Send Relief Supplies
Over 300,000 individuals in nine counties have been left without clean water after Thursday's chemical spill in Charleston, West Virginia. Emergency services have been providing water to families but rural areas are not getting an adequate, regular supply.
Here are four West Virginia organizations that are taking donations which will help provide support to those who are affected by the spill.
Keepers of the Mountain
Coal River Mountain Watch
If you like to make your donation to ACF and designate it to a specific organization, we will be happy to distribute funds to your organization of choice as well.
Please stay tuned to ACF and the above mentioned organizations for updates regarding a call to action.
"...watch out for your neighbors. They're the ones who are going to watch out for you."- Chris Laws, resident
Rest in Peace Amiri Baraka
Activist, poet-playwright, and tireless agitator
|Inside Appalachian Community Fund|
Again a very special thank you to the folks who gave interviews and took the time to fill out our Regional Assessment Survey.
We are also grateful for those who joined us last Friday night for our Community Unity Mixer. It was a lot of fun as you can see from the pictures.
Check out more photos from the evening on our Facebook Page.
Peace, love and light,
News From the Region
Chemical Leak Into West Virginia River Far Larger Than Previously Estimated
By Joanna M. Foster
As over 300,000 people in West Virginia face several days without water, state environmental officials are now estimating that as much as 7,500 gallons of a chemical used to process coal (Crude MCHM) may have spilled into the Elk River. That number is a substantial increase from early estimates of 2,000 to 5,000 gallons. The chemical leak, first reported Thursday, January 9th, was at a facility owned by Freedom Industries along the Elk River, just 1.5 miles upstream from a major intake used by the largest water utility in the state, West Virginia American Water. At a press conference Saturday afternoon, Jeff McIntyre, president of West Virginia American Water Company, said that it would likely still be "several days" before tap water in the nine counties affected would be safe for anything besides flushing toilets. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention has set the standard of 1 part per million as a safe concentration of Crude MCHM in drinking water. Levels of the chemical must remain below this threshold for over 24 hours of testing before the water company can begin flushing the system. At a press briefing Saturday evening, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's (D) office released the first results of the now round-the-clock water sampling efforts. While some tests are coming in below the safe threshold, the system is still far from clean. Eight out of 18 recent test results tested above 1 part per million. Some of the earliest tests showed concentrations as high as 3 parts per million. "The reason the numbers are going down is we believe less of the material is getting into the water," said Mike Dorsey, the chief of homeland security and emergency response at the State Department of Environmental Protection. "We have cut of the source of the leak, the tank. There is still material under the concrete and the soil. We've taken aggressive measures on the shore line below the site." A team from the Chemical Safety Board will arrive in West Virginia on Monday to begin the long process of assessing the cause of the spill. The CSB is an independent federal agency with the authority to investigate industrial chemical accidents. The agency issues recommendations for prevention of future accidents. To date, FEMA has brought in 1.4 million liters of water for residents. An additional 1.6 million liters are expected to come in over the course of the weekend. The New York Times reported Saturday that at least 122 people have gone to local hospitals complaining of nausea, vomiting, and skin and eye irritation.
Farmers Market Training Network
Now Accepting Applications
The West Virginia Farmers Market Association is happy to announce that we are now accepting applications for our new and improved Farmers Market Training Network! All applications are due by January 31, 2014. Click here to read more details and access a downloadable program announcement/application.
Center for Health, Environment and Justice
Free online training
Do you know where fracking is being done, how it works, or what health hazards are associated with fracking? On Tuesday, January 21 at noon (EST), join CHEJ's special live event and learn about fracking, its associated health hazards, and more. There is no cost to attend the event, but space for the session is limited, so please register as soon as possible to let us know if you'd like to attend. Learn more and register here.
Southern Environmental Law Center
Protecting the South's Waters From Toxic Coal Ash
The South is known to be the nation's most coal-dependent region. What many don't know is that coal ash waste is silently contaminating our rivers, groundwater, and drinking water reservoirs. SELC is compelling the South's utilities to stop and clean up this pollution. Please take action by viewing and sharing this slideshow. Read more about our work to clean up coal ash.
Shalefield Justice Spring Break
Saturday, March 15 to Saturday, March 22
Shalefield Justice Spring Break (SJSB), inspired by the Mountain Justice Spring Break (MJSB) and Summer camps hosted in the coalfields of Appalachia, will bring together members of extraction communities, college students, environmentalists and concerned residents who are interested in learning more about shale gas hydraulic fracturing and its infrastructure, as well as other forms of extreme energy extraction. Participants will also learn about the history of resistance, and about plugging into and collaborating with current campaigns and projects. Through seven days of workshops, skill shares, community service, speakers, hiking, music, films, direct action and more -all within an intentional framework which seeks to divest from all systems of oppression-folks will learn from and stand with shalefield communities in the struggle to maintain community determination and healthy environments for all species (not just humans)! Click here for more details.
The Living Wage Calculator
Provides Information on Poverty and Living Wage
In many American communities, families working in low-wage jobs make insufficient income to live locally given the local cost of living. Recently, in a number of high-cost communities, community organizers and citizens have successfully argued that the prevailing wage offered by the public sector and key businesses should reflect a wage rate required to meet minimum standards of living. Therefore this living wage calculator was developed to estimate the cost of living in your community or region. The calculator lists typical expenses, the living wage and typical wages for the selected location. To access the living wage calculator click here.
Symposium on Hydraulic Fracturing
Free but Registration Required
The Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET) and the Center for Public Health Initiatives (CPHI) are co-hosting a symposium: "Impact of Unconventional Natural Gas Drilling Operations on the Environment and Public Health" to take place on Tuesday, February 18th, 2014 at the Smilow Center for Translational Research at the University of Pennsylvania. CEET is an Environmental Health Sciences Core Center funded by the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences. The hosts hope to engage many different stakeholders concerning hydraulic fracturing and educate participants on the process and effects on the environment and public health. The symposium will also profile ongoing research on this topic. The day will end with a session on citizens' concerns with a panel discussion. Click here for agenda.
The 2014-2015 Appalachian Transition Fellowship
Starts June, 2014
A new fellowship program will begin next year, aiming to help communities in Central Appalachia rebuild their economies. The Appalachian Transition Fellowship Program is a project of the non-profit Highlander Center, based in Eastern Tennessee. Early next year, it will select 15 communities in the Appalachian areas of Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, West Virginia and North Carolina. With input from those communities, they'll select 15 fellows to undertake one-year economic development projects. Program coordinator Elandria Williams says this fellowship program is different than programs that have provided support to Appalachia in the past. "This is very different. What we're saying is actually the leaders we have to engage in, the emerging people we must, we must invest in are people from our area," she said.
In that vein, the only people who are eligible for the fellowships are people who have actually lived in Appalachia, whether they're from there or transplants, and have demonstrated commitment to the region. They'll be paid $24,000 for their fellowship year, and the 15 host communities will have a hand in selecting their fellows. Fellowship applications are due in February. Apply here.
4th Annual Mildred Haun Conference
The Voices of Appalachia, February 7-8, 2014
The Mildred Haun Conference is an attempt to explore and define Appalachian literature and culture for ourselves and for the outside world. We are seeking individual and panel presentations from faculty members, independent scholars, community members, and students who have an interest in any aspect of Appalachian literature and culture. For registration information and other conference details click here.
Job Opportunities in Central Appalachia
| Eastern Kentucky Farm to Table Coordinator|
The Community Farm Alliance (CFA) is a statewide grassroots membership organization that strives to bring a voice on issues affecting family farmers and local food consumers to both state and national policy makers. Since 1985, the Community Farm Alliance has led major innovations in Kentucky's agriculture, food and community policy development. The Eastern Kentucky Farm to Table Coordinator is responsible for coordinating and integrating CFA's Program of Work in Eastern Kentucky that a) builds CFA's East Kentucky membership, b) identifies and develops East Kentucky CFA Leadership, and c) helps to build regional and community food systems. To read the full announcement click here.
High Rocks is actively recruiting qualified candidates for a full-time staff position at High Rocks. High Rocks Educational Corporation, an award-winning non-profit leadership program in Hillsboro, WV with the mission to educate, empower and inspire young women in West Virginia is seeking a qualified candidate for a Program Coordinator. The coordinator will work directly with youth and volunteers to implement year-round programming and will also be responsible for the primary coordination of college access programming, admission and recruitment, the Teaching Project, the internship program and marketing. He/she will also represent High Rocks in a larger community of regional networks and partnerships. Applications can be e-mailed to Margaret Emanuel, Lead Program Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information click here.
Opportunity to Work with Headwaters as a VISTA Whitesburg, Kentucky
Headwaters is currently seeking resumes for an AmeriCorps VISTA position in Whitesburg, Kentucky, to assist with improving water quality in eastern Kentucky. This is a one-year, renewable position that will begin in February 2014. Headwaters is a nonprofit, grassroots organization whose mission is to improve streams in Letcher County by organizing stream clean-ups and instilling a sense of responsibility for water resources through environmental education. More information about this position is available here.
West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition
Seeks Program Coordinator
The West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition seeks a dynamic and committed individual to help build and support West Virginia's rapidly growing local food system. Since 2010, the Coalition has supported a statewide network of West Virginians working to grow food and farm businesses while improving access to healthy local food. The position of Program Coordinator requires a special individual who is willing to work hard, think outside the box, be an advocate for farmers and consumers, and build partnerships outside of traditional "silos" in order to continue the Coalition's success in promoting food and agriculture as a critical part of West Virginia's economy and well-being. The West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition is currently located in Fayette County, WV, in the heart of Appalachia and site of the New River Gorge. The full job description, including this announcement, can be downloaded here.
Kentucky Environmental Foundation
Seeks Executive Director
Kentucky Environmental Foundation (KEF), a 23-year old nonprofit located in Berea, KY, announces a search for its third executive director. KEF was founded as a citizen-based environmental organization focused on finding a safe way to dispose of chemical weapons stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Madison County Kentucky. The Foundation's work includes alliances with other chemical weapons sites in the United States as well as other countries. After significant and unprecedented success in finding alternative methods for disposing of chemical weapons in Madison County and at other sites, KEF expanded its work to include additional areas of environmental health and justice concern for Kentuckians.
KEF seeks a leader with broad-based skills and personal qualities, who will engender respect for the institution s/he serves. These include: passion for the causes that the Foundation serves, intellectual acumen, idealism, social responsibility, devoted work and service ethics, and a respect for all people. Personal characteristics of warmth, integrity, authenticity, a sense of humor, and respect for differences and diverse perspectives are all important. This search is being led by the ED Search Committee. Prospective candidates may contact the Search Committee by emailing Info@KyEnvironmentalFoundation.org.
The Fellowship program now has two purposes. Continuing as in the past, one is to encourage the scholarly use of Berea's existing non-commercial audio / video collections. The other, new for 2013-1014, is to support new documentation projects that produce primary source material of lasting value for future research use in the Berea College Archives. Awards in support of either type of research are for one month with stipends of $3,000. Fellowships for the remainder of the fiscal year must be taken up between January and June 2014. All Fellowship supported research must be finished by June 30, 2014. Fellows are expected to be in residence during the term of the fellowship and are encouraged to participate in campus and community activities. The deadline for proposals is December 6, 2013 for January through June 2014. For information about Berea's Sound Archives and other traditional music collections, click here. For additional information about Berea's Appalachian Sound Archives Fellowships, click here.
Appalachian Sound Archives Fellowships 2013-2014
Arcus Foundation Requests Proposals for Forums to Promote Dialogue on LGBT Equality and Ape Conservation
Leading Global Foundation Advancing Pressing Social Justice and Conservation Issues
The Arcus Foundation announced the formal launch of Arcus Forum, a series of public conversations to encourage dialogue on a range of issues related to the Foundation's work on LGBT rights and ape conservation. The forums will feature speakers and content intended to serve as a vehicle for informing and nurturing advocates, and increasing visibility for leading actors and thinkers working to advance justice in society and in nature.
While Arcus will determine some topics, speakers and content, the Foundation will also invite proposals from organizations and advocates to either be featured in the series or to collaborate or co-create a forum. The Foundation is currently welcoming proposals from advocates and organizations for events to take place in New York City during the first half of 2014. The first of next year's forums is expected to take place in March. Interested organizations and advocates may learn more about submission guidelines and submit a proposal online here
Lowe's Charitable and Education Foundation Announces 2014 Toolbox for Education Grant Program
Deadline: February 14, 2014
Lowe's Charitable and Education Foundation has announced the opening of its Spring 2014 Toolbox for Education
grant cycle. The program supports projects that encourage parental involvement in local schools and build stronger community spirit. Toolbox for Education grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded in support of projects that have a permanent impact on a school community. Grant funds cannot be used to pay for memorials, stipends, salaries, artists in residence, field trips, or scholarships. Only 10 percent of any award can be allocated for outside expenses such as labor, installation, consultation, and delivery. Lowe's will only consider grants for projects that can be completed within a year of receipt of the grant. A Toolbox grant can be used as part of a large-scale project like a playground as long as the grant is used to complete a phase of the project that can be completed within twelve months of the award. To be eligible for a grant, applicants must be a public K-12 school or nonprofit parent group associated with such a school. Parent groups that are applying (PTO, PTA, etc.) must have an independent EIN and official 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Preschools are not eligible. The application process will be closed after 1,500 applications have been received. Complete application and eligibility guidelines, as well as lists of past grant recipients, are available on the Toolbox for Education Web Site.
The "Promise Zone" Program
Impoverished Portion of Southeast Kentucky to get Priority for Federal Money
An area of southeast Kentucky struggling with chronic poverty and the loss of thousands of coal jobs will get priority when seeking federal money for job training, education, housing and other programs, President Barack Obama announced January 8th. An eight-county area of Eastern Kentucky has been chosen for the Promise Zone program, according to the White House. The designation will not include a big pot of new federal money, but it will give the counties priority for funding through existing programs and special help from federal officials in applying for money and coordinating efforts to fight poverty, according to the White House. Obama also has proposed giving tax breaks to businesses in such zones as a tool to boost hiring, though Congress has not approved such incentives. The counties in the zone are Bell, Harlan, Letcher, Perry, Leslie, Clay, Knox and part of Whitley, according to Jerry Rickett, president and chief executive officer of Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation. Read full story here. For more Information on: The "Promise Zone" program click here. An interactive Kentucky "Promise Zone" Map click here.
CFP for 2014 UK Graduate Appalachian Research Symposium
The University of Kentucky (UK) Graduate Appalachian Research Community (GARC) is pleased to announce the Fifth Annual UK Appalachian Research Community Symposium and Arts Showcase, which will be held on Saturday, March 8, 2014. Presentation/paper abstracts should be submitted online here by midnight February 8, 2014. (Please see the call for papers here for more details. Also, the website is for the 2014 symposium even though the URL address says "2013"...).
Dimensions of Political Ecology: Conference on Nature/Society
The University of Kentucky
This year, the UK Political Ecology Working Group invites YOU to organize sessions for the upcoming Dimensions of Political Ecology (DOPE) Conference! The UK Political Ecology Working Group hope that having participants organize sessions will make the conference more reflective of the wide range of cutting edge research currently taking place in political ecology. Online registration opened October 1st and cost $20 for students and $40 for faculty (there is no fee for undergraduate participants). Please click here for more conference highlights and registration instructions, including how to submit a paper abstract that you would like the conference organizing committee to attempt to place in a suitable session if you are unable to find/organize an appropriate organized session. The conference dates are February 27 - March 1, 2014.
League of Women Voters of Knoxville/Knox County
Citizen Academy will offer a three Saturday workshop on running for office (and helping others run). The Citizens Academy is designed to bring Knox County citizens who want to improve and make change in their community together with experienced leaders from within and outside of government. The goal of the Citizens Academy is to set in motion a vanguard of empowered citizens who will help our county confront its challenges and reach its potential. This year, the Citizens Academy will be focused on running for elected office. The 2014 Citizens Academy sessions will take place on February 15, 22, and March 8. The workshop information and application are on the League website here. Please download an application and send it to League@lwvknoxville.org or by mail to League of Women Voters of Knoxville/Knox County, P.O. Box 31825, Knoxville, TN 37930.
Community Shares of Tennessee invites you to their annual Nashville Chili Festival, Sunday, February 9th, 12 to 3 p.m. At the Yazoo Brewing Company in Nashville, the benefit will feature chili tasting, live music, a pepper-eating contest, and activities for the kids. General admission tickets for individuals are $10, more for brew or to enter the cook-off. For more information, check out the festivals website here.
2013 Livability Report Card Gauges Region's Quality of Life
The 2013 Livability Report Card for the PlanET region highlights conditions affecting quality of life for the region's residents by providing statistics and ratings in twenty key areas including transportation, health and the local economy. East Tennessee's youth have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. Area roads and bridges need more than $1 billion in repairs and upgrades. New home construction is down 70 percent from pre-recession activity. PlanET research partners recently released the 2013 edition of the Livability Report Card, taking a close look at quality of life issues in the five-county region. While residents enjoy good quality of life, there are stark reminders that there is room for improvement. Read full report here.
Virginia Coal Advocacy Groups Band Together
The Virginia Coal and Energy Alliance
Three coal advocacy organizations will join to form one new organization, officials announced Monday. The Virginia Coal and Energy Alliance will be the result of the merger between the Virginia Coal Association, the Eastern Coal Council and the Virginia Mining Association, officials announced in a written statement. The new organization will be headquartered in Lebanon and will serve as an organization focused on governmental and regulatory affairs, education and outreach. Read full story here.
Virginia Organizing Presents Dervish
Irish Music's Finest, from the West of Ireland
On Friday, February 21, one of Ireland's finest traditional Irish music bands, Dervish, will begin its U.S. tour in Charlottesville. The concert will be at the Paramount Theater and begins at 7:00 p.m. Dervish concert performances are a myriad of tones and moods ranging from high energy tunes, played with fluidity and intuitiveness, to beautifully measured songs, from charming lyrics of life and love, to inspiring melodies that lift audiences from their seats. All the elements are drawn together by Cathy Jordan's masterful stage-presence. Dervish is a band that both celebrates Irish music and has been instrumental in bringing it to a worldwide audience. Brian Cunningham, sean-n dancer, will also be performing. Brian is one of the charismatic dancers of the show Atlantic Steps, an inspiring epic story of Ireland's oldest dance form (sean-nós translated means old style). Check out Dervish here. Click here for a link to the theater website for you to purchase tickets on-line and to get a taste of the great show that awaits you. Some subsidized tickets are available. If you cannot afford a ticket, please contact Joe Szakos at (434) 984-4655 x222 to inquire about getting a ticket. If you are interested in helping to pay for tickets for those who cannot afford them, please contact Joe, too.
| | Fairness West Virginia's 2014 Day of Action
Join the Call for Fairness Under the Dome!
The 2014 Legislative Session is officially underway which means we'll soon be headed to the West Virginia State Capitol in Charleston to Call for Fairness Under the Dome! Last year, our collective voices for Fairness filled the Capitol Complex and let every legislator know that 57,000 LGBT and allied West Virginians mean business when it comes to asking for fair treatment under state law.
Fair treatment - nothing more and nothing less. This year, we need to build on our momentum. Join us on February 10 to help demonstrate that ALL Mountaineers are entitled to equal protection from our state legislators. Click here now to register for Fairness West Virginia's 2014 Day of Action and help us effect real change in the Mountain State! Our day together will begin at 9:30 am and run until 4:45 pm, then you'll be able to join us for our very first Fairness After Hours networking event at a location to be announced, so make your plans now to take the day off on Monday, February 10, and help us Call for Fairness Under the Dome! Over the next three months, you'll be able to directly effect change by helping us get your legislators behind Fairness. Keep an eye out for emails and social media posts about how you'll be able to make the difference in your local community!
37th Annual Appalachian Studies Conference
New Appalachia: Known Realities and Imagined Possibilities
Online registration for the 37th Annual Appalachian Studies Conference is now open. This year's conference will be held March 28-30, 2014, on the Marshall University campus in Huntington, West Virginia. We are pleased to offer conference registration and membership renewal online through the ASA's new partnership with the University of Illinois Press. Register and for more information click here. Application forms for scholarships to attend the conference can be found here. Deadline to apply for a scholarship is February 18th.
Register Now for Mountain Justice Spring Break 2014
Sunday March 9 - Sunday March 16 in Northern West Virginia
Come to the beautiful mountains of West Virginia for your Spring Break! Learn about the dirty, destructive, dangerous life-cycles of coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy. Stand in solidarity with the communities in Virginia, West Virginia, South West Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee facing the ongoing destruction of coal mining, hydraulic fracturing, and nuclear energy! See mountaintop removal coal mining and natural gas extraction via hydraulic fracturing up close! Take direct action to end the reign of King Coal! To see photos from MJSB 2013 and the direct action at the West Virginia state capitol, go here. Mountain Justice Spring Break (MJSB) will bring together residents of extraction communities, college students, environmentalists and concerned citizens who are interested in learning more about mountaintop removal coal mining, fracking, and the dangers of nuclear energy. The week will be spent in West Virginia cultivating the skills and visions needed to build a sustainable energy future in Appalachia. Through education, community service, speakers, hiking, music, poetry, direct action and more, you will learn from and stand with Appalachian communities in the struggle to maintain our land and culture. Anti-Oppression trainings and discussion will be a significant part of this week, and we will strive to incorporate Anti-Oppression, Dismantling Racism and Patriarchy into all aspects of our week. Mountain Justice Spring Break will also offer a variety of community service projects. To see the schedule for the week or register click here.
Ways to Give
Support Appalachian Community Fund
As You Shop Did you know you can support Appalachian Community Fund (ACF) in your community just by shopping at Kroger? It's easy when you enroll in Kroger Community Rewards®! To get started, sign up with your Plus Card, and select Appalachian Community Fund. Once you're enrolled, you'll earn rewards for ACF every time you shop and use your Plus Card! To use your Kroger card to support ACF click here for more information.
To get involved contact Margo Miller via email email@example.com or by phone 865-523-5783. Thank you for your continued support of ACF and Central Appalachia. Here's to another 25 years of Change, Not Charity!
The Appalachian Community Fund funds and encourages grassroots social change in Central Appalachia. ACF works to build a sustainable base of resources to support community-led organizations seeking to overcome and address issues of race, economic status, gender, sexual identity, and disability. As a community-controlled fund, ACF offers leadership to expand and strengthen the movement for social change through its practices and policies.
Over 25 Years Working for Social Change
Since its founding in 1987, ACF has awarded over $6 million for community organizing and social justice work to more than 300 grassroots organizations in Central Appalachia. Out motto - Change, Not Charity - reflects our vision to support social change organizing and our conviction that, by networking and partnering with organizations working to address the root causes of social, racial, economic and environmental problems facing Central Appalachia every day, we can create more just, equitable healthy communities with opportunities for every one. ACF has had a significant impact in our region. Please visit success stories and current grantees to find out more.
Appalachian Community Fund
865-523-5783 phone * 865-523-1896 fax