Appalachia needs an attitude adjustment

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“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” – Winston Churchill

Appalachia has a problem and if you haven’t already thought it or said it, change is needed for the area to prosper and get back on its feet. 

Winston Churchill once said that attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. Here in Appalachia, you could say that we have an attitude and that little thing called attitude makes a big difference. You can also add that some people need an attitude adjustment in Appalachia. 

The thing is, I didn’t use those words “attitude adjustment” nor have I been listening to Hank Williams, Jr.’s Greatest Hits.  The words “attitude adjustment” were words used by business owners in Martinsville and Henry County, VA recently at a community forum focusing on getting their region to thrive again.

Sadly their region is facing the same obstacles and attitudes that we are in Appalachia.

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Chained to Appalachia, we all have a story to tell

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Mark Linkous aka Sparklehorse

Recently, my thoughts focused back to an Appalachian whose roots were firmly planted in Appalachia despite being born in Northern Virginia and how he came to “embrace” Appalachia in his music and his roots.

His journey brought him, his mother and brother back to far Southwestern Virginia for a time then back to Northern Virginia. Eventually, his love for music led to success locally, then regionally and he traveled outside Appalachia before coming back to settle in the western North Carolina mountains, eventually moving across the mountains to East Tennessee, battling personal demons and then leaving us by taking his own life in an alley in Knoxville, TN on March 6, 2010.

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Thank you, Roanoke Times

roanoke-graphic-e1498744977448.pngAs I was going through my Facebook news feed this morning, I found an unexpected surprise.

No, I didn’t receive a friend request from a girl that liked me when I was in elementary or high school and no, not a request from a Nigerian ambassador telling me that I had inherited a room full of stock in a worthless, non-existent oil company.

It was something much better.

An acknowledgment.

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If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again

Roderick A. Mullins photo and artwork - 2017You can’t blame the Dickenson County Historical Society for trying. What’s the old saying? If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again. 

Somewhere, Abraham Lincoln who did not succeed in a number of his attempts in life has to be smiling.

Smiling that the historical society is not only persistent but determined to reach their goal of getting DMHS and doing something with it.

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When does a memorial cease to become a memorial? When it involves money

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Dickenson Memorial and Industrial High School in Clintwood, VA

(Previous blog post on DMHS and a recent podcast)

It’s Thursday, June 22nd, and I am preparing myself to head to my hometown of Clintwood, in the heart of economically depressed Appalachia, what was once “Coal Country” and the home of “King Coal”, to report on a county board of supervisors meeting.

Tonight, the agenda will discuss many topics, including taking a vote on a 2017-18 FY budget of 25 million dollars. A no-frills budget with room for very little spending in a county that has little or no economic growth or motivators at present, nothing going for it because either the people are so set in their ways or the political leaders that make decisions that don’t want change.

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