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West Virginia made waves in 2018 when it became the first state in the country to allow some residents to vote using a mobile phone app. 

A new study released last month by the University of Chicago finds West Virginia’s mobile voting pilot program increased voter turnout by three to five percentage points. 

Eric Douglas / WVPB

Pinch, West Virginia is home to about 3,500 people and the longest running community reunion in the country. Since 1902, the reunion has brought current residents together as well as many who moved away.


In this Thursday, May 3, 2018 photo, downed trees mark the route of the proposed Mountain Valley pipeline in Lindside, W.Va.
Steve Helber / Associated Press

Conservation groups have launched a new lawsuit aimed at the Mountain Valley Pipeline over its impacts on threatened and endangered species.

The petition for review filed Monday with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond challenges an approval for the natural gas pipeline that was issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The blockade of a Kentucky railroad track captivated the region as miners protested lack of payment from employer BlackJewel Coal. For many, the moment called back to earlier generations of labor organizing in eastern Kentucky. In the first installment of a two-part series, reporter Sydney Boles looks at what the protest says about the state of organized labor in the mines, and how miners think about the future of coal. 

Largest Pa. Power Plant to Shutter Early

Aug 13, 2019
FirstEnergy's Bruce Mansfield plant in Shippingport, Pa.
Keith Srakocic / AP

Bruce Mansfield Power Plant, for years the largest coal plant in Pennsylvania, will be closing even sooner than planned. 

FirstEnergy Solutions announced the plant will close in November, almost two years before its previously-announced retirement date of June, 2021. About 200 people work at the plant. In making the announcement, the company said the plant was closing because of “a lack of economic viability in current market conditions.”

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Mary Meehan / Ohio Valley ReSource

West Virginia officials say the number of HIV cases in Cabell County has risen to 71.

The state Department of Health and Human Resources posted the figure on Monday, saying the virus has spread primarily among intravenous drug users.

Curren Sheldon

Curtis Cress sat in the gravel beside a railroad track in Harlan County, Kentucky. Tall and thin with a long, black beard, Cress is every bit a coal miner, or, he was until a month ago.

“It’s part of my heritage, you know? My dad and papaws had always done it,” he said. “And I’m proud of that heritage.”

Louis Morano knows what he needs, and he knows where to get it.

Morano, 29, has done seven stints in rehab for opioid addiction in the past 15 years. So, he has come to a mobile medical clinic parked on a corner of Philadelphia's Kensington neighborhood, in the geographical heart of the city's overdose crisis. People call the mobile clinic the "bupe bus."

The train bridge across the New River as seen from Hawk's Nest in Fayette County, W.Va.
Eric Douglas / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Our next Wild, Wondering West Virginia question comes to us from Trish Hatfield of St. Albans, West Virginia. Her question won the latest voting round of popular questions.

Trish asks, “Where does the phrase, ‘West By God Virginia’ come from?” West Virginia Public Broadcasting got in touch with her to learn more about her curiosity. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we continue a series that considers how some communities in our region have been impacted by deindustrialization. We also hear the latest in our ongoing series, “Wild, Wondering West Virginia.”

Updated at 5:28 p.m. ET

Jeffrey Epstein, the wealthy financier accused of sex trafficking, was found unresponsive in his jail cell by an apparent suicide at approximately 6:30 a.m. Saturday, the Federal Bureau of Prisons said in a statement.

Epstein was transported by EMS from the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan to a local hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries. He was subsequently pronounced dead by hospital staff.

The FBI is investigating.

Classic Alfred E. Neuman
Norman Mingo / MAD Magazine

MAD Magazine, once the touchstone of American satire and snark, is winding down its publication after 67 years. Trey says, as a kid, MAD’s adolescent-focused, subversive content helped him connect with his inner “wise ass.” It made him feel smarter and stupider at the same time. And now he’s trying to reconcile an Us & Them world without MAD firing its arrows toward the sacred cows of our culture.

Nearly $37 million in general revenue surplus money will be given to West Virginia’s Medicaid program as well as the state’s Rainy Day emergency reserve fund.

Back home in Iowa for the August recess, Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley is making the case in this conservative state for a sweeping drug bill, even though many in his party do not support it.

"One of the few times, if it isn't the only time, that I've been chairman of various committees that I haven't had at least a majority of Republicans on my side," Grassley conceded at a town hall meeting in Aurelia this week, but he added: "It's probably more valuable to have the president on your side."

John Hale / WVPB

School is, or soon will be, back in session, so we wanted to take another listen to an episode we originally aired in May, about the devastating effects a school closure can have on a community.

Basketball was a big deal for the small town of Northfork, in McDowell County, West Virginia. The high school team won the state championship eight years in a row.

“Little old ladies who wouldn’t know a football from a basketball became big fans because it brought positive notoriety and attention to the community,” Northfork alumni Gary Dove recalled.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, West Virginia lost one of its finest traditional musicians earlier this summer -- ballad singer Phyllis Marks. State folklorist Emily Hilliard reads a tribute Marks and her legacy in Appalachia.

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Activist-turned-political candidate Paula Jean Swearengin has announced she’ll again run for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Swearengin made the announcement Tuesday on her campaign’s Facebook page.

Associate Producing Director Peggy McKowen and Founder and Producing Director Ed Herendeen speak at an event for the 2019 season of CATF. Photo taken May 2019.
Contemporary American Theater Festival / catf.org

The Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia just closed on its 29th season. The festival draws visitors from all over the world to West Virginia and has helped the state stand out in the professional theater scene.

Courtesy: University of Illinois Press

When Cicero Fain began working on his Ph.D., he took a deep look at the black community in Huntington, West Virginia. He wanted to understand where it began and what helped i to thrive. That research ultimately became his new book “Black Huntington: An Appalachian Story.”

One major factor that boosted growth in Huntington was the Chesapeake and Ohio railroad. When Collis P. Huntington decided to build a depot in Huntington, he needed workers. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown just closed on its 29th season. The festival draws visitors from all over to West Virginia and has helped the state stand out in the professional theater scene. Liz McCormick sat down with Associate Producing Director Peggy McKowen to talk about the festival’s legacy, impact and what’s ahead for its 30th season.

Brian Blauser/ Mountain Stage

Renowned acoustic guitarist Leo Kottke has a career that spans five decades, dating back to his 1969 debut album 6 & 12 String Guitar. This week we're revisiting his 10th appearance on Mountain Stage since 1990, including our pick for Song of the Week.

Priscilla Bogema lives in a rural town called McGregor, Minn., in a part of the state that has more trees and lakes than people.

She came here about 20 years ago seeking solitude during a major crisis in her life. She had just gotten divorced and was dealing with some health problems. "So I came to a place where nobody could see me," she says.

Phyllis Marks performing outside the Humanities Council’s MacFarland Hubbard House, in 2016.
Mike Keller / West Virginia Humanities Council

Ballad singer Phyllis Marks, a native of Gilmer County, West Virginia, passed away June 22, 2019 at the age of 92.

According to folklorist Gerry Milnes, Marks was the last active ballad singer in the state who, as she says, “learned by heart,” via oral transmission, namely from her mother, Arlene Layfield Frashure, and her grandmother, Sarah Margaret Messenger Layfield, who were of Irish ancestry.

Marks was among West Virginia’s finest musicians and was an exceptional bearer of traditional unaccompanied singing in the Appalachian region.

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Five hospitals in West Virginia have been recognized as high performing by the annual U.S. World and News Report “Best Hospitals” report. 

Charleston Area Medical Center was ranked overall number one in the state followed by WVU Medicine. 

Mon Health and St. Mary’s Medical Center were tied for third and Thomas Memorial was fifth. 

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The West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training confirms a fatal incident occurred around 8 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7, at the Kanawha Eagle South Hollow Preparation Plant.

Preliminary information indicates a plant electrician sustained injuries from an electric shock. State officials say the victim, whose name has not yet been released, was transported by paramedics to a local hospital but did not survive. 


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A new study has found that for patients with heart disease, exercise may prevent or improve artery stiffening that is associated with heart failure.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in West Virginia — mostly from heart attacks or heart failure. Heart failure occurs when arteries in the heart become stiff — due to a combination of reduced elasticity and the buildup of harmful chemicals. 

But a new study published last month in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that exercise could prevent or improve artery stiffness. 

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Wheeling's Jewish community got together over the weekend to celebrate 170 years of faith and service in the Northern Panhandle. Rabbi Joshua Lief grew up in Wheeling’s congregation. He says despite challenges throughout the region, he’s proud to be a part of a legacy of resilient, caring people with deep, multi-generational roots in the Mountain State.


Nafea (Fay) Adkins (left), mother of the late James Means, and Dominique Cole outside of a courtroom in Charleston, WV
Trey Kay

For nearly three years, the Us & Them team has followed the James Means’ case - a 15-year-old boy who was shot and killed  in Charleston, WV, by William Pulliam, who was 62 years old at the time. The case got national attention partly because Pulliam is white and Means was black. It was one of a number of shootings that focused on questions about racial injustice in our legal system. Pulliam’s trial was scheduled to begin  late this summer, but instead there’s been a surprise outcome.

Complex Factors Create Lack of Health-Insurance Competition in Rural Areas

Aug 7, 2019
The small city of Hazard, Ky., shown Tuesday, May 26, 2015.
David Stephenson / Associated Press File Photo

If policymakers use market-based approaches to solve healthcare access problems, they need a better understanding of how rural markets work, says one researcher.

A lack of competition among health insurers in rural areas has reduced the ability of market-based approaches to increase insurance enrollment, a new study says.

Eric Douglas / WVPB

The mayor of West Virginia's capital city wants to try out new ways to deal with vacant and abandoned properties that have drawn the ire of residents. 

Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin on Monday announced the introduction of two bills will help clean up abandoned buildings in the city. She says residents complain to her office every day about the vacant properties.

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