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MN&WR: Climbing Mountains for a Wider Perspective on the Future

MN&WR: Climbing Mountains for a Wider Perspective on the Future

  • Can Hindman, Kentucky overcome a sense of despair to work together to create new economic opportunity and revive their town? (In Part II of the Hindman series, Kelli Haywood speaks to representatives of the Hindman Settlement School, Appalachian Artisan Center, and community artist Sean Starowitz.)
  • High speed internet is already bringing new jobs— and the FCC Chairman— to Eastern Kentucky  (New WMMT Reporter Benny Becker Brings the Story)
  • The RECLAIM Act Explained! – (As introduced in the House by Congressman Hal Rogers on Feb. 3)
MN Picture

In recent reports from the Kentucky coal industry, the state has seen production dip to the lowest levels it has seen since 1954.  For this edition of Mountain News & World Report, Kelli Haywood goes back to Hindman, Kentucky for Part II of a series on the town to speak more with staff and artists at the Appalachian Artisan Center and visit with representatives of the Hindman Settlement School ,which has been a stalwart of the community for over 100 years.  During this segment, we explore the sense of downtrodden heart that is present within Hindman and many mountain coalfield communities as they face hard times and reflect on what they have already endured.  However, as Haywood speaks with these community members and those working toward the future of Hindman, it is clear that while replacing an economy that gained 75.7% of its total employment from the coal industry with something else won’t be anything less than very difficult, there is a clear motivation to try.

In the second piece of this edition, our newest reporter, Benny Becker, covers the recent visit to Jackson, Owsley, and Perry counties of the Chairman of the Federal Communication Commission Tom Wheeler with Congressman Hal Rogers to discuss the advances that bringing broadband internet have brought and would bring to eastern Kentucky.  Newly-elected Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has announced cuts to the KYWired program that aimed to increase access to high speed internet across the entire state in order to scale it back to its original inception as a project to bring broadband into the mountains of eastern Kentucky.  Chairman Wheeler heard from the community and business leaders how high speed internet has increased the job market in these counties as well as visions of broadening its reach and the future opportunities for the region.

And finally, Eric Dixon of the Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center in Whitesburg, Kentucky explains the bill Congressman Hal Rogers put forth in the House on February 3rd which is called the RECLAIM Act (H.R. 4456):  Revitalizing the Economy of Coal Communities by Leveraging Local Activities and Investing More.  Dixon shares the potential impact that the passing of this bill would have on the future economy of Kentucky and other coalfield states that would benefit from the early release and re-purposing of monies from the Abandoned Mine Lands Fund.

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.

appalachian history,
arts & culture,
coal industry,
economic transition,
education in the mountains,
energy & environment,
june appal,
making connections,
small business,
wmmt news,