"The words 'Eastern Kentucky' might bring to mind mountains, unemployed coal miners and economic hardship, but Agriculture Commissioner James Comer would like to replace that image with tomatoes, apples and bees. 'It's not a very big agriculture region, but it can be,' Comer said during an interview Friday. 'I think there's a lot of opportunity there.' On Monday, Comer will unveil a regional marketing initiative that builds on the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's Kentucky Proud branding efforts."
"Officials in eastern Kentucky are moving forward with a project to expand drug rehabilitation at the Pike County jail. Officials told the Appalachian News-Express that the initiative to turn part of the former Pike County Hall of Justice into a rehabilitation area would more than double the room for participants. Magistrates approved an agreement this month that allows work on the $2.4 million project to proceed."
"The Rev. Jamie Coots, 42, one of two serpent-handling Pentecostal preachers who starred last fall in the National Geographic Channel’s reality TV show 'Snake Salvation,' often admitted during the 16-part series that one of the poisonous reptiles he handled might be the death of him. This past Saturday night, one was. While handling snakes during a regular Saturday night service at his church, the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus’ Name, in Middlesboro, Ky., the pastor was bitten on his right hand by a rattlesnake. Less than two hours later, he was dead."
"Methamphetamine is a growing problem in West Virginia, so its Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill to require a prescription to buy cold medications that contain pseudoephedrine, a key ingredients in making meth, Eric Eyre reports for The Charleston Gazette. Oregon and Mississippi are the only states with such laws. A bill for one in Indiana died this month. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has a bill to limit the amount on pseudoephedrine that could be bought without a prescription, more than any other state. His administration has said the state leads the nation in meth use."
"The United States may be thought of as the good ol’ 'Red, White, and Blue,' but in the minds of many, Appalachian America is simply 'white, white, white'— racially, that is. The stereotype of Appalachia as a strictly white Anglo-Saxon region has been perpetuated by journalists, novelists, social scientists, and even many regional historians. Yet this generalization over-simplifies a more complicated — and more colorful — reality."
"In an interview with the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Rick Bragg, John Sledge tells the story of Mr. Bragg’s encounter with the acclaimed author Willie Morris, who opened Mr. Bragg’s memoir 'All Over But the Shoutin’,' and read several pages aloud. He slammed the book and leaned forward, telling Mr. Bragg, 'You say it’s the story, and I say it’s the language.' Mr. Sledge is talking about the voices in Mr. Bragg’s books, which ring true down to the red Alabama grit on their shoes. Every voice on paper has a linguistic and social history that needs to be heard."