Arts & Culture

DAN SCHULTZ/ TRAVELING 219

The Tygart Valley Homestead Association in Randolph County is celebrating the opening of a new community center inside their historic school building that first opened in 1939. The school was originally part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal Homestead projects.


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, a few counties throughout the state are implementing a new kind of court for families dealing with abuse and neglect cases. We also bring you a preview of this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia on waterways and this week’s Mountain Stage Song of the Week.

Trish Hatfield with her husband Jim and their son Ben. Trish’s question “Where does the phrase, ‘West by God Virginia’ come from?” won our latest Wild, Wondering West Virginia poll.
Courtesy of Trish Hatfield

Here at West Virginia Public Broadcasting we’ve been asking listeners what they wonder most about West Virginia.

The latest question that won out in an online poll came to us from St. Albans resident Trish Hatfield. She asked “Where does the phrase ‘West by God Virginia’ come from?” WVPB reached out to experts across the state and discovered one of the first times the phrase was found in a publication — and we have a good idea why it has stuck around.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we explore the history of a certain, very well-known phrase throughout the Mountain State – “West by God Virginia.” And we look at the latest news headlines.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, as the climate continues to change, ongoing research considers how the Mountain State will have to adapt. We hear from researchers looking closely at the matter. We also hear a conversation with author Christy Smith on her debut novel "Killed It."

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.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, as kids begin to return to school this year, many adults are unpacking new education legislation state lawmakers passed a few months ago. Among many changes, new rules will make charter schools an option for the first time in the state’s history.

Emily Schultz is the director for state advocacy and policy with the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Lawmakers consulted her as they shaped the education reform bill. But Schultz wasn’t happy with all the aspects of the bill. Glynis Board spoke with her about West Virginia’s new law.

Scott McCloskey / The Intelligencer via AP

West Virginia's new Roman Catholic bishop is set to be installed this week.

A ceremony is scheduled for Thursday at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling for the Most Rev. Mark Brennan, who previously was auxiliary bishop of Baltimore.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we speak with a police officer turned sociologist. He offers a researcher’s perspective on gun violence. We also hear a report from The Allegheny Front on fracking concerns in Ohio, and we hear this week’s Mountain Stage Song of the Week.

The train bridge across the New River as seen from Hawk's Nest in Fayette County, W.Va.
Eric Douglas / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Our next Wild, Wondering West Virginia question comes to us from Trish Hatfield of St. Albans, West Virginia. Her question won the latest voting round of popular questions.

Trish asks, “Where does the phrase, ‘West By God Virginia’ come from?” West Virginia Public Broadcasting got in touch with her to learn more about her curiosity. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we continue a series that considers how some communities in our region have been impacted by deindustrialization. We also hear the latest in our ongoing series, “Wild, Wondering West Virginia.”

John Hale / WVPB

School is, or soon will be, back in session, so we wanted to take another listen to an episode we originally aired in May, about the devastating effects a school closure can have on a community.

Basketball was a big deal for the small town of Northfork, in McDowell County, West Virginia. The high school team won the state championship eight years in a row.

“Little old ladies who wouldn’t know a football from a basketball became big fans because it brought positive notoriety and attention to the community,” Northfork alumni Gary Dove recalled.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, West Virginia lost one of its finest traditional musicians earlier this summer -- ballad singer Phyllis Marks. State folklorist Emily Hilliard reads a tribute Marks and her legacy in Appalachia.

Associate Producing Director Peggy McKowen and Founder and Producing Director Ed Herendeen speak at an event for the 2019 season of CATF. Photo taken May 2019.
Contemporary American Theater Festival / catf.org

The Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia just closed on its 29th season. The festival draws visitors from all over the world to West Virginia and has helped the state stand out in the professional theater scene.

Courtesy: University of Illinois Press

When Cicero Fain began working on his Ph.D., he took a deep look at the black community in Huntington, West Virginia. He wanted to understand where it began and what helped i to thrive. That research ultimately became his new book “Black Huntington: An Appalachian Story.”

One major factor that boosted growth in Huntington was the Chesapeake and Ohio railroad. When Collis P. Huntington decided to build a depot in Huntington, he needed workers. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown just closed on its 29th season. The festival draws visitors from all over to West Virginia and has helped the state stand out in the professional theater scene. Liz McCormick sat down with Associate Producing Director Peggy McKowen to talk about the festival’s legacy, impact and what’s ahead for its 30th season.

Phyllis Marks performing outside the Humanities Council’s MacFarland Hubbard House, in 2016.
Mike Keller / West Virginia Humanities Council

Ballad singer Phyllis Marks, a native of Gilmer County, West Virginia, passed away June 22, 2019 at the age of 92.

According to folklorist Gerry Milnes, Marks was the last active ballad singer in the state who, as she says, “learned by heart,” via oral transmission, namely from her mother, Arlene Layfield Frashure, and her grandmother, Sarah Margaret Messenger Layfield, who were of Irish ancestry.

Marks was among West Virginia’s finest musicians and was an exceptional bearer of traditional unaccompanied singing in the Appalachian region.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

We continue a podcast series from the Northern Panhandle on this West Virginia Morning. The series is called What Happened to Weirton. In the third episode, titled As Goes the Mill, reporter Ella Jennings traces the town’s history as it slides from boom to bust.

Benny Becker/ WMMT

Our region has faced major economic changes and challenges in the past decade. But if you know our region’s history, this story of boom and bust, renewal and recession, is an all too familiar story. In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll explore how these economic changes affect people, our friends, our neighbors, and how entire communities can be uprooted by the closing of a local factory, or coal-mine layoffs. 


Eric Douglas / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

When the Inside Appalachia team talked with West Virginia composer Matt Jackfert about new theme music, it seemed like a tall order. The team was looking for something that's true to the Appalachian roots but doesn't sound like a stereotypical tune. 

Jackfert, who is host of WVPB's Classical Music program, said that the theme music came to him after he woke up from a nap. He says he pulled from his experience as a native to come up with something that is new and fresh for Inside Appalachia.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, scuba diving and West Virginia are not often used in the same sentence. But Eric Douglas, Inside Appalachia associated producer, is a scuba diver and he brings us this next story from Summersville Lake in Nicholas County.

Click on this link to see a short video Eric shot while he was on the dive.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the latest episode of Inside Appalachia focuses on some of the region’s waterways.

While the Mountain State is blessed with an abundance of beautiful streams and rivers, it’s not hard to find areas littered with trash, too. And rainy weather can easily wash these remnants into the waterways, contaminating the river ecosystems, and posing a health risk to people.

One man in Morgantown has taken it upon himself to clean up the trash in his area, sometimes using unconventional methods. Folklife reporter Caitlin Tan brings us the story.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we take a look at what Inside Appalachia has in store for us this weekend. The show explores explore some of the region’s unique aquatic destinations -- on the water, and beneath it.

About 150,000 people commercially raft a West Virginia river each year -- most on the New and Gauley rivers, which go through Fayetteville. Raft guides take most of those people down the river – professionals who are trained to know water, but also to know people.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, similar to West Virginia, Ohio has a law that can force landowners to lease their underground mineral rights to energy companies. The Allegheny Front’s Julie Grant takes a closer look at what happens when people there say no to fracking. It's the latest story in The Allegheny Front's series, Who’s Listening?

"Ambient music creates a world without a sense of time." 

Musician, composer and software engineer Peter Chilvers has worked with Brian Eno on several remarkable generative music apps for IOS devices, beginning in 2008 with Bloom. Such has been the success of these imaginary music applications that last year the 10-year anniversary was released:  Bloom: 10 Worlds.

Pope Gives West Virginia Diocese New Leader after Scandal

Jul 23, 2019
The Rev. Michael J. Bransfield, the incoming bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, stands inside the Cathedral of St. Joseph, Monday, Feb. 21, 2005, in Wheeling, W.Va.
Dale Sparks / AP file photo

Pope Francis named Baltimore Auxiliary Bishop Mark Brennan to lead West Virginia’s Catholics on Tuesday following a scandal over the former bishop’s sexual harassment of adults and lavish spending of church money.

The 72-year-old Brennan replaces Bishop Michael Bransfield, who resigned in September after a preliminary investigation into allegations of sexual and financial misconduct.

For many, summer is often associated with camp and quintessential camp activities like swimming, making s’mores and telling ghost stories.

Last week, a group of nine students in Pocahontas County took telling ghost stories a step further, by learning how to make short, animated films at Monster Movie Camp.


A little over three months after Paris' Notre Dame caught fire, French officials say the cathedral is still in a precarious state and needs to be stabilized. Ultimately, they aim to restore the monument, a process that will take years.

When that work begins, there will be a new demand for experts who have the same skills required to build Notre Dame 900 years ago. In the workshops of the Hector Guimard high school, less than three miles from the cathedral, young stone carvers are training for that task.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday, July 18, to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour by 2025, the first wage increase in a decade. One report predicts that in large portions of eastern Kentucky, southern West Virginia, and southeast Ohio, roughly 40 percent of workers would see some increase in wages. Becca Schimmel explains.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

After the 2014 Elk River chemical spill in the Kanawha Valley, the West Virginia Rivers Coalition created the Safe Water WV initiative. The idea is simple: to strengthen a community’s connection to their drinking water and encourage them to work together to better protect it.

A couple years ago, Jefferson and Berkeley Counties decided to build off that initiative in a unique way – using the conservation of farmland and Civil War battlefields as a model for drinking water protection.

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