George “Aaron” Leath was born and raised in Harlan County, Kentucky – the heart of the US coal mining industry.
His father is a coal miner.
His grandfather is retired from working the mines. An oxygen tank in the living room is a reminder of years underground; Black Lung disease has ravaged his chest and makes it difficult for him to breathe. Read more
Looking for work these days can be a challenge for anyone. In the past year Harlan County, Kentucky has already seen a coal mine and several department stores shut down, and there are rumors of future layoffs at area coal mines.
With fewer places hiring and fierce competition for limited spaces, imagine what it must be like for people who are already perceived as disadvantaged because of a physical, mental or emotional disability? Read more
In rural southeastern Kentucky, the hills have always provided. Timber harvesting employed thousands when it began in earnest after the Civil War. Not long after, massive mines began to define this area as “coal country.”
Until late in the twentieth century, those industries gave this part of Kentucky much of its identity and livelihood. Today, both are in decline and employ a fraction of the workforce they saw at their peak. Read more
The sign posted along Highway 119 proudly announced the 54th Annual Poke Sallet Festival would be coming to downtown Harlan, Kentucky on June 4-6th. This prompted an immediate Internet search on my BlackBerry. Read more