100 Days in Appalachia

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
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
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

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.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, October was black walnut season in Appalachia. It’s when these green, tennis ball-sized nuts rain onto fields, roads, and sometimes, people. They can be dangerous. And their inky juice stains everything they touch.

But for some Appalachians, As Eileen Guo reports, black walnuts are proof that, sometimes, money does grow on trees.

Coal Mining Jobs Are Down, Fatalities Are Up – Why?

Aug 29, 2017
Adobe Stock

At a time when we ought to see fewer deaths from coal mining, the number of fatalities has increased compared to last year. The greed of coal tycoons and politicians (who are sometimes one and the same) is the reason. 

Commentary: Rebirth of a Nation -- The Klan’s Long Shadow Falls in Charlottesville

Aug 14, 2017
A makeshift memorial of flowers and a photo of victim, Heather Heyer, sits in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017.
Steve Helber / Associated Press

Hours after white supremacists' violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which a car plowed into a crowd of counter-protestors killing one woman and leaving scores hospitalized, President Trump read a strategically vague, equivocal statement from his private golf club in New Jersey.

A 40-year-old Federal Law Literally Changed the Appalachian Landscape

Aug 5, 2017
Kara Leigh Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Forty years ago, President Jimmy Carter signed a law that literally changed the face of Appalachia.

The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA) was intended to replace a state-to-state patchwork of rules for strip-mining with a uniform federal standard. Four decades later, however, environmentalists say the law has fallen far short of its potential.

“Massive destruction, massive explosives -- and only 300 feet away from someone’s home,” said Thom Kay, legislative associate at Appalachian Voices. “What is SMCRA doing if that’s still allowed?”

As Key Vote on Repealing ACA, Capito Votes to Open Debate on the Bill

Jul 25, 2017
Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Despite West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito’s outspoken criticism of the GOP’s proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would leave millions of people — and hundreds of thousands of Appalachians — with no health insurance, the senator voted with her party today to begin debating how to do so.

The Associated Press

Reddit is a modern day canary in the coal mine for the people of Appalachia — a region of the United States being disproportionately affected by the opioid epidemic.

Since the presidential election, Reddit’s r/opiates has transformed into a lifesaving map for people with addiction navigating a minefield frequently filled with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid nearly 100 times more potent than morphine.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we go to Pikeville, Kentucky, where Dave Mistich reports on a white-nationalist gathering and rally, and counter-protest, which took over much of the town for several days this past weekend.

We'll also hear from Inside Appalachia producer Roxy Todd, who spent some at the Veterans Administration in Martinsburg, West Virginia, looking at how veterans are dealing with chronic pain and opioid abuse.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, over the weekend, Pres. Donald Trump will reach his 100 day mark in office. 

As a part of our series "100 Days in Appalachia," Beth Vorhees checks in with Dave Mistich, the managing editor of the project, about the stories they've shared in the first 100 days and what to expect in the future.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Dave Mistich talks with Daniel Flatley, a Wheeling native and Columbia University graduate student, about his thesis “Patriot Coal: An American Bankruptcy” and Benny Becker reports from Pikeville, Kentucky where white supremacists are planning a march amid counter demonstrations.  

That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Job-spurring Grants in Appalachia are Targeted in Trump’s Budget. Here’s What is on the Line

Mar 22, 2017
Courtesy Cassidy Wright-Hubbard

In 2015, Cassidy Wright-Hubbard was a seventeen-year-old sophomore at Southeast Community and Technical College in Cumberland, Kentucky. Raised in Harlan, she was dually-enrolled in high school and college studying for her art degree. But she needed an income and jobs in the area are few and far between. 

Update: 100 Days in Appalachia

Mar 17, 2017
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, we’ll check in with Dave Mistich, the editor of our digital journalism project “100 Days in Appalachia” and Johnny Staats and Robert Shafer has our Mountain Stage song of the week.

That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

The U.S. Senate confirmed Wilbur Ross to serve as President Trump’s Secretary of Commerce on a 72-27 vote Monday night -- with U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, voting against the billionaire businessman, citing Ross’ business dealings in the state.

Author Sees Link Between Addiction and Election

Feb 24, 2017
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Dave Mistich talks with the author of “Dreamland” about the opioid addiction that has ravaged communities in Appalachia and the Bottle Rockets perform our Mountain Stage song of the week. 

That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Nancy Andrews / West Virginia University

The stories of the hardworking, blue collar West Virginians who looked to Trump as an outsider willing to change the political order in Washington have been told by both local and national media outlets, but the question now is whether he will stick to his word.

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