Archive for November, 2013

SOAR Summit Announces Agenda

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

More than 1,100 have registered to participate in Dec. 9 meeting 

FRANKFORT, Ky.  (Nov. 22, 2013) – Job creation, entrepreneurship, tourism, lifelong learning, and leadership development will be among the topics discussed at the upcoming “SOAR: Shaping Our Appalachian Region” summit next month.   

Governor Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers released the daylong conference agenda today. Already, more than 1,100 people have registered to attend the summit, which will be held on Monday, Dec. 9 at the East Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville.   

In an effort to focus on the future success of southern and eastern Kentucky, Gov. Beshear and Rep. Rogers organized the summit to gather ideas and recommendations about how to move Kentucky’s Appalachian region forward.    

The summit will be moderated by Chuck Fluharty, President of the Rural Policy Research Institute. Sessions will focus on a number of topics, including how to encourage regional innovation, the importance of infrastructure, and developing youth engagement.   

One part of the day will be dedicated to the story of the Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board, which channeled the collective energies and ideas of the people of the iron-mining region of northeastern Minnesota to forge a new and successful future. 

The SOAR Summit will host hundreds of attendees from across southern and eastern Kentucky with varied occupational backgrounds and interests– including individuals representing education, business, nonprofits, arts, finance, tourism, local government and more.  The summit is open to any Kentuckian with an interest in the strength and future of Kentucky’s Appalachian region. Interested individuals are invited to attend the SOAR Summit by registering at   The agenda is available on the website.

Kentuckians can also participate in SOAR by following the latest updates through social media:  “Like” the Official SOAR Facebook page at and follow SOAR on Twitter @SOAR_EKY, using the hashtags #SOAR and #SOARSummit.



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Saturday, November 16th, 2013

(The Empty Stocking Fund is done in Memory of Tony Turner)  Letter from Jim “Muggins” Bennett:

This year marks the 33rd year for the Empty Stocking Fund.  As many of you know, Harlan County ranks the highest in the state of Kentucky for unemployment at 16%.  With the majority of our coal mines closed, that leaves another thousand families without a reliable source of income.  Needless to say, without your help, these families will have a very difficult Christmas season.

The Tri-City Empty Stocking Fund provides each child ages birth to eighteen years two gifts each.  Through our Home Alone program, each person receives one gift each.  Our goal this year is 3,000 gifts.

Again this year our biggest concern is getting enough funds to cover the food expense.  Each year we pack and deliver 600 food boxes, one to each family.  the boxes weigh approximately 100 pounds each and contain items such as: bread, canned foods, one canned ham (which is our most expensive item), a bag of potatoes, and milk, just to name a few.  Many other food items go into the boxes as long as we are able to provide them.

Our annual auction will be held on Wednesday, December 4 and Thursday, December 5, 2013 from 7:00pm-11:00pm nightly.  It will take place at the Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical Community campus in Cumberland.  Donations are much appreciated.  They can be brought to the auction or mailed to P.O. Box 634, Cumberland, KY 40823.

We will begin assembling the food boxes on Friday, December 20 at 5:00pm at the old Cumberland Middle School.  Volunteers are always needed and appreciated.  Delivery will take place on Saturday, December 21 at 8:00am at the same location.  If you are able, we encourage you to join in delivering the food boxes and gifts.  This is a chance to see gratitude and joy in the families faces.  We have high hopes that this year will be a success, but we can’t do it without your help.

We sincerely need your donations to this cause.  We hope to keep this ministry going so future generations can be blessed.  Help us spread love this holiday season and give those in need a joyous Christmas.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact Jim “Muggins” Bennett, Chairman, at 606-589-5310.  With your prayers, support, and donations let’s make this year even better than before.  Thank you and God Bless.

On Saturday, December 7th, the Tri City Empty Stocking Fund will have a Road block fundraiser in Cumberland, held from 10am-2pm.

December 9-13, Applications can be filled out at ACCESS Cable on Kingdom Come Drive, from 9am-noon and 1pm-3pm daily for Tri City Empty Stocking Fund boxes.


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