Arts & Culture

Fayette Insitute of Technology

We’re focusing on the power of experiential learning in this episode of Inside Appalachia. We’ll look at how students learn life, academic and practical skills through career and technical education (CTE) programs. The goal of these programs is often to give students an idea of what kind of career they might want to go into after high school. 

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. 


On this West Virginia Morning, we hear two stories of challenges and resilience in Appalachia. We also bring you a report from the Ohio Valley ReSource on coal company American Resources Corporation.

On this West Virginia Morning, we visit a cultural hotspot on Charleston’s West Side. We also bring you a conversation on the “what you need to know” for the upcoming Primary Election, and we hear a report on how to stop the spread of COVID-19 in jails and prisons in the Ohio Valley.

Music Comes Naturally To Son Of Hammons Legends

May 15, 2020
Trevor Hammons
Carl Fleischhauer & Lawrence Camerson

The Hammons Family of Pocahontas County, West Virginia are known around the world for their distinctive old-time music that reflects the early Appalachian frontier of West Virginia.  Nine members of the Hammons clan, Edden, Pete, Maggie, Sherman, Burl, Lee, Currence, Mintie and Dona will be inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame this year. That ceremony has been rescheduled to November. 

Heather Niday / For Inside Appalachia

There is a deep connection among generations that holds steady for many families across central Appalachia. Perhaps it’s a combination of shared struggles and enduring repeated cycles of economic boom and bust. Maybe it’s our deep ties to the land that help bind so many of us to our past — after all, these mountains are among the oldest on the planet. While many Appalachians have fled the region in search of better opportunities, many of them we interview on Inside Appalachia tell us about the pull to return, even after many years. 

On this West Virginia Morning, 19-year-old banjo player Trevor Hammons never met his musical ancestors, but he’s determined to make sure their legacy lives on. We also hear a report about the upcoming primary election in West Virginia, and we bring you this week’s Mountain Stage Song of the Week.

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear from the co-creators of a new Off-Broadway play that honors the men who died at the Upper Big Branch mine disaster 10 years ago. Also, in this episode, meatpacking plants are being ordered to stay in operation, despite the sector being hit hard by the coronavirus. How are some plant workers across the region faring?

Courtesy photo

Author Bonnie Proudfoot began working on her new novel “Goshen Road” nearly 25 years ago, but she said she had to get older before she had the confidence to finish it. The story follows two sisters growing up in northern West Virginia, beginning as teens in 1967. 

She described the book as women-centered Appalachian fiction, although she was quick to point out that not every chapter was told from a woman’s point of view. 

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.

Animal Adoptions In Flux During Pandemic

May 12, 2020
Courtesy: Huntington Cabell-Wayne Animal Shelter

With all the time spent at home, you may be wondering if this is a good time to adopt a new pet. The answer is, it depends. It may actually be difficult to adopt at the moment. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many shelters have closed their doors and stopped in-person adoption. 

Adoptions across the country have decreased, according to Pet Point, an online resource for animal shelters. More people are stepping up to foster animals, electing to take them home for short periods without actually committing to adoption. 

The future for many animal rescue charities and nonprofits is precarious. They face funding shortages due to the economic slowdown of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Trey Key / WVPB

Many families have turned to video conferencing apps like Zoom and Skype to stay connected during the coronavirus pandemic. Those online conversations can also  serve a larger purpose  —  to capture family oral histories. 

Oral histories are, at their simplest, recordings of memories. They have been around since the earliest days of reel-to-reel tape recorders. Documentarians or researchers would head out into the field to record the memories of people who survived grand events in human history. In the process, they also recorded local music and tall tales. 

On this West Virginia Morning, we explore how some counties are preparing for the critical and time-intensive role of contact tracing. We also hear from healthcare workers trying to find ways to prevent future coronavirus outbreaks, and we hear how video conferencing apps may help capture family oral histories.

Jesse Wright / WVPB

With kids cooped up inside their homes and classroom instruction happening remotely, we thought it would be a great time to take another listen to an episode of Inside Appalachia that originally aired in 2019. We explore the power of getting children outside to learn, a topic that’s perhaps even  more important now than ever. 

On this West Virginia Morning, the front porch is a traditional gathering place for Appalachian families, and in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, one reporter shares how those practices have become even more important. We also hear a report about the increased risk for coal miners due to COVID-19, and we bring you this week’s Mountain Stage Song of the Week.

West Virginia Tourism Office

While the coronavirus pandemic has all but halted out-of-state travelers and tourism in West Virginia, there are ways for residents to safely leave home, enjoy some local sites, and learn a little history along the way.

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear how one court program that helps bring families back together is adapting in this time of social distancing. And we explore some tips on how to get outside and learn some new history.

On this West Virginia Morning, we speak with a teacher in the Eastern Panhandle who went viral on Twitter after writing a poem using her emails. Also, in this episode, we bring you two stories about communities coming together to help their neighbors.

Nicole Musgrave

Girls Rock Whitesburg in Whitesburg, Kentucky is a music camp for female, gender-fluid, non-binary, and trans youth. Over the course of a week campers learn an electric instrument, form a band and write songs. At the end, they perform in front of a live audience. While the camp focuses on electric music instruction, participants also learn how music is tied to social justice.

Nicole Musgrave

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all of our lives, whether you’re working from home, worried for your health or unexpectedly out of a job. PBS’s beloved Mr. Rogers often quoted his mother saying to “look for the helpers” during a crisis. We’ve been looking and have found that there’s no shortage of those in our region.

Courtesy Jessica Salfia

At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Jessica Salfia began receiving emails from companies she had interacted with over the years. Most said the similar things, like how they “cared about their customers” and were “looking after their employees.” 

Instead of just deleting those emails, Salfia, who is a creative writing teacher from Martinsburg, W.Va., saw the makings of a poem.

Salfia said she encourages her students to keep a “writer’s notebook,” an informal writing journal to record things for writing about later. 

On this West Virginia Morning, we visit a music camp in Whitesburg, Kentucky that is empowering young people. We also hear an update about unemployment numbers across the Ohio Valley during this coronavirus pandemic, and we bring you this week’s Mountain Stage Song of the Week.

Deep Mountain Farm

Just outside Fayetteville, West Virginia, there's a 42-acre farm that has just about everything -- chickens, lambs, sheep, produce and dogs. The latest addition is a litter of Great Pyrenees puppies, who will become guardian dogs for the sheep.

Christine Weirick owns and operates Deep Mountain Farm with her husband Chris Jackson and their two young daughters. 

Screenshot from Facebook

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice’s statewide stay-at-home order contains several exceptions, including going to the grocery store, receiving medical attention, and going to and from a place of worship.

Even though residents are allowed to attend religious services in the state, most churches have suspended services for the safety of their congregants. These churches are now turning to alternative forms of sermon delivery.


On this West Virginia Morning, we continue our focus on small business issues with a look at long term impacts the coronavirus crisis may have on communities in southern West Virginia that rely on tourism. Also, in today’s show, we hear how churchgoers in West Virginia are staying connected through the pandemic, and we hear a review on a new book titled “The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia” by Emma Copley Eisenberg.

Amy Knicely

From religious services to a renewed love of gardening, quarantine gives and takes.


The global pandemic has taken things from all of us. Some more than others. Thousands have died, many of them alone, and separated from their families. At least 26 million Americans have lost their jobs. 

Most rituals and traditions have also been disrupted, especially those that normally include people gathered in large groups.

On June 25, 1980, Vicki Durian and Nancy Santomero were killed in Pocahontas County. They were on the way to the Rainbow Family Gathering, an annual  meeting of hippies and other like-minded people that celebrate peace, harmony and freedom held at different national forests across the country. 

On this West Virginia Morning, we explore how to stay connected to one’s faith while houses of worship are closed. We also bring you a few moments of Zen, courtesy of the West Virginia Botanic Garden, and we listen to this week’s Mountain Stage Song of the Week.

All this week on West Virginia Morning, West Virginia Public Broadcasting is featuring stories about how kids are being affected by the coronavirus pandemic – including some of the state’s most vulnerable.

April 20, 1939: Poet Laureate Irene McKinney Born in Belington

Apr 20, 2020
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Poet Irene McKinney was born in Belington in Barbour County on April 20, 1939. She earned degrees from West Virginia Wesleyan College and West Virginia University and, in 1976, published her first book of poems, The Girl with the Stone in Her Lap. She served as director of creative writing at West Virginia Wesleyan and, in 1984, published another poetry collection entitled The Wasps and the Blue Hexagon.  The next year, she won a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and other prestigious honors.