Eastern Panhandle

The MARC train's Brunswick Line parked at the Martinsburg Train Station. Photo taken in Apr. 2018.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting


A few hundred people attended a public hearing in Charles Town over the weekend regarding the future of the MARC train service, or Maryland Area Regional Commuter, in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle. Maryland is asking West Virginia to either foot the bill or see a reduction in service.

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.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Rockwool has become a household name in the Eastern Panhandle, and it sparks a flurry of discussion and debate. The European-based stone wool manufacturing plant is under construction in Ranson, Jefferson County. That, despite pushback from residents on the grounds of environmental concerns and the plant’s proximity to an elementary school.

The MARC train's Brunswick Line parked at the Martinsburg Train Station. Photo taken in Apr. 2018.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The MARC Train, or Maryland Area Regional Commuter, serves about 250 West Virginians who live in Berkeley and Jefferson Counties.

The train has been serving the area for more than 30 years, but Maryland has always paid the bills. West Virginia was only responsible for upkeep of its three West Virginia stations.

Eastern Panhandle Gas Pipeline, Mountaineer Gas, Protest, Pipeline
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A board of high-ranking Maryland officials on Wednesday rejected a proposed pipeline across the western part of the state that would carry natural gas produced in Pennsylvania to West Virginia.

Lodge in Cacapon Resort State Park, Morgan County, W.Va., May 2008
Brian M. Powell / Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Jim Justice’s office made two announcements Friday all related to infrastructure in the Eastern Panhandle.

Jessica Leake / Blue Ridge Community and Technical College

West Virginia Public Broadcasting held a community outreach event Tuesday night at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College in Martinsburg to discuss the future of jobs in the Eastern Panhandle.

One of West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s organizational goals is to help facilitate an ongoing statewide conversation about job opportunities in West Virginia – what jobs are out there and what are the barriers to getting them?

Broom Maker Wanda Hott (center) with her granddaughters Shelby (left) and Kierra (right).
Daniel Walker / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In 2017, West Virginia Public Broadcasting featured one of West Virginia’s last remaining broom makers; Kanawha County resident Jim Shaffer. The story ended with a question: would this dwindling art continue once Shaffer retired? Well, it turns out, a whole family in Hampshire County makes brooms together, and they were inspired by Shaffer himself.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Both the Northern and Eastern Panhandles are experiencing flooding this week as rain continues to fall on the two regions. Preparations are also being made across the state to respond to possible heavy rainfall from Hurricane Florence at the end of the week.

Angie Gray, Nurse Director for the Berkeley-Morgan County Health Department, shows a box of sealed, sterile syringes given to participants in her harm reduction program.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Across West Virginia, people are fighting back against the opioid epidemic and pushing the message of recovery. Some of these people run harm reduction clinics – which sometimes include needle exchanges. We meet a nurse in the Eastern Panhandle who runs one of these programs.

Achim Hering / Wikimedia Commons

A stone wool insulation producer has broken ground on a $150 million manufacturing facility in West Virginia.

Rockwool North America held a ceremony Tuesday in Ranson. The company says in a news release the 460,000-square-foot facility will employ about 150 people. Production is expected to start in early 2020.

Deer
David J. Phillip / Associated Press

West Virginia officials have placed restrictions on the disposal and transport of deer carcasses in two more counties in response to a disease.

The state Division of Natural Resources says in a news release the restrictions start July 1 in Berkeley and Mineral counties. The restrictions are already in Hampshire, Hardy and Morgan counties.

Lisa Melcher's daughter Christina pictured here with her two children, Anthony and Jasmine. Christina died of a heroin overdose in May 2017. Lisa says Christina is the heart of the Hope Dealer Project and came up with the name.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A group of people fighting the opioid epidemic in Berkeley County is garnering national attention (The New Yorker, CBS). In the Hope Dealer Project, three women work together to drive people struggling with addiction to inpatient detox or rehabilitation centers – pushing the message that recovery is possible.

Town of Berkeley Springs, Morgan County looking south; CNB Bank (left) and The Country Inn (right). Photo taken on June 3, 2018.
Robert Madison / Courtesy Photo

Updated on Monday, June 4, 2018 at 1:45 p.m.

Governor Jim Justice declared a state of emergency for a handful of counties in the Eastern Panhandle this weekend due to flooding from heavy rainfall.

Berkeley, Jefferson, Morgan, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Mineral, and Pendleton counties are under the state of emergency

The Opequon Creek that borders Berkeley and Jefferson Counties has completely flooded a bridge in Martinsburg near Grapevine Road. Photo taken on May 17, 2018 at 7:22 p.m.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

 

Final Update on Monday, May 21, 2018 at 3:17 p.m.

 

After several days of continuous rainfall, the Eastern Panhandle is no longer under a flood warning or flood watch by the National Weather Service.


Fourth-graders at North Jefferson Elementary School in Kearneysville, Jefferson County prep dirt for planting in one of their three raised garden beds.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Community members are rallying around a school in the Eastern Panhandle. They want to build an outdoor classroom so that kids can get into nature more readily. The goal is to improve academic achievement and provide more opportunities - especially for kids from low-income areas.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear about a growing educational trend to get young students outside more often; how an elementary school in the Eastern Panhandle aims to provide more opportunities to its students with an outdoor classroom. Also, we hear a panel discussion from Wheeling on race and living as a minority in the historically white state of West Virginia.

Senate Finance Chairman Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, speaking during a Senate floor session.
Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography


State lawmakers from the Eastern Panhandle met Tuesday for the Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce's annual Legislative Wrap-Up Breakfast in Martinsburg, where education and the teacher pay raise took center stage.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Hundreds of West Virginians travel from the Eastern Panhandle to Maryland or Washington D.C. every weekday for work. These commuters catch the Maryland-based MARC train, or Maryland Area Regional Commuter.

But during this year’s West Virginia Legislative session, lawmakers debated the future of the MARC train in the state.

Maryland threatened to discontinue MARC service to West Virginia unless certain provisions were met.

Snowfall on March 21, 2018 in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Updated on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at 12:25 p.m.

It might be spring, but areas of West Virginia and Kentucky look more like winter, especially at ski resorts, with up to a foot of snow forecast in some areas.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the eastern half of West Virginia until 11 p.m. Wednesday and in areas around Louisville, Kentucky, until 2 p.m. Much of the rest of both states were under a winter storm advisory that called for up to 5 inches of snowfall.

Gas, natural gas, pipeline, energy, valve
Dollar Photo Club

Regulators have approved a construction stormwater discharge permit for Mountaineer Gas Co.'s proposed natural gas distribution line expansion in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle.

The Department of Environmental Protection said in a news release Wednesday the permit gives the DEP wide-ranging inspection and enforcement authority for the project.

Monte Cater (left) is retiring as head football coach in spring 2018. Ernie McCook (right) has been named to replace him.
Shepherd University

Monte Cater is retiring as Shepherd University’s head football coach after 31 seasons. Shepherd became an NCAA Division II school in the mid-90s, not long after Cater began his career at the school in 1987.

Lyme, tick, Lyme disease, IDSA, infectious disease, WVU
Dollar Photo Club

Tick-borne Lyme disease has spread across West Virginia over the past six years with cases reported in 52 of the state's 55 counties, according to state health officials.

Most cases are reported in the northern and eastern panhandles probably because of their proximity to the high-incidence states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, the Department of Health and Human Resources said.

Unemployment Line
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

An annual Eastern Panhandle Economic Outlook conference was held in Martinsburg, showing job growth is steady in the Eastern Panhandle and is expected to grow in the coming years.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, geologic studies indicate West Virginia is the largest geothermal hotspot on the East Coast. So why don’t we hear more about it? Liz McCormick reports, some counties in West Virginia have been pushing the envelope for a future in geothermal energy use.

Eastern Panhandle Gas Pipeline, Mountaineer Gas, Protest, Pipeline
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting


All summer long, pipeline protesters have been camped along the Potomac River in Maryland and West Virginia. They don’t want to see a 3.5 mile long TransCanada natural gas pipeline built underneath the river. Supporters argue the line is critical to expanding natural gas resources to businesses and homes in the growing Eastern Panhandle. 

 

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

It’s nothing unusual to think about leaving your hometown after you graduate high school, but sometimes it’s not an option to leave, and sometimes, as we’ve heard, leaving can be difficult and expensive, too. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Harpers Ferry National Historical Park played host to a naturalization ceremony Tuesday morning for 19 new U.S. citizens.

Achim Hering / Wikimedia Commons

A new manufacturing plant will set up shop in the Eastern Panhandle. Gov. Jim Justice announced it will create up to 150 new jobs in the state.

The new plant will produce stone wool insulation. This type of product is used in buildings, industrial applications, and in acoustic ceilings.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Hundreds of protesters gathered across the street from the Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown Thursday morning as the United States Democratic Senators held their annual retreat inside.

On Thursday morning, Harpers Ferry resident Cheryl Kemp joined some 250 people gathered outside the Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown. She says she came out because she wants the senators to know they have her support.

Pages