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balancing the scales, June 10, 2013

Local Updates

Letcher County – building a bright future on Pine Mountain

The Letcher County chapter has worked hard over the past year to raise local visibility of their work, build collaboration with neighboring chapters, and increasingly plan and participate in local trainings and events. With radio talk shows, newspaper ads and editorials, an increased Facebook presence and more, the chapter is reaching and involving more and more people, from Blackey to Oven Fork. The last calendar year included potlucks, water testing and citizen lobbying trainings, art raffles, voter empowerment drives, and countless appearances at fiscal court meetings to speak out for clean water and safe mining in our communities. Through the Appalachia’s Bright Future conference silent auction in April, the Letcher chapter has already raised more than three-fourths of its annual fundraising goal. Just in the last month, Letcher County KFTC members spoke out at a Public Service Commission hearing about a Kentucky Power proposal to raise local electric rates. They shared a message of vision, possibility and responsibility the

company has to provide local ratepayers with the “least cost options” for longterm, sustainable solutions. Also in May, more than 30 Letcher County members and friends spent a whole Saturday cleaning and celebrating on top of Pine Mountain at Wiley’s Last Resort (WLR). Letcher County’s favorite campground, WLR is owned and operated by long-time KFTC member, author, poet, rabble-rouser and radio extraordinaire Jim Webb. After slipping quietly into retirement from Appalshop’s WMMT, Webb was celebrated in March at the second annual Potluck on Pine Mountain with the Harlan chapter for his decades of lively action and advocacy for a better world. There, KFTC members from both sides of the mountain agreed to spend a Saturday in May honoring and supporting Webb’s work. Chapter members helped to get his beautiful and funky campground in great shape for the upcoming season of “the preservation and perpetuation of wildlife, music, poetry, fun and communing with nature,” as described on www.wileyslastresort.com.

As a local farmers’ market in Bowling Green completes the process of adding EBT/SNAP benefits, Southern Kentucky chapter members are looking for ways to support its success. Members are busy networking, researching and building community interest around the new project at the local Community Farmers’ Market. Like many communities, Bowling Green has seen a recent push in educating household shoppers about the many benefits of purchasing food in ways that are both healthier for their families and more friendly to the local economy. By adding EBT/SNAP benefits, the farmers’ market is extending its reach to more than 9,000 Warren County families who rely on the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to help buy the food they need each month.

• Volunteering time to help staff the information booth on market days • Organizing transportation from more distant areas of town via bus routes or shuttles to the market • Providing information about the farmers’ market at the Cabinet for Health and Family Services as participants register for benefits • Spreading the word throughout the community • Offering workshops with healthy food preparation demonstrations • Researching funding to add monetary incentives for purchasing local foods from the market

Growing from the Appalachia’s Bright Future theme, Building a Bright Future on Pine Mountain, as the event became known, featured several projects that involved cleaning up camp sites, fire pits, trails, outdoor furniture, music stages and much more. After a long day of campground work, people gathered together at the ‘Sandbar and Gorilla’ and ‘Walled-In Pond’ for a big potluck and late night rock ’n roll show, with poetry and stories. This event helped to launch not just several more months of campground community this year, including the annual Rotary picnic, MARS fest and the Soirée, but also an annual clean up/ kick off event each year, sponsored by KFTC friends near and far. As Wiley (Webb) put it, “It’s a wonderful thing!” Webb would like to extend an

invitation to KFTC members throughout the state to next year’s big summer kickoff at Wiley’s Last Resort on Saturday, May 18, 2014. Letcher County member Jeff Chapman Crane, who generously ran a chainsaw at this year’s event, said, “This is a great way to honor Jim and bring everyone together.”Chapman Crane is the artist behind the flamingo and cattail mosaic on Wiley’s dock that captured lots of attention throughout the evening. This summer and fall the Letcher chapter already has plans for an evening in July at the brand new Fleming-Neon Public Library, including a tour and Q & A with architect Bill Richardson, as well as an advanced water testing training in September. This month, the chapter is hosting its annual chapter meeting as a potluck picnic at the Valley of the Winds Art Gallery in Eolia on Pine Mountain.

Southern Kentucky chapter supports local farmers’ market

Members are considering several ways they can add support:

If you’re in the Southern Kentucky chapter area (Warren and surrounding counties) and interested in joining these efforts or would like to share information on how to help, please contact KFTC Organizer Denney Breeding at 270-779-6483 or denney@kftc.org.

In May, more than 30 Letcher County members and friends volunteered to clean the top of Pine Mountain at Wiley’s Last Resort (WLR). Letcher County’s favorite campground, WLR is owned and operated by long-time KFTC member Jim Webb.

June 2013 - balancing the scales  

This is the June 2013 edition of balancing the scales, the organizational newsletter of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

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