- Video Games
Lawrence County is taking a proactive approach to getting in on the $65.8 million allocated through the Partnerships for Opportunity, Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative. This funding, available through the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), and the Economic Development Administration (EDA), is an effort to assist communities that have been affected by the loss of coal jobs.
On the local level, the Lawrence County Economic Development Department, along with Kentucky Advantage Alliance, and EKCEP, will host a workshop for businesses who are struggling, or may be interested in diversification, training, or expansion projects.
"This is all about e-commerce, and is a great opportunity for businesses" said Catrina Vargo, Lawrence County Economic Development Coordinator. "A consulting service that would normally cost several thousand dollars, will be available at no cost to the business."
All businesses have to do is apply for the grant, which is on a first come-first serve basis.
The workshop will be held on June 1, from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm at Sullivan University Louisa Center for Learning, 122 S Main Cross St., Louisa, KY. Businesses from the following counties are encouraged to attend: Lawrence, Carter, Elliot, Johnson, Martin, Magoffin, Morgan, and Menifee.
Special guest speaker at 10:00 am-- Scott Broughton, Director of Kentucky Advantage Alliance.
To obtain a copy of the grant application, or If you would like to attend the workshop, please RSVP no later than May 27, by calling 606-638-4102 or 606-624-5569.
How about these?
We come up with ideas all the time but it seems like the folks in Frankfort and Washington always have an excuse why we can't use the abandoned mine funds or other sources for tsome reason. It's like they want to act like they are interested in helping revitalize our economy, but they really don't.
- Mark Grayson
If the notion of mining reclamation as a path to economic development leaves Kentuckians skeptical, who can blame them? The track record is weak in a region that was the nation’s poorest even before the coal industry’s current collapse.
Despite those misgivings, we’re urging residents of Eastern Kentucky to think creatively about a new possibility for linking the cleanup of old coal mines to economic opportunity and jobs.
We’re also urging government at all levels to aggressively engage the public in generating ideas and plans for spending $30 million in Eastern Kentucky through the Abandoned Mine Lands Economic and Community Development Pilot Program, for which U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers won congressional approval late last year. Pennsylvania and West Virginia are also in line for $30 million each through the program.
The Bevin administration on Monday issued an invitation for projects.
Who better than the people who live near the old mine sites to envision a new purpose for them and also to be practical about the possibilities?
Thousands of eligible sites are scattered across Kentucky waiting for cleanup. The U.S. Office of Surface Mining maintains a voluminous online inventory in which you can search by county.
But a smart early step would be to hold local meetings with maps and clearer information about the locations of eligible sites and what kind of projects are being sought.
Congress created the Abandoned Mine Lands program in 1977 when it enacted the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. The industry pays a fee on each ton of mined coal to repair safety and health hazards created by mining before the reclamation law took effect, which in Kentucky was 1982. The hazards include polluted water, slides, dangerous impoundments, other flood threats and fires both above and underground.
In Kentucky, $140 million in AML funding over the last three decades has brought municipal water to places where mining contaminated the groundwater.
The AML money has been dribbled out to states and tribes in amounts far below need. Kentucky has identified $462 million in unrepaired hazards with more discovered all the time. Meanwhile, in Washington, the fund has built up a $2.5 billion surplus.
President Barack Obama and Rogers have proposed releasing $1 billion of that surplus over five years to spur economic activity in places that are suffering from the coal industry’s decline.
Successful pilot projects would build congressional support for releasing the $1 billion to where it’s owed and needed, while knowledge and feedback gained from the pilots could improve the program.
It’s a complicated undertaking. Most of the sites are small, less than 5 acres, and many are remote.
In Kentucky, the Cabinet for Energy and Environment, which oversees the AML program, is collaborating with the Department of Local Government and the Economic Development Cabinet. But local thinking will be needed to wring the most value and opportunity from the pilots.
We’re also reminding the Obama administration and the federal OSM, which will have final say on the applications, that healthy air, land and water are the building blocks of a healthy economy. Eliminating mine-related pollution or flood threats removes barriers to development and is valuable even if no canoe livery or business incubator is attached. AML reclamation jobs pay $30 to $40 an hour and suit the skill sets of unemployed miners.
Nobody’s going to start a business that might end up under a landslide or ankle deep in mud because an old mine blew out. The environmental advantages of a proposal should weigh heavily in its favor.
PRESTONSBURG, Ky. – Dr. Devin Stephenson, president of Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC), met with former President Bill Clinton on Thursday, May 12 at Prestonsburg Elementary School.
Dr. Stephenson and Clinton discussed the challenges and opportunities facing eastern Kentucky. The meeting was at the request of Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.
Grimes, who attended the event in Prestonsburg, was the keynote speaker for BSCTC’s commencement ceremony on May 6. She witnessed firsthand the transformation of students like Danny Ratliff, a laid off coal miner who earned his Associate in Science degree and has been accepted to the Appalachian College of Pharmacy.
“I wanted the president to know that while we face challenges, we are embarking on some exciting opportunities,” said Dr. Stephenson. “Coal, both economically and culturally, is important to the region, but equally as important is developing diversity in our job market so that anyone who wishes to stay here has the opportunity work and make a living wage.”
Dr. Stephenson, the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) liaison for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), assured Clinton that community and technical colleges in eastern Kentucky are training a world-class workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow.
“I explained to him that the same work ethic that powered America for decades underground and on top of mountains can transfer to new, innovative and more sustainable careers,” he continued. “President Clinton was very receptive to the work of Big Sandy and our role in community, workforce and economic development.”
FRANKFORT – The Kentucky Division of Abandoned Mine Lands wants economic and community development proposals that will attract new industry and jobs to Kentucky’s Appalachian counties.
Up to $30 million in federal grant money from the U.S. government’s General Fund is available to Kentucky’s Division of Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) for pilot projects in Appalachian counties that have the potential to create long-term economic benefits.
"This pilot program is a tremendous opportunity for leaders in our Appalachian counties. We must identify projects with real potential for long term success. If used wisely, these funds will improve lives and strengthen the economy in the region for generations to come," Gov. Matt Bevin said in a statement. "These funds will be vital to attracting more jobs and creating more opportunities for the people of Appalachia, while also solving the problem of abandoned mine lands. The potential of this program is enormous, and we must make the best use of these one-time funds."
U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers R-Ky., chairman of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, who worked to secure the funds through the FY 2016 Omnibus appropriations bill, said the funding will go a long way toward helping Kentucky’s struggling coal communities as they strive to rebound from the devastating loss of more than 10,000 coal mining jobs over the last eight years.
“The pilot will allow our coal communities to reclaim abandoned mine sites while simultaneously pursuing proactive economic development opportunities to help put our people back to work and spur innovation in Eastern Kentucky,” Rogers said.
Counties eligible for projects include: Adair, Bath, Bell, Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Casey, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Cumberland, Edmonson, Elliott, Estill, Fleming, Floyd, Garrard, Green, Greenup, Harlan, Hart, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Lincoln, McCreary, Madison, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Metcalfe, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Nicholas, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Powell, Pulaski, Robertson, Rockcastle, Rowan, Russell, Wayne, Whitley, and Wolfe.
“We are encouraging community leaders throughout the region to look at options that will have the best chances of bringing dramatic growth and jobs to Appalachia,” Erik Dunnigan, acting secretary of the Cabinet for Economic Development, said. “For example, several communities may choose to band together to upgrade industrial sites, including providing the necessary infrastructure and possibly spec buildings, so that companies looking to expand in Kentucky can be up and running quickly.”
Proposals are now being solicited and should include information about the project’s purpose, link to AML, cost, partnerships and/or leveraged funds (if applicable), and any evidence of community improvement and support.
Eligible grants recipients are limited to state and local governments, who may subcontract project related activities as appropriate.
A committee made up of officials from the Energy and Environment Cabinet, the Cabinet for Economic Development and the Department for Local Governments will evaluate all proposals and recommend a list of projects to the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, which will make the final decisions.
“We are looking for projects that will bring long term economic and community development benefits to the Appalachian region,” Charles G. Snavely, Secretary of the Energy and Environment Cabinet, said in a news release. “The key is these projects will have to bring jobs and private investment while reclaiming abandoned mine lands for reuse. “
The pilot program is part of $90 million in funds that has been set aside for one-time grants to Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to return coal sites to productive uses that will bring new jobs to replace the thousands lost during the downturn of the industry.
Kentucky Press News Service
PRESTONSBURG — Prestonsburg Tourism is one car closer to opening the Ranier Racing Museum at the Mountain Arts Center.
Officials expect to exhibit a series of Ranier Racing cars inside the museum, along with trophies and other types of Ranier Racing memorabilia. The racing team, led by family patriarch, Harry Ranier, a Prestonsburg native, fielded cars in the NASCAR Winston Cup series for Allison, Lennie Pond, Buddy Baker, Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough and other
Pearson said a grand opening will be announced at a later date. He hopes to open the museum to the public in early June.
Floyd County Chronicle