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Where can I watch the documentary “Ohio River”?

HENDERSON, Ky. – Anyone who grew up or lived in this area has a connection to the Ohio River.

The possibilities are diverse.

Some people often drive over and back just to go to work.

Maybe you or someone you know has spent their professional life on this river.

Perhaps you have spent many a sunny summer weekend on a sandy river island that you reached on a tour boat. Or you learned to water ski on it. Or you can talk about your daily walk next to it.

Perhaps a relative has told you insightful stories about what it was like to survive the flood of 1937. Or what it's like to routinely struggle with the river backing up year after year, decade after decade.

But despite all these possibilities, Louisville-based documentarian Morgan C. Atkinson hopes to tell you something you don't already know about the 981-mile waterway once called “The Beautiful River.”

His hour-long documentary, “This Is The Ohio,” will premiere Monday, May 6, on Kentucky Educational Television. It will be available to stream on KET.org immediately following its premiere at 4:00 pm CDT.

In a media release announcing the film's release, Atkinson said the film aims to “inspire, entertain and captivate.” He said the film showcases the rich history and unparalleled beauty of the Ohio River and promises to open the eyes of people who thought they knew the Ohio, but also those who have never thought about it.

“I traveled 981 miles from Pittsburgh to Cairo, Illinois, and had several things in mind,” Atkinson said. “I questioned the true identity of the river. I asked, “Is it just a trade route that is vital to the economic well-being of the United States?” Or is it a natural wonder that offers incredible opportunities to recreational users? How about its status as America's second most endangered waterway? I found the answers in all the above questions.”

With this in mind, Atkinson's intent with the film was to showcase the rich history and unparalleled beauty of the Ohio River through a light-hearted approach, coupled with a serious undercurrent by portraying the need to care for this vital waterway.

In the History category, local viewers will notice stories about famous naturalist John James Audubon and his life on the Ohio River, as well as the Mississippi-era settlement of Angel Mounds.

“My intention is to keep one thing in mind for viewers: What can we do to bring the Ohio River closer to its original state, which many refer to as 'the beautiful river?'” he said. “I hope that by the time the credits roll, audiences will see the Ohio River in a new light.”

Morgan McGarvey, U.S. Representative for Kentucky's Third Congressional District, is interviewed on the show. He noted that the Ohio River has not received as much funding from the EPA as other waterways.

“The Ohio River is the largest body of water in America that currently receives no federal funding. That has to change,” McGarvey said. “A clean river is essential. One of my primary efforts as co-chair of the Ohio River Caucus is to ensure the Ohio River receives the resources it needs and deserves.”

The Ohio River is the source of drinking water for more than five million people. More than 25 million people, nearly 10 percent of the U.S. population, live in the Ohio River Basin.

In addition to the streaming option on the KET website, the documentary will be broadcast twelve times on KET, KET2 or KETKy. For information and times, visit: https://ket.org/program/this-is-the-ohio-river-life-death-rebirth-of-the-beautiful/.

“This is a story about a river,” Atkinson said. “It is a big river with many stories. We hope the stories we tell you will make you love the river if you haven’t already.”

Anna Harden

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