It's clear that we can no longer ignore or wish away the staggering drop in coal employment in the region. While our elected leaders in Frankfort might not have any true solutions to offer, some of our local community leaders do. Recently, a few of them sat down with WMMT, the community-owned and operated radio station in Whitesburg, KY, to discuss what might be next "after coal" for Eastern Kentucky and Central Appalachia.
WYMT Mountain News, out of Hazard, covered the radio broadcast:
“We all have great ideas and big visions but when you get right down to it is the small day to day things that matter and that accumulate over time,” said attorney Tim Belcher.Small business owner Amelia Kirby says those businesses have proven to be successful in Whitesburg.“There's just that kind of energy that people think, ‘this place is not dying this place is alive and we want to be part of it,’” said Kirby.They say without some kind of economic development, the region's future is at stake.“This is home, and it's a place where those of us who grew up here don't want to have to leave. And so it's on us to figure out what's next and figure out what has to work,” said Kirby.