Monday, June 03, 2013

Ky. cable-news outfit looks at America's poorest county, and changes residents hope to make

Owsley County, Kentucky, is consistently ranked as one of the poorest counties in the U.S. Trying to look beyond the numbers, and get to the heart of the county and its people, cn|2, a news service of the Insight cable television company, aired a multi-part series examining the challenges the county is facing, and the ways in which residents are trying to improve the quality of life in the area.

Of the 4,722 people living in the county, more than 39 percent live below the federal poverty line, and the average median household income is $19,344, less than half the average of the rest of the state, Don Weber reports. Seventeen percent of U.S. citizens receive government support, but the number is about three times as high in Owsley County, where 53 percent receive government benefits.

Poverty, substandard housing, lack of education, drug addiction and hunger are serious hurdles for people in a county labeled by the U.S. census as the poorest in the country, cn|2 reports. But many Owsley County residents are trying to make a difference.

Weber reports on a woman who was born and raised in the county, but returned after retirement to fight hunger first hand. In another story, cn|2 looked at one organization trying to create a better environment for residents in the county. In the final story, Weber took a look at a critical area in the future of the county, young people. In an area where only 56 percent of adults have a high school diploma, Weber reports on what the schools are doing to change the culture and improve student interest and performance.

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