KET to Air Highlights of SOAR Innovation Summit

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

It was a grand time to be in eastern Kentucky.

For those arriving in Pikeville last weekend, everything seemed to shout “hello and welcome” to the attendees of the 2016 SOAR Innovation Summit.

U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers (KY-5) and then-Gov. Steve Beshear launched the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) initiative in 2013. Its mission is to expand job creation, enhance regional opportunity, and improve the lives of everyone living in 54 counties of Appalachian Kentucky.

If you’ve never been to Pikeville or if it’s been a while since you’ve travelled to the city, you should take time to visit this summer. As our KET crew snaked down the mountain and around the final curve into Pikeville last Sunday afternoon, we found a vibrant community. The shopping areas and restaurants on the west side of town were brimming with traffic. The downtown area revealed a surprising array of new buildings and construction.

The Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine at the University of Pikeville has a commanding presence on Main Street. Across from two very nice hotels, the school’s new colleges of optometry and nursing are under construction. From there it’s only a short walk to a downtown park and the East Kentucky Expo Center.

Pikeville is bustling.

But the rest of the region continues to struggle from job losses due to the downturn in coal mining, lingering health disparities, and insufficient infrastructure to connect Appalachia to the outside world. Monday’s SOAR Innovation Summit focused on efforts to strengthen and diversify eastern Kentucky’s beleaguered economy as attendees learned about a range of innovative ideas and promising solutions.

This year Gov. Matt Bevin joined Congressman Rogers as co-chairs of the event. The schedule included presentations by an array of federal officials, including Appalachian Regional Commission Co-chair Earl Gohl and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler.

Monday night at 8, KET will air a recap of this year’s summit. Here’s a preview of what you’ll see.

Big Ideas Come to Lexington

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

Where can you see a digital pioneer, a leading automotive executive, a college basketball guru, a Major League Baseball star, a Broadway dancer, a European health commissioner, and leading thinkers in the worlds of agriculture and sustainability all on the same stage?

They’re at One: The Alltech Ideas Conference, which is being held in Lexington this week. Their website says the event “is about interacting with mind-expanding visionaries across a range of topics. No matter your industry, company size, or role, you are sure to find sessions that inspire.”

KET is at the conference, recording interviews that will air on One to One this summer. Here’s a preview.

Catching Up with Allysum Pohl

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

Here’s an update on Alyssum Pohl. You’ll remember meeting her here on “Bill’s Eye” last fall.

She’s the young woman I Skyped with on two occasions to tell you her story. The reason I couldn’t meet her in person is because she was kayaking the full length of the Mississippi River -— 2,340 river miles, every day, from June until this past November.

Alyssum graduated from UK with a biology degree, and a Master’s in International Environmental Policy from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California.

Alyssum didn’t float the Mississippi for fun. On the river, she was documenting water quality and plastic waste, organized a partnership with several organizations including Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, and raised 130 percent of the estimated budget to complete the project.

She was eaten up by mosquitoes, bitten by fire ants, and suffered through torrential rainstorms and horrendous sunburn.

Before putting her boat into the headwaters of the Mississippi, she had never kayaked in her life.

The Yoga Sutra she carried with her was “Practice becomes firmly grounded when practiced for a long time, without interruption, and with earnest devotion.”

She’s now in Washington, writing a memoir, and says, “whatever inspires you —- go for it.”

Recently, she returned to Lexington for a talk at the downtown library and Lillie Ruschell was there and captured this video update:

Here’s a link to her complete presentation.


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