"With obesity rampant across Kentucky, it may be hard for many to imagine that hunger still exists, but food pantries remain an essential lifeline for many in the state...In this Eastern Kentucky county, where the per capita income is about $15,400 a year, nearly 27 percent of residents live in poverty. The Mount Vernon food bank provides nearly 470,000 pounds of food a year to more than 2,300 families. CAP president Guy Adams said providing food is key in distressed regions where high unemployment and low wages have led to poor nutrition and health problems. Compounding the problem: the recent food stamp benefit cut."
"Bacteria can make a bread rise and give it a cheesy flavor. That's the secret ingredient in salt rising bread, which dates to the late 1700s in Appalachia, when bakers didn't have yeast on hand. Growing up in West Virginia in the 1960s and '70s, Susan Brown would have a slice of salt rising bread, toasted, for Saturday morning breakfast. Her grandmother baked the bread with the mysterious and misleading name."
"Patriot Coal said Wednesday it is considering layoffs at two West Virginia mining complexes that employ about 850 workers. In a prepared statement, St. Louis-based Patriot said it had warned all employees at its Wells complex near Wharton and its Corridor G operation near Danville of potential layoffs. The 60-day 'WARN' notices are required under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act."
"Federal officials announced tougher rules Wednesday designed to fight an uptick in black lung disease in some pockets of coal-mining country. The move represents the most significant changes to dust-control practices in mines since the 1969 Coal Mine Health and Safety Act, which initiated modern health-and-safety requirements in mines nationwide. Industry groups criticized the rules, calling the changes too broad."
"The next step in the "Shaping Our Appalachian Region", or SOAR initiative, is taking place Thursday. Ten working groups will be mapping out strategies and preparing to take more suggestions from eastern Kentuckians. The ten SOAR working groups cover everything from agriculture to broadband to business recruitment."
"When people visit with friends and neighbors in southern West Virginia, where paved roads give way to dirt before winding steeply up wooded hollows, the talk is often of lives that never got off the ground...McDowell County, the poorest in West Virginia, has been emblematic of entrenched American poverty for more than a half-century. John F. Kennedy campaigned here in 1960 and was so appalled that he promised to send help if elected president. His first executive order created the modern food stamp program, whose first recipients were McDowell County residents."