Economy

Hemp seeds
Kristen Wyatt / Associated Press

A U.S. attorney is suing a West Virginia hemp farm and others, saying they violating the federal Controlled Substances Act.

U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart has sued Matthew Mallory of CAMO Hemp WV, and Gary Kale of Grassy Run Farms. Grassy Run Farms owns the land, The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported Saturday.

AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

Coal miners and their families in Appalachia take great pride in their work and the fellowship that surrounds coal mining. As Jeremy Brock, one former Kentucky coal miner, put it: "It's a culture. It's a brotherhood."

“Once you get used to it, I wouldn’t do nothing else," he told the documentary project, Humans of Central Appalachia, in 2016.

For the better half of the last decade, newspapers have been treated as novelties. An under-appreciated resource whose disappearance is problematic, but for reasons that are seemingly pragmatic. To make matters worse, there doesn’t appear to be a solution in sight.

Oglebay Park, Oglebay Mansion
BotMultichillT / wikimedia commons

A West Virginia resort is offering shelter for people who have had to leave their homes because of Hurricane Florence.

Steve Helber / AP File Photo

President Donald Trump picked West Virginia as the place to announce he'd roll back pollution rules for coal-fired power plants. But he didn't mention that coal country would be hit the hardest by the health impacts.

After Nearly Three Decades And $3 Billion Olmsted Locks And Dam Open On Ohio

Aug 31, 2018
Becca Schimmel / Ohio Valley ReSource

After nearly 30 years of construction and a budget that rose into the billions, Olmsted Locks and Dam passed the first tow barge through its system at a ceremony Thursday on the Ohio River.

The $3 billion infrastructure improvement by the Army Corps of Engineers is the most expensive inland waterway project in U.S. history and is touted as the hub of the nation’s river navigation system.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the European-based insulation manufacturing company Rockwool held a handful of community open houses last week in Jefferson County. The aim was to better-connect with residents, many of whom don’t want the company to locate in the Eastern Panhandle. As Liz McCormick reports, Saturday’s Rockwool open house drew a crowd of hundreds who rallied outside to protest the plant.

Hundreds of Jefferson County residents and locals from nearby counties rallied outside the Jefferson County Community Center on Saturday Aug. 25, 2018 to protest the Rockwool company.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The European-based insulation manufacturing company Rockwool held a handful of community open houses last week at the Jefferson County Community Center. The aim was to better-connect with residents, many of whom don’t want the company to locate in the Eastern Panhandle. Rockwool’s final open house drew a crowd of hundreds who rallied outside to protest the plant.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice talks about his budget proposal during a stop on his Save Our State Tour on Thursday, March 3, 2017, at Fairmont State University.
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A federal court has ordered the U.S. Marshal to collect more than $1 million owed by two coal companies controlled by the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the House of Delegates has selected Delegate Roger Hanshaw as the chamber’s new presiding officer. Hanshaw took the podium over the Democrats’ choice, House Minority Leader Tim Miley. Dave Mistich has more on the past two days and the race for speaker.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the U.S. and Mexico have reached a preliminary deal to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. As Becca Schimmel reports the emerging agreement has big implications for agriculture and automakers in the Ohio Valley.

West Virginia GOP Largely Accurate About Food Stamp Decline

Aug 28, 2018
In this Monday, March 27, 2017 photo Sunny Larson, left, and Zak McCutcheon pick produce while gathering provisions to take home at the Augusta Food Bank in Augusta, Maine.
AP Photo / Robert F. Bukaty

In a recent tweet, the West Virginia Republican Party praised President Donald Trump for his role in reducing the number of Americans who rely on food stamps.

"Thanks to President Trump and Republican leadership, the number of people collecting food stamps has declined by more than two million. Our economy is (in) recovery and more jobs are available! #WVGOP," the party tweeted Aug. 1.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Moring, we reported earlier this year on an economic development project to grow lavender on former strip mines in West Virginia. After the story aired, we heard from a number of students involved in the program, saying they were disappointed and felt misled by the outcomes of the project, called Green Mining. Roxy Todd revisits the story to find out what happened, and if the project is still going as expected.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, when President Trump visited West Virginia last week, he hailed his administration’s new Affordable Clean Energy Rule as something that will fuel a coal comeback. 
The rule replaces an Obama-era regulation intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. 
But as Brittany Patterson reports, industry experts say they don’t expect Trump’s new plan to change coal’s fortunes in the Ohio Valley -- and the administration’s own analysis agrees.

In Ohio Valley Visits, Trump Administration Pushes Policies Supporting Mining And Metals

Aug 24, 2018
Kara Lofton / WVPB

In back-to-back events this week President Trump and his commerce secretary visited the Ohio Valley to tout administration policies aimed at propping up two of the region's traditional but faltering industries -- metals and mining.

The president used a Tuesday rally filled with West Virginia coal miners to unveil a new plan to ease pollution requirements on coal-burning power plants.

Throughout the U.S., thousands of towns are working to revitalize their downtowns. Some 2,200 of these places were considered this year for a prestigious Great American Main Streets Award, based on revitalization efforts. This year Wheeling is among the top 10 contenders for the award. Executive director of Wheeling Heritage Jake Dougherty spoke about the award and the work his organization is doing to see Wheeling reinvented.


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, there’s been a lot of friction in recent weeks in Jefferson County between thousands of residents and a new Rockwool manufacturing plant. In response to the communitiy's pushback, the Denmark-based company has scheduled open houses through Saturday. Liz McCormick has more.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Wheeling is among thousands of towns throughout the U.S. working to revitalize their downtown areas. Some 2,200 organizations that undertake these efforts are considered each year for the national Great American Main Streets Award. Wheeling is among the top 10 contenders this year. Glynis Board spoke with Wheeling Heritage executive director Jake Dougherty about the work his organization is doing to reinvent its city.

West Virginia Morning is a product of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, which is solely responsible for its content.

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. 


Hazard Ahead: Ohio Valley Auto Industry Concerned About Trump Trade Policies

Aug 17, 2018
Nick Youngston CC By-SA 3.0 / Alpha Stock Images

Automotive manufacturing leaders met in Kentucky to discuss how changes in U.S. trade policy under President Trump affect the industry and its growing presence in the Ohio Valley.

Industry leaders gathered for the annual AutoVision conference and many don’t like what they see coming.

Hundreds gathered in Charles Town Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018 to protest a new manufacturing plant being built in nearby Ranson. The plant will manufacture stone wool insulation a few miles from public schools and neighborhoods.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Updated Friday, Aug. 10, 2018 at 8:10 a.m. with additional interviews, plus reactions from local residents and the Jefferson County Commission, and FAQs from the W.Va. DEP.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the farm bill being debated in Congress could have significant effects well beyond farms -- including on our waterways.

Over the years, wetlands have been stripped and drained to grow crops. A program funded by the farm bill pays farmers to conserve wetlands, and more farmers are looking to take flood-prone land out of production. As the Ohio Valley ReSource's Nicole Erwin reports, that’s becoming more important in the Ohio Valley as floods become more frequent.

Molly Born / WVPB

Wharncliffe is a tiny community deep in the hills of Mingo County, in a rural corner of southern West Virginia. The road there is narrow with the signature hairpin curves of this region.

A Jeep SUV stocked with enough food to feed 50 kids makes the hour-long round trip five days a week from the nearby community center, over the mountain, to the local fire hall here.

Steve Shaluta / West Virginia Division of Tourism

West Virginia officials say hotel occupancy has climbed from last year.

Gov. Jim Justice and other officials announced last week that statewide hotel occupancy grew around 16 percent in June from the same month in 2017. Officials say the growth produced a 20 percent revenue increase from a year earlier.

Del. Joshua Higginbotham, R-Putnam.
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginia Delegate Joshua Higginbotham is traveling to Taiwan on a trade promotion trip this week.

The House said in a news release that the Putnam County Republican and some other lawmakers were leaving Friday and returning Aug. 4. The Taiwan Economic Cultural Representative Office is organizing the trip.

Lawmakers Warn Of Economic Fallout From Failing Pensions

Jul 18, 2018
A union miner at an Ohio rally for pension protection.
Aaron Payne / Ohio Valley ReSource

United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts fired up a crowd of thousands of union workers in Columbus, Ohio, with a simple chant: “Fix it!”

The rally last week came on the eve of a congressional field hearing on problems plaguing multi-employer pension programs like the one retired miners depend upon.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Monring, the dog and horse racing industries have played a major role in West Virginia’s economy since the mid-1930s. But in recent years, whether these industries fit into the state’s economic future is something that’s been debated at the statehouse. As Liz McCormick reports, those who support the racing industry are fighting to see it survive, while others say it doesn’t bring in the revenue it once did.

Hogwash: Farmers Fear Trump Trade Disputes Are Damaging Ag Markets

Jul 16, 2018
Jimmy Tosh looks at hogs ready for the market.
Nicole Erwin / Ohio Valley ReSource

Jimmy Tosh sells a lot of pigs. He is owner and CEO of Tosh Farms, Tosh Pork, and Bacon By Gosh, in Henry County, Tennessee, and has 84 contracted barns in the region where farmers grow pigs for his products.

On a recent July day, Tosh craned over some 1,200 piglets and reflected on how recent market disturbances have affected his business.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the Trump administration escalated its trade dispute with China last week, threatening to impose tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese products. China has already retaliated against an earlier round of tariffs, and U.S. agriculture is feeling the pinch. Nicole Erwin spoke with Ohio Valley soybean and hog farmers who fear their buyers are disappearing.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, tourism is one of West Virginia’s largest industries, bringing in an estimated $4.5 billion in revenue and providing tens of thousands of jobs. Something that’s not so much of a challenge or concern for this industry is housing for the people who work in tourism.  Generally speaking, in West Virginia there’s ample affordable housing that is located near the state’s resorts and tourist destinations. But this isn’t the case in other parts of the country.

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