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High Tech Deer Tracking, Tennessee Moonshine, Thoughts From Kentucky's Poet Laureate and More

Inside Appalachia

Tracking deer through infrared technology.

Bluegrass Musician Ricky Scaggs talks about his book “Kentucky Traveler: My Life in Music.”

Kentucky Poet Laureate Frank X. Walker discusses his work as a writer and activist.

Meet the first Future Farmers of America national office holder from West Virginia in 40 years.

The Fine Art of Making Moonshine. In Kentucky there’s a bourbon trail, and across Appalachia there are wine regions and a resurgence of spirit making of all sorts. Moonshine, once the bane of tax collectors and the boon of scofflaws, is now not only legal, but popular. Since Tennessee legalized the stuff in 2009, moonshine has been popping up in liquor stores, and spawning a small but growing tourism industry. But what is it that makes moonshine, moonshine? WUOT’s  Christine Jessel went to Tennessee hill country to find out.

Using Technology to Monitor Deer. West Virginia has a lot of deer, and they can be a burden. For instance, the state’s vehicle collision rate with deer is one of the highest in the nation, according to a study by State Farm Insurance. As West Virginia Public Radio's Ben Adducchio reports, new technology is being used to monitor these animals.

A Conversation With Ricky Scaggs. The Academy of Country Music Awards were handed out last Sunday in Nashville. Between 1981 and 1987 Kentucky-born bluegrass musician Ricky Scaggs took home awards for touring band of the year and specialty instrument. In 1981 Skaggs was named top new male vocalist and in 2011 he won the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award honoring individuals who are pioneers in country music. Skaggs has released Kentucky Traveler: My Life in Music, a book detailing his upbringing and his career. While out on the road promoting the book last summer, Skaggs stopped by the Charleston studios of West Virginia Public Broadcasting and sat down with Dave Mistich to discuss the book, his music and life in Appalachia.

Johnson City Sessions Re-released: When Ralph Peer held recording sessions for Victor Records in the state line town of Bristol Tennessee-Virginia in 1927, he discovered the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers and essentially started the country music industry. Columbia Records wanted to get in on the Appalachian field recording business, so in 1928 they sent one of their top producers to nearby Johnson City. A CD boxed set and book featuring the Johnson City sessions was released in December 2013. Wayne Winkler from WETS reports.

Frank X. Walker: Kentucky Poet Laureate Frank X. Walker received the 2014 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry for Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evars. The book is a collection of poems that verbalize the emotions of those who knew Evars at the time of his assassination in 1963. Walker, who is director of the African American and Africana Studies Program at the University of Kentucky, was the Appalachian Writer in Residence at Shepherd University during last fall’s Appalachian Heritage Festival, where he took the time to talk to West Virginia Public Radio's Cecelia Mason about his own career as a writer and artist activist.

Meet Wes Davis, FFA Leader. There are about 5,000 members of the Future Farmers of America  in the state of West Virginia, and almost 600 thousand across the country. One of the organization’s leaders is a young man from Point Pleasant who is the first national officer from West Virginia in 40 years. West Virginia Public Radio's Glynis Board caught up with him recently and brings us this report.

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.