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.

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.


Can coal make a comeback? That’s the title of a new report from Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy.

Researchers there analyzed the factors leading to the coal industry’s sharp decline over the past six years and assessed the Trump administration’s efforts to revive it.  


Mary Meehan - Ohio Valley ReSource

The Ohio Valley’s addiction crisis has brought another health problem, as rising numbers of needle drug users are contracting a serious form of heart infection called endocarditis.

The rate of endocarditis doubled in the region over a decade, and many patients require repeated, expensive treatment and surgery as they return to drug use and once again become infected.  


Retired miners will not lose their health benefits, as had been feared, thanks to last-minute action from Congress. However, Congress did not act on the miners’ faltering pension benefits fund, which supports some 43,000 retired miners in the Ohio Valley region.

Aaron Payne | Ohio Valley ReSource

By most measures, health outcomes in the Ohio Valley region are not very good, with many parts of Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia ranking near the bottom among states.

But a team of health researchers may have found a few places within the region that stand out. They see them as potential “bright spots” — places with some health measures better than expected for the region. 


Alexandra Kanik - Ohio Valley ReSource

Hunger Gains: Budget Cuts Imperil Nutritious Food Aid

Apr 18, 2017

At a moment when food aid agencies are working to provide healthier food to the poor and the elderly, President Donald Trump has proposed a 21 percent cut in funding for the agriculture programs that support them.

It’s a move that advocates say is bad for people who need food and local farmers who provide it.

How Asian Politics Could Affect U.S. Coal

Apr 12, 2017
Peabody Energy, Inc., via Wikimedia Commons

With Australia coping with the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie and China turning back imports of coal from North Korea this week as apparent punishment for missile tests, U.S. coal exporters are hoping for a boost.

But analysts aren’t predicting a coal comeback. 


Alexandra Kanik | Ohio Valley ReSource

Farmers in the Ohio Valley are waiting to see how President Trump’s choice to lead the Agriculture Department might affect their fortunes. Concerns over trade have held up a confirmation vote for nominee Sonny Perdue, and trade is also on the minds of regional growers.

 

Farmers here have been big winners under the North American Free Trade Agreement, and while farm country voted overwhelmingly for Trump, his talk about scrapping NAFTA has farmers like Jed Clark nervous.
  

Benny Becker - Ohio Valley ReSource

Federal health researchers are visiting health clinics and medical schools in the Appalachian coalfields to recruit allies in the fight a resurgence of Black Lung Disease.

The worst form of the disease may affect as many as 5 percent of experienced working miners in the region, and the researchers fear that rate could be even higher among retired miners.  


Pages