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West Virginia youth who need intensive non-family residential treatment have traditionally been served out of state. Now, the West Virginia Bureau for Children and Families will try and move some of those kids back in state to comply with new federal regulations.

In February, President Donald Trump signed the Family First Prevention Services Act, which included major reforms for child welfare. The legislation is essentially designed to help keep kids with their families or in a family-like setting.

Jessica Lilly / WVPB

Across Appalachia, thousands of coal miners have suffered from black lung disease. In the 1960s, miners organized a movement to end the chronic condition. They convinced Congress to pass new laws that were supposed to make black lung a thing of the past. Today, conditions underground have changed, and the disease has come roaring back.

Jessica Lilly

Robert Bailey was a coal miner for 36 years. He began working in McDowell County, and after it became too hard to breathe, he retired from a mine owned by Patriot Coal in Boone County. Bailey first told his story with WVPB in June 2014. He shared his final story with Inside Appalachia host, Jessica Lilly, on February 15, 2019. 

Fact-check: Did States with Campus-carry Laws See Enrollment Drop?

Apr 19, 2019
Jesse Wright / WVPB file photo

During their most recent legislative session, West Virginia lawmakers took up a bill that would require colleges in the state to allow students to carry guns on campus as long as they possess a concealed carry permit.

The bill ultimately passed the House, largely on party lines, before falling in the Senate.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia looks at a disease that at least 2,000 former miners struggle with -- black lung. An NPR investigation found that miners are finding it tough to get help from doctors, lawyers, coal companies, and many lawmakers.

Amy Sisk

Editor's Note:  The issues at Duquesne Light are not unique to Pittsburgh. Regions and industries across the country are facing the challenges of an aging workforce.  As a part of a larger project West Virginia Public Broadcasting is looking at the issue in its American Graduate/Getting to Work project.

At a Duquesne Light facility in Pittsburgh, 10 high school students hunched over sheets of paper, pens in hand, as they sketched their dream homes.

“I’m just drawing an A-frame house with a garage on the side, a nice front porch,” said Louis Charlier of Beaver Area High School on a recent Thursday.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, West Virginians will soon be allowed to give more money to political groups in the state. Political donors will be allowed to give $2,800 to candidate committees, $5,000 to political action committees and $10,000 to state party executive committees.

Courtesy West Virginia National Guard

Updated Story:

A West Virginia Army National Guard Soldier assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group in Kingwood has died. 


Federal Opioid Strikeforce Indicts More Than a Dozen Ohio Valley Doctors

Apr 17, 2019
Joanne Chiedi, center, Principal Deputy Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, answers reporter's questions during a news conference  Wednesday, April 17, 2019, in Cincinnati.
John Minchillo / Associated Press

The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Wednesday more than a dozen indictments against doctors in the Ohio Valley on charges relating to the illegal distribution of opioids. These are the first major indictments from the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force, which started work in December.

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

For families struggling with Alzheimer’s in Appalachia, the road can be lonely and long. Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that is the most common cause of dementia in older adults. Patients with the disease can live as long as 20 years after diagnosis.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the rate of Alzheimer’s is increasing in every state. Researchers, including some at WVU, are working on a cure, but the cause of Alzheimer’s is still poorly understood, let alone reversing or stopping it. And as Kara Lofton reports, there’s no end in sight for families struggling with the disease.

Sarah Lowther Hensley / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia officials say staffing issues are slowing road repairs and they're seeking ways to hire more to increase fixes and maintenance.

A section of Interstate 77 where officials have proposed lowering the speed limit from 70 mph to 60 mph.
Google Maps

West Virginia officials say they hope some new measures will make a dangerous section of Interstate 77 safer to travel.

The Bluefield Daily Telegraph reports West Virginia Parkways Authority said it would lower the speed limit from 70 to 60 by the end of April, increase patrols, and check tractor-trailers' equipment more often.

Courtesy Woody Thrasher for Governor

A former West Virginia Department of Commerce secretary forced out of his job last year will challenge his old boss for the governor’s seat.

Businessman Woody Thrasher announced Tuesday, April 16, he’s running for the Republican nomination for governor in 2020. He filed precandidate paperwork at the Secretary of State’s office that afternoon.

Kentucky Aluminum Plant Investor Is Russian Company Formerly Under U.S. Sanctions

Apr 16, 2019
Photo courtesy of Braidy Industries

Russian aluminum company Rusal announced Monday it plans to invest in a new Kentucky aluminum mill to be built near Ashland in eastern Kentucky. The $200 million investment in Braidy Industries is Rusal’s first U.S. project since the Trump administration lifted U.S. sanctions placed against the company.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Russian aluminum company Rusal announced its plans to invest in a northeast Kentucky manufacturing plant. As the Ohio Valley ReSource's Sydney Boles reports, the investment is the company’s first U.S. project following relief from federal sanctions.

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A new study found that from 2015 to 2017, the number of fentanyl-related deaths rose sharply while deaths involving prescription opioids began to decline.

Our Planet is the kind of nature show where every image could be a screen saver: sweeping, dramatic landscapes are full of colorful animals.

Craid Hudson / AP

There is a way around the notoriously sluggish internet in West Virginia. You just need a car and some time.

Kelly Povroznik can tell you, when she happens to get a good signal. She teaches an online college course so hampered by unreliable connections that she has had to drive a half-hour to her brother's place just to enter grades into a database.

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Birth control has been covered by insurance since the Affordable Care Act took effect, but states like West Virginia still have high numbers of unintended pregnancies. So in the 2019 legislative session, West Virginia lawmakers passed a bill that will allow pharmacists to distribute birth control without a prescription from a doctor’s office.

 

 

The idea behind the legislation was simple – reduce the barriers to birth control and the number of unintended pregnancies might fall.

Updated on Tuesday at 5:25 a.m. ET

Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the world's most famous churches, erupted in flames Monday in Paris, losing its spire but remaining otherwise largely intact after firefighters worked through the night to contain the fire.

CBD Uncertainty: Sales Soar But Science Lags on Hemp Health Effects

Apr 15, 2019
Provided by Adriane Polyniak

Inside the Bluegrass Hemp Oil store in Lexington, Kentucky, the CBD oils and lotions lining the walls have an origin story — a story of a family’s struggle.

“We took a huge risk, to be perfectly honest, because we didn’t know. We weren’t trying other people’s CBD products that were out there,” Bluegrass Hemp Oil Co-owner Adriane Polyniak, said.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, hemp products are becoming hot sellers, especially those containing CBD. The compound is derived from cannabis but does not intoxicate a user. Instead, users say, CBD has a wide array of health benefits. And some Ohio Valley businesses are betting big on CBD sales. But as the Ohio Valley ReSource's Liam Niemeyer reports, there’s little evidence for the health claims. And researchers worry that CBD sales are far ahead of the science.

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A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report examined a 2018 outbreak of Hepatitis A in West Virginia associated with drug use and homelessness.

Between January 1 and August 28, 2018, the Kanawha Charleston Health Department identified 664 cases of Hepatitis A. In August of 2018, the West Virginia Bureau of Public Health requested assistance from the CDC to deal with the outbreak. According to the report, the majority of patients testing positive for the disease reported current or past illicit drug use.

Berkeley County Sheriff's Department / sheriff.berkeleywv.org

The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department has announced that two deputies involved in a November incident will return to duty.

Jim Antonini, an occupational health science researcher, fields a ball at shortstop for Chico's Bail Bonds. As team captain, Antonini is in charge of the always-entertaining game write-ups that recap the misery suffered by the Morgantown softball team.
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Spring is here and that means baseball season. This week on Inside Appalachia we’re taking another look at baseball throughout the region. We’ll learn about the history of early baseball in the coal camp towns of southern West Virginia and go inside the legendary baseball bat factory — the Louisville Sluggers. And we’ll meet a man who went from living in an isolated timber town in Pocahontas County, West Virginia to being a professional umpire for the Cincinnati Reds.

Five Years Later: A Look Back at the ‘Bundy Sniper’ and America’s Patriot Militia

Apr 12, 2019

The “Bundy Sniper” photos were stark and disorienting, like wartime images from a Third World hot zone, not a blocked-off interstate highway one hour from Las Vegas.

In one of the photos, a lariat-thin white man in a heavy beard and tactical jacket lies belly flat on the concrete, his semiautomatic rifle wedged in the narrow gap between two concrete jersey barriers. Eyes concealed by dark sunglasses, the rifleman sights down on a group of federal agents who were overseeing a roundup of cattle belonging to Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy.

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A new study has found visits to rural emergency departments increased by more than 50 percent from 2005 to 2016 with the most dramatic usage changes among non-Hispanic white patients, Medicaid beneficiaries and those without insurance. This increase is putting more pressure on already strained safety-net hospitals.

Researchers found the increase may be, at least in part, due to an increase in patients using the emergency department for illnesses that require less care or those that are chronic in nature.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, a fire at a US Steel plant crippled its ability to control its air pollution in December. For three months, the Pittsburgh area was blanketed with releases of sulfur dioxide much higher than usual, and thousands reported suffering from poor air quality. Last week, the steelmaker finished repairing its pollution control equipment. For State Impact Pennsylvania, the Allegheny Front’s Reid Frazier reports that the worries about air pollution and its health impacts, remain.

classroom
Arria Belli / Wikimedia Commons

Public roundtable forums on education in West Virginia are complete and now state officials will examine the information to offer for a special legislative session to address school issues.

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