- Associated Press - Sunday, February 1, 2015
Second Appalachian summit set for February

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Officials in eastern Kentucky are preparing to hold a second Appalachian summit at the East Kentucky Exposition Center in Pikeville.

The Appalachian News-Express (https://bit.ly/1JQilDU) reports the meeting will take place on Feb. 16 and will focus on implementing strategies for growth.

More than 1,000 people attended the original summit held in 2013 after Gov. Steve Beshear and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers announced the initiative called SOAR, Shaping Our Appalachian Region. The aim of SOAR is to find solutions to problems facing the region and bolster and diversify the economy.

“This summit is about defining tactics - how do we get to our next goals in workforce readiness, in education, in health, in attracting business - and then identifying the groups or individuals who are committed to getting us there,” said Jared Arnett, director for SOAR.

“Since the first summit, more than 2,500 citizens concerned with our region have given input into our plan. Through the leadership of our working groups, we have developed a robust, detailed vision for our region, and I’m looking forward to collectively putting our plan to work this year.”

Arnett said sessions are designed to dig into topics that can help communities grow or improve quality of life. Topics include high speed broadband, local food, rural industry and entrepreneurship. Some speakers come from other states with ideas that could be replicated; others will delve into projects that are already happening in the region.


Hatfields, McCoys make moonshine legally in southern W.Va.

GILBERT, W.Va. (AP) - After generations of bootlegging, direct descendants of the Hatfields have teamed up with the McCoy name to produce legal moonshine in southern West Virginia with the state’s blessing - the start of a new legacy for the families made famous for their 19th-century feud.

Production of “Drink of the Devil” has been in full swing at a distillery on original Hatfield land, bringing batches to the nation’s store shelves using the original recipe of family patriarch William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield.

Overseen by Chad Bishop, husband of Hatfield’s great-great-great granddaughter, all the work is done by hand in a converted garage on a mountainside six miles from “Devil Anse” Hatfield’s gravesite.

After going through fermentation and distilling processes at Hatfield & McCoy Moonshine, batches are bottled, corked and packaged in-house before being shipped to West Virginia, Florida, Kentucky, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

“This is as close as you’ll get to the way it was made 150 years ago,” Bishop said.

Among those lending knowledge and elbow grease to the business are Bishop’s wife, Amber, and her mother, Nancy Hatfield, the oldest living descendant of “Devil Anse.”


KSP probe of shredded LRC documents remains open

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - An investigation into the shredding of documents by former Legislative Research Commission Director Robert Sherman remains an active case more than a year after the shredding took place, according to Kentucky State Police.

The KSP probe began in September 2013 after the Louisville newspaper reported that Sherman shredded documents while removing personal belongings from his office following his resignation, The Courier-Journal (https://cjky.it/1CXpLoS) reports.

Sherman acknowledged he shredded documents, but said he was not trying to conceal anything. He said none of the destroyed records were important or related to then-recent sexual harassment allegations made by staff members against former state Rep. John Arnold.

The newspaper report promoted House Speaker Greg Stumbo and House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover to call for the investigation.

State police initially concluded the probe last May, saying it found no wrongdoing.

KSP reopened the case after a Courier-Journal report questioned the thoroughness of the investigation. Records showed that while state police had taken Sherman’s computer as part of the investigation, they never looked at the emails and other records within it, the newspaper reported.

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