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Your Favorite West Virginia Stories of 2013

WV Center on Budget and Policy

 A study of land ownership, a documentary about a long-running music show, and positive stories about West Virginians --- these are your favorite posts from 2013 on wvpublic.org.

Here's my personal take on what you like: You like in-depth stories that explain West Virginia to you (Who Owns West Virginia). You like stories that inspire (There's a Change in the Air in this Southern West Virginia Town.) And you like stories that entertain and make you smile (West Virginia First Grader Asks Senator For a Break).

Let us know which stories you'd like to see in 2014 in the comments section or on our Facebook page: facebook.com/wvpublic.

1.Who Owns West Virginia -- Glynis Board reports on a new investigation into land ownership by the West Virginia Center for Budget and Policy. It identifies the major absentee corporations that hold titles to huge land swaths—especially in southern West Virginia.

Mountain Stage guitarist Ryan Kennedy
Mountain Stage guitarist Ryan Kennedy

  2. Mountain Stage at 30: A Radio Retrospective -- Dave Mistich tells the unlikely story of how a grassroots music show in West Virginia grew to become a public radio institution, with great music from R.E.M., Townes Van Zandt, Lyle Lovett, and Kathy Mattea, among others.

3. West Virginia First Grader Needs a Break, So She Asked Her Senator -- Sophia Mullins, first grader at Gauley River Grade School, wrote to Senator Joe Manchin asking him for help. "All we do is work, work, work. I need a break. Can you please help?" she wrote. 

4. Who Owns West Virginia, Part Two -- You liked the first story on land ownership so much, reporter Glynis Board followed up with another.

5. Five Things You Need to Know about West Virginia's Proposed Marijuana Bill -- Socially-conservative West Virginia may seem an unlikely place for a marijuana legalization effort. But West Virginia also has a libertarian, "live and let live" streak. In this story, Ashton Marra breaks down one proposed legalization bill.

6. There's Change in the Air in This Southern West Virginia Town -- In Princeton, residents decided to stop complaining about problems downtown, and do something to change it. Reporter Jessica Lilly brings us a hopeful story that really caught fire.

7. Public/Private Partnerships Could Speed Corridor H Construction -- The last major Appalachian corridor in West Virginia is only about halfway complete. There's a new effort to see if construction can be done sooner, even without more federal funding.

8. West Virginia Slowly Becoming a Politically Southern State -- Reporter Ashton Marra interviews politicians and experts about the state's slow but inexorable transition from Democrat to Republican.

9. This West Virginian Has a Plan to End Extreme Poverty -- West Virginia native and former U.S. Marine Jake Harriman toured the Middle East, Africa and Asia, where he saw firsthand the devastating effects of extreme poverty. He founded Nuru International in order to lift rural farming communities out of poverty and into a cycle of self-sustainability.

10. West Virginian Cites Video Game Experience in Application for Coaching Job -- Marshall University graduate and systems integration analyst Chris McComas thinks his experience playing video games and "chuck the pigskin" philosophy makes him the perfect candidate to coach the North Dakota Fighting Sioux football team.

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