Suzanne Higgins

Senior Producer

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

She's currently working on a one-hour 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 history of Temple Beth El in Beckley, and a science web series for middle school students.

One of Suzanne's recent projects was West Virginia 150: Commemorating Statehood. Other ongoing projects include the Inspiring West Virginians series, the McDowell County: Rebirth and Resilience series, the Aging with Grace & Dignity series, and contributions to West Virginia Morning, Inside Appalachia, and The Legislature Today.

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.

Suzanne grew up in Wheeling with her five brothers and is a proud graduate of Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy and Wheeling Jesuit University.

She and her husband, Jim, a mining engineer, have two teenagers and a Yorkie-mix named Riley.

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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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Pediatric specialties
4:07 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

WVU Children's Hospital Opens Summersville Clinic

Kids in 9-county region now have access to WVU pediatric specialists at Summersville Regional Medical Center.
Credit Kate Long

West Virgina University Children’s Hospital opened today a new WVU Healthcare clinic located at the Summersville Regional Medical Center.

Larry Rhodes, M.D., physician-in-chief at WVU Children’s Hospital and chair of the WVU Department of Pediatrics, said in a news release that pediatric clinics have been held along the borders of the state for several years, but the new Summersville clinic will provide a more central location in the state and has the potential to serve a nine-county region.

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PGA Tour FedEx Cup
4:34 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

West Virginia Teens Play At Greenbrier Classic

PGA Tour FedEx Cup begins at the Greenbrier Resort Monday.
Credit Bobak Ha'Eri / wikimedia Commons

Cole Hand and Alston Spears, two West Virginia junior golfers, will participate alongside professional golfers at this year's Greenbrier Classic, which began Monday.

Hand and Spears were invited to play in the practice rounds and Pro-Am of the PGA Tour FedEx Cup event at The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, according to a release from the Governor's office.

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Findings consistent
2:29 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Bureau of Public Health Releases Chemical Spill Data

WV Bureau of Public Health releases findings on patients affected by Jan. 9's chemical spill into the Elk River.
Credit wikimedia / Wikimedia

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Public Health released Friday information from physicians who reported seeing patients outside of the ER for symptoms possibly associated with the Elk River Chemical Spill.

 

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pressure to resign
1:44 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

West Virginia's Congressional Delegation Split on Shinseki

The Veterans Affairs health system scandal has split WV's Congressional delegation.
Credit Dept. of Defense

While Senator Jay Rockefeller is standing by Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, Congressman Nick Rahall and Congresswoman Shelly Capito are calling for his resignation amid the scandal that has embroiled the Veterans Administration for weeks.

Rahall added his name Friday to the growing list of Democrats joining Republicans calling for Shinseki to step down, signaling mounting pressure on the Secretary.

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Housing construction
10:17 am
Tue May 13, 2014

McDowell Property Bought For Teacher Village

A Teacher Village will be constructed in downtown Welch.
Credit Suzanne Higgins

A long-abandoned property in downtown Welch has been purchased for the construction of apartment-style housing for teachers and other professionals.

Reconnecting McDowell, the public-private partnership focused on improving McDowell County's education system and economy, has purchased the former Best Furniture and Katzen buildings and the attached parking lots for $92,000.

The group intends to build a Teachers Village - which will include about 30 housing units, areas for residents to collaborate and relax, and community amenities such as a street-level coffee shop.

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Inspiring West Virginians Season 1
11:23 am
Fri May 2, 2014

The Ice Hunters

Ellen Mosley-Thompson and Lonnie Thompson
Credit Ellen Mosley-Thompson

Follow two of the world's leading paleoclimatologists to the top of the world and both poles!

Using ice cores they drill themselves, Marshall graduates Lonnie Thompson, from Gassaway, and Ellen Mosley-Thompson, from Charleston, study the history of climate at the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University.  Lonnie was the first scientist in the world to drill ice cores on glaciers in tropical regions.  And he has spent more time above 20,000 feet than anyone in history.

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Inspiring West Virginians Season 1
11:12 am
Fri May 2, 2014

In Search of Meaningful Work

Caroline and Holmes Morton
Credit Jean Snedegar

Travel to Amish country to hear about one of the most unusual medical clinics in the United States -- the Clinic for Special Children in Strasburg, Pennsylvania, founded by Dr. D. Holmes Morton, of Fayetteville, and his wife, Caroline, from Beckley.  Here doctors and scientists diagnose and treat rare genetic disorders in children from Old Order Amish and Mennonite communities.

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Inspiring West Virginians Season 1
10:45 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Sylvia Mathews Burwell

Sylvia Mathews Burwell
Credit Jean Snedegar

Meet Hinton-native Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the new Director of the Office of Management and Budget in Washington.

Burwell is the past President of Global Development at the Bill & Linda Gates Foundation in Seattle, the world's largest charitable organization. At the Foundation Mathews Burwell was responsible for giving away $750 billion a year to help some of the world's poorest people have access to better agricultural techniques, financial services and clean water and sanitation.

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Inspiring West Virginians Season 1
10:08 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Brad Smith – Using a Moral Compass

Brad Smith, CEO of Intuit
Credit Brad Smith

Hear why co-workers of Brad Smith, President & CEO of the global financial software giant, Intuit, say he's the best ambassador West Virginia could ever have.

With Marshall memorabilia in abundance in his office, this Wayne County native boldly declares that everyone in the company knows about his alma mater, Marshall University, and his hometown, Kenova, West Virginia.

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Inspiring West Virginians Season 2
1:07 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

John Ochsendorf – The Accidental Professor

M.I.T. professor John Ochsendorf
Credit Jean Snedegar

Elkins-native John Ochsendorf, 36, is a professor of structural engineering and architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  At 26 – eight years after he graduated from Elkins High School – he became one of the youngest professors ever appointed at the world’s top technical university.

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Inspiring West Virginians Season 2
11:57 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Geoffrey Cousins – Heart Pioneer

Dr. Geoffrey Cousins
Credit Jean Snedegar

Dr. Geoffrey Cousins, 42, is one of West Virginia’s most innovative heart surgeons and a pioneer of robotic-assisted heart surgery in the United States.  He lives with his wife and four children in Charleston and practices cardio-thoracic surgery at the Charleston Area Medical Center. 

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Inspiring West Virginians Season 2
12:31 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Verna Gibson – She Broke the Glass Ceiling

Verna Gibson, first woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company
Credit Jean Snedegar

Verna LeMasters Gibson, a native of Elkview in Kanawha County, broke the ultimate corporate “glass ceiling” in 1985 when she became the first woman CEO to earn the top spot at a Fortune 500 company, The Limited Stores.  She ran The Limited for six years and during that time it became the nation’s first billion dollar specialty retailing chain. 

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Inspiring West Virginians Season 2
12:22 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Mark Williams – “Mr. Fuel Cell”

Mark Williams
Credit Jean Snedegar

Randolph County native Mark Williams is a visionary engineer and scientist who was the first person to see the commercial potential of fuel cells to run everything from heart pacemakers to power plants. 

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Inspiring West Virginians Season 3
2:15 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Judy Sheppard – Businesswoman and Entrepreneur

Judy Sheppard, a dynamic West Virginia entrepreneur
Credit Jean Snedegar

  Judy Sheppard is currently West Virginia’s most honored businesswoman and entrepreneur.  In 2011 she was named the state’s Small Business Person of the Year as well as Distinguished West Virginian of the Year.  Sheppard is founder, president and CEO of Professional Services of America, Inc, a multi-million dollar business based in Parkersburg.   With more than 200 employees, PSA, as it’s known, provides services for some of America’s largest corporations – DuPont, GE, Pepsico, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Mylan Pharmaceuticals and others – as well as 32 government agencies.

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Inspiring West Virginians Season 3
1:15 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Lew Cantley – Harvard Biochemist and Cell Biologist

Dr. Lewis Cantley opened up entirely new fields in cell biology and cancer treatment.
Credit Jean Snedegar

Back in 1985 Dr. Lewis Cantley, a native of Big Chimney in Kanawha County, discovered an enzyme called PI3-Kinase.  At the time his scientific colleagues thought he couldn’t be right.  How could a chemist discover something so fundamental to biology?

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Inspiring West Virginians Season 3
12:50 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Kim Weaver – Astrophysicist and Pioneer in X-ray Astronomy

Kim Weaver - Global Pioneer in X-ray Astronomy
Credit Jean Snedegar

When Kim Weaver looked up at the stars from her father’s campground in Monongalia County, she was inspired to find out what was out there.  By her early 20s, this WVU graduate had already discovered a galaxy.  She was also among the first scientists in the world to study Black Holes, using an X-ray telescope built at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.  Her discoveries helped to launch whole new fields of astronomy.

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Inspiring West Virginians Season 3
12:15 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Homer Hickam – “Rocket Boy”

Homer Hickam - Rocket Boy, NASA aerospace engineer, writer
Credit Jean Snedegar

McDowell County native Homer Hickam, Jr. is best known for his book Rocket Boys, the story of how six teenagers in a 1950s West Virginia coal company town went on to win the National Science Fair in 1960.   One night in October 1957, Hickam’s life changed forever when the Soviet satellite Sputnik 1 – the world’s first artificial earth satellite – flew over his hometown of Coalwood.

“I knew at that moment that somehow, some way, I wanted to be involved in this movement into space.”

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Fire Closes Trail
8:00 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

National Park Service Battling New River Gorge Fire

A fire has been burning in the New River Gorge National Park since Sunday. The fire has closed the Endless Wall Trail.
Credit Erin Board

Updated: Friday, April 25, 2014 at 10:27 a.m.

New River Gorge National River’s Fern Creek Fire that has been burning since Sunday April 20th remains  at 90% contained.  Crews will continue to monitor and mop up the burn. There are still some hot spots and heat within the perimeter of the burn.  Today’s rain will provide a much needed break for the firefighters.  The area will be assessed after the weather breaks and future actions planned accordingly.

The National Park Service at New River Gorge National River reports that rangers at the Glen Jean station have been fighting a fire in the park since Sunday night.

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