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PNS Daily Newscast - September 30, 2020 

Trump and Biden square off in a debate marked by interruptions; COVID-19 highlights neglect of undocumented residents.

2020Talks - September 30, 2020 

Last night was filled with interruptions at the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

Fed Agencies Mobilize to Raise Appalachia

December 6, 2010

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The nation's anemic economy means even tougher times for those struggling to survive in poor, rural areas like Appalachia. A new initiative among multiple federal agencies and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) aims to help put people back to work in the region. ARC spokesman Louis Segesvary says it lays out an action plan to diversify and grow jobs, and improve quality of life.

"And these are in the area of physical infrastructure, which is so important to basic economic development, and education, civic capacity and health."

Jason Bailey, research and policy director for the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED), hails the collaboration as a good first step. He claims resources have typically been dedicated to more prosperous, urbanized areas in the region that are closer to major highways, neglecting those more impoverished and isolated.

"We think there does need to be a stronger commitment of resources in the region; a more deliberate and specific plan to help the economy begin its transition. And, we hope that this is the first step in that path."

The U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Treasury and the Small Business Administration are among the nine government agencies involved. Segesvary says they're working with the ARC to provide Appalachia a hand up – not a handout.

"Hopefully, the local communities that need funding will have better understanding of how to apply for economic development grants, and better understanding of the kinds of technical assistance programs that are available already to promote economic development, job creation and business growth."

Appalachia consists of 420 counties with 24 million residents. According to the ARC, the region suffers high rates of unemployment, disability, health disparities and poverty, and low rates of per capita incomes and college graduation - all of which has hindered its progress.

Renee Shaw, Public News Service - KY