Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Vernon Brown, November 30, 2006

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Childhood home

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Partial Transcript: Today is November 30th, 2006. My name is Cindy Lackey, I'm the communications manager for Eastern Kentucky PRIDE.

Segment Synopsis: Brown discusses his childhood in Bardstown, Kentucky. Brown discusses his childhood home and how his family got water and disposed of trash.

Keywords: Bardstown (Ky.); Brothers; Cisterns; Dairy farms; Garbage; Indoor plumbing; Outhouses; Sinkholes; Trash

Subjects: Childhood; Families; Farmers; Plumbing.; Recreation; Refuse and refuse disposal; Sewerage; Youth

00:06:59 - College education and military service

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Partial Transcript: Kind of jumping ahead a little bit, uh, what was your educational background?

Segment Synopsis: Brown discusses his education after high school and his time serving in the military.

Keywords: Agricultural economics; Army; Camp McCoy; College; Fort Campbell

Subjects: Agriculture; Education; Engineering; Fort Belvoir (Va.); Fort Campbell (Ky. and Tenn.); Fort Knox (Ky.); Military; United States. Army.; Universities and colleges; University of Kentucky

00:09:05 - Career after college

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Partial Transcript: And then from there back to UK and you got your Master's in Ag Econ.

Segment Synopsis: Brown discusses the work he did in various places after his education and military service.

Keywords: Campton (Ky.); Farmers Home Administration; Financing; Hazard (Ky.); Jobs; Lexington (Ky.); Morehead (Ky.); Paintsville (Ky.); Prestonsburg (Ky.); USDA

Subjects: Careers; Housing; Occupations; Rural development; United States. Department of Agriculture; United States. Farmers Home Administration.

00:12:45 - Rural development's three parts

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Partial Transcript: Well, and, uh, I guess, you, you've talk--touched--explained a little bit about what rural development is...

Segment Synopsis: Brown discusses the three entities of rural development: housing, business, and utilities.

Keywords: Financing; Grants; Rural business service; Rural housing service; Rural utilities service

Subjects: Grants and funding; Loans; Rural development

00:16:47 - Job duties as community programs director

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Partial Transcript: And, um, what--can you briefly describe what your duties are as, uh, the, the community programs director?

Segment Synopsis: Brown discusses his duties as community programs director, including deciding how to distribute funding to various projects.

Keywords: Community programs directors; Community services; Funding; Job duties; Jobs

Subjects: Careers; Finance; Occupations

00:18:47 - The importance of wastewater infrastructure

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Partial Transcript: Bef--I want to--of course what we're interested in this particular oral history project is the environment so p--under all those things that you cover, the one that's most of interest to us today is the, the wastewater side of things, the wastewater infrastructure.

Segment Synopsis: Brown discusses the importance of protecting the environment. Brown also discusses why tax dollars need to be spent on wastewater construction.

Keywords: Taxes; Wastewater; Wastewater construction; Wastewater infrastructure; Water treatment

Subjects: Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Plumbing.; Sewage.; Sewerage.; Taxation; Water quality.; Water--Purification.

00:23:15 - Pollution in Eastern Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: When I first went to Eastern Kentucky, uh, couple things up there that I'd never heard of before in my life and one of them was Eastern Kentucky ducks, and Pamper trees.

Segment Synopsis: Brown discusses the excessive pollution he saw when he first moved to Eastern Kentucky, including "ducks" (jugs that floated down the river) and "pamper trees" (diapers that hung on trees after big floods.)

Keywords: "Eastern Kentucky ducks"; "Pamper trees"; Garbage pickup; Septic systems; Solid waste; Straight pipes

Subjects: Litter (Trash); Pollution.; Refuse and refuse disposal; Septic tanks; Sewerage.

00:29:16 - Challenges of wastewater infrastructure

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Partial Transcript: Um, uh, I'll ask, uh, another bigger picture question about all Kentucky but then we'll talk more about Eastern Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: Brown discusses Kentucky's wastewater infrastructure and how it compares to the rest of the nation. Brown also discusses challenges with developing wastewater infrastructure in Kentucky.

Keywords: Eastern Kentucky; Solid waste; Wastewater infrastructure; Wastewater treatment

Subjects: Challenges; Kentucky; Plumbing.; Sewerage.; Technology; Wastewater treatment and reuse; Water quality.

00:34:10 - Challenges in Southern and Eastern Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: What about in, um, Southern and Eastern Kentucky particularly, are there, um, specific challenges to improving wastewater infrastructure?

Segment Synopsis: Brown discusses the unique issues with improving wastewater infrastructure in Southern and Eastern Kentucky.

Keywords: Eastern Kentucky; Lagoons; Mechanical water treatment; Southern Kentucky; Terrain; Wastewater infrastructure

Subjects: Plumbing.; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Sewage lagoons.; Sewerage.

00:38:03 - Failed innovations

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Partial Transcript: Can you give me some examples of the innovative that have been tried that haven't worked in Eastern, you know in Southern and Eastern Kentucky?

Segment Synopsis: Brown discusses some innovative wastewater infrastructure solutions that have failed in Southern and Eastern Kentucky.

Keywords: Costs; Eastern Kentucky; Grinder pumps; Southern Kentucky; Treatment plants; Vacuum systems; Wastewater treatment; Wetlands

Subjects: Constructed wetlands.; Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Maintenance; Plumbing.; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Sewage disposal plants.; Sewerage.

00:43:05 - The mindset of people in Eastern Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Well and one thing we haven't talked about and, you, you might not have particular perspective on this but you might, so I'll ask.

Segment Synopsis: Brown discusses issues with the mindset of people who live in Eastern Kentucky, especially with people not wanting to pay for sewer bills.

Keywords: Bills; Opposition; Sewer bills; Wastewater infrastructure

Subjects: Invoices.; Plumbing.; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Sewerage.

00:45:31 - First impressions of PRIDE

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Partial Transcript: Well let's go ahead and move on to PRIDE, specifically, the PRIDE initiative. Can you tell me when you first heard about the PRIDE initiative?

Segment Synopsis: Brown discusses when he first heard about the PRIDE initiative and his initially low expectations for the organization.

Keywords: Expectations; First impressions; Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE)

Subjects: Politicians

00:48:57 - Partnership between rural development and PRIDE

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Partial Transcript: So that lays the groundwork. What, what you, you were expecting when, when you first heard about PRIDE.

Segment Synopsis: Brown discusses the partnership between rural development and PRIDE, mainly through the wastewater construction project.

Keywords: Grants; Memorandum of understanding; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); Partnerships; Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE); Wastewater construction

Subjects: Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Field work; Grants and funding; Plumbing.; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Rural development; Sewerage.; United States. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

00:52:44 - Law prevents the partnership with PRIDE

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Partial Transcript: And Part of what we're doing with our oral history, Vernon, is we're, we're trying to look for lessons learned and probably, um the administration of this, this program and our partnership with Rural Development unfortunately...

Segment Synopsis: Brown discusses the law that prevented Rural Development from working with PRIDE because of PRIDE's status as a private non-profit organization.

Keywords: Lessons; Non-profits; Partnerships; Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE)

Subjects: Bureaucracy; Nonprofit organizations.; Rural development

00:57:46 - Importance of PRIDE grants

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Partial Transcript: Well, and I wanted to ask you specifically, you've alluded to this, um, the, the need that is filled, uh, by the PRIDE wastewater construction grant program.

Segment Synopsis: Brown discusses the economic benefits of the PRIDE wastewater construction grant program.

Keywords: Grants; Low income; Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE); Wastewater construction

Subjects: Economics; Grants and funding; Plumbing.; Poverty; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Sewerage.

01:00:07 - PRIDE's successes

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Partial Transcript: Um, I wanted to ask you, I guess this is more just your personal opinion, personal recollection, um, what PRIDE moments stand out in your mind?

Segment Synopsis: Brown discusses the unexpected success of PRIDE. Brown also discusses the change in mindset and the difficulty of reaching older generations.

Keywords: Paintsville (Ky.); Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE); Success

Subjects: Big Sandy River (Ky. and W. Va.); Environmental education.; Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Litter (Trash); Pollution.

01:06:10 - Target practice / disposing of garbage

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Partial Transcript: I've had a couple of people tell me that that's a downside to PRIDE, that it's taken away the sport of, um, shooting rats at open dumps.

Segment Synopsis: Brown discusses how he used to use jugs floating down the river for target practice. Brown also discusses how difficult it used to be to find a proper way to dispose of garbage.

Keywords: Dumps; Garbage; Target practice; Trash

Subjects: Pollution.; Rats; Refuse and refuse disposal; Waste disposal sites

01:08:33 - PRIDE's impact on all of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Well, um, I always like to ask folks if they, uh, think that Eastern Kentucky PRIDE has had an impact on the region, and um, I, I think you've already addressed that.

Segment Synopsis: Brown discusses the impact of Eastern Kentucky PRIDE on the rest of the state.

Keywords: Impact; Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE); Solid waste; Wastewater

Subjects: Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Kentucky; Sewage.

01:12:10 - Potential future environmental issues

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Partial Transcript: Um, well, just one last question, looking to the future. Um, what work do you think is left to be done in the environment in Southern and Eastern Kentucky, or if you wanna fa--focus on wastewater in particular?

Segment Synopsis: Brown discusses the environmental issues that will continue into the future.

Keywords: Landfills; Mines; Wastewater

Subjects: Coal mines and mining; Drinking water; Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Mine shafts; Pollution.; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Sewage.; Sewerage.; Water; Water quality.