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A Muslim Candidate in Ky., Bobtown, Pa., Reaction to Free Pizza, New W.Va. Rocket Boys and More

Inside Appalachia

Kentucky could get its first Muslim lawmaker if one candidate is successful.

So what do folks in Bobtown, Pa., really think of those pizza gift certificates?

Pickens, W.Va., celebrates the maple syrup harvest.

And some West Virginia rocket boys put their skills to a test.

Meet Kentucky's Muslim Legislative Candidate:  Kentucky is among several states this year targeted for a Republican takeover at the state level. The GOP is hoping to win a majority in the House, a chamber currently controlled by Democrats 54-to-46. But with all eyes on the House, there's a different battle brewing in the state's Republican-run Senate. As Kentucky Public Radio's Jonathan Meador reports, one candidate is testing to see if the commonwealth is ready for its first Muslim lawmaker.

Will Biomass Bring Jobs to Eastern Kentucky? A new report from the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting has found that a biomass plant that’s planned for Eastern Kentucky may not bring the clean energy and economic rewards its developers have promised. And as Kentucky Public Radio's Erica Peterson reports, there’s another potential roadblock for the plant: it needs a lot of water, and the city says it won’t be able to supply the facility.

Some Folks in Bobtown Like Getting Free Pizza: Bobtown is having its 15 minutes of fame. The small town in southwest Pennsylvania has been fodder for late-night comedians, Twitter wits and anti-fracking activists. First, in February, a Chevron natural gas well near Bobtown exploded killing a worker. Then, the company responded by giving community residents free coupons to Bobtown Pizza. This struck Chevron’s critics as outrageous. As StateImpact Pennsylvania’s Katie Colaneri reports, some Bobtown residents have a different response to the company’s gesture.

History's TV Show is Not Popular With Everyone: It’s ginseng season in Appalachia. The History Channel featured a new show this year that focused on ginseng in the region. The show, called Appalachian Outlaws, was one of the most popular on cable channels. There’s no official word if season two is in the works, and while some fans are hoping that there will be a second season, West Virginia Public Radio’s Glynis Board reports other people are hoping the show will just go away.

A W.Va. Town Enjoys its Maple Syrup: Last weekend the isolated Randolph County West Virginia town of Pickens drew a couple thousand visitors to eat at the annual Maple Syrup Festival. About 45 gallons of fresh West Virginia Maple Syrup were consumed in two days at the Pickens pancake breakfasts. Traveling 219’s Roxy Todd recorded this story from the pancake breakfast at the American Legion Hall and the live performance by the Night Crawlers inside the Pickens Opera House.

Meet the New Class of Rocket Boys: West Virginia has a rich history of young people involved in the science fields, many using rockets science to fulfill their dreams. Think writer Homer Hickam and his book Rocket Boys. Hickam’s fascination with rockets as a child eventually led to a career as a NASA engineer. A group of students from north central West Virginia is trying to follow in Hickam’s footsteps, hoping a rocket they built will launch them to the very top. West Virginia Public Radio’s Ben Adducchio reports.

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.