Alana Watson

Alana Watson is covering the workplace, economic opportunity and infrastructure issues for the ReSource from partner station WKU Public Radio in Bowling Green, KY.

Corinne Boyer

 

Roughly a million students attend college around the Ohio Valley, and the student-age population has an especially high rate of coronavirus infection. That’s why some public health advocates say schools should require that students be vaccinated. 

However, a review by the Ohio Valley ReSource found that of 400 colleges and universities in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia, only three have indicated that they will mandate COVID-19 vaccinations this fall.

Corinne Boyer

 

Election reform efforts to expand ballot access made little headway around the Ohio Valley, as only one state in the region made voting easier,according to a voting rights expert. 

Several state governments around the nation are making major changes to voting laws following the 2020 presidential election.  

Ron Cogswell with permission via Creative Commons

The American Rescue Plan Act signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11 provided the nation with a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus, including funds to state and local governments, but local officials around the Ohio Valley say they aren’t yet sure just how the money can be applied.  

 

Suhail Bhat / Ohio Valley ReSource

When the first coronavirus cases were reported last year, Warren County, Kentucky, Jailer Stephen Harmon knew there was going to be a COVID-19 outbreak in his jail. It was just a matter of when.  

“We tried our best to keep it from happening,” he said. “However with this many people in a fairly small spot, we knew that that was going to happen at some point so we responded to it as best we could.” 

Adam Schultz

The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to cripple the economy in the Ohio Valley and President Joe Biden and Congressional Democrats are pursuing his plan for economic recovery.

Illustration by NPR

After an extraordinary inauguration ceremony marked by heightened security and coronavirus safety measures, President Joe Biden started his first day in office signing executive actions on climate change, immigration, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even before taking the oath of office, Biden was already addressing the nation about his ambitious plans to fight the twin crises of a pandemic and a flagging economy.

Courtesy Derrick Evans

Owensboro, Kentucky, pastor Brian Gibson spoke at an event in Washington, D.C., Tuesday that combined religion with support for President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the election.  

"How many of you all believe that the people we elected are going to do what's right tomorrow?” Gibson asked the crowd at Washington’s Freedom Plaza, as flags emblazoned with Trump’s name fluttered behind him. “And they are going to stand against all of the injustice and the fake votes?"

  A new federal report shows that West Virginia and Kentucky saw the country’s sharpest declines in personal income last quarter as some forms of federal support during the pandemic expired. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis says personal income decreased in every state in the third quarter of 2020, which includes the months of July, August, and September. 

 

Courtesy Guy Hamilton-Smith

After more than a decade, Kentucky resident Guy Hamilton-Smith voted this year for the first time in the state. Even though he didn’t vote in person because of the COVID-19 pandemic, sending his ballot through the mail was still an emotional moment.

“Not being able to vote for many years was like a really big reminder that in very important and meaningful ways, I was not a member of my community,” he said.

Hamilton-Smith was convicted of possessing child pornography in 2007 when he was 22. He hasn’t been under supervision in 10 years.

Rebecca Kiger

New research shows that deaths due to the mix of substance abuse and suicides known as “diseases of despair” declined slightly in 2018. But the mortality rates throughout the Ohio Valley and Appalachian region are still higher than the national average.

Corinne Boyer / WEKU/Ohio Valley ReSource

Much of the Ohio Valley saw historic levels of voter turnout in the 2020 election, as election officials expanded voting options to reduce the risk from coronavirus.

Courtesy Devine Carama

This fall, Lexington, Kentucky, activist and artist Devine Carama launched a different kind of road trip across his home state. He visited a dozen cities and towns, from Pikeville, in the state’s Appalachian east, to Paducah, near where the Ohio River joins the Mississippi. He carried a sign that said “I’ll walk 400 miles if you promise to vote.”

He wants to bring attention to what he says is the most important election of our lifetimes and to open up conversations about why people do or don’t vote. 

Tajah McQueen

The conclusion of this most unusual general election is only a few days away. On Tuesday, November 3, people will make their way to polls, if they haven’t done so already, to cast their ballots. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, election officials have expanded voting options for those who are concerned with catching the virus. But these new voting regulations have caused some confusion for Ohio Valley voters, and the Ohio Valley ReSource asked what questions voters had.

ReImagine Appalachia

A new report from an economic research group says Ohio could gain hundreds of thousands of jobs through investment in clean energy and other efforts to address climate change.

Glynis Board

The Appalachian Regional Commission is investing another $43.3 million in communities affected by the downturn of the coal industry. The latest POWER grants from the ARC will support 51 projects in coal-dependent communities, including over $15 million for 20 projects in the Ohio Valley.

The investments are going towards projects that will support broadband expansion, workforce development, entrepreneurship opportunities, and substance abuse recovery in the region’s coal-impacted communities.