Roxy Todd

Reporter/ Producer Inside Appalachia

Roxy Todd is a reporter and co-producer for Inside Appalachia and has been a reporter for West Virginia Public Broadcasting since 2014. Her stories have aired on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Marketplace. She’s won several awards, including a regional 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.

In 2017, she won first place in Public Radio News Directors Inc.’s (PRNDI) Nationally Edited Soft Feature category for her story titled “In Coal Country, Farmers get creative to bridge the fresh produce gap.” The radio show and podcast she helps produce, Inside Appalachia, won first place in PRNDI’s Long Documentary category for an episode titled “Hippies, Home Birth and the History of Birthing Babies in Appalachia.”

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

This week we revisit an Inside Appalachia episode from 2014 packed with so much information we felt it’s worth sharing again.

We go back into the archives for the November 15, 2014 show. It includes an interview with Gary Quarles, who lost his son Gary Wayne Quarles, in the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster in 2010. He spoke with host Jessica Lilly about Don Blankenship's indictment before federal Judge Irene Berger ordered a gag order against speaking with the media and more.

A seemingly fitting show since on this same day, nine years ago, loved one gathered in West Virginia as they waited to hear if their loved ones survived a mine disaster. In the end, they found 12 coal miners died.


W.Va. State Police
wikimedia / Wikimedia

On Thursday, January 1, 2015, at approximately 4:00 pm, two officers from the Lewisburg Police Department conducted a traffic stop on Interstate 64 West near the Lewisburg Exit.  A white Chevrolet SUV had a North Carolina license plate which was in NCIC as a stolen plate.  During the traffic stop, a red Chevrolet truck pulled over as well.

As the officers were conducting the traffic stop, the driver of the red truck pulled a handgun and shot at both officers.  Both officers were wounded.  One of the officers was able to respond to the threat with his department issued firearm, resulting in the suspect being wounded in the leg.  The driver of the white SUV left the scene.

Courtesy Photo

For many families with loved ones who are overseas in the military or in the marines, the holiday season can be a very sad time, missing those who are far away. The holidays can also be hard on families with loved ones incarcerated. This is especially true for loved ones in maximum security prisons.

We’ll hear some of the Christmas messages that were broadcasted into high security prisons this week on the Calls from Home radio program. The holidays often bring back memories of years past, and this is especially hard for those with a family member or loved one who’s passed away. And we’ll hear about a former marine in West Virginia who’s now helping people pull themselves out of poverty. You’ll find these stories and more this week, Inside Appalachia.

It Just Needed A Little Love: An Ugly Spruce Ties A Town Together

Over the last six weeks, 15,000 people rode the Polar Express train in Randolph County. 35 other Polar Express trains exist across the country. But the one in Elkins is the only Polar Express in the Mid-Atlantic region- so it's extremely popular. This themed train also supports dozens of local jobs- at least seasonally.

Last week, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife found a 125-pound young and healthy mountain lion in Bourbon County. Officials are still trying to determine if the large cat was someone’s pet or wild. If it’s a wild animal, it will be the first one confirmed in Kentucky since the Civil War. 

Welcome to a special holiday episode of Inside Appalachia, featuring music by The Sweetback Sisters, with their album Country Christmas Singalong Spectacular, 2012, and Bob Thompson's More Joy to the World, 2007.

Hip Hop from the Hill Top / Calls from Home

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In this episode we’ll explore two holiday and Appalachian traditions: food and spirits. We’ll also hear about some female butchers who are leading a renaissance in local foods.

You’ll find these stories and more this week, Inside Appalachia.

Cooking with Bourbon:

In Whitesburg KY, each month, Jonathan Piercy and Jenny Williams host a live radio cooking show on WMMT called What's Cookin' Now, broadcasting straight from the Appalshop kitchen.

Paul Corbitt Brown

W.Va. Poet: “Appalachian Blackface” Story of 2014 Election Cycle: Have you ever heard the term ‘Affrilachian?’ It’s one poet Crystal Good uses to describe herself, an African American who grew up and lives in Appalachia. Good is a native of St. Albans, in West Virginia’s chemical valley. Good’s newest poem, “Appalachian Blackface,” premiered this fall at the Summit on Race Matters in Appalachia held in Charleston.

Courtesy of the West Virginia and Regional Historic Collection, WVU Libraries

Thanksgiving comes in two parts “giving” and “thanks.”  

This week, we’ll talk to a man in North Carolina, who’s collected over 1,000 varieties of heirloom apples.

And Layuna Rapp shares her memories of raising turkeys on her family farm in West Virginia

And we also want to take some time to hear from two young women who know what it’s like to struggle.

Troubled Youth Thankful For Youth Systems Services: Glynis Board visits the Youth Services System in Wheeling, serving at risk children and young adults.

Courtesy of the Meade family

Perfect for your Thanksgiving road-trip: Fifty-one minutes of some great Appalachian stories, including: NPR's mine safety investigation continues. Where is the the mine with the highest delinquent fines in the U.S.? What happens when mines don’t pay their fines? And an update from the Appalachian Project, and how a financial adviser in Johnson City, TN decided to begin recording oral histories across Appalachia. These stories and more, in this week's episode of Inside Appalachia.

Courtesy of the Meade family

Perfect for your Thanksgiving road-trip: Fifty-one minutes of some great Appalachian stories, including: NPR's mine safety investigation continues. Where is the the mine with the highest delinquent fines in the U.S.? What happens when mines don’t pay their fines? And an update from the Appalachian Project, and how a financial adviser in Johnson City, TN decided to begin recording oral histories across Appalachia. These stories and more, in this week's episode of Inside Appalachia.

WV Division of Culture and History

Forty-six years ago today, 78 coal miners died in the Farmington Mine disaster in Marion County. Sometimes referred to as the Mannington Mine disaster, the tragedy was one of the instrumental forces that led congress to pass the 1969 Federal Mine Safety Law.

WV Division of Culture and History

Once considered untouchable, former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship was indicted on four federal charges in connection with the Upper Big Branch Disaster that killed 29 men in 2010. It’s news that folks in the coalfields never thought would happen.

In this episode, we’ll hear a special investigative series of reports about outlaw coal mining companies that keep operating despite injuries, violations and millions in fines.

And a new lawsuit has just been filed on behalf of the 78 coal miners who died in the Farmington Mine Disaster. We’ll hear memories from Sarah Kasnoski, one of the widows who lost her husband on that fateful date, November 20, 1968. 

Investigating Outlaw Mines That Keep Operating Despite Delinquent Fines

A recent investigative report has uncovered that some coal companies are working the system to avoid paying fines. The report also finds a connection between skirted financial penalties and injured coal miners: mines with more delinquent fines also have higher rates of injured workers.

NPR and Mine Safety and Health News sifted through citations, and documents for more than a year to find the connection. NPR’s Howard Berkes says it was no easy task. Each delinquent fine has a different start date, so tracking the injuries associated with the delinquent fines was complicated. In this episode, we hear the first three of these reports. We also talk with Berkes about mine safety and the development of these investigations.

Growing Warriors

This week, we’ll hear from farmer Peg Taylor,  who’s excited that Hemp is being grown in Kentucky for the first time in four decades. But some farmers in West Virginia, like Bill Gorby, say they’re concerned about what hydraulic fracturing could do to the water on their farms.

And for What’s in a Name, we’ll travel to a small town that’s famous for its unique hunter’s stew.

Charles Hayes

 

On a an overcast, October day a crowd of 600 people gather in the little town of Webster Springs. Twenty cooks and 20 Burgoos. 

Helping judge the best of these Burgoos is Tim Urbanic, chef and owner of Cafe Cimino.

 

“You got to love Burgoo. I really love the rattlesnake. And the snapping turtle. They're such heritage foods,” he said.

 

The crowd gets to choose a people's choice Burgoo too. Angie Cowger and Elissa Clayton are about to vote for their favorites.

 

Roxy Todd / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A mere seconds after the polls closed across the state, national media outlets began calling the U.S. Senate race in favor of Republican Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito.

The seat is being vacated by long-time Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller who announced his retirement last year.

It's November, and the growing season is over for most vegetables. But even with the frosts and the shorter days, not everyone has retreated indoors. 17-year-old Connor Haynes is spending two months worth of Saturdays building a shed and rain barrels in a community garden in Charleston. Connor is working on his Eagle Scout badge, and he's also using the project to honor his friend.

Steven Middleton

This week's episode features Elizabeth Wells McIlvain helps employ 1,000 people in West Virginia, making Fiesta ware.And we learn that the number of jobs created by the Kentucky Bourbon Distillery industry has doubled in the last two years. We'll also explore some eccentric roadside attractions, including a Ventriloquist museum in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky.

wikimedia commons

The phrase “food-desert” might sound like a landscape of sagebrush and armadillos, but it's really a place where SlimJims, chicken nuggets and Slurpies count as dinner. A food desert can happen anywhere- we've all seen them. People who live in a food desert may be surrounded by food—fast food or convenient store hotdogs, instead of fresh, healthy food.

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.

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.


Roxy Todd

It's early morning around 6 am, and I'm standing with Chef Tim Urbanic in the kitchen of the Cafe Cimino Country Inn. Tim grew up in western Pennsylvania in a coal camp, and his mother, Julia Cimino, was a first generation Italian immigrant from Calabria.

“The polenta was a staple in our family. This is a polenta that I've known all my life, since I was a little kid. We add to this Romano cheese, fresh butter, and then we use water for the base.”

Allender Stewart

In southern West Virginia, Reed's Mill has been stone-grinding local cornmeal since 1791. It's one of the few gristmills that has been in continual operation in this country, and it grinds a local heirloom corn that has been passed down for generations.

Lauren Stonestreet, of Elle Effect Photography

 

In this episode, we’ll travel to Maryland to forage- and eat- wild Pawpaws

And we’ll learn about Anne Braden, one of the early advocates for social equality in Kentucky.

We'll also hear about a new company in West Virginia that’s revived a historic salt-works -and why chefs are loving it.

Lauren Stonestreet, of Elle Effect Photography

 

In 1851, salt from the Kanawha Valley was awarded the world's best salt at the World's Fair in London. Now, more than 160 years later, one of those old salt companies has been revived by brother and sister Nancy Bruns and Lewis Payne. Last weekend, the JQ Dickinson Salt-Works celebrated their 1-year-anniversary. I toured the salt-works and talked with Chef April Hamilton as she prepared food for the salt soiree.

 

Fiona Ritchie
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.

Clay Center

On Thursday at the Clay Center in Charleston, four Romanian high school musicians and three of their teachers met with musicians from Wahama high school in Mason County. The students are participating in a year-long project exploring the connections between Appalachian and Romanian folk music.

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?

W.Va Herb Association

It's fall, and for most gardeners it's time to finish harvesting plants and begin preparing beds for the approaching frosts. For those who grow garlic, this is the time to plant bulbs. It's also time to learn what you can do with some of the herbs you may have grown this year.

The Fall Herb Festival at Jackson's Mill begins Friday. Twenty-seven teachers will conduct workshops about making herbal honey, growing edible gardens, and making simple cleaning and skin care products. There will be a workshop, taught by a massage therapist, about doing herbal facials.

Pages