Arts & Culture

People rally in support of the LQBTQ+ community outside the Morgantown Public Library on Saturday, Nov. 16, following the cancellation of a Drag Queen event.
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A West Virginia library says violent threats prompted it to cancel an event where drag queens were going to read to children.

The Morgantown Public Library System announced it was canceling its Drag Queen Story Time event in a Facebook post Friday.

Jesse Wright/WVPB

Increasingly, teachers are finding that spending time in nature with their students is essential to learning. In this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll hear from educators who are knocking down classroom walls so that kids can get some fresh air and exercise, and improve test scores in the process.


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we’re taking a look at outdoor education. It’s the theme of this weekend’s episode of Inside Appalachia because more and more educators are finding that time in nature with their students is essential to learning. 

One organization called Experience Learning in Pendleton County has been leading kids into pristine mountain landscapes for 50 years. Glynis Board spent some time there to find out more about how the program impacts kids and communities.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Appalachian women face some of the highest rates of cervical cancer in the country. They’re also among the groups of women least likely to receive cancer screenings. Ohio University Professor Electra Paskett has dedicated much of her career to understanding why. 

This year, she and her colleagues received a multi-million-dollar grant aimed at cervical cancer prevention. Paskett recently presented her work at West Virginia University’s School of Public Health. Reporter Brittany Patterson talked with Paskett about her research.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, for some, The Hatfield and McCoy Feud has become synonymous with the type of mischaracterization of Appalachians that we’d like to leave behind. Full of bloodshed and revenge, a New York Times article in 1896 referred to the Hatfields and McCoys as having an “utter disregard of human life.” The fact that the families got their income from illegal moonshining has also been used to discredit them as outlaws.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Jim Dahlman set out to learn more about Appalachia in 2013 by walking Daniel Boone’s Wilderness Road from Tennessee into Kentucky. He is a journalist and professor of Communications at Milligan College in Tennessee, and decided to document his walk. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the Hatfield and McCoy ATV trail system that runs through southern West Virginia is an example of how people are using the well-known history of the infamous feud to boost the economy.

Other businesses in the region have cropped up in recent years with the name -- most of them catering to trail riders. Inside Appalachia host Jessica Lilly met one family in Gilbert who are attracting visitors by sharing a piece of their tradition, craft, and even their story.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, for many West Virginia residents, immigration is an issue that’s mostly only encountered in the abstract -- through news reports and from behind screens. But a group from Marshall County recently felt compelled to take a trip to the border, to see if they could do something to help asylum seekers. Glynis Board followed the group to learn more about the realities of the crisis at the southern U.S. border, and the people who would try to help.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, some communities are trying to think outside the box to help people struggling with addiction. In the Potomac Highlands of the Eastern Panhandle, law enforcement, faith-based organizations and community members want to create one robust network of support. As Liz McCormick reports, the network strives to fight the stigma associated with substance abuse disorder and offer a safety net that some say feels like a family.

Courtesy American Experience/ PBS

The Hatfield and McCoy Feud is full of bloodshed and revenge. A New York Times article in 1896 referred to the feud as “frontier lawlessness,” and the Hatfields and McCoys as having an “utter disregard of human life.” The fact that the families got their income from illegal moonshining has also been used to discredit them as outlaws. 

For some, the feud has become synonymous with the type of mischaracterization of Appalachians that we’d like to leave behind. 

Chuck Roberts/ WVPB

Spring, summer and fall in Gilbert, West Virginia, in Mingo County, most days you can find a barrage of ATVs rolling through town. 

Most of the riders are visiting for an adventurous vacation. The asphalt road runs are usually a short trip from their cabins, or hotels to the woods onto the Hatfield and McCoy Trail systems. 


Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The immigration crisis on the southern border of the US doesn’t affect the day-to-day lives of most residents throughout the country. But many people are increasingly concerned anyway. A group from rural West Virginia recently took a trip to Texas to aid asylum seekers. They went to learn more about the realities of this crisis, and the people who would try to help.   

Emily Allen / WVPB

When in the late 1990’s a group of recreational-vehicle enthusiasts began developing a network of riding trails in Southern West Virginia, it didn’t take them long to pick a title that would immediately garner name recognition for the region.


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Inside Appalachia takes a ride along the Hatfield and McCoy ATV trail this weekend. It’s an extensive trail system built out in a place where the job market has been hit hard by downturns in the coal industry. It’s one way the region is pumping new life into the economy, using a familiar family feud name, and ATVs, to draw people to the region. The Hatfield & McCoy ATV Trail system has been up and running in southern West Virginia since the early 2000’s. Emily Allen reports.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Halloween Morning, we’d like to remind West Virginians of the many creatures featured in the state’s folklore – such as Big Foot and Mothman. And there’s another one that’s often described as an alien or a monster. Over the years, it’s become a part of the state’s pop culture. It's even made a larger resurgence just in the past four years through a tourism campaign and a new museum.

Our folklife reporter Caitlin Tan brings us the story from Braxton County.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, beginning in the late 1970s, shelters and other resources began to become available for survivors of domestic violence in West Virginia. But navigating those resources and legal processes that can go with it isn’t easy. As Liz McCormick reports, work continues to broaden and improve what’s available to survivors.

Updated at 8:54 a.m. ET

Call a dog by its name, and its tail wags, it starts panting happily, and it showers you with love and affection.

Call a cat by its name and ... well, cats are a bit harder to read. Does the cat even know what its name is?

So researchers in Japan set out to answer the question: Can a cat understand the difference between its name and any other random word that sounds like it?

Kathy Mattea
BRIAN BLAUSER/ MOUNTAIN STAGE

Country singer Kathy Mattea will be coaching music students at West Virginia University.

The university says in a news release that the Cross Lanes native has been named a distinguished artist in residence in the School of Music for the 2019-20 academic year.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This past summer, the executive director of a nonprofit called Coalfield Development was awarded a $250,000 grant from the Heinz Family Foundation. 

That director -- Brandon Dennison, who helped found Coalfield Development almost 10 years ago -- says the money will go toward a lifelong learning fund for his employees.

The group operates mostly in southern West Virginia. It has about 60 full-time workers now, all working on different enterprises meant to diversify West Virginia’s economy. Emily Allen spoke with Dennison. We hear some of their conversation.

Halloween is around the corner and guess what that means? Someone will metaphorically step in it with an insensitive or straight up racist costume.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Kentucky and West Virginia are among the states with the highest emissions of carbon dioxide per person. They also helped to block the federal government’s most ambitious effort to fight climate change.

Now, an analysis from the Center for Public Integrity finds that those two states were among the ones most often hit by natural disasters during the past decade. Scientists warn that a warming climate makes extreme weather – and disasters such as flash flooding – more likely.

Reporter Sydney Boles takes us to Pike County, in Kentucky’s coal country, where vulnerable communities have suffered repeated flooding. It’s a place where coal politics, climate policy and catastrophe all connect.

Rick Garland took over the Ghost Tours of Harpers Ferry 10 years ago. He holds the tour year-round and meets tourists on the steps of the historic St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

 


Harpers Ferry, Jefferson County is well known for its American Civil War history. The town was the site of John Brown’s Raid, the Battle of Harpers Ferry, and the town changed hands from Union to Confederate several times. 

Harpers Ferry saw so much destruction during the war that many now say it’s a town home to ghosts and hauntings.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Mothman, the Flatwoods Monster, Civil War ghosts — for those who enjoy getting a bit spooked, West Virginia is one of the best places to find a Halloween-themed adventure. This weekend’s episode of Inside Appalachia features stories about spooky legends and ghost tales.

We sent one reporter -- a self-proclaimed scaredy cat -- to a Halloween-themed event “light” on the scares, but heavy on the spooky creatures. Brittany Patterson reports from the West Virginia State Wildlife Center in north-central West Virginia.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, for decades, coal was king in West Virginia. But as more of our nation’s electricity is starting to come from other sources, coal is on the decline. On the latest episode of West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s program Us & Them, host Trey Kay has a conversation about coal and its future in Appalachia with journalist Ken Ward, who has covered the coal industry for decades here in the state. We hear part of that interview.

An encampment near the Coal River in the winter of 2019 in Kanawha County, W.Va.
Courtesy of Stan Smith

A pastor in St. Albans has been helping residents of a local homeless encampment called Tent City get back on their feet. But not everyone in the town approves of the work he’s doing.

“They hate to move every night. They hate to bother people,” Stan Smith, a pastor in St. Albans, W.Va., said as he drove around the outskirts of town, pointing out the tucked-away thickets where homeless people have set up camps.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, in rural Appalachia, if you face homelessness, it can be challenging to find resources to help get back on your feet.

A pastor in St. Albans, Kanawha County, saw that a homeless encampment consisting of about 10 tents in his community was being pushed out. People were being told they had to leave. So, he decided to help.

But not everyone in the town approves of the work he’s doing.

Independent producer Kyle Vass spent some time this summer looking into what’s been happening with the “tent city.”

Credit Steve Helber/ AP

Think back to the last time you saw an Appalachian portrayed on TV, in the national media, in a book or a cartoon. Often, when people talk about Appalachians, they portray us as white, or poor, or ignorant -- or all three. But when you dig beneath the surface, and challenge the stereotypes that are often used to misrepresent people who live in our region, the story becomes much more honest, and interesting.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Inside Appalachia is looking at some of the ways artists are challenging stereotypes in Appalachia in a new episode out today. People on the outside looking in often misunderstand Appalachia’s cultural ways and traditions. This may come as a surprise, but those same attitudes are often leveled at people from the Middle East.

Eric Douglas brings us the story of a podcast that wants to connect the people of Appalachia and those of the Arabic World.

Christy Salters, who hails from Itmann, Wyoming County, speaks at the 10th anniversary gala for Fairness WV on Sept. 28 in Charleston.
Courtesy of David Whittaker

It’s 1996. We’re in Las Vegas. Wyoming County native Christy Martin is in the ring, fighting the Irish boxer Deirdre Gogarty.  

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the U.S. Department of Labor recently announced nearly $5 million dollars for worker training programs in Appalachia. It’s the latest influx of funding aimed at blunting the job losses in the region’s coal sector. But critics of those programs say worker training alone is no solution. The Ohio Valley ReSource’s Becca Schimmel reports.

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