West Virginia Morning

Weekdays at 7:43 a.m.

Whether it's important news events, interesting features about people and places, the latest in environmental news, stories about education or the economy, West Virginia Public Broadcasting's team of experienced reporters bring listeners in-depth stories and interviews from around the state.    

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On this West Virginia Morning, graduate students from the University of Pennsylvania are looking for a solution to the complex water infrastructure challenges facing underserved communities in places like southern West Virginia. As part of their solutions driven-project, a team of six students visited McDowell County to tour the water plants. Inside Appalachia host, Jessica Lilly, has that story.

On last night’s episode of The Legislature Today, senior reporter Dave Mistich spoke with Senate Finance Chairman Craig Blair and House Minority Finance Chairman Mick Bates about the current fiscal situation in West Virginia -- including a look at possibilities for the nearly $186 million-dollar surplus announced in December’s revenue report. We hear an exerpt from the interview on this West Virginia Morning.

On this West Virginia Morning, Gov. Jim Justice made clear in his 2019 State of the State Address that he wants to see medical marijuana in West Virginia. But he also said he would never support recreational marijuana use. Senate President Mitch Carmichael and House Speaker Roger Hanshaw joined host Suzanne Higgins on The Legislature Today last night for a discussion about some of the top issues this legislative session, including the debate over marijuana. We have an excerpt from that interview.

On this West Virginia Morning, during this past weekend, a horrific fire in Clay County claimed the lives of four foster children. It put the spotlight on a child welfare system in crisis. West Virginia lawmakers have been working throughout interim session to address the significant needs of the state's foster care system. Now, they bring that work into the regular state Legislative session. Glynis Board brings us a closer look at the crisis from the front lines.

On this West Virginia Morning, in his State of the State address to the West Virginia Legislature last week, Gov. Jim Justice outlined a series of policy proposals, including one that seemed to come out of the blue.

“We need to develop multiple lakes within West Virginia,” Justice said.

Energy and environment reporter Brittany Patterson wanted to find out more about the history of this idea and what it would take to add lakes to the Mountain State.

The 2019 West Virginia Legislative session is now in full swing, and West Virginia Public Broadcasting is bringing you in-depth coverage every weekday night on our program “The Legislature Today.” In last night’s episode, host Suzanne Higgins spoke with House Minority Leader Tim Miley and Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso about Gov. Jim Justice’s third State of the State Address.

On this West Virginia Morning, Gov. Jim Justice promised to capitalize on West Virginia’s recently reported economic turnaround in his third State of the State address. Justice focused on education, roads, the state’s drug problem, and rollbacks on taxes. Dave Mistich reports.

On this West Virginia Morning, two Ohio Valley lawmakers have introduced a bill in Congress to shore up coal miners’ health and pension benefits and restore funding for the federal black lung trust fund. Becca Schimmel reports.

On this West Virginia Morning, needle exchanges are a proven way to help slow the spread of HIV and hepatitis C. They also help connect people with substance abuse disorder to recovery and treatment.

Despite approval by Virginia lawmakers, there are only three exchanges operating in that state. One roadblock is getting permission from local law enforcement.

On this West Virginia Morning, three workplace deaths in late December 2018 provided a grim end of the year for the coal mining industry. As the Ohio Valley ReSource's Jeff Young reports, 12 people died in the nation’s coal mines even as mining employment dropped to a record low.

On this West Virginia Morning, thousands of visitors come to West Virginia every winter for outdoor recreation. The state is home to five ski resorts, and winter sports generate an estimated $250 million in economic benefits annually. But warmer, wetter winters are reducing the ideal conditions for producing and keeping snow on the ground. Energy and environment reporter Brittany Patterson recently spent some time learning about how climate change will likely impact West Virginia’s winter sports.

On this West Virginia Morning, for many teenagers, nothing is more captivating than the steady stream of notifications on their phones. Almost 95% of American teens own a smartphone, and 45 percent say that they spend most of their time online. As part of an Appalachia Health News youth reporting project, Fayette Institute of Technology High School Seniors Chloe Perdue and Keesha Moore examine how social media can affect teens’ interactions.

On this West Virginia Morning, our Wild, Wondering West Virginia campaign to answer questions about the Mountain State led us to a question from Nancy Taylor. She wanted to know what the state was like during the last ice age. Environmental reporters Brittany Patterson and Glynis Board were really excited about exploring this idea. Research led them to a unique place in the state which is a remnant of the ice age - Cranesville Swamp. They went to experience it for themselves and brought back this report.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we get a sneak peek at this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, where we’ll share some of our favorite holiday stories. We’ll take you to the tiny mountain town of Helvetia, West Virginia, which has a connection to the beloved Christmas classic, “Silent Night.” Eric Douglas and Molly Born report.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear an excerpt from the latest episode of Us & Them, in which host Trey Kay responds to a cyclical flare up of social media comments related to a “War on Christmas.” Hubbub over politically correct holiday greetings, or nativity scenes on government property, traditionalists and secularists are often at odds.

In this excerpt, Trey speaks with a childhood friend who worries the religious aspects of Christmas are being eroded from the holiday.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, NPR’s Howard Berkes reported this week that more than 2,000 coal miners are now suffering from the most severe form of black lung disease, called pulmonary massive fibrosis. And despite clear warnings, industry regulators did not stop it.
The investigation caps a nearly four-decade career for Berkes, who is retiring from NPR this month.
The Ohio Valley ReSource’s Jeff Young spoke with Berkes about how he reported this story, and why his reporting kept taking him back to Appalachia’s coal country.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, health reporter Kara Lofton spent the semester working with fifth-graders at Valley Elementary school on a youth-reporting project. In the following audio postcard, we’ll hear from six of those students about how holiday traditions help them feel connected to their families and their communities.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, as Congress nears the end of its session, the clock is ticking on a tax that supports the federal Black Lung Disability Trust Fund. The fund provides benefits to tens of thousands of sick coal miners in the Ohio Valley. If Congress does not extend the tax, the fund will likely slide deeper into debt just as the region is seeing a surge in new cases of black lung.

As The Ohio Valley ReSource’s Becca Schimmel reports, the decision is largely in the hands of Kentucky senator Mitch McConnell.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, journalist and professor Bonnie Stewart joins us to talk about the recent 50th anniversary of the Farmington Mine Disaster.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This West Virginia Morning, we have another segment in an occasional series called Recovery Stories –– conversations from the heart of the nation’s opioid crisis. Today, we hear a conversation between Dustin Aubrey and Bob Lloyd. They first met at a Dayton, Ohio, support group. Dustin’s in recovery. And Bob’s adult son struggles with substance use disorder.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

You might’ve heard Trey Kay, host of WVPB’s podcast Us & Them engage in a conversation during the past several weeks, in a series called “Red State Blue State”,  about the culture differences between West Virginia and southern California. In the latest episode of Us & Them, Trey finds kindred spirits in a trio of Latino comedians who call themselves "Culture Clash". Just like Trey, these comedians explore the space between cultural divides. We hear an excerpt of that episode on this West Virginia Morning.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the petrochemical industry is promising economic development in many Ohio Valley towns where it’s sorely needed. Like East Liverpool, Ohio, near the Pennsylvania border. There, The Allegheny Front’s Julie Grant reports, the town’s welcoming this new industry while still living with pollution from decades-old facilities.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, a growing body of research shows that people living near mountaintop removal coal mines face increased risks of disease linked to pollutants in air and water.

A new report from a human rights group argues that the mining industry has tried to suppress the science about health risks and has forced coalfield communities to take on the industry’s costs.

Ohio Valley ReSource reporter Sydney Boles visited residents who are hoping for clear answers and clean water.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, a bill we followed closely during the 2018 legislative session could resurface in the 2019 session – legislation that would offer tuition assistance to in-state students attending a community and technical college. It was often referred to as the free community and technical college bill, and it would’ve provided the “last dollar in” after all other forms of financial aid had been exhausted.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, West Virginia Public Broadcasting reporter Molly Born and Charleston Gazette-Mail reporter Caity Coyne have been working on a series of stories about water infrastructure issues in the southern coalfields. They’re both fellows with Report for America, an initiative that aims to strengthen local journalism.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we begin an occasional series we’re calling ​Recovery Stories –– conversations from the heart of the nation’s opioid crisis. Today, we meet Dayton, Ohio-native Andre Lewis and his friend and recovery sponsor, William Roberts. William works in social services in Dayton and is a church pastor with nearly three decades in recovery himself. As Andre explains in this story, he first met William at a treatment program for struggling addicts.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the abundance of natural gas from fracking could soon fuel a new petrochemical industry in the Ohio Valley. A massive facility proposed for Belmont County, Ohio, brings both the promise of economic gains and environmental risks. Reporter Brittany Patterson attended a recent public hearing, where residents spoke up about what kind of future they want for the Ohio Valley.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, something unusual happened last month: Congress passed an opioid law -- and did it with overwhelming bipartisan support … in both chambers. It was a broad, $8 billion bill that expands access to health services and recovery centers. So it looks like addressing the opioid epidemic is one thing Democrats and Republicans can agree on. And that’s the topic of this week’s Red State, Blue State -- our weekly chat between Cherry Glazer of KCRW in California and West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Trey Kay.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, one of the biggest battles in drug treatment and recovery is overcoming stigma. For our final segment in a series on the failed Charleston needle exchange, we take a look at how its closure has affected the community's perception of harm reduction policy. Kara Lofton reports that things like harm reduction, safety and crime have become as much about politics as public health.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, current best practices for harm reduction programs include a couple provisions: no retractable needles should be distributed, patients should get as many needles as possible regardless of how many they bring back, and barriers to accessing needles should be as low as possible. But what happens when those recommendations are at odds with community acceptance for the practices? Kara Lofton reports.

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