MN&WR: Opinions, Plans, & Actions

  • The Farmacy program began through community partnerships in Whitesburg, Kentucky is becoming a national model for the betterment of rural health as linked to economic transition.  WMMT’s Kelli Haywood and Mimi Pickering went to see what all the buzz is about.
  • The Appalachian Media Institiute’s Summer Documentary Cohort of 2016 talks about the decision to stay or leave the mountains and what they envision the future here to be.
  • How does trade really affect companies and workers?  The Trans-Pacific Partnership has become a flashpoint of debate this election season.  Ohi0 Valley ReSource’s Becca Schimmel traveled to Bowling Green, Kentucky to dig deep into the pros and cons for regional manufacturing.

MNWR 8-25-16

In this episode of Mountain News & World Report, we dig in deep to explore the process of improving our communities.  Like any community in transition, we first have to mull over and cycle through multiple opinions. Then, we start to make plans, and finally, those plans lead to action.  At each step, we might be surprised by what works and what doesn’t, but if we don’t try, we’ll never know.  The clear goal is a livable community that offers both a comfortable environment and livelihood for all its residents.

For our first story, WMMT’s Kelli Haywood features the voices around the Letcher County Farmers’ Market in Whitesburg, Kentucky where a new program called Farmacy is getting nationwide attention.  Formed through community partnerships between local medical clinics, Medicaid insurance companies, agricultural specific non-profits, local small scale farmers, doctors, and community members, the Farmacy is showing how offering incentives to exercise and a feasible way to purchase healthy foods has already made an impact on the health of the community as well as begun to expand economic opportunity.

Our second piece is a voice montage, featuring the young people of the 2016 Summer Documentary Cohort of the Appalachian Media Institute.  All of them between the ages of 16 and 24 and from eastern Kentucky, they share with us their thoughts on the question of whether to stay or leave the mountains.  The cohort also discusses what they see as the future for coalfields Appalachia.

Speaking of the future of coalfields Appalachia, many are hoping for manufacturing to create a bigger footprint in the region and with that bring jobs.  Trade has become a hot button political issue this election season creating some tension in traditional political views.  The pending Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP is in the middle of this debate.  How does trade really affect companies and workers?  To conclude this episode, reporting for the Ohio Valley ReSource (a collaboration including WMMT covering on the region’s economic transition), Becca Schimmel traveled to Bowling Green, Kentucky to talk to two manufacturing companies who have different opinions on how trade will affect their companies.

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 August 24, 2016


Surface mine reclamation near forest land…

A research team formed from a collaboration between Tsinghua University, a top school, in Bejing, China and the Health Effects Institute based in Boston, Massachusetts which is funded in part by the worldwide motor industry and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, set out to identify the main sources of air pollution leading to premature deaths in China. The peer reviewed study being published in Bejing found that 40% of the fine particulate matter known as PM 2.5, which is deadly, was in the atmosphere due to the burning of coal. The team attributed 366,000 premature deaths in China in 2013 alone. However, with only 4 months to go, China has only reached 38% of the annual target for cuts to coal capacity as it seems the rising prices for both coal and steel have made localities feel the cuts will hurt local growth. Continue reading Coal Report for August 24, 2016

Art Matters: Timothy Sizemore (Floyd County, Kentucky)

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This is a brand new Art Matters with interim host John Haywood  Floyd County native and Whitesburg artist, musician, and tattooer!   For this episode, his guest is Timothy Sizemore of Floyd County who Haywood says is one of the best artists in eastern Kentucky.  Sizemore teaches at the Big Sandy Community and Technical College in Prestonsburg and has had his art shown at Bloomingdale’s and the Smithsonian among many other places.

WMMT’s Art Matters is a monthly, visual-art-centered talk show.  It airs live on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m., and during each program, your host interviews local artists of all shapes and stripes.  For more, “like” the show on facebook, or click here to listen to past episodes.

Coal Report for August 17, 2016

 Image courtesy of franky242 at

Image courtesy of franky242 at

Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas summarized in 1969, (quote) “West Virginia is, in a sense a microcosm of … a colony. It is partially owned and effectively controlled by coal, power and railroad companies, which, in turn, are controlled by vast financial interests of the East and Middle West.” (end quote) As Appalachian coalfield states like West Virginia and Kentucky seek an answer to the economic coal bust economy, there are many suggesting alternative and renewable energy as the answer to employment concerns. To no longer be as if a colony beholden to a single industry where a large amount of the economic benefit is moved out of the areas where coal is produced, it is necessary to diversify. To have multiple economic resources. Across the entire United States coal provides only 150,000 domestic coal jobs, according to Forbes magazine. That includes executives, engineers, accountants, electricians and miners. Continue reading Coal Report for August 17, 2016

Mtn. Talk Monday: The Big Dip Redux

In this edition of Mountain Talk Monday with host Kelli Haywood, Jenny Williams and Matthew Druen with the Kentucky Community and Technical College system come by the studio to discuss an exciting upcoming project for the 9/11 Day of Service – The Big Dip Redux. Learn how college students and community members from around the region will participate in water testing that will bring us real data on our water quality while boosting potential possibilities for future jobs in eastern Kentucky.

Find the Facebook event page by following this link – The Big Dip Redux!

Saturday, September 10 at 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM

Want to learn more about stream health and water quality?  Then, join us on September 10th as we test water all over Eastern Kentucky!  In 2006, 1,660 sites were tested.  This time around we’ll test as many of those sites as we can!  And we need YOUR help!  Hazard Community & Technical College, Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College,Headwaters Inc., Eastern Kentucky University and Pathfinders of Perry County Kentucky are partnering on this project.  We’ll provide training and it will be FUN!  This is a 9/11 National Day of Service project. Contact us for details!

Jenny Williams, Kelli Haywood, and Matthew Druen

Jenny Williams, Kelli Haywood, and Matthew Druen

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: Legacies

  • Joe’s Drive-In Chicken (aka Joe Pack’s) is celebrating 50 years as a Letcher County, Kentucky business.  How does a family business survive 50 years in a boom and bust economy?  This story was created with Malcolm J. Wilson of Humans of Central Appalachia.
  • A community health forum was recently held in Whitesburg, Kentucky including representatives from the University of Kentucky, Kentucky Homeplace, Mountain Comprehensive Health Care, and the federal agency – National Institutes of Environmental Health and Sciences.  The forum’s goal was to collect the information about what the community views as its top health concerns.  WMMT reporter Benny Becker highlights the forum. 

Joe’s Drive-In Chicken (Joe Pack’s) Isom, Kentucky by Malcolm J. Wilson for Humans of Central Appalachia

This is a very special edition of Mountain News & World Report.  Through it, we’re taking a look at legacy.  What kind of legacy can we leave for future generations when our own present and future is so uncertain?  One man, Joe Pack of Letcher County, Kentucky set out to open a business 50 years ago that would not only allow him to step away from work in law enforcement, but would give him something to pass on to the next generation, and ultimately back to his own granddaughter.  Joe Pack started with a hamburger and hot-dog joint in Whitesburg, acquired a mysterious recipe for fried chicken, eventually moved his store to Isom, Kentucky, and the rest is legend.  Recently deemed the best fried chicken ever by the blogger The Bourbon Soaked Mom, Joe Pack’s has the lasting respect and popularity that will make it a staple in the community for years to come.  A special thanks to Malcolm J. Wilson – the man behind Humans of Central Appalachia – for gathering the audio and taking the photos used for this story.

For our second and final story, WMMT reporter Benny Becker brings us highlights of a recent health forum held in Whitesburg, Kentucky, in which our health legacy was discussed in detail.  Around fifty people came out to the Letcher County Cooperative Extension Office to the Appalachian Health and Well-Being Forum. Dr. Linda Birnbaum —  the top federal official for environmental health research (with the National Institutes of Health and Environmental Sciences)—  she was in town for a listening tour, and this forum was the main event. Three local health leaders joined Birnbaum on a panel to discuss the legacies of health and environment that we’ve inherited here in Central Appalachia. And more than that, the event was geared toward finding ways to create a healthier environment for future generations.

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 August 10, 2016


Kentucky recently joined with a dozen other states to challenge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new rules on the oil and gas industry. Ohio Valley ReSource reporter, Glynis Board, reports West Virginia’s Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is leading an effort to dismantle a rule aimed at reducing the industry’s methane emissions.  The suit asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review a rule that sets the first-ever standards to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. The EPA estimates the oil and gas industry is the largest methane-emitting sector in the country. The agency finalized new standards earlier this year because methane is a potent greenhouse gas.  Morrisey says the new regulations are illegal and will threatens jobs by raising gas production and distributions costs. Continue reading Coal Report for August 10, 2016

Mtn. Talk Monday: Appalachian Media Institute 2016

In this episode of Mountain Talk Monday, hear the voices of the 2016 Appalachian Media Institute summer interns. This year’s cast are all from eastern Kentucky! The work of AMI youth producers has been heard on NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and the Sundance Film Festival. AMI helps young people explore how media production skills can be used to ask, and begin to answer, critical questions about themselves and their communities.  This year’s interns tackled the issues of discrimination, the struggle to stay in the mountains, to whom does old time Appalachian music belong, and sexual/gender identity.  In this hour, the interns discuss why they applied to AMI, how they chose their topics, the experience of the institute, and what they hope to see in the future of their Appalachia.

AMI 2016

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.