News

Author Crystal Wilkinson.
Courtesy Crystal Wilkinson

Author Crystal Wilkinson is the 2019 Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence at Shepherd University.

Wilkinson’s second book Water Street was chosen by the West Virginia Library Commission as this year’s One Book One West Virginia common read.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, author Crystal Wilkinson is this year’s Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence at Shepherd University.

Wilkinson grew up in Kentucky with her grandparents. Her work celebrates being black in Appalachia. Liz McCormick spoke to Wilkinson last week. Here’s an excerpt from the interview beginning with Wilkinson sharing one of her short stories from her book, "Blackberries, Blackberries".

Johnson & Johnson and two Ohio counties have reached a tentative $20.4 million settlement that removes the corporation from the first federal lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, scheduled to begin later this month.

Energy, heat, money, thermostat, heat pump, furnace
Dave Mistich via Tableau Public

While many states are adopting policies to make homes, cars and appliances more energy efficient, a new report finds states in the Ohio Valley are moving in the opposite direction.

 

Are 1,600 New Coal-Fired Power Plants Being Constructed Today?

Oct 1, 2019
Conesville coal plant
Brittany Patterson / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The president of the United Mine Workers of America  -- a union representing coal miners, many of them in West Virginia -- sees a future for coal in electricity generation despite concern that coal’s carbon emissions could bring about climate change. 

In a Sept. 4 speech at the National Press Club in Washington, the union’s president, Cecil E. Roberts, touted the number of coal-fired power plants being constructed internationally.

Is Unemployment For Women At Lowest Point In Almost 70 Years?

Oct 1, 2019
In this Thursday, March 3, 2016, file photo, Georgia Department of Labor services specialist Louis Holliday, right, helps a woman with a job search on a computer at an unemployment office in Atlanta.
David Goldman / Associated Press file photo

The West Virginia Republican Party recently tweeted praise for President Donald Trump’s handling of the economy, particularly as it relates to women.

On Aug. 27, the state party tweeted, "Women’s unemployment has been lower under President Trump than it’s been in nearly 70 years. #WVGOP #WomenforTrump #WV4Trump."

Emily Allen / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

For as long as he can recall, Williamson resident John Burchett said that when you looked over the U.S. Highway 119 Bridge leading to Kentucky, all you’d see on the Tug Fork River were tires. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, communities along the Tug Fork River in Mingo County are touting their waterway as a draw for outdoor recreational events. But there’s still a lot of work to be done in the river, to make sure it’s safe and clean. 

Emily Allen joined a group of volunteers and state workers yesterday [Monday] as they removed hundreds of old tires from the river.

Brynn Anderson / AP Photo

Updated on Tuesday, October 1, 2019 at 4:42 p.m.

A lawsuit against West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and officials with the state Department of Health and Human Resources alleges the government has violated the rights of nearly 6,800 children currently in the state’s foster care system.

Corey Knollinger / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Over the last five years in Wheeling, an organization called Project Homeless Outreach Partnership Effort, or Project HOPE, has been giving medical care to people who live in the city without housing.

This regularly brings Project HOPE director and nurse, Crystal Bauer, to some unusual places, like under a certain highway overpass.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Republican Del. Sharon Lewis Malcolm of Kanawha County died over the weekend. 

 

According to a news release from the West Virginia House of Delegates, Malcolm passed away peacefully in her sleep at the age of 72. 

Journalists Sarah Smarsh and Ken Ward Jr. discuss the state of rural journalism at Robert Wood Johnson's Life in Rural America symposium.
Shawn Poynter / Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

In 2018, Sarah Smarsh released her New York Times bestselling memoir The Heartland, exploring her childhood growing up on a farm in central Kansas. It was a national book award finalist and thrust her into the spotlight for writing about life in rural America from rural America.

Emily Allen / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

When civil rights attorney-turned-filmmaker Jon Matthews agreed to start a film festival with his friend Tim Ward, Matthews said the title alone was the selling point. 

“He's like, ‘It's Appalachian Queer Film Festival,’” Matthews said. “I'm, like, ‘Done. You've got me. Sold.’ ... I never heard anything like those two words in the same sentence before, ‘Appalachian and queer.’”

Water Is Unaffordable For Nearly Half Of Kentucky County's Residents, Report Finds

Sep 30, 2019
Martin County relies on a water treatment plant that was built in 1968.
Benny Becker / Ohio Valley ReSource file photo

A new report finds nearly half the residents of Martin County, Kentucky, cannot afford water service. Local activists with the Martin County Concerned Citizens are ringing alarm bells about water affordability as the beleaguered county faces another likely water rate increase in the coming months.

Since the ReSource first reported on its water crisis two years ago, Martin County has become the prime example of rural communities struggling to maintain aging water systems.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

An analysis of flight records shows West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has used state aircraft less than the state's previous two governors.

The Parkersburg News and Sentinel received the records from the state's aviation division Wednesday through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Montana is under emergency conditions after an intense winter storm dumped record amounts of snow along with a life-threatening combination of bitter cold and stiff winds. In the town of Browning, 48 inches of snow fell from Friday to Sunday, the National Weather Service says.

Despite coming in late September, the 19.3 inches of snow that just fell over two days in Great Falls is second to only one other two-day total in the city — in any month. The only time the city recorded more snow in two days was during a winter storm more than 10 years ago.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, as the Ohio Valley’s coal industry continues to decline, many coal-dependent communities are left asking, ‘What’s next?’

For some, a different kind of natural resource could be the key. Energy and environment reporter Brittany Patterson visited one community in southwest Virginia that is betting big on outdoor recreation – and getting some help from an unusual local resident.

Disability rights advocates say state-owned psychiatric hospitals in West Virginia are confining forensic patients for years after they are well. Forensic patients are those who engage in criminal behavior but are found not guilty by reason of mental illness.

Appalachia’s Deep History Of Resistance

Sep 27, 2019
Becky Crabtree sits chained in her 1971 Ford Pinto, suspended over a trench at a Mountain Valley Pipeline construction site on her property in Monroe County, W.Va..
Appalachians Against Pipelines

When a group of Kentucky miners decided to block a coal-laden train from leaving a bankrupt mine in July, they weren’t just laying claim to missing paychecks.

The miners in Harlan County won attention across the United States for their willingness to put their bodies on the line for their beliefs. In doing so, they’re invoking the long-entrenched spirit of civil disobedience and direct action in the Appalachian Mountains. The mine wars of the early 20th century led to the rise of American unions in the 1930s and 1940s, but it’s not just coal miners who have laid claim to a history of activism.

Brittany Patterson / Ohio Valley ReSource

Standing on the breezy outlook at Flag Rock Recreation Area, Norton City Manager Fred Ramey is taking in the panoramic view of downtown Norton, Virginia. The brick building-lined streets are framed by the verdant, rolling Appalachian mountains. Jagged, brown scars from mountaintop mining operations can be seen in the distance, reminders of the region’s history of coal production.

Courtesy of Lacy Hale

Scavenger. Trash animal. Chicken killer. Hero. People here in Appalachia have lots of feelings when it comes oppossums — or "possums" as some people call them. A town in Harlan County, Kentucky found this out first-hand when they decided to feature a possum on a mural in their downtown.

It was a clear, sunny day in May and Lacy Hale was putting the finishing touches on a mural destined for a brick wall in downtown Harlan, Kentucky.


Love And Tradition Passed Down Through A Guitar

Sep 27, 2019
John Nakashima/ WVPB

Mill Point is a blink-and-you'll miss it wide spot off the twisty mountain roads of Pocahontas County, West Virginia.  It's also the home of Bill Hefner, a luthier who isn't just making guitars, he's passing his tradition of meticulous craftmanship down to the next generation.


Water
Jasonanaggie / Wikimedia Commons

Ohio will begin testing some public and private water systems for the presence of toxic nonstick, fluorinated chemicals, broadly called PFAS.


Caitlin Tan / WVPB

Across Appalachia, there are remarkable stories of resilience in the face of adversity. This week on Inside Appalachia, we’ll meet several people who are recovering from drug addiction, and are finding a new path forward by learning to build stringed instruments. And we’ll learn about a rare plant that rebounded after being put on the endangered species list. And why this particular plant, called the buffalo running clover, has a secret weapon; when it’s beaten down, it bounces back even stronger.


Caitlin Tan / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

It is a hot, late summer night in the small town of Hindman, Kentucky. The sun is setting against the backdrop of the steep Appalachian Mountains. Musicians are warming up for the Knott County Downtown Radio Hour. 

It is essentially a recorded open mic hosted once a month by the Appalachian School of Luthiery, a school that teaches people how to build wooden stringed instruments. Doug Naselroad is the founder and the master luthier of the program.


National Park Service

West Virginia's U.S. senators want to make the New River Gorge a national park.

U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin on Thursday introduced the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Designation Act.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginia state Sen. Paul Hardesty says he's not running to keep his Senate seat in 2020.

The Logan County Democrat on Thursday announced that he will not seek the position in the next election. He says the decision came after he consulted with his family.

Adobe Stock

A West Virginia woman charged with concocting a story about an Egyptian man trying to kidnap her daughter isn’t a racist, her lawyer said Thursday, Sept. 26.

Santana Renee Adams, 24, was initially hailed as a hero after claiming she used a gun to thwart a brazen, mid-day kidnapping of her 5-year-old in April. But her story quickly began to unravel when no witnesses could be found and mall surveillance video didn’t match up with her original statement.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, at least two organizations in West Virginia specialize in bringing medical care to those without housing. Corey Knollinger followed one of those organizations on their weekly street rounds in the Northern Panhandle to find out how nurses and doctors interact with those who are experiencing homelessness.

A tumultuous week in Washington has set the stage for an intense new congressional investigation into President Trump — and what could prove to be a historic clash between the White House and Congress.

The outlines are now clear about conduct that no one, including Trump, disputes: The president asked his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate the family of Vice President Joe Biden, a potential political rival in the 2020 presidential election.

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