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West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Ohio Valley coal giant Murray Energy’s bankruptcy renewed fears about the already shaky pension plan that tens of thousands of retired miners depend upon. As the Ohio Valley ReSource’s Becca Schimmel reports, some regional lawmakers are renewing their push to fix the United Mine Workers’ pension fund.

Liz McCormick/ WVPB

A former West Virginia horse racing commissioner says photos posted online of a euthanized thoroughbred racing horse surrounded by trash in a landfill should be a wakeup call for state leaders.

Bill Phillips served for years on the commission before being replaced by Gov. Jim Justice in 2017. He told the Charleston Gazette-Mail that the commission is underfunded and understaffed.

Courtesy American Experience/ PBS

The Hatfield and McCoy Feud is full of bloodshed and revenge. A New York Times article in 1896 referred to the feud as “frontier lawlessness,” and the Hatfields and McCoys as having an “utter disregard of human life.” The fact that the families got their income from illegal moonshining has also been used to discredit them as outlaws. 

For some, the feud has become synonymous with the type of mischaracterization of Appalachians that we’d like to leave behind. 

Chuck Roberts/ WVPB

Spring, summer and fall in Gilbert, West Virginia, in Mingo County, most days you can find a barrage of ATVs rolling through town. 

Most of the riders are visiting for an adventurous vacation. The asphalt road runs are usually a short trip from their cabins, or hotels to the woods onto the Hatfield and McCoy Trail systems. 


Eric Douglas / WVPB

Inside Appalachia Associate Producer Eric Douglas began his journalism career in Matewan, West Virginia nearly 30 years ago. He recently revisited the town and sat down with Inside Appalachia Host Jessica Lilly to discuss what has changed and efforts to revitalize the town with tourism. 

The downturn of the coal industry hurt Matewan, like much of southern West Virginia. Government records show that there were 3,000 people working in coal mining 30 years ago in Mingo County, bringing in $130 million dollars in wages. Coal accounted for about one-third of all the jobs in the county and more than half of the total income. 


Courtesy photo

In her new novel, "Blood Creek", author Kimberly Collins writes about the strikes that gripped the southern West Virginia coalfields in the early 20th Century from the perspective of the women who lived through them.

"Blood Creek" is the first in the Mingo Chronicles series. It starts with the strike at Paint Creek and Cabin Creek in 1912. Collins used real characters from history in her books, several of whom she is related to. 


Capitol, West Virginia State Capitol
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Updated Friday, November 1, 2019 at 2:47 p.m.

State budget revenues again came in under estimates for the month of October. The latest numbers continue a downward trend that has state officials preparing for budget cuts.

A preliminary report from the West Virginia Senate’s Finance Committee says state revenue collections were down $3.3 million in October.

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The immigration crisis on the southern border of the US doesn’t affect the day-to-day lives of most residents throughout the country. But many people are increasingly concerned anyway. A group from rural West Virginia recently took a trip to Texas to aid asylum seekers. They went to learn more about the realities of this crisis, and the people who would try to help.   

Emily Allen / WVPB

When in the late 1990’s a group of recreational-vehicle enthusiasts began developing a network of riding trails in Southern West Virginia, it didn’t take them long to pick a title that would immediately garner name recognition for the region.


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Inside Appalachia takes a ride along the Hatfield and McCoy ATV trail this weekend. It’s an extensive trail system built out in a place where the job market has been hit hard by downturns in the coal industry. It’s one way the region is pumping new life into the economy, using a familiar family feud name, and ATVs, to draw people to the region. The Hatfield & McCoy ATV Trail system has been up and running in southern West Virginia since the early 2000’s. Emily Allen reports.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

 A West Virginia senator charged with soliciting a prostitute is going to trial.

A Marshall County court clerk says a judge on Wednesday set a Dec. 13 jury trial date for Sen. Mike Maroney.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Wayne County, West Virginia, Republican Sen. Mark Maynard has been chosen to lead a state Senate committee on government organization.

Senate President Mitch Carmichael on Wednesday named Maynard chairman of the Senate Government Organization Committee.

Maynard is currently the chairman of committees on economic development and natural resources. He was elected to the state Senate in 2014.

A patch of miscanthus towers above other grasses on the former mine site
Brittany Patterson / Ohio Valley ReSource

A new report by a group of regional advocacy organizations argues reclaiming abandoned mine lands could be a key factor in Appalachia’s transition from coal.

In its second annual report, released Thursday, the Reclaiming Appalachia Coalition, highlighted 19 reclamation projects in West Virginia, Ohio, Virginia and Kentucky. They run the gamut from installing solar on abandoned mine lands to boosting outdoor recreation opportunities like biking and hiking trails. 

West Virginia's U.S. House members, left to right: Rep. David McKinley, Rep. Alex Mooney and Rep. Carol Miller.
AP file photos

Updated Thursday, October 31, 2019 at 3:45 p.m.

The U.S. House of Representatives has adopted a resolution formalizing its impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. As the first official vote in what’s sure to be many related to impeachment, the roll call showed a stark divide between majority Democrats who’ve already begun holding closed-door depositions on the matter and Republicans who continue to back the president. West Virginia's three House members -- all Republicans -- voted against the measure.

Jasper Davis stoops to tilt a plastic bottle under a drip of water that's trickling from a crack in the mountainside.

"Tastes better than what the city water does," he says. "Way better."

The spring is innocuous, a mere dribble emerging from a cliff face that was cut out to make room for a four-lane highway. But there's evidence of frequent visitors. A small footbridge has been placed over the muddy ground, and some enterprising soul shoved a rubber tube into the mountain to make filling jugs easier.

Updated at 1 p.m. ET

The House of Representatives voted Thursday 232-196 to pass a resolution formalizing its impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Just two Democrats voted no — Reps. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey.

Amid the debate, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called it a "sad day."

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Halloween Morning, we’d like to remind West Virginians of the many creatures featured in the state’s folklore – such as Big Foot and Mothman. And there’s another one that’s often described as an alien or a monster. Over the years, it’s become a part of the state’s pop culture. It's even made a larger resurgence just in the past four years through a tourism campaign and a new museum.

Our folklife reporter Caitlin Tan brings us the story from Braxton County.

Mountain Stage Archive

This week's episode is a special called "The Class of '89," featuring notable performances from that landmark year in Mountain Stage's history.

On a windy night in Billings, Mont., Patricia Iron Cloud and about 60 others were protesting the Keystone XL pipeline ahead of a public meeting on Oct. 29. It was the public's first and only chance to meet with U.S. State Department officials about a new environmental analysis of the Keystone XL pipeline.

"I think it's at least 19 degrees right now," Iron Cloud said, shaking in a traditional ribbon skirt and ballet flats with no socks. "Who does that?"

Updated at 11:25 p.m. ET

Tim Morrison, the top Russia official on President Trump's National Security Council, who is scheduled to testify in the impeachment inquiry on Thursday, is set to leave his White House post imminently, three sources familiar with the plan told NPR.

This photo provided by Richwood Police shows an 11-foot python that was at large and found Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019 in Richwood, W.Va.
Richwood Police via AP

An 11-foot python that was on the loose in West Virginia was found Tuesday, about a month after it got out of its tank, broke through a window screen and slithered outside.

Richwood Police Chief Charles Burkhamer says a letter carrier saw the snake laying out in the sun next to a roadway Tuesday, about a block away from where it escaped a month ago.

Adobe Stock


Beginning in the late 1970s, shelters and other resources began to become available for survivors of domestic violence in West Virginia. But navigating those resources and legal processes that can go with it isn’t easy.

Magnus Manske / wikimedia Commons

West Virginia transportation officials have rejected a mayor’s request to reopen a suspension bridge.

Officials closed the Wheeling Suspension Bridge indefinitely last month due to vehicles crossing that exceeded the weight limit.

Dr. Stephanie Parker begins the class day at Huffman Academy Pre-K by having the students fill in a sentence about the day Dec. 15, 2018.
Julianna Hunter for 100 Days in Appalachia

Appalachia is, and has been for decades, lagging behind the rest of the nation in a number of health outcomes. The region struggles with heart disease, diabetes, cancer and much more.

But new research on the rate at which Appalachians are dying has health officials calling for more investments in not just health care but in education and economic development to reverse the trend.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, beginning in the late 1970s, shelters and other resources began to become available for survivors of domestic violence in West Virginia. But navigating those resources and legal processes that can go with it isn’t easy. As Liz McCormick reports, work continues to broaden and improve what’s available to survivors.

Updated at 8:54 a.m. ET

Call a dog by its name, and its tail wags, it starts panting happily, and it showers you with love and affection.

Call a cat by its name and ... well, cats are a bit harder to read. Does the cat even know what its name is?

So researchers in Japan set out to answer the question: Can a cat understand the difference between its name and any other random word that sounds like it?

In this Thursday, May 4, 2017 file photo, a third-grader punches in her student identification to pay for a meal at Gonzales Community School in Santa Fe, N.M.
Morgan Lee / AP Photo

West Virginia education officials are warning that many students could become ineligible for free school lunches under a new Trump administration proposal that's expected to reduce the number of people who get food stamps.

Kathy Mattea
BRIAN BLAUSER/ MOUNTAIN STAGE

Country singer Kathy Mattea will be coaching music students at West Virginia University.

The university says in a news release that the Cross Lanes native has been named a distinguished artist in residence in the School of Music for the 2019-20 academic year.

The Trump administration has spent three years trying to help the coal industry by rolling back environmental regulations and pushing for subsidies for coal-fired power plants. Still, the long list of coal company bankruptcies has continued, and dozens more plants have announced their retirement since President Trump took office.

Sydney Boles / Ohio Valley Resource

 

This story was updated on Oct. 29 to include additional information and reaction.

Murray Energy Corp., the largest underground coal mining company in America with a substantial footprint across the Ohio Valley, has filed for bankruptcy protection. 

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