RFA 2019

Hearing From Kermit

Sep 11, 2019
Joseph Mullins owns the Mullins Family Funeral Home in Warfield, Kentucky, serving families in the Kermit-Warfield area.
Emily Allen / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The small, southern West Virginia town of Kermit has had more than its fair share of national headlines regarding its struggle with the opioid crisis. 

But few stories focus on the people themselves. Earlier this summer, we visited Kermit to ask residents how they think the town can reinvent itself. 

A man on the train tracks. Near the scene of the miners' protest in Harlan Co., KY.
CURREN SHELDON

This week on Inside Appalachia, we’ll look at how our history is intertwined with our future. We’ll hear from coal miners and children about how they are reshaping Appalachia, while remembering the past. Also in this episode, we’ll hear from a woman who found recovery, and a job, after struggling with drug addiction for more than two decades.

And we’ll hear from some of the miners in Harlan County, Kentucky who are protesting their employer, coal operator Blackjewel LLC. We’ll talk about what the protest says about the state of organized labor in the mines.

Emily Allen / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said Tuesday he will not run for governor. The announcement came after months of speculation as to whether he’d join the race. 

Emily Allen / West Virginia Public Broadcasting


It's been nearly a century since thousands of pro-union miners marched into Logan County, West Virginia, to protest abuses by coal operators in what used to be largely anti-union territory.

Emily Allen / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Spend a Monday at the Boone County courthouse, and you’ll see judges and public attorneys overwhelmed with a surging number of child abuse and neglect cases.   

Emily Allen / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On Thursday, a group of West Virginians rallied at the steps of the state Capitol, voicing concerns about what some say are human rights violations in Kashmir.  

Gov. Jim Justice, R. W.Va., delivers his annual State of the State speech on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, in Charleston, W.Va.
Tyler Evert / Associated Press

It appears that a now more-than-one-year-old case to determine where West Virginia's governor constitutionally must reside will continue, after a hearing on the matter Wednesday morning. 

US Department of Agriculture

On Monday, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice shared his recommendations for the next round of Appalachian Regional Commission projects in the state. 

The ARC is a partnership between the federal government and the 13 Appalachian states. The agency awards federal dollars for infrastructure and economic development projects across the region.

Adobe Stock

A regional chapter of Planned Parenthood is hosting a pair of bar crawls in West Virginia to spread the word about upcoming changes to the organization.

On Monday, national Planned Parenthood leaders announced they were stepping away from Title X funds they’ve been receiving from the federal government for roughly 50 years. The decision came after the Trump administration made some changes to Title X rules that would’ve prohibited Planned Parenthood from referring patients to abortion clinics. 

Greenbier
Bobak Ha'Eri / Wikimedia Commons

The Greenbrier resort has announced it's giving away prizes and tickets to an upcoming golf tournament. A coal company controlled by the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice is paying for the tickets.  

Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy

As the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy continues to graduate more West Virginia teens than ever, its leaders say the program has reached its capacity for the existing facility at Camp Dawson.

Legislation from the most recent special session advocates not only for an expansion there in Preston County, but for a second location in Fayette County. Lawmakers didn’t specify in writing where they want the new academy to go, but many are confident it will end up being at the former WVU Tech campus in Montgomery. 

Zac Northup / Standwatch Academy

Earlier this year, eight girls from Lincoln County High School went on an adventure out West. The trip was made possible by a nonprofit called Standwatch Academy, a group that teaches rural high school kids about entrepreneurship. 

Brian M. Powell / Wikimedia

West Virginia lawmakers passed a bill on Tuesday that will give a $12 million tax cut to a struggling coal-fired power plant in Pleasants County. 

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

The West Virginia Legislature has passed three bills that would provide additional funding for education. The measures were outlined in a controversial education omnibus approved in June.

Doris Fields, also known as Lady D, West Virginia's First Lady of Soul, lead the Friday night vigil in song with 'We Shall Overcome' by Pete Seeger.
Emily Allen / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

As Ryan Brown stood outside the West Virginia Capitol Buidling on a breezy Friday evening, her husband Ali was in Guinea, the neighboring country to Sierra Leone where Ali’s originally from. 

 

AP file photo

State authorities are urging West Virginians to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season, even if they’re miles away from the nearest coastline. 

Destiny Judy/The Inter-Mountain

The West Virginia National Guard is still active in the eastern part of the state, where last week Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of emergency following severe thunderstorms and flash flooding. 

This week, there have been at least 18 soldiers on the ground in Randolph County at a time, according to the Guard. They have been removing debris and helping with recovery mostly in the town of Harman, which authorities say has sustained some of the most damage.  

National Weather Service

The National Weather Service in Charleston issued a heat advisory Wednesday for several of West Virginia’s western and southwestern counties. Authorities urge people to drink fluids, stay cool and avoid the sun.

Black lung is a deadly disease caused by exposure to dust underground.
Department of Labor

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago have received a grant to learn more about the ways coal dust affects pulmonary health. 

Destiny Judy/The Inter-Mountain

Local and state leaders are beginning to clear roadways in eastern West Virginia, where counties dealt with severe thunderstorms and flash flooding Saturday night. Volunteers and the state National Guard have been a big part of their recovery.

Destiny Judy/The Inter-Mountain

Five counties in eastern West Virginia struck this weekend by flash floods were still assessing damage shortly after Gov. Jim Justice issued a state of emergency declaration Monday morning. 

Google MyMaps

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said Sunday, June 30, he will declare a state of emergency for a handful of northeastern counties after severe thunderstorms on Saturday caused flash flooding, knocking homes off their foundations and washing out roads. 

 

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed an omnibus education reform bill] on Friday, June 28, that will lead to the state’s first charter schools.

House Bill 206 allows for three charter schools in the 2021-2022 academic year, with approval from the charters’ respective county boards of education. The bill allows for three more charters every three years, beginning in 2023.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Despite tornado warnings and a brief recess in which lawmakers and the public were evacuated downstairs at the Capitol, the West Virginia Senate voted Monday to pass a controversial omnibus bill that could most notably lead to the state’s first charter schools. Senators fast-tracked the bill by suspending rules that would normally require they read the bill three times on three separate days. 

Catherine Jozwik, president of the Eastern Panhandle Green Coalition, speaks at a press conference outside the attorney general's office on Wednesday, June 19, before several residents and concerned West Virginians handed the governor's office a petition
Emily Allen / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Residents from Jefferson County gathered at the West Virginia Capitol Wednesday to give Gov. Jim Justice a petition regarding a stone wool insulation plant they’ve spent the last year protesting.