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SOAR Working Groups Report Key Recommendations

Meeting at Natural Bridge yields new partnerships, new ideas

SOAR

SOAR

SLADE, Ky.  (Sept. 23, 2014) – Ten working groups organized under the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) initiative presented their top findings today at Natural Bridge.

Despite the different working group topics, several common themes emerged among the recommendations: the need for cross-agency collaboration, especially in economic development; a desire for training and investment in entrepreneurship; and a strong interest in a robust public relations effort to both market the region to the United States and beyond and to reinforce the citizens’ understanding and support of the uniquely eastern Kentucky story.

The recommendations – some familiar, some novel – are the synthesis of a summer spent talking with eastern Kentucky residents in more than 100 meetings and listening sessions across the region.  In all, more than 2,500 citizens participated in discussions about topics ranging from education to tourism to economic development.

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Daniel Boone Festival closures

Due to the numerous events through the week of the Daniel Boone Festival, the following businesses will be closed.

  • Barbourville Tourism will relocate Thursday and Friday to the gazebo on the north side of the courthouse.
  • City Hall will close at noon Friday.
  • The Knox County courthouse will be closed all day Friday.
  • Knox County Schools will be closed Thursday and Friday.
  • Barbourville Independent Schools will be closed all week for Fall Break.

911 Center upgrading to fiber optics

Knox County 911 Center will utilize a fiber optic phone system in spring 2015.

Knox County 911 Center will utilize a fiber optic phone system in spring 2015.

Knox County 911 Board has been awarded a 2014 CMRS Board Grant in the amount of $105,000 for a host/remote phone system.

Winston Tye, Knox County 911 director, says that currently, the Knox County 911 center pays $8,500 a month to the phone company for seven 911 trunk lines

The county could save as much as $2,000 a month on the new system.

Aside from saving the county money, there are three other vital advantages to the new system.

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Let music live

Submitted by Erica Overbay

 “I want my students to have a big opportunity to express themselves and step outside of the box." - Eddie Campbell, choir director for Knox County High School

“I want my students to have a big opportunity to express themselves and step outside of the box.” – Eddie Campbell, choir director for Knox County High School

Music is an integral part of the daily life of many individuals. It has the power to encompass the wide spectrum of human emotion and portray it in strong melodies and beautiful instrumentation. Music can lift your spirits during a rough day, share in your jubilance when life deals you a good hand, and relate to all feelings in between.

As imperative as music is to one’s daily life, it remains one of the areas of education that is slowly disintegrating across the nation. Music educators are fighting to keep music alive to allow students to experience the beauty and intrigue of the art, especially in Knox County, as well as its surrounding counties.

“I want my students to have a big opportunity to express themselves and step outside of the box,” said Eddie Campbell, choir director for Knox County High School. I believe this can be achieved by giving students options to enhance their talent.”

Beginning Choir, Advanced Choir, and Chamber Choir are all offered at KCHS, allowing students to recognize and hone in on their musical niche. Students from all choir classes, as well as the band classes, under the direction of Darrell Dixon, remain actively involved in concerts and events throughout the school year.

Campbell and Dixon work with Knox County Middle School to ensure students are not only prepared for scheduled events, but prepared to succeed in music upon entering high school.

Mark Felts, Choir Director at South Laurel High School, also recognizes the importance of keeping the music alive in schools.

“I love seeing the love of music grow in the students. I love seeing their musicianship grow,” says Felts.

Harlan County High School Choir Director Jeanne Lee has also worked adamantly to keep their music program thriving. Students have the option to join a variety of band ensembles, as well as choir.

“I love the moment it all comes together for the students,” she said, “the moments when the students say, ‘Wow! We did it!’”

Lee is also part of the school administration and helps to decide needs within the curriculum. She addresses the problem that many teachers face when the issue of funding arises.

“Music is the first thing they want to cut,” says Lee. “They see it as unnecessary, which is not true. Music is very necessary and can help with other subjects.”

Lee further explained that music has healing power and can offer so many wonderful things to the overall wellbeing of an individual.

She added, “Denying students the opportunity to learn an instrument and enhance their vocal ability is a disservice to the children.”

Without dedicated instructors, willing to fight for the best interest of their students, music education could wither and fall into the realm of impossibility for the children of today.

The quality these instructors each possess, above their many accomplishments, is their unwavering love of teaching music. They all have a desire to share their love of music with their students, and they all long to see their students succeed.

While it is known that not all schools struggle with the funding of music programs, others are fighting for it with their last breath.

“I hope that others will continue to fan the flame of the passion of music,” said Lee, “and realize if you cut out music, you cut out the heart.”

Editor’s Note: Erica Overbey is a student at Union College.

Knox Central 33, Whitley County 28

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Knox Central fans react to a call in the second half of the Whitley County game. The Panthers held on to a five point victory.

The Knox Central Panthers traveled to Whitley County on Friday night to take on the Colonels. The Panthers held on to a highly contested 33-28 victory. For complete coverage, see this weeks Mountain Advocate.

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Today’s Events

  • September 30, 2014 – Knox County Chamber of Commerce
    11:45 am, General

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