Economy

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the American Medical Association marked a milestone last month. The largest professional association for physicians in the United States inaugurated its first African American woman as its leader. The Ohio Valley ReSource’s Aaron Payne recently spoke with the newly elected president, who has a unique understanding of West Virginia. And she says the organization will work for patients and physicians as they face some of the nation’s toughest health challenges.

Ella Jennings

In Appalachia, we know too well the symptoms of industry in decline. However, some aspects are much more visual than others.

On March 9, I stood anxiously with a crowd of Weirton natives and former steelworkers on a hillside in Weirton, West Virginia, overlooking Weirton Steel’s Basic Oxygen Plant, or BOP. Thousands of people contributed to the steelmaking process in the huge structure since its construction in 1967. Now, they were offering their final goodbyes.

Matt Rourke / AP Photo

In Washington, D.C., the House of Representatives passed amendments to end military use of toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS in firefighting foam and food packaging, and to expand efforts to monitor for PFAS pollution.


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

More than a hundred coal miners and family members gathered Wednesday in Whitesburg, Kentucky, in an attempt to get their pay from failed mining company Blackjewel. The country’s sixth-largest coal company filed bankruptcy last week, and many of Blackjewel’s 1,100 workers across Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia are suddenly out of work. As Brittany Patterson reports, most are still waiting for back wages as well as answers about the company’s future.

Laid-Off Employees Of Bankrupt Blackjewel Mining Seek Pay, Answers

Jul 10, 2019

 

Patrick Fitchpatrick has worked at Blackjewel’s D-11 coal mine in Cumberland, Kentucky, for a year and a half. He says he enjoyed the work right up until he was told not to come in last Monday. 

“Everything was fine,” he said. “Everything was smooth sailing and then one day it just all goes to hell.”

The country’s sixth-largest coal company filed bankruptcy last week, and many of Blackjewel’s 1,700 workers in Wyoming and across Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia were suddenly out of work.

Minimum Wage Hike Would Have Major Effect in Ohio Valley

Jul 10, 2019
students and other supporters protest in 2015 on the University of Washington campus in Seattle, in support of raising the minimum wage for campus workers to $15 an hour.
AP file photo

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office shows increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour would boost the wages of 17 million workers and lift about 1.3 million people out of poverty. But the CBO warns that could also result in more than one million lost jobs and could diminish overall income for others.

Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 would increase the pay of at least 17 million people, but also put 1.3 million Americans out of work, according to a study by the Congressional Budget Office released on Monday.

The increased federal minimum could also raise the wages of another 10 million workers and lift 1.3 million Americans out of poverty, according to the nonpartisan CBO. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 and last increased a decade ago.

Courtesy of Marshall University

This story was updated on 7/5/2019 at 9:20 a.m.

NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — A helicopter carrying seven Americans to Fort Lauderdale, Florida crashed Thursday, July 4, off Grand Cay island in the Bahamas, killing everyone on aboard, Bahamian police said.

A statement from the Royal Bahamas Police Force said the helicopter went missing shortly after leaving Big Grand Cay and authorities and local residents later found the crash site two miles off Grand Cay. Police identified those killed as four women and three men but did not provide names.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the state’s growing natural gas industry has expanded beyond drilling rigs during the past few years. Two multi-billion dollar natural gas pipeline projects are under construction in West Virginia. If completed, they will transport billions of cubic feet of natural gas out of the Appalachian Basin to the East Coast.

A solar array installed this month at housing nonprofit, HOMES, Inc. Solar Solution
Photo courtesy of HOMES, Inc.

Joe Oliver and Tony Brown peered into the dark crawl space beneath a Letcher County, Kentucky, home. Already, they could see problems. The crawl space had been blocked off with just a thin sheet of plywood; the posts supporting the house rested on uneven blobs of poured concrete; the whole place reeked of mold.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, in nearly one third of Ohio Valley counties, low-income residents are paying 20 percent or more of their income in utility bills. Energy costs are making housing harder to afford in some rural places where incomes are not keeping pace with rising costs. As part of a series on rural housing, Ohio Valley ReSource reporter Sydney Boles takes us to eastern Kentucky, where the cost burden is among the highest. She found a community working to keep their old Kentucky homes affordable.

West Virginia's now-defunct film tax credit was around for ten years before being eliminated by the West Virginia Legislature in 2018. A legislative audit report found it provided "minimal economic impact" to the state.
Daniel Walker

West Virginia’s film tax credit was eliminated by the West Virginia Legislature in 2018 after a legislative audit report deemed the credit as providing only “minimal economic impact.” But people who work in the film industry don’t agree. An attempt to resurrect the credit failed this past session, but supporters are hopeful it will make it through the next legislative session.

New Economic Data Show Appalachia’s Struggles Amid Coal’s Decline

Jun 26, 2019

An annual report from the Appalachian Regional Commission shows that while Appalachia is seeing some economic improvement, the heart of the region and its coal-producing communities are still struggling. Several counties in the Ohio Valley are moving in a negative direction in this year’s report.


Rural Homelessness, Made Worse By Opioid Crisis, Presents Special Challenges

Jun 24, 2019
Charles “Country” Bowers revisits the wooded patches where he once lived.
Mary Meehan / Ohio Valley ReSource

Charles “Country” Bowers takes long, quick strides down a worn dirt path and is soon in front of a thicket of bushes made deep and tall by spring rains.

He’s leading me on a tour of camps made by homeless people in wooded corners of Fayette County, Kentucky. He stops and lifts a hand to signal that he’s spied something.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, homelessness is often considered an urban problem. But a recent NPR survey found a third of rural Americans say homelessness is a problem in the communities. In the first in a series of reports from the Ohio Valley ReSource Mary Meehan explores rural homelessness. Those working on the issues say it remains largely hidden, even as the region's opioid crisis pushes more people into need.

Josh Hernandez / Creative Commons

Japanese truck maker Hino Motors Manufacturing is set to open its new West Virginia assembly plant this summer.

Hino Motors has scheduled an Aug. 21 grand opening for the facility in Mineral Wells. The company is moving about 20 miles to a larger location at a former retail distribution center.

The Capitol building in Charleston, West Virginia.
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A legislative audit has found that the Jobs Act enacted by West Virginia lawmakers in 2001 in hopes of assuring that 75 percent of jobs on state-funded public works projects would go to local workers has failed.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the audit says the legislation has been wholly ineffective and recommends that it be repealed.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, senior reporter Dave Mistich joins host Teresa Wills live to discuss the latest legislative action on education reform in the state House of Delegates.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, data on the Ohio Valley’s addiction crisis show that the problem is often more profound and persistent in communities that are economically distressed. As part of the Ohio Valley ReSource series, “Working Toward Recovery,” Aaron Payne visited an Ohio community tackling both problems.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the West Virginia Senate is set to put a long, sweeping and controversial education reform measure to a vote today. Yesterday, the upper chamber considered amendments to Senate Bill 1039, which has been touted by Senate President Mitch Carmichael as the Student Success Act.

Senior reporter Dave Mistich joins Teresa Wills to discuss the measure, what changes have been made to the bill and what is expected moving forward.

Brittany Patterson / WVPB

 


On a recent Monday, students at James Monroe High School in Monroe County eat french bread pizza, corn, beans and mixed fruit. They also have three, locally sourced salad options to choose from: a spinach salad with bright red cherry tomatoes, a pre-made salad or a make-you-own salad bar.

"We hear that these foods look so much better, put together," said Kimberly Gusler, the high school's head cook. She said that since the school began using local salad greens and vegetables and fruits when available, students appear to be eating more of them.

"They love the way the salads look.”

Working Toward Recovery: Ohio Town Fights Addiction with Focus on Economy

May 28, 2019
Chillicothe Street in Downtown Portsmouth.
Aaron Payne / Ohio Valley ReSource

Addiction specialists, business leaders, law enforcement officials and other community members gathered around tables at Shawnee State University to talk about two big challenges in Scioto County, Ohio: a shrinking economy and a growing addiction crisis.

Ohio Valley Farmers Unsure About New Trump Trade Aid Payments

May 24, 2019
Liam Niemeyer / Ohio Valley ReSource

The U. S. Department of Agriculture announced Thursday details of a second round of aid totaling $16 billion for farmers affected by the trade war with China. But some Ohio Valley farmers worry about the ongoing consequences of these payments and tariffs.

Survey Report Reveals Disparities In Appalachian Subregions

May 22, 2019
Apalachian Regional Commission

A new report from the Appalachian Regional Commission shows that Central Appalachia lags behind other parts of the region in employment, household income, and other key measures.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, as the Ohio Valley suffers some of the nation’s highest rates of addiction and overdose deaths, a growing movement shows promise for those in recovery. Many are finding employment and support in food services and farms that specifically hire people who are recovering from addiction. Brittany Patterson has the story.

courtesy of Jenny Craig

Jenny Craig is a special education teacher in Ohio County, the president of the Ohio County Education Association, and steering committee member for the West Virginia United Caucus. She offered reactions to the state Department of Education's 33-page report titled West Virginia’s Voice that was released last week.

Ky. Aluminum Company’s New Russian Partner Raises Concerns

May 13, 2019
The site near Ashland, Ky., where Braidy plans a new aluminum facility.
Sydney Boles / Ohio Valley ReSource

A large whiteboard in an Ashland, Kentucky, unemployment office is covered with a list of companies that are currently hiring. Senior career counselor Melissa Sloas said that just a few years ago, that board was a lot emptier.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, just on the other side of the Ohio River, in Ashland, Kentucky, aluminum company Braidy Industries got a big financial boost recently when it announced a partnership with a massive Russian supplier. However, that Russian company was until recently under U.S. sanctions. The deal has raised further questions about Braidy’s financing, which already included millions from Kentucky taxpayers. The Ohio Valley ReSource's Sydney Boles has more.

Corey Knollinger / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

After West Virginia’s voter ID law went into effect last year an organization focused on increasing voter registration and voter turnout launched a new initiative in the state to help people gain proper identification. Spread the Vote now operates in nine states, and aims not only to give people a chance to vote, but also a better chance in life.

Eric Nelson
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A longtime Republican member of the West Virginia House of Delegates is vying for a seat in the state Senate. Del. Eric Nelson of Kanawha County made the announcement Tuesday outside the state Capitol.

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