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

On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’re talking about two things you’re likely to find on a supper table in Appalachia: Jell-O and mason jars.

Corinne Segal/ PBS Newshour

Marshall’s LGBTQ+ office is located in a central campus building, down in the small corner of the basement. There’s a comfy lounge area, with couches, books and a TV. The students meet here for occasional support group meetings, or just to watch movies and unwind. In a back room, there’s a walk-in closet with hundreds of dresses, suits, pants and shoes arranged on hangers and shelves. A full-length mirror hangs on the door. 


Luke Mitchem

Ten folklore students from George Mason University in Virginia recently spent a week visiting central and southern West Virginia. They traveled to five counties to learn more about the culture, stories and history found throughout our area and how traditions have impacted the personal lives of several West Virginians. 


Carol Guzy/ NPR

Can Trump bring coal jobs back to Appalachia? We’re a year-and-a-half into his presidency, and some people, like coal operator Barry Estep, are hopeful.

“Maybe this is a light at the end of the tunnel we’ve all been hoping for, to get things turned around and changed some.”

But others are not so sure that coal has a long-term future. 


Brittany Patterson/ WVPB

Three high school students in Fayette County have devoted the past year to researching Minden’s possible soil contamination and the history of the Environmental Protection Agency's involvement in the Shaffer Site. Their project involved collecting soil samples at the former site of the Shaffer Equipment Company, which in the 1970s was in the business of repairing, building, and disposing of various types of transformers from coal companies. The company leaked polychlorinated biphenyl — more commonly known as PCB— into the soil.


courtesy Bil Lepp

This week, we’re listening back to a popular show we did back in 2016, featuring award winning storytellers— telling some whopping tale and lies.

We’ll be featuring storytellers from the West Virginia Storyteller’s Guild, all of whom have competed and won prizes across the country. 


Adobe Stock

A 43-yr-old coal miner from Barbour County died Tuesday after sustaining injuries in a Randolph County mining accident. 

Ronald R. Taylor was a shuttle car operator at the Carter Roag Coal Company, Morgan Camp Mine in Randolph County. 


Arbuckle Creek, Minden
Brittany Patterson

On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll visit Minden, West Virginia, where residents are asking the federal government to consider adding their town to an official list of places most seriously contaminated by hazardous waste. But this nearly 40-year-old program’s budget has faced repeated cuts over the past 20 years. We’ll learn about how that may affect cleanup efforts for communities that are designated as U.S. Department of Environmental Protection Superfund sites.

Roxy Todd/ West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This week on Inside Appalachia we’re going to listen back to an episode we originally aired in 2017, about veterans who are turning to traditional farming, for therapy.

We’ll travel to Sugar Bottom Farm in Clay County West Virginia to meet Veteran Eric Grandon, the first veteran to go through the Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture program.


Adobe Stock

The 10 counties in the United States most at risk for an HIV outbreak are all in Central Appalachia, according to a 2016 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Compiled after a 2015 outbreak of the disease in southern Indiana, the report found that places with a combination of high poverty, low access to health care, and rampant intravenous drug were mostly likely to experience a similar outbreak of HIV and hepatitis C.

Last year on Inside Appalachia we aired an episode about Grandparents raising grandchildren. Our newsroom just won a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for this series, so today, we’re listening back to this important story.  

courtesy Partnership for Appalachian Girls' Education

Our region has challenges, from the economic decline of the coal industry, to the opioid epidemic, there’s work to do in our communities. In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll hear from several people who are trying to reinvigorate our region with opportunities for change. We’ll also hear from some younger voices in Appalachian, North Carolina about growing up in the mountains.

 


West Virginia American Water
Foo Conner / Flickr

West Virginia American Water filed an application Monday with the Public Service Commission of West Virginia to adjust its rates for water and wastewater service.  


Roxy Todd/ WVPB

Several federally funded job-training programs have emerged in recent years designed to help revitalize coal country. In 2017 alone, the Appalachian Regional Commission, a federal-state partnership focused on economic development since the mid-1960s, approved more than $150 million in projects for the region. But how successful are these programs, and what are the challenges?

Janet Kunicki/ WVPB

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Abandoned Mine Lands and Reclamation is taking applications for grant funding available for economic development projects.

The goal of the Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Economic Development Pilot Program is to provide financial assistance to communities hoping to redevelop lands near abandoned mine sites across the state. 


Roxy Todd/ West Virginia Public Broadcasting

It’s been a year since we started following six Appalachians as they grappled with whether to stay in their home state or leave for better opportunities. On this week’s episode, we’ll revisit those we profiled in our Struggle to Stay series– and reflect on what we learned as we helped them tell their stories.


Evan Vucci / AP Photo

The upcoming senate race in West Virginia has drawn a big crowd of Republican contenders who are vying to face off on May 8 in the primary races. They're competing for the Senate seat currently held by Joe Manchin, the long standing Democratic incumbent. A group of college students in a political science course at West Virginia Wesleyan College recently made their predictions for which Republicans they think will come out ahead in the primary senate race.


ASSOCIATED PRESS

In this week's episode of Inside Appalachia, we visit communities impacted by creation of flood-control lakes. In one, the Village of Lilly, about 40 families were pushed off their land along the Bluestone River in Summers County, W.Va., in the 1940s. Many of these families had lived there for more than 200 years. 


Kara Lofton/ West Virginia Public Broadcast

This week on Inside Appalachia, we'll learn more about how our reliance on coal and other extractive industries have affected our region’s economy.

Joey Aloi

A national campaign that aims to unite disenfranchised populations across the U.S. held events in Kentucky and West Virginia late last week.  Meetings are part of a two-month tour designed to highlight social inequity, and build on a movement begun 50 years ago by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

courtesy Charlie McCoy

In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll talk about faith and music. We learn about Sister Rosetta Tharpe, one of the first great recording stars of gospel music, find out the story behind "Amazing Grace," and why it became an American icon, and hear the story of Nashville session musician, W.Va. native Charlie McCoy.


Kara Lofton/ West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Students at Mary C. Snow Elementary School on Charleston's West Side got to meet the school's new therapy dog Monday. Two years ago, the students said goodbye to their beloved friend Paca, who had been one of the state’s first therapy dogs to work at a school. Paca had to leave because her owner, the school’s librarian, took a job out of state. 


Lifebridge AmeriCorps

A former coal miner and veteran from West Virginia has been honored with the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award in volunteerism. Wayne McDonald has volunteered over 9,000 hours, over five years, helping fellow veterans through AmeriCorps & VISTA. 

McDonald is an Army veteran who served during the first Gulf War. He was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder when he returned to West Virginia. The local Ceterans center in Logan County actually helped him find medical care. Later, they approached him about joining AmeriCorps, through their VetCorps Program. 

West Virginia Department of Agriculture

This recipe is from farm-to-table chef and farmer from Harrison County, Mike Costello. He shared this recipe on a recent episode of Inside Appalachia.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

2 lb fresh greens (turnip greens, kale or collards) rinsed and coarsely chopped

1 large onion, cut into ⅛” slices

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 slices smoked bacon, diced

3 Tablespoons maple syrup

courtesy Mike Costello

In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll travel to the sugar shacks of Appalachian maple producers, and we’ll learn how to use syrup in everything from glazed greens to buttermilk ice cream – and even roasted rabbit. 

Kara Lofton/ West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Updated March 17, 2018 12:00 p.m.:

A West Virginia judge has granted Frontier Communications a temporary restraining order against its protesting employees. Roughly 1,400 Frontier Communications employees in West Virginia and Ashburn, Virginia, represented by the Communication Workers of America have been striking since March 4 after union leaders and the company failed to reach a contract agreement.

TYLER EVERT / ASSOCIATED PRESS

The nine-day teachers’ strike in West Virginia made headlines across the country, and some are wondering what the events mean for state’s political landscape. How did a widespread labor strike, a practice normally associated with Democrats, happen in a state that voted so heavily for Donald Trump?

We wanted to take a step back to explore how politics have been changing here over the past generation. West Virginia has been dubbed the heart of Trump Country, but politics here are anything but straightforward.

Kara Lofton/ West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Now that thousands of striking teachers across West Virginia have returned to work with a pay raise and a promise to fix their health care plan, how might their actions inspire others? It’s one of the questions we’ll explore on this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia.


CREDIT COURTESY OF WV STATE ARCHIVES (WVSA), COAL LIFE COLLECTION

After a nine-day statewide strike, West Virginia teachers and school service employees are back to work with a hard-won commitment from lawmakers of a 5 percent pay raise for all public workers. Gov. Jim Justice also ordered the creation of a task force to explore long-term solutions to the public employees insurance program known as PEIA.

Adobe Stock

Loud dance music pours out of a historic church in downtown Bluefield, West Virginia, around 7 on a Friday evening. About 30 people are eating barbeque, beans and chicken at a newly formed support group for lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender and queer people. 

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