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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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The city of Spencer is offering to forgive unpaid parking tickets in exchange for school supplies.

Spencer, located in Roane County, announced the deal Tuesday on Facebook, according to the Associated Press.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, nationally, nearly a quarter of all rural hospitals are struggling to stay open. In West Virginia, almost 40 percent of rural hospitals are at risk of closure. There are several reasons for that. 

“Inability to recruit physicians to small communities, declining population base, roughly 10,000 people a day go on Medicare and Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of care in a hospital environment,” Dave Ramsey, CEO and president of Charleston Area Medical Center, said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is ignoring Democrats' efforts to pressure him into calling the Senate back from recess to vote on gun legislation to expand background checks following back to back mass shootings.

But there is movement among some Republican lawmakers, who are calling for action on some gun control measures.

Blackjewel miners and supporters enter the federal courthouse in Charleston, W.Va.
Brittany Patterson / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

More than a thousand coal miners left unpaid by the abrupt bankruptcy of Blackjewel mining could soon be getting some – but not all – of the money they are owed. 

Dozens of miners have staged a week-long protest on railroad tracks in Kentucky’s Harlan County, blocking delivery of a load of coal from a Blackjewel mine and demanding their pay.  

Kathy Mattea, Grammy winning recording artist and West Virginia native, returns to Charleston, W.Va. this Sunday to guest host Mountain Stage once again, this time with a one-of-a-kind line-up of female talent. Showtime is 7p.m. at the Culture Center Theater on the state capitol grounds, and tickets are available online or at Taylor Books in downtown Charleston. Be sure to RSVP on Facebook if you’re joining us, and read on for more on each of our guests.

Brittany Patterson / Ohio Valley ReSource

Blackjewel coal miners will have to wait at least another day to learn if the sale of the bankrupt coal company’s mines and equipment will deliver their overdue paychecks.

WV State Police Cruiser
WCHS-TV

Authorities say a West Virginia state trooper has killed a man who shot him during a pursuit in the woods.

The West Virginia State Police on Tuesday says Trooper First Class J.M. Tallman was airlifted to a hospital.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, a plea deal means there will not be a first degree murder trial for 65-year-old William Pulliam. The Charleston man was charged with killing James Means, who was 15. The case got national attention in 2016 partly because Pulliam is white and Means was black. Trey Kay of West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s show Us & Them, reports the outcome of the case was a surprise to the victim’s family.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

Democratic U.S. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican U.S. Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania are trying again to get support for gun control legislation.  Their bill would strengthen background checks for those purchasing guns. 

Destiny Judy / Inter-Mountain / via AP

President Donald Trump has granted a disaster declaration request for flooding in portions of West Virginia in late June.

Gov. Jim Justice says in a news release five counties can receive federal assistance for public recovery efforts.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

We continue a podcast series from the Northern Panhandle on this West Virginia Morning. The series is called What Happened to Weirton. In the third episode, titled As Goes the Mill, reporter Ella Jennings traces the town’s history as it slides from boom to bust.

Police have identified 24-year-old white male Connor Betts from Bellbrook, Ohio, as the shooter who claimed nine lives and injured 27 others in Dayton, Ohio, early on Sunday morning.

Among the nine dead was the shooter's sister, Megan Betts, 22, said Lt. Col. Matt Carper at a news conference Sunday.

Brittany Patterson / Ohio Valley ReSource

Janet Clayton is standing thigh-deep in a back channel of the Elk River. Clad in a wetsuit and knee pads, the silver-haired biologist with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources reaches into a bright orange mesh bag submerged in water.

Inside are a half dozen mussels she plucked from the rocky river bottom.

Blackjewel Miners Continue Protest Ahead of Bankruptcy Hearing

Aug 2, 2019
Miners and supporters hold a meeting along the railroad tracks.
Curren Sheldon

Miners left unpaid by the bankrupt Blackjewel coal company say they are prepared to keep up their protest on railroad tracks in Harlan County, Kentucky, where they are blocking delivery of a load of coal. As their protest grows and gains attention, a bankruptcy court hearing on Monday could determine whether and when the miners get their paychecks.

Benny Becker/ WMMT

Our region has faced major economic changes and challenges in the past decade. But if you know our region’s history, this story of boom and bust, renewal and recession, is an all too familiar story. In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll explore how these economic changes affect people, our friends, our neighbors, and how entire communities can be uprooted by the closing of a local factory, or coal-mine layoffs. 


Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Tens of thousands of young people from more than 150 countries are adventuring in West Virginia for the 24th World Scout Jamboree. Many people who have spent time at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in southern West Virginia say the 24th annual event is an inspiring scene of world peace. It’s the first time the World Scout Jamboree has been hosted in the U.S. since 1967.

Our engineers are working diligently to update the entire WVPB television system to the new ATSC3.0 broadcast format. To complete this work safely, we will turn off the Parkersburg transmitter for over-the-air transmission beginning August 1.

The outage could last up to three weeks.

Beginning today, West Virginia Public Broadcasting's television station in Morgantown, WNPB-TV, will terminate broadcasts on Channel 33 and begin operating on Channel 34. The change should result in a stronger signal for our viewers.

If you use an antenna to watch our station, you will need to rescan your television to Channel 34 to keep watching our broadcast. The graphic here walks you through the simple process. Rescanning requires no new equipment, devices or services.

WVU Medicine

Nationally, nearly a quarter of all rural hospitals are struggling to stay open. In West Virginia, almost 40 percent of rural hospitals are at risk of closure. There are several reasons for that. 

 

 

“Inability to recruit physicians to small communities, declining population base, roughly 10,000 people a day go on Medicare and Medicare [which] doesn’t cover the cost of care in a hospital environment,” explained Dave Ramsey, CEO and president of Charleston Area Medical Center. 

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