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It’s been about 20 years since the opioid epidemic first exploded across Appalachia, and now doctors are shifting away from prescribing opioids for long-term pain. 

But this shift away from pills has met resistance from some  doctors and patients.

In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we'll hear why addiction hit Appalachia so hard. We'll also find out what the medical community is doing to fight the pain pill epidemic.

Bubble sheet test
Clark Davis / WV Public Broadcasting

West Virginia Business College has had its permit to operate in the state revoked.

The West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education said Thursday the decision was made over the college's failure to gain accreditation for the 2017-18 school year and its inability to offer students financial aid. The revocation is effective June 30.

Alexandria Kanik / Ohio Valley ReSource

McKenzie Cantrell is an employment lawyer affiliated with the Maxwell Street Legal Clinic, in Lexington, Kentucky, where she works with low-income refugees and immigrants to uncover instances of wage theft and income disparities. Cantrell, who is also a state representative for part of Jefferson County, travels and gives presentations about employment law, wage theft and what workers’ options are if they have problems with compensation.

Roxy Todd

20-year-old Colt Brogan always found it easy to make fairly good grades in school. As a kid, he’d dreamed of being an architect. But that changed. Around the time when he was a junior in high school, Colt decided college wasn’t for him.

“It felt too unpredictable. I thought, dealing drugs is safer than going to college. That’s the God’s honest truth,” says Colt.

Manchin Job Fair Huntington
Clark Davis / WV Public Broadcasting

Several job seekers from southern West Virginia traveled to Huntington Friday to explore employment opportunities.

Nearly 150 employers were at the Big Sandy Arena  in Huntington Friday, looking to fill job vacancies. United States Senator Joe Manchin’s office organized the three-hour job fair in downtown Huntington. Employers ranging from Wendy’s to state government were on hand, as well as local colleges like Marshall University that offered assistance for education options. Senator Manchin said he wanted to present job seekers with a variety of choices all in one place.

WVU Tech
West Virginia University

West Virginia University officials have approved an agreement that allows a nonprofit group to purchase several buildings at a southern West Virginia campus.

KVC Health Systems, which specializes in behavioral health care and child welfare, plans to convert the WVU Tech campus in Montgomery into a college specifically for children transitioning out of the foster care system, giving at-risk young adults a chance to earn two-year degrees at no cost to them.

Melissa Thomas Van Gundy at the  Fernow Experimental Forest in Tucker County, W.Va.
Jean Sendegar / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Editor's Note: This story is part of an occasional series from independent producer Jean Snedegar about the timber and forest products industry here in the Mountain State – from seedlings to final products.

One of the oldest and largest industries in West Virginia is the timber and wood products industry.  West Virginia is rich in this renewable natural resource, but the housing downturn that began 10 years ago hit the industry hard. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning we begin an occasional series highlighting the state's timber industry and Warren Zevon is remembered in a 1991 performance on Mountain Stage.

That's on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting - telling West Virginia's story.

Broadband Lawsuit
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A telecommunications call center in Parkersburg will be closing this summer, putting nearly 170 people out of work.

Altice USA is shutting down the Suddenlink Communications call center this summer. Altice purchased Suddenlink more than a year ago.

Ibrahim.ID / wikimedia Commons

The former office manager of a legal aid clinic in Charleston has been sentenced to more than four years in federal prison for embezzling more than $1.5 million over 12 years.

Fifty-five-year-old Kim Cooper of St. Albans was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Charleston for her guilty plea to wire fraud and tax evasion.

Oxycodone
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West Virginia will receive $5.9 million from the federal government to help fight drug addiction.

U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins and Sens. Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin announced the grant Thursday from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Steve Herber / Associated Press

West Virginia is prepared for public health emergencies. That’s according to a report out Thursday.

On this week's Front Porch podcast - we discuss the Struggle to Stay in Appalachia. It's a long-time obsession in our region, and also a new project of Inside Appalachia and West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

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Parents or guardians who cause the death of a child in West Virginia will face tougher penalties under a law signed by the governor.

Gov. Jim Justice signed Senate Bill 288, known as "Emmaleigh's Law," into law Wednesday. It sets a sentence of 15 years to life for fatal child abuse caused by a parent, guardian, custodian or other person allowed by the parent to commit the abuse.

Evan Jenkins RCBI
Clark Davis / WV Public Broadcasting

State and Federal officials were in Huntington Thursday afternoon to announce a series of grants aimed at helping create employment in the southern part of the state.

Three grants in excess of $6 million will target manufacturing, agriculture and healthcare in the southern part of the state. The grants were awarded at the Robert C. Byrd Institute in Huntington. The Appalachian Hatchery project will boost workforce training opportunities through RCBI. The Sprouting Farms program will help facilitate an agricultural industry in nine counties in southern West Virginia. 

Tesla Supercharging
Mariordo / Wikimedia Commons

Construction has begun for a Tesla Supercharger station in Charleston, making it the second in West Virginia.

News outlets report the station, which will be exclusively for Model S and X cars, will occupy eight parking spaces of the Courtyard by Marriot hotel.

Crime Tape
Einstein2 / Wikimedia Commons

Authorities say Crime Stoppers of West Virginia are starting a new initiative that would offer up to $10,000 to help solve cold cases.

Beckley Police Sgt. Morgan Bragg says Crime Stoppers will be made up of several different southern West Virginia law enforcement agencies. The tasks force will work toward solving decades-old cases. Officials say they'll begin working on their first case by the end of the month.

Cash Money
Psychonaught / Wikimedia Commons

A Huntington audit has uncovered the city's fire pension board failed to properly calculate retirees' pensions, resulting in overpayments for over 25 years.

City Manager Cathy Burns says the city overpaid about 50 fire department retirees. Burns says miscalculations started in 1990 when the city moved to a "confusing" state formula.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The CEO of the nation’s biggest public utility said Tuesday that the agency isn’t going to reopen coal-fired power plants under President Donald Trump, who has promised a comeback for the downtrodden coal industry.

Tennessee Valley Authority CEO Bill Johnson said he thinks very little will actually change for the federal utility under Trump.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, in Louisville, Kentucky reporter Erica Peterson checks out the plans to put a solar array on the site of a surface mine in Pikeville and Poet Laureate Marc Harshman is along with a poetry break.

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

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