Cecelia Mason

Former Eastern Panhandle Bureau Chief, Inside Appalachia Host

Until her resignation from WVPB in July 2014, Cecelia Mason was West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Eastern Panhandle Bureau Chief. Cecelia worked in the Shepherd University bureau starting in December 1990 covering a variety of stories throughout the Eastern Panhandle and in Washington D.C. She could also be heard hosting Inside Appalachia.

Cecelia is a native West Virginian. She grew up in Fairmont where she graduated from Fairmont Senior High School and attended Fairmont State College for two years before transferring to Western Kentucky University where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism and Political Science.

Before joining West Virginia Public Broadcasting Cecelia worked in news departments at commercial radio stations in Bowling Green, Ky., Chattanooga, Tn., Knoxville, Tn., Wichita Falls, Tx., and Charles Town, W.Va. She also worked more than three years for a commercial television station in Lawton, Ok.

Ways to Connect

Sen. Joe Manchin

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and his family are mourning the loss of his 91 year-old mother, Mary, who died Monday, May 12, 2014.

Mary Manchin, whose father was a Czechoslovakian immigrant, grew up in the small town of Rachel in Marion County, West Virginia. She attended Farmington High School where she played intramural basketball.

At Farmington she met her future husband, John Manchin. They were married in 1941 and had five children, John, Rock, Joe, Janet and Paula.

The Manchin’s ran a grocery store in Farmington that eventually expanded to include furniture.

“Today, the good Lord brought my dear mother home to rest in eternal peace next to my father," Sen. Manchin said in a news release. "Gayle and I, and our entire family, are saddened by the loss of my beloved mother who touched so many in her life, but we know that she is now in a better place. We ask that you continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers.”

Two West Virginians by choice work to preserve Appalachian culture and foster dialogue.

An historic Virginia theater gets ready for a new season.

While an old West Virginia theater might get a new lease on life.

And we hear from an old farmer in Monroe County, West Virginia.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell
Jean Snedegar

West Virginia native Sylvia Matthews Burwell faced questions from Senators Thursday during her first hearing to become Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

A few republicans on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions made their dislike of the Affordable Care Act- or Obamacare as they called it- known with questions about  last fall’s rocky web site rollout, whether the numbers of enrollees are accurate and whether the deadline for the individual mandate should be extended. But for the most part Republicans seemed to be receptive to Burwell heading Health and Human Service with North Carolina Senator Richard Burr giving an outright endorsement.

There’s a push to decrease the use of lawn chemicals.

An inside look at the struggle for political power at West Virginia’s Capitol.

This is the time of year when certain wildflowers make their brief appearance.

And quilters gather in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, to hone their craft.

Former West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Dies

May 1, 2014
W.Va. GOP

Former West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Elliot 'Spike' Maynard died Thursday May 1, 2014 at Charleston Area Medical Center. He was 71.

Maynard was born in Williamson on December 8, 1942. A 1960 graduate of Belfry High School, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Florida Southern College in 1967 and a law degree from West Virginia University in 1974.

Maynard served in the United States Air Force from 1961-1966 and was attached to a reconnaissance group during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

U.S. Department of Education

Two West Virginia colleges are on a list the U.S. Department of Education released Thursday that includes 55 schools under investigation for possibly violating federal law in how they handle sexual violence and harassment complaints.

Bethany College in the northern panhandle and the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg are both on the list.

School of Osteopathic Medicine Director of Marketing & Public Relations Denise Getson in an email response to a request for comment sent the following statement:

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Berkeley Springs is generally known as a spa and arts town, and right now quilts are the primary form of art on display. Quilt squares are hanging at the local art center, The Ice House, and at businesses throughout downtown.

Every year the Delectable Mountains Quilt Guild auctions off the squares to benefit a local charity.

Washington County Public Library, Abingdon, Virginia

Food often provides a universal connection across cultures. Think: President Obama taking part in a meal at a famous sushi restaurant on his recent trip to Japan.

For about 30 years now Greenville, Tennessee, native Fred Sauceman has been documenting Appalachian food culture through a class he teaches at East Tennessee State University as well as journalistic endeavors on television, radio and in print.

Sauceman’s newest book is Buttermilk and Bible Burgers: more stories from the kitchens of Appalachia.

WV Division of Culture and History

Middle School teams from across West Virginia were in Charleston at the Culture Center Tuesday to participate in the annual West Virginia History Bowl.

24 teams from 18 schools have been competing since about 9:30 a.m. in a double elimination tournament featuring questions on topics like the state’s history, culture, geography and heritage.

But in the end it came down to a match between Fairview and Moorefield.

The last question was: "What species of tree near Smithtown Monongalia County is the largest of its species on record in the United States?"

Courtesy Photo / West Virginia Secretary of State's Office

Early voting in West Virginia’s primary election begins Wednesday April 30, 2014 and runs through Saturday May 10.

According to the Secretary of State’s web site, voters can cast ballots at each county courthouse or annex during regular business hours and on Saturday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Primary election day is Tuesday May 13, 2014.

The top of the ticket this year features races for one U.S. Senate seat and all three House seats.

Pittsburgh makes progress in its battle against climate change.

New rules to prevent Black Lung Disease are announced.

Buttermilk and Bible Burgers are just two foods represented in Appalachia.

Another is ramps and they’re in season right now.

Kentucky's Food Gap Map. Hunger issues continue to complicate life for many families across Appalachia.  As WEKU's Stu Johnson reports, this reality is reflected in the just-released Map the Meal Gap Report.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources will have three new deputy secretaries starting next month.

DHHR Cabinet Secretary Karen Bowling announced the appointment of three deputy secretaries starting May 1, 2014.

They are Molly Jordan who will oversee the Bureau for Public Health, Harold Clifton who will head the Bureau for Children and Families and the Bureau for Child Support Enforcement and Jeremiah Samples who will be Deputy Secretary of Public Insurance and Strategic Planning.

Tracking deer through infrared technology.

Bluegrass Musician Ricky Scaggs talks about his book “Kentucky Traveler: My Life in Music.”

Kentucky Poet Laureate Frank X. Walker discusses his work as a writer and activist.

Meet the first Future Farmers of America national office holder from West Virginia in 40 years.

Office/Sen. Jay Rockefeller

Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is resigning and President Obama is expected to replace her with West Virginia native Sylvia Mathews Burwell.

Senator Jay Rockefeller, (D-W.Va.) released the following statement about Sebelius’ resignation:

“For the past five years, I have marveled at Secretary Sebelius’s grace under pressure. She never backed down from the tremendous responsibilities of her position, which were of a magnitude no other cabinet secretary has ever had to face with regard to domestic policy.”

Cecelia Mason / WV Public Radio

The West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind is changing the job description and requiring more education for the house parents who watch children living on campus, a move that’s controversial but has the support of the West Virginia Board of Education.

The Schools have been undergoing many changes since the state Board of Education hired Lynn Boyer as superintendent. The campus in Romney had become dilapidated over the years and the curriculum hadn’t kept up with current educational standards. The Board charged Boyer with changing things.

As the deadline for getting health insurance approaches, learn what it’s like to go through the process.

A Kentucky basketball great is in a West Virginia federal prison.

A new school in Cabell County, W.Va., could be a model for the rest of the state,

And meet Joe Riley, a Pocahontas County, W.Va., farmer.

As the deadline for signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act approaches audiences in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia will have the opportunity to view the issue of health care through a one-man play called Mercy Killers.

The main character in the play is Joe. He’s from southeast Ohio, works as an auto mechanic and is libertarian in his political views. Michael Milligan, the Juilliard educated stage actor, wrote the play and has been performing it for about a year now.

Appalachian Studies Association

About 800 people are expected to attend a conference at Marshall University in Huntington Friday through Sunday for the 37th Annual Appalachian Studies Conference.

Marshall University Education Professor and conference organizer Linda Spatig says the theme is New Appalachia: Known Realities and Imagined Possibilities.

Kentucky could get its first Muslim lawmaker if one candidate is successful.

So what do folks in Bobtown, Pa., really think of those pizza gift certificates?

Pickens, W.Va., celebrates the maple syrup harvest.

And some West Virginia rocket boys put their skills to a test.

This winter has brought a lot of snow, and snowy owls.

Some southern West Virginia residents almost always have unusable water.

We visit an old general store with a new purpose.

And learn more about the world of crayfish research.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Two new geocache trails geared toward tourists open this weekend in West Virginia.

The Cabell County/Huntington Geotrail will take visitors on a treasure hunt through Cabell County looking for 15 caches. The Cabell-Huntington Convention and Visitors Bureau web site says the trail will include various types of geocaches including traditionals, unknowns and multis. This is the first time Cabell County is offering a geocache trail.

Meanwhile, the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Convention and Visitors Bureau kicks off its second annual geocache trail.

Nic Persinger / Looking At Appalachia

Fifty years ago President Lyndon Johnson declared a War on Poverty, and photographs taken at the time continued to define what Appalachia looks like for decades afterwards. Now one Appalachian photographer is working to modernize this vision of the region.

Roger May started a new project called Looking at Appalachia: 50 Years After the War on Poverty and He’s asking photographers from across the region to submit photos.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Ten students from the University of San Francisco are in West Virginia this week, spending their spring break getting a first-hand look at the coal and gas industries.

This immersion trip is taking place through Wheeling Jesuit University’s Appalachian Institute. It began in Wheeling with an orientation then the group traveled to the Morgantown, W.Va. and Washington, Pa., area to visit the Center for Coalfield Justice and spend time with the Friends of Decker’s Creek collecting water samples.

Becoming Frack Finders

Kentucky launches a new education program with its federal Race to the Top grant.

Retired military members make a case for better climate change policy.

Calling all photographers! For help documenting Appalachia 50 years after the War on Poverty.

An Appalachian village ushers in the Lenten season West Virginia style.

Gallup

From 2010 to 2012 West Virginia was ranked the most obese state in the country according to Gallup’s Well Being State of the States report.

This year Mississippi bumped West Virginia out of the bottom.

The report says Mississippi’s obesity rate is 35 point four percent, while West Virginia’s is 34.4.  The national rate is 27.1 percent, which is 1.6 percentage points higher than the year before.

Harpers Ferry view from the hill
Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The National Parks in West Virginia generated $63.4 million in visitor spending in 2012 with more than 1.5 million recreational visits.

West Virginia ranks 33rd among all states in national park visitation.

The U.S. Department of Interior released a report Monday showing the number of visits and the economic impact at more than 400 sites across the country in the national park system.

The two West Virginia sites listed are Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and the New River Gorge National River.

Harpers Ferry:

Same sex marriage makes headlines again this week across the country and in Appalachia.

An outdoor classroom in Virginia addresses watershed issues.

Tourism professionals aren’t worried about the water at a conference in Charleston, W.Va.

And Traveling 219 makes another visit to the Tygart Valley Homestead in Randolph County W.Va.

  The 24th Annual International Water Tasting took place Saturday in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., and a Canadian  town walked away with the trophy for Best 

  Municipal Tap Water.

Among the judges for this year's competition was West Virginia Public Broadcasting Executive Director Scott Finn, who documented the event including a popular activity after the winners are announced, the "water rush" where members of the audience get to grab as much free bottled water as they can carry.

Some land in Wise Virginia has gone from producing coal, to producing grapes.

West Virginians debate whether frack waste should be dumped in local landfills.

Two long forgotten African American poets are recognized.

And we learn more about jazz pianist Bob Thompson.

A.J. Lawson / WVU School of Journalism

The nation’s first and only building memorializing African American veterans of WWI is located in Kimball, W.Va. and Thursday evening a celebration of Black History Month will take place there that highlights the work of two previously unrecognized poets from the era.

The two poets were sisters from Beckley who at age 17 and 18 attended the West Virginia Colored Institute, which is now West Virginia State College. An 83 page hard back book featuring their poetry was published in 1919.

Discovering the Book

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