December 5, 2021

Frontline Journalism Is A Foundation of Environmental Achievements and Institutional Strength

“The walls of the valley are made up of rocks, mountains in size, partly separated from each other by side cañons and gorges,” wrote John Muir of magnificent Yosemite Valley. “They are so sheer in front, and so compactly and harmoniously built together on a level floor, that the place, comprehensively seen, looks like some immense hall or temple lighted from above.” With this frontline account, published in the August 1890 edition of Century Magazine, the …

Read More

Biden Working Hard To Sideline GOP Mash-Up Of Madness

BENZONIA – I’ve waited for this one from the Department of Justice. It’s been coming for weeks. Attorney General Merrick Garland sued Georgia on June 25, 2021, asserting that its despicable voter suppression law passed in March is illegal. The law, like others by Republican Legislatures in 13 more states, is designed to make it much harder for people of color to vote. But under the U.S. Voting Rights Act, discriminating against groups of people …

Read More

Craft Distilleries Are More Numerous Than Ever. The Pandemic Looks To Have Helped.

GETHSEMANE, KY. – Conditions last year could hardly have looked worse for craft distilling in Kentucky or any other state. Built on the intimacy of locally-produced spirits, virtually all of the more than 2,000 craft distilleries that operated around the country were imperiled by state health directives that closed tasting rooms.  Yet while the virus produced financial pain, it did not lead to many distillery deaths. Federal pandemic-related aid, consumer demand, important changes in state …

Read More

Report Cites Progress, Impediments to Universal Access to Clean Water, Safe Sanitation, and Hygiene

My first months of 2021 were consumed with reporting and writing a three-part Circle of Blue project on global trends in water, sanitation, and hygiene. Our collaborator was the Wilson Center, the D.C. think tank that has been one of of our partners since 2010 in reporting the Global Choke Point chapters in China and India. As I noted in WASH Within Reach, as a Circle of Blue correspondent in Africa, Asia, and Latin America …

Read More

Kentucky Coal Fields Display How Hard It Is To Redevelop Rural America

PAINTSVILLE, KY. – On April 23, 12 weeks after President Joe Biden signed an executive order that promised to help rural regions of the East and Great Plains move past their dependence on fossil energy markets, the administration identified $37.9 billion in existing federal grant and loan accounts to meet the president’s job creation and revitalization goals.   One of those accounts, administered since 2016 by the Department of the Interior, helped start a high-tech manufacturing …

Read More

On The Side of Fact, Truth, and Decency

BENZONIA, MI — Though I never attended a formal class in journalism my career, now over 40 years in the making, is firmly centered in sturdy principles of reasoned conduct and examined execution. Stripped of adornment those principles encompass seven rules of engagement: Follow stories that matter.  Interview thoroughly. Research carefully.  Gather views from disparate quarters.  Make the complex simpler to understand. Write with energy and grace.  Follow the facts wherever they lead.  Given that …

Read More

Pandemic Breakout Tour

NEW YORK — Thanks to the expertise and doggedness of contemporary science, which delivered a vaccine capable of warding off Covid-19, Gabrielle and I departed from our pandemic-safe home in Somerset, KY, and ventured out in April for a nine-day trip to Virginia, New Jersey, and New York. It was an adventure ripe with highlights: 1) reunions with my 91-year-old mother, my two brothers, my sister, their spouses, my nephew and niece, my sister-in-law and …

Read More

Biden’s Infrastructure Plan Is Grand Tribute To Earth Day 2021

AUDUBON, N.J. — On March 31, you probably heard, President Joe Biden introduced a $2.2 trillion proposal to repair and modernize America’s transportation system, invest in research and technology, and expand the industrial sectors that are curbing climate change. By themselves, those provisions make Biden’s American Jobs Plan a great leap forward in how the White House regards its responsibilities to nature, and to the nation. Biden’s impressive plan, though, is considerably more expansive and …

Read More

Covid-19 Vaccination Day in Kentucky

CORBIN, Kentucky — As of today, March 10, 2021, Kentucky has administered almost 900,000 Covid-19 vaccinations. The United States has administered more than 62 million vaccinations. I was one of them. It was a historic day of sorts. Almost exactly to the day a year ago the full measure of the pandemic’s risk took hold in the country. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver shut down the league. Former President Trump — “The virus will not have …

Read More

LeBron James’ I Promise Development Strategy Is Doing Good By Doing Well For Akron Kids

AKRON, Ohio – In 2014, when he strode into the University of Akron’s InfoCision stadium accompanied by the cheers of 30,000 people, LeBron James had more on his mind than returning to his hometown to play basketball again in neighboring Cleveland. That August evening Mr. James really wanted to talk about his new mission in Akron. The LeBron James Family Foundation, he said, would focus on strengthening the academic performance of Akron’s underprivileged public school …

Read More