Will KY I-WAY Reach My Way?
On Aug 31rst, a kickoff was held in Hazard for Kentucky WIRED, or the “KY I-Way” as Rep. Hal Rogers likes to call it. Access to reliable and affordable high speed Internet is a problem for many residents and businesses throughout central Appalachia. Kentucky, in fact, ranks near the bottom in the nation in average Internet speed. So it is not surprising that better broadband was a high priority for many participating in the early Shaping our Appalachian Region, or SOAR, workgroups. In January 2014, KY Governor Steve Beshear and Congressman Rogers announced plans for constructing a fiber optic infrastructure, what’s known as the “middle mile,” to provide high speed Internet across the Commonwealth, starting in east Kentucky. Mimi Pickering reports on the kickoff where excitement mixed with concerns about how the “last mile” will connect to our communities and who will provide the service.
Poverty Warriors and “Maximum Feasible Participation of the Poor”
In this special edition of WMMT’s Mountain Talk, Hollis West and Robert Shaffer describe their sometimes controversial, often successful, efforts to develop an anti-poverty program in Knox County, KY in the 1960s and ’70s that put into practice the War on Poverty Program’s call for “maximum feasible participation of the poor.” Their story is followed by a WMMT report from Maxine Kenny on the mining conditions in the 1960s that led eastern Kentucky miners to form the Roving Pickets and the miners’ expectations that they would be full partners in the new War on Poverty’s Office of Economic Opportunity programs.
Beth Bingman: Support POWER+ Plan, Help SW Virginia
Beth Bingman, a long time community educator living in Dungannon, VA, speaks out on why she thinks state and federal legislators should be advocating for President Obama’s proposed POWER+ Plan, which, among other things, would allocate $1 billion to coalfield communities to give people employment in the cleaning up of abandoned coal mine sites. (Her commentary originally appeared in the Roanoke Times; read it here.) The City of Norton and Wise County Supervisors have passed resolutions in support of the POWER+ Plan, as well as a number of local governments in Kentucky.
Appalachia Speaks: Gerry Roll – Investment Needed
Gerry Roll has seen the central Appalachian region hit by a long and slow, but nonetheless devastating, economic storm. She calls for “disaster relief,” investment to recover and rebuild, like other regions have received after a storm. In mid-2015, there are signs that she and others from the region are beginning to be heard by decision makers in state houses and the federal government. Roll is Executive Director of the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky and a long time advocate for children and families. “Appalachia Speaks” is a series of short videos from Making Connections News featuring the voices and visions of grassroots leaders.