News

Aaron Schackelford / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The billionaire Wilbur Ross is headed for Senate confirmation hearings as President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of Commerce. Ross made it to ultra-rich status in part by salvaging coal and steel assets in Appalachia and the Rust Belt. His business dealings leave a mixed legacy in the Ohio Valley region, from rescued steel mills to the site of a searing workplace disaster, and raise questions about the leadership he would bring to the president’s cabinet.  

 

U.S. National Archive Jack Corn

Why is Donald Trump so popular in Appalachia? And how confident are Appalachians that Trump will change the economy and bring back thousands of coal mining jobs?

What do Donald Trump, goat yoga and West Virginia's budget have in common? Find out on this week's Front Porch podcast.

Josh Saul / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Organizations from around the state gathered at Marshall University Friday to discuss the next step in rebuilding the communities ravaged by the June 2016 flooding.

The one-day summit in Huntington focused on ways to improve the devastated economies in regions of the state where flooding took not only homes, but also businesses and schools. Jenny Gannaway, is the Executive Director of the West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster group, which hosted the event. 

Jim Justice
Chris Tilley / AP Photo

Gov.-elect Jim Justice will take his oath of office Monday, Jan. 16, at 1 p.m. on the steps of the state Capitol during his inauguration ceremony.

Elected in November, Justice will become the state's 36th governor. 

Fayette County Map
David Benbennick / wikimedia commons

After seven years of state control, Fayette County is on the verge of regaining partial control of its local school system.

The West Virginia Board of Education voted Thursday to give Fayette's local school board control of its schools except for the ability to replace their state-appointed superintendent, facilities or finances related to facilities.

Justice Taps Gayle Manchin, Consultant to Run Agencies

Jan 13, 2017
Gayle Manchin
Dave Martin / AP

Gov.-elect Jim Justice has chosen former State Board of Education member and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin's wife Gayle Manchin to head his Department of Education and the Arts, and an energy industry consultant to head West Virginia's Department of Environmental Protection.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

With his inauguration Monday, Gov.-elect Jim Justice is announcing more staff appointments in his new administration. 

Justice announced Friday former state Senator and long-time House of Delegates member Bob Ashely will take over as his legislative director, working directly with lawmakers to push the governor’s bill through the legislative process.

Opioids
Toby Talbot / AP Photo

The Cabell County Commission is considering whether to seek damages from opioid manufacturers, wholesalers, pharmacies, pharmacists and prescribing doctors for the prescription painkillers that fueled the state's drug epidemic.

The Huntington Herald-Dispatch reports that a law firm urged the commission Thursday to declare that distribution of pain medications a public nuisance and hire it to pursue the case and take 30 percent of any recoveries.

Passion, Not Position

Jan 13, 2017

My service for the state I love has never been about a position; it’s always been about passion.

While I’ve been blown away by the calls, texts, emails, social media posts, and favorite candy sent (you can keep those goodies coming folks), the positive momentum we have created in the travel and tourism industry in West Virginia during the last two and a half years has never been just about me.

Shannon Tompkins / Flickr

In many ways, the Ohio River is an unsung resource for the region it serves. The Ohio’s near-thousand-mile course flows through Pennsylvania and five other states before emptying into the Mississippi. It’s a source of drinking water for more than five million people. But its long legacy as a “working river” has also made it the most polluted in the country. Today, many cities and towns along the Ohio are rethinking their relationship to the river—and weighing how a large-scale restoration effort could be critical to the region’s future. But just how do we get there?

Cities and towns all along the Ohio River are pushing to reinvent their economies. And they’re turning to everything from recreation to new industry to do it. Here are three new developments we’re watching from Pennsylvania to West Virginia.

1. Shell’s Ethane Cracker

Google Earth

Closed in January 2016, the Shenango Coke Works on Neville Island is a quiet place these days. A group of local activists would like to keep it that way: They’d like to see the site turned into a solar farm.  A pipe dream? Maybe not. The utility that owns it actually has a robust recent history of investing in renewables. 

Last year when Leah Andrascik heard the Shenango Coke Works was closing, she thought it was a joke. Then, when she realized the news sent in an email by a fellow activist was true, she was relieved.

Kara Lofton

As towns large and small along the Ohio River struggle to rebuild their economies, many are trying to attract more industry. But some places are realizing that embracing the recreational side of their riverfronts can also be a key engine for growth.

Business has been picking up in recent years for Tim Reddinger, who owns a bait shop in Bridgewater, just north of Pittsburgh, along the Ohio River.

“Can you see that right there?” Reddinger asks, pointing from the bank to a nearby eddy in the river. “Those are baby shad—probably not a couple months old.”

Coal Stock Pile
www.mine-engineer.com

A judge has ordered federal regulators to quickly evaluate how many power plant and coal mining jobs are lost because of air pollution regulations.

U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey in Wheeling made the ruling after reviewing a response from outgoing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy.

Kroger
Magnus Manske / Wikimedia Commons

The Kroger grocery chain says it has begun online ordering in West Virginia at its market in Barboursville.

Customers can order groceries by computer or mobile device then pick them up at store curbside the same day without leaving their vehicles.

Jim Justice Victory Speech
Walter Scriptunas II / AP

Some of the conflict-of-interest issues swirling around President-elect Donald Trump in Washington are playing out on a smaller scale in West Virginia, where the richest man in the state — an Appalachian coal baron with real estate, resort and farm holdings, too — is about to be sworn in as governor.

Democratic Gov.-elect Jim Justice, like Trump, has refused to shed his holdings, giving assurances he can be trusted to act honorably. Like Trump, he has put his business empire in the hands of family members, though he said as recently as last month that he would put his holdings in a blind trust.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Beth Vorhees previews her television interview with Governor Earl Ray Tomblin that airs on West Virginia Public Broadcasting this weekend and we’ll preview this weekend’s Inside Appalachia hearing from supporters and opponents of President-elect Donald Trump.

That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Anne Li / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Appalachia voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump. He won 95% of the counties here. On this week’s Inside Appalachia, we speak with Trump supporters and opponents about how a Trump presidency will impact our region.

Marshall University
Wikipedia / en.wikipedia.org

A conference at Marshall University will focus on long-term recovery efforts following last summer's devastating flooding in West Virginia.

The conference will be held Friday at Marshall's Brad D. Smith Foundation Hall in Huntington.

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