Emily Allen / West Virginia Public Broadcasting


Spend a Monday at the Boone County Courthouse, and you’ll see judges and public attorneys overwhelmed with a surging number of child abuse and neglect cases.   

Some of the crew aboard a tow boat operated by Amherst Madison in W.Va.
Eric Douglas/ WVPB

A decline in coal production over the past decade affected more than just coal miners. It also impacted the riverboat industry. Amherst Madison is a riverboat company based outside Charleston, West Virginia. For decades, the company has made most of their money towing coal barges. But a downturn in coal meant the company had to look for other ways to stay afloat.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting spent some time with these folks inside the river industry, and we asked them what the future of the industry looks like.

Glynis Board

Representatives from WVU and WVU Medicine say they are “very close” to announcing a solution to some of the job and health care losses projected in the northern panhandle after two hospitals announced they were closing earlier this month.

 

In an interview with WV Metro News Thursday, WVU President Gordon Gee said there are plans to expand on what WVU Medicine is already doing in the northern panhandle.

 

Jan Rader - Huntington Fire Chief
City of Huntington Facebook

The chief of the Huntington, West Virginia, Fire Department has been named as the American Legion's national firefighter of the year.

Chief Jan K. Rader received the award at the American Legion's 101st National Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Wednesday night.

Scale of Justice
Wikimedia Commons

A U.S attorney is confirming that federal authorities are investigating suspicious deaths at a Veterans Affairs hospital in West Virginia, as more federal officials demand answers.

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is taking a rare species of plant found in the Ohio Valley off of the endangered species list. Amid controversial proposals to change the law protecting rare species, the Running Buffalo Clover is an example of a successful recovery. It joins about 2.5 percent of threatened and endangered species (42 species) that have been taken off the list, or delisted, due to recovery. There are still 1,663  U.S. plants and animals on the endangered species list.

Beginning Labor Day, West Virginia Public Broadcasting will air brief segments focused on helping West Virginians learn about job training opportunities that pay livable wages for high-demand jobs.

Eric Douglas / WVPB

Eric Gardner has a different perspective than most about the rivers in central Appalachia. That’s because he spends most of his time in them. 

Gardner is a commercial diver. He works in the Kanawha and Ohio rivers, maintaining tow boats, barges, pipelines and spillways. 

“I started out with some older gentleman that ran the company. [They]  took a liking to me and taught me a lot of the trades that I still use to this day,” he said. 

Captain Marvin Wooten pushes five loads of coal along the Kanawha River. He has worked for Amherst Madison since 1979.
Eric Douglas/ WVPB

In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’re looking at how water shapes us ⁠— and how we’re impacting our waterways. Our rivers are a vital part of our identity as Appalachians. We depend them for survival, recreation and transportation. And we depend on rivers for economic reasons, too. 

 

The handful of riverboat companies that still operate in Appalachia have primarily made the majority of their money towing coal barges. But a downturn in coal production meant many of these companies had to look to other ways to stay afloat.

How Fly Fishing Saved a Veteran's Life

15 hours ago
Kyle Chanitz ties a fly at his home studio in Roanoke, Virginia.
Mason Adams/ West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Army veteran Kyle Chanitz spent two and a half years deployed in Afghanistan, where he saw intense fighting and suffered concussions that led to seizures. When he returned to the U.S., he started taking college classes, but then dropped out to follow the jam band Phish around the country.

He spent 18 months on the road, got into drugs and spiraled out of control. 

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