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A raft of garbage covers a swath of the Monongahela River in northern West Virginia, a dozen miles upstream from the drinking water intake for 100,000 people.

Old tires, damaged toys, algae, oil drums, sticks and other refuse have crowded against the dam for so long that weeds sprout from them. Stuck against the spillway, the trash spans a football field's length from one bank to the other and spreads almost 30 yards upstream.

Alan Messer

“Mountain Stage with Larry Groce” returns to Elkins, WV this Saturday, August 12 as the closing concert of the Augusta Heritage Festival.

Courtesy of Kenneth King and the WV Mine Wars Museum

The West Virginia Mine Wars Museum has received a $30,000 challenge grant for a project to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Blair Mountain in 2021.

The National Endowment for the Humanities announced the grant last week. The museum is located in Matewan.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, a presidential commission on the opioid crisis delivered its first report last week. Among the recommendations: better sharing of data.

Data Fix: Cities Seek Better Information on Opioid Epidemic

Aug 5, 2017
J. Tyler Franklin

Paramedics and police are already in the hotel room when Kyle Simpson walks in.

“What happened?” he asks.

A 37-year-old man in the room is barely conscious--just revived by the overdose reversal medication NARCAN.

A 40-year-old Federal Law Literally Changed the Appalachian Landscape

Aug 5, 2017
Kara Leigh Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Forty years ago, President Jimmy Carter signed a law that literally changed the face of Appalachia.

The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA) was intended to replace a state-to-state patchwork of rules for strip-mining with a uniform federal standard. Four decades later, however, environmentalists say the law has fallen far short of its potential.

“Massive destruction, massive explosives -- and only 300 feet away from someone’s home,” said Thom Kay, legislative associate at Appalachian Voices. “What is SMCRA doing if that’s still allowed?”

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

With the stroke of a pen, Gov. Jim Justice officially returned to the state’s Republican Party Friday afternoon.

The change came less than 24 hours after the governor announced his intention to flip parties during a Donald Trump campaign rally.

Courtesy Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC)

It’s been 10 years since The Erma Byrd Center opened in Raleigh County. State officials, students, faculty and community members gathered at the Center on Friday to celebrate the anniversary.

The Erma Byrd Center, was West Virginia’s first collaborative higher education campus. The Center offers classes and student services from Bluefield State College, Concord University and Marshall University.

West Virginia Governor's Office

Last weekend’s flash flooding in northern and north-central West Virginia has caused over $10 million dollars in damages.

Eleven counties are facing damage costs totaling $10,604,778, according to the West Virginia Department of Transportation.

Governor Jim Justice switched parties again today, returning to the Republican roots he left in 2015.

On this special edition of the Front Porch podcast, we debate what this means for Justice, the Democratic and Republican parties and the state as a whole.

W.Va. GOP Shares Mixed Reactions to Justice Flip

Aug 4, 2017
Darron Cummings / AP Photo

Democratic Gov. Jim Justice's announcement that he was switching parties came around 7:30 Thursday night, but word of his departure had already been leaked to national outlets like The New York Times and the Associated Press, and it wasn't long before members of both parties from the top down made their thoughts about the decision known.

Pipeline ready for construction.
Seth Perlman / Associated Press

The Senate has approved two Republicans nominated by President Donald Trump to serve on the federal commission that oversees the nation’s power grid and natural gas pipelines.

Senators’ unanimous votes Thursday approving Senate aide Neil Chatterjee and Pennsylvania utility regulator Robert Powelson restore a voting quorum on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Marshall University
Wikipedia / en.wikipedia.org

Marshall University is receiving a grant to enhance an app created by an associate history professor.

The funding will help further develop the Clio app created by David Trowbridge. The app provides GPS-guided information on historical and cultural landmarks in small towns and large cities across the United States.

Roads, Road, Highway, Turnpike
Seicer / Wikimedia Commons

West Virginia tax authorities report collections rose to $73.6 million for the state road fund in July, the first month of higher taxes and fees to support it, exceeding last year's collections by almost $16 million.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, President Donald Trump’s visit to West Virginia Thursday was eclipsed by a major announcement from a state official during his campaign rally in Huntington. Trump was joined on stage by Democratic Gov. Jim Justice, whose announcement that he is switching party affiliation is sending shockwaves through the state’s political circles.

Justice Announces Switch to GOP During Trump Rally

Aug 3, 2017
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice takes the podium during a campaign rally for President Donlad J. Trump Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, in Huntington, W.Va.
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Pubic Broadcasting

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced he is switching party affiliation from Democrat to Republican.

 

Justice made the announcement during a campaign rally held Thursday night in Huntington for President Donald Trump.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice waves to the crowd as he delivers his inauguration speech, Monday, Jan. 16, 2017, in Charleston, W.Va.
Walter Scriptunas II / AP Photo

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice is switching parties to join Republicans as President Donald Trump plans a visit to the increasingly conservative state.

Timothy D. Easley / Associated Press file photo

Federal funds are available for economic development projects in the state. The money is meant to help communities left with mining impacts from activity before 1977.

Photo courtesy of WVU

Four entities are teaming up to take on a nearly $8 million rehabilitation project -- revamping the Upper Deckers Creek Site 1 dam in Preston County.

Memory Sunday: Churches Spread Alzheimer’s Awareness

Aug 3, 2017
Wesley United Methodist Church Pastor Anthony Everett.
Mary Meehan / Ohio Valley ReSource

The church choir in bright blue robes swayed and testified on a hot summer Sunday.

Pastor Anthony Everett, in his own robe of orange and brown, preached to his “saints” of Wesley United Methodist Church and they called back their approval with a staggered chorus of “Amen!”

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