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

National Park Service

The Appalachian Regional Commission is awarding $6 million to several programs across West Virginia. This money is meant to help support small businesses that were impacted by COVID-19.

According to the SBA, more than 113,000 businesses in West Virginia are considered small businesses —  almost 99 percent of businesses within the state. 


Pat Jarrett/Virginia Humanities

In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we hear how religious leaders are adapting to change and finding ways to continue helping people find solace and peace during the pandemic. 

We also hear a series of stories from high schoolers who were challenged to work outdoors, in snow and ice and didn’t complain. Quite the opposite. Their teachers say they appeared to be more engaged in learning. 

The students reported on topics like sheep farming and ice hockey, as part of a project that’s meant to help students build resilience through storytelling and outdoor education. 


WV State Archives

The recent killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minnesota has reignited the Black Lives Matter movement, sparking protests across this country, including in several cities in W.Va. It has launched candid conversations about long held institutionalized and systemic racism and brought forth stories of individuals that are vital to understanding injustice in our country.

For this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we are taking another listen to an episode we originally produced earlier this year. We focus on one chapter in the history of the Black community of Charleston, West Virginia.

Eric Douglas/ WVPB

The City of Charleston quietly removed part of a Confederate memorial Monday, joining other cities and states across the country who are taking a closer look at structures honoring Confederate soldiers and generals.


Mason Adams / For Inside Appalachia

Culture can connect us to our kindred spirits across great distances, even during a global pandemic. It helps build bridges in other ways, too. In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we hear stories about cultural ties that bind us to people across the globe.

Adobe Stock

During the coronavirus pandemic, both fathers and mothers stepped up to help more with childcare. However, overall, mothers still continue to do 15 hours more housework and childcare. That’s according to a recent survey by Boston Consulting Group, which asked parents in the United States and Europe how the pandemic has affected how they balance work and family responsibilities. 


Photo by Kara Leigh Creative

In honor of Father’s Day, this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia is dedicated to dads. 

A man’s brain is rewired when he holds his newborn baby just after birth. Scientists have found that after holding his infant in his arms for 30 minutes, a dad’s brain gets flooded with dopamine and oxytocin, which is sometimes referred to as “the love hormone.” In just a few moments, his brain chemistry is changed forever. 

Brian Blauser / Mountain Stage

Protests against police killing unarmed black Americans continue across the country, including here in Appalachia. Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in recent weeks protesting the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor among others. These protesters seek an end to police brutality and many point to our nation’s long history with systemic racism. 

In this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll listen to stories about the protests and hear the voices of Appalachians who have dealt with discrimination based on the color of their skin. 

Emily Allen/ WVPB

A protest that had been planned Sunday at the West Virginia Capitol was postponed by organizers due to safety concerns following threats, according to event organizers.

The event was expected to attract thousands of people, protesting police brutality against African Americans. A small crowd still gathered at the capitol grounds Sunday afternoon for a peaceful event.

Sam Fonda pours a beer at Weathered Ground Brewery in Cool Ridge, West Virginia.
Janet Kunicki / WVPB

People in our region have made spirits for hundreds of years. Some even say Appalachians are among the best at making whiskey and moonshine, but this history is sometimes coupled with negative stereotypes. Outsiders have long portrayed Appalachians as dangerous, lawless moonshiners.

Rachel Greene / For Inside Appalachia

This week’s episode of Inside Appalachia is about perseverance through music, stories and art. We’ll introduce you to some  folks from the other side of the ocean who have deep connections to Appalachia, and discover reflections of our own cultural identity in their stories.

Fayette Insitute of Technology

We’re focusing on the power of experiential learning in this episode of Inside Appalachia. We’ll look at how students learn life, academic and practical skills through career and technical education (CTE) programs. The goal of these programs is often to give students an idea of what kind of career they might want to go into after high school. 

Child well-being
rogerphoto / Adobe Stock

Health officials and pediatricians are concerned that some children could fall behind on vaccinations during the pandemic, even though funding is available to pay for vaccines for children who are uninsured or underinsured. 

Public health experts are worried that parents may be reluctant to bring their children to the doctor, for fear of exposing their family to Covid-19, but not vaccinating children could lead to outbreaks of diseases like measles. 


Heather Niday / For Inside Appalachia

There is a deep connection among generations that holds steady for many families across central Appalachia. Perhaps it’s a combination of shared struggles and enduring repeated cycles of economic boom and bust. Maybe it’s our deep ties to the land that help bind so many of us to our past — after all, these mountains are among the oldest on the planet. While many Appalachians have fled the region in search of better opportunities, many of them we interview on Inside Appalachia tell us about the pull to return, even after many years. 


Jesse Wright / WVPB

With kids cooped up inside their homes and classroom instruction happening remotely, we thought it would be a great time to take another listen to an episode of Inside Appalachia that originally aired in 2019. We explore the power of getting children outside to learn, a topic that’s perhaps even  more important now than ever. 

Corey Knollinger WVPB

At the Rambling Root restaurant in Fairmont, the lights have been dimmed and chairs and tables are stacked in the corner. The bar, usually crowded with locals sipping craft beer, is empty. 

Since the state closed all nonessential business due to COVID-19, sales are down by more than 40 percent, said owner D.J. Cassell. He’s had to lay off 10 of his 12 staffers, and a few have already said they won’t be able to come back.

“It sucks, because I am doing everything I can right now to keep the lights on and the doors open here, but if I don’t get some help then —  if we close down, I don’t know if we’ll ever open back up,” he said. 

Nicole Musgrave

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all of our lives, whether you’re working from home, worried for your health or unexpectedly out of a job. PBS’s beloved Mr. Rogers often quoted his mother saying to “look for the helpers” during a crisis. We’ve been looking and have found that there’s no shortage of those in our region.

In times of turmoil, people often seek comfort in places of worship, but those places are inaccessible now because of social distancing requirements. 

Our folkways corps reporter Zack Harold guest hosts Inside Appalachia this week.  He spoke with faith leaders Rabbi Victor Urecki, of the B’nai Jacob synagogue in Charleston, W.Va. and Pastor David Johnston, of Concord United Methodist Church in Athens, W.Va., to see how things had changed and how they were adapting. Both congregations recently began offering their services online. 


Amy Knicely

From religious services to a renewed love of gardening, quarantine gives and takes.

 

The global pandemic has taken things from all of us. Some more than others. Thousands have died, many of them alone, and separated from their families. At least 26 million Americans have lost their jobs. 

Most rituals and traditions have also been disrupted, especially those that normally include people gathered in large groups.

Adobe Stock

Shortly before schools were closed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the USDA proposed changes to nutrition standards for school meals. But some health researchers worry that these changes could actually undo the progress schools have made in improving health outcomes in children.


Donna Graham

Just over 100 years ago, West Virginia faced the Spanish Flu, which is thought to be one of the world’s deadliest pandemics in modern history. Records indicate 50 million people died worldwide, and nearly 3,000 of those were West Virginians. 

And while researchers have been hesitant to compare the Spanish Flu with the current pandemic, there have been some grim similarities. The Centers for Disease Control estimates well over 100,000 people have died worldwide from coronavirus.  


WV State Archives

In the mid-20th century, Charleston, West Virginia, was a major stop for black musicians traveling to Baltimore and D.C. on what was known as the “Chitlin' Circuit.” Improv jazz masters like James Brown, Cab Calloway and others are said to have stopped in Charleston’s historic Triangle neighborhood to play informal gigs late into the night, or have a drink of moonshine in some of the illegal bars and brothels that operated in the neighborhood. 


Courtesy: West Virginia State Archives

Why was the Triangle neighborhood, once steeped in the richness of black music and culture, demolished in 1974 in Charleston, W.Va.? Why were some residents unaware that their neighborhood was being torn down until the bulldozers showed up? And why do some members of Charleston’s African American community today believe that this history could repeat itself in the city’s West Side neighborhood 50 years later, unless this history is reckoned with and remembered?

Courtesy photos

Can laughter be beneficial for our health? Research suggests that laughing can be therapeutic not only for our emotional well-being, but it can help heal us in a physical sense, too.

Howard Berkes / NPR

Ten years ago, on April 5, 2010, 29 men who worked at an underground coal mine in Raleigh County, West Virginia, lost their lives. The Upper Big Branch Mining Memorial Group, Inc. has placed wreaths at the monument in Raleigh County on April 5 every year since. But this year, they aren’t encouraging family members to visit, due to the spread of COVID-19.

Caitlin Tan / WVPB

Usually this time of year marks the start of festival season. So many little communities throughout the region celebrate springtime in their own way. But things are basically on pause right now as the country holds its collective breath. 

On this week’s episode of “Inside Appalachia,” we check in with our friends and neighbors across the region, many of whom are hunkering down at home, trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.

Emily Allen / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

 

As restrictions on daily activities tighten and confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus continue to rise, across West Virginia many community-based food pantries report more people are using their services. 

While federal food resources are being expanded during the pandemic, some organizations operating on the ground say they are grappling with how COVID-19 is changing day-to-day operations.

Kara Lofton/ WVPB

 

On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we are taking a much-needed break from the news. We’ll explore ways we can continue to stay connected with each other, even when we’re self-isolating for health reasons.

Courtesy Berkeley County Schools

Schools across West Virginia closed Monday, March 16, for at least two weeks in an effort to help stem the transmission of the coronavirus. 

Since the shutdown was announced, West Virginians around the state have been working to make sure students are fed. According to the West Virginia Department of Education, more than two-thirds  of school-aged children, or more than 183,000, qualify for free or reduced-priced meals. 

BARB SARGENT / COURTESY WV DNR

There is a lot happening in the world that is stressful. But the risk of the coronavirus doesn’t necessarily have to mean you have to barricade yourself indoors. Diseases spread in close quarters, so some researchers advise that you should get outside and exercise with your friends if you can. Go on a walk. You can still avoid sneezing into each other's faces and make sure you wash your hands, but your immune system loves to be outside.


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