Liz McCormick

Eastern Panhandle/Education Reporter

Elizabeth (Liz) McCormick grew up in Charleston, West Virginia with her grandmother. She graduated from Capital High School in 2010 and graduated from Shepherd University in 2014 with a B.A. in Communications: Digital Filmmaking and minor in Theater.

Liz began her work with West Virginia Public Broadcasting as an intern in the main office in Charleston in the summer of 2014. She was later hired as a freelance reporter in July of that year, and then hired fulltime in Dec. 2014 as the Eastern Panhandle reporter. In Aug. 2020, Liz took over education coverage for the WVPB newsroom. She is based in Shepherdstown on Shepherd University's campus.

You can hear stories by Liz on West Virginia Morning and Inside Appalachia. You'll also hear her during morning and afternoon local newscasts. Liz covered the West Virginia House of Delegates for three seasons of WVPB's television program, The Legislature Today. Today, Liz is a production assistant on the show.

Liz has won awards in various categories of the Virginias Associated Press Broadcasters Association. In 2016, she won a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Use of Sound for her story "A Civil War Christmas." In 2018, Liz was a recipient of Shepherd University's Finest Under 40 Alumni award.

Liz is a lover of music and theater. She has performed in community theater productions since she was eight-years-old, and she studied voice for 14 years. Liz attended Interlochen: Center for the Arts summer camp in Michigan to study musical theater in 2004 and film production in 2009. In 2007, Liz was the state champion of the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest and one of the 12 national finalists that year. During her college years, Liz was involved in choir ensembles and theatrical productions in Shepherd University's Music Department. She studied abroad in Pau, France in the summer of 2012, and she completed an internship with the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. Liz is also a video game enthusiast who loves Nintendo and Pokémon.

Ways to Connect

Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, joins host Suzanne Higgins to discuss the Republican agenda for the 2020 West Virginia Legislative session. Senior Reporter Dave Mistich also joins Higgins on set to discuss the latest news and legislative action from the statehouse.

The halls of the Capitol are now quiet. Lawmakers have gone home for the weekend, and the session has gotten off to a low-key start. We discuss the first three days of the 2020 West Virginia Legislative session with statehouse reporters, and we look at some of the legislation introduced this week in both the House and Senate.

We launch our nightly coverage of the 2020 West Virginia Legislative session with reaction to Gov. Jim Justice's State of the State Address.

One of the photos featured in WVU’s traveling exhibit, Appalachian Futures, featuring Nick Bowman’s study on Fallout 76. The screenshot shows two players playing a banjo and a steel guitar in the video game.
Bethesda Game Studios


Updated on Jan. 10, 2020 to include an extended version of the interview. Scroll below.

It’s been more than a year since the video game Fallout 76 was released. The game — one in a popular series created by Maryland-based Bethesda Game Studios — takes place entirely in a post-apocalyptic West Virginia. Players from around the world play together online to reclaim the land. 

New research finds the game may help forge new connections between those playing it and the Mountain State.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

Gov. Jim Justice announced December revenue collections in West Virginia totaled nearly $430 million dollars — slightly more than what was collected last year.

In a Thursday press release, the governor said revenue collections for December came in $6.9 million above estimates, which was 1.2 percent above prior year receipts. Justice said the “state is still in great financial health."

Empty CSX rail cars derailed on the morning of Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019 near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.
Courtesy Washington County, Md.

Two incidents in the Eastern Panhandle that occurred over the Christmas holiday have seen some resolution.

Berkeley County Public Safety via Google Maps

Updated on Jan. 2, 2019 at 1:40 p.m.

The evacuation for the .5 mile radius surrounding the Sewage Treatment Plant at 500 E. John St. was lifted on Dec. 24, 2019.

Empty CSX rail cars derailed on the morning of Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019 near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.
Courtesy Washington County, Md.

Updated on Jan. 2, 2020 at 1:30 p.m.

The pedestrian footbridge remains closed, according to the National Park Service. However, all areas that were temporarily closed, such as John Brown's Fort and The Point, have now reopened.

Gov. Justice's Chief of Staff Mike Hall announces the agreement with Maryland to continue the MARC train service in W.Va. at a press conference in Martinsburg on Dec. 19, 2019.
W.Va. Governor's Office

 

Gov. Jim Justice has agreed to provide the remaining funding Maryland officials requested to keep the Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) in the Eastern Panhandle at its current service. The governor is also hopeful to expand the service to promote tourism in the region.

Two kittens lounge on bean bag chairs at “Give Purrs A Chance” in Berkeley Springs, W.Va.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting


Every year for Christmas, cats are often given as gifts. But many end up in animal shelters. In fact, 3.2 million cats enter animal shelters every year in the United States, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

And every year, about 860,000 are euthanized in shelters. But places like “cat cafes” may be helping more cats find forever homes.

Twitter

 


Gov. Jim Justice has hired a former campaign staff member as his Regional Representative for West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle counties.

One of seven locomotives acquired by OmniTRAX after it purchased the Winchester & Western Railroad in September. Additionally, OmniTRAX acquired 470 railcars.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting


Colorado-based OmniTRAX, a freight-only transportation company that links several railroads from coast to coast in the U.S., purchased the Winchester & Western Railroad for $105 million in September. 

The railroad runs through part of West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle, and the purchase is expected to improve West Virginia’s economy by attracting more businesses to the Eastern Panhandle.

Adobe Stock

 


The rate of preterm births in the U.S. has risen over the past four years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A new report card from March of Dimes, a nonprofit organization that works to help mothers and babies in the United States, has given West Virginia an F grade in the percentage of live births that are premature. 

The MARC train's Brunswick Line parked at the Martinsburg Train Station. Photo taken in Apr. 2018.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting


Nov. 30 was the deadline for West Virginia to provide $2.3 million to the Maryland Department of Transportation to keep the Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) at its current service. Otherwise, the service in West Virginia would be reduced from six trains per weekday to two. 

But it’s unclear if an agreement was reached.

Downstream of Dam #5 in Falling Waters, W.Va. during a study using tagged American eels from Millville, W.Va.
David Sutherland / U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

At the end of Vineyard Road in Falling Waters, West Virginia, there is an old, stone and brick structure on the Potomac River. This small, historic building is a hydroelectric power plant owned by Cube Hydro Partners based in Maryland. Beside the structure is ‘Dam #5.’

A photo taken during the demolition of Herbert Hoover High School in Sept. 2018.
Kanawha County Schools

 


The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will provide West Virginia $52.3 million to rebuild Herbert Hoover High School after devastating flooding in 2016 damaged the building. 

Adobe Stock

 


New research from West Virginia University suggests too much light, instead of too little, may cause depression in hospitalized individuals. 

Researchers Randy Nelson and Courtney DeVries at the Department of Neuroscience in the WVU School of Medicine studied two groups of mice for three nights. One group was exposed to total darkness, while the other was exposed to dim light – the equivalent of a child’s night light.

Henrik Hahn, Deputy Ambassador of Denmark to the U.S., speaks to a local chapter of the West Virginia Kiwanis Club on Nov. 7, 2019, in Harpers Ferry, W.Va.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting


The Deputy Ambassador of Denmark to the United States Henrik Hahn was invited to speak to a chapter of the West Virginia Kiwanis Club in Harpers Ferry last week. 

Denmark-based Rockwool has been a source of health and environmental contention for more than a year in the Eastern Panhandle, but discussion about the company was intentionally excluded from the event. 

The MARC train parked at the Martinsburg train station. The service currently offers six trains, Monday through Friday, in West Virginia, but that could be reduced to two trains if West Virginia does not pay Maryland $2.3 million by the end of November.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting


Local municipalities in the Eastern Panhandle have come together to provide some funding for the Maryland Area Regional Commuter, or MARC train, but it remains unclear if it will be enough to keep the service in West Virginia.

Shepherdstown resident Tracy Danzey (right) walked 70 miles in 11 days from Kalundborg to Copenhagen protesting Rockwool. Martinsburg resident and former organizing director of the national AFL-CIO, Stewart Acuff (left), accompanied Danzey on the walk.
Emily Vaughn


Residents in the Eastern Panhandle continue to protest Denmark-based, stone wool manufacturing facility, Rockwool. For more than a year now, hundreds of residents still rally at commission and town council meetings in Jefferson County and at the Rockwool construction site – in an effort to stop the plant from being built.

Heart Disease, Cholesterol, American Heart Association, Heart, Heart Health, Body, Veins, Blood, Health, Appalachia Health News
Dollar Photo Club

WVU Medicine has performed West Virginia’s first heart transplant.

The surgery, performed Saturday, was done on a 61-year-old male patient from Chesapeake, Ohio. Surgeons at the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute and the WVU Medicine Transplant Alliance in Morgantown conducted the procedure.

Peer Recovery Support Specialist Roger Dodd (right) speaks to fellow members of PITAR in Petersburg, W.Va. at its October 2019 meeting.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

 


In order to help people struggling with addiction, some communities are taking steps to think outside the box. 

The Potomac Highlands region of the Eastern Panhandle has brought together law enforcement, faith-based organizations and community members. The goal is to create one robust network of support in this rural region for people struggling with substance use disorder. 

The network strives to combat stigma and offer a safety net that, for some, say feels like a family.

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.

Rick Garland took over the Ghost Tours of Harpers Ferry 10 years ago. He holds the tour year-round and meets tourists on the steps of the historic St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

 


Harpers Ferry, Jefferson County is well known for its American Civil War history. The town was the site of John Brown’s Raid, the Battle of Harpers Ferry, and the town changed hands from Union to Confederate several times. 

Harpers Ferry saw so much destruction during the war that many now say it’s a town home to ghosts and hauntings.

Anti-Rockwool signs like this one can be seen throughout the Eastern Panhandle. Photo taken in Aug. 2018.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting


More than 100 people spoke at a public hearing in Shepherdstown this week hosted by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection

The hearing was for two proposed stormwater-related permits to be issued to Denmark-based Rockwool in Ranson, Jefferson County.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

 

A Polish family-owned cosmetics business has decided to place its United States flagship in West Virginia. The family hopes to open a manufacturing facility in Martinsburg in five years.

Credit Steve Helber/ AP

Think back to the last time you saw an Appalachian portrayed on TV, in the national media, in a book or a cartoon. Often, when people talk about Appalachians, they portray us as white, or poor, or ignorant -- or all three. But when you dig beneath the surface, and challenge the stereotypes that are often used to misrepresent people who live in our region, the story becomes much more honest, and interesting.

The Paloma Crisis Stabilization & Detox Center is located on Wilson Street in Martinsburg, W.Va. It opened in October 2018. Paloma is the first facility to offer overnight services in the Eastern Panhandle since the 1990s.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting


It’s been one year since the Paloma Crisis Stabilization & Detox Center opened in Martinsburg. The facility is the first of its kind in the Eastern Panhandle in more than two decades. 

The Center is open 24/7 and offers in-patient, or overnight services for people suffering from substance use disorder. The launch of the 16-bed facility hit some bumps in the beginning, but it’s remained open and has helped more than 250 people find recovery.

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.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting


From 2010 to 2018, Berkeley County, West Virginia has grown in population by nearly 13,000 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau

That’s more than 1,500 new people each year. While population growth can be a great thing – it adds to the economy and the workforce – it also takes a toll on roads. 

Pages