Cecelia Mason

Eastern Panhandle Bureau Chief, Inside Appalachia Host

Cecelia Mason is West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Eastern Panhandle Bureau Chief. Cecelia has worked in the Shepherd University bureau since December 1990 covering a variety of stories throughout the Eastern Panhandle and in Washington D.C. She can 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.

When she’s not covering news Cecelia teaches a news practicum class for Shepherd University’s Communications Department.


9:08 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Massive Snow Storm Closes Much of the State

A Martinsburg resident clears the snow so he can get his vehicle out.
Credit Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is asking West Virginia residents to stay home and off the roads because of a winter storm.

Tomblin said Thursday that residents shouldn't travel unless it's an emergency or they have to travel.

Only state employees who provide essential services were told to report to work Thursday.

In Berkeley County, Council President Doug Copenhaver declared a state of emergency for the county. A news release said the declaration allows the county to request and receive additional resources from the state.

Read more
Winter Storm
3:57 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Updated: Get Your Snow Shovels and Blowers Ready!

Credit National Weather Service

Concord University closed at 2 p.m. and canceled evening classes Wednesday in Athens and Beckley, W.Va., as a snow storm worked its way north putting one third of the state under a winter storm warning .

The warning has been expanded to cover about 22 counties and is effective in from this afternoon through Thursday night and, in some counties, Friday morning. The warning covers counties stretching from Bluefield in the south to Martinsburg in the Eastern Panhandle.

Read more
Rising Sun Award
2:59 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Japan Honors Sen. Rockefeller

Credit West Virginia Public Broadcasting

W.Va. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) was the guest of honor at a luncheon Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

During a ceremony later in the day, Rockefeller will receive the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun from the Japanese government recognizing him for decades of work strengthening and promoting the relationship between Japan and the United States. The award was established in 1875 and is the country’s highest honor for foreigners.

West Virginia PBS is videotaping the event as part of a documentary commemorating Rockefeller’s 50 years of public service.

Read more
More Power
4:56 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Appalachian Power Plans Upgrade in McDowell

Appalachian Power is planning an $80 million upgrade to its service in southern West Virginia.

The company plans to remove 35 miles of existing 88 kilo-volt transmission line as well as two substations.

Plans call for making improvements to some existing substations, rebuilding and upgrading about 17 miles of an existing transmission line and replacing wood tower structures with steel towers.

Read more
Inside Appalachia
7:00 am
Sat February 8, 2014

Creation v. Evolution, Water Testing 101, It's a Good Year for Snowshoeing, and More

It was evolution versus creationism during a high profile debate in Kentucky.

Contaminated water is still a hot topic in West Virginia and we have a primer on testing it.

Regulating gas drilling has been a concern for a long time and there are lessons to learn from the past.

And it’s a good year to pick up the sport of snowshoeing.

Read more
Free College Help
3:13 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Get Some Free Help Filling Out Your College Financial Aid Form

Credit College Foundation of West Virginia

Students planning to pursue post-secondary education within the next year can get some help filling out the federal financial aid paperwork on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014 from 1-4 p.m.

The fifth annual College Goal Sunday event is taking place at 25 locations across the state.

The workshops will help students fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.

A news release says the form must be completed if students want to be considered for a variety of financial aid programs including state and federal grants, scholarships and loans.

Read more
ARC Study
6:08 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

WVU Will Study Effectivness of Appalachian Programs

John Deskins, director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at WVU.
Credit Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Appalachian Regional Commission turns 50 this year and has awarded a grant to West Virginia University and two other agencies to analyze whether it’s been successful.

The $300,000 grant will allow the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research and Regional Research Institute to work with the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness based in Arlington, Va., to identify what economic development strategies have worked.

Read more
Inside Appalachia
7:00 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Disposing of Frack Waste, Clean Water Education in Virginia, The Pink Teepee, and More

The natural gas boom begs the question: what do you do with the waste?

A Virginia learning center focuses on good water stewardship.

3-D printers help Marshall University students learn human evolution.

And…what is that pink, teepee-shaped building in Pocahontas County, W.Va., anyway?

Read more
Snow Days
11:42 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Students Getting Less Classroom Time This Year

A W.Va. highway department plow clears a road. Winter weather has caused counties to close schools more than usual this year.
Credit Submitted Photo / WVDOT

Several days this past month all 55 counties have had to close their schools because of weather and water problems, and in some cases that means they won’t be able to meet the goal of giving 180 days of classroom instruction.

West Virginia State School Superintendent Jim Phares was previously superintendent in Randolph County so dealing with winter weather to him is the norm. But for many counties this is an unusual school year.

Read more
New Industry
11:21 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Garbage-to-Fuel Plant Coming to W.Va.

A European method for converting garbage to fuel is coming to West Virginia. The Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority has signed an agreement to lease part of its property to the Italian company Entsorga. The company will build a $19 million facility there.

The mixed waste resource recovery facility will sit on 12 acres next to the Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority’s Grapevine Rd. recycling center.

Read more
Education Report Released
4:21 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

What Can W.Va. Do to Improve Classroom Technology?

W.Va. Teacher of the Year, Erin Sponaugle, incorporates technology into the lessons she teaches at Tomahawk Intermediate School in Berkeley County.
Credit Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia has made progress incorporating digital learning into its schools, but a recently released report by the Alliance for Excellent Education says more can be done particularly in rural areas.

During its meeting Jan. 8, 2013 the West Virginia Board of Education heard a report outlining where the state has done well and where it can improve in offering digital learning.

Read more
Education Opportunity
11:22 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Deaf, Blind Schools Offer Program to Students Across the State

A student uses a Braille note computer to read an article from the internet.
Credit Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A new program at the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind in Romney, W.Va., is making it possible for students from across the state to take advantage of specialized instruction that’s available there.

The Schools bring the students from their home counties by bus once a month for a week to spend time living and attending school at the campus.

Read more
Questions Answered
5:18 pm
Sat January 18, 2014

Officials Answer Questions About W.Va. Water Crisis

Credit Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Early Ray Tomblin’s office released questions and answers Saturday afternoon from a community conference call he hosted in which Dr. Letitia Tierney, Commissioner for the Bureau of Public Health and the State's Health Officer, and Adjutant General James A. Hoyer provided answers to questions submitted by community members.

Read more
12:22 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Some Background on Freedom Industries' Owner

Lead in text: 
The company that runs the facility that caused the chemical leak into the Elk River in Charleston, W.Va., has a new owner.
It's been a pretty good business niche. Freedom Industries buys and stores chemicals from companies including Eastman Chemical, an international $12 billion business, and Georgia Pacific Chemicals, a unit of the Koch brothers' Georgia Pacific, one of the world's paper product giants.
Take Precaution
8:10 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

W.Va. Health Department Advises Pregnant Women Drink Bottled Water

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, based on a letter sent to Secretary Karen Bowling from the CDC, is advising pregnant women in the West Virginia American Water service area affected by last week's chemical spill in the Elk River to drink bottled water.

A news release says the Health Department consulted with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the CDC recommends pregnant women continue drinking bottled water until there are no longer detectable levels of the chemical in the water distribution system.

Read more
Chemical Leak
1:24 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Water Resources Commission Launches Investigation Into Chemical Spill

State Sen. John Unger (D-Berkeley) discusses legislation he's proposing that would require above-ground chemical storage facilities to have permits and be inspected.

Senate Majority Leader John Unger (D-Berkeley) announced today that the Joint Legislative Oversight Commission on State Water Resources, which he co-chairs, is launching an investigation into the recent chemical spill in Kanawha County that led to the ongoing contamination crisis.

Read more
6:29 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

Eastern Panhandle Residents Can Donate Supplies to Help Charleston

Credit Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Collection points have been set up in Martinsburg, W.Va., and Shepherdstown, W.Va., for donations to help residents in Charleston and the surrounding counties who are without water.

More than 100,000 customers of West Virginia American Water in Boone, Cabell, Clay, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Putnam, and Roane counties cannot drink their water or use it for bathing, washing clothes or cooking after a chemical spill in the Elk River contaminated the water system.

The following items are needed:

Read more
Inside Appalachia
12:07 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Ky. and W.Va. State of the States, The War on Poverty 50 years later, and more

Kentuckians and West Virginians learn the state of their states.

50 years ago President Lyndon Johnson declared a war on poverty.

We travel 219 to some West Virginia towns with unique histories.

And visit the classroom of West Virginia’s Teacher of the Year.

Ky. State of the State: Legislators across Appalachia have gone back to work and many governors have delivered their state of the state addresses, including Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear.  WEKU’S Stu Johnson reports from Frankfort.

Read more
Excellence in Education
9:51 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Get to Know West Virginia's Teacher of the Year

West Virginia Teacher of the Year Erin Sponaugle uses a SMART board to teach a lesson about the Trail of Tears to her class at Tomahawk Intermediate School in Berkeley County.
Credit Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Schools across West Virginia are back in session after the holiday break and some students in one Berkeley County school  will pick up where they left off: learning ‘spo-nomics,’ creating ‘spo-ductions,’ and building their ‘spo-cabulary.’

That’s because their instructor is West Virginia Teacher of the Year Erin Sponaugle, who incorporates her unusual name in many lessons.

Read more
11:07 am
Mon January 6, 2014

West Virginia Prepares for Frigid Temperatures

Yeager Airport tweeted this photo today as record-breaking freezing temperatures hit southern West Virginia.

West Virginia is about to experience the coldest temperatures the state has seen in about 20 years.

The National Weather Service issued the following winter weather message mentioning several counties in northern Virginia, western Maryland and eastern West Virginia this afternoon:

Read more