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Office of the Governor / via Twitter

Gov. Justice has announced changes to the management of slow-moving flood recovery program designed to help those affected by the flood of June 2016. The announcement comes on the heels of reporting that shows poor management on the part of officials in the state development office, little money spent and few flood victims getting assistance.

Bruce Parsons / KVEC

Student teams from across the coalfields of eastern Kentucky came together at the Knott County Sportsplex, bringing with them drones that they themselves had built. It was time for the climax of this year-long project. A basketball court had been separated with nets, and padded gates marked a circuit course for the little flying machines.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we’ve heard a series of stories recently about a community in West Virginia, where residents are concerned about toxic waste they say is causing high rates of cancer. Many residents there say they want the Environmental Protection Agency to put their town on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List -- or NPL.

But resources for the federal program have been dwindling for decades. What does it mean when a community is placed on the NPL? Do contaminated areas get cleaned up? Brittany Patterson visited one site in north-central West Virginia to learn more.

A new government report says that the federal black lung trust fund that helps sick and dying coal miners pay living and medical expenses could incur a $15 billion deficit in the next 30 years. That's if a congressionally mandated funding cut occurs as planned at the end of the year.

Town of Berkeley Springs, Morgan County looking south; CNB Bank (left) and The Country Inn (right). Photo taken on June 3, 2018.
Robert Madison / Courtesy Photo

Updated on Monday, June 4, 2018 at 1:45 p.m.

Governor Jim Justice declared a state of emergency for a handful of counties in the Eastern Panhandle this weekend due to flooding from heavy rainfall.

Berkeley, Jefferson, Morgan, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Mineral, and Pendleton counties are under the state of emergency

Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC

The final two protesters who had perched themselves on trees and poles to block construction of a natural gas pipeline through Appalachia have come down.

The Roanoke Times reports one protester was forcibly removed Friday and another came down voluntarily as authorities approached.

President Trump has ordered Energy Secretary Rick Perry to take immediate steps to help financially troubled coal and nuclear power plants.

Brittany Patterson

On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll visit Minden, West Virginia, where residents are asking the federal government to consider adding their town to an official list of places most seriously contaminated by hazardous waste. But this nearly 40-year-old program’s budget has faced repeated cuts over the past 20 years. We’ll learn about how that may affect cleanup efforts for communities that are designated as U.S. Department of Environmental Protection Superfund sites.

Steve Helber / AP File Photo

President Donald Trump on Friday directed Energy Secretary Rick Perry to prepare “immediate steps” to bolster struggling coal-fired and nuclear power plants to keep them open.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Trump believes “keeping America’s energy grid and infrastructure strong and secure protects our national security, public safety and economy from intentional attacks and natural disasters.”

Courtesy of the Artist

(Important Ticketing Update)
Mountain Stage with Larry Groce welcomes Lee Ann Womack, Caitlyn Smith, The Travelin' McCourys, Haley Heynderickx, and Anthony da Costa to Mountain Stage this Sunday in Charleston.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the Charleston Ballet is one of the oldest ballet companies in America. In a new documentary directed by Deborah Novak, members of the company, both seasoned and new, share the story of the ballet and its founder, Andre Van Damme.

Gillian Brooks sat down with Kim Pauley, artistic director and CEO of the Charleston Ballet, to discuss the company’s history and remember its founder.

Brittany Patterson / WVPB

The Environmental Protection Agency will hold a public listening session next week in the town of Minden, which is seeking federal help due to hazardous waste contamination.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Moring, Kandi Messinger is a health educator for WVU Cabell County Extension Service. She teaches a nutrition and cooking basics class for those going through the Cabell County drug courts program. Kara Lofton spoke with Messinger about why alternative education and life skills training is an important piece of recovery.

Becca Schimmel / Ohio Valley Resource

  The Trump administration has made good on a promise to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on some major U.S. trading partners, including the European Union, Canada and Mexico.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A small West Virginia town is grappling with a wastewater system that has raw sewage running through yards and streets. As Glynis Board reports, it’s a far-too common problem for many Ohio Valley communities struggling with small budgets and big infrastructure needs.

Hal Saville works as a commercial energy project consultant for Energy Independent Solutions. He helps develop and sell solar panel systems like the one that just went in at the Forest Hills Municipal Building near Pittsburgh. For StateImpact Pennsylvania’s Voices of Energy series, Saville shares his story as a crew finishes installing the system’s wiring.

Brittany Patterson / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

UPDATE 6/1/18:

After this story was published, resident Annetta Coffman sent West Virginia Public Broadcasting a list including an additional 89 names of people in Minden who have had cancer or died of cancer. West Virginia Public Broadcasting reported earlier that according to an unofficial list compiled by community members, about 152 people have had cancer or died of cancer in this community of 250 residents.


Brittany Patterson / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On a recent drive through the Northview neighborhood of Clarksburg, James Lachapelle surveyed what is left of the factory that was once the lifeblood of this blue-collar community in north central West Virginia.

Broken windows dot the dilapidated structure, which was once the Roland glass factory. Luscious green vines and trees almost obscure the piles of tires and other refuse.

Lachapelle has lived here his entire life. His grandfather, father and brother all worked at the glass factory.

"I grew up with that factory there and never had one worry about," he said. "I mean we just grew up [thinking] 'OK, that’s just the way it was,' but as you got older and the factory collapsed, then you started worrying when are they going to clean this mess up?"

Margo Price
Brian Blauser / Mountain Stage

 

Country music's reigning honky-tonk queen, Margo Price, performs "Hurtin' (on the Bottle)" from this week's encore broadcast of Mountain Stage with Larry Groce. 

courtesy of Kimberly Shatney

Kimberly Shatney lives just outside Pine Grove, West Virginia, an incorporated town of about 500 people with a big problem. Behind a small sandwich shop in town, she points to the ground caked with what looks like dry mud.

“This is all raw sewage. All of that, all of this is raw sewage,” Shatney said, shaking her head.

Mike Stuart
U.S. Attorney's Office

U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart has been recused from representing the federal government in a case involving former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship's criminal mine safety conviction.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the U.S. Surgeon General recently issued an advisory, encouraging more Americans to carry the overdose reversing drug naloxone. It comes in the form of an injection or a nasal spray, known as Narcan, and is regularly carried by firefighters, EMTs and police officers. As a part of a series on the ripple effects of the opioid crisis, StateImpact Ohio’s Ashton Marra reports the antidote is also becoming more and more common in Ohio schools.

Adobe Stock

A new study has found that strong statewide firearm laws is associated with lower firearm suicide rates as well as a lower overall suicide rate in the state.

The study was published earlier this month in the online Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers analyzed data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Adobe Stock

Eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, nuts and fish may help older adults prevent age-related brain shrinkage. 

The study, published this month in the online medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, suggests that diet can impact brain volume – and people with greater volume have been shown to have better cognitive abilities.

Brain shrinkage is an unavoidable part of aging. But significant brain shrinkage is associated with memory loss and loss of mental sharpness as well as premature death.

Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC

A citizen group says an environmental project manager for the government has been wrongly signing off on the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

Smithburg Fire Department / via AP

Authorities say one of four people who were hospitalized after oil tanks exploded in West Virginia has died.

51-year-old Barry Lattea of Weston died Saturday at a Pittsburgh hospital. A medical examiner determined Lattea died of thermal and inhalation injuries.

Carolyn Kaster / AP Photo

At a West Virginia rally on tax cuts, President Donald Trump veered off on a subject that likely puzzled most of his audience.

"Nine of your people just came up to me outside. 'Could you talk about 202?'" he said. "We'll be looking at that 202. You know what a 202 is? We're trying."

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A coalition of conservation groups is suing the Trump administration over changes to a hundred-year old law protecting migrating birds. Late last year, the administration announced a seemingly minor change to just two words in the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. As Brittany Patterson reports, those two little words have big implications for thousands of birds that migrate over the Ohio Valley.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Hey Appalachia lovers. We are starting a new summer series all about getting outside, enjoying wild wonderful recreational activities, and staying safe while having fun. We need your help! Please send us your hidden gems, outdoor favorites and organizations that are doing awesome things to help people enjoy the great outdoors. This series is not just about being outside in West Virginia. Please send us your eastern Kentucky, southeast Ohio, southern Pennsylvania and southwestern Virginia spots too.

These could be favorite spots for:

1. biking

Birders identify species in the WVU arboretum, a popular woods in Morgantown, WV.
Brittany Patterson / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On a recent chilly Tuesday morning, about 20 people filed along a winding dirt path leading deeper into West Virginia University’s Arboretum in Morgantown.

Armed with binoculars, smartphones and hiking boots, the group had one goal — spot and identify the chittering birds hidden in the trees above.

This photo provided by Smithburg Fire Department shows emergency personnel responding after oil tanks exploded in West Union, W.Va. on Friday, May 25, 2018.
Smithburg Fire Department via AP

Four people have been hospitalized after oil tanks exploded in West Virginia.

News outlets report a company was removing three oil tanks in West Union on Friday when the tanks exploded. State Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Jake Glance said workers were dismantling the tanks with some type of torch. But the tanks were not entirely empty and caught fire.

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