It’s been another busy year here at the Daily Yonder. We published more than 250 articles over the past 12 months, about all manner of issues important to rural people and communities. To commemorate the year that was, we’ve taken a look back at the 10 most popular stories we brought to you in 2019.
It’s a diverse mix, covering numerous topics you might expect, such as economic development, healthcare, broadband, agriculture and our changing environment. But you might also find something that surprises you or that you missed earlier this year. And while many of these stories focus on specific local places and people, we believe all of them tap into universal themes and concerns relevant to us all. So without further ado, here’s 2019 in review. Join us in taking a look back at our top stories of the past year.
By Mary Annette Pember on March 13, 2019
The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation hosts a steady influx of church groups and other religious organizations providing goods and services for citizens of the Lakota tribe in South Dakota. But leaders wonder about the effectiveness of the programs, and some say certain religious groups are more interested in promoting their own agenda.
By Taylor Sisk on May 26, 2019
At 91 years of age, grassroots healthcare organizer Eula Hall continues to support the organization that provides care to her Eastern Kentucky neighbors.
By Dale Mackey and Shawn Poynter on May 5, 2019
Our friend Ricky Beene passed away this year. The poet and self-taught painter set out to create portraits of all residents of his East Tennessee community of Petros. Beene leaves a beautiful and lasting legacy for Petros and others to enjoy. We reran this profile from 2017 as a tribute to Beene and his family.
By Roberto Gallardo on February 5, 2019
We’ve all heard a car mechanic report “Well, it’s going to be harder to fix than we thought.” That’s the upshot of a 2019 analysis of broadband speeds in rural America, according to data from Microsoft.
By Bill Bishop on November 8, 2019
The Kentucky gubernatorial election attracted national attention when Democratic challenger Andy Beshear narrowly defeated incumbent Republican Matt Bevin. Although the urban Democratic base underpinned the victory, Democrats improved their performance in rural areas throughout the state, with the exception of Western Kentucky.
By Melody Warnick on February 13, 2019
Elkin, North Carolina, has asked residents to pitch in to create a grassroots economic development effort designed to attract people and businesses to the town of 4,000.
By Tim Marema on March 25, 2019
Rural America can go sit on a tack. That’s about the extent of the argument we hear over and over from voices granted precious column inches on the New York Times editorial page. This Daily Yonder column is just one more response to one more set of Times’ op/eds arguing that investing in rural America is throwing good money after bad.
By Martin Kernan on May 20, 2019
Can ATV riders and hikers just get along? New York’s iconic Adirondack Park grapples with the environmental and aesthetic impact of motorized vehicles while considering the potential economic impact of ATV recreation.
By James Branscome on March 4, 2019
The press and book circles around the country have transformed J.D. Vance’s thin memoir into a sociological treatise on the cause of generational poverty and how to fix it. Critics of Vance’s boot-strap solution got their chance to respond this year in Appalachian Reckoning, a collection of essays that address the best-selling memoir. The book’s impact is far from over in 2019. In the coming year we’re likely to have a motion-picture version of Vance’s story.
1. Letters from Langdon: 40 Feet High and Rising and The ‘Maybe Disaster’ of Northwest Missouri
By Richard Oswald on March 27 and April 16, 2019
A slow-moving disaster rolled through the Midwest this year, as it did in 2011, flooding farmland and communities along the Missouri River. Residents had plenty of warning but no tools to protect their homes and livelihoods. Farmers and others in the path of the flooding have yet to know the extent of the economic damage the flooding created. Richard Oswald, in two “Letter from Langdon” columns describes the economic and emotional loss that came with the flooding.
Auld Lang Syne – Farewell, 2019
We hope you enjoyed this roundup of the year that was for the Daily Yonder. If you had a favorite story that wasn’t included on the list, be sure to share it in the comments below.
As we turn the page on 2019, we wish all our readers a happy New Year. We look forward to bringing you more great coverage of rural stories in 2020, and beyond. Let us know what kinds of coverage you’d like to see more of in the new year. We’ll make our resolutions accordingly.