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

Susan Brown and Jenny Bardwell

Have you ever heard of Salt Rising Bread? Legend has it this traditional Appalachian food, which uses no yeast, was created by pioneers in West Virginia who had very few ingredients.

Bakers Susan Brown and Jenny Bardwell have been working to document the recipes and stories of salt sising bread over the past few years.

Tim Reddinger, Ohio River, Beaver, Pennsylvania
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

It’s easy to take the water coming out of your faucet for granted, but tragedies like the Elk River Chemical spill that left thousands of residents in West Virginia's capital city without water for days have put tap water front and center.

Appalachia is no stranger to water contamination, especially in places with a history of heavy industry, like the Ohio River Valley. But as a large source of drinking water, how do we know it’s safe?

Zoe van Buren

Old time musician Jim Costa gave a performance at the West Virginia Humanities Council Wednesday night. It was part of the West Virginia Folklife Program.


Women's March, Donald Trump, Inauguration
Joni Deutsch / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

About 2,800 people gathered outside the Capitol in Charleston on Saturday, Jan. 21, to show their support for women’s equality one day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration.


Candace Nelson

If you didn’t grow up in West Virginia, you may have no idea what a pepperoni roll is. But those who grew up eating them in school cafeterias or buying them at some of the Italian bakeries in north-central West Virginia, probably know pepperoni rolls are strongly connected to Appalachian culture and childhood memories.

This week, we’ll learn a bit more about this signature Appalachian food, and we’ll learn about how its origins are deeply connected with the history and culture of coal mining, and to the food that miners brought to work in their lunch buckets.

U.S. National Archive Jack Corn

Why is Donald Trump so popular in Appalachia? And how confident are Appalachians that Trump will change the economy and bring back thousands of coal mining jobs?

Anne Li / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Appalachia voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump. He won 95% of the counties here. On this week’s Inside Appalachia, we speak with Trump supporters and opponents about how a Trump presidency will impact our region.

courtesy BBC

Who are you and what matters to you? What are your hopes for the future under a new US presidency? These are the questions being asked in a new 4-part radio series by the BBC and APM called “The Response: America’s Story”. The series will cover President-elect Donald Trump's first 100 days in office. It's producing its first episode right here in West Virginia, and West Virginia Public Broadcasting is helping with the launch.

While millions of addictive pain pills flooded West Virginia, a generation of Appalachians grew up with a parent addicted or abusing drugs. Hear some of their stories on this week's classic episode of Inside Appalachia.

StoryCorps

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

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

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 about 6 months ago, find out how to avoid gaining weight, hear a story about a welcomed Star of David on a Christmas tree, and more.

Photo by Crystal Good

Ever hear the word 'Affrilachian'? In the 1990s, a poet in Kentucky named Frank X Walker came up with the term. It refers to African Americans living in Appalachia. 

“To us it was about making the invisible visible, or giving voice to a previously muted or silenced voice,” Walker told the Appalachian Studies Association during its 2016 conference at Shepherd University.

StoryCorps

This month, we're hearing a series of interviews about religious faith and cultural identity in West Virginia. John Simmons grew up on the West Side of Charleston and is now a pastor in a church there.  But a few years ago he heard a calling that would take him and his family to northern Thailand for Christian missionary work for four years.  In this interview, John's wife Lisa asks him to reflect on the family's time there and what it meant to him and his faith.

Jessica Lilly

In this week’s Inside Appalachia, we take a look at first generation college students.  We’ll hear about challenges that first generation college students are going through, and how some colleges and universities are trying to help these students stay in school.

StoryCorps/ Georgetown University

West Virginia Public Broadcasting and StoryCorps have teamed up for a series of conversations about religious faith told by West Virginians. We'll be bringing you these conversations over the next few weeks.

In this interview, we hear from a woman who describes her relationship with God as "complicated". Patience Deweese was interviewed by her 18-year-old daughter Keturah, who was interested in finding out about her mother's time as a Jehovah's witness and how her faith has evolved over time.

U.S. National Archive Jack Corn

We all have a unique way of talking- and here in Appalachia, we have many ways of being understood, and misunderstood, because of our language.

It stretches across race lines - and the judgment of one’s language can reveal classism, racism or both. This week’s episode of Inside Appalachia explores one of the ways people are judged: language.   

StoryCorps

West Virginia Public Broadcasting and StoryCorps have teamed up for a series of conversations about religious faith told by West Virginians. We'll be bringing you these conversations over the next few weeks. We begin the series with Ronald English and James Patterson. Both men are ministers in Charleston. They also share the experience of challenging racism during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and '60s.

Courtesy of Hazel Shrader

In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we're taking a look at the myths and truths of the wild turkey, thanks to the folks at the podcast With Good Reason. We’ll find out if turkeys really can fly, meet a man who became a “turkey mother,” and find out what color turkey went out of style.

MOUNTAIN STAGE/PAT SERGENT

Music has traditionally played a big role in the culture of Appalachia, and it seems that other countries are taking notice of the region’s rich musical tradition. In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll hear from the tourism music trail in West Virginia called The Mountain Music Trail (MMT) Since we last heard from them, they have grown. The MMT recently was a finalist in the British Guild of Travel Writers 2016 tourism initiative awards in the “wider word” category, and was recognized as one of the top three destinations in the world. 

courtesy Suzi Whaples

The election is over. So this week, we thought it was only fitting to share a few stories, tall tales, and flat out lies— without the political pressure.

After all, here in Appalachia we have a rich cultural tradition of storytelling.

In this episode, we listen to three storytellers from the West Virginia Storyteller’s Guild, all of whom have competed and won prizes across the country.

Roxy Todd/ WVPB

What happens to a community as coal jobs go away? Here are some things you might expect: many people leave, schools empty, local businesses struggle to keep their lights on. But here’s something that may not come to mind: extra curricular sports go away.

That’s what happened to children in McDowell County over 25 years ago. They lost their local soccer league. And while the thousands of lost coal jobs may not come back, thanks to a 4-H project, and about a dozen volunteers, soccer is making a comeback in McDowell County.

Courtesy

For a generation of Appalachians, growing up with a parent addicted or abusing drugs is a way of life. On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we hear from men and women who have experienced the effects of opioid addiction and of the innocence that this epidemic has claimed.

Scotty White / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Appalachia has some of the best settings for scary stories, including dark underground coal mines and remote forests. There are hundreds of remarkably bizarre, mysterious ghost tales that take place here in West Virginia.

Mountain Stage is one of the longest running live music performance shows on public radio.  It began in 1983 and has featured nearly 2,000 acts from more than 50 countries--and nearly every conceivable genre. With such a storied history, there is little doubt the show has helped to create a lot of memories over the years.

Roxy Todd/ WVPB

Juvenile justice reform brought law enforcement and community organizers together last week in Charleston. The discussion focused on a diversion program for juvenile offenders in Florida that could be an example for communities in West Virginia.

Candace Nelson

If your father worked in the coal mines, chances are you remember his lunch or dinner bucket and the food that he brought to work. For many families, the extra food that was packed away in these dinner buckets was practical -- it would be there just in case an accident happened.


Steve Inskeep/ NPR

It's election season and we want to know what Appalachians are looking for in a new president. We’ll hear from a former coal miner from Whitesburg, Ky, Gary Bentley. We'll also hear from a veteran who lives in Bristol, Va., Ralph Slaughter.

Jess Schreibstein

Fall is upon us, which means apples are now in season. Apples played a major part in the history of Appalachia, and on this week’s episode, we explore some of that history, and what the apple is doing for the state now.


Paw Paw
Joey Aloi

Those who’ve eaten a pawpaw before often say that the creamy, tropical fruit resembles a mix of a mango and a banana, or a mango and an avocado. They often can’t believe that the fruit is native to Appalachia.

early fall at Dolly Sods, WV
wikimedia / ForestWander

Updated on 10-06-2016 10:50 a.m.

The Closure Order for the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area was lifted on October 5, 2016 and all trails are now open. A Fire Ban in the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area is still in effect due to prolonged drought and will remain in place until weather conditions improve.  Gas powered backpacking/camping stoves are allowed in the wilderness area.  The current Fire Ban no longer includes the Red Creek Campground and Dolly Sods Picnic Area.

Updated on 09-29-16 5:55 p.m.

Two out of the five wildfires in the Dolly Sods Wilderness have been completely extinguished, and two more fires have been 100 percent contained, according to the U.S. Forest Service team that is managing the Red Creek Fires. There is a fifth fire that firefighters haven't yet been able to contain. This fire was discovered Wednesday, September 29. An explosive safety specialist has been called in to inspect the area surrounding the fifth fire to make sure there are no unexploded ordinances nearby. During World War II, the Dolly Sods Wilderness area was used as a training ground for soldiers, and many artillery and mortar shells shot into the area for practice still exist.

The southwestern portions of Dolly Sods in Tucker County are closed until further notice. The rest of the wilderness area is still open for camping and hiking.


The fires are a 4-mile hike from the nearest road. Thirty Forest Service employees are managing the fires, with the assistance of horses that have packed in supplies.

 

Updated on 09-28-16 4:40 p.m.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, there are now five wildfires burning in the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area.  All of the fires are small, less than an acre in size.  Three of the five wildfires are 80-100 percent contained.  It has been determined that three of the five wildfires were caused by unattended campfires.  The cause of the fourth and fifth fire is still under investigation.  Fire suppression efforts continue Wednesday and rain is forecasted for the next couple of days, which authorities say should help their efforts to fight the fires.

The Big Stonecoal Trail, Little Stonecoal Trail, Breathed Mountain Trail, Rocky Point Trail and Dunkenbarger Trail all remained closed in Dolly Sods. A fire ban is in place throughout most of the Dolly Sods area.

Updated on 09-26-16 9:30 p.m.

This past weekend was the peak time for tourists to visit Dolly Sods to see the leaves change for fall. But some of these visitors left behind smoldering campfires, and now four wildfires are burning in the area.

The first fire was discovered two weeks ago on September 16th. That fire is still burning, as well as three more that were discovered last Thursday, and this past weekend. Unattended campfires are believed to have caused three of the fires - and the cause of the fourth is still under investigation.

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