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.

Ways To Connect

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

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.

Fayette County Bridge construction
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.

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.

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.

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.

Elk River Chemical spill
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.

 

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.

Welch, WV
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.

Ellen Mosley-Thompson and Lonnie Thompson
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.

Caroline and Holmes Morton
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.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell
Jean Snedegar

Meet Hinton-native Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the new Secretary of Health and Human Services in Washington.  Previously she was the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

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.

Brad Smith, CEO of Intuit
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.

M.I.T. professor John Ochsendorf
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.

Dr. Geoffrey Cousins
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. 

Verna Gibson, first woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company
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. 

Pages