Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In a tiny basement living room in southwestern Virginia, two women and their husbands listen to Joanna Davis talk about what might go wrong during their births.

“So this is an Ambu bag, and if your baby was in trouble and needed help breathing this is what we would use,” she begins.

Davis is a home birth midwife based in southwestern Virginia, but serves a significant swath of central Appalachia. Several months ago, she held a birthing class for two families interested in using her services.

This week marks the 25 year anniversary of the world renowned alt-rock band R.E.M.'s appearance on Mountain Stage. The 1991 performance was one of only a handful of live performances the band gave that year. 

Mountain Stage Executive Producer Adam Harris discusses the significance of the performance and its anniversary.

Huntington has advanced to the finals of the America’s Best Communities competition.

Huntington was selected by a panel of judges this week to be one of eight finalists in a national competition for America’s Best Community. According to a press release, America’s Best Communities aim to inspire economic revitalization in small towns and cities across the country.

West Virginia National Guard, Army National Guard, National Guard, Camp Dawson, Preston County
West Virginia National Guard

The West Virginia National Guard’s Camp Dawson has been recognized for its environmental conservation efforts.

The military training facility in Preston County was one of nine winners from a total of 30 nominations for the 2016 Secretary of Defense Environmental award.

Potomac River
TimK MSI / wikimedia commons

The Maryland Department of the Environment says Verso Corp. will pay a $10,000 settlement for two chemical spills that tainted the Potomac River last fall.

Agency spokesman Jay Apperson said Thursday the amount is the same as a fine the agency proposed in February.

For those who experienced it, Mountain Stage on April 28, 1991 was an unforgettable one to say the least. That day R.E.M., unquestionably one of the most popular bands at that time, emerged from a brief touring hiatus to perform on Mountain Stage in Charleston, WV.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The auditor of West Virginia will be the next president and CEO of the National White Collar Crime Center in Richmond, Virginia.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that Glen Gainer will oversee day-to-day operations at the center starting May 15.

Mine Wars Museum
W.Va. Mine Wars Museum

The West Virginia Mine Wars Museum is offering a screening of a new documentary for public television about miners in southern West Virginia and their fight for civil liberties.

The film, "The Mine Wars," will be shown at a May Day event that begins at 2 p.m. Sunday at the United Mine Workers of America Local 1440 Union Hall on Mate Street in downtown Matewan. Also featured will be snacks and musical performances.

Dozens of community leaders from across the state are converging in Summersville today for Hubapalooza- the annual conference sponsored by the West Virginia Community Development Hub. 

The event’s main goal is to network and share ideas and this year organizers and participants will focus on moving not just West Virginia, but Appalachia forward. Kent Spellman, the Hub’s executive director, discusses the day-long event. 

Transgender people are increasingly coming out and speaking up here in West Virginia. How are we going to respond?

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin expects to take about $50 million more from reserves to cover a pressing budget hole.

The Democrat said Wednesday that the Rainy Day Fund money would help West Virginia get through the current fiscal year ending June 30. Tomblin used reserves and cuts to cover a 2016 gap of about $353 million.

Manchin Capito

Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito introduced Jessie’s Law Wednesday.

The legislation is inspired by Jessie Grubb. Jessie’s father David Grubb shared Jessie’s story of heroin addiction with President Barack Obama when the President visited Charleston in October. The President was in West Virginia to host a town hall discussion about the opioid epidemic.

Cabell-Huntington Hospital
Cabell-Huntington Hospital

None of the 18 letters sent to the West Virginia Attorney General's office recently were in favor of a proposal to merge two Huntington hospitals.

News outlets report that during the 10-day comment period, which ended April 18, all of the comments, including one from the Federal Trade Commission, expressed concerns over Cabell Huntington Hospital's proposed acquisition of St. Mary's Medical Center.

Don Blankenship
Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Prosecutors are urging a federal appeals court not to allow former coal company executive Don Blankenship to remain free while the court considers an appeal.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that government lawyers say allowing the ex-Massey Energy CEO to continue his $1 million bail would be contrary to federal law. They say the law allows appeals to delay jail sentences only in "exceptional circumstances." Blankenship is scheduled to report to prison May 12.

Rockefeller as governor
The Rockefeller Family

A new exhibit has opened at West Virginia University chronicling the legacy of former Senator Jay Rockefeller.

The West Virginia and Regional History Center opened the Rockefeller exhibit Tuesday. Titled, ‘Jay Rockefeller: A Legacy of Leadership,’ it’s located in Wise Library’s Rockefeller Gallery on the Morgantown campus of West Virginia University. Much of the content is also available online.

Paint Creek
TimK MSI / Wikimedia Commons

An organization has created a mobile app that will give people self-guided tours of a 44-mile scenic byway near Beckley.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that the Paint Creek Scenic Trails Association has created the app to give people access to 10 audio pieces with information on the Paint Creek Scenic Byway.

Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry
West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals

A West Virginia Supreme Court justice will speak this week in Welch during the McDowell County Law Day event.

Justice Allen H. Loughry II will be the main speaker at the event, set for 10 a.m. Friday at the McDowell County Courthouse.

Marshall University
Wikipedia /

A panel discussion on sex trafficking in West Virginia is scheduled next week at Marshall University.

Democratic House of Delegates member Barbara Evans Fleischauer of Monongalia is among those taking part in the panel at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the university's Memorial Student Center.

U.S. Department of State

West Virginia voters can begin heading to the polls to cast votes ahead of the May 10 primary election.

Early voting began Wednesday and runs through May 7. Polls will be open on Saturdays.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

An estimated 6,000 Bernie Sanders supporters attended the Tuesday rally in Huntington, standing in line for hours to see the Democratic candidate for president. 

The results Tuesday evening, however, showed Sanders lagging even further behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, winning only one of five state primary elections, but neither Sanders nor his supporters are ready to back out of the race just yet. 

Still, Clinton's nomination appears to be more and more inevitable as voters across the country continue to cast ballots. So, should their candidate lose the race, how will West Virginia's Sanders supporters vote in November?