I am a reporter and host from Ireland based in the US
I moved to America from the North of England in 2012. Chasing potatoes,
news stories and running away from tornados and snakes, Wendys obsessed,
Babybel melter and TV/Radio/Documentary Nutter
Speaking with mural maker and Kentucky artist John Lackey in his unique Lexington Studio.
He’s currently making a stop motion movie and has spent his life in local TV and expressing himself with a paint brush.
Lackey shared some of his time with me and welcomed me into his creative world in the video story below.
Music provided by Award Winning Irish band We Banjo 3.
Three Tennessee towns now recognize same-sex couples. In a landmark decision for the so-called “buckle” of the Bible Belt, Chattanooga joined Knoxville and Collegedale with a City Council vote recognizing same-sex spouses of City employees for benefits.
The decision, which narrowly passed in both Collegedale and Chattanooga, has left members of local churches and the tea party outraged in 2013.
Thousands of residents of the Volunteer State, people who are primarily of British, Irish and Scottish descent and whose faith takes precedence, believe decisions recognizing same-sex couples should be made by them, the taxpayers, in a referendum, not by city councils.
Mark West of the tea party in east Tennessee says that this is about “Giving the public the right to decide on issues that affect them and their society.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Tennessee Democrat and Chattanooga City Councilman Chris Anderson has heralded the progress made as “historical.”
The divisive nature of recognition of same-sex couples in Tennessee has made headlines as far away as Los Angeles and across the South. The issue has already proved controversial in the UK, with hate campaigns and smear groups in Scotland and England.
Mark West achieved the thousands of signatures required to bring the previous approval to a referendum. Which may happen in Summer 2014.
For Chattanooga, Collegedale and Knoxville, a changing world and a changing time have come to their doorstep.
With only 15 states in America granting full marriage rights to same-sex couples, the struggle between faith and change has left many outraged, confused and protesting.
Petitioners from the tea party spent “Black Friday” weekend canvassing against the recognition of same-sex couples.
Some elected officials see a “gay lifestyle” as dangerous and coming with “health risks,” according to Chattanooga City Council’s Larry Grohn. This viewpoint is alive and well across Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama today.
Yet increasingly, student migration and youth activism are forcing those on the fence to reconsider where their true loyalty lies. Cities such as Asheville, N.C., and Hunstville, Ala., which are seen as “hipster” and “techy” capitals, are paving the way for alternative lifestyles and social reform at a grassroots level.
A greater focus on the environment, recycling and Web- and app-based employment is dominating where steel, iron and mining shone in the last century. Changes similar to this can be seen today in the UK in Sheffield, Leeds, Newcastle and Manchester.
Successful college hubs like Knoxville and Athens, Ga., are seeing more and more graduates remaining in the South because of heavy college loans, a low cost of living and sustained employment in IT, engineering and medicine.
An aging population and the demand for “medium care” medical professionals such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners has paved the way for thousands of graduates to stay in their hometowns. Incentives for these graduates to work in health care in isolated rural areas such as north Georgia have allowed many students to pay off their debt in a matter of years.
The change seen in Tennessee’s three urban areas where same-sex couples have made progress is merely a reflection of an underlying change in Southern life.
While drug addiction and domestic violence statistics show the South in an unfavorable light, a gradual change is coming. A mix of different nationalities, religions and societies that may initially divide towns and cities can ultimately make Southern cities stronger.
After 9 episodes of Through Irish Eyes, the series is now coming home.
The brainchild of Georgia TV producer William Collins Parker and Videographer Ashley Henderson has led me as the only Irish news reporter in local US television on many an adventure.
From Line-dancing to shooting guns and red-kneck wrestling to College Football, “The South” has shown itself to be a rich and diverse haven of culture and humor.
Next Month the series will focus on Irish Culture rather than that of American.The aim is to showcase Ireland at Christmas to the viewers in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. Albeit 4200 miles apart their are many similarities and differences between both worlds.
Christmas is both a religion and family focused occasion for both societies yet the focus on materialism in the US as recently highlighted by “Black Friday” differ from that of the west coast of Ireland, famous for its “12 pubs of Christmas” and seasonal drinking and music.
For More Information On Our Adventures check out,
Growing up, your mother probably told you to do the right thing, to follow the rules and play fair. I have tried to do that, but now I am unable to work, drive or pay taxes.
I have noticed that over the past 15 years more and more measures have been brought in to protect against threats from outside and inside this country, which is understandable. It’s also my observation that it is becoming harder and harder to come to America to work and contribute to society.
I came here on a 12-month work and travel visa from Ireland, and I have enjoyed everything this state, city and the people have offered. I have tried to give back, but when my visa expired last night, it left me in no man’s land.
I have applied for an O-1 visa as a journalist so that I can remain here, but my status is still pending. To get a visa like this, you need to prove you are extraordinary at something. Piers Morgan got one, and Playboy bunnies have been offered them. I have to wonder why, as a 23-year-old journalist who has worked and contributed to media in three countries and is being left in the lurch.
Immigration reform is needed in this country, not only for illegals but also for legals. There are many people out there just like me that don’t get any attention and that no one champions for. We come here legally and try to stay here legally. This country should encourage U.S. college graduates from overseas to remain here and pursue opportunities to contribute to society.
This country’s foundations were built on immigrants coming from other countries, especially my own native Ireland, to try and make something of ourselves. Now, in the 21st century, we’re still coming but are also leaving. The cost, time and levels of bureaucracy forced upon legal immigrants are at times daunting.
I understand the citizens of the U.S. should come first, but it’s not fair that those of us who don’t ask for citizenship, benefits or perks, just the opportunity to work here and pay taxes, get left behind.
In an effort to understand why former social networking mega site Bebo.com has returned like Jesus from the Tomb, I spoke to one of the men behind it all, Shaan Puri a web developer and colleague of the site’s famous married couple creators.
1, Why now?
2, How has social media changed since bebo started?
3, what do you hope to achieve?
4, How soon will we see results?
5, how can the public play a role?
6, any advice for budding web and I.T designers and developers?
Put your product in people’s hands, earlier rather than later. Start learning what excites people and what turns them off, then go back to the drawing board. Also, if you’re a particularly talented developer, join us :)
Further along from Key West on nearby Key Largo, Dolphin Plus says that they have had a British Intern. The unique dolphin sanctuary and exhibition center is at the heart of dolphin preservation and support. With visitors from across the world, Nancy Cooper is delighted to welcome visitors from Europe who are often not exposed to the creativity and abilities of dolphins.
With millions of visitors and dozens of music requests from Scotland as well as stunning scenery, it is no wonder the small islands only 90 miles off the coast of Cuba are attracting attention among the home nations.