Arts & Culture

italyfest.com

Folks in Wheeling are ramping up for the annual Upper Ohio Valley Italian Heritage Festival. It’s one of the largest Italian Festivals in the country, but it’s not all cannoli and spaghetti. Organizers have worked to make ethnicities from across the region feel welcome in their celebration of heritage.

National Park Service

A new National Park Service report shows that visitors to national park areas in southern West Virginia spent $51 million in nearby communities in 2013.

The report says a little more than 1,243,000 people from around the world visited the New River Gorge National River, the Bluestone National Scenic River, and the Gauley River National Recreation Area in 2013.

In a release today NPS Superintendent Trish Kicklighter said that in addition to providing visitors remarkable experiences in America's outdoors, National Park  Tourism is a significant driver in the national economy.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Those attending the screening at the United States Capitol Tuesday evening will not only learn more about West Virginia, but will be able to sample some of its culinary treats. On Monday the Shepherdstown Sweet Shop Bakery was assembling this edible mosaic of the West Virginia state seal for the event. Owner Pam Berry said each square in the design was attached to the top of a chocolate brownie piece, making about 370 petit fours, or bite size treats.

Grafton Turns Out for Turn This Town Around

Jul 21, 2014
Sarah Lowther Hensley

We continue our coverage of the Turn this Town Around Project. This series follows two towns, Grafton in north central West Virginia and Matewan in southern West Virginia, as they undergo projects to help the towns look better and revitalize community development. Monday night, Grafton held its third public training workshop to help teams continue to focus their efforts and get ready to apply for funding.

The welcome surprise at Monday’s meeting was an overwhelming turnout. More than 135 people showed up, excited and ready to talk about how to “turn their town around.” For many of them, it was their first “Turn this Town Around” meeting. 

City of Huntington Readies for Classic Regatta

Jul 21, 2014
Clark Davis

The city of Huntington is bringing back the classic regatta this weekend in hopes to spur more economic activity downtown.

On the heels of a three-year successful run with powerboat races, city officials decided to bring back the old tradition of a Classic Regatta to Harris Riverfront Park. The event will run three days starting this Friday through Sunday.

Attendance will be free, with events like a carnival, car show and two days of Powerboat Nationals racing. Huntington Mayor Steve Williams is excited about the differences between past events and this weekend’s event.

Grafton Welcomes Swimmers for Summer Championship

Jul 18, 2014

  

For more than half a century, swim teams in north central West Virginia have gathered in Clarksburg for an annual summer competition. But the pool that served as the invitational’s home has closed. Organizers have decided to continue the tradition, but rotate its location from year to year. 

Jack Fralin / CCBCC

Long before website banners, T.V. or radio commercials, and electronic billboards there were murals. Coca-Cola Consolidated is working to restore its faded advertisements, or ghost signs, across Appalachia. Ghost signs are the murals painted on buildings at the turn of the century that are now faded disappearing.  One of the largest murals, so far was unveiled last week in Hinton in  Summers County. Along with the strong sentimental value to the rural residents, the signs still have a strong marketing value for the global company.

                                               Advertisement in Hinton, W.Va. before ...

                                    Advertisement in Hinton, W.Va. during restoration ...

                                          Advertisement in Hinton, W.Va. after restoration ...

Matewan Striving for Revitalization

Jul 17, 2014
West Virginia Focus

This is part of our continuing series on how the towns of Grafton and Matewan are turning themselves around through a special collaborative project between West Virginia Public Broadcasting, West Virginia Focus magazine and the West Virginia Community Development Hub. 

Members of the Matewan community took part yesterday in the latest meeting about ideas to turn things around in the southern West Virginia City.

  Marshall University has extended the contract of coach Doc Holliday two years and raised the payouts for the incentives in the deal.

Athletic director Mike Hamrick announced Monday that Holliday's contract now runs through the 2017 season.

Holliday is 27-24 at Marshall and coming off a 10-4 season. His base salary of $600,000 will stay the same but his new deal increases his incentives to a total of $145,000 if they are reached.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A West Virginia corporate attorney, a McDowell County teacher and a high school student traveled across the country to share the good they see coming from the Reconnecting McDowell project.

The three traveled to Los Angeles to speak at the American Federation of Teachers convention about the program they say has changed lives and given the community a new sense of optimism.

Jaime Rinehart, of the WVSU EDC.

The first of Tom Toliver’s gardens is in what looks like an unlikely place—there’s a lumber mill across the street, a busy road without sidewalks, and the garden itself is nudged in between a pawn shop and a DeWalt tool center. Along 6th street, a mom and her two kids walk by carrying groceries from the nearby Family Dollar. Toliver also lives down the street. He believes that putting gardens in urban areas, like Charleston’s West Side, helps reduce crime and revitalize the neighborhood.

Seth Freeman / Contemporary American Theater Festival

Starting this weekend in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, theater lovers will be able to explore such topics of the day as: how the country treats its veterans, artificial intelligence and the ethics of assisted suicide.

The line up for the 24th season of the Contemporary American Theater Festival at
Shepherd University features a play by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Charles Fuller that focuses on sexual assault in the U.S. military.

New Talcott Museum Honors John Henry

Jul 9, 2014
Wikimedia Commons

Talcott, West Virginia, is the home place of folklore hero John Henry. A project is underway to restore one of the town’s oldest buildings to serve as an information hub about the legend.

Dillion’s Superette, a convenience store, was housed in what was a 1890s general store before it closed its doors two years ago. The owners were very active in the community and donated the old building to the John Henry Historical Society for a promise:  to restore the building back to its 20th century look.

Boy Scouts sit under pipe at 2013 Scout Jamboree
Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  A merger of two West Virginia-based Boy Scouts of America councils has received the national organization's approval.

The merger combines the Charleston-based Buckskin Council and the Huntington-based Tri-State Area Council. The new council serves about 7,000 scouts in 32 counties in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and Ohio.

Wwkayaker22 / en.wikipedia.org

  West Virginia is sharing part of more than $43 million in federal funds to help states with parks, outdoor recreation and conservation projects.

The U.S. Department of Interior said West Virginia is getting more than $463,000 from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The fund was established by Congress in 1964 to ensure access to outdoor recreation resources and to provide money to federal, state and local governments to purchase land, water and wetlands.

Marshall Set to Open Visual Arts Center

Jul 8, 2014
Clark Davis

Marshall University will open a new visual arts center in the fall in downtown Huntington.

Since purchasing the 112-year-old building in downtown Huntington for $750,000, the university has issued $9 million in bonds and raised more than $4 million in private money to renovate the facility. The former Anderson-Newcomb Company building that housed a department store of the same name, later becoming the Stone and Thomas building will now house students starting in August.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Appalachian region has been reported on, documented and studied quite a bit in the past 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson came to the region to declare a ‘war on poverty.’

Checking In With the Humans of Fairmont

Jul 6, 2014
Sarah Lowther Hensley / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On Facebook you can find a page for just about any interest. In north central West Virginia, one photographer has created a new Facebook page to share images and short profiles of his fellow citizens.

Inspired by a project in the Big Apple, this page has captured the spirit of the Friendly City and in just one month it has attracted hundreds of followers.

Humans of Fairmont, and the Facebook page after which it’s modeled - Humans of New York - are categorized as Arts and Humanities websites.

Two regular guys take on the job of documenting Appalachia’s culture and history.

A new book explores the meaning behind the name Wheeling.

Looking at Appalachia is still looking for photographs of the region.

And a West Virginia soldier is honored to be a member of the Old Guard.

West Virginia University

  West Virginia University is elevating the status of its top diversity official.

The university said Wednesday that David M. Fryson has been promoted to vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion. He's been chief diversity officer since 2012.
 

Is Tourism the Key to Turning Matewan Around?

Jul 1, 2014
Daniel Walker

This is part of our continuing series on how the towns of Grafton and Matewan are turning themselves around through a special collaborative project between West Virginia Public Broadcasting, West Virginia Focus magazine and the West Virginia Community Development Hub. 

National Park Service

The National Park Service is offering Ranger-Guided hikes in Summers and Fayette Counties this holiday weekend. All ranger programs are free unless otherwise noted. The NPS suggests hikers wear comfortable walking shoes. Hikers might also consider bringing water, snacks, camera and binoculars Below is a list of this weekend’s featured ranger programs:

In Summers County, interested hikers should meet at the base of Pipestem Resort State Park tramway at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, July 5, 2014. From there rangers will guide two hikes:

Greenbier
Bobak Ha'Eri / Wikimedia Commons

Cole Hand and Alston Spears, two West Virginia junior golfers, will participate alongside professional golfers at this year's Greenbrier Classic, which began Monday.

Hand and Spears were invited to play in the practice rounds and Pro-Am of the PGA Tour FedEx Cup event at The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, according to a release from the Governor's office.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Teen band The Elm Street Alleycats of Elkins lost their mentor and bass player Gene Boyer last May, but since, have been working to make the old tunes he taught them better while learning newer, contemporary music of their own.

Also, West Virginia born author Laura Long shares an excerpt from her debut novel "Out of Peel Tree," a collection of stories of family, hope and love set in Appalachia.

One Virginia man spreads the gospel of green.

There are fireflies in Pennsylvania that blink together.

More women are taking on the role of farmer.

A Tennessee writer has fond memories of hunting frogs.

New River Community and Technical College and the state Board of Education are partnering to offer students a pathway to careers in automotive technology.


Marie Foster Gnage / West Virginia University Parkersburg

  The West Virginia University at Parkersburg Board of Governors has named Dr. Marie Foster Gnage president emeritus. Gnage is the sixth president of WVU Parkersburg and the college’s second president, after Dr. Eldon Miller, to receive this designation.

A news release issued Thursday says a resolution was presented to Gnage at the June 2014 board meeting.

The board recognized Gnage’s leadership in many non-profit organizations and local, state and national higher education initiatives.

Glynis Board / WVPublic

The name Wheeling is a very old word. While there’s some dispute, it’s most commonly translated from the indigenous Delaware language to mean “Place of the Skull.” That’s the name and subject of a recently published book written by Ohio Valley resident Alan Fitzpatrick.

FloNight

A West Virginia town is being recognized for its efforts and accomplishments to improve health. Williamson has implemented several programs over the past several years.

A freelance journalist is looking for folks to share stories about the heydays of downtown Princeton in Mercer County. The project launches during an annual street festival meant to “Celebrate Princeton”.

Organizers of the 9th Annual Celebrate Princeton street fair are hoping to mark a turning point for this year’s festival.

After hosting the Mercer County event for years, the Princeton Public Library reached out to volunteers with The Princeton Renaissance Project, which is working to revitalize downtown by restoring a theatre, and hosting events on Mercer Street.

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