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Courtesy Friends of Blackwater/WVDEP

West Virginia officials Thursday announced the names of the recipients they are recommending for millions of dollars in federal funding to help clean up abandoned coal mines.

The West Virginia Department of Environment Protection is recommending 12 projects in the Mountain State receive $27 million in Abandoned Mine Land Pilot program funding. 

"They are great projects for West Virginia that will spur economic development," said Gov. Jim Justice, speaking at a virtual conference Thursday. 

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

Gov. Jim Justice has ordered coronavirus testing for all inmates and guards at state corrections facilities following an outbreak at Huttonsville Correctional Center. Justice and other state health officials say that spike in cases has had a significant impact on the state’s totals but won’t  alter the state’s plans to continue reopening businesses and other aspects of everyday life. 

Forced Apart: Same Pandemic, Unequal Education

9 hours ago
Lalena Price

West Virginia’s 2020 school year, from kindergarten through college, is wrapping up unlike any other.  In recent years, Mountain State communities have been devastated by man-made crises and natural disasters, but nothing has affected the state’s education system like a world-wide pandemic.

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Last year, WorkForce West Virginia was processing about 3,500 unemployment claims a month. This year, they’re averaging 40,000 a month due to shutdowns from the coronavirus pandemic.

The increased volume flooded the agency and they had to significantly adjust how they process claims, which included special provisions for people out of work because of the virus. 

Ohio Valley Unemployment Claims Exceed 100,000

10 hours ago
Unemployment Line
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

As some businesses in the Ohio Valley reopen and welcome back both customers and employees the region continues reporting high levels of unemployment claims.

At least 100,863 people in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia joined those seeking help during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic..

On this West Virginia Morning, the coronavirus has put thousands of West Virginians out of work, but for many navigating the unemployment system has been challenging. We hear a conversation with WorkForce West Virginia, the agency administering unemployment benefits, on how they’re adapting in this unprecedented time. And we hear from one West Virginia teacher on how she is navigating distanced teaching.

Josh Saul / Mountain Stage

This week’s broadcast continues our Listeners' Choice series with a 2015 episode we recorded at The Clay Center in Charleston, W.Va. during FestivALL Charleston. We’ll hear performances by Chris Stapleton, Joan Osborne, Joe Ely, and a collaboration between The Fairfield Four and The McCrary Sisters called “Rock My Soul.”

Lexi Brown / 100 Days in Appalachia

In her 1988 research paper “The Social Context of ‘Nerves’ in Eastern Kentucky,” medical anthropologist Eileen VanSchaik wrote that in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, women reporting “nerves” or “sick headaches” would turn to “doctor books” for advice on their “feminine nervous systems.” There they were cautioned, for example, of the danger of “nervous prostration, excitability, fainting spells, most likely organic diseases of the uterus or womb, and many other distressing female troubles.”

Dan Hensen / Shutterstock

Advocates are renewing calls to test and reduce the state’s incarcerated population, as its jails are once again overcrowded and more than 100 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in a state prison.  

Formlabs (via WVU)

West Virginia is now poised to be able to produce its own personal protective equipment, swabs and ventilators in state to help fight the coronavirus pandemic. 

Canabis Oil Medical Marijuana
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Starting Thursday, May 28, West Virginia will be one step closer to administering medical marijuana to qualifying residents.

For the first time, West Virginia physicians will be permitted to begin the registration process to treat patients within the state who require medical marijuana.


Kudzu grows near a coal preparation plant in eastern Kentucky.
Jeff Young / Ohio Valley ReSource

Executives with Indiana-based coal company American Resources Corporation will face daily fines of $2,500 if they continue to flout court orders, according to filings in the bankruptcy case of Cambrian Coal. 

As Economies Reopen, Former CDC Director Says Rural Americans At Higher Risk

May 27, 2020
Caitlin Tan / WVPB

As businesses in communities across Appalachia – and across the country – begin to reopen, Richard Besser has been vocal about the measures he feels should be met to counter the spread of COVID-19, most particularly, the disproportionate effect reopening too soon will have on underserved and marginalized communities.

Besser served as acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under Pres. Barack Obama and is now president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. RWJF is the largest private institution in the country devoted solely to improving the nation’s health.

Besser is concerned about the challenges rural communities faced before and that are now more critical in the midst of the pandemic. He also worries that the pandemic is being “hyper-politicized.” 

Four out of 10 of the poorest U.S. students are accessing remote learning as little as once a week or less, according to a new survey from ParentsTogether, an advocacy group. By contrast, for families making more than $100,000 a year, 83% of kids are doing distance learning every day, with the majority engaged over two hours a day, the survey found.

On this West Virginia Morning, we explore how the coronavirus pandemic has created new challenges for college graduates as they enter an uncertain job market. We also hear a report from Ohio County as some organizations there have come together to find creative ways to feed students in the area.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of West Virginia has charged a Pendleton County mail carrier, accusing him of tampering with eight absentee ballot applications. 

According to a criminal complaint filed on Tuesday, Thomas Cooper switched five of the applicants’ requests for a Democratic ballot to requests for a Republican ballot. He later told an investigator with the West Virginia attorney general’s office he did this “as a joke.”

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Updated on May 26, 2020, at 10 p.m. with more recent data from the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation. 

Eighty-four people have tested positive for the coronavirus at the Huttonsville Correctional Center, as the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation awaits hundreds more results from tests conducted Monday.

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West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said officials are bracing for a spike in new coronavirus cases as businesses slowly reopened, but so far, the state hasn’t seen it.

In his daily virtual press conference Tuesday, May 26, Justice said officials were waiting, though, to see if Memorial Day festivities could negatively impact that trend. 

Siddie K. Cipoletti of Beckley won first place in the Fourth Grade category of the 2020 PBSKids Writers Contest presented by WVPB.
Siddie K. Cipoletti

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s PBS Kids Writers Contest presented by West Virginia Public Broadcasting!

Winners have been notified and have received their awards by mail. Their full stories will be published on our Education page in the coming days and all first-place stories will be featured in WVPB's Education Newsletter. Please, stay tuned and go here to sign up to get the newsletter!

Edwin L. Wriston / West Virginia National Guard

State health officials have announced more free testing in Kanawha, Berkeley, Jefferson, Morgan and Mineral counties this weekend, through the state health department, local agencies and the West Virginia National Guard. 

As summer nears, 2020 has another trick up its sleeve. This time, it's cicadas. A lot of cicadas.

In parts of southwestern Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia, it's nearly time for a brood of the insects to emerge for their once-in-17-year mating season. As many as 1.5 million cicadas could emerge per acre. And did we mention the bugs are known for their distinct — and overwhelming — chirping?

Courtesy Fayette Institute of Technology Media

About 44,000 high school students across West Virginia are enrolled in Career and Techincal Education courses across — about 30 percent of the overall high school population. 

 

The graduation rate for students involved in CTE programs was 8 percent higher than the overall graduation rate in 2018, according to the West Virginia Department of Education, and 96 percent of students who attend career and technical schools graduate high school within four years. 

 

As a recent graduate of the Fayette Institute of Technology in southern West Virginia, I am one of them. Inside Appalachia has been mentoring my class, teaching radio storytelling, and I produced this story about my experience.
 

 


 

Ohio Valley ReSource

Kentucky’s state budget officials told lawmakers Friday that general fund receipts may decline by $495 million next fiscal year. It’s just the latest example of the unprecedented financial hardships ahead for the Ohio Valley’s state and local governments due to the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 38 million Americans have applied for unemployment insurance in the past nine weeks, about 2.5 million of them in the Ohio Valley states of Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia.

Even economists find figures like that hard to reckon with.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Before the coronavirus made its way to West Virginia and delayed the state’s primary, the upcoming election was already shaping up to be one of the most closely watched in recent years. 

With the election now moved to Tuesday, June 9, the spotlight has remained on some races, while each party has taken strong positions when it comes to absentee mail-in voting. 

Aaron Payne / Ohio Valley ReSource

A new study shows the Ohio Valley has some of the nation’s highest rates of food insecurity among older adults, and anti-hunger advocates say that situation could be made worse by the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.


On this West Virginia Morning, we take a closer look at West Virginia’s upcoming primary election and bring you reports on some key races this year. We also bring you a report on the potential financial hardships facing the Ohio Valley in the coming months.

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner said Friday that an alleged absentee voter fraud scheme will not affect the state’s 2020 primary election results. 

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At least 27 people incarcerated at the Huttonsville Correctional Center and eight employees have tested positive this week for the coronavirus, according to the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. 

The West Virginia Supreme Court chamber.
West Virginia Judiciary

A handful of state lawmakers filed a petition with the state’s highest court on Friday, arguing that Gov. Jim Justice didn’t have the authority to issue executive orders opening and closing state businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Fayette Insitute of Technology

We’re focusing on the power of experiential learning in this episode of Inside Appalachia. We’ll look at how students learn life, academic and practical skills through career and technical education (CTE) programs. The goal of these programs is often to give students an idea of what kind of career they might want to go into after high school. 

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