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Same Sex Marriage Debate, A Unique Outdoor Classroom in Va., The Tygart Valley Homestead and More

Inside Appalachia

Same sex marriage makes headlines again this week across the country and in Appalachia.

An outdoor classroom in Virginia addresses watershed issues.

Tourism professionals aren’t worried about the water at a conference in Charleston, W.Va.

And Traveling 219 makes another visit to the Tygart Valley Homestead in Randolph County W.Va.

Is It Safe to Ship Oil By Rail? An Exxon Valdez worth of oil is now shipped on the rails every day in the U.S. In the middle of a fracking boom, trains have become a necessary way to get oil from drilling hotbeds to markets. But accidents like one that caused a spill of Canadian crude oil near Pittsburgh recently are on the rise. As the Allegheny Front's Reid Frazier reports so are questions about the safety of shipping oil by rail.

Same Sex Marriage Debated. Two Federal judges issued rulings on same sex marriage this past week. A judge in Texas declared that state’s ban unconstitutional and another in Kentucky ruled the state must recognize same sex marriages performed in other states. West Virginia University Chief Diversity Officer David Fryson offers some thoughts on this often divisive issue.

Water Heroes. Water donations from across the country have poured into Wyoming County since West Virginia Public Radio’s Jessica Lilly first reported on problems with the water system there.  Months before the chemical spill that tainted drinking water in Charleston, folks in Bud and Alpoca were dealing with unusable water, running a dark brown at times. Another donation arrived at Herndon Consolidated School this past week, but as Lilly reports this particular donation was special.

From Coal Processing to Outdoor Classroom. Abandoned coal tipples and other buildings left behind from old coal operations are common sights throughout central Appalachia.  But one southwest Virginia community has come together to transform what was a crumbling lot of buildings into something vibrant and new, an outdoor classroom and public park.  WMMT’s Parker Hobson reports.

Will the Water Crisis Impact Tourism? An organization that promotes tourism in the southeast, Travel South, just had its big annual conference in Charleston, W.Va., seven weeks after a chemical spill tainted the drinking water. West Virginia Public Radio’s Dave Mistich stopped by the conference to see how tourism professionals from across the country view the water crisis and whether they think it will affect tourism in the state.

A Water Judge With a Different Perspective. The 24th Annual International Water Tasting competition took place last Saturday in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., and a Canadian town, Clearbrook British Columbia, walked away with the trophy for Best Municipal Tap Water. This year’s panel of judges included West Virginia Public Broadcasting Executive Director Scott Finn who lives in Charleston where his family had to deal with the water crisis. This gave Finn a decidedly different viewpoint as he rated the water entered in the competition.

Historic Homestead. The Traveling 219 project recently did a story about the history of Tygart Valley Homestead in Randolph County, W. Va. The Homestead communities of Dailey, East Dailey, and Valley Bend lie just south of Elkins on U.S. Rte. 219. Traveling 219's Dan Schultz recently returned there to continue exploring the history and legacy of that ambitious government project from the 1930's. 


Cecelia Mason is West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Eastern Panhandle Bureau Chief. Cecelia has worked in the Shepherd University bureau since December 1990 covering a variety of stories throughout the Eastern Panhandle and in Washington D.C. She can also be heard hosting Inside Appalachia.