Glynis Board

Assistant News Director - Northern Panhandle Bureau Chief

Glynis Board hails from the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia and is based in Wheeling at the First State Capital Building. She’s been reporting for West Virginia Public Broadcasting since 2012. She covers a broad range of topics including arts and culture, women’s issues, and developments in the oil and gas industry, as well as a variety of significant happening in northern West Virginia.

Before reporting the news, Glynis worked in the production department at WV PBS since 2004, contributing with video editing and film making skills to such documentaries as Frank Kearns: American Correspondent, The Last Mission: Establishing the Rule of Law in Iraq, and Ken Hechler: In Pursuit of Justice.

Ways to Connect

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs visited Weirton, West Virginia, Thursday, Aug. 17, to hear concerns of minority residents in the Northern Panhandle. Some residents are worried about violence erupting in the state in response to neo-nazi rallies in Charlottesville.

West Virginia Governor's Office

The country’s newest Republican governor is, like President Donald Trump, a billionaire businessman, a political outsider, and a fan of the coal industry. West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, a former coal company owner, was elected as a Democrat but switched parties with a surprise announcement at a Trump rally in West Virginia.

Both Trump and Justice campaigned on promises to bring coal mining jobs back to the region. Now Justice wants the president to prop up the flagging coal industry with federally-funded incentives for power companies to purchase coal from Appalachia.

 

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Communities in rural northern West Virginia towns are still cleaning up from and coping with the effects of flash flooding in July when a state of emergency was declared in eight counties. Hundred -- a small town in Wetzel County -- was among the hardest hit.

Donations are still being accepted at Hundred High School and at Union Bank, as well as online. Surplus donations are being forwarded on to Mannington, which is also still in recovery.

 


Alexandra Kanik / Ohio Valley Resource

Communities in West Virginia will continue to see water infrastructure improvements thanks to money from the federal Environmental Protection Agency – $56.5 million worth.

Communities in Kanawha, Marshall, Fayette, Wood, Harrison and Jefferson counties can expect new or improved sewage, wastewater treatment and storm drainage systems, as well as some upgraded pump stations. The largest priced improvement - $14 million - is needed in Oak Hill to consolidate the Arbuckle Public Service District into the Oak Hill Sanitary Board system. All together, the state is looking to spend $56 million to upgrade systems in these counties.

Wheeling Country Day School

As compassion training is becoming more popular in schools across the country, a school in West Virginia is taking on a pilot compassion curriculum project of its own. The goal is to improve student achievement and foster healthier communities by cultivating things like focus and empathy.

Alexandra Kanik / Ohio Valley ReSource

Many towns and cities across the Ohio Valley try to improve their business environment with tax breaks, site development, and other incentives. But how about investing in compassion? A growing body of science points to compassion as an economic driver and more businesses and cities around the region are willing to give compassion a chance.

Science of Compassion

Rover Pipeline
Mirijana Beram

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection issued a cease and desist order to Rover Pipeline citing permit violations in Doddridge and Tyler counties.

The state’s regulatory agency says the company failed to properly install and maintain erosion control devices. The DEP also says the company failed to control pollutants in stormwater discharges. DEP inspectors observed and documented these violations around compressor sites and along pipelines in April, May, June and July of this year.

Ohio County
David Benbennick / wikimedia Commons

One person is dead and two are missing after heavy rains caused flooding in areas of West Virginia and Kentucky, authorities said.

In West Virginia, Ohio County Emergency Management Agency Director Lou Vargo said a van with two people inside rolled into a stream that flows into Wheeling Creek on Sunday. He says a man was recovered from the floodwater and taken to Wheeling Hospital, where he died.

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broacasting

 

Thanks to singer-songwriter John Prine, Paradise Fossil Plant might be the only coal-fired power plant that has a household name. “Paradise,” Prine’s 1971 ballad, drew on boyhood memories from the small town of Paradise, in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, to relay the environmental and social costs of our dependence on coal.

Rick Perry at Longview Power Plant
Glynis Board

Energy Secretary Rick Perry toured a modern and relatively clean coal-fired power plant in West Virginia in order to tout the benefits of coal in a competitive energy market. But the secretary’s comments generated some controversy.

Rep. David McKinley in a hearing
Submitted Photo / Office of David McKinley

Lawmakers in Washington advanced a bill this week that could help communities throughout the region leverage more funds to clean up abandoned industrial sites.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed a bill drafted and sponsored by West Virginia's Representative David McKinley to improve the Environmental Protection Agency's Brownfields Program, which provides resources to clean up and redevelop contaminated industrial sites.

Coal Stock Pile
www.mine-engineer.com

Political leaders in West Virginia and Kentucky are joining a coalition of states threatening to sue California over a program the state is pushing that would drop investments in coal.

Federal regulators released a draft of a final assessment of the environmental impacts of a proposed natural gas pipeline that would travel from West Virginia into and through Virginia.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) assessors say if built, the Mountain Valley pipeline would have “significant” impacts on forests in West Virginia and Virginia. The assessment says the $3.4 billion proposed project would have "limited" adverse effects in the proposed pipeline's path elsewhere.

Cameron Williams

Last September Mark Combs and Cameron Elias Williams set out for California hoping to develop careers in the arts and entertainment industry. But once they reached Denver they found it difficult to get their lives financially under control. They also fought loneliness.

“It's been, it's been kinda tough to be honest. I didn't think I would miss people back home this much,” Mark recorded after a lonely Thanksgiving in Denver.

Unfortunately, things went from bad to worse.

IUPUI

Mitchell L. H. Douglas is an Associate Professor of English, and the director of the creative writing program at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). He is also a founding member of the Affrilachian Poets, a Cave Canem fellow, and Poetry Editor for PLUCK!: the Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture.

Mark Combs

Our Struggle to Stay series continues as we follow actor and Iraqi war veteran Mark Combs and his good friend and artist, Cameron Elias Williams. These young men took off from West Virginia hoping to land on their feet in Los Angeles - the land of abundant creative jobs - far from their economically depressed homes in Appalachia. But the target life in L.A. was harder to hit than expected. 


Alecia Ford

An Italian manufacturing company that supports the natural gas industry is setting up shop in the Northern Panhandle. 

The Italian-based company Pietro Fiorentini broke ground in a ceremony this week to announce the purchase and development of a 26-acre plot in Weirton. Fiorentini has been operating an office in West Virginia since 2013, but the Weirton site will be its first manufacturing plant in the U.S. The company makes pressure valves and other products that support the oil and gas industry. The $5.5 million  investment will create 45 jobs by next spring, possibly 77 with future expansions.


Cameron Williams

Day One

Very early one fall day in 2016, Mark Combs set west from Morgantown, West Virginia, with lots of hope, California dreams, and as many belongings as he could fit into a small SUV -- including a few companions.

“I’m feeling really positive about the trip,” Mark said into a handheld recorder while stopped at a gas station somewhere in Ohio. “We started out very, very strong this morning. We’re still going strong.” 

He was traveling with his border collie Lily, a cat named Terror Czar (TC for short), and his good friend from theater school and fellow West Virginian Cameron "Elias" Williams -- a dancer, rapper, writer and like Mark, a comedian. Together, they’ve been planning this move West with similar ambitions.

Kenn W. Kiser / morguefile.com

Many political leaders in the Ohio Valley approve of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement. But surveys indicate that public opinion across the region varies, with a slight majority saying they’d like the country to stay the course on climate change.

 


Charles Kleine / West Virginia Public Broacasting

Mark Combs is among a community of West Virginians who have decided that -- despite a deep love for Appalachia -- they have no choice but to leave the region. His “Struggle to Stay” actually made staying impossible.

Steve Helber / AP Photo

The true costs of the deep cuts in President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would fall disproportionately on many of the poor and working class people in the Ohio Valley region who helped to elect him, according to lawmakers and policy analysts.

Deep cuts to subsidized health care, food aid, disability assistance, and addiction treatment services would have the biggest effect in parts of Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia with some of the nation’s greatest needs for these safety net programs.

Courtesy: Shell Chemicals

Legislators from Ohio and West Virginia are hoping to capitalize on the natural gas boom by building a new ethane storage hub in the region.

West Virginia's poet laureate Marc Harshman highlights here work of the late William Bronk.

Bronk won the National Book Award for poetry in 1981 long before his death in 1999.

Do not look to Bronk for metaphor or imagery, but instead - masterful use of syntax to evoke nuances of life. Harshman pulls some of the spare poetry of the New York native William Bronk in this month's Poetry Break.

Mending Mining Country: Three Ways Trump Could Help Miners And Coal Communities

May 15, 2017

At a March ceremony to sign an executive order reversing Obama-era environmental regulations, coal miners were arranged on stage around President Donald Trump as he took up his pen.

“You know what it says, right?” Trump asked the miners. “You’re going back to work.”

From his campaign rallies to White House events, President Donald Trump has surrounded himself with coal miners and promised to restore their collapsed industry.

Coal Stock Pile
www.mine-engineer.com

Can coal make a comeback? That’s the title of a new report from Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy. Researchers there analyzed the factors leading to the coal industry’s sharp decline over the past six years and assessed the Trump administration’s efforts to revive it.

"HydroFrac2" by Mikenorton - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:HydroFrac2.svg#mediaviewer/File:HydroFrac2.svg

A study from Duke University found no evidence that groundwater is threatened by horizontal gas drilling. Surface water might be another story.

Isabella Scafidi

As a young man Steve Scafidi hungered "for something like magnificence." Or so he explained when asked by Marc Harshman how he came to writing poetry. 

"I found it reading aloud some Walt Whitman one evening and I never quit," Scafidi said in conversation with Harshman. "I remember thinking to myself, 'my life is changing here but don't make a big deal out of this -- just follow the thread of it.' And I did."

Scafidi is a cabinet maker in the Eastern Panhandle. He encourages aspiring writers to do more than write, so that metaphors may be discovered and writing enriched with life.

He was a featured poet in the Wheeling Poetry Series. He spoke with Harshman and delivered some of his published poems. 

Peabody Energy, Inc. / Wikimedia Commons

With Australia coping with the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie and China turning back imports of coal from North Korea this week as apparent punishment for missile tests, U.S. coal exports could take up some slack. But analysts aren’t predicting a coal comeback.


House Committee on Natural Resources

Professionals and experts from Kentucky, West Virginia and Montana testified in Washington, D.C., today about a bill designed to diversify economies in coal regions.


Jessica Lilly

Coal mining has touched so many aspects of life in Appalachia. The coal industry has provided more than just jobs — it’s helped build towns, bridges and it’s even provided money for many Appalachians to go to college. We also have a deep cultural connection to coal and its history.

Still, there’s no denying the coal industry has changed the landscape of our mountains, and infected many miners with a deadly disease known as black lung.

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