Appalachia

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This year’s Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence at Shepherd University is Karen Spears Zacharias. Zacharias grew up in a military family but spent most of her childhood in the hills of Appalachia. During the Vietnam War, her father was killed in action, and his death left a major impact on Zacharias’ life and the lives of her mother and siblings. In this episode of West Virginia Morning, we'll hear an interview with Zacharias about how writing and faith helped her through the struggles of her youth.


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. 


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.

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. 


When Bourdain visited Lost Creek Farm, I knew who he was. It took his tragic death for me to understand why he truly mattered.

On Thursday, the White House unveiled the first act in its effort to fight the opioid epidemic by harnessing the power of digital media and cable TV.  

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.  

WV Culture Center
wvculture.org

West Virginia’s arts and culture just got a boost through a federal grant.

The National Endowment for the Arts, or NEA, awarded West Virginia nearly $800,000 this week to support programs that aim to preserve the state’s cultural history and promote arts education.

Having grown up in West Virginia and after living for three years in South Korea, the ongoing thaw in relations between North and South Korea got me thinking about the many similarities between the Koreas and the Virginias.

That’s not as far-fetched as it sounds. Start with something simple — the topography. My wife and I arrived in Seoul in fall of 2010 and, despite the fact that I had never been to Asia and could not read one street sign in Korean, there was something about the place that made me feel at home.

Courtesy of "hillbilly" filmmakers

RICHMOND, Ky. — Los Angeles-based filmmaker Ashley York visited her family in Jonesville, Kentucky, on Nov. 8, 2016, the day of the election that ushered Donald Trump into the Office of the President of the United States. She was accompanied by documentary cameras, capturing footage for her latest project.

This story is part of a series on coal country by NPR's Embedded podcast. Episode audio is below.

On May 5, 2016, Donald Trump led a campaign rally in Charleston, W.Va.

He put on a hard hat and pretended he was shoveling coal. The crowd loved it.

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.

 


Mike Costello / 100 Days in Appalachia

“Food is political but not partisan.” This apt perspective came from Mike Costello in a conversation earlier this year as we imagined ways to expand 100 Days in Appalachia beyond political coverage, and he joined the team to lead our reporting on food and culture for the region. Mike has long been one of my favorite Appalachians — a printmaker, fiddler, storyteller, satirist, photographer, square dance caller, restorator, entrepreneur, food historian, gardener, forager, hunter ... and brilliant chef.

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?

West Virginia's unique culture is an underappreciated asset, according to the hosts of The Front Porch.

In our latest episode, we focus on three aspects that make us special.

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. 


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.


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. 

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.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Lawmakers discussed several bills around opioid abuse and prevention this session, including the Opioid Reduction Act and have re-examined the state's medical marijuana law. Michael Brumage is the new director of the WV office of Drug Control Policy. Health reporter Kara Lofton talked to him last week about the role his office plays in implementing legislative policy. 


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. 

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.

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.

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.

courtesy photo

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.

e-West Virginia Encyclopedia

On February 1, 1975, 25 Catholic bishops from Appalachia released a pastoral letter called “This Land is Home to Me.” It was officially distributed from Wheeling College (now Wheeling Jesuit University). 

It was written in response to a report from the Catholic Committee of Appalachia, highlighting the region’s economic and political inequalities. For a year, committee members traveled throughout Appalachia and collected stories of hardship from individuals and from community and church groups. The committee members then folded these stories into the pastoral letter.

Valerius Tygart / Wikimedia Commons

President Donald Trump intends to nominate a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's staff as the new federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The White House said Thursday in a news release that the president intends to nominate Tim Thomas to oversee the ARC. Thomas works as a McConnell staff member in Kentucky. He previously worked in former Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher's administration.

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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