From left, friends Melinda Noble, Ronnie Creech, and Stella Sand spend time together outside of their apartment in downtown Booneville. The population of Booneville, Owsley County's county seat, has dropped 67.2 percent since 1990. The community struggles with a lack of jobs, and about 40 percent of the county's 5,000 residents live below the poverty line.
Born of Water:
Coal mining sustained families for generations along the Kentucky River water basin. But today, many confront a crisis of faith in an industry that has left the region environmentally and economically vulnerable.