s natural resources committee this week. 

USDA, via ers.usda.gov

  Chad Tankersaley grew up in McKee, the seat of Jackson County in eastern Kentucky. The town of about 800 residents has places to eat and a single traffic signal — and few job prospects.

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  The effort to increase broadband service in eastern Kentucky is expected to kick up a notch this month.  

Nodar Kherkheulidze, Wikimedia Commons

  Eastern Kentucky doesn’t have enough lawyers to represent Social Security recipients who have been notified that their payments will be discontinued, according to attorneys in the region.

Tom Varco, Wikimedia Commons

 

An Eastern Kentucky nurse is suing the state for not allowing her to take addiction medicine like Suboxone or Vivitrol while she’s out of jail on bond.

The terms set by Floyd County District Court, where Stephanie Watson’s court case is still pending, prevent her from using medically-assisted drug treatment.

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet is warning swimmers and boaters to stay away from several streams and tributaries in Eastern Kentucky.

The waterways are contaminated with E.coli bacteria, which comes from human and animal waste.

The problem is so extensive that the swimming advisories have been expanded to include all of Kentucky’s lakes and rivers after heavy rainfall.

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer is challenging leaders in eastern Kentucky to accept the decline of coal production and invest in a new economy to help pull the region out of poverty.

"A lot of leaders in Eastern Kentucky keep talking about ‘coal is the answer and there is a war on coal.’ I’m a friend of coal. I support the coal industry. But the coal industry’s future doesn't look bright and we have to look beyond that and learn to develop a new economy in Eastern Kentucky," he says.

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The U.S. Geological Survey says an earthquake centered in Kentucky also hit at least eight other states. The USGS website says the epicenter of the 4.3 magnitude earthquake Saturday afternoon was about 10 miles west of Whitesburg, near the Virginia line.

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