Back To The Land: The Future Challenge And Opportunity Of Appalachian Agriculture Wednesday, Sep 23 2020 

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A line of blue and yellow pop-up tents stand along the North Fork of the Kentucky River during a sunny September weekend in downtown Whitesburg, Kentucky, and Valerie Horn is doing her part to keep the Letcher County Farmers Market rolling. 

Pumpkins and watermelons fill tarps laid out on the ground next to a farmer, and another is offering bottles of maple syrup. As chair of the farmers market, Horn finally has a moment to relax after a busy week leading up to this day. 

Part of a series of stories revisiting themes in the book “Appalachian Fall.”


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Ky. Health Officials Suggest Revisions To Food Producer Fee Proposal After Blowback Friday, Sep 18 2020 

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Kentucky health officials are suggesting revisions to a proposed regulation that would have dramatically increased food safety inspection fees for some small food producers. Department officials said they received hundreds of public comments on the proposal with concerns about fee increases and they now plan to limit fees according to a producer’s income.

Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Resources officials spoke to the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture on Thursday about the planned rule revision, getting feedback from state lawmakers on concerns about the rule’s impact on small farmers.


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College Towns Feel Financial Impact Of Pandemic Tuesday, Sep 8 2020 

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The first day of classes at Ohio University is subdued this year. A few students walk across the Athens, Ohio, campus wearing masks. A group sits, socially distanced, on blankets on the green.

The university opted to bring back roughly 2,000 students to campus for the first weeks of the semester due to coronavirus concerns.

The remaining 10,000 or so students are learning remotely in Phase 1 of the school’s reopening plan. They’ll wait until September 8 to find out if they will be eligible to return in Phase 2.


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Job Gains Slowed Again In August As Employers Added 1.4 Million Jobs Friday, Sep 4 2020 

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Updated at 10:19 a.m. ET

U.S. employers added 1.4 million jobs last month, down from 1.7 million in July. The unemployment rate fell to 8.4%, from 10.2% a month earlier.

While the monthly snapshot from the Labor Department shows improvement, job growth has slowed steadily since June in a sign of what could be a long and painful recovery from the pandemic recession.


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As Derby Wagering Shifts Online, Churchill Downs May Recoup Some Losses Friday, Sep 4 2020 

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The Run for the Roses will happen without spectators in the stands this year, but that wont prevent gamblers from placing millions of dollars in bets. In fact, one researcher predicts that even without fans at the track, this years Derby could see more money wagered than ever before as gambling moves online. Online gambling has already seen dramatic growth amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Financial records from Churchill Downs show that while the postponement of Derby pushed its overall second quarter revenues way down, revenues from online wagering grew from $96 million in 2019 to $121 million in 2020 thats without a Kentucky Derby, fewer races overall and the absence of spectators.

Louisville resident Jayce Walker has loved Derby since she was a child. This year, she plans to watch the race from home, and place her bet using Churchill Downs TwinSpires app.


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Former Blackjewel Miners Could Get More Money From Proposed Settlement Thursday, Sep 3 2020 

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A proposed $17.3 million settlement of a class action lawsuit would provide additional payment for hundreds of Appalachian coal miners who were suddenly left jobless by the abrupt bankruptcy of the Blackjewel mining company.

The settlement must be approved by the judge overseeing the complicated Blackjewel bankruptcy case. Although it is not yet final, attorneys for the miners call the agreement a “major victory” in bankruptcy court, a venue that is often not favorable to workers’ claims.


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Without Derby Spectators, Businesses Look to Locals To Stay Afloat Tuesday, Sep 1 2020 

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Derby City was on top of the world back in February: Louisville was a hot tourism destination with a booming convention business and in three months, it would stage an annual horse-race and festival that would bring in spectators from all around the world.

Then the pandemic hit.

In mid-March we came to a screeching halt, and I mean screeching halt, said Louisville Tourism President and CEO Karen Williams. “We have taken off much of the business we had on the books for 2020. We still have a few here and there but we feel like eventually they will probably all come off.”


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Louisville Entrepreneurs, Businesses Miss Kentucky Derby Fans And Dollars Sunday, Aug 30 2020 

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Sylvia Johnson has been letting Derby fans park their cars on her lawn on Heywood Avenue for 20 years, packing them in strategically.

“One, two, I usually get three, you know, Johnson said, measuring out imaginary cars in her front yard.

We got a system, you know. You put the small ones in here and then the big ones in the back.”


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Small Ky. Food Producers Say Proposal Could Spike Fees For Some By More Than 1000% Tuesday, Aug 25 2020 

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Small food producers in Kentucky aired their disapproval during a virtual public hearing  Monday for a proposed rule that could increase permitting fees for some producers by more than 1000%. One Democratic state representative believes the proposed regulation could also clash with a bill signed by Governor Andy Beshear this year to help local public health departments become more sustainable.

The hearing heard from many small food producers, saying the Kentucky Department for Public Health proposal would cripple their business, especially given the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. Seth Long (pictured) runs a maple syrup operation in Letcher County and was one of those producers who spoke at the hearing.


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Report On Russian Interference In Elections Raises Questions About Ky. Project Wednesday, Aug 19 2020 

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A new report from the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee about Russian interference in U.S. elections raises new questions about a struggling eastern Kentucky development project with ties to both Senator Mitch McConnell and the Russian government.

The 966-page document, the result of a years-long bipartisan investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee, is the most explicit acknowledgement to date that Rusal, a Russian aluminum giant, was a proxy for the Russian government and that its head, oligarch and close Putin associate Oleg Deripaska, was involved in the country’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.


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