News

Courtesy: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The recent rise of oil and gas drilling across West Virginia has raised questions about industry regulation and taxation. Many bear a striking resemblance to similar questions raised about the coal industry in years past. 

Ken Ward Jr. is a reporter for the Charleston Gazette-Mail. He’s been writing about the coal industry his entire career. He sees a number of similarities between the coal and natural gas industries and how those industries are regulated. 

Historical Photos Courtesy of the Nitro Convention and Visitors Bureau.

There’s a town in Kanawha County, West Virginia where some locals say living there is a "blast."

As part of our occasional series, "What’s in a Name," we take a look at the history and folklore of the names of Appalachian places. The town in question, Nitro, West Virginia, grew out of the explosives industry and was home to a factory that helped supply the U.S. Army with gun powder during World War I. Ken Thompson volunteers at the World War I museum in the city of Nitro.

Gregory Bull / AP Photo

Updated Friday, August 16, 2019 at 4:42 p.m.

Authorities in Morgantown and Monongalia County have confirmed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement informed them they would be operating in the area. While ICE officials have confirmed “routine targeted enforcement  operations,” information on possible arrests and detainments is still unknown. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we speak with a police officer turned sociologist. He offers a researcher’s perspective on gun violence. We also hear a report from The Allegheny Front on fracking concerns in Ohio, and we hear this week’s Mountain Stage Song of the Week.

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In the wake of mass shootings more public health officials are calling for gun violence to be treated as a public health concern. Health reporter Kara Lofton spoke with West Virginia University sociology professor and former police officer James Nolan about whether taking guns away or incarcerating more people would increase public safety. He argues reducing violence may be a matter of building stronger, more engaged communities. Here's part of that conversation.

 

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This summer in Morgantown, elementary school students had access to  a special summer art camp series almost every week.

Last week, students learned a  story telling art form rooted in Appalachian tradition called crankies. Crankies are also sometimes called moving panoramas, as they are a drawing or painting that can be manually moved and is portrayed within a box.

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A West Virginia woman has sued the nation's largest e-cigarette maker, claiming the company uses a deceptive marketing campaign to intentionally target teenagers.  

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in federal court in Charleston. It names San Francisco-based Juul Labs along with Altria Group and Philip Morris USA.

  

The lawsuit claims Juul violates state consumer protection law by using fraudulent and deceptive marketing practices to "exploit themes that resonated with teenagers.

Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy

As the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy continues to graduate more West Virginia teens than ever, its leaders say the program has reached its capacity for the existing facility at Camp Dawson.

Legislation from the most recent special session advocates not only for an expansion there in Preston County, but for a second location in Fayette County. Lawmakers didn’t specify in writing where they want the new academy to go, but many are confident it will end up being at the former WVU Tech campus in Montgomery. 

Edward Kimmel / Flickr

Authorities in West Virginia say a woman was killed and five others — including the suspect — were hurt in a series of shootings.

This Rural Teacher is Working to Bridge Divides Between Migrant Workers and Her Community

Aug 15, 2019
Justin Hayhurst / 100 Days in Appalachia

Two hours into Amy Fabbri’s English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) class, Marie’s exhaustion slowly began to show. First, her fingers gave her away, as she gently used them to cover her eyes, like temporary blinds. And then, later, she leaned her head into her left hand, the nearest pillow she could find, while the rest of class carried on. 

The Poultry Plant That’s Changed the Face of This Appalachian Town

Aug 15, 2019
Justin Hayhurst / 100 Days in Appalachia

When Sheena Van Meter graduated from Moorefield High School in 2000, her class was mainly comprised of the children of families that had long-planted roots in West Virginia’s eastern Potomac Highlands. Some were African American. Most were white. And for the Moorefield resident, the closest exposure she had to other cultures, before leaving for college, came in the form of an occasional foreign-exchange student. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the Mountaineer Challenge Academy in Preston County wants to open a campus in southern West Virginia, but there’s some skepticism as to whether it will be possible. Reporter Dave Mistich also brings us the latest from the statehouse.

Brian Blauser/ Mountain Stage

Michael and Tanya Trotter are the driving voices behind The War And Treaty. With an energetic sound that blends classic roots, gospel and R&B with country and soul, The War And Treaty are a treat to experience live.

William Pulliam
KENNY KEMP / Gazette-Mail

Last week, William Pulliam -- a 65-year-old Charleston, West Virginia man -- agreed to plead guilty to second degree murder. He was originally charged with first degree murder for killing an African-American teenager named James Means. On Tuesday, the judge received a letter from Pulliam, asking for the plea deal to be revoked.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The protest by miners left unpaid by bankrupt coal operator Blackjewel has stretched into a second week. Their blockade of a Kentucky railroad track gained national attention and called to mind the area’s history of labor struggles.

On this West Virginia morning, we’ll hear the second of two reports by Sydney Boles, as she asks miners what they think about the future of their industry. 


Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginia Del. Jason Harshbarger has submitted a letter of resignation from the House’s 7th District. The two-term lawmaker is leaving to take a new role with Dominion Energy.

Harshbarger, a Republican from Ritchie County, was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2016 and has worked for Dominion Energy for 14 years. 

Courtesty of the White House

President Donald Trump Tuesday toured Shell Chemical’s soon-to-be completed ethane cracker complex in Monaca, Pennsylvania, to tout his administration’s commitment to expanding energy production. The facility is part of what industry boosters hope will be a new plastics and chemical manufacturing base in the upper Ohio Valley, but many residents here worry about the heat-trapping gases and plastic waste such an industry would produce.

Seeking Common Ground: Immigrants Find Footing in a Rural English Classroom

Aug 13, 2019
Justin Hayhurst / 100 Days in Appalachia

In Amy Fabbri’s English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) class in Moorefield, every time a new student joins her morning or afternoon session, she gives them the honor of pining their name next to their home country on a large map of the globe. The map that hangs on her classroom wall has pins marking Haiti. Mexico. El Salvador. Ethiopia. Myanmar. Ninety percent or more of her students work for Pilgrim’s Pride, a chicken processing plant located in the middle of the small West Virginia town. 

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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.”

needles
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.

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