Transcript
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Index
Search this Index
X
00:00:00 - Interview introduction

Play segment

Partial Transcript: This is Dale Johnson for Eastern Kentucky PRIDE talking with Mayor Betty Howard of Benham, Kentucky in Harlan County on September 20th, 2006.

Segment Synopsis: Johnson initiates the interview by introducing Betty J. Howard.

00:00:15 - Personal history

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Were you born here?

Segment Synopsis: Howard discusses being born in Virginia and moving to Kentucky. She describes her family's contribution to Benham through her grandfather and father. She discusses living in a coal community and the control that the coal company had over the citizens of the town.

Keywords: Coal camps; Coal companies; Coal mining; Education; Kentucky; Socialism; Virginia

Subjects: Benham (Ky.); Childhood; Coal mines and mining.; Company towns; Families.

00:03:17 - Russian visitors to Benham

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Back in, I think it's been about eight years ago, the University of Kentucky had Russian visitors.

Segment Synopsis: Howard describes a visit from a group of Russian citizens who visited the University of Kentucky and took a trip to Benham as a part of a tour of Kentucky. She discusses interacting with people from another culture and being surprised by the differences between each culture.

Keywords: Culture shock; Cultures; Drinks; Food; Hospitality; Kentucky; Tourists; Travel; Visitors

Subjects: Benham (Ky.); Russia.; University of Kentucky

GPS: Benham (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.964722, -82.953611
00:07:27 - Comparing Benham to big cities

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well, I always said that this part of Kentucky is, um, Kentucky's best kept secret.

Segment Synopsis: Howard discusses the differences between Benham, Kentucky and larger cities. She describes her opinions on larger cities and tells stories of her experiences in Louisville and New York City.

Keywords: Big cities; Driving; New York City (N.Y.); Small towns; Traveling; Travels

Subjects: Benham (Ky.); Lexington (Ky.); Louisville (Ky.); New York (N.Y.)

GPS: Benham (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.964722, -82.953611
00:10:33 - Political experience

Play segment

Partial Transcript: And I enjoyed it--

Segment Synopsis: Howard discusses how long she has been mayor and her previous experience as city clerk of Benham. She also describes some of the work she did between the two positions.

Keywords: City clerks; Clerks; Mayors; Political experience

Subjects: Benham (Ky.); Kentucky.; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government

GPS: Benham (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.964722, -82.953611
00:11:31 - Starting a used clothing store

Play segment

Partial Transcript: In 1990, I was city clerk and the city fathers decided to buy a Cadillac of a, a firetruck.

Segment Synopsis: Howard discusses an effort by the city to fund the purchase of a firetruck by opening a used clothing store. She discusses the success of the business and how it continues to function.

Keywords: Budgeting; Budgets; Businesses; City clerks; Clothing stores; Communities; Expenses; Fire trucks; Firehouses; Local businesses; Small businesses; Used clothing stores

Subjects: Benham (Ky.); Kentucky.; Small business--Ownership

GPS: Benham (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.964722, -82.953611
00:15:17 - Benham Garden Club

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well there was more people to volunteer for the store than we could actually work.

Segment Synopsis: Howard describes the creation and function of the Benham Garden Club, which works to improve the city of Benham through volunteer efforts. She also discusses how the club was able to make a deal with a coal company to get free land in the city to use for the club.

Keywords: Business; Coal companies; Community clubs; Community organizers; Donations; Garden clubs; Negotiations; Volunteering; Volunteerism

Subjects: Benham (Ky.); Coal mines and mining.; Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Volunteers

GPS: Benham (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.964722, -82.953611
00:21:33 - Infrastructure in Benham

Play segment

Partial Transcript: And so, so where do--

Segment Synopsis: Howard describes the efforts in Benham to improve and revitalize the infrastructure in the town, including the renovation of the movie theater and the building of a clubhouse.

Keywords: Coal companies; Community clubs; Community organizers; Construction; Garden clubs; Old buildings; Renovating

Subjects: Benham (Ky.); Benham (Ky.)--Buildings, structures, etc.; Infrastructure.; Renovation (Architecture)

GPS: Benham (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.964722, -82.953611
00:27:17 - Benham School House Inn

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well, um, you know, the, the Schoolhouse Inn is great.

Segment Synopsis: Howard discusses the School House Inn and a story of a visiting journalist who wanted to write a story about Benham's "Petticoat Mafia," a term used to describe the group of women who make up the majority of the city government.

Keywords: "Petticoat Mafia"; Christmas; Community clubs; Garden clubs; Governments; Hospitality; Hotels; Inns; Local governments; School House Inn

Subjects: Benham (Ky.); Journalism.; Politicians--Kentucky; Women politicians.

GPS: Benham (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.964722, -82.953611
00:31:35 - Apathy toward garbage

Play segment

Partial Transcript: The worst thing that we have--

Segment Synopsis: Howard discusses her thoughts on generational changes in caring about garbage and how its disposed of. She discusses Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE)'s efforts in the area. She discusses how mindsets need to change in order to help the area and the importance of environmental education.

Keywords: Cleanup; Dumps; Environmental cleanup; Garbage; Illegal dumps; Littering; Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE); Solid waste

Subjects: Benham (Ky.); Environmental education.; Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Litter (Trash); Pollution.; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Roadside litter; Waste disposal sites

GPS: Benham (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.964722, -82.953611
00:36:05 - Law enforcement for littering

Play segment

Partial Transcript: And another thing that I think would help that we've not been enforcing as strictly as we could is law enforcement.

Segment Synopsis: Howard describes how she believes that enforcement of littering laws could be stronger in the area. She also describes an idea she had for the revenue for littering fines going back into PRIDE to help the environment.

Keywords: Dumping; Dumps; Garbage; Illegal dumps; Littering; Mountains; Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE); Small towns; Solid waste

Subjects: Benham (Ky.); Environmental law.; Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Law enforcement.; Litter (Trash); Pollution.; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Roadside litter; Waste disposal sites

GPS: Benham (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.964722, -82.953611
00:40:49 - Litter enforcement and tourism

Play segment

Partial Transcript: And I think, just to, you know, uh, well, who was it, President Truman used to say, "Speak softly but carry a big stick?"

Segment Synopsis: Howard discusses how litter and garbage have a negative impact on tourism and how enforcement is important to helping the environment and tourism.

Keywords: Dumping; Dumps; Garbage; Illegal dumps; Littering; Mountains; North Carolina; Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE); Small towns; Solid waste; Vermont

Subjects: Benham (Ky.); Environmental law.; Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Law enforcement.; Litter (Trash); Pollution.; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Roadside litter; Tourism--Kentucky; Waste disposal sites

00:43:36 - External perceptions of Kentucky

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well, I grew up in Indiana and, um, you know, one of the, one of the jokes in Indi, you know, just like Kentuckians make jokes about Hoosiers, Hoosiers make jokes about--

Segment Synopsis: Howard discusses the way people who live outside of Kentucky perceive the area and the people who live there. She describes her issues with media portrayal of the area. Howard also discusses an anthropologist who lived and studied in Benham and became enamored with the culture and the people of Benham.

Keywords: "Kentucky landscaping"; Anthropology; Dumping; Dumps; Garbage; Hoosiers; Illegal dumps; Indiana; Littering; Media; Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE); Roadside litter; Solid waste; Tourism

Subjects: Benham (Ky.); Culture.; Kentucky.; Litter (Trash); Perceptions.; Pollution.; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Waste disposal sites

GPS: Benham (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.964722, -82.953611
00:49:59 - Diversifying Eastern Kentucky

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Yeah, I got a--pe--I've seen that a lot.

Segment Synopsis: Howard discusses what she thinks will help revitalize and improve Southeastern Kentucky, focusing on diversifying the region to allow for more people to stay in the area and not have to rely solely on mining.

Keywords: Business; Coal camps; Coal companies; Coal mining; Diversity; Kentucky

Subjects: Benham (Ky.); Coal mines and mining.; Culture.

GPS: Benham (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.964722, -82.953611
00:54:00 - Sewer repairs / movie theater

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well I, I noticed that, that you did get a little bit of money for some s--wastewater extensions.

Segment Synopsis: Howard discusses the recent wastewater grant Benham received after a flood in the area. She goes on to describe the efforts to renovate the local movie theater.

Keywords: Flooding; Floods; Infrastructure; Septic systems; Sewer lines; Sewer systems; Sewers

Subjects: Benham (Ky.); Benham (Ky.)--Buildings, structures, etc.; Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Plumbing.; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Renovation (Architecture); Sewerage.; Wastewater treatment and reuse

GPS: Benham (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.964722, -82.953611
00:58:07 - New wastewater grant

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So you don't see a need for writing some more wastewater grants.

Segment Synopsis: Howard discusses the recent grant for which the city of Benham has applied that focuses on extending sewer lines to more citizens in the area.

Keywords: Grants; Infrastructure; Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE); Septic systems; Sewer extensions; Sewer lines; Sewer systems; Sewers; Ultraviolet

Subjects: Benham (Ky.); Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Harlan County (Ky.); Plumbing.; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Sewerage.; Wastewater treatment and reuse

GPS: Benham (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.964722, -82.953611
01:00:57 - Issues with the Health Department

Play segment

Partial Transcript: And then, too, I fuss at the Health Department.

Segment Synopsis: Howard discusses her thoughts on the Health Department and their enforcement mechanisms for connecting new people to sewer lines in the area. She describes how, in the county, the enforcement mechanism is less direct than in the city of Benham.

Keywords: Enforcement; Health Department; Infrastructure; Septic systems; Sewer extensions; Sewer lines; Sewer systems; Sewers

Subjects: Benham (Ky.); Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Harlan County (Ky.); Plumbing.; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Sewerage.; Wastewater treatment and reuse

GPS: Benham (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.964722, -82.953611
01:09:05 - Collaborating with other cities on water

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Now are you in that situati--you've got your own waste plant. Is the state trying to make you hook on to somebody else somewhere else?

Segment Synopsis: Howard discusses a recent struggle with Lynch and Cumberland, Kentucky in which the state decided that they should consolidate their water systems into one. She describes her issues with inequality in the process and how negotiations need to be on an equal playing field.

Keywords: Enforcement; Health Department; Infrastructure; Septic systems; Sewer extensions; Sewer lines; Sewer systems; Sewers

Subjects: Benham (Ky.); Cumberland (Ky.); Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Harlan County (Ky.); Kentucky.; Lynch (Ky.); Plumbing.; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Sewerage.; Wastewater treatment and reuse

GPS: Benham (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.964722, -82.953611
01:22:54 - Cumberland, Kentucky

Play segment

Partial Transcript: I, I, I'm hesitant about managing another town's affairs.

Segment Synopsis: Howard shares her opinions on the state of affairs of the city of Cumberland, Kentucky in regard to finances.

Keywords: Budgeting; Budgets; Finances; Fiscal responsibility; Management

Subjects: Benham (Ky.); Cumberland (Ky.)

GPS: Cumberland (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.976944, -82.9875
01:29:04 - Payment for being mayor

Play segment

Partial Transcript: And he's--he doesn't get paid.

Segment Synopsis: Howard describes her payment for being mayor of Benham and how she lives financially.

Keywords: Budgets; City clerks; Clerks; Families; Finances; Payment; Political experience; Retirement

Subjects: Benham (Ky.); Mayors; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government

GPS: Benham (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.964722, -82.953611
01:31:33 - Impact of efforts in Benham

Play segment

Partial Transcript: But, um, I feel like I'm blessed.

Segment Synopsis: Howard discusses the impact of the efforts in Benham on the members of the community by narrating a few stories of local individuals who have felt the changes.

Keywords: Coal companies; Community clubs; Community development; Community organizers; Garden clubs; Kentucky; Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE); Springs; Volunteering; Wells

Subjects: Benham (Ky.); Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Volunteers

GPS: Benham (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.964722, -82.953611
01:37:59 - Culture of coal towns

Play segment

Partial Transcript: You know, these coal towns are so unique in--

Segment Synopsis: Howard describes the history and culture of coal towns and how she believes the history of Benham and coal county could make a good play. She also discusses the education she received growing up in a coal camp and the opportunities it opened for many.

Keywords: Coal camps; Coal companies; Coal miners; Coal mining; Heritage; History; Plays; Theaters

Subjects: Benham (Ky.); Coal mines and mining.; Company towns; Culture.; Education; Kentucky.

GPS: Benham (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.964722, -82.953611
01:45:56 - Welfare / drug issues

Play segment

Partial Transcript: See, we didn't pay an electric bill here.

Segment Synopsis: Howard and Johnson discuss their opinions on welfare and its effects on Southeastern Kentucky. Howard also discusses what she thinks of drug problems in the area.

Keywords: Drug use; Drugs; Eastern Kentucky; Garbage; Illegal drugs; Litter (Trash); Solid waste; Southeastern Kentucky; Welfare

Subjects: Benham (Ky.); Drug abuse; Drug addiction; Kentucky.; Pollution.; Refuse and refuse disposal.

GPS: Benham (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.964722, -82.953611
01:50:33 - Cleanup stories

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Do you, do you have any more stories of anything that might've occurred during cleanups that was inspiring or, or funny or?

Segment Synopsis: Howard describes a few stories of her experiences during town cleanups.

Keywords: Cleanup; Coal miners; Coal mines; Coal mining; Dumps; Environmental cleanup; Garbage; Illegal dumps; Littering; Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE); Solid waste

Subjects: Benham (Ky.); Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Litter (Trash); Pollution.; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Roadside litter; Waste disposal sites

GPS: Benham (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.964722, -82.953611
01:54:31 - Coal mining's effect on the population

Play segment

Partial Transcript: It sounds like you may have had more women out there than men.

Segment Synopsis: Howard discusses why coal towns tend to have women as a majority population and how coal towns' citizens have been hit hard by the consequences of working in the mining industry.

Keywords: Coal camps; Coal companies; Coal miners; Coal mining; Culture; Heritage; History; Populations

Subjects: Benham (Ky.); Coal mines and mining.; Company towns; Kentucky.

GPS: Benham (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.964722, -82.953611
01:58:44 - PRIDE's future

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Uh, is there anything that you'd like to finish up this interview with?

Segment Synopsis: Howard describes what she thinks about PRIDE and its usefulness to the area. She discusses how she thinks PRIDE impacts the mindsets of the community and how it's affecting children.

Keywords: Children; Communities; Eastern Kentucky; Education; Mindsets; Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE); Solid waste; Southeastern Kentucky

Subjects: Benham (Ky.); Environmental education.; Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Litter (Trash)

GPS: Benham (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.964722, -82.953611
02:01:10 - Interview conclusion

Play segment

Partial Transcript: I need you to--I can't walk out of here legally unless you agree--

Segment Synopsis: Johnson concludes the interview.