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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Free Books
4:27 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Little Libraries Post Up in Mercer County Town

This Little Library is perched on Concord University's campus in Athens, W.Va.
Credit Jessica Lilly

The town of Athens has made it easier for folks to access books in town. The town was one of thousands across the country to open an official Little Library.

There are three “Little Libraries” throughout the town of Athens made possible by the Little Free Library Organization.  Essentially, it’s a box full of books that sits on a pole about 5 feet tall.  

The libraries are intended for residents and students to give a book and/or take a book from the boxes. So far book traffic out of the Little Libraries in Athens has been steady.

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Black Diamond Power
10:08 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Black Diamond Power Wants Overcharges to be “Customer Contribution"?

Power substation in Mullens, WV.

According to request filed by attorneys at law Hannah and Hanna PLLC back in August, Black Diamond Power admits to overcharging customers $1,686,338 admits to collecting over a five year period.

The document indicates that the company serves about 4,300 so that’s about $385 per customer.

The company proposes to refund $488, 307 to customers over a five year period which would come through a rate reduction.  But Black Diamond Power wants to treat the remaining money, treat the remaining $1.198 million as a “customer contribution.”

It appears that the Staff of the Public Service Commission filed recommendations on October 1. In that document, the staff of PSC recommends about $900,000 be recorded as a customer contribution and a reduction of rate base.


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Safety
8:40 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

MSHA Dedicates Mine Fire Prevention Course to Aracoma Victims


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Inside Appalachia
4:55 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Celebrate Appalachian Storytelling with Tales of a Ghost Train, Wizard Clip & More

Credit Published by Constructive Publishing (Scanned cover of pulp magazine) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This week, as we approach All Hallows Eve, we have dedicated the next hour to ghost tales and dark legends. Award winning writer, Scott McClanahan, remembers hearing scary tales while growing up in Greenbrier County, West Virginia.

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Claiming Benefits
9:16 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Retired Miner with Black Lung Approved for Transplant

Credit Jessica Lilly

Former coal miner Robert Bailey was recently approved for a double lung transplant after waiting months for a black lung medical benefits claim to be approved. We spoke with Robert Bailey in June when he was waiting to hear if Patriot Coal’s insurance company would approve his appointment for a medical evaluation. 

Bailey’s doctor told him he needed a lung transplant in February of this year. Since then, he’s been working towards the waiting list. As we reported in June, Bailey had to cancel an evaluation appointment as Patriot Coal’s insurance company, Underwriters Safety and Claims, evaluated his request for coverage.  We caught up with Bailey at his kitchen table in Princeton about three months later to recap his journey.

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Inside Appalachia
5:45 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

W.Va. Coal Miner, Ky Distiller, Former NASA Astronaut, Mill Operator, Chef and more

In this episode, we hear from Larry Mustain, who grinds heirloom corn at his family’s mill in West Virginia.

And we'll learn more about traveling along the Bourbon Whiskey Trail in Kentucky?

We'll also talk with, Jordan Bridges, a coal miner in southern West Virginia who is worried as more and more mines are laying off workers.


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Inside Appalachia
5:37 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

How Appalachian Culture Is Connected to Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Romania

'Thistle and Shamrock' host Fiona Ritchie and Warren Wilson president emeritus Doug Orr.
Credit University of North Carolina Press

This week we have a special episode of Inside Appalachia as we explore Appalachia through a multi-cultural lens, looking at how our culture connects to Ireland, Scotland, Wales and even Romania. We'll even visit a Hare Krishna Temple in West Virginia. And do you want to find out what Irish Road Bowling is and where you can go to see a game? Listen to the podcast to find out more.

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Repeat Violators
4:21 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Number of Repeat Mine Safety Violators Down

The government says that the number of chronic safety violators among mine operators has fallen sharply in recent years.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration says the number has dropped in response to reforms the agency has taken to rein in mines cited frequently for safety violations.

Prior to 2010 no mine had ever been placed on a pattern of violations, or POV status. Safety reforms aligned the POV regulatory rule, with Congress’s original intent in enacting the Mine Act.
 

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Transportation Plan
12:06 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Organization Looking at Ways to Improve Transportation in Fayette & Raleigh Counties

A group is working to create a transportation plan for Raleigh and Fayette Counties. The Metropolitan   Planning Organization, or MPO, is working to identify transportation investments needed to move the region forward.

The MPO office is federally and state funded but it’s made up of local governments, business leaders, and others. The group is responsible for long range transportation planning.

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Heritage Day
10:49 pm
Sun September 28, 2014

Mercer Co. School Celebrates Appalachian Heritage

Students listen to a monologue about the first settlers of Mercer County.

An event in Southern West Virginia was designed to give students a sense of place and pride. Athens Elementary hosted Appalachian Heritage Day on Friday.

Some presentations included home remedies, historical monologs, and more.

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Inside Appalachia
6:04 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Rising Above Appalachian Stereotypes, Hiking the Appalachian Trail, African-American History in W.Va

Grandma Gatewood, the first woman to hike the Appalachian Trail
Credit wikimedia commons

 


Rising Above Appalachian Stereotypes: While it’s no longer politically correct to use racial, or gender-related remarks that stereotype groups of people, what about negative Appalachian stereotypes? And how do these stereotypes influence the pursuit of an education?

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Bud/Alpoca Water
11:53 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Officials Celebrate New Step Towards Consistant Safe Water in Wyoming Co.

Back Row: Jason Mullins, President County Commission, Larrry Mathis, County Commission and Silas Mullins, County Commission, Front Row: Michael Browning-Senator Manchin's Office, Kimberly Gross-Governor Tomblin's office, LTC William Reding-US Army Corps of Engineers Huntington, Virgil Shrewsbury-Eastern Wyoming PSD, Congressman Rahall, David Cole, Region One Planning and Development Council, Linda Murphy, WV Delegate, and William Basiden-Logan PSD.

A ceremony celebrating the effort to ensure quality drinking water for a community in Southern West Virginia was hosted on Tuesday.

The ceremony marked a milestone for the Bud/Alpoca Water System Upgrade Project. The upgrade ensures that an estimated 170 residential and commercial customers in the communities of Bud and Alpoca, in Wyoming County will have safe drinking water.

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Stereotypes
9:35 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Rising Above Appalachian Stereotypes for a Higher Education

Dr. Sarah Beasley, Concord University Director of Retention

While it’s no longer politically correct to use racist, or gender-related remarks that stereotype groups of people, what about negative West Virginian or Appalachian stereotypes?

Appalachians are commonly stereotyped as white, lazy, tobacco smoking, overall-wearing, poor farmers with poor dental hygiene, no indoor plumbing, and no shoes.

So how does that influence the pursuit of an education? Well it depends on the individual Appalachian mindset. The conversation about the connection and possible impact continues with this second report.

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Arts & Culture
4:15 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Concord University Celebrates Banned Books Week

Concord University is participating in banned books week. Library officials released a list of books that have been “identified as morally, visually or otherwise unsuitable to read” at one time.

Banned books week is celebrated in libraries across the country to commemorated the freedom to read unorthodox material. It’s considered a way to fight censorship and share ideas.

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Inside Appalachia
5:15 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Mixed Feelings About Gas Industry Growth in West Virginia, Exploring What's in a Virginia Name

WVDEP's drilling map
Credit Department of Environmental Protection

  

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Black Lung
4:09 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Sen. Rockefeller Works on Black Lung Bill With Pa. Senator Casey

Credit Department of Labor

Sens. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Jay Rockefeller and plan to introduce legislation aimed at ensuring more fair treatment for coal miners with black lung disease as they pursue benefits claims.

The bill by the two coal-state senators comes after an investigation examined how doctors and lawyers, working at the behest of the coal industry, helped defeat the benefits claims of sick miners. The investigation was done by the Center for Public Integrity and ABC News.

Senator Rockefeller introduced the Black Lung Health Improvements Act last year, but the new bill is expected to address issues uncovered in the investigation.

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Higher Education
3:20 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Concord University Welcomes Dr. Kendra Boggess as President

Credit April Amodeo / Amodeo Photography

Concord University is marking a new era with the inauguration of the 12th president. 

Dr. Kendra Boggess is a former Business Division Chair with more than three decades of service at Concord in academics and administration. 

Boggess was born in Iowa but grew up in Florida. She’s a first generation college graduate who’s worked since the age of 15.

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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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