Roxy Todd

Reporter/ Producer Inside Appalachia

Roxy Todd is a reporter and co-producer for Inside Appalachia and has been a reporter for West Virginia Public Broadcasting since 2014. Her stories have aired on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Marketplace. She’s won several awards, including a regional AP Award for best feature radio story, and also two regional Edward R. Murrow awards for Best Use of Sound and Best Writing for her stories about Appalachian food and culture.

In 2017, she won first place in Public Radio News Directors Inc.’s (PRNDI) Nationally Edited Soft Feature category for her story titled “In Coal Country, Farmers get creative to bridge the fresh produce gap.” The radio show and podcast she helps produce, Inside Appalachia, won first place in PRNDI’s Long Documentary category for an episode titled “Hippies, Home Birth and the History of Birthing Babies in Appalachia.”

Roxy is a native of middle Tennessee. In 2005 she graduated from Warren Wilson College, where she studied Creative Writing, theater and education. 

Ways to Connect

Glynis Board / WVPB

Here in central Appalachia, we have plenty of high-tech skills, and many of us can connect to orbiting satellites, and therefore people and ideas on the other side of the globe, in milliseconds.

But there are also a lot of isolated pockets throughout Appalachia where a smart phone is rendered pretty dumb.

Resourceful. Self-reliant. These are some of the values many people who live in the mountains pride themselves on. But could we sustain ourselves? As part of our occasional series “Wild, Wondering, West Virginia,” Lana Lester of Wyoming County submitted her question to the Inside Appalachia team: “Could West Virginia Be Self-Sustaining?” She said she, “always had the feeling that God Blessed West Virginia with all of our natural resources and we have everything there in the state to survive.” 


Caitlin Tan/ WVPB

A new grant program is taking applications for economic development projects in coal-impacted areas of Appalachia. 

Opportunity Appalachia is a collaboration between multiple non-profits and philanthropic organizations across central Appalachia. Project organizers expect to select 15 projects; each awardee will be coached by experienced business and development professionals. They value the support at an average of $50,000 per project.


Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislature

In this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’re doing something a bit different. We’re taking a temperature check on how people are feeling about politics as we head into what is sure to be a critical election year. While most people have the presidential race on their minds, there are many local races here that will have lasting impacts as well.

Eric Douglas / WVPB

It may be winter, but work on the waterways around Appalachia never stops. In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we are listening back to an episode that originally aired over the summer about people who work on the rivers.

Our rivers are a vital part of our identity as Appalachians. We depend on them for survival, recreation and transportation. And we depend on rivers for economic reasons, too. 


Kara Lofton / WVPB

At Inside Appalachia, we can’t get enough of the holidays and the traditions that come out of these mountains. So for this week’s episode, we are taking another listen to a show that originally aired last December.


Zach Harold / For Inside Appalachia

In this episode of Inside Appalachia we’ll hear stories about holiday traditions that have been passed down through several generations. We’ll travel to a toy maker’s workshop where toys are handmade⁠ — similar to what your grandparents might remember from Christmases past. 

We’ll also explore the grief that sometimes comes with the holidays, as family members who created traditions are no longer with us, and look at Christmas tree farms in Appalachia trying to help preserve family traditions. 


Eric Douglas / WVPB

People have been decorating Christmas trees in their homes since the 16th century. It’s a tradition that began in Germany and spread throughout Europe and the rest of the world. 

Courtesy Connie Bailey-Kitts

There is a tradition in Appalachia of observing “Old Christmas” on January 6. Folklore suggests that animals speak in the middle of the night on Old Christmas.

But it turns out, you don’t have to wait till January 6 to hear goats singing to Christmas carols. 


Adobe Stock

Gov. Jim Justice announced Friday that he is directing the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) to immediately initiate a formal study to determine options for eliminating the waitlist for the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Waiver (IDDW) program.


Caitlin Tan / WVPB

In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll take a trip across our region and meet people in Tennessee, to Kentucky, and Ohio. Each of the stories featured highlight an element of life here in Appalachia that is often overlooked. 


Eric Douglas / WVPB

For many people in Appalachia, the lakes, rivers and creeks are the first places we swam, played in the water or caught crawdads. For many adults, our waterways are some of the best places to get outdoors and cool off in the summer. We have whitewater rafting, swimming, boating and even scuba diving to choose from (yes, scuba diving, you read that right.)  

It may be December, but we wanted to take another listen to this episode to imagine the fun we will have this summer. And as a reminder that the rivers and waters of Appalachia are an important, vital resource all year long.


Courtesy Doris Fields

The West Virginia Humanities Council is accepting applications for their 2020 Folklife Apprenticeship Program

This will be the second year the West Virginia Folklife Program is sponsoring the apprenticeship program. The Humanities Council offers up to $3,000 to highly skilled, traditional artists who agree to work with a qualified apprentice.

Brittany Patterson/ WVPB

Adding plants and trees to the landscape could reduce air pollution by an average of 27 percent, according to a new study. Specialists in environmental science, engineering and geography spent three years analyzing thousands of counties across the country. They found that adding more plants is cheaper than most technologies at reducing air pollution. One of the lead researchers is an engineering professor at Ohio State University named Bhavik Bakshi.


Ella Jennings

Our region has faced major economic changes and challenges in the past decade. But if you know our region’s history, this story of boom and bust, renewal and recession, is an all too familiar story. In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll explore how these economic changes affect people, our friends, our neighbors, and how entire communities can be uprooted by the closing of a local factory, or coal-mine layoffs. 


Eric Douglas/ WVPB

The Upshur County Public Library Board of Directors is reviewing whether to remove a children’s book from their shelves, after a local pastor asked for its removal. The book, Prince and Knight,  depicts two men who fall in love. Pastor Josh Layfield brought the issue to the attention of library staff because citing moral concerns for people of faith who might happen upon it.

Courtesy Deb Morgan

This week on Inside Appalachia, we’ll meet several people who are making connections with each other, themselves, or a spiritual community. 

Jesse Wright/WVPB

Increasingly, teachers are finding that spending time in nature with their students is essential to learning. In this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll hear from educators who are knocking down classroom walls so that kids can get some fresh air and exercise, and improve test scores in the process.


Roxy Todd/ WVPB

A new study finds that planting trees to reduce air pollution is cheaper than investing in most emissions reducing technologies. 


Eric Douglas / WVPB

Doctors point to overwhelming evidence that breast milk is superior to formula. But breastfeeding rates in the United States continue to be low. Reasons for that may be lack of paid maternity leave in the U.S., challenges breastfeeding at work, the role of WIC in subsidizing formula and the fact that for many women, breastfeeding, although natural, is a learned skill and there aren't enough people teaching techniques. 

We’re taking another listen to an episode this week that we aired earlier this year about this important topic. More than a dozen women share their stories about motherhood, breastfeeding, and society’s demands. 


Adobe Stock

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has selected Aetna Better Health of West Virginia as the company to oversee their management of foster care in West Virginia.

A managed care model is essentially a privatized form of contracting out government services to a company in the private sector. In most states, including West Virginia, Medicaid is contracted out through a managed care model. 

courtesy Roane General Hospital

Roane General Hospital is spending about $22 million to renovate its facilities in Spencer, West Virginia. A loan of $26 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will cover most of the expansion. 

There will be a new medical office building, offering more preventative wellness care for the community, including a gym and fitness center, free educational classes, health screenings and support groups. 


Chuck Roberts/ WVPB

By branding southern West Virginia “Hatfield & McCoy” country, are we re-affirming negative stereotypes in Appalachia?

In this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll look at how some communities in southern West Virginia are hoping to jumpstart their local economies through tourism. In particular, we’ll explore a type of tourism that caters to ATV riders along the Hatfield and McCoy trail system.

But what do we gain, and what do we lose, when we market ourselves to visitors? Are people able to remain true to their real identity, and claim ownership of their own narrative? We'll discuss that and more in this week's episode.


Adobe Stock

A Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine has been sentenced to federal prison for distributing oxycodone outside the bounds of professional practice.

Matthew Sisson was sentenced Wednesday for prescribing Oxycodone to an individual who was not his patient, according to a press release from the federal prosecutor’s office. The case was tried in federal court. 


For a few years now, an Inside Appalachia tradition is to ask listeners for a favorite ghost tale or legend. We have a lot of great storytellers here in Appalachia, and we love to celebrate that. 

The legends and stories in this episode aren’t fact-checked or verified. And they aren’t meant to be taken too seriously. But they do speak to something traditional for us.

Brittany Patterson / WVPB

Adversity isn’t new to Appalachia. We’ve faced boom and bust cycles for over a century. This episode of Inside Appalachia looks at some of those struggles and various efforts to curtail them. We’ll hear stories about West Virginia’s overwhelmed foster care system, to questions about what is killing off apple trees. And we’ll explore the research behind job creation programs ⁠— many of which are supported by federal grants. Do they bring long-term economic impact to Appalachia? 


Charleston Police Car
charlestonpolice.org

Updated Nov. 6, 2019: The Charleston Police Department's Professional Standards Division determined that two officers, Joshua Mena and Carlie McCoy, had followed the department’s policy appropriately, and after almost a week of paid administrative leave the men were allowed to return to their jobs on Friday, Oct. 25. 

Original Story:

Flynn Larsen/Sesame Workshop/AP

Sesame Street has a history of tackling big issues.

Last week, they launched a new short film to help kids going through tough times when their parents are struggling with addiction.

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.

Roxy Todd/ WVPB

Five out of every 100 babies born in West Virginia are born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS, the physical effects experienced during withdrawal from drugs. Many of these babies are put into foster care.

There are a lot of families stepping up to take them in, but many in West Virginia  — which has the highest rate of children taken into state care in the U.S. — say they feel unprepared for the task of taking care of the children with this group of conditions.


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