Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 13

OUR BLUE RIDGE TOWNS
DUSTY LAYNE

KAYE WILLIS

West isn't the only young person who
champions a different way of thinking
about Appalachian small towns. Artist
and yoga teacher Jenna McGuire teaches
art in low-income housing, and works
with preschoolers on self-regulation
through yoga and breath work. "They're
taking these tools with them into the
public schools. We're working to develop
right-brain thinking for success."
McGuire is part of a group of Prestonsburg women who meet to plan a way
forward for their hometown. "We think
about our roots, our culture-who we
are-and how we can use our strengths
going forward. We have always been
makers and creators in these mountains.
Farmers, quilt makers, food makers, soap
makers."
She points out that most of the new
businesses in downtown Prestonsburg
have been opened by creators.
"The Mountain Muse is run by an
artist-she sells vintage attire and homemade fudge. At Sew In Love, people can
come and learn how to make quilts and
aprons...there's a quilting group that
meets every morning. Recently, we've
had a pottery shop and custom jewelry
shop open."
Creative re-imaging figured large in
the creation of 1200-acre StoneCrest, a
recreation and residential area rising 800
feet above Prestonsburg created on a former moutaintop removal coal operation.
In addition to an 18-hole golf course and
upscale housing, there's an equine center, ballfields and a growing network of
hiking, biking and horse trails. StoneCrest-like Jenny Wiley State Park-lies
within the Prestonsburg limits, and
therefore contribute significantly to the
city tax base.
A story about Prestonsburg wouldn't
be complete without a bit about John

ALLEN BOLLING

ABOVE LEFT: Court Street provides a beautiful welcome to downtown Prestonsburg.
ABOVE RIGHT: Houston Howard with Billie Jean Osborne's Kentucky Opry electrifies the
crowd at Prestonsburg's Mountain Arts Center during the Kentucky Opry Christmas Show.
ABOVE: Aerial view from a ridge point displays Prestonsburg's mountain setting.
FACING PAGE: Paddle Fest takes place on the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River, and is held
on the fourth Saturday of each month, May through September.

Rosenberg, a Holocaust survivor who
came to town in 1970 as a lawyer with
the Appalachian Research and Defense
Fund (AppalReD). In addition to providing legal aid services to the poor, Rosenburg's work was central to the creation
of a constitutional amendment outlawing broad form deeds, which allowed
coal companies to destroy property with
immunity. His wife, Jean, was the first
prepared childbirth instructor in Kentucky and ran programs for single parents and homemakers, enabling them to
return to school.
In addition, the Rosenbergs worked
to improve science and math education
(think STEM) and were instrumental in

the creation of the East Kentucky Science
Center and Varia Planetarium. Center Director Steve Russo, a New York transplant
and confirmed Prestonsburg fan, was
amazed to find a sophisticated planetarium in a Kentucky town of 4,000.
"I take a lot of pride in being a Kentuckian. I see the good that's here. It's the
coolest place I've ever lived."
Which takes us back to where we began. How do you tell the long and short
of a small mountain town on the comeback? Samantha West does a pretty good
job with this: "We've done a lot of brainstorming...and now we're putting ideas
into action. We have a lot of really good
people doing really good things."
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020

13



Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020

Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 10
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 14
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 16
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 18
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 48
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 62
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 66
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - Cover4
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