100 Days in Appalachia

An experimental project designed to burst the filter bubble of social news and to candidly narrate the new American landscape from within the heart of Appalachia

100 Days in Appalachia is published by West Virginia University Reed College of Media Innovation Center in collaboration with West Virginia Public Broadcasting and The Daily Yonder. For more on the project, follow along on FacebookTwitterInstagram.

 

Reclamation Day: 'Fallout 76' Released to the Public

Nov 14, 2018
Bethesda Game Studios

Imagine a world devastated by nuclear war. You’re one of a handful of lucky survivors who took shelter before the bombs fell and destroyed civilization as we know it. Your Vault-Tec bomb shelter is well-stocked and secure. You and your fellow survivors could live in the vault for years, decades even.

Coach Kellie: A Tiny West Virginia High School is Making Football History

Nov 12, 2018
Hannan High School head football coach Kellie Thomas speaks with players following their loss to Parkersburg Catholic.
Zack Harold / 100 Days in Appalachia

It took a few weeks for Hannan High School principal Karen Oldham to realize her school might have made history. She was so busy with the day-to-day grind of running the small, rural Mason County school that it didn’t cross her mind, until an elderly alumnus brought it to her attention.

Teens and Guns: Will School Shootings Impact First Timer Voters’ Choices at the Polls?

Nov 5, 2018
Morgantown High School senior Nicholas Chaffins sits in the bleachers at a recent football game at his high school.
Justin Hayhurst / 100 Days in Appalachia

Nicholas Chaffins saw a need for change.

On March 14, Chaffins, then a junior at Morgantown High School in Morgantown, West Virginia, joined his peers to walk out of their classrooms to protest gun violence.

“If you talk to pretty much any student, we’re pretty fed up with it and we want something to change,” Chaffins said. “We were doing something. We were participating in activism.”

Meet the W.Va. Women Challenging the Political Norm for Female Candidates

Nov 5, 2018
Kendra Fershee (left), Talley Sergent and Carol Miller are all running for seats in Congress to represent West Virginia, joining a national surge of female candidates across the country.
Photos of Fershee and Sergent: Justin Hayhurst/100 Days in Appalachia, Photo of Miller: Perry Bennett/West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginians don’t vote for women.

Democratic candidate in West Virginia’s 1st Congressional District Kendra Fershee says that’s what a man told her on the campaign trail before the primary election in May of this year.

“[He] encouraged me to drop out of the race because I’m a woman, said I won’t be able to win because people won’t vote for me,” Fershee recalled.

West Virginia Teachers Inspired a National Movement. But Will They ‘Remember in November?’

Nov 3, 2018
Teachers who marched in the Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival in Martinsburg, West Virginia, wore shirts bearing a slogan chanted by teachers during the strike.
Kristen Uppercue / West Virginia University

Jessica Salfia has had a busy nine months. 

Salfia is an English teacher at Spring Mills High School, one of the largest in West Virginia, situated in the state’s Eastern Panhandle. She’s one of the organizing members and president of the West Virginia chapter of the National Council of Teachers of English and, most recently, added the title of co-editor to her list of accomplishments for her work on “55 Strong: Inside the West Virginia Teachers’ Strike.” 

New Survey Finds West Virginia Students Reject Party Lines, Vote on Issues Instead

Nov 1, 2018
Henry Cerbone, left, and Abby Pletcher, right, seniors at Preston County High School, sit with their teacher Danielle Barker. Barker distributed the survey to her students.
Ashton Marra / 100 Days in Appalachia

Red state vs. blue state. Conservative vs. liberal. Republican vs. Democrat.

These binary terms dominate the nation’s political narrative leading up to major elections, including this year’s midterms on November 6. The national media likes clear cut sides to a political story, but a deeper look at the thoughts and feelings of Appalachian youth show a generation struggling to fit their opinions about the nation’s most timely issues into those boxes.

The Exclusive Industry That’s Supplying Pennsylvania’s Medical Cannabis

Oct 15, 2018
Provided

Laura Jean Kahl owns Rabbit Hollow Farm in Washington County, Pennsylvania. A fairly rural county of just over 200,000 people, it sits south of Pittsburgh bordering West Virginia.

The 50 acres of land has been in Kahl’s family since the Great Depression. Her great grandfather purchased the farm by means of employment through the United States Postal Service, and over the years, his sons were able to build their own homes and raise their families on the land. After Kahl’s grandmother passed away in 2015, she made the decision to take over the farm with her husband.

It’s been a tough month for American Catholics.

Court documents released in mid-August revealed more than 1,000 allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct by hundreds of priests in Pennsylvania over the last seven decades. Given the length of time that has passed, new criminal charges are unlikely for most of the allegations, and the alleged behavior ranges from inappropriately communicating with a minor to rape and sexual assault.

For the better half of the last decade, newspapers have been treated as novelties. An under-appreciated resource whose disappearance is problematic, but for reasons that are seemingly pragmatic. To make matters worse, there doesn’t appear to be a solution in sight.

West Virginia House Judiciary Chairman Del. John Shott hands over the articles of impeachment to the Senate last month.
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Tuesday morning, 30 men and four women will walk into the chamber of the West Virginia Senate to participate in historic proceedings– proceedings that haven’t been conducted in the state since 1875, not long after its founding.

Those 34 Senators will take an oath to become 34 jurors and hear evidence in cases for the impeachment of three current and one former member of the West Virginia Supreme Court.

This is the first of a two-part series on water infrastructure in Appalachia, and possible solutions to problems at the federal and local level.

When Bourdain visited Lost Creek Farm, I knew who he was. It took his tragic death for me to understand why he truly mattered.

The ongoing war of words between the White House and the Canadian Prime Minister, and threatened tariffs from both sides, are clear reminders of how much of West Virginia’s economy depends on trade.

On Thursday, the White House unveiled the first act in its effort to fight the opioid epidemic by harnessing the power of digital media and cable TV.  

Bethesda Softworks

Video games are often not great at depicting rural life. But all signs indicate that the next game in the “Fallout” series, “Fallout: 76,” is going to be set somewhere in the mountains of West Virginia—for better or worse.

AP Photo

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, the Republican candidate trying to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin in November’s election, is bringing Donald Trump Jr. to the state on Tuesday to rally GOP voters.

Numbers-wise, it makes sense for President Trump to send his son as a proxy to a state campaign. West Virginians voted 69 percent for Trump Jr.’s father in 2016, and there is no state where the president enjoys a higher approval rating.

Having grown up in West Virginia and after living for three years in South Korea, the ongoing thaw in relations between North and South Korea got me thinking about the many similarities between the Koreas and the Virginias.

That’s not as far-fetched as it sounds. Start with something simple — the topography. My wife and I arrived in Seoul in fall of 2010 and, despite the fact that I had never been to Asia and could not read one street sign in Korean, there was something about the place that made me feel at home.

Courtesy of "hillbilly" filmmakers

RICHMOND, Ky. — Los Angeles-based filmmaker Ashley York visited her family in Jonesville, Kentucky, on Nov. 8, 2016, the day of the election that ushered Donald Trump into the Office of the President of the United States. She was accompanied by documentary cameras, capturing footage for her latest project.

SNAP Cuts Would Hurt Rural Disproportionally, Advocacy Group Says

May 3, 2018
USDA

The House Agriculture Committee’s version of the farm bill would strip billions in nutrition benefits from American families, according to an anti-hunger group. Rural residents are more likely than metropolitan ones to be participating in the program.

Youtube/Princeton University, "Insights with Robert Wuthnow"

Robert Wuthnow tells the Daily Yonder it’s important to look beyond simplistic characterizations to understand how rural America might influence the nation’s political future.

Mike Costello / 100 Days in Appalachia

“Food is political but not partisan.” This apt perspective came from Mike Costello in a conversation earlier this year as we imagined ways to expand 100 Days in Appalachia beyond political coverage, and he joined the team to lead our reporting on food and culture for the region. Mike has long been one of my favorite Appalachians — a printmaker, fiddler, storyteller, satirist, photographer, square dance caller, restorator, entrepreneur, food historian, gardener, forager, hunter ... and brilliant chef.

Courtesy Dalton Distillery

In post-Depression-era Appalachia, moonshining was a way of life. It was a respected, although technically illegal, profession. It kept food on the table for the Butler family for over 100 years. Raymond Butler recalls his first job in the family business: “I was about six. My dad put me down in one still to clean it. If there’s any green or blue, that’s got to come out of copper — it’s poisonous. When I came out of the still, it had to look like a new penny.”

Public Domain

Remembering the River People

Jan 23, 2018

Looking back, four years after the 2014 Elk River chemical spill

GOP Tax Reform – What's in it for Appalachia?

Dec 5, 2017
J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

In the early hours on Saturday, the Senate passed the GOP’s tax reform bill. The vote fell primarily along party lines, with all 48 Democrats voting against the bill, alongside the sole Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee.

Can West Virginia Shift Its Attitude Toward the Opioid Crisis?

Nov 28, 2017
Adobe Stock

Shawna Hardy grew up in the early 80s “on the hill.” That’s how family referred to her Grandma Helen’s property, a quasi-farm situated atop a steep hill in North-Central West Virginia. Her family lived in a trailer next to Grandma Helen, separated by a large field outlined with thick aluminum fencing that held a chicken coop, a salt lick for the cows, and a small barn for a temperamental palomino named Golden Boy.

Op-Ed: Massive Chinese Investment Pledge Could be Game Changer for W.Va. – If it Happens

Nov 20, 2017
U.S. President Donald Trump waves next to Chinese President Xi Jinping after attending a business event at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017.
Andy Wong / Associated Press

President Trump announced during a recent visit to China that state-owned China Energy would invest $83.7 billion in West Virginia over the next 20 years, but will it be good for West Virginia? Yes – if it happens, and if the state doesn’t give away an arm and a leg in subsidies and tax breaks to try to make it happen.

Are Black Walnuts Ready to Boom?

Nov 12, 2017
The front door of Gerlach Farm and Feed in Wheelersburg, Ohio advertises the start of the black walnut season. Hulling stations earn a commission of $0.05 per pound of black walnuts hulled, providing a good incentive for them to get the word out in their
Eileen Guo / 100 Days in Appalachia

The first car arrives over two hours before the hulling station officially opens in Jeffersonville, Kentucky. By the time that Renee Zaharie appears and starts the hulling machine, four more vehicles have pulled in and are waiting under the darkening evening sky.

Tradition so Rich, so Fragile, so Sweet

Nov 7, 2017
Farmers Donnie Tenney (left) and Charlie Radabaugh inspect sorghum canes at Tenney’s farm in Tallmansville, W. Va. before harvesting and processing into sorghum syrup.
Mike Costello / 100 Days in Appalachia

Gone from most kitchen pantries, sorghum keeps connections strong in some rural communities. Just a few miles down a narrow, winding road from Buckhannon, the seat of Upshur County, West Virginia, a carved wooden sign welcomes visitors to Tallmansville. At first glance, there’s not much to the rural village of around 400 residents, but I’ve spent enough time in these hills to know what little first glance says about a place.

We Have Questions: Seeking Explanation for Halted Mining Impact Study in Appalachia

Oct 29, 2017
Chart of average age-adjusted number of annual deaths per 100,000 due to cancer from 1997 to 2007 showing that nearly all counties with mountaintop removal mining are above the national average.
Graphic courtesy Appalachian Voices

In a move officials say is meant to "ensure the proper and responsible allocation of taxpayers’ money," a forthcoming study on the public health impacts of mountaintop removal mining titled, “Potential Human Health Effects of Surface Coal Mining Operations in Central Appalachia" was cancelled in August, leaving behind an unaccounted for $400,000 of remaining funding.

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