100 Days in Appalachia

On this West Virginia Morning, we’ll learn about the name of the town of Odd, West Virginia in Raleigh County. Also, in this show, we hear a conversation with a professor in Appalachia who works to lift the voices of LGBTQ authors in rural spaces, and we hear this week’s Mountain Stage Song of the Week brought to us by the John Pizzarelli Trio.

Jesse Wright

The title of the article was “The Quarantine Garden Has Taken Off: Seeds are the New Sourdough.” I stumbled on to it two days after my stepdad went to Home Depot and found out that they were out of pitchforks, and a week after the owner of the permaculture company we’d used for our yard lamented having trouble finding the lumber and soil she needed to install raised gardening beds. The local garden shop, too, I discovered, was under threat of running out of seed packets.

Lexi Brown / 100 Days in Appalachia

In her 1988 research paper “The Social Context of ‘Nerves’ in Eastern Kentucky,” medical anthropologist Eileen VanSchaik wrote that in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, women reporting “nerves” or “sick headaches” would turn to “doctor books” for advice on their “feminine nervous systems.” There they were cautioned, for example, of the danger of “nervous prostration, excitability, fainting spells, most likely organic diseases of the uterus or womb, and many other distressing female troubles.”

As Economies Reopen, Former CDC Director Says Rural Americans At Higher Risk

May 27, 2020
Caitlin Tan / WVPB

As businesses in communities across Appalachia – and across the country – begin to reopen, Richard Besser has been vocal about the measures he feels should be met to counter the spread of COVID-19, most particularly, the disproportionate effect reopening too soon will have on underserved and marginalized communities.

Besser served as acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under Pres. Barack Obama and is now president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. RWJF is the largest private institution in the country devoted solely to improving the nation’s health.

Besser is concerned about the challenges rural communities faced before and that are now more critical in the midst of the pandemic. He also worries that the pandemic is being “hyper-politicized.” 

Need A Laugh In Your New Quarantine Life? Check Out This Series From Appalachian Filmmakers

May 19, 2020

We’re all making tiny time capsules. You may not recognize it, but we’re all doing it, saving up the memories and experiences of our COVID-19 journey in some way. 

Perhaps your Instagram has become a collection of your isolation crafts, or the evolution of your sourdough, the devolution of your hairstyles. Maybe you’re journaling fastidiously or saving all of your wine corks from virtual happy hours in a special jar labeled vin du corona. 




Lesly-Marie Buer was living and working Colorado when she became interested in substance abuse treatment and harm reduction programs. Buer grew up in East Tennessee, in the Knoxville area, but moved west and attended the University of  Colorado where she got a master’s in public health.

“But then I was talking to friends who were going through treatment programs in East Tennessee, and they were telling me about them. Most of these were guys and most of the research I had seen [on recovery] was on guys,” Buer recalled. “I was looking for what was going on with women trying to make it through treatment programs in Appalachia and I just couldn’t find anything. So I decided that’s what I really wanted to look at for my dissertation.”

On this West Virginia Morning, it can be hard to leave an abusive home. We hear from one reporter on how the coronavirus pandemic is making it even tougher. Also, in this episode, we speak with author Bonnie Proudfoot.

Provided by the Uppercue Family

The front porch is well known across much of Appalachia as a gathering place for conversation and sharing. During the coronavirus, those front porches have become a lifeline, for some -- in more ways than one. 

For YES! Magazine, in partnership with 100 Days in Appalachia, reporter Alison Stine explored how the ethos of the front porch as a connection point is being used to help keep students and families fed during the COVID-19 pandemic. She spoke with West Virginia Public Broadcasting reporter Brittany Patterson. Here’s an excerpt of their conversation.


The Front Porch Network Is A Lifeline In Appalachia

May 8, 2020
Brian Ferguson / 100 Days in Appalachia

A traditional gathering place where the public meets the private becomes the critical point of contact for Appalachian families.

On any day in Appalachia, you can find gifts in front of houses, left on porches for the people inside: mushrooms just foraged, cookies freshly baked. The porch is an extension of the home in Appalachia—not only a gathering spot for conversation, but a traditional sharing place. If you want to exchange tools, plants, or hand-me-downs with your neighbor: you put them on the porch. In times of struggle, porches are the vessel to deliver food: frozen meals to new parents, casseroles for grieving families.

Teddy Bear, Child Abuse, Abuse, Fear
Adobe Stock

One in four women and one in nine men experience intimate partner violence – which can include physical injury or battery, psychological intimidation, emotional abuse or sexual violence from an intimate partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The online publication 100 Days in Appalachia recently published a report about what the pandemic could mean for some Appalachians. Inside Appalachia host Jessica Lilly talked with the reporter, Alison Stine, to find out more.

COVID-19 Accelerated This W.Va. Community’s Efforts To End Homelessness

May 7, 2020
Jesse Wright / 100 Days in Appalachia

COVID-19 has forced Lou Ortenzio to assume a new role.

“My new job,” Ortenzio, executive director of the Clarksburg Mission in Clarksburg, West Virginia, said, “is getting here in the morning, finding people clustered around and having to tell them, ‘You’ve gotta go.’” 

The mission offers emergency shelter to up to 50 people a night and has a dorm for men and another for women and children, each of which can accommodate about 20. It also offers services and support for those in recovery from drug addiction. The facility went into lockdown in March to protect its residents from contracting and potentially spreading COVID-19.

‘It’s Like the Toilet Paper’: Gun Sales Are Up Across Appalachia. Here’s Why.

Apr 27, 2020
Justin Hayhurst / 100 Days in Appalachia

The Saturday after millions of Americans received $1,200 economic relief checks from the federal government, Alex Corn decided to open the Verona Gun Safe early. He’s owned the Verona, Pennsylvania, gun shop on the outskirts of Pittsburgh since 2011.

In Appalachia, It’s Always Hard to Leave an Abusive Home. Then Came a Pandemic.

Apr 23, 2020
Kat Jayne / Pexels

When the coronavirus pandemic reached Appalachian Ohio, the first thing My Sister’s Place, a domestic violence agency which serves three counties in the state, did was make room. 

Jesse Wright / 100 Days in Appalachia

At 8:15 every weekday morning, the Clarksburg Mission’s staff circles up their chairs to share gratitude. It’s generally thankfulness for something that happened within the past 24 hours, big or small– help from dorm residents in moving furniture, a kind word from a colleague, a new day.

Desi Underwood, who serves as the mission’s ministry coordinator, said that in the past four weeks, as the cloud of COVID-19 has drawn nearer to her Appalachian community, spirits remain high; appreciation, deep. She said that throughout the mission, those with the resources to do so are pulling together impressively.

The High Cost Of Living Rural: A Q&A With A Journalist Covering Healthcare In Appalachia

Dec 3, 2019
Adobe Stock

Rural hospitals across the country are closing in large numbers, making emergency and speciality services harder and harder to come by for Americans who don’t live in urban centers. One hundred and thirteen rural hospitals have closed since 2010, and about a third of the remaining, some 670, were at risk of closing in 2016.

Journalists Sarah Smarsh and Ken Ward Jr. discuss the state of rural journalism at Robert Wood Johnson's Life in Rural America symposium.
Shawn Poynter / Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

In 2018, Sarah Smarsh released her New York Times bestselling memoir The Heartland, exploring her childhood growing up on a farm in central Kansas. It was a national book award finalist and thrust her into the spotlight for writing about life in rural America from rural America.

Pallottine Sisters Find A New Legacy In Community Healthcare

Sep 17, 2019
From left to right, Sisters Mary Grace Barile, Mary Terence Wall and Joanne Obrochta.
Eric Douglas / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

When Vincent Pallotti was ordained a priest in 1818, he wrote, “I ask God to make me an untiring worker.” He set about to offer “food for the hungry…medicine and health for the sick.”

Pallotti, who lived simply, in Rome, his entire life, worked in fellowship. He established schools and shelters for women, orphanages, night schools for laborers. “Remember that the Christian life is one of action; not of speech and daydreams,” he wrote. “Let there be few words and many deeds, and let them be done well.”

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Joseph Turner grew up in the hills and hollers of West Virginia. He went on to attend an ROTC program at then-West Virginia State College and Institute. He was one of more than a dozen generals produced by that program. He served as a pilot on the front lines in Vietnam, and then had a lifetime career with the Army Reserves serving in Atlanta and in the Pentagon, as well as being a long-haul Delta pilot.

He was recently inducted into the West Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame. Freelance reporter Douglas Imbrogno interviewed Tuner for 100daysinappalachia.com and learned about how his aviation career, including how he was inspired as a boy by a certain Daredevil, West Virginia pilot.

Justin Hayhurst / 100 Days in Appalachia


For more than a decade, more than 100 migrant and refugee families from countries like Myanmar (formerly Burma), Vietnam, Ethiopia, Guatemala and others have come to Moorefield, West Virginia.

They’ve done so to work at Pilgrim’s Pride – a large poultry plant that is Hardy County’s biggest employer with 1,700 workers.

The Poultry Plant That’s Changed the Face of This Appalachian Town

Aug 15, 2019
Pilgrim's Pride in Moorefield, W.Va.
Justin Hayhurst / 100 Days in Appalachia

When Sheena Van Meter graduated from Moorefield High School in 2000, her class was mainly comprised of the children of families that had long-planted roots in West Virginia’s eastern Potomac Highlands. Some were African American. Most were white. And for the Moorefield resident, the closest exposure she had to other cultures, before leaving for college, came in the form of an occasional foreign-exchange student. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, across Appalachian coal country, people are looking for productive ways to reuse land damaged by surface mining. A 2018 study found that an area roughly the size of Delaware has been mined over the years. The Ohio Valley ReSource’s Liam Niemeyer reports that some researchers see promise in fast-growing grass that can help restore damaged lands and maybe help both the economy and environment.

Charles Glover outside the Clarksburg Mission, where he serves as a mentor.
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Charles Glover doesn’t mince words when assessing Clarksburg, West Virginia, the town where he was raised and still lives today.

“It’s not Clarksburg anymore,” Glover says. “It’s Methburg.” 

Methburg. As in methamphetamines, a drug that ravaged his community more than a decade ago and today is coming back just as strong.

Fentanyl-related Deaths Are the Highest in W.Va. This Is What They’re Doing about It.

Apr 30, 2019
Bebeto Matthews/AP Photo

West Virginia has the highest per-capita drug-overdose death rate in the country. And while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported a recent decline in overall drug overdose deaths nationwide, deaths involving fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, are on the rise. West Virginia leads the nation in that rate as well.

W.Va. Tourism event at the West Virginia Capitol on Nov. 14, 2018 celebrating the launch of Fallout 76.
Daniel Walker / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Tourism Day was recognized by the West Virginia Legislature this week. In light of that, we bring you a report on a video game that tourism officials believe makes a positive impact in bringing visitors to West Virginia. By now, you may have heard of Fallout 76 - the latest in the popular line of Fallout video games. It was released last fall with much fanfare by Gov. Jim Justice and the West Virginia Division of Tourism. West Virginia Public Broadcasting spoke with a local gamer, and we bring you this special look inside the video game.

Jeff Young / Ohio Valley ReSource

While a three-week reprieve to the 35-day government shutdown is easing some of the pain, the month-long spat between President Trump and Democrats in Congress threatened the livelihoods of people receiving government assistance all over the country. Local economies are still feeling the ripple effects, and many fear the new negotiations could lead to another damaging impasse. 

Reclamation Day: 'Fallout 76' Released to the Public

Nov 14, 2018
A screenshot from the video game Fallout 76.
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.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, a new poll of West Virginia high school seniors shows that young people may not be as tied to party politics as you might think. The poll was conducted by Inspire West Virginia -- a nonpartisan organization that encourages high school students to be civically engaged -- and 100 Days in Appalachia, a media partner of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

Glynis Board recently sat down with Ashton Marra to discuss the results. Formerly a member of our team, Ashton is now the digital managing editor of 100 Days in Appalachia.

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.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, West Virginia chef-journalist Mike Costello appeared on CNN’s Parts Unknown. Costello talks about that experience, plus what he’s working on for 100 Days in Appalachia. Also, in this episode, we hear about a multi-state outbreak of Hepatitis A infections in the Ohio Valley  linked to the region's addiction crisis.

Remembering the River People

Jan 23, 2018

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