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

Cecelia Mason / WV Public Radio

The Martinsburg High football team made West Virginia high school sports history Saturday by beating Huntington High 9-7 to win the state AAA championship in Wheeling, W.Va.

It’s the first time in West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission history an AAA ranked school has won four state football championships in a row.

Martinsburg (13-1) was ranked number two during the season and Huntington (13-1) was ranked number one.

“Anytime you have number one versus number two it should be a tight ballgame and it was today,” Martinsburg Coach  Davis Walker said.

Kentuckians get ready to SOAR.

A new book by photographer Builder Levy documents change in the coalfields.

A Tucker County W.Va. clock repairman marks his 90th birthday.

And the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame loses a member.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The enormous Macy’s catalog distribution warehouse in Berkeley County, W.Va., was abuzz with activity for Cyber Monday when West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin stopped by to get a first-hand look at how the center is doing.

“Obviously there are several hundred people here today working, being the little elves that get those packages out to get under the Christmas trees,” Tomblin said as walked around the warehouse.

Folks in fracking country Pennsylvania work on air pollution issues.

Kentucky college students are having a blast- with some mine research.

America’s Test Kitchen has an Appalachian connection.

And we learn about the famed Fairfax Stone.

A southern West Virginia town works to revitalize itself.

Appalachia remembers John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

A bicyclist pedals across the country raising awareness of Lyme disease.

And a Kentucky writer discusses his latest book.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The forum started with opening remarks from State Sen. John Unger (D-Berkeley) and Del. Tiffany Lawrence (D-Jefferson). Participants then watched part of the PBS film Poor Kids and a short preview of a film about child poverty in the state being produced by West Virginia PBS.

They then met in smaller groups to talk about how poverty affects children academically and socially, stereotypes associated with being poor, what resources are available in the community and what can be done to prevent families from becoming poor.

WV Division of Culture and History

Wednesday is the 45th anniversary of a mine explosion in Farmington, W.Va., that claimed the lives of 78 men. Time Trail, West Virginia, from the state Division of Culture and History, describes what happened that day.

November 20, 1968: The Farmington mine disaster

After an explosion tore through Consolidation Coal Company's Number 9 mine in Farmington, there was still hope that miners trapped below ground found a way to survive.

This is National Homeless and Hunger Awareness Week, when the National Coalition for the Homeless and other advocacy organizations hope the country will focus on issues surrounding poverty. The United Way of the Eastern Panhandle is doing just that Thursday evening during a public forum.

During the forum "Poverty in the Panhandle: Children at Risk,"  the United Way of the Eastern Panhandle, Family Resource Network and Health and Human Services Collaborative hope to discuss the problem and come up with possible solutions.

CBP / Customs and Border Protection

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Advanced Training Center near Harpers Ferry, W.Va., will soon add new buildings.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a $51.7 million contract to construct 250 room student dormitories and a student center.

In a news release Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said the addition of dorms will turn the facility into a full service campus, and will save the government money for training and travel expenses.

Justin Steiner / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

What are the potential side effects of cracker plants planned in West Virginia and Pennsylvania?

Some folks in Eastern Kentucky are having a potentially explosive problem with their wells.

Some hot doings on a cold day recently at West Virginia University.

And new inductees join the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame.

Cecilia Mason / WVPublic

Last week a violent altercation erupted between students at Morgantown High School that ended with one student in a hospital, with multiple stab wounds to the arms and chest.  A police officer in the school, known as a Prevention Resource Officer, administered emergency first aid and prevented major blood loss. Few know about the Prevention Resource Officer program and the role these officers play throughout schools in West Virginia.

'Security' to 'Prevention'

Submitted Photo / W.V. Division of Forestry

Update: Friday, November 22 at 10:40 a.m.

The Smoke Hole area of Pendleton County, W.Va. that was struck by a forest fire nearly two weeks ago will reopen to the public on Sunday now that the fire is fully contained.

A news release says the public will be free to enter the Monongahela National Forest area where the fire was beginning Sunday morning, Nov. 24, 2013. 

 

The fire burned 1,611 acres.

The release says visitors to the area should be aware that there are still ongoing monitoring and fire patrol efforts and that while the majority of firefighters have gone home, several crews, engines, and a helicopter continue to work in the area. 

 

Update: Sunday, November 17, 2013 at 10 a.m.

The forest fire at the Smoke Hole area of Pendleton County has grown to about 1,600 acres but firefighters are also finding more success in fighting  it. According to a news release the fire is 50 percent contained.

The fire started a week ago on private land adjacent to the Monongahela National Forest 11 miles southwest of Petersburg, W.Va. and three miles northeast Seneca Rocks. The cause is under investigation.

The news release says about 190 firefighters and support staff, including four crews, two modules, six engines, two bulldozers, and one helicopter are assisting with the fire.

The release says: Crews had a safe, productive day yesterday.  The south and east flanks are being mopped up and patrolled. Some minimal fire activity occurred along the crest of North Fork Mountain along the northwest section of the fire.

Plans for today call for direct attack on any remaining active fire. In areas where the fire is not actively burning, crews are strengthening the completed line. 

A cold front moving into the area in late afternoon may bring a chance of thunderstorms with gusty winds and additional rain.

 

Update: Friday, November 15, 2013 at 9 a.m.

The U.S Forest Service and West Virginia Division of Forestry report the fire in the Smoke Hole area of Pendleton County, W.Va. is about 30 percent contained.  

The fire is burning on about 1,400 acres of national forest land and adjacent private property 11 miles southwest of Petersburg and three miles northeast of Seneca Rocks.

Reid R. Frazier / The Allegheny Front

The Appalachian Regional Commission aims to grow entrepreneurship.

The Gulf Coast provides a hint at what good, and bad, can come from a cracker plant planned for Pennsylvania.

A look at just what goes into making Tennessee moonshine.

And one West Virginia man tackles the problem of profound poverty.

Community Care of West Virginia

Two West Virginia health centers are among 236 across the country receiving money through the Affordable Care Act.

Community Care of West Virginia in Rock Cave is getting a $704,167 grant and Williamson Health and Wellness Center will receive  $812,500.

A news release from the White House says the community health centers will use the money to establish new full time health care delivery sites so more people can gain access to health care.

The release calls community health centers "key partners in helping uninsured residents sign up for health coverage."

Submitted Photo / Shepherd University

While Mountain East schools prepare for the upcoming basketball season the league’s first football season seems to be going well.

Football, or the lack of it, is one reason the colleges started the Mountain East Conference. Throughout the year-long process of forming the Conference, Shepherd University officials pointed to the benefits of being aligned with other football-playing schools.

Reid R. Frazier / The Allegheny Front

How much mine-able coal is left in Appalachia?

An old coal company store in Southern West Virginia has some spooky history.

We revisit the story of the Greenbrier Ghost, through the voices of school children.

And learn how growing a garden benefits women in a Pocahontas County prison facility.

Submitted Photo / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Today is All Hallows Eve, or Halloween, which traces its roots to Gaelic culture when it was believed on this day the boundaries between the living and dead overlap.

It's also a great day to read a ghost story, which is why Berkeley Springs writer John Douglas made sure his new book, A Fog of Ghosts: Haunted Tales and Odd Pieces, was published this month.

Douglas is the former editor of the Morgan Messenger newspaper and he started writing ghost stories in the mid 1970’s. Every year he’d pen one for the paper’s Halloween edition.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The economic outlook for West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle over the next five years looks good according to West Virginia University’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

The state has added about 3,000 jobs since the middle of last year according to this year’s Outlook report. John Deskins, Bureau director, presented the outlook for the Eastern Panhandle to a ballroom full of business leaders from Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan Counties gathered at the Martinsburg Holiday Inn, beginning with a look at the statewide forecast.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller
Politico

Several Organizations in West Virginia that address drug abuse and mental health issues will get a boost from the federal government.  Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin today announced $733,068 in federal funding for community organizations across the state to prevent and reduce substance abuse among youth in West Virginia.

The funding comes from the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s (ONDCP) Drug-Free Communities (DFC) grant program with support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Brian Allen / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Kentucky prepares to introduce new science education standards.

A report on the effects of natural gas fracking is due out soon.

And we hear from two West Virginia writers with books out just in time for the spooky season.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Public Service Commission got an earful from Eastern Panhandle electric customers unhappy with Potomac Edison’s billing practices during a public hearing Wednesday evening and Thursday morning in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

Customers are upset because last winter and spring they received estimated monthly bills that were much higher than normal. In some cases the electric company did estimated readings several months in a row. Delegate Stephen Skinner (D-Jefferson) was among those who spoke during the hearing.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Stories and photographs from the Cacapon and Lost River Valley are featured in a book just released by West Virginia University Press.

Listening to the Land features the stories of several owners throughout the watershed who have chosen to preserve their land through the Cacapon and Lost River Land Trust.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The 32nd Apple Harvest Festival took place Oct. 17-20, 2013, and featured a 5k run, pancake breakfasts, a craft fair in the historic Martinsburg, W.Va., roundhouse with entertainment, music on the town square Friday evening and a Grand Feature Parade Saturday afternoon.

The Festival usually includes agricultural tours but the web site says those were cancelled this year because of the partial shutdown of the Federal Government. But there were apple centric contests to determine who baked the best pie or grew the best fruit.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A new Kentucky café caters to Alzheimer’s patients and their families.

Arts and Culture provide economic development in one Kentucky county.

A new book profiles one of West Virginia’s most picturesque river valleys.

And ink lovers turn out for the first WV tattoo expo.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

From the Associated Press: Congress has passed legislation to reopen the partially-shuttered federal government and avert a potentially disastrous default on U.S. obligations, clearing the measure for President Barack Obama's promised signature.

Passage of the bill late Wednesday in the House and Senate ended a Washington-created crisis that closed much of government for 16 days. It came on the eve of the date the Treasury Department warned it would no longer be able to borrow to pay the government's bills.

Joey Stevenson / WVU School of Medicine

Students at the West Virginia University School of Medicine Martinsburg, W.Va., campus are getting a side dish of cooking lessons along with their regular medical training.

The WVU Medical School’s Eastern Division is trying to fill a void in doctor education through a new class called Med Chef.

Submitted Photo

Compressed natural gas is a hard sell despite all the drilling.

West Virginia native John Nash continues to inspire.

Traditional music lovers will soon be able to own The 1928 Johnson City Sessions.

And we take a trip to the quiet zone in West Virginia, shhhh.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Board of Education had asked Superintendent Lynn Boyer to study the costs and benefits of keeping the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind in Romney versus moving them to another location. Boyer made a presentation to the Board Wednesday and in a statement announced the Board voted Thursday morning to keep the schools in Romney.

Boyer said the decision will allow the WVSDB and the community work together to make improvements to the Schools.

EarthEcho International

West Virginia is one of the states featured in a new education project created by EarthEcho International focusing on in the Chesapeake Bay.

EarthEcho Expeditions: Into the Dead Zone, offers teachers material that they can use to supplement classroom learning. The Expedition, which launches today online, explores pollution problems in the Bay, one of many water bodies across the globe that have aquatic dead zones, areas that because of pollution runoff don’t have enough oxygen to support marine life.

Cecelia Mason

The West Virginia chapter of The Nature Conservancy is celebrating a half century in existence by looking back at its accomplishments, planning its future and honoring 50 people or organizations that have helped it along the way.

The West Virginia chapter was chartered in 1963. The Nature Conservancy web site says the idea started three years earlier when a group at West Virginia University wanted to buy the Cranesville Swamp Preserve near Morgantown, W.Va.

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