Roxy Todd

Reporter/ Producer Inside Appalachia

Roxy Todd is the producer of Inside Appalachia. In 2010 she began an oral history project called Traveling 219 as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Allegheny Mountain Radio. She began producing stories from her interviews with clock makers, farmers, musicians and storytellers who live up and down US 219 in West Virginia. You heard many of these stories on West Virginia Morning Radio and Inside Appalachia. She began working for West Virginia Public Broadcasting in 2014. Her story about Richwood’s Ramp Festival was featured on NPR’s Morning Edition. Her story about pepperoni rolls was featured on Marketplace. In 2015 Roxy received an AP Award for best feature radio story, and also two regional Edward R. Murrow awards for Best Use of Sound and Best Writing for her stories about Appalachian food and culture. The Traveling 219 Project that she helped create was awarded a national award of merit from the American Association for State and Local History.

Roxy is a native of middle Tennessee. In 2005 she graduated from Warren Wilson College, where she studied Creative Writing, theater and education. 

Ways to Connect

Volunteer smiles as she talks about why she traveled for five days to help West Virginian flood victims
Chuck Roberts/ WVPB

More than 1,000 homeowners in 12 counties are reporting they are in need of volunteer support as they try to clean up their homes and rebuild following historic June Flooding.

Hundreds if not thousands of volunteers have already donated their time to help, 200 of them through AmeriCorps, a national service organization. 

Courtesy Amillio Blevins

Since Wednesday, a rockslide has covered a portion of Railroad Yard Road, blocking some residents in Iaeger from leaving their homes.

 

Updated Monday July 25th 3:30:

 

According to Iaeger Mayor Joe Ford, local coal operator, Eddie Asbury, is on the scene of the rockslide and is in the process of removing the debris.

 

Original Story:

 

McDowell County resident, Deedra Blevins, says she plans to climb boulders Saturday evening so she can bring supplies to her 70-year-old mother, Dorothy Frost, who is one of those trapped behind the slide.

Roger May

  This year marks the 60th anniversary of the publication of a series of novels called The Beulah Quintet.  The novels are by the late Mary Lee Settle, a writer who set out to capture moments in West Virginia history when a revolutionary change was at stake. Today's economic uncertainty here in Appalachia has many people wondering whether we are also living in the midst of a transition.

A month after the flood, businesses in the communities affected by the home are struggling. Some businesses in affected towns have reopened, but others say they are closing their doors for good.

Daniel Walker/ WVPB

As the coal industry in Appalachia continues to decline, more and more families are struggling. Poor job prospects throughout the region are causing a lot of anxiety in families. And mental health expects say that kind of stress can accumulatively lead to mental illness. What can parents do to help their children cope with stress?

Megan Meggers Ramsey

A grapevine clipping from the home of Pearl S. Buck, a world renowned author with West Virginia roots, just arrived in Michigan and soon will be planted at a high school literary garden.

It began as an idea last summer. Jennifer McQuillan teaches literature at West Bloomfield High School in Michigan, and she wanted to give her students something that would get them off their phones- and become better connected to the writing in decades old books.

flood
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting


After floods ravaged central and southern West Virginia on June 23rd, some residents are wondering how can we rebuild? And can communities bounce back- after a devastating disaster?

Aaron Shackelford / WVPB

On Thursday June 23, massive flooding swept across most of West Virginia. It began with a rare event- a tornado touched down in Nicholas County, West Virginia on the afternoon of Tuesday, June 21. Regional rain storms followed but nothing like what started to fall throughout a 22-county region on Thursday, June 23.

The town of Rainelle, a town of about 1,500 people, was largely evacuated last Thursday because of the flood. Water rose about 5 ft. in parts of the town, damaging businesses, homes, and the library. Fred Fryar was one of the evacuees. He’s the pastor of Sewell Valley Baptist Church. Two days later, he was working on cleaning his home.

Roxy Todd. WVPB

Norma Henasey came back to West Virginia a few years ago to help take care of her mother. She was staying with her on Thursday when the flood came, and she couldn’t get back into Rainelle to go home. The entire downtown was submerged in water.

Malcolm Wilson / Humans of Central Appalachia

As coal jobs continue to disappear in Appalachia, some families are holding tight to the idea that coal will come back. Surprisingly, it’s not the pay that they miss about the work but the bond that comes with working in the mines. They often call it a 'brotherhood.'

Roxy Todd

There are 100,000 less sheep in the state of West Virginia today than during the 1970’s. Now, there are 36,000 sheep in the state. The demand for synthetic fibers over wool for our clothes and blankets is one reason for the sharp decline. One man from Upshur County is about to hang up his shears. After sheep shearing for 64 years, Calvin McCutcheon says he will retire next year.

At just under 80 years old, Calvin McCutcheon looks like a bodybuilder. His thick stocky torso is bent over while he wrangles a full grown sheep, trying to get it to lay still and stop thrashing.

When you think of Appalachia, hip hop isn't often the first thing that comes to mind. But because of the hard work of several generations of Appalachians, there is a growing hip hop scene here in these hills, complete with music festivals, political action, and youth development programs.

Andrew Carroll/ Davis and Elkins College

This week on Inside Appalachia, we're taking a look at Appalachians of all stripes who are retooling tradition to create a brighter future. We'll hear from a family of guitar makers in Virginia, members of Davis and Elkins College's first graduating class of its Appalachian Ensemble, an enterprising young reporter who's working to amplify #WVMusic, one of the few piano tuners in West Virginia, and a group of folks from Letcher County, Kentucky who are bringing square dancing back into vogue. 


Roxy Todd

What does a Cornbread Festival in Tennessee, a Paw Paw festival in Ohio and the Hatfield McCoy Moonshine Distillery in West Virginia all have in common? They’re among hundreds of destinations featured on a map called Bon Appétit Appalachia. The map features Appalachian restaurants, wineries, and festivals serving locally sourced food has just been updated with more listings by The Appalachian Regional Commission. The map has 62 regional food destinations in West Virginia. 

Courtesy: Southern Foodways Alliance

Biscuits, gravy, pepperoni rolls, fried chicken, and... salt? This week on Inside Appalachia, we're investigating the history and stories of some of Appalachia's most famous foods with the help of Gravy, a podcast produced by the Southern Foodways Alliance

We'll hear about the revitalization of West Virginia's salt production industry, the complicated history of fried chicken, and the growing popularity of Appalachian food in major urban centers. 

Steve Inskeep/ NPR

It's election season and we want to know what Appalachians are looking for in a new president. We’ll hear from a former coal miner from Whitesburg, Ky, Gary Bentley. We'll also hear from a veteran who lives in Bristol, Va., Ralph Slaughter.

Andrew Carroll/ Davis and Elkins College

Last week, Davis and Elkins College graduated its first class of students that includes members of its touring string band and dance ensemble. The Appalachian Ensemble works a lot like a college sports team- the players, in this case musicians and flatfoot dancers, earn scholarships.

 

You might have heard of this radio show called Mountain Stage. The show, produced by folks right here in Appalachia, has been featuring artists from across the world for more than 30 years.

Mountain Stage is one of the longest running live music performance shows on public radio.  It began in 1983 and has featured nearly 2,000 acts from more than 50 countries--and nearly every conceivable genre--for a catalogue of 871 shows (and counting).  

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In Sutton on Wednesday, the Appalachian Regional Commission and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin will host a public workshop to discuss economic development opportunities for coal impacted communities.

The workshop will focus on the Obama Administration’s POWER Initiative. It’s a multi-agency effort to create resources to help  folks who have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plants, and coal-related supply chain industries.

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