Roxy Todd

Reporter/ Producer Inside Appalachia

Roxy Todd is a reporter and co-producer for Inside Appalachia and has been a reporter for West Virginia Public Broadcasting since 2014. Her stories have aired on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Marketplace. She’s won several awards, including a regional AP Award for best feature radio story, and also two regional Edward R. Murrow awards for Best Use of Sound and Best Writing for her stories about Appalachian food and culture.

In 2017, she won first place in Public Radio News Directors Inc.’s (PRNDI) Nationally Edited Soft Feature category for her story titled “In Coal Country, Farmers get creative to bridge the fresh produce gap.” The radio show and podcast she helps produce, Inside Appalachia, won first place in PRNDI’s Long Documentary category for an episode titled “Hippies, Home Birth and the History of Birthing Babies in Appalachia.”

Roxy is a native of middle Tennessee. In 2005 she graduated from Warren Wilson College, where she studied Creative Writing, theater and education. 

Ways to Connect

StoryCorps

StoryCorps recently visited Charleston, West Virginia to help over 100 people record their stories. One of the conversations recorded was between Mountain Stage Host Larry Groce and jazz musician Bob Thompson. Thompson grew up in New York City, but moved to West Virginia in the 60s to attend college at West Virginia State. 


Janet Kunicki/ WVPB

Since the War on Poverty in the 1960s, federal funds to help revitalize coal country have poured in from Washington, D.C. And in recent years, a new federal push has brought millions of dollars worth of funding to projects that are intended to create jobs and retrain people in coal country for work in other fields. There are also a number of state initiatives to help generate job growth. But have these projects worked? 


A truck hauls coal away from the Coalfields Expressway site.
Jessica Lilly / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Department of Transportation has awarded a contract to pave nearly nine miles along the Coalfields Expressway between Mullens and Slab Fork., according to a press release Wednesday from Governor Jim Justice's office.  Work also extends to include the Mullens Connector. The infrastructure project is nearly 30 years in the making.

courtesy Emily Hilliard

Here in Appalachia, it’s apple season. Did you know that Golden Delicious Apples originated right here in West Virginia? In fact, apples are our state fruit. Apples have been a major agricultural industry for the Mountain State. 


AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

Coal miners and their families in Appalachia take great pride in their work and the fellowship that surrounds coal mining. As Jeremy Brock, one former Kentucky coal miner, put it: "It's a culture. It's a brotherhood."

“Once you get used to it, I wouldn’t do nothing else," he told the documentary project, Humans of Central Appalachia, in 2016.

Whiterwater Rafting Gauley River
AP Photo / Jeff Gentner

West Virginia is receiving $1 million from the federal government for state parks and outdoor recreation projects.

The award from the Land and Water Conservation Fund is part of a $100 million distribution to all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. It was announced in a news release Tuesday.

Kanawha County Schools

Demolition crews started tearing down Herbert Hoover High School in Kanawha County on Monday. The high school was damaged by high waters during the 2016 flood. 


Steve Herber / Associated Press

As rainfall from Hurricane Florence makes its way into West Virginia, Major Nate King with the West Virginia National Guard said the agency is monitoring the risk of flash flooding across the state over the next two days. 2-3 inches of rain is forcasted in the high mountains, and 1-2 inches is forecasted for much of the state, King said.

Jim Antonini, an occupational health science researcher, fields a ball at shortstop for Chico's Bail Bonds. As team captain, Antonini is in charge of the always-entertaining game write-ups that recap the misery suffered by the Morgantown softball team.
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

As we head into the final weeks of summer, this week on Inside Appalachia we explore the impact of baseball throughout the region. We’ll learn about the history of early baseball in the coal camp towns of southern West Virginia, and go inside the legendary baseball bat factory — the Louisville Sluggers. And we’ll meet a man who went from living in an isolated timber town in Pocahontas County, West Virginia to being a professional umpire for the Cincinnati Reds.

Photo Courtesy New River Gorge National River

A train derailment this past weekend in the New River Gorge may have dropped coal into a tributary of the New River, according to an email released by the National Park Service Wednesday.

The train, which had at least eight cars carrying coal, was operated by CSX.


Adobe Stock

Goats are coming to help clear invasive plants from the New River Gorge. Beginning Friday, September 7, visitors to Thurmond will be rewarded with the unusual sight of goats grazing on the hillside above this historic railroad town. 


Daniel Walker/ WVPB

A hundred years ago, gristmills weren’t just a place where people went to get cornmeal and flour, they were also gathering places for communities. But supermarkets replaced the local gristmill economy, and few working mills are still in operation today. One of West Virginia’s last remaining gristmills, Reed’s Mill in Monroe County, was placed on the list of endangered properties by the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia last year. The man who owns this mill, Larry Mustain, is wondering how long he can continue to keep his family’s business going. 


Daniel Walker/ WVPB

This week on Inside Appalachia, we’re going on a road trip to meet people who are working in Appalachia to preserve American culture and traditions.

Emily Hilliard/ WV Folklife Program

This story is part of an episode of Inside Appalachia about Professional Wrestling in Appalachia. Click here to listen to the full episode. 

In the All Star Wrestling ring in Madison, West Virginia, Rocky Rage used to be one of the most beloved local characters in the arena. But then he made the switch from hero to bad guy.


Janet Kunicki / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

We reported earlier this year on an economic development project to grow lavender on former strip mines in West Virginia. After the story was released, we heard from a number of students involved in the program, saying they were disappointed and felt misled by the outcomes of the project, called Green Mining. West Virginia Public Broadcasting revisited the story to find out what happened, and if the project is still going as expected. 


Molly Born/ WVPB

In parts of Appalachia, needle exchange programs have brought controversy, and they sometimes carry a stigma that such offerings enable, or even encourage, drug use. But supporters say the practice, especially when coupled with addiction treatment options for participants, can help get them on a path to recovery.

Appalachian Regional Commission

A new economic report from the Appalachian Regional Commission shows that across Appalachia, communities are starting to rebound. But in West Virginia, that’s not the case. 


Shayla Klein

This week on Inside Appalachia, we explore 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.


Southern Foodways Alliance/ Gravy

Being a farmer isn’t easy. One woman in Georgia found that getting assistance as a black farmer can be especially tough.

Shirley Sherrod said she found discrimination in the federal government’s farm assistance programs, and she and other farmers fought back in the biggest class action lawsuit in U.S. history. Listen to the episode to hear the results of the lawsuit, and what it meant for farmers across the country.


Carrie Neumayer/ KyCIR

This week on Inside Appalachia, we’ll learn about the life of  Kentucky politician and pastor Danny Johnson, and the investigation that exposed a long line of questionable actions that preceded his rise to power. 


Adobe Stock

There are 2 million women veterans in the United States and more than 10,000 in West Virginia.

About 50 people gathered in Logan County last Friday to honor them. The event, hosted at Chief Logan State Park lodge, focused on helping improve access to health care and support for female veterans across the United States and in Appalachia.

Meaghan Evans

Three years ago, a Kentucky writer named Robert Gipe debuted his first novel, Trampoline, about a young girl growing up in Appalachia. Authors and literary fans across the region hailed it as one of the most important books to come out of our region in recent years. But the topics Gipe writes about aren’t easy— a parent’s drug addiction and the environmental wreckage left behind by strip mining.

Now, the main character, Dawn Jewell, is back in Gipe’s second novel, a sequel called Weedeater, which is also the name of one of the main characters.


Aaron Payne / Ohio Valley ReSource

The Ohio Valley is not known for good health. Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia often rank near the bottom of states in many health rankings.

But a new report shows there are “bright spots” in the region where some health measures are better than expected. And a team of health researchers thinks these communities can offer a guide to improve health across Appalachia.

Aaron Payne/ OHIO VALLEY RESOURCE

Central Appalachia has some of the worst health measures in the country. But some communities are bucking those trends with better health outcomes. A new report looks at how some Appalachian counties are improving their health statistics and becoming bright spots. 


West Virginia University

Between 1999 and 2015, roughly 300,000 people in the United States died from opioid overdoses. And of the five states with the highest rates of drug overdose deaths in 2016, four were in Appalachia. 

In this week's episode of Inside Appalachia, we'll hear a special report from The Uncertain Hour, a podcast from American Public Media's Marketplace. Their investigation, which first aired in December, centered on a lesser-known but significant aspect of the opioid crisis: how Purdue Pharma marketed OxyContin, its highly addictive pain medication.

courtesy Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center in Staunton Virginia

More than 40 West Virginians traveled to Staunton, Virginia earlier this week to hold a protest at a juvenile detention center. The center housed migrant children who filed child abuse reports against the facility. The protest was organized by the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center in Staunton Virginia (WVIRM), a group of religious leaders and activists from the Kanawha Valley. 


Sandstone Falls along the New River
New River Gateway

The New River Gorge National River in West Virginia will receive a grant to bolster a partnership aimed at getting local residents involved in recreational activities. 


courtesy photo

A new scholarship at Marshall University has been created to support students earning their master’s degree in counseling.

According to a news release from Marshall, the scholarship is named in honor of John Hunsley, an activist for cystic fibrosis who received his bachelor’s degree in counseling from Marshall University in 1996. 


Brittany Patterson/ WVPB

Coal has dominated Appalachia’s energy economy for more than a century. But natural gas is emerging as a new economic force, bringing with it jobs, infrastructure needs and new environmental concerns.

In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll hear why some are worried about the risk of water contamination from major gas pipelines being built through parts of West Virginia, projects which also promise jobs in the region.


Anthony Kinzer, executive director of the West Virginia Center for African-American Art & Culture, and Anna Gilmer, co-author of the 1989 book Black Past celebrate the reprinting of the historic book about Charleston's African American history.
Roxy Todd / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A rare book that explores the story of Charleston’s African-American history has been reprinted. The release was announced at an event Monday, hosted by the West Virginia Center for African American Art and Culture. 


Pages