Ohio Valley ReSource

A regional journalism collaborative reporting on economic and social change in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia.

With support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, seven public media outlets across the three states have partnered to form the ReSource in order to strengthen news coverage of the area’s most important issues.

Anna Boiko-Weyrauch

The country’s newest Republican governor is, like President Donald Trump, a billionaire businessman, a political outsider, and a fan of the coal industry.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, a former coal company owner, was elected as a Democrat but switched parties with a surprise announcement at a Trump rally in West Virginia. 

 

Nicole Erwin/ Ohio Valley ReSource

In the rich land of Christian County, wheat is milled for McDonald's biscuits, corn is turned into ethanol, and grazing cows support the state’s leading dairy.

This is Kentucky’s breadbasket, and a river runs through it: the South Fork of Little River. 


Mary Meehan

Days after sending mixed signals on his response to the nation’s opioid crisis, President Donald Trump said Thursday that he plans to declare a national emergency to better address the epidemic.

“We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of money on the opioid crisis,” the president said, announcing that his administration was drafting the paperwork to make the emergency declaration official.


Rebecca Kiger

The Trump administration’s top health official backed away from a presidential commission’s proposal to declare a national public health emergency to address the opioid crisis.

An emergency declaration could have big implications for the Ohio Valley, a region with some of the country’s highest addiction and overdose rates.

The top recommendation from President Trump’s commission on the opioid crisis was for the president to declare the opioid crisis a national public health emergency.   


J. Tyler Franklin

Paramedics and police are already in the hotel room when Kyle Simpson walks in.

“What happened?” he asks.

A 37-year-old man in the room is barely conscious–just revived by the overdose reversal medication Narcan.


Mary Meehan

The church choir in bright blue robes swayed and testified on a hot summer Sunday.

Pastor Anthony Everett, in his own robe of orange and brown, preached to his “saints” of Wesley United Methodist Church and they called back their approval with a staggered chorus of “Amen!”

 

Alexandra Kanik | Ohio Valley ReSource

 

Many towns and cities across the Ohio Valley try to improve their business environment with tax breaks, site development, and other incentives.

But how about investing in compassion?  


Report Reveals Contaminants In 'Legal' Water

Jul 28, 2017

An environmental group’s new report shows a broad range of contaminants occur in many drinking water systems in the Ohio Valley, even though the water meets federal requirements.

The research highlights the gap between what regulations require and what many scientists and health advocates recommend for safe drinking water.                                                         


Healthy Debate: What The Republican Health Bill Taught Us About Medicaid

Jul 24, 2017
Alexandra Kanik | Ohio Valley ReSource

Pixaby

More than two million people across the Ohio Valley live in areas that lack any option for fast and reliable internet service.

This week some of them had a chance to tell a member of the Federal Communications Commission what that means for their work, studies, and everyday life.  


Glynis Board/Ohio Valley ReSource

Thanks to singer-songwriter John Prine, Paradise Fossil Plant might be the only coal-fired power plant that has a household name. “Paradise,” Prine’s 1971 ballad, drew on boyhood memories from the small town of Paradise, in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, to relay the environmental and social costs of our dependence on coal.

“Mr. Peabody’s coal train,” he sang, had hauled away the Paradise from his childhood.


Bob Jagendorf/Flickr


Becca Schimmel | Ohio Valley ReSource

From the outside Summit Aviation, in the small town of Somerset, Kentucky, looks like any other nondescript, white warehouse. But inside workers craft parts for drones, weapons casings, wing stabilizers and other high-flying products.


Senators Take Heat On Health Care During Summer Break

Jul 6, 2017
Nicole Erwin/ Ohio Valley ReSource

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell went to the western Kentucky city of Paducah this week to talk about improvements to a local flood wall. Instead he heard a flood of complaints from more than 30 protesters upset about the Senate bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.  


Glynis Board/Ohio Valley ReSource

If you’ve ever enjoyed a Budget Saver twin popsicle on a hot summer day, you can thank the employees of the Ziegenfelder frozen treat factory in Wheeling, West Virginia.

Floor operator Sonny Baxter keeps the line of popsicles going in the cherry-scented worksite.  

 


Mary Meehan - Ohio Valley ReSource

The young man with dimples and an easy smile Jake Parsons stood in front of an audience of folks in folding shares, and talked a little about his life, and how, as someone living with a disability, he’s able to do what he does.

“I’m 24 years old. I am a member of the Kentucky Star Wars Collectors Club, I have two jobs and I am a registered voter and I vote in almost every election,” he said. 


Jeff Young/Ohio Valley ReSource

 

Political leaders in West Virginia and Kentucky are joining a coalition of states threatening to sue California over a program the state is pushing that would drop investments in coal.


HopAlong Farms in Howard, Ohio

The acres devoted to growing hops doubled in the U.S. in just the last five years and the trade group Hop Growers of America estimates that 95 percent of that market belongs to farmers along the West Coast.

But the craft beer craze is changing the direction for hop farms by generating demand for more locally sourced ingredients, and Ohio Valley farmers like Wes Cole want in on the action.

Mary Meehan/Ohio Valley ReSource

 

Dressed in crisp blue scrubs, Certified Nurse Midwife JoAnne Burris walks briskly, the click of her sensible clogs a counterpoint to smooth jazz in the hall.

The University of Kentucky Midwife Clinic, with its large, color prints of newborns on earth-tone walls, still has that new furniture smell. But word-of-mouth already has the waiting room full.  


Roxy Todd

 

"I’d love to be able to stay here,” said 32-year-old West Virginian Mark Combs. “The people are great. But it’s just dying. If you want to succeed you’ve gotta leave.”

Mark is an actor and an Iraqi war veteran. He thinks there has to be a better life, or at least better economic opportunities, elsewhere. He decided to head west for Los Angeles.  


U.S. Department of Energy

Paducah, Kentucky, is home to USEC, a Department of Energy uranium enrichment facility that operated for 50 years until being decommissioned in 2013.

Just across the Ohio River lies the Honeywell corporation’s Metropolis Works, the nation’s only uranium conversion plant.


Nicole Erwin/ Ohio Valley ReSource

When President Trump picked the Ohio Valley as the setting to promote his infrastructure plan, he also drew attention to an overlooked part of the nation’s transportation system: inland waterways.

Agriculture, energy, and manufacturing interests all depend heavily on the Ohio’s aging navigation system.  


Ohio Valley ReSource

With a speech planned for Cincinnati’s Ohio River waterfront, President Donald Trump has chosen a fitting venue to talk about infrastructure improvements.

The Ohio Valley is home to aging highways, bridges, and dams, poor drinking water systems, and weak internet service for many rural residents.

Izzy Bloomfield

Nearly half of the people living in rural parts of the United States don’t have access to broadband internet, the high speed connection required for common uses many of us take for granted.

Government and survey data show that in 65 counties across Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia, the majority of residents don’t have access to broadband — that’s one-quarter of all the counties in the three states. 


Kenn W. Kiser/Morguefile.org

Many political leaders in the Ohio Valley approve of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.

But surveys indicate that public opinion across the region varies, with a slight majority saying they’d like the country to stay the course on climate change.


Jeanna Glisson

Jeanna Glisson has two lives: her life before August 20th, 2007, and her life after.

That day is so vivid, Glisson can still hear the sounds of her son’s feet coming down the stairs.

“I remember Derek when he got up that morning, he was on the phone talking to my dad. He was excited,” Glisson said.

 


Robert McGraw / WOUB

 

The true costs of the deep cuts in President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would fall disproportionately on many of the poor and working class people in the Ohio Valley region who helped to elect him, according to lawmakers and policy analysts.


  As Congress considers repealing the Affordable Care Act, health professionals in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia grapple with what that might mean for a region where many depend on the law for access to care. This occasional series from the ReSource explores what’s ahead for the Ohio Valley after Obamacare. See more stories here >>

 

Trump administration officials have been visiting parts of the country affected by the opioid addiction crisis, including the Ohio Valley region. The administration called it a “listening tour,” and they got an earful in events marked by protests and controversies.


Mending Mining Country: Three Ways Trump Could Help Miners And Coal Communities

May 16, 2017
From White House video

At a March ceremony to sign an executive order reversing Obama-era environmental regulations, coal miners were arranged on stage around President Donald Trump as he took up his pen.

“You know what it says, right?” Trump asked the miners. “You’re going back to work.”

From his campaign rallies to White House events, President Donald Trump has surrounded himself with coal miners and promised to restore their collapsed industry.


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