#weekendcoffeeshare 11/5/2016

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Hello everyone! It’s Saturday and I’d like to invite all of you in for coffee today. I’ve been out of town so I don’t have my normal selection of coffee and tea, but I think I have enough for everyone. Here is a nice selection of coffee, including a decaf. I also have several hot teas, including my favorite hot cinnamon and a nice green tea. It’s finally getting cold here in the Ohio Valley so please join me in my writing studio after you help yourself. It was 39F degrees when I got up this morning. We have not even had our first frost yet which is unheard of.

If we were having coffee this morning, I would love to tell you about an experience I had while traveling yesterday. I didn’t travel very far. Just about 180 miles round-trip  within my own state. But, it was an enlightening experience. I was on a short day trip to visit a friend who lives deep in the heart of Appalachia. As we drove the 90 miles to my friend’s home, it was strange for me. My mother grew up in Appalachia and my grandparents on her side were born and raised there. As a child and teenager, I remember Appalachia and some of the areas I drove through yesterday to be thriving, even prosperous.

There was farming on every piece of flat land. There were coal trucks rattling down highways by the dozens. There was a little industry though the geographical difficulty caused by poor roads limited that. But there were people there. Working people. People taking care of their families. That isn’t the feeling I had as I drove through the Eastern Kentucky section of Appalachia yesterday.

I felt like everyone and everything was gone and someone had forgotten to turn out the lights.

There is little mining though there still is some because coal does keep the lights on. There is only a bit of industry. There is no farming. There is a small service economy. Besides that, nothing.

So, being the researcher that I am, I got home and started looking up population statistics. Well, I’m right. Everyone IS gone. In the counties I was in, from 2010 to 2014, the population decreased between 2.5% –  8%. That is a huge change in only four years. You can see one of the reasons by looking at more statistics. Their labor force participation rate was less than 50%.

It is true the elderly people in the area are not working. The young people in the area are leaving. The rest of the people? The drug use and welfare problem is huge. To be fair, there are few jobs with the health care industry being the fastest growing sector in the area.

The counties I was in were Morgan, Wolfe, Perry, Breathitt, Magoffin, and Lee. It seems to be that there is a huge opportunity in that corner of Appalachia to push the reset button. If not, someone go in and turn out the lights. Otherwise, it is way too sad.

I hope everyone has a great week! See you next weekend! #amwriting #amblogging #writing #Appalachia #EasternKentucky

*This post sponsored by Parttime Monster Blog

Thanks, Diana!

 

Business Consultant and Freelance Writer

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Posted in Appalachia, Drug abuse, Poverty, The Economy, weekendcoffeeshare
9 comments on “#weekendcoffeeshare 11/5/2016
  1. trentpmcd says:

    The whole coal mining area is in bad economic shape. Modern mining is much more destructive than it used to be, yet it takes far fewer people – the amount of coal extracted hasn’t changed much but they use fewer than 1/3 of the people they did 50 years ago. And since that was the main employer, now that it uses less people, mining areas are hurting. And the funny thing is, the drop in employment is due mostly to more efficient mining practices, yet the people in those areas blame regulation in Washington, something the companies push so they don’t take the blame….

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    • You have a great understanding of the problem. But there are so many problems in the region. Drugs, welfare.

      Liked by 1 person

      • trentpmcd says:

        I’m sure. I don’t know that region well – I grew up in Ohio and that area (Eastern Kentucky, West Virginia, etc.) was just a place we drove through to get someplace else, and usually we drove through Western Kentucky, not Eastern (my mom grew up in the Land Between the Lakes region, born before the lakes…)

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  2. Cha ge occurs all the time sometimes it is good, others. One wonders. When were driving through areas of California, often saw old buildings abd homes sta ding empty and new areas nearby being developed.
    Have a pleasant week.

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  3. I understand and empathize as I’ve witnessed this myself. Feels somehow, more tragic, when it involves “home” or a place where you knew so many. Enjoyed your take on this and “turning the lights off”. Great response.

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  4. 39F? It’s funny, it was 80 in Florida today, and now I’m further south in Florida tonight, and it feels cold with this Gusty breeze! By the way, those are interesting observations on Appalachia. Thank you for sharing your insight.

    Like

  5. Glynis Jolly says:

    Rosemary, I’m having coffee with the hazelnut creamer today.

    I live south of you in the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee. There’s jobs here but the pay is poor. Many are having to rely on a healthcare program called Tenncare, which is essentially medicaid for families with some sort of income not matter how meager. No one seems to be leaving though because there are enough snowbirds from up north who migrate here every fall, which creates season jobs for the locals. I’m not a native here so I can’t tell you how everyone else makes ends meet. I see so many shoppers at the stores (during the occasional trips I take) and wonder how they can afford what they’re buying. I live frugally.

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  6. Pamela Morse says:

    Copper country his very similar problems. Mining towns were/are owned by the companies, so when the mine closes, the town closes. Arizona has real ghost towns and pseudo ghost towns founded on closed mines for centuries. It is fickle. Now we have little water to farm because we used it on mines.

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    • Very familiar with copper country if you are talking about the UP of Michigan. My dad went there went he immigrated from Sweden. Yes, they all have similar problems. The workers desperately need retraining but it’s hard for them.

      Like

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