Coal Report for June 22, 2016

Image courtesy of noomhh at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of noomhh at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Approximately 4,000 members of United Mine Workers of America from seven states rallied in Lexington, Kentucky on Tuesday June 14th to address the concern that 22,000 retired miners would soon lose their retirement benefits if government doesn’t act to amend the 1977 Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act to allow more money to be taken from the Abandoned Mine Lands fund covering the cost of the benefits.  Currently, around 89,000 union members or their widowed spouses are receiving pensions.  The 22,000 in threat of losing their benefits worked for those mining companies who have went bankrupt over the last few years, including Arch Coal and Patriot Coal.  Due to these bankruptcies, the amount of money being put into the pension fund has been reduced by two-thirds since last year, according to the union.  The Washington Post reported this past February that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky blocked a plan from the budget deal that would have secured the miner’s pensions.  McConnell has stated that he is for miners and is focusing his efforts on job creation and economic development.  In a written statement to the rallying miners McConnell notes that he, “remains committed to helping ensure the retirement security of our nation’s retirees, including coal miners, and he believes the issue deserves open, transparent debate through the regular order committee process.” Continue reading Coal Report for June 22, 2016

History Alive! – Malcolm J. Wilson (Humans of Central Appalachia)

For a special treat to all of you, WMMT is making the latest episode of History Alive! available to stream at your convenience!  In this episode of the program, hosts Theresa Osborne and Phyllis Sizemore of Harlan County  speak with Harlan Co. native and Letcher Co. resident – Malcolm J. Wilson.  Malcolm has spent most of his life documenting our Appalachian story as a photo journalist and creative photographer.  Most recently, Malcolm J. Wilson is known as the photographer and story collector behind the Humans of Central Appalachia project. WMMT features his photos and interviews as a special part of our Mountain News & World Report show.  Now, the tables are turned, and Mr. Wilson is telling his story.  Enjoy this episode featuring Part 1 of that interview.

Photo by Doug Murray

Photo by Doug Murray

Mtn. Talk Monday: Foster Care with Erv Crisp of NECCO

In this episode of Mountain Talk Monday, host Kelli Haywood interviews Erv Crisp of the foster care agency NECCO which has several locations throughout the region. The pair discuss many topics associated with becoming foster parents and the adoption process.  Who can be a foster parent?  Is fostering a path to adoption?  What impact can a foster parent have on the life of a child?  You will also hear the stories of foster parents who have chosen to foster medically fragile children and the importance of consistent healthcare for all foster children from Side Effects Public Media.

NECCO, Hazard
466 Village Lane
Hazard, KY 41701
P: (606) 910-4308

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Mountain Talk is WMMT’s twice-weekly community space for conversation, airing each Monday & Wednesday from 6-7 p.m.  Mountain Talk programs focus on a variety of topics related to life in the mountains, including: food, community issues, art, health, and more.  Click here to hear past programs.

 

MN&WR: Public Health in Our Hands

  • Whitesburg, Kentucky resident Danielle King, a public health professional, is working toward opening a clean needle exchange program to address the rapidly increasing rates of Hepatitis C and HIV in eastern Kentucky.   WMMT reporter, Kelli Haywood talks with King and the director of the Kentucky River District Health Departments on the realities of opening a needle exchange in the community.  Haywood also speaks with Dr. Rafael Rangel of the Pike County Health Department who’s needle exchange program begins operating July 6.
  • Beldon Scott Mullins shares his story of being in law enforcement in Wise, Virginia for twenty years and the changing landscape of drug use in the region.
  • From Appalshop Films, hear audio from the 1973 film Nature’s Way created by John Long and Elizabeth Barret.  Old time mountain herbalists speak of the effectiveness of nature as medicine.

MNWR 6-16 

This episode of Mountain News & World Report considers the efforts of central Appalachians to create resources to address critical public health needs.  From our very beginnings, we have had to develop our own way of caring for our communities.  As illustrated in the audio for the third segment of this show, through trial and error, and a little ingenuity, we have found remedies that work to bring better health to the people.  When John Long and Elizabeth Barret released Nature’s Way in 1973 through Appalshop Films, many mountain folks were still going their entire lives without ever seeing a doctor.  Babies were born at home.  Fevers were sweated out.  Pain was treated with a poultice of herbs.  Effort was put behind the troubleshooting of the communities’ healthcare needs and the successes were adopted and passed down through generations as tried and true.

The need to give an effort to the crises of our people is evident in the story of our second segment –  Beldon Scott Mullins.  He is a twenty year veteran of law enforcement in Wise, Virginia and shared his story with Malcolm J. Wilson as part of the Humans of Central Appalachia Project.  Mullins has seen the use of drugs change in his community over his years in the force, and he grieves about the impact on the people.

In our first story from WMMT reporter Kelli Haywood, you will hear of the year long effort of public health professional and Whitesburg, Kentucky resident, Danielle King, to see a clean needle exchange program created for Letcher County.  Recent reports from the CDC has placed 54 Kentucky counties at the highest risk in the nation for an epidemic of HIV and Hepatitis C brought on by the use of intravenous drugs.  King and her colleagues have worked to investigate what operating a needle exchange to address this problem might entail and they have put forth a public education campaign to move the need for a program along to a reality.  However, it seems like a needle exchange is still far from an actuality for Letcher County.  Haywood also speaks with Dr. Rafael Rangel, Director of the Pike County Health Department, who’s experience in finding support and funding for creating a needle exchange program in neighboring Pike County is in deep contrast to that of King and her colleagues.  Dr. Rangel’s program begins July 6, 2016 in Pikeville.  Jon, a recovering addict, describes to Haywood the first time he was subjected to intravenous drug use at the age of twelve when his true informed consent was not possible.

Mountain News & World Report is a bi-weekly production of WMMT, and new episodes air every other Thursday at 6pm on WMMT, with a repeat broadcast the following Sunday morning at 10:30.  To listen to previous episodes, check out our streaming archives.

Coal Report for June 15, 2016

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Image courtesy of antpkr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

For the first time since 1979, CO2 emissions from transportation – planes, trains, and automobiles… not forgetting boats – have surpassed the levels produced by US power plants. Power plants only account for ⅓ of carbon dioxide released into our atmosphere, and the number continues to drop as an aggressive move toward fuel efficiency and renewable or cleaner burning energy sources has begun to affect the use of coal in US power plants. Attending to the need to cut CO2 emissions from transportation has been more difficult, and the numbers on emissions there are actually beginning to climb again as oil prices are lower and people have once again chosen SUVs and less fuel efficient modes of transportation and are driving longer distances more often. At this time, we do not have a cost comparable greener mode of transportation than gasoline. It is questionable even whether or not the 10% ethanol mix with gasoline is a cleaner solution in its current use. Continue reading Coal Report for June 15, 2016

Mtn. Talk Monday: KVEC Students

In this episode of Mountain Talk Monday, we welcome special guest hosts Tanya Turner and Willa Johnson with the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative. They interviewed four students involved in KVEC’s initiatives around the region’s schools about the effects that their participation has had on their educational experience in the mountains of eastern Kentucky. KVEC activities was one of the highlights of the 2016 SOAR Innovation Summit. They discuss everything from coding, student senate, creative writing, and the educational social platform – The Holler!

KVEC

Mountain Talk is WMMT’s twice-weekly community space for conversation, airing each Monday & Wednesday from 6-7 p.m.  Mountain Talk programs focus on a variety of topics related to life in the mountains, including: food, community issues, art, health, and more.  Click here to hear past programs.

 

Coal Report for June 8, 2016

coalminingwomen

Photo courtesy Earl Dotter

The Whitesburg Mountain Eagle reported last Wednesday on the death of the first female underground coal miner in the United States, Diana Baldwin of Jenkins, Kentucky in Letcher County. Baldwin, aged 67, passed away in South Carolina from complications of lupus just three minutes before the passing of her mother here in Letcher County. Baldwin was hired along with another woman in late 1973 to work for Beth-Elkorn Coal Corporation Mine 29 despite superstition of women entering coal mines. She worked underground for twenty years before becoming a safety inspector for the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Her daughter, Lori Baldwin, says of her mother (quote) “She was determined and she climbed up the ladder.” (end quote)

Watch Elizabeth Barret’s 1981 documentary film Coal Mining Women streaming from the Appalshop website.  You can also purchase a DVD copy.

Continue reading Coal Report for June 8, 2016

Mtn. Talk Monday: Photographer Wendy Ewald

Host Kelli Haywood and special guest host Kate Fowler speak with award winning photographer Wendy Ewald. Ewald visited Letcher Co., Kentucky in the late 1970s and worked with youth to document life as they saw it. The work became the book Portraits & Dreams. The methods she developed in Appalachia she took around the world. In this episode of Mountain Talk Monday, Ewald and hosts discuss a variety of topics including how Ewald and her students made the photos, who can tell the story of a place… who has the right, and what is similar across cultures when we view them through the eyes of children.

Kate Fowler & Wendy Ewald Photo by Kelli Haywood

Kate Fowler & Wendy Ewald
Photo by Kelli Haywood

Mountain Talk is WMMT’s twice-weekly community space for conversation, airing each Monday & Wednesday from 6-7 p.m.  Mountain Talk programs focus on a variety of topics related to life in the mountains, including: food, community issues, art, health, and more.  Click here to hear past programs.