Press Releases

SOMERSET, Ky. --Five SOAR working groups will hold listening sessions in Eastern Kentucky July 28-31. The listening sessions are designed to engage public dialogue about the next strategic steps toward Shaping Our Appalachian Region. Each of the organization's ten working groups are holding organizational meetings and public listening sessions this summer to encourage community members to share ideas on how to improve the region.

On Thursday, July 31st, the Health Working Group will also have a regular meeting at 2:00 p.m. at the UK Center for Excellence in Rural Health in Hazard.

Additionally, the Kentucky Heritage Council hosts the 'Capitalizing on Culture' Conference on August 1-2 at the East Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville.Click here for details about the conference, including an agenda.

The public is invited to attend all SOAR meetings. For full details and meeting notes, visit the SOAR website at

    MONDAY, JULY 28th

    • Agriculture, Community & Regional Foods, Natural Resources Listening Session in Greensburg:

      6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Green County Extension Office, 298 Happyville Rd. in Greensburg

    • Education and Retraining Listening Session in Barbourville:

      6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at Union College in the Ramsey Center, 310 College Street in Barbourville

    TUESDAY, JULY 29th

    • Health Listening Session in Pikeville:

      12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. at the Pikeville Medical Center - 2nd Floor Boardroom, 911 S. Bypass Rd. in Pikeville

    • Tourism, Arts and Heritage Listening Session in Columbia:

      5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at the Adair County Courthouse, 424 Public Square in Columbia
      THURSDAY, JULY 31st
      • Health Working Group Meeting in Hazard:

        2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. at the UK Center for Excellence in Rural Health, 750 Morton Blvd. in Hazard

      • Tourism, Arts & Heritage Listening Session in London:

        5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at the Kentucky Highlands Innovation Center, 440 Old Whitley Rd. in London
      • Business Incubation Listening Session in Ashland:

        5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at Ignite Ashland, 1100 Greenup Avenue in Ashland
      • Agriculture, Community & Regional Foods and Natural Resources Listening Session in Monticello:

        6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Wayne County Extension Service, 255 Rolling Hills Blvd. in Monticello

      FRIDAY, AUG. 1st - SATURDAY, AUG. 2nd


        East Kentucky Expo Center, 126 Main St. in Pikeville

        Friday, August 1st: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

        Saturday, August 2nd: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


      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@ShapingOurAppalachianRegionand on Twitter@SOAR_EKYand find in-depth resources for the SOAR initiative online at