Suzanne Higgins

Senior Producer

Suzanne Higgins is the news department’s Senior Producer, headquartered at WSWP-TV in Beckley.

She's currently producing Jay: A Rockefeller's Journey, a program focusing on the life and career of John D. Rockefeller, IV as the senator retires following 50 years of public service. 

Other current projects include the Inspiring West Virginians web series for middle school students, and contributions to radio newscasts.

One of Suzanne's recent projects was The Story of the Jews radio series. She also co-produced West Virginia 150: Commemorating Statehood, an hour-long program celebrating the state's sesquicentennial, which was awarded Best Documentary in 2014 by The Virginias Associated Press Broadcasters Association.

Suzanne's other ongoing projects include the Inspiring West Virginians documentary series, the McDowell County: Rebirth and Resilience radio series, the Aging with Grace & Dignity series, and contributions to West Virginia Morning, Inside Appalachia, and The Legislature Today.

Her past projects have included producing and hosting nightly television legislative coverage, producing West Virginia Music Hall of Fame specials, the Legacy series, the Mountain State Science series and the Healing in the Hills series.

Suzanne is the recipient of the national Pew Charitable Trust’s Batten Award for Excellence in Civic Journalism, the Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting, an Emmy Award, and several West Virginia Associated Press Broadcasters Association awards.

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An Inspiring West Virginian
2:51 pm
Sun December 14, 2014

She Has One Million Patients

Bluefield native Patrice Harris, MD, is one of the nation’s leading psychiatrists and an inspiring West Virginian.
Credit Jean Snedegar

Patrice Harris, MD, a native of Bluefield, WV,  is one of the nation’s leading psychiatrists.

Harris and 3 other leaders in science and business will be featured in the broadcast of Inspiring West Virginians, airing Dec. 29 at 8 PM on West Virginian Public Radio.

Harris is currently the District Health Director for Fulton County, Georgia, which includes the city of Atlanta, and is responsible for more than a million patients.

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An Inspiring West Virginian
12:16 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Moundsville Native Is A Pioneering Astrobiophysicist

Pioneering scientist Adrian Melott says his curiosity stems from the chemistry lab he was allowed as a child in his Moundsville, WV home.
Credit Jean Snedegar

During his distinguished career, theoretical physicist and cosmologist Adrian Melott has been a pioneer in two completely different fields of space science – and he credits his focus and curiosity in large part to his grandfather who read a lot about science, and his father, a machinist who allowed him “free reign” in a chemistry lab in the family basement.

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An Inspiring West Virginian
4:09 pm
Sun November 30, 2014

Clinical Pharmacologist Left Duke to Conduct World-Class Research at WVU

Clinical Pharmacologist Bill Petros of Wheeling left Duke University and its leading cancer center to return to WV to continue his work.

Not many pharmacists do cutting edge research in developing new drugs, and how drugs affect different patients differently.

But 53-year-old clinical pharmacologist Bill Petros of Wheeling, WV studies how cancer drugs react differently from one patient to the next.

For more than a decade Bill Petros led his own research lab at Duke University Cancer Center, one of the top cancer research centers in the United States. 

Then he got a call from West Virginia University, and was thrilled to return home.

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Medicaid implementing restrictions
3:56 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

New Drug Can Cure Hepatitis C – If Only We Could Afford It

Gilead Sciences has produced a curative drug for Hepatitis C, costing $1000 a pill.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

The pill is called Sovaldi and it’s profoundly changing outcomes for Hepatitis C patients.

Just 5 years ago the cure rate for most patients in the US was about 50%. Now with Sovaldi, made by Gilead Sciences Inc. of California and approved by the FDA last December, the latest Hep C regimen is making therapy shorter, more tolerable, and the cure rate is reaching 95-100 %.

That’s significant for West Virginia, which has the second highest prevalence of Hepatitis C in the country.

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Retirement Looming
10:33 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Rockefeller Says Personal Sacrifices Part of Public Service

Sen. Jay Rockefeller reflects on his half-century career in public service.
Credit Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who announced Saturday the John D. Rockefeller IV School of Policy and Politics at West Virginia University, will retire at the end of the year after 30 years in the U.S. Senate.

Rockefeller calls public life "all consuming if you go after it like you should."

He says personal time with family, especially his children, has been the price he's paid in public service, and he plans to make up for it in retirement.

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Outside money detrimental
3:20 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Rahall Reflects on 2014 Campaign, Career Accomplishments

Nick Rahall, defeated in the race for District 3's congressional seat, reflects on campaign and career.
Credit Submitted Photo / Office of Nick Rahall

Democrat Nick Rahall of Beckley will leave his congressional office next month after 38 years of service, to be replaced by Republican Evan Jenkins.

West Virginia's District 3 congressman sat down with Suzanne Higgins on election night, to reflect on the 2014 campaign, and the successes he's had for southern West Virginia while in office.

While the Rahall campaign received between $3-$7 million in outside support to Jenkins' estimated $8-$10 million, the congressman said the practice has undermined the political process.

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Election 2014
1:29 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Jenkins Takes Congressional Seat in Monumental Win Over Rahall

Evan Jenkins celebrates on stage with his family.
Credit Clark Davis / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

After switching parties in the spring, Evan Jenkins will now head to D.C. after pulling off what could be called a monumental upset.  

Jenkins unseats Nick Rahall from the 3rd congressional district seat after a reign that lasted 38 years. Jenkins began his political career as a member of the House in 1994 and elected to the Senate in 2002. Even though he defeated a long time member of Congress, in his victory speech Jenkins says he appreciates what Rahall did for the state.

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14 counties participate
12:17 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

State to Pilot Program Aimed at Helping At-Risk Teens

WV will pilot a federal program aimed at at-risk youths.
Credit Love Krittaya, Wikimedia Commons

West Virginia is one of 10 states selected to launch a federal pilot program to keep more at-risk teenagers at home, reducing the number of children receiving services in out-of-home care facilities.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Children and Families will launch the Safe at Home West Virginia program.

The effort will provide wrap-around services and counseling to children and families around the state. The aim is the prevention of child abuse, neglect and the re-entry of children into foster care.

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CDC rankings
5:01 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

State's Immunization Efforts Receive National Honors

West Virginia is honored by the CDC for its immunization programs.
Credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

West Virginia has received two national honors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for its efforts to control vaccine-preventable diseases.

The CDC ranks West Virginia among the top three states in the country for having the highest number of adults immunized against the flu. 

Approximately 52% of adults in West Virginia got a flu shot in the 2013-2014 season, compared to 42% nationally.

West Virginia was also cited for being among the top five states for most improved immunization coverage of adolescents, ages 13-17.

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No similar cases
4:11 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Providers To Report Cases Possibly Linked to Mysterious Illness in Colorado

The CDC wants to be informed of cases similar to an illness found in a group of children in Colorado.
Credit Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Department of Health and Human Resources officials filed an order Wednesday requiring health care providers to report all cases that may be linked to a mysterious neurologic illness that has been seen in children in Colorado.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is making the request nationwide.

The CDC is investigating the illness of a cluster of nine pediatric patients in Colorado, all hospitalized with acute neurologic illness with limb weakness of undetermined origin that might be linked to the enterovirus D68. 

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Degree in Bible
3:37 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Mount Olive Inmates Begin Moral Rehab Program

Inmates at Mt. Olive begin new Moral Rehabilitation program.
Credit Schavda / wikimedia Commons

Inmates at Mount Olive Correctional Complex can now pursue a four-year college degree that officials believe will reduce violence inside and outside of prison.

According to WV Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein, the new Moral Rehabilitation program that launched this week will change prison culture, save lives, reduce victims, reduce violence, and save money.

In a release the commissioner said the program will operate as an extension campus of Appalachian Bible College, an accredited Raleigh County institution.

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Lecture
3:32 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

West Virginia Native, Renowned Cancer Scientist, Speaking At WVU

Dr. Lewis Cantley, renowned cancer researcher, will speak at WVU Monday, Sept. 8.
Credit Jean Snedegar

Internationally renowned cancer scientist Lewis Cantley, a West Virginia native,  will deliver the 2014 Laurence and Jean DeLynn Lecture at West Virginia University Monday.

Cantley grew up in Big Chimney in Kanawha County, graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan and then went on to Harvard.

The biochemist discovered a family of enzymes fundamental to understanding cancer biology.

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Health & Science
11:09 am
Thu September 4, 2014

Tipping The Scale Again, West Virginia Is The Most Obese State

Report on obesity warns this generation of children will die sooner than their parents if rates are not brought down.
Credit wikimedia commons

According to the latest data, West Virginia's adult obesity rate is tied with Mississippi for the highest in the country at 35.1%.  Colorado has the lowest rate at 21.3 percent.

The annual report is produced by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America's Health.

In addition to being the most obese state, West Virginia is also the state with the highest percentage of people who do not exercise.

Among high schoolers,  West Virginia ranks sixth, with 13 percent of those students obese.

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Economy
12:04 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Thousands Will Ride the World Class Gauley Rapids Beginning This Weekend

White water rafting on the Gauley RIver begins this weekend.
Credit Ken Thomas / wikimedia Commons

Five thousand people on some 500 boats are expected on the Gauley River beginning Friday as the U.S. Corp of Engineers begins drawing down the water levels on Summersville Lake, releasing a thunderous amount of water into the Upper and Lower sections of the Gauley.

The releases will occur during the next 7 consecutive weekends, supporting the local rafting industry and ensuring the river maintains its world class rafting status.

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300 jobs available
2:54 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

WVU Healthcare To Hold Open Interview Session Wednesday

WVU Healthcare is holding interviews for 300 jobs Wednesday.
Credit West Virginia University

Open interview sessions for approximately 300 positions at WVU Healthcare will be held Wednesday.

WUV Healthcare includes the teaching hospitals and clinics for WVU’s health professions schools.

The job interviews will be held from 10 am to 6 pm at the WVU Erickson Alumni Center.

Per diem, casual, part-time, and full-time positions are available, including management, direct patient care, support services, and administrative.

 

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News
4:00 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

$1 Million for Four W.Va. Health Centers From Obamacare

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced funds for 4 WV health centers Thursday.
Credit wikimedia commons

Four health centers in West Virginia will expand behavioral health services using funds from the Affordable Care Act.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced almost a million dollars in funds from the federal health care act will support and expand services for about 29,000 West Virginians  that seek treatment from those 4 health centers.

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Reverses recent decline
4:13 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Overall Mining Deaths Up First Half of 2014

Mining deaths across the country are up compared to this time last year.
Credit AllVoices.com

Twenty-two miners were killed in accidents in the mining industry during the first half of 2014, including 8 coal miners, according to a summary by the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration.

 

That's compared to 18 miners who were killed in the first half of 2013.

In the second quarter of this year alone, 14 miners died – five in coal mining and nine in metal and nonmetal mining.

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Tourism
11:47 am
Tue July 22, 2014

National Park Visitors Spent $51 Million in Southern W.Va. last year

National Park visitors spend millions in southern West Virginia communities.
Credit National Park Service

A new National Park Service report shows that visitors to national park areas in southern West Virginia spent $51 million in nearby communities in 2013.

The report says a little more than 1,243,000 people from around the world visited the New River Gorge National River, the Bluestone National Scenic River, and the Gauley River National Recreation Area in 2013.

In a release today NPS Superintendent Trish Kicklighter said that in addition to providing visitors remarkable experiences in America's outdoors, National Park  Tourism is a significant driver in the national economy.

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Completion July 2015
2:25 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Bridge Replacement Means New River Closures and Detours

Closures and detours scheduled over the next year as Thomas Buford Pugh Memorial Bridge in Fayette County is replaced.
Credit Google Earth

A bridge closing in Fayette County means long-term disruption for river
traffic as well.

The West Virginia Department of Highways and the Federal Highways Administration are replacing the Thomas Buford Pugh Memorial Bridge on Route 41 in the town of Prince.

Construction of the new bridge will require temporary full river traffic closures and long term river detours between Prince and the town of McCreery on the New River.

Construction is scheduled to begin this month and the detour will remain in effect until the project is completed  next July.

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Affordable Care Act Funds
4:44 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Rural Clinic in Beckley Will Receive $1.65 Million Grant

Community Health Systems of Beckley is one of 60 clinics in the nation to receive a training grant through the Affordable Care Act.

Community Health Systems of Beckley is one of 60 clinics across the country that will share more than 80 million dollars in Affordable Care Act money.
 

The rural clinic  will receive a $1.65 million grant to help train primary care providers.

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