Cecelia Mason

Former Eastern Panhandle Bureau Chief, Inside Appalachia Host

Until her resignation from WVPB in July 2014, Cecelia Mason was West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Eastern Panhandle Bureau Chief. Cecelia worked in the Shepherd University bureau starting in December 1990 covering a variety of stories throughout the Eastern Panhandle and in Washington D.C. She could also be heard hosting Inside Appalachia.

Cecelia is a native West Virginian. She grew up in Fairmont where she graduated from Fairmont Senior High School and attended Fairmont State College for two years before transferring to Western Kentucky University where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism and Political Science.

Before joining West Virginia Public Broadcasting Cecelia worked in news departments at commercial radio stations in Bowling Green, Ky., Chattanooga, Tn., Knoxville, Tn., Wichita Falls, Tx., and Charles Town, W.Va. She also worked more than three years for a commercial television station in Lawton, Ok.

Ways to Connect

Submitted Photo / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Appalachian region has long been the focus of fascination and study going back to the early 1900’s when historians and musicologists traveled through the region collecting stories and songs.

But folks from outside the region have not always promoted a flattering image. And that, along with a curiosity about his own family, inspired Dave Tabler to start his web site Appalachia History.

The country’s top energy official visits Pittsburgh.

Veterans find gardening therapeutic.

We visit with Appalachian blogger and podcaster Dave Tabler.

And take a tour of a historic home in Hinton West Virginia.

Subscribe to the podcast through iTunes

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

It’s been a busy year for Berkeley County’s Erin Sponaugle, West Virginia’s 2014 Teacher of the Year. Aside from teaching fifth grade at Tomahawk Intermediate School near Hedgesville, West Virginia, Sponaugle has traveled across the state and country representing her profession.

“It’s been life changing and life defining," Sponaugle said.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Those attending the screening at the United States Capitol Tuesday evening will not only learn more about West Virginia, but will be able to sample some of its culinary treats. On Monday the Shepherdstown Sweet Shop Bakery was assembling this edible mosaic of the West Virginia state seal for the event. Owner Pam Berry said each square in the design was attached to the top of a chocolate brownie piece, making about 370 petit fours, or bite size treats.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

As the climate changes, scientists around the world are trying to figure out how plants, animals and even people will be affected. One scientist in West Virginia is conducting an experiment to find out how well a fish native to Appalachian streams might survive.

Biologist Than Hitt works at the U.S. Geological Survey Leetown Science Center in Jefferson County, West Virginia, where scientists explore everything from declining fish and mussel populations to the increasing presence of intersex fish in the nation’s waterways. Hitt has just started a new research project: trying to determine how climate change might affect the brook trout.

Research shows mountaintop removal mining does impact fish populations.

Southwestern Virginia is trying to boost its economy using culture and nature.

Appalachian food is the topic of a summit in Kentucky.

And a new play delves into the issue of sexual assault in the military.

Seth Freeman / Contemporary American Theater Festival

Starting this weekend in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, theater lovers will be able to explore such topics of the day as: how the country treats its veterans, artificial intelligence and the ethics of assisted suicide.

The line up for the 24th season of the Contemporary American Theater Festival at
Shepherd University features a play by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Charles Fuller that focuses on sexual assault in the U.S. military.

Submitted Photo / U.S. Geological Survey

Mountaintop removal mining does have an effect on fish populations downstream from the mining operations, according to a study just released by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The study title is a mouthful: Temporal changes in taxonomic and functional diversity of fish assemblages downstream from mountaintop mining, which is the fancy way of saying USGS scientists looked at how well fish populations are doing in streams down river from mountaintop mining sites.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Appalachian region has been reported on, documented and studied quite a bit in the past 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson came to the region to declare a ‘war on poverty.’

Two regular guys take on the job of documenting Appalachia’s culture and history.

A new book explores the meaning behind the name Wheeling.

Looking at Appalachia is still looking for photographs of the region.

And a West Virginia soldier is honored to be a member of the Old Guard.

West Virginia Legislature

During the school year children are guaranteed at least one full meal a day, something that goes away during the summer months. Three churches in Jefferson County are teaming up with other organizations to offer lunch to children.

St. John Lutheran Church and St. John's Episcopal Church in Harpers Ferry and Bolivar United Methodist Church in Bolivar are teaming up with the Jefferson County Council on Aging to provide summer lunches and activities for children.

American Electric Power
American Electric Power

Customers of American Electric Power in West Virginia would pay more for electricity if the power company’s request for a rate increase is granted.

Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power filed a request Monday with the West Virginia Public Service Commission for a $226 million revenue increase. Both are subsidiaries of AEP, which says in a news release that if approved, West Virginia customers would see a 17 percent increase in electric rates depending on usage and how they’re classified.

The company said in a news release the rate increase is needed for several reasons:

There will be some new faces at the next quarterly meeting of the West Virginia School Building Authority. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has appointed a new executive director and five new members to the SBA.

Tomblin announced Monday that David Sneed will serve as executive director. According to a news release from the Governor’s office, Sneed was the Chief of Architectural Services for the School Building Authority from 1990 until 2012. He has also served as director of school planning in Kanawha County and worked with a private company in educational project planning.

One Virginia man spreads the gospel of green.

There are fireflies in Pennsylvania that blink together.

More women are taking on the role of farmer.

A Tennessee writer has fond memories of hunting frogs.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

110 high school students from around the world are taking part in a week-long event in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, that encourages them to develop conservation leadership skills.

The Student Climate Conference, which is called SC3 for short, brings together students representing 30 states and nine countries, including Brazil, France and Somalia, asks the question: How are we as global citizens going to bring back and contribute to our schools and communities?

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

One day you might be able to buy even more styles of 100 percent West Virginia-made beer. That is, if a current study shows the state is a good place to grow hops. 

Since the craft beer industry has taken off, West Virginia State University decided to study whether local farmers can benefit from the burgeoning beer industry by growing hops for the brewers to use.

West Virginia State extension agent Brad Cochran says the state agriculture department awarded a $23,000 grant for the project, which seem to be popular. He received 70 applications from folks wanting to participate.

Heroin could be replacing prescription pills as Appalachia’s biggest drug problem.

West Virginia is 151 years old and we look at the African American contribution to its culsture.

Efforts are underway to encourage farmers across the region to grow hops to support the brewing industry.

And we visit with Bridget Lancaster from America’s Test Kitchen.

Pennsylvania coal miners mull over the proposed new EPA carbon rules.

Solar Power is too expensive for many non-profits but a West Virginia organization is making it possible.

And, Kentucky farmers have new crop option- hemp.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Shepherdstown Presbyterians meet in a circa-1836 brick building that sits just across the street from the town’s post office- about two blocks from the main street.

A few years ago the growing congregation put on an addition that houses modern meeting and gathering rooms. Soon, the roof of this addition will be topped with solar panels thanks to the newly formed nonprofit organization Solar Holler. 

Efforts to combat black lung disease draw criticism.

Meet Kentucky banjo player Lee Sexton.

A look at efforts in Kentucky and Pennsylvania to save the birds and bees.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Many artists, crafts people and musicians have made Appalachia their home, contributing to the culture and economy. A Morgan County couple is working to document the local arts scene through an online video project called ArtVoiceWV.

Jack Kelly is a retired public television documentary filmmaker. He and his wife Marla Carr moved to Berkeley Springs a little over a year ago.

  A new school library in Wheeling, West Virginia, looks to the future.

Also in West Virginia town of Matewan revisits its violent history.

And an Appalachian couple gives us an inside look at artists and their work.

Office/Sen. Jay Rockefeller

West Virginia native Sylvia Matthews Burwell's nomination to head the U.S. Department of Health and

Human Services took one more step forward Wednesday when the Senate Finance Committee approved her as Health and Human Services Secretary.

Burwell testified during a hearing before the committee on May 14, 2014, answering questions on topics like  the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid fraud and whether she'll be responsive to Senators when they have questions or concerns about HHS.

The committee approved the nomination by a vote of 21-3.

Folk Society of Greater Boston

Appalachia has a rich culture and history with music and stories passed down from generation to generation. But sometimes it’s non-natives who are working to document that history so it can be passed on to future generations. This has been the life calling of two folklorists and musicians who now make their home in Elkins, West Virginia, Michael and Carrie Kline.  

Exploring the Natural Gas Industry

Sylvia Mathews Burwell
Jean Snedegar

The Senate Finance Committee will vote Wednesday on whether to approve West Virginia Native Sylvia Matthews Burwell as the next Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Burwell currently serves as Office of Management and Budget Director, a job she started last year after the Senate voted April 24, 2013 96-0 to confirm her nomination.

Burwell appeared at a Finance Committee hearing last Wednesday where senators asked her questions about how she would handle the HHS job if confirmed.

W.Va. Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority

The West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority is taking a road trip so Authority members can get feedback from officials across the state.

The Jail Authority is conducting a series of meetings over the next several months at the 10 regional jails  to discuss jail costs.

Office/Sen. Jay Rockefeller

The Senate Finance Committee is expected to vote this week on whether to approve West Virginia native and current Office of Management and Budget Director, Sylvia Matthews Burwell, as head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

If the committee approves Burwell the full Senate will take up her nomination.

Republican Endorsement

Burwell faced another round of questions Wednesday April 14, 2014 as the U.S. Senate Finance Committee considered her nomination to head the Department of Health and Human Services.

Carbon Capture Technology could be the key to using coal cleanly.

What impact do drugs in drinking water have?

A national organization tackles senior hunger in McDowell County, West Virginia.

And we revisit a famous West Virginia civil rights case.

Peggy Ingraham / National Foundation to End Senior Hunger

Much attention has been paid over the years to child hunger, but hunger and poor nutrition are also problems among the country’s senior population. The National Foundation to End Senior Hunger is hoping to change that and has created a pilot program in West Virginia’s poorest county that the organization hopes will be replicated across Appalachia and the country.

NFESH commissioned a study starting in 2008 that shows the incidence of hunger among the nation’s senior population. That first study showed that one in nine seniors, or about 11 percent, faces the threat of hunger.

Cecelia Mason / WV Public Radio

 

Shepherdstown is among the 64 towns vying for the title of Best Place to Live in America in Outside Magazine. 

The competition is broken down into four geographic regions of the US; West, East, Midwest, and South. Shepherdstown is one of 16 towns from the south.

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