Press Releases

SOMERSET, Ky. -- SOAR listening sessions will be held in Eastern Kentucky on June 19th and 20th. The sessions are designed to open public dialogue about the next strategic steps toward Shaping Our Appalachian Region. Each of the organization's ten working groups are holding public listening sessions this summer to encourage community members to share ideas on how to improve the region. On Thursday and Friday, four listening sessions are planned to address tourism, agriculture and health. Additionally, the Tourism Working Group will have an organizational meeting prior to the listening session on Thursday morning. The public is invited to attend. For full details, visit the new SOAR website at


  • SOAR Tourism, Arts and Heritage Working Group:

    Organizational Meeting: 10:00 a.m. EDT at the Mountain Arts Center, 50 Hal Rogers Drive, Prestonsburg, Kentucky

    Listening Session: 12:30 p.m. EDT at the Mountain Arts Center, 50 Hal Rogers Drive, Prestonsburg, Kentucky

  • SOAR Agriculture and Natural Resources Working Group Listening Sessions:

    6:00 p.m. EDT at the Letcher County Extension Service, 478 Extension Drive, Whitesburg, Kentucky

    7:00 p.m. EDT ?at the Lawrence County Extension Service, 249 Industrial Park Road, Louisa, Kentucky


  • SOAR Health Working Group Listening Session:

    12:00 p.m. EDT ?at the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health, Room 214, 750 Morton Blvd. Hazard, Kentucky


The SOAR initiative was launched by Gov. Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers in late 2013, after a stunning downturn in the coal market exacerbated historic challenges in eastern Kentucky related to unemployment and poverty. More than 1,700 Kentuckians attended a one-day SOAR summit in Pikeville in December. SOAR is intended to help the region develop and put into action new locally-oriented strategies to attack those persistent challenges. Follow SOAR on Facebook @ShapingOurAppalachianRegion and on Twitter @SOAR_EKY and find in-depth resources for the SOAR initiative online at