Connie Bailey KittsFolkways Reporter
Connie Bailey Kitts of Bluefield, Va. grew up with a story-telling veterinarian father who shaped her path in journalism. She graduated from Iowa State University in journalism and worked there as a science writer before returning home for a life-altering period as a caregiver. Coming home also meant rediscovering a new appreciation for Appalachia. She’s written about its people, places and problems while reporting for a weekly newspaper, has recently fallen in love with radio, and continues freelance writing and editing. She enjoys raising dairy goats, making movies about them, foraging for greens, and as an Airbnb host, has been fortunate to hear stories from all over the world.
Like many Appalachian traditions, turkey calls go way back. Historically, they’ve been used as a hunting tool, but one West Virginia artist has taken it to the next level. Brian Aliff makes hand-crafted, prize-winning decorative turkey calls. These pieces are functional and they’re becoming collectors items, but it took a while for Aliff to think of himself as an artist.