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“Bloody Harlan” Revisited: Blackjewel Miners Draw On Labor History While Facing Uncertain Future

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Curtis Cress sat in the gravel beside a railroad track in Harlan County, Kentucky. Tall and thin with a long, black beard, Cress is every bit a coal miner, or, he was until a month ago. “It’s part of my heritage, you know? My dad and papaws had always done it,” he said. “And I’m… Read More

Protesting Blackjewel Miners To Get Some Overdue Pay From Bankruptcy Sale

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More than a thousand coal miners left unpaid by the abrupt bankruptcy of Blackjewel mining could soon be getting some – but not all – of the money they are owed. Dozens of miners have staged a week-long protest on railroad tracks in Kentucky’s Harlan County, blocking delivery of a load of coal from a Blackjewel mine… Read More

Few Answers For Unpaid Miners After Day One of Blackjewel Sales Hearing

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Blackjewel coal miners will have to wait at least another day to learn if the sale of the bankrupt coal company’s mines and equipment will deliver their overdue paychecks. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of West Virginia recessed Monday after an all-day hearing that yielded few results. The court is scheduled to… Read More

Mussel Woman: Biologist Passes Along Pearls Of Wisdom About Threatened Mussels

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Janet Clayton is standing thigh-deep in a back channel of the Elk River. Clad in a wetsuit and knee pads, the silver-haired biologist with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources reaches into a bright orange mesh bag submerged in water. Inside are a half dozen mussels she plucked from the rocky river bottom. “This… Read More

Blackjewel Miners Continue Protest As Bankruptcy Hearing Looms

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Miners left unpaid by the bankrupt Blackjewel coal company say they are prepared to keep up their protest on railroad tracks in Harlan County, Kentucky, where they are blocking delivery of a load of coal. As their protest grows and gains attention, a bankruptcy court hearing on Monday could determine whether and when the miners… Read More

ARC Awards Grant To Help Pave Road To Addiction Recovery

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The Appalachian Regional Commission has awarded a major grant to what it calls an innovative pilot program for a region hit hard by the addiction crisis. The goal is to help people struggling with addiction get on the road to treatment, recovery, and – ultimately – employment. People with substance use disorders can have trouble… Read More

Blackjewel Miners Block Railroad To Demand Pay From Bankrupt Coal Company

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Some coal miners left without pay by the bankruptcy of coal company Blackjewel LLC are protesting by blocking a coal train in eastern Kentucky. The stand-off began early Monday when five miners blocked the train from leaving the Cumberland, Kentucky, plant. Despite police asking them to leave, miners spent the night blocking the railroad to… Read More

Power Plant: How A Grass Might Generate Fuel And Help Fix Damaged Mine Lands

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Down bumpy back roads deep in central West Virginia, a flat, bright green pasture opens up among the rolling hills of coffee-colored trees. Wildflowers and butterflies dot the pasture, but West Virginia University Professor Jeff Skousen is here for something else that stands above the rest of the Appalachian scenery – literally. Thick stalks of… Read More

How A Proposed SNAP Eligibility Revision Could Affect Ohio Valley Recipients

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week a proposal to tighten the rules on who qualifies for food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). USDA estimates more than three million people across the country would lose SNAP benefits in an effort to prevent fraud. Anti-hunger advocates in the Ohio Valley say the more than… Read More

Living Wage: Ohio Valley Workers, Employers React As House Votes For $15 Minimum Wage

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The U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, more than double the current $7.25 rate, which has not changed in a decade. The bill is unlikely to clear the Republican-controlled Senate, where Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has said he will not take it… Read More