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Middle of Everywhere
41 minutes | May 18, 2022
Part 3: The Small Fish In The Highest Court
What happens when a radical new environmental law, a tiny endangered fish, and a tenacious young lawyer walk into the highest court in the land? Not what you might expect. We’ll follow our hero in earth shoes as he journeys through the courts all the way to Washington. He fights alongside the band of farmers who have vowed to fight until there’s nothing left to fight for. In the process we’ll unveil the system that ensures that government works primarily for the special interests of a few over the many. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @middleofeverywherepod and on Twitter @rural_stories. Learn more about us at middleofeverywherepod.org. Subscribe in Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.
42 minutes | May 4, 2022
Part 2: The River's People
In Part 2 of our series we meet some of the people who once called the Little Tennessee River Valley home, and we hear surprising stories about how they were slighted by the Tennessee Valley Authority and bullied out of their homes. We retrace how the agency came to have unparalleled power over the Tennessee Valley and how some farmers developed so much loathing for and fear of this agency. After almost fifteen years of fighting they neared the point of giving up. Then, a young lawyer joined the fight with the help of a tiny fish. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @middleofeverywherepod and on Twitter @rural_stories. Learn more about us at middleofeverywherepod.org. Subscribe in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
23 minutes | Apr 20, 2022
The Story Of Tanasi, Part 1: Birth Of A River
What is the story behind silos that stick up out of the middle of a lake in the foothills of the Smokies? As we tour around this lake, we see more sites, like an old bridge descending into the water, a few markers of a deep history of Cherokee habitation, then large, extravagant houses that overlook the water’s edge. It all helps paint a picture of the complex history that lives under the water’s surface, in what used to be a river valley. This is the first episode in a series we’re calling The Story of Tanasi. In this series we’ll follow a decades-long battle that took the river’s people all the way to the Supreme Court as they tried to save their way of life in the river valley. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @middleofeverywherepod and on Twitter @rural_stories. Learn more about us at middleofeverywherepod.org. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
2 minutes | Apr 6, 2022
Trailer - The Story Of Tanasi
While researching for our season all about rivers, we uncovered a story that, when first reported, seemed straightforward. But the more we dug in the more we understood that this story required more than one episode. Listen as we give a glimpse of the next several episodes. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @middleofeverywherepod and on Twitter @rural_stories. Learn more about us at middleofeverywherepod.org. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
23 minutes | Mar 23, 2022
The River and the Rousters
What things does a paddlewheel steamboat bring to your mind? Is a “roustabout” one of them? They may not be so familiar but there is a treasury of music surrounding the Black men and women who worked on steamboats in the last two centuries. These roustabouts and chambermaids had tough jobs, and music was one of the things that helped them get through it. We’ll hear and talk about the music of the roustabouts and keeping their history alive. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @middleofeverywherepod and on Twitter @rural_stories. Learn more about us at middleofeverywherepod.org. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
24 minutes | Mar 9, 2022
Swimming for the River
We all know we live in a world full of plastic. But how much plastic gets into our waterways and what happens to it once it’s there? Would you swim an entire river to find out? We talk to two scientists who put together an epic swim of the Tennessee River to do just that. We hear all about what it took to pull it off, from using a drone to feed a swimmer to dealing with river monsters, and what they learned in the process. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @middleofeverywherepod and on Twitter @rural_stories. Learn more about us at middleofeverywherepod.org. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
27 minutes | Feb 23, 2022
Standing For Rivers
Having “standing” under the law is a very important legal concept. For many years, only people had standing and could bring a complaint before the court. But, could something like the Colorado River have standing? We start Season 2 by exploring approaches and stories related to the “rights of nature,” especially rivers. We discuss the essay, “Should Trees Have Standing?” and the 150-year legal battle of a Maori tribe to protect their ancestral river.
4 minutes | Feb 9, 2022
Season 2 Trailer
Welcome to Season 2 of Middle of Everywhere! This season we explore America’s rivers and the stories that lie beneath their surface. We learn how we’ve shaped our rivers and how they have shaped us. We hear stories of discovery, strength, and heartbreak all surrounding these waterways. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @middleofeverywherepod and on Twitter @rural_stories. Learn more about us at middleofeverywherepod.org. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
4 minutes | Sep 15, 2021
Headed for Everywhere
We’re back in the studio for this quick end of summer update. We’ve missed our listeners and want to let you know what we’ve been working on and where we’re heading for season 2…among other things.
27 minutes | Mar 15, 2021
Black Overseer of a Confederate Monument
How do you feel about confederate monuments and what they represent? Does your race influence the emotions you have toward these things? Can you separate your feelings from historical facts? In this last episode of our season, we’re going to talk with the only Black person ever to have managed the Jefferson Davis Historic Site in Fairview Kentucky. Ron Sydnor managed the park until 2017 and had programming at the site that taught the diversity and nuances of the people behind the civil war. But teaching confederate history forced him to separate his feelings from what he was teaching.
32 minutes | Mar 1, 2021
One Seed At A Time
Do you ever wonder where your food comes from? What’s the story behind that tomato in the produce department? How did it get to the store? Who grew it? Is it genetically modified? In this episode, we hear from Bill and Michael Best, father and son heirloom seed savers. Active in the small farming revolution, Bill also helped start the Lexington and Berea’s Farmers’ Markets. Now in his 80s, he still grows and sells heirloom beans and tomatoes. Worried about the impact of big agriculture, we also learn how Bill and Michael have dedicated their lives to preserving biodiversity. Listen and subscribe where you get your podcasts.
33 minutes | Feb 15, 2021
Presenting Black In Appalachia: Sundown Towns
Have you ever heard of a sundown town? Can you imagine fearing for your life if you were caught downtown after dark? At one point in history, there were thousands of these places all over the country, including the small Appalachian town of Corbin, Kentucky. This week we are featuring an episode from our friends at Black in Appalachia. We’ll hear hosts Enkeshi El-Amin and Angela Dennis share what sundown towns were and hear stories from people who know what it’s like to live in these places. “Sundown Towns" explores the existence of these no-go places for Black folks and the navigation of the checkerboard that is Appalachia.” - Black in Appalachia Podcast
39 minutes | Feb 1, 2021
Welcome to the Hotel Metropolitan!
How does Black history get preserved in small towns? Who decides what sticks around from our segregated past for future generations to learn from? In this episode we learn about how Betty Dobson saved a little known gem from being destroyed forever. Betty embarked on a journey to save and rehabilitate the Hotel Metropolitan in Paducah, Kentucky, founded by a Black woman in 1908, to serve Black travelers. This journey was life-changing for her as it coincided with her rehabilitation of her own body after being diagnosed with MS. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @middleofeverywherepod and on Twitter @rural_stories Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
21 minutes | Jan 18, 2021
My Old Kentucky Stereotype
Did you hear the one about the gay ex-Zumba instructor from Kentucky who pursued a standup career in LA? Adario Mercadante grew up in Murray, KY and he says it’s a wonderful place to raise a family, connect with nature, and enjoy the slower pace of small town life. But it wasn’t meant for him. Even though he left his small hometown, he found many stereotypes followed him. How do Adario and other Kentucky or small town natives transcend stereotypes of being uneducated, uncultured, and impoverished? Follow us on Instagram and Facebook at middleofeverywherepod Follow on Twitter @ruralstories Subscribe where you get your podcasts.
28 minutes | Jan 4, 2021
Middle of Everywhere Man
Where did our podcast title, “Middle of Everywhere,” come from anyway? And what does it mean? In this episode we talk to University of Minnesota Professor Ben Winchester about what the data really says about small town America’s prosperity. A strong advocate for rural communities, we hear Ben dispute the “rural despair” narrative and share information about how people are actually living their lives in these places. Plus, Ben gives some very helpful tips about howsmall towns can attract and keep young professionals in their communities. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @middleofeverywherepod and on Twitter @rural_stories Subscribe where you get your podcasts.
23 minutes | Dec 21, 2020
The Case of the Christmas Cop Car
What happens when a silly prank turns into a year-long crusade to obtain police records? In this episode, a twice-stolen Christmas display, and the records surrounding it, lead Ariel and Austin to question why the local police have withheld the full records even in the face of a ruling from Kentucky’s Attorney General. And they enlist the help of advocates for open government as they try to “solve” The Case of the Christmas Cop Car. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @middleofeverywherepod and on Twitter @rural_stories Subscribe where you get your podcasts.
36 minutes | Dec 7, 2020
Hoppy Henton is a Kentucky farmer working the land that’s been in his family for 9 generations. His talents and passion connect him in a lifelong relationship with the Kentucky Farm Bureau. In this episode, we learn about his 40-years-long struggle to eliminate the conservative policies in the Farm Bureau’s “secret policy book”. We also hear from key friends, family, and acquaintances of Hoppy’s— from the Fairness Campaign’s Chris Hartman, to former leaders in the Farm Bureau’s ranks — about this epic battle.
37 minutes | Nov 23, 2020
Eat This, Kentucky!
What can a recipe be, besides just a list of ingredients? And what can it mean to the people who cook and eat it? In this episode we explore a Kentucky culinary tradition called “burgoo” and trace the history of the dish. We’ll also meet two talented cooks who weave their Kentucky traditions into their food. What story does a meaty frontier stew have to tell about the Bluegrass state and its people? Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @middleofeverywherepod and on Twitter @rural_stories Subscribe where you get your podcasts.
37 minutes | Nov 9, 2020
What happens when an atheist stands up for free speech when the government favors Christianity? Many people in this country think that patriotism and Christianity go hand in hand, but can a person be a patriot and non-religious? In this episode, Ariel and Austin hear from one feisty and independent man who has devoted his life to crusading for freedom of expression. His journey became world renowned with his lawsuit against the state of Kentucky for denying him the vanity plate IM GOD. Subscribe to this podcast in whatever listening app you use and sign up for our newsletter at middleofeverywherepod.com.
33 minutes | Oct 26, 2020
The Mystical Ellis Mad Stone
Early Kentucky settler, Joseph Perkins Ellis, carried a mystical stone which had been passed down in his family for generations. The faith of the Ellis’ in this “Mad Stone,” along with their Baptist convictions, propelled them to make a good life for themselves and their community in the face of a devastating disease like rabies which the stone was believed to heal. This stone continued to be used up into the 20th century and impacted the lives of many. But did it work? And why did people think it did? And what does this family heirloom mean to those who carried it?
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