F. Brian Ferguson / Charleston Gazette-Mail

Stirring the Waters: Investigating Why Many in Appalachia Lack Reliable, Clean Water

For many families in Eastern Kentucky and Southern West Virginia, the absence of clean, reliable drinking water has become part of daily life. They buy bottled water rather than drink what comes out of their taps. They collect rainwater in buckets, fearing there won’t be any running water at all the next day. They drive to natural springs on the sides of highways and backroads to fill up jugs for cooking and making coffee. Based on nearly six months of reporting and dozens of interviews with...

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Indie Pro-Wrestling, A Look Back: Inside Appalachia

This week on Inside Appalachia, we take another look at the world of independent pro-wrestling. While pro-wrestling is popular across the country and all around the world, the sport has a rich and storied history here in Appalachia. In this episode we’ll take a glimpse at the action, intensity, and drama (real-life and otherwise) that happens between the ropes. We’ll visit Madison, W.Va., where All Star Wrestling (ASW) draws hundreds of people to most matches and meet Gary Damron who...

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Updated at 7:07 p.m. ET

James Alex Fields Jr., who rammed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., last year was found guilty on Friday of killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens of others.

West Virginia House Majority Leader Daryl Cowles, R-Morgan, studies legislation in a House Finance Committee meeting in 2017.
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginia lawmakers in the Eastern Panhandle have a long list of issues they hope to tackle in the upcoming state Legislative session, including reintroducing a controversial bill to allow eligible people to carry guns on college campuses.

'Who's Going to Pay for It?': No Easy Answers to Resolve Water Issues

Dec 7, 2018
F. Brian Ferguson / Charleston Gazette-Mail

BRADSHAW -- Local officials in McDowell County called a meeting in the town of Bradshaw to talk about broadband internet in West Virginia’s poorest county. But the first question from a resident focused on something more basic.

“Eleven years ago someone knocked on my door and promised me I could get city water. I still don’t have any city water, and I’ve never heard from them since -- not once,” Sandra Roberts said. “Will you be like that? When is the next time we’re going to see you all out this way?”

Search for Central Water System Proves Futile For One Family

Dec 7, 2018
Craig Hudson / Charleston Gazette-Mail

BRANCHLAND -- In Southern West Virginia, reliable access to clean water doesn’t just mean getting what you pay for. Sometimes, you don’t have the opportunity to pay for it.

Allen Adkins has been trying for years to get water lines extended to his Lincoln County home. Without that, he and his family are left to depend on a set of wells that leaves them uncertain how long water will last each day.

Adobe Stock

A new study from the West Virginia University School of Nursing suggests that loneliness may be making it harder for middle-aged Appalachians to manage chronic health conditions.

The study looked at 90 Appalachians ages 45-64, each with at least one chronic illness, such as diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. Using surveys, researchers tracked how lonely or socially supported participants were and then measured levels of anger, depression and how those related to their physical and mental health.

In Southern W.Va, Days Without Water Are a Way Of Life

Dec 7, 2018
F. Brian Ferguson / Charleston Gazette-Mail

GARY -- Each morning Tina Coleman turns her faucet, she waits to see what color the water will be when, or if, it flows out.

Some days it’s blue or green -- earthy tones that could be comforting in a river bed surrounded by trees, instead of filling the porcelain tub she uses to bathe her 9-month-old grandson. Other days, the water looks like different shades of rust: deep, coppery reds and browns. Sometimes it’s white and cloudy, as if a powder, thoroughly stirred, is about to dissolve.

Alex Slitz / Lexington Herald-Leader

HARLAN, Ky. -- David Wilburn stood in the kitchen of his Harlan County home and filled a gallon jug from the faucet and held it up to the light.

“It might be clear right now, but that’s just until they have another leak,” Wilburn said as he looked for any discoloration or sediments floating to the bottom.

When service lines break near his home, Wilburn said the tap water can be muddy for days at a time. Those periods have left him questioning the quality of his water, which he doesn’t even like to use for bathing.

Alex Slitz / Lexington Herald_leader

Jimmy Kerr sat in his real estate office near Pikeville and talked of a looming crisis in Eastern Kentucky.

Kerr is treasurer of the Martin County Water District, a utility that’s made national news amid reports of poor water quality and long outages that have left hundreds of families without running water for days at a time.

Many in Eastern Kentucky Can’t Count on Clean Water. Here are 5 Ways to Fix That.

Dec 7, 2018
Alex Slitz / Lexington Herald-Leader

Everyone deserves reliable access to clean water for drinking, cooking and washing, but that’s often not the case in mountainous Eastern Kentucky.

As the Herald-Leader reported this series, Stirring the Waters, in recent months, we spoke with dozens of residents, industry experts, state regulators and local officials about how to improve this fundamental, life-sustaining service in Appalachian Kentucky. These are their suggestions.

Will Wright / Lexington Herald-Leader

HUNTLEYVILLE, Ky.-- Jessica and Tim Taylor’s prayers seem to have paid off.

The rain came. It filled the buckets that lined the outside of their home. It filled the small plastic pool by the barn they use to water the animals. But not knowing how long the rain will continue makes them anxious.

“It’s beyond stressful,” Jessica Taylor said.


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