The Front Porch: Outsiders in Appalachia

Jesse and Marisha Camp were driving through McDowell County when they were confronted by angry residents who believed they were taking photos of their children.
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Steve Gullick

When you think of live records, usually you think of album stop-gaps, in-between releases that don't exactly add or subtract much from a band's sound. Not so for indie folk rock band Phosphorescent, whose newest release, Live at the Music Hall, definitely deserves a listen. We talked with band frontman/founder/CEO Matthew Houck about the band's name, its evolution over the years and even its inclusion in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 soundtrack.  

Writer Silas House says coal has a double edge in Appalachia. It's a source of pride, but practices like mountaintop removal can have devastating environmental and human consequences.
C. Williams

  This story is part of the ‘The Future of Coal’—a collaboration of The Allegheny FrontWest Virginia Public Broadcasting, and Inside Energy.

The writer Silas House grew up in the hills of Eastern Kentucky. Through his novels and other writing, he’s described life in coal country through rich, complex characters steeped in history and tradition. He is not only an observer, but also an activist in the fight against mountaintop removal coal mining. He’s written about the practice in theNew York Times and Sierra Magazine.

Cleaning Up Coal's Legacy of Fires and Landslides

8 hours ago
Jim Holliday is a veteran mine inspector in Kentucky.
Reid R. Frazier / The Allegheny Front

  This story is part of the ‘The Future of Coal’—a collaboration of The Allegheny FrontWest Virginia Public Broadcasting, and Inside Energy.

Many of Appalachia’s coal mines were dug before the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 was passed. Thousands of problem mines throughout the region are not subject to that law’s protections. These so-called pre-law mines come with a bevy of issues—they fill up with water, cause landslides, and catch fire.

Federal Regulations Drive the Past and Future of Coal

8 hours ago
Rick Swanson and Beverly Baughman have worked in Powder River Basin coal mines for decades.
Leigh Paterson

This story is part of the ‘The Future of Coal’—a collaboration of The Allegheny FrontWest Virginia Public Broadcasting, and Inside Energy.

Generally when a musician makes a mistake in a concert, he or she can just go home and forget about it. When your husband or wife is also your partner in music, that may not be so easy! That's the case for the Fa2 Duo--the violin and piano duo comprised of Cristian and Victoria Fatu.

In this episode, we’re revisiting a show from the Inside Appalachia archives. Remember those Love Letters that the town of Thomas wrote for another small town back in February? Well, they were delivered. We’ll find out which town received those letters in this episode. We’ll also hear a love letter written to a famous racehorse named Zenyatta, a story about bald eagle mates who remained together till death, and other stories about our complicated love of Appalachia. 

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Groundbreaking for the new Proctor & Gamble Company in Berkeley County is expected to be this fall.

Stephen Christian is the executive director of the Berkeley County Development Authority. In a speech to the community Friday, Christian said negotiations for what became the plans to bring Proctor & Gamble into the county began in fall of 2012.


Over 300 teens will be at the Capitol this weekend for a mock legislative session. Teenagers from all over the state who are part of the Youth Leadership Association: Youth in Government will travel to Charleston to hold a student led, mock legislative session for three days.

Optum Health Services

Health services company Optum has acquired walk-in medical care provider MedExpress.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based Optum announced the sale earlier this month. It is a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group Inc., the nation's largest health insurer.

West Virginia Autism Training Center

As the country recognizes autism awareness month, the state is making progress, but researchers across West Virginia say there’s still a long way to go.


Alec Hildebeidel is a junior journalism student at Marshall University. He was attracted to Marshall by the radio program at the student-run station WMUL. But, perhaps more importantly for Alec, the Bel Air, Maryland, native was attracted to a program at the University to help students with autism.