Wildfires ravaged the hills, homes, and businesses in and around Gatlinburg, Tennessee, last week. More than 1,400 structures, like this house on a ridge south of town, were destroyed. Photo by Shawn Poynter

Gatlinburg Fire Disrupts Livelihood of Thousands

The deadly fire that struck the resort town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, has halted the tourism trade, which provides up to half the jobs in the city and surrounding county. Even for businesses that were not damaged, cash registers will be silent until at least Friday. Residents say they are confident the economy will bounce back.... READ MORE

Who will be the next secretary of Agriculture? Richard Oswald has a suggestion. From left to right are former secretaries and their dates of service: Orville Freeman (1961-69), Ezra Taft Benson (1953-61), Earl Butz (1971-76), and a secretary to be named at a later date.

Letter from Langdon: The Sleeper Candidate for Ag Secretary

He’s young, Republican, and knows how to drive a tractor – among other things. If the Trump administration wants to “drain the swamp,” it ought to look outside corporate ag for its next USDA secretary. Richard has a suggestion.... READ MORE

Dynamic Delta Leaders: A Passion for Place and People

Orlando Paden is a young state representative who always knew what he wanted to do. Mary Williams is a nurse practitioner who discovered her calling while slowly walking into her profession. Both look for ways to lead their region toward opportunity.... READ MORE

A man from the Muskogee tribe looks at the Oceti Sakowin shrouded in mist during a protest against the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, Photo by Stephanie Keith/Reuters

Trahant Reports: The Inevitable Pipeline That Wasn’t

The federal decision to block the Dakota Access Pipeline gives North Dakota the chance to make a new start and be known for something other than storm-trooper police and water cannons.... READ MORE

Photo by Lance Booth.

In the Black: Roof Fall

After a roof fall, cleaning up is tedious business. And that may be the easy part.... READ MORE

Appalachia has both a rich culture and many examples of success, despite what you might see on TV. A couple of participants in the guitar competition at the 2014 Wayne C Henderson Music Festival and Guitar Competition in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia. Photo by Virginia State Parks/Flickr

Speak Your Piece: Just Say No to ‘Poverty Porn’

When Fox News came calling to do a story about Appalachia, it didn’t take long to figure out what they were really after: examples of doom, gloom, and failure. Nonprofits must shift the focus away from negative stereotypes to show what's working in rural America.... READ MORE

Dynamic Delta Leaders: Education Is the Key

The Mississippi Delta is often labeled as a region with "the highest rates of everything bad and lowest of everything good." But young leaders who are returning home to the Delta -- or relocating from beyond the region -- have a different vision. And education is the way to achieve it, they say. This is the first installment of a three-part series on young Delta leaders, produced by Delta resident Timothy Lampkin with Winfield Ezell, and Sean Cokes.


The Albion Community Foundation raised around $4 million to restore the historic Bohm Theatre in Albion, Michigan.

Albion College Leaves the Light on for You

A college president in small town Michigan pulled together a team of unlikely partners to save the school and rebuild the community.... READ MORE


Letter from Langdon: Medicare Helps People; What’s So Diabolical About That?

For people who have been on individual health-insurance plans, Medicare is tremendously effective and affordable. So why do some members of Congress want to "improve" it by turning it over to profit-driven corporations?... READ MORE


News Briefs