Roxy Todd

Reporter

 Roxy moved to West Virginia in 2009 and has been hooked on the stories here ever since. Since 2011 she has been producing stories with Allegheny Mountain Radio and the Traveling 219 Project, and many of these stories have also aired on West Virginia Public Radio. Her story about Richwood’s Ramp Festival was featured on NPR’s Morning Edition. 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. She worked for Warren Wilson’s newspaper and contributed to the college’s literary journals, The Pulp and The Well

In 2006 Roxy and her friend Patrick Seick wrote a sci-fi rock opera called Osama Baby. The play was performed at the Montford Park Amphitheater in Asheville, NC. 

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water
3:54 pm
Sun March 1, 2015

From Springs to Spills: How Does West Virginia's Water Taste to International Judges?

Bottled water display
Credit photo by Cecelia Mason

Appalachia is no stranger to industrial or environmental disasters that affect our water. Because of crumbling water infrastructure in many coalfield communities, folks often turn to bottled water for regular use.

But not all bottled water is equal. At least that’s according to judges at the 25th annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting & Competition, which took place February 19-22. The competition judges the taste of bottled water, purified water, and municipal city waters from across the world were judged.

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Inside Appalachia
5:54 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Inside Appalachia: Living with Industrial Spills, Floods and Disasters

Buffalo Creek Flood Disaster Victims at Man, Logan County, W. Va.
Credit 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.

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News
12:10 am
Mon February 23, 2015

Investigators: Transporting Bakken Crude Still a Challenge for Railroads

Credit Melissa Ellsworth

On Sunday, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration announced that its full-scale forensic investigation is now underway in earnest, following last week's train derailment.  

Federal Investigators say it could be weeks before we know what caused the CSX train to derail last Monday.

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Inside Appalachia
5:07 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

Inside Appalachia: Getting Back to Our Roots

Larry Harding at Harding's Ginseng Farm
Credit 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.

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Education
1:32 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

How Will Climate Change be Taught in West Virginia Public Schools? Public Comment Period Draws Close

Four students from Marshall University spoke to the board- Caitlyn Grimes (L), Jenna Atkins, Jake Waldman and Matt Jarvis. The students are not science majors, but they are mentored by a group called CFACT and deny climate change as a proven scientific fact.
Credit Roxy Todd

During January’s West Virginia Board of Education meeting, the Board voted to withdraw a controversial new policy that addresses how science teachers should teach climate change to public school students.

Folks have until 4:00 pm Tuesday February 17th, to weigh in on this new policy.

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Inside Appalachia
6:10 pm
Fri February 13, 2015

Dear Appalachia: Our Love is Complicated

One of the letters mailed last winter from Thomas, received in New Mexico by Carol Carpenter

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.

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Arts and Culture
5:55 pm
Fri February 13, 2015

Bald Eagles and Hawks Have Love Stories Too

Rehabilitated male broad-winged hawk being released at the Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory in Monroe County

This is a story about love, tragedy, and new beginnings. 

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Arts and Culture
12:06 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Love Letters From Thomas, W.Va., Addressed: "Dear Fellow Human"

Letters from Thomas were mailed to Los Cerrillos last year. Los Cerrillos and Madrid are sister communities, similar to Thomas and Davis.

Valentine's day isn't a favorite holiday for all people- especially not people who aren't in a romantic relationship. But what about a bundle of unexpected letters, written by strangers from a little town far away? Well a town in West Virginia is about to receive about 700 love letters. These letters express well wishes- even for those who claim to be left out of Valentine's Day.

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Inside Appalachia
6:27 pm
Fri February 6, 2015

Inside Appalachia: Let's Get Real About Poverty

President Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird, greet Tom Fletcher's family in Inez, Ky., in 1964. Fletcher was an unemployed saw mill worker with eight children.
Credit 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.

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Decling Coal Industry Recovery
9:54 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

Coalfields React to Part of Obama's Budget

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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News
11:47 pm
Sun February 1, 2015

Chefs Compete in a Delicious 10th Annual Cast Iron Cook Off

Amanda Harper, a high school student from Tucker County, was on the winning team for Friday's Junior Cast Iron Cook-Off Cooking Competition.

This past Saturday, chefs from West Virginia and Virginia came to Charleston to compete in the 10th annual Cast Iron Cook Off. On Friday students from five West Virginia high schools also competed in the first annual Junior Cast Iron Cook Off.

High School Culinary Students Compete

Smells of leeks and mushrooms sauteing in olive oil filled the air, as I walked through the doors of the West Virginia Culture center. The entire lobby was filled with students racing against the clock to prepare food in cast iron skillets.

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Arts and Culture
5:00 pm
Sat January 31, 2015

French Creek Freddie and Concord Charlie Both Predict an Early Spring

West Virginia's groundhogs both predicted an early spring this year. At the West Virginia Wildlife Center Monday morning, the groundhog named French Creek Freddie did not see his shadow.  At Concord University, Concord Charlie also did not see his shadow.
However, in Pennsylvania, Punxsutawney Phil did see his shadow and predicts six more weeks of winter.
Who is French Creek Freddie?

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Inside Appalachia
5:57 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Meet W.Va.'s Groundhog Prophets and Hear How Gas Drilling is Affecting Parts of Appalachia

French Creek Freddie lives at the West Virginia Wildlife Center in Upshur County, W.Va.

While the fame of Punxsutawney’s groundhog is nationally recognized, this week, in honor of Groundhog Day, we wanted to shine a spotlight on a very special pair of West Virginia groundhogs who perhaps aren’t celebrated as well as they deserve. Also, we hear how increased drilling is affecting folks in PA and W.Va. Some politicians and residents are touting the natural gas industry as the best solution to bring jobs back to central and northern Appalachia. And while some people are finding well paying jobs and economic opportunities because of the boom in the gas industry, others are finding discontent.


The Struggle to Find Jobs Forces Some Appalachians to Leave the Mountains

Often on our show we hear about people who are trying to maintain hope in the midst of what many across the country would probably consider a life of poverty or despair.

Sometimes the temptation to lose hope is powerful. What future do we face in Appalachia? The need to feed our families is very real- but for many, the struggle to find jobs means they must cast their nets further and further away from home. We Appalachians know that it isn’t resignation that keeps us here- it’s pride for our mountains, our deep roots in our local communities and our strong connection with home. Part of what we love about Appalachia is the natural beauty, the simple sound of clean snow crunching under our feet.

Snowshoeing 101

When it comes to exploring the wintry outdoors in deep snow, it can be hard to get started, it helps to have a guide. That’s what Allegheny Front Contributor Ashley Murry found out when she tried snowshoeing for the first time She joined beginners to the sport, as well as seasoned outdoor trip leaders, Bill Grove and Katie Getsie, as they strapped on snowshoes in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.

Click here to search for guided snowshoeing trips like the one Ashley Murry took in Pennsylvania.

Click here to find directions to the Cranberry Nature Center in West Virginia, located along the Highland Scenic Highway. After a good snow, you can sometimes snowshoe along Kennison Mountain. Even with a light dusting of snow, it's an incredibly beautiful place for a winter hike.
You can also find snowshoe trails in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, in Tennessee.

And here's a link where you can find information about snowshoeing and cross country skiing in North Carolina.

Increased Gas Drilling in W.Va. and PA Brings Jobs, but also Some Discontent

New technology now allows energy companies to blast water, sand and chemicals deep into the ground at high pressures to release gas from shale formations. With hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, gas companies are able to drill for more natural gas in some areas in Appalachia.

After Living Next to Drilling Activity, 100 W.Va. Residents Sue Companies

Almost a hundred residents from several counties throughout West Virginia are filing lawsuits for nuisance and negligence against several companies engaged in horizontal drilling activities. Glynis Board went out to Doddridge County to catch a glimpse of life in the growing rural gas fields of the state.

Gas Companies Rush to Build New Pipelines in PA

State Impact’s Marie Cusick has been following the gas boom in Pennsylvania. She reports that the pace of gas production is driving energy companies to build more pipelines that are needed to transport the new gas to markets.

Congress Considers Bill to Fast Track Gas Pipeline Projects

On January 21, the US. House of Representatives passed a resolution called the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act. The resolution directs the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve or deny pipeline projects within 12 months after receiving a complete application. Whether or when that bill might be taken up by the Senate is unclear.

In West Virginia, there are at least two major pipeline projects in the pre-filing stage with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline will each go through environmental analysis and a public comment period before being approved or denied by the Federal Government. Tamara Young Allen, spokesperson with FERC, says this process normally takes 12-18 months. The House Resolution says that FERC review should only take a year. 

Click here to make a comment to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission about the Mountain Valley Pipeline [docket number  PF15-3-000]  or the Atlantic Coast Pipeline [docket number  PF15-6-000]

Click here to make a comment to the U.S. Forest Service, which is considering whether to issue a special use permit to Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC, which would allow the company to conduct site survey and testing in a 17.1-mile segment of the Monongahela National Forest and 12.6 miles of the George Washington National Forest.

What's in a Name?

In this episode we’re looking at a town that got it’s name for sand flies-it’s also a town that is home to the famous Punxsutawney Phil that we see each year on Groundhog Day.

Yes- Punxsutawney PA got it’s name  from a Native American word for sand flies. Known as “town of the ponkies”- a word for sand gnats- became Punxsutawney.

French Creek Freddie and Concord Charlie

While the fame of Punxsutawney’s groundhog is nationally recognized, this week, in honor of Groundhog Day, we wanted to shine a spotlight on a very special pair of

West Virginia groundhogs-who perhaps aren’t celebrated as well as they deserve.

West Virginia's groundhogs both predicted an early spring this year. At the West Virginia Wildlife Center Monday morning, the groundhog named French Creek Freddie did not see his shadow.  At Concord University, Concord Charlie also did not see his shadow.
However, in Pennsylvania, Punxsutawney Phil did see his shadow and predicts six more weeks of winter.

 

 

The West Virginia Wildlife Center will have their Groundhog Day celebration on Feb 2, 10:00 am.

Our theme music is by Andy Agnew Jr., Our What’s in a Name Music is by Marteka and William with Johnson Ridge Special. Music in today’s show was also provided by Bing Crosby, Billy Pollard, Jake Scheppes, and the Glennville State Bluegrass Band.

 

 

 

 

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Infrastructure
10:20 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Congress Considers Bill to Fast Track Gas Pipeline Projects, and it Could Affect West Virginians

At a community meeting in Union, W.Va. last November, a hundred citizens voiced their concerns for the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline.

On January 21, the US. House of Representatives passed House Resolution 161, known as the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act. The resolution directs the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve or deny pipeline projects within 12 months after receiving a complete application.

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Developing
11:24 pm
Sun January 25, 2015

Diesel Spill Taints Water for 12,000

Credit wvva.com

Lewisburg is asking its water customers to conserve water following a diesel fuel spill.

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Inside Appalachia
6:35 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Inside Appalachia: Finding Love & Tolerance Instead of Racism & Homophobia

Blair Campbell (center) managed to find a smile the day after someone painted a racial slur on the side of her restaurant. Friends and neighbors pitched in to help her erase the graffiti from the Pretty Penny Cafe and launch a new campaign called "We are One". Photo by Brynn Kusic

Racism and homophobia, love and tolerance--none of these are new to Appalachia. Today, we explore the stories of Appalachians who are moved to spread love, not hate.

In West Virginia, a racist hate crime shakes a community to spread a message of tolerance.

And a Kentucky songwriter’s high lonesome tune is inspired by a gay coal miner’s true story.

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Arts and Culture
11:03 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Haunting Banjo Tune Inspired by Coal Miner's Struggle

Sam Williams (formerly Sam Hall). Photo by Fairness, West Virginia

Songwriter Sam Gleaves was inspired by the story of Sam Williams, a former coal miner who was harassed at work for being gay. 

Sam Gleaves is a musician who grew up playing old time mountain music in Southwestern Virginia. His songs have a high lonesome, old-time sound. Their roots are deep in Appalachia, and the stories they tell explore some bitter truths about how hard it can be to be different here. I met up with Gleaves at his home in Berea, KY to talk about one song in particular.

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Community
11:18 pm
Sun January 18, 2015

Racist Hate Crime Shakes Hillsboro Community into Action to Spread Message of Tolerance

Blair Campbell (center) managed to find a smile that day, among friends, after they helped her erase the graffiti from the Pretty Penny Cafe. Photo by Brynn Kusic

In the middle of the night on January 6th, 40 year old Robert Ratliff drove along US 219 to Pocahontas County from nearby Greenbrier County. With green paint, he wrote two words on the side of the town's only restaurant, the Pretty Penny Cafe. To this town, those two words have had a ripple effect of emotions- from shock, to fear, to pain, and now, to love.

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Inside Appalachia
4:31 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Inside Appalachia: Water in the Coalfields

Water Outages and Advisories Continue in W.Va. Coalfields

While the chemical spill in Charleston left more than 300,000 without usable water, it's a problem that folks in the coalfields deal with on a regular basis.

Last week, we heard stories of the water smelling of licorice, emptied shelves once stocked with bottled water, and other quests for clean water.  The water crisis in West Virginia's capital city lasted just a few weeks, but folks in the coalfields continue to deal with boil water advisories and outages.

Mountainous regions like southern West Virginia have an abundance of water, but the terrain along with aging infrastructure have been creating access issues for decades. Many of the current water systems in place today in the coalfields were installed in the early 1900's by coal companies. Coal operators, jobs, and most people left the area, leaving remnants of a once bustling economy including some beautiful buildings, coal tipples, and water systems. 

For some communities a boil water advisory is a way of life, like in Keystone, West Virginia, in McDowell County, where residents have been on an advisory since 2010. The town's neighboring sister city, Northfork, has been on a boil water advisory since 2013.

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Education
8:21 am
Thu January 15, 2015

West Virginia Board of Education Hears Debate on Science Standards for Teaching Climate Change

Four students from Marshall University spoke to the board- Caitlyn Grimes (L), Jenna Atkins, Jake Waldman and Matt Jarvis. The students are not science majors, but they are mentored by a group called CFACT and deny climate change as a proven scientific fact.
Credit Ashton Marra/ WVPB

The West Virginia Board of Education rescinded a proposal on Wednesday on teaching requirements for education science standards on climate change.

Over a hundred people flooded the board room at the state capitol, many of them because of a controversial addition to the science curriculum for k-12 grade students.

Recognizing their concerns, the board voted to place the proposal back on a 30-day public comment period.

The vote came at the suggestion of Clayton Burch, the Department of Education's chief academic officer. “It's important to get it right.”

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