SOAR STEM Project Unveiled

Jul 20, 2015

Governor Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers have announced an initiative aimed at enhancing math and science instruction in Appalachia. Several eastern Kentucky school districts are involved in the project. 

Beshear and Rogers, co-chairs of the Shaping Our Appalachian Region initiative, gathered with educators from 22 eastern Kentucky school districts. 

Kentuckians who live in a 54-county region could be eligible for a special one percent financing program to buy a home.

From the WEKU Facebook page, some comments about this week’s Eastern Standard show on the Shaping Our Appalachian Region Initiative and the economy of Eastern Kentucky.

Lisa wrote, “ Enjoyed this show and hearing the plans for Eastern Kentucky. Nice job Ian Mooers, your associates, and the host. This is always a good show.”

Kentucky residents can sign up for a new license plate showing support for an initiative to diversify eastern Kentucky's economy.

Senate Acts on Legislation to Support SOAR Initiative

Feb 26, 2015


Work continues to determine the specific strategies of the 'Shaping Our Appalachian Region' initiative, usually referred to as SOAR.  Legislation to establish a grant framework has passed the Kentucky Senate.

The first SOAR Summit was staged in December of 2013 in Pikeville.  Discussions focused on the economic and social needs of eastern Kentucky.  Since then, working groups have met several times.  New legislation would create the Kentucky Appalachian Regional Development Fund.  The measure does not specify how it will be funded.

The nonprofit group Shaping Our Appalachian Region Inc. has received approval for a $200,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

A new report says state government needs to spend more money promoting eastern Kentucky as a tourism destination to help the region pull itself out of poverty following the loss of thousands of jobs because of the declining coal industry.

The top official in the federal Centers for Disease Control is making stops this week in three Kentucky communities. The visits are in connection with the Shaping Our Appalachian Region or SOAR project.

CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden joined Kentucky Congressman Hal Rogers Tuesday for the health impact series symposium in Hazard.   

Richard Turner


Studies indicate that having access to the Internet increases employment and income, enhances consumer welfare and promotes civic engagement. But, of Kentucky’s 120 counties, 45 have been described as in the “slow lane” of the Information Highway. 

On this week’s EST, we’ll discuss efforts to bring Kentucky’s internet access up to speed.

Our guests:  

- Brian E. Kiser, Executive Director of the Commonwealth Office of Broadband Outreach and Development;


A work group of the Shaping Our Appalachian Region Initiative, or SOAR, held a listening session in Richmond Tuesday evening.  A group of 20 people gathered on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University.    

Lexington marketing executive Phil Osborne served as facilitator for the session sponsored by SOAR’s Tourism, Arts and Heritage Work Group. Osborne asked those in attendance to share their ideas about opportunities and challenges for tourism in eastern Kentucky and their potential for economic development.

Effort to SOAR Comes From AmeriCorps VISTA Workers

Jul 7, 2014

    A million dollars of AmeriCorps support is coming to Kentucky to support the Shaping Our Appalachian Region, or SOAR, project.  Federal funds will support 52 VISTA workers for a year.

From the December SOAR Summit (Shaping Our Appalachian Region) to Federal Promise Zones and recent efforts to improve internet connectivity and expand the Mountain Parkway, the region is on the minds of the governor and legislators at both the state and federal levels.

On this week's Eastern Standard, Economic Development in Eastern Kentucky.