Jessica Lilly

Southern West Virginia Bureau Chief

Jessica Lilly covers southern West Virginia for West Virginia Public Radio and can be heard weekdays on West Virginia Morning, the station’s daily radio news program, and during afternoon newscasts.

Jessica joined WV PBS in 2008 as the Southern West Virginia Bureau Chief. She’s committed to reporting stories from the people in her region and across the state and is passionate about following issues and developments in mine and worker safety.

Jessica was chosen by the West Virginia Associated Press in 2013 as the winner of the Significant Impact Award for her influence on broadcasting in the state. She was also the winner of the 2013 Associated Press Best Reporter, Best Enterprise Reporting and Best Feature Runner-Up.

In 2011 Jessica was recognized by the Associated Press as Runner-Up for Best Reporter and in 2012 was recognized for Best Breaking News Coverage.

While studying broadcasting, public relations and business administration at Concord University, Jessica worked as the weekend producer and fill in reporter for WVNS-TV in Raleigh County. She went on to work as a full time reporter for WVNS-TV for about a year.  

Jessica graduated from Concord University in 2007, where she was named Concord University’s Reporter of the Year and Producer of the Year.

Born in Bluefield, WV Jessica grew up in the coalfields of West Virginia and Wyoming County. She was always busy with activities such as cheerleading, or theatre.

When she’s not reporting, Jessica advises Concord University's online radio webstream and teaches communications classes at the school. She enjoys attending sporting events and theatre productions, singing, antiquing, skiing, riding ATV’s, and traveling with family.

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Science Behind the Art
3:37 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Youth Program Combines Science and Art

A new after school program in Beckley is bringing Science and Art together. The program is made possible by a grant from the Beckley Area Foundation with the help from the Benedum Foundation and West Virginia Division of Culture and History. 

Dr. Aida Jimenez is the Assistant Professor of Biology in the Department of Natural Science and Mathematics at the University of Charleston in Beckley and director of the after school program.


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Inside Appalachia
8:09 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Old Fashioned Apple Cider, Craft Beer, Exploring Economic Opportunities and More

In West Virginia, Executive Director of Main Street Fairmont, Kate Greene, sees a city on the move.

The Clinch River region of Southwestern Virginia is looking for new economic opportunity.

And Tennessee State Park Ranger, Bobby Fulcher, has spent the last three decades traveling the Tennessee hills to record folk-music. These stories and more on this week's Inside Appalachia.

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U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges
10:44 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Concord University Among the Best, Influential Report Says

Credit Lance McDaniel

Concord University was once again named among the best colleges in the region by an influential report.

U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges annual report was released earlier this week. Concord University was ranked in more than one area.

Concord University ranked fifth in the Best Regional Colleges South. The Regional Colleges category focuses on schools that focus primarily on undergraduate study.

The rankings are based on criteria that measure academic quality.


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Footgolf at Pipestem
4:36 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Concord Soccer Teams Set to Test FootGolf Course

FootGolf is the newest outdoor recreation activity available at Pipestem Resort State Park.
Credit West Virginia Department of Commerce

There is American football, there is golf, and there is the original football, which Americans call soccer. Now there is FootGolf – a combination of soccer and golf. Pipestem Resort State Park is the only place to play it in West Virginia

Soccer teams from Concord University plan to use the course on Thursday, but according to a release, they won’t be playing soccer.


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Lilly Bridge
9:42 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Construction Project Bridges Lilly History

The Lilly Bridge in Summers County was built around 1950.
Credit Jessica Lilly

A bridge commemorating a village settled in Summers County in 1772, is being replaced. But the project is providing more than just a new bridge for vehicle traffic.


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Possible Job Loss
9:28 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Patriot Coal Gives Possible Layoff Notice to Miners, Again

Credit Patriot Coal

Patriot Coal is warning hundreds of miners at a Southern West Virginia mine operation that they could lose their jobs. According to a release, Patriot issued the WARN notices at the Corridor G mining complex near Danville.

Pursuant to the WARN Act, the Company gave 60-day notice of potential layoffs to all employees that could be affected.  Patriot warned miners at the same mine, along with others, of possible layoffs back in April 2014.

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Inside Appalachia
6:38 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Monitoring Water Quality in Va., Marking a Ky. Blues Singer's Grave, the Gospel Ranger and more

In Virginia, ordinary citizens are being specially trained to monitor water quality.

We remember Brother Claude Ely, known as the Gospel Ranger.

And in West Virginia, what was it like to grow up in a federal prison camp?  Ed and Agnes Friel’s parents were corrections officers there.

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Domestic Violence
10:11 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

"You Can Not Kill Me" - Boxing Champion Christy Salters-Martin Shares Her Story of Survival

Thirty West Virginians were killed as a result of domestic violence in just a year’s time during the last reporting period, between October 2012 and September 2013. It’s situation that Wyoming County native Christy Salters Martin is all too familiar with.

The six-time World Boxing Council Champion found herself fighting for her life after her former husband and manager tried to kill her. The former boxer is now sharing her story with the hopes of helping other victims.


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Christian Youth Camp
3:04 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Faith Based Adventure Camp Planned for Nicholas Co.

West Virginia Young Life Representative Scott Berg says the camp will be between Mt. Nebo and Kessler's Cross Lanes.

A faith based organization plans to develop land in West Virginia to create a youth camp. The New River Gorge Regional Development Authority made the announcement earlier this week.

Young Life, a non-denominational Christian organization, plans to build an adventure camp in Nicholas County close to Mt. Nebo.

The organization has 35 camps around the globe according to their website. In a release, Young Life’s state Director, Scott Berg, said it was the outdoor activities, and landscape that attracted the group to West Virginia.


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Inside Appalachia
4:34 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Debating the Death Penalty in Ky., Trying to Track Fracking Materials, "Uncle Dude" and more

Capital punishment is debated in Kentucky.

Coal camp communities are working to cope with dated water systems created by coal companies.

A farmer’s market is provides summer meals to children. 

Questioning Capital Punishment in Kentucky:  Mirroring a national trend, the debate over capital punishment continues to makes headlines in Kentucky. Earlier this month, the state legislature held the first public hearing testimony on the death penalty since it was reinstated in 1976. As Kentucky Public Radio’s Jonathan Meador found that arguments for and against a bipartisan legislative effort to abolish capital punishment boil down to, in part, a moral quandary over vengeance versus forgiveness.

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Elkhorn Regional Water Project
9:26 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

McDowell Residents Closer to Safe Water

Credit Daniel Walker

Residents in several McDowell County communities are one step closer to safe, public water. The Elkhorn Regional Water Project will replace two water systems that date back about 70 or 80 years. 


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Inside Appalachia
5:14 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Ky Pastors Share Thoughts on Same Sex Marriage, an Addict's Advice, Korean ex-POWs and more

Kentucky pastors sound off about gay marriage.

A former addict urges drug courts to address the roots of addiction.

The America Legion says the VA is a system worth saving.

 

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Preserving History in Music
9:42 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Young and Old: Traditional Music Inspires a New Generation

Don Collins plays bass at the jam session in Sophia, W.Va.
Credit Jessica Lilly

There’s a culture of music that’s been passed down orally through the hills of West Virginia for many generations.

Old time music has roots in Celtic and Native American cultures, as well as American ballads and popular music and poems that passed on through oral tradition. The practice of learning young the tunes of their ancestors is alive and well in Sophia, in Raleigh County.

“There’s a lot of good words in an old country song," Carl Hensly of Beckley said. "A lot of times it’s something that they go through."

Hensly is part of a small group of old time country, folks, bluegrass and gospel lovers that meet once a week at Sophia Fire Department in Raleigh County. The door is open to anyone that wants to join on Tuesday nights.


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Inside Appalachia
4:38 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Voices of Appalachia on EPA Regs, Ky. Fancy Farm Picnic, Beaten Biscuits and more

Appalachian voices sound off at hearings about proposed EPA regulations:  “Our jobs our securities, for our families, I’m a recent retiree my benefits may be in jeopardy.”

But some residents are supporting new regulations: “We need to make it clear that the EPA does have the authority and the mandate and moral obligation to reign in CO 2 emissions.”

A Kentucky political tradition goes without a strong voice: “Darling if you want to use your outside voice you can go over there and play on the playground, OK. We’re trying to get some serious conversation going on so you can go over there play on the playground.”

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Black Lung
7:30 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Black Lung Victims Hope New Regs Provide a Different Future for Young Miners

Credit Jessica Lilly

Landmark regulation by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration meant to lower the amount of dust in mines begins Friday. The first part is meant to fix the loopholes in the sampling process. Victims of black lung hope the new regulations give young workers a better future. 

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Black Lung Regulations
4:47 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

New Black Lung Regs Take Effect

Credit msha.gov

The first part of the landmark regulation meant to prevent black lung disease takes effect Friday. This phase is meant to fix regulatory loopholes in the sampling process.


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New Federal Rule
5:06 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

MSHA Announces Plans for New Rule

Federal mine regulators are proposing a change in the criteria for civil penalties for health and safety violations. The Mine Safety and Health Administration Tuesday announced plans to publish a proposed new rule.

 

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Rallies planned
9:39 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Groups Prep for EPA Clean Power Plan Hearing

Credit www.mine-engineer.com

Given the political climate around the EPA’s proposal, it seems unlikely that state lawmakers would have a policy without coal. Still, the United Mine Workers of America says workers and their families should be concerned about this new regulation. Groups from West Virginia and across Appalachia are gearing up to show support and protest of the EPA’s proposed rule.

Groups like the United Mine Workers of America and Coal River Mt. Watch are traveling to Pittsburgh later this week.

As it stands, the EPA rule would let states come up with their own energy policy on how to decrease carbon dioxide emissions. Given the political climate, some environmentalists worry it will be business as usual for the coal industry leaving little room for renewable energy. After all, lawmakers in states like West Virginia and Kentucky aggressively and consistently favor coal in speech and policy.


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Celebration in Hinton
3:24 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

W.Va. State Water Festival Celebrates 50 Years

Sandstone Falls is located on the north-flowing new river, 8.5 miles north of Hinton, West Virginia on State Route 26.
Credit New River Gateway

This year marks the 50th anniversary for the West Virginia State Water Festival. The festival kicks off this weekend.

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Campbell Flannagan Murrell House Museum
12:57 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Group Works to Restore Oldest House in Hinton

The Campbell Flannagan Murrell House Museum at 422 Summers Street in Hinton, is believed to be the oldest house in town. The house is perched about a block away from the New River, providing a clear view of the water. 


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