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.

Ways To Connect

NPS

In this episode: Appalachians who love their land and their mountain homes. But history reveals some unsettling stories about some Appalachians who were forced off their land in the 1930s to make room for the Shenandoah National Park. 

The Appalachian Regional Commission was created as part of the War on Poverty, declared by Lyndon B. Johnson in Appalachia in 1964.

Earlier this week Senator Shelley Moore Capito, along with other federal representatives, introduced legislation that would reauthorize the Appalachian Regional Commission. The announcement comes on the heels of a report evaluating the progress of the Commission after 50 years. 

Senator Shelley Moore Capito, along with other federal representatives, introduced legislation that would reauthorize the Appalachian Regional Commission. The announcement comes on the heels of a report evaluating the progress of the Commission after 50 years.

Sarah P. Dalton

Concord University is the latest destination for National Geographic’s Giant Traveling Map of Europe. The map will be on display for most of the week leading up to the 2015 West Virginia Geographic Bee.


Roxy Todd

In colder regions of Appalachia, the third week in March is maple syrup season. That’s right, maple syrup isn’t just for New England farmers. This weekend marks the 31st annual maple syrup festival in Pickens, West Virginia.

Department of Environmental Protection, DEP
Department of Environmental Protection

  The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection announced that a public hearing twice delayed because of bad weather is now scheduled for April 21,  from 6 to 8 p.m. at Oak Hill High School, located at 350 West Oyler Avenue in Fayette County.

Christine Cover

Appalachia has certainly been stereotyped by many people in the media. But not all storytellers are the same, and the stories that are told about Appalachia are often complicated with layers of misunderstandings. 

Federal regulators issued more than a dozen citations to a West Virginia coal mine in the week prior to an accident that killed one worker and injured two others.

According to the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration’s website, Murray Energy was cited several times for roof plans and protection from roof, face and rib falls.

Murray Energy's owns McElroy Mine in Marshall County near Cameron where one miner died and three others were reported injured on Sunday.

West Virginia Office of Miner’s Health Health Safety and Training spokesperson Leslie Smithson says 45-year-old Assistant Longwall Coordinator John M. Garloch of Neffs, Ohio was killed.  Initial reports indicate the cause of Sunday night's accident was a roof and rib fall.


Update March 9, 2015 8:58 a.m.

Spokesperson of the West Virginia Office of Miner's Health Safety and Training, Leslie Smithson says one miner died and two others were injured in an accident on Sunday night.

Smithson reports that the injuries happened at the McElroy Mine in Marshall County. Forty-five-year-old Assistant Longwall Coordinator John M. Garloch died in  after a roof collapsed, according to initial reports. In an email, Monday morning, Smithson said two other miners were injured and transported to local hospitals for treatment. One of those miners has been released; the other remains hospitalized.
 

Daniel Walker/WVPB

This week, Inside Appalachia is featuring some incredible stories about dogs that help people heal. Like Paca, who helps children overcome emotional trauma and even helps encourage them to read. And we'll travel to a special cemetery, reserved only for coonhound dogs.

Most of us are familiar with the concept of seeing eye dogs, but service dogs do plenty of other jobs to help people. Roxy Todd takes us on a journey with a few service dogs helping folks in unique ways.

courtesy

Flood waters that left residents stranded in their homes have receded in most places, according to emergency services in some southern West Virginia Counties. The flood warning issued by the National Weather Service  remains in effect until 6:45 p.m. Thursday for parts of West Virginia.


Office of the Governor

Rainfall and melting snow is causing creeks and rivers to rise across West Virginia. The rising waters pushed 15 counties to dismiss students early from public schools on Wednesday.

In a release sent out Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a statewide State of Emergency. The declaration mobilizes state resources to combat severe weather conditions and ensure the safety of residents across the state.

courtesy of Luke Jackson

High waters are creating dangerous conditions in southern West Virginia. Dispatchers say some residents are being evacuated.

Emergency dispatchers in Wyoming County say that the rainfall Wednesday morning caused a mudslide. One resident in Jesse told dispatchers that part of the mountain slid into their residence. Deputies are on scene evaluating the situation.

West Virginia and Regional History Collection, West Virginia University Libraries

Earlier this month in West Virginia, a CSX train derailed, causing giant fireballs to stretch hundreds of feet into the air and one home to be destroyed. Investigators are trying to figure out what happened to cause this derailment. February also marks the anniversary of other industrial accidents. On this episode, we'll hear from folks who have survived them, and hear why many people are concerned that more of these accidents could happen in the future.

Glynis Board

On this episode, we’re learning more about Appalachian roots. Some industries are growing in Appalachia that aren’t really new at all, but new practices are building on traditional crafts. While these  changes develop across Appalachia, we inevitably want to hang onto our identity. Strong roots, after all, are one of the characteristics many of us take pride in.

Department of Environmental Protection, DEP
Department of Environmental Protection

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is rescheduling a public hearing on two permit renewal applications for the second time. The public hearing is around applications for an underground injection control (UIC) facility near Lochgelly in Fayette County. 

In an email, the DEP said the meeting scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 19 in Oak Hill has been postponed a  due to inclement weather conditions.

Today we’re talking about love – but wait, it’s not what you think. This episode is kind of one big love letter to Appalachia. We’re showing off some of that Appalachian pride by talking about our complicated love for this place.

Dept. of Defense

Princeton will soon be home to a permanent VA clinic.

According to a release from Senator Joe Manchin’s office, Mercer County’s mobile health clinic, which served as an extension of the Beckley VA Medical Center, will become a permanent VA clinic.

The release says an increased number of veterans in need of healthcare in the area, called for a more permanent solution.

The Princeton VA will be able to serve a total of 1,200 eligible veterans.

Senator Manchin currently serves as a member on the Senate Veterans Affairs’ Committee.

Bettman/Corbis / NPR

In this episode, we'll hear reactions to Obama's proposed tax credits and other funding for Appalachia. And we'll talk with documentary filmmaker John Nakashima, whose new film, "The First 1000 Days," explores the effects of poverty on young children.

 

We'll also take a look back at how the lessons from the War on Poverty could shine light on present day economic development efforts.

President Barack Obama's new budget proposal includes more than $3 billion worth of tax credits and other spending to help the Appalachian region recover from the declining coal industry. People across the coalfields are responding with mixed feelings.

In southern West Virginia, many people see initiatives from the Obama administration and the federal Environmental Protection Agency to reduce carbon emissions as an attack on their livelihoods.

So it’s not surprising to hear skepticism and doubt from the coalfields when the president announces intentions to throw a financial lifeline to Appalachia.


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