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.


Inside Appalachia
7:00 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Ky. Budget Looks Bleak, Changing W.Va. Politics, Acid Mine Drainage In Art, Annual Bird Count & More

Kentucky lawmakers face tough money decisions this year.

Is West Virginia moving from blue to red?

Some Pennsylvania artists find a good use for acid mine drainage.

And bird counters are documenting the winter population.

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Inside Appalachia
7:00 am
Sat December 28, 2013

Holiday Traditions and Stories From Appalachia

In this Holiday episode of Inside Appalachia West Virginia storyteller Karen Vuranch weaves some folk tales, The Allegheny Front's Reid Frazier discusses his children's penchant for eating snow and Roxy Todd of Traveling 219 shares the story of the Christmas Eve 1955 sighting of a mountain lion in Pocahontas County, W.Va.

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Threatened Tree
8:39 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Christmas Tree Species Disappearing in the Wild

Credit Mike Powell / The Nature Conservancy

One of the most enduring traditions for many families at Christmas is decorating a live tree but one variety of fir found in West Virginia that is a popular Christmas tree is struggling in the wild.

The Canaan fir is a type of Balsam found only in the highlands of West Virginia and Virginia. But many Christmas tree farms in the region also grow Canaan firs.

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Inside Appalachia
7:00 am
Sat December 21, 2013

Solving Acid Mine Drainage, W.Va. Music Hall of Fame Revisited, Resilient Land and More

There are some innovative ideas in Pennsylvania for cleaning acid mine drainage.

We revisit the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Some resilient West Virginia land is saved from development.

And Way Out in West Virginia goes mobile.

Acid Mine Drainage and Fracking: Abandoned mines leach metals and other pollutants into Pennsylvania's streams. Could fracking be one way to clean up this water? Reid Frazier, of The Allegheny Front, reports.

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Conservation Easement
8:47 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Houses Won't Ever Be Built Here

This property on the Morgan-Hampshire County W.Va. line is now safe from future development.
Credit Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Snow crunches under foot as Jim Baker gives a mid-December tour on about 170 acres his hunting club just acquired. The property sits along the Morgan-Hampshire County line in the shadow of Cacapon Mountain bordering Cacapon State Park.

“Basically some rolling hills at low elevations before you see the larger Cacapon Mountain in the background,” Baker said.  “It gives you an idea of what I call the diversity in topography around here.”

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Inside Appalachia
7:00 am
Sat December 14, 2013

Eastern Kentuky's Coal Future Discussed, Deer Hunting in Pa. and an Ultra Marathon Runner from W.Va.

Eastern Kentuckians talk about their future.

While the struggle to find jobs for laid-off coal miners continues.

A Pennsylvanian reminisces about deer hunting.

An ultra-marathoner runs his way to good health.

Eastern Kentuckians are ready to talk about the future.  This was evident this past Monday when more than 1,500 people showed up in Pikeville for the first SOAR, the shaping our Appalachian region summit.  WMMT’s Sylvia Ryerson was at the event, and has this story.

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Photography Book
10:52 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Photographer Documents Changes Over 40 Years in Appalachian Coal Fields

Credit Builder Levy

About 40 years ago a New York photographer named Builder Levy ventured to Appalachia to document life in the coalfields.

As Levy traveled the area and got to know its people, he came to love and admire what he calls one of the most beautiful regions in the United States.

“You have beautiful Appalachian mountains, especially in central Appalachia where the mountains are stark and steep,” Levy said.

Levy also finds the region’s diversity attractive.

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High School Football
12:44 am
Sun December 8, 2013

Historic Win: Martinsburg Football is Four-Time Champion

A Martinsburg High football fan expresses support for the team.
Cecelia Mason WV Public Radio

The Martinsburg High football team made West Virginia high school sports history Saturday by beating Huntington High 9-7 to win the state AAA championship in Wheeling, W.Va.

It’s the first time in West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission history an AAA ranked school has won four state football championships in a row.

Martinsburg (13-1) was ranked number two during the season and Huntington (13-1) was ranked number one.

“Anytime you have number one versus number two it should be a tight ballgame and it was today,” Martinsburg Coach  Davis Walker said.

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Inside Appalachia
7:00 am
Sat December 7, 2013

Ky. Prepares to SOAR, Documenting Changes in Appalachia, A W.Va. Clock Repairman Celebrates 90 Years

Kentuckians get ready to SOAR.

A new book by photographer Builder Levy documents change in the coalfields.

A Tucker County W.Va. clock repairman marks his 90th birthday.

And the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame loses a member.

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Taking a Tour
8:45 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Gov. Tomblin Makes Cyber Monday Visit to Macy's Fulfillment Center

Macy's Logistics President, Peter Longo, presents Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin a box of bon bons during a visit to the company's Martinsburg fulfillment center.
Credit Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The enormous Macy’s catalog distribution warehouse in Berkeley County, W.Va., was abuzz with activity for Cyber Monday when West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin stopped by to get a first-hand look at how the center is doing.

“Obviously there are several hundred people here today working, being the little elves that get those packages out to get under the Christmas trees,” Tomblin said as walked around the warehouse.

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Inside Appalachia
8:00 am
Sat November 30, 2013

Air Pollution From Fracking, Mountain Stage Celebrates 30 Years, The Fairfax Stone Story

Folks in fracking country Pennsylvania work on air pollution issues.

Kentucky college students are having a blast- with some mine research.

America’s Test Kitchen has an Appalachian connection.

And we learn about the famed Fairfax Stone.

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Inside Appalachia
3:29 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

A W.Va. City Reviving, Appalachia Remembers JFK, Biking for Lyme Disease

A southern West Virginia town works to revitalize itself.

Appalachia remembers John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

A bicyclist pedals across the country raising awareness of Lyme disease.

And a Kentucky writer discusses his latest book.

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Public Forum
8:06 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Eastern Panhandle Residents Discuss Child Poverty

Pamela Dugan, director of West Virginia's Promise-The Alliance For Youth, writes ideas for addressing child poverty.
Credit Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The forum started with opening remarks from State Sen. John Unger (D-Berkeley) and Del. Tiffany Lawrence (D-Jefferson). Participants then watched part of the PBS film Poor Kids and a short preview of a film about child poverty in the state being produced by West Virginia PBS.

They then met in smaller groups to talk about how poverty affects children academically and socially, stereotypes associated with being poor, what resources are available in the community and what can be done to prevent families from becoming poor.

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Appalachian History
8:41 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Remembering The Farmington Mine Disaster

Credit WV Division of Culture and History

Wednesday is the 45th anniversary of a mine explosion in Farmington, W.Va., that claimed the lives of 78 men. Time Trail, West Virginia, from the state Division of Culture and History, describes what happened that day.

November 20, 1968: The Farmington mine disaster

After an explosion tore through Consolidation Coal Company's Number 9 mine in Farmington, there was still hope that miners trapped below ground found a way to survive.

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Child Poverty
7:31 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Forum will address poverty issues

This is National Homeless and Hunger Awareness Week, when the National Coalition for the Homeless and other advocacy organizations hope the country will focus on issues surrounding poverty. The United Way of the Eastern Panhandle is doing just that Thursday evening during a public forum.

During the forum "Poverty in the Panhandle: Children at Risk,"  the United Way of the Eastern Panhandle, Family Resource Network and Health and Human Services Collaborative hope to discuss the problem and come up with possible solutions.

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Federal Contract
8:22 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

U.S. Customs Harpers Ferry campus is growing

Customs and Border Protection officials participate in a training demonstration at the Advanced Training Center in Harpers Ferry, W.Va.
Credit CBP / Customs and Border Protection

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Advanced Training Center near Harpers Ferry, W.Va., will soon add new buildings.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a $51.7 million contract to construct 250 room student dormitories and a student center.

In a news release Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said the addition of dorms will turn the facility into a full service campus, and will save the government money for training and travel expenses.

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Inside Appalachia
2:49 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

More W.Va. Jobs, A Potentially Explosive Situation in Ky., Memories From a W.Va. Veteran

Credit Justin Steiner / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

What are the potential side effects of cracker plants planned in West Virginia and Pennsylvania?

Some folks in Eastern Kentucky are having a potentially explosive problem with their wells.

Some hot doings on a cold day recently at West Virginia University.

And new inductees join the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame.

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School Days
2:40 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Prevention Resource Officers: Unsung Heroes?

Berkeley County Sheriff’s Deputy Tom Carroll is on his beat- at Musselman High School in southern Berkeley County
Credit Cecelia Mason / WVPublic

Last week a violent altercation erupted between students at Morgantown High School that ended with one student in a hospital, with multiple stab wounds to the arms and chest.  A police officer in the school, known as a Prevention Resource Officer, administered emergency first aid and prevented major blood loss. Few know about the Prevention Resource Officer program and the role these officers play throughout schools in West Virginia.

'Security' to 'Prevention'

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Forest Fire
3:34 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

You Can Go Hiking In the Smoke Hole Fire Area Soon

Aeriel view of the Smoke Hole Fire.
Credit Submitted Photo / W.V. Division of Forestry

Update: Friday, November 22 at 10:40 a.m.

The Smoke Hole area of Pendleton County, W.Va. that was struck by a forest fire nearly two weeks ago will reopen to the public on Sunday now that the fire is fully contained.

A news release says the public will be free to enter the Monongahela National Forest area where the fire was beginning Sunday morning, Nov. 24, 2013. 


The fire burned 1,611 acres.

The release says visitors to the area should be aware that there are still ongoing monitoring and fire patrol efforts and that while the majority of firefighters have gone home, several crews, engines, and a helicopter continue to work in the area. 


Update: Sunday, November 17, 2013 at 10 a.m.

The forest fire at the Smoke Hole area of Pendleton County has grown to about 1,600 acres but firefighters are also finding more success in fighting  it. According to a news release the fire is 50 percent contained.

The fire started a week ago on private land adjacent to the Monongahela National Forest 11 miles southwest of Petersburg, W.Va. and three miles northeast Seneca Rocks. The cause is under investigation.

The news release says about 190 firefighters and support staff, including four crews, two modules, six engines, two bulldozers, and one helicopter are assisting with the fire.

The release says: Crews had a safe, productive day yesterday.  The south and east flanks are being mopped up and patrolled. Some minimal fire activity occurred along the crest of North Fork Mountain along the northwest section of the fire.

Plans for today call for direct attack on any remaining active fire. In areas where the fire is not actively burning, crews are strengthening the completed line. 

A cold front moving into the area in late afternoon may bring a chance of thunderstorms with gusty winds and additional rain.


Update: Friday, November 15, 2013 at 9 a.m.

The U.S Forest Service and West Virginia Division of Forestry report the fire in the Smoke Hole area of Pendleton County, W.Va. is about 30 percent contained.  

The fire is burning on about 1,400 acres of national forest land and adjacent private property 11 miles southwest of Petersburg and three miles northeast of Seneca Rocks.

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Inside Appalachia
4:48 pm
Sat November 9, 2013

ARC entrepreneurial efforts, news about fracking, and the secret to making moonshine

LeRoyal Ealy with his wife Elaine Claiborne and daughter Lajanaye Ealy, 6, live in Geismar, where he works as an electrician. Ealy thinks dangers of explosions and pollution are part of the bargain but Claiborne worries about the long-term effects from pollution released during the Williams Olefins explosion.
Credit Reid R. Frazier / The Allegheny Front

The Appalachian Regional Commission aims to grow entrepreneurship.

The Gulf Coast provides a hint at what good, and bad, can come from a cracker plant planned for Pennsylvania.

A look at just what goes into making Tennessee moonshine.

And one West Virginia man tackles the problem of profound poverty.

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