Arts & Culture

Emily Hilliard/ WV Folklife Program

87-year-old Jim Shaffer has had his hands busy since 1946. He's the last commercial broom-maker left in West Virginia. People from all over the country have come to see and take home some of Schaffer's work. On Saturday September 30th a short film about Jim Shaffer will be screened at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.. The event is free and open to the public. 


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, our series featuring people who are struggling to stay or leave Appalachia continues. We’ve been following the story of Dave Hathaway, a former coal miner in Pennsylvania.

Last week, we heard about Dave’s struggle as an unemployed father of two trying to hold onto his dignity while his wife works. He and his wife are committed to staying in Greene County, even though the job choices are thin. The Allegheny Front’s Reid Frazier has our next installment of Dave’s Struggle to Stay story.

Emily Hilliard/ WV Folklife Program

Eighty-seven year-old Jim Shaffer has had his hands busy since 1946. He is the last commercial broom-maker left in West Virginia. People from all over the country have come to see, and take home, some of Shaffer’s work.

A short film about Jim Shaffer is being screened at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress later this month at an event called "Reel Folk: Cultural Explorations on Film". The video was produced earlier this year by Inside Appalachia, in collaboration with the West Virginia Folklife Program

Mark Regan Photography

Today, more than 45 million Americans live in poverty. After decades of widely publicized campaigns with names like “the War on Poverty”, living on low income often comes an extreme sense of shame and self-doubt. On this episode of Inside Appalachia, we hear different ways of reporting on financial security, or lack thereof. From a coal miner who lost his job, to a long-time welfare director, how do we talk about folks who are good at making do with what they have? How do we react when we hear these stories? 


Rural Populations Decline, Regional Patterns Shift

Sep 14, 2017

The number of people living in rural areas continues to slide, according to the latest population estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau. People have left rural America in decades past. The big difference now is that the number of births in rural areas isn't keeping pace with the number of deaths.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we’ll meet the next person we’ll be following in our ongoing series, The Struggle to Stay. Dave Hathaway is a coal miner in the very southwestern corner of Pennsylvania.

Back in 2015, he lost his job at the coal mine he’d worked in. Then, he began looking for work. But what about Dave’s family? We teamed up with The Allegheny Front's Reid Frazier for this next installment of The Struggle to Stay.

Courtesy of Netflix / by Rebecca Kiger

Updated 1/23/2018: Elaine McMillion Sheldon's film Heroin(e) has been nominated for an Oscar in the short documentary category. 

Original Story: As most know, the heroin and opioid crisis has reached stunning and heartbreaking heights across the nation. Huntington, West Virginia’s drug overdose death rate sits at ten times the national average.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Experts and advocates gathered in Morgantown yesterday to talk about policy issues related to children’s health care. As Kara Lofton reports, most of the conversation was centered around the Children’s Health Insurance Program -- also known as CHIP.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the out-migration of people leaving Appalachia is nothing new. Folks have been heading for the cities elsewhere for generations to find work and new opportunities.

Still, there are a few here who are determined to stay. But for them, staying is also a struggle. That’s why West Virginia Public Broadcasting and our podcast Inside Appalachia have been following six people for about a year to see how they are managing to stay… and if they can find a way to support their family here in Appalachia.

Seth Anderson / via Wikimedia Commons

Two new tomato varieties created by West Virginia University researchers have been named Mountaineer Pride and Mountaineer Delight.

Katie Fallon

Author Katie Fallon was inspired, in part, by her own children to write the book, Look, See the Bird! In the book, Fallon writes about children from different parts of the world. It's an imaginary trip across parts of the world, and the perspectives of migratory birds help guide the story.

Kara Lofton/ West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In our ongoing Struggle to Stay series, we’ve been following Crystal Snyder, who works at a job-training program called Refresh Appalachia. She’s learning how to grow squash and shiitake mushrooms, while also going to a community college, working on her associate’s degree in Applied Science. 


Mark Regan Photography

Best selling author Jeannette Walls spent most of her childhood west of the Mississippi River but her father eventually brought her family back to McDowell County where she lived for four years.  She wrote about her time growing up in extreme poverty across the country in her memoir, “The Glass Castle.” The book has been on the New York Times best selling list for more than 7 years and the movie is now out in theatres. Inside Appalachia host, Jessica Lilly spoke with Walls a few days before the movie hit theatres.
 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, this week's episode of Inside Appalachia celebrates getting outdoors with a new series called "Hidden Gems of Appalachia." Host Jessica Lilly spoke with a children's book author Katie Fallon, who wrote a book that's meant to encourage children to get outside and check out the unique birds you can find in West Virginia.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, it’s back to school time, which also means a return to the cliques and social pecking order of high school.

Producer Trey Kay remembers how that dynamic played out among “hillers” and “creekers” at George Washington High School, in Charleston. He speaks with West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Scott Finn about his latest episode of our podcast, “Us & Them.”

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear the next part of our ongoing series, The Struggle to stay. For the past few months, we’ve met four West Virginians who are struggling to find a way to earn a living -- and debating whether the struggle is worth staying in Appalachia. Most recently, we’ve been hearing the story of Crystal Snyder, a mother of two who's working a new job with a program called Refresh Appalachia, which is helping her learn how to farm. Roxy Todd has been spending the past year and a half following Crystal and helping her document her story.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the shocking events in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend are yet another reminder of deep division in America. More specifically, it seems like battles that ripped our nation apart 150 years ago, continue to smolder.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we pick back up with Crystal Snyder, a single mother of two, who lost her job a couple of years ago. But she didn't lose hope. Roxy Todd has more of Crystal's story in this next installment of The Struggle to Stay.

Marshall University
Wikipedia / en.wikipedia.org

Some Marshall University students and faculty will participate in a project to launch high-altitude balloons during next week's solar eclipse.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Last week on West Virginia Morning, we met Crystal Snyder, a single mother of two who says she wants to stay in West Virginia, and raise her children here. As a single mom, it’s on Crystal to provide for her family, which is hard to do without a job. A couple of years ago, she lost her job at a T-shirt factory. That’s where Roxy Todd picks back up with Crystal’s Struggle to Stay story today.

Barbour County
David Benbennick / wikimedia commons

Authorities are investigating the cause of the fire Thursday night that damaged a 160-year-old wooden bridge in West Virginia.

Courtesy of Kenneth King and the WV Mine Wars Museum

The West Virginia Mine Wars Museum has received a $30,000 challenge grant for a project to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Blair Mountain in 2021.

The National Endowment for the Humanities announced the grant last week. The museum is located in Matewan.

Marshall University
Wikipedia / en.wikipedia.org

Marshall University is receiving a grant to enhance an app created by an associate history professor.

The funding will help further develop the Clio app created by David Trowbridge. The app provides GPS-guided information on historical and cultural landmarks in small towns and large cities across the United States.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, President Donald Trump’s visit to West Virginia Thursday was eclipsed by a major announcement from a state official during his campaign rally in Huntington. Trump was joined on stage by Democratic Gov. Jim Justice, whose announcement that he is switching party affiliation is sending shockwaves through the state’s political circles.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, in Hampshire County West Virginia, there is a small mountain ridge called Ice Mountain. Historical records suggest that, years ago, ice could be found here, even in the heat of summer. Inside Appalachia producer Roxy Todd recently visited Ice Mountain to find out if ice could still be spotted, and to check out the rare plant species that have existed here since the last ice age.

Roxy Todd/ WVPB

Four West Virginia communities were highlighted in Washington, D.C. this week during a national summit that supports local food initiatives across the country. Local Foods, Local Places is a federal initiative meant to help communities create healthy and economically vibrant neighborhoods.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, compassion training is taking hold in schools across the country. The object is to improve student achievement and foster healthier communities by cultivating things like focus and empathy. Glynis Board reports the movement has inspired a school in West Virginia to take on a pilot compassion curriculum project of their own.

We also hear The Earls of Leicester perform “Salty Dog Blues” on Mountain Stage's Song of the Week.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On the West Virginia Morning, in 2016, about 15 thousand people were killed by gun violence in the U.S. About 3 thousand teenagers were either injured or killed. In Charleston, West Virginia, there were 11 murders in 2016 -- eight of them occurred on the West Side of town and many of them were teens.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

It’s nothing unusual to think about leaving your hometown after you graduate high school, but sometimes it’s not an option to leave, and sometimes, as we’ve heard, leaving can be difficult and expensive, too. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Kara Lofton/ West Virginia Public Broadcasting

It used to be that women typically gave birth in home-like environments. Today most women head to the hospital and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that across the U.S., one in every three mothers has a cesarean delivery.  

Recently, Inside Appalachia won first place in Public Radio News Directors Inc.’s (PRNDI), Long Documentary category for an episode titled “Hippies, Home Birth and the History of Birthing Babies in Appalachia.”

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