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. 

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Kara Lofton/ West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) announced Tuesday it is extending the application deadline for Fall 2018 PROMISE scholarships to Friday, March 30, 2018.

Some students reported they had difficulty completing their PROMISE applications by the earlier deadline due to the statewide public school work stoppage, and legislators and the governor asked the Commission to provide relief, said HEPC Chancellor Dr. Paul L. Hill.

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Health officials in the Ohio Valley are investigating outbreaks of disease associated with needle drug use in what is emerging as a new public health threat from the region’s profound opioid addiction crisis. 


Janet Kunicki/ WVPB

It isn’t news that Appalachia is struggling economically. If you’ve followed the boom-bust cycle of the coal industry, you know that we’ve been here before. 

Acts of violence and protests resisting racial integration were features in many American communities in the 1950s and 60s. A tiny town in the coalfields of South Central West Virginia appears to have been a notable exception.

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A pastor in Fairmont has publicly supported a local human rights ordinance that would protect LGBTQ people from discrimination. But the endorsement could cost her church its spot in a local Baptist association and from the West Virginia Baptist Convention.


Benny Becker/ WMMT

For many years we thought that black lung was a disease of the past. But it has actually stricken a whole new generation of miners, and in some ways, it’s worse than before. 

CDC

The prevalence of obesity has risen dramatically in the U.S. A new study explores the economic cost of treating diseases associated with obesity.


Katie Fallon

In honor of Valentine’s Day, this week's encore episode of Inside Appalachia features one of our favorite and most downloaded podcasts. We hear from writers Neil Gaiman, Ann Pancake, Carrie Mullins, Charles Frazier, and Nikki Giovanni sharing their love letters to Appalachia. It's a place that, while flawed, has been a source of inspiration and awe for them.


John Nakashima/ WVPB

On a recent weekday, in a renovated building in downtown Huntington, 22-year-old Jacob Howell was among 20 people working at a laptop in a sunlit office. Senior web developers sat shoulder-to-shoulder with new employees at long tables. There wasn’t a cubicle in sight.


 

Howell, a Hurricane native, wasn’t sure where he might end up after graduating last year from Marshall University.

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Mary Meehan / Ohio Valley ReSource

A program that offers free needles to people who use IV drugs could be coming to Beckley, as a way to help combat the opioid epidemic and prevent the outbreak of diseases like HIV and Hepatitis. The announcement was made at a community forum on Tuesday.  Several solutions to combating these issues were discussed, including increasing the number of police officers in Beckley.


WVPB/ Janet Kunicki

Gwynn Guilford is a reporter for Quartz, a business news site. She specializes in writing about the economy. Guilford spent 10 months researching Appalachia’s economy for an article called “The 100-year capitalist experiment that keeps Appalachia poor, sick, and stuck on coal”. Guilford dug into the history of the region’s economic ties to the coal industry, and the long-term effects this relationship has had on the people who live and are determined to stay in Appalachia.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting reporter Roxy Todd spoke with Guilford about her report.


Janet Kunicki/ WVPB

When you picture the Appalachian Coalfields, you might think of those scenic photographs of mist rising from the mountains. But there are the less picturesque landscapes too -- views of mountaintops that have been stripped away from coal mining. Imagine if these barren landscapes were covered with purple fields of lavender.

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This week on Inside Appalachia, we'll hear stories of women whose grit and determination changed their own lives - and changed other people's lives, too. We’ll hear from women who overcame a lot of challenges to succeed as students, musicians, entrepreneurs and educators.

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Toby Talbot / Associated Press

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. The opioid epidemic is killing our friends and neighbors.

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On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll learn more about how children are being affected by the opioid epidemic and what’s being done to help them. 


Jessica Lilly

This week on Inside Appalachia, we discuss one part of coal's legacy: as mining companies have closed, the water companies they built and helped maintain have largely been neglected. Today, residents are struggling with crumbling water infrastructure that hasn’t been updated for, sometimes, 100 years. 

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Updated Jan. 10 12:35 p.m.:

A federal judge in California temporarily blocked the Trump administration's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program late Tuesday night (Jan. 9th).

Original story:

Democrats and Republicans say they want to pass immigration reform this year. Most Republicans are pushing for tighter border regulations, while some Democrats say they would like to find a way to extend work permits to “Dreamers” through the DACA program. DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It provided two-year work permits to some undocumented immigrants if their parents brought them into the country as children. 

This week on Inside Appalachia: wildlife experts agree the Eastern Mountain Lion is extinct. So why do so many people across Appalachia swear they’ve seen mountain lions? Have they? What did they really see? WMRA’s Andrew Jenner and Brent Finnegan explored the stories behind mountain lion sightings in the mountains of central Appalachia. What they found, made them question the expert opinion.

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Folk artists, musicians, and chefs across the mountain state will be teaching their crafts to apprentices during 2018, as part of a new project by the West Virginia Folklife Program -- a project of the West Virginia Humanities Council. The Humanities Council selected five master artist and apprentice pairs, including salt rising bakers, gospel musicians, and Appalachian fiddlers.

Credit WikiMedia Commons

The Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training confirms a fatal incident occurred Friday, December 29, 2017 at approximately 12:57 a.m., at the Revelation Energy, LLC, Revelation S7 mine in Fayette County, West Virginia. Preliminary information indicates Thurman A. Watts of Harts, WV, died when a dozer he was operating traveled over the high wall. Mr. Watts was a dozer operator at the mine; he was 34 years old.

STORYCORPS

We’ve teamed up with StoryCorps and Georgetown University’s American Pilgrimage Project for this episode about faith in Appalachia.

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This week's Inside Appalachia is a special holiday edition.  We hear stories of Christmas past, present and hope for the future. We’ll check in with West Virginians still recovering from historic flooding that hit in 2016, find out how to avoid gaining weight, hear a story about a welcomed Star of David on a Christmas tree, and more. 


Jill Lang/ Adobe Stock

The Federal Communications Commission and the National Cancer Institute have joined forces to increase broadband access in rural areas in hopes of improving lives of cancer patients there. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans living in rural areas are still more likely to die of cancer than their counterparts in urban settings. 


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Staff and students at Marshall University will be lending a hand to an organization that works to help fight addiction.

The university said in a news release that students and staff in the College of Health Professions will work on video projects next semester highlighting the mission of the Soul Searching for Recovery organization. 


courtesy Ann Lockard

This week on Inside Appalachia, we talk about what brings people back home to the mountains of Appalachia. And we’ll hear about what happens when people finally do come home. Can the reality of home ever truly live up to our memories of it?


courtesy Joni Deutsch

Jewish communities across West Virginia are struggling to keep their traditions alive.

“It is actually kind of scary. I worry because a lot of people my age are moving away for, like, school or jobs and because of that the communities are getting smaller,” said Kirston Kennedy, a young Jewish Appalachian who inspired our show. 

Courtesy Stephanie Shumer

A West Virginia University graduate student is studying an unexplored enzyme that could lead to new diabetes treatments.

Stephanie Shumar is a graduate student in WVU's School of Medicine and is studying biochemistry and molecular biology. 


Derek Cline/ Inside Appalachia

So how do you say Appalachia? This week, our episode is about the many different accents, and pronunciations, of Appalachia. Many of those interviewed for the show said they have very strong feelings about pronunciation.

Much of Appalachia’s economy has rested on the boom and bust cycles of industries like coal and manufacturing for decades. It’s true that these industries have long put bread on the Appalachian table, but as those industries have faded in recent decades, jobs have grown scarce. 

So are there industries that might one day provide more financial stability to the region? This week on Inside Appalachia, we learn more about some unexpected and unique ways Appalachians are thinking outside the box to earn money, like growing industrial hemp, installing solar panels and even growing tea.

James Pintar/ Adobe Stock

In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we're taking a look at the myths and truths of the wild turkey. We’ll find out if turkeys really can fly. We'll find out what wild turkeys can teach us about wild animals.

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