Suzanne Higgins

Executive Producer

Suzanne Higgins is Executive Producer for WVPB, headquartered at WSWP-TV in Beckley.

She’s currently producing a one-hour television documentary featuring West Virginia Vietnam Veterans, recently oversaw the seventh season of Inspiring West Virginians, a radio, television and WV Learning Media project, and produced the network’s 2016 Gubernatorial Candidates forum and Supreme Court candidates forum.

Following the devastating floods in southern West Virginia in June, 2016, Suzanne led a team of producers in delivering the Emmy-nominated one-hour television special Inside Appalachia: West Virginia’s 1000 Year Flood.

In the fall of 2016, Suzanne and fellow producer Russ Barbour won the National Educational Telecommunications Association’s Best Documentary Award for Jay: A Rockefeller's Journey. The 2-hour film focuses on the life and half-century career of John D. Rockefeller, IV, and was distributed by NETA nationally to PBS stations.   

With the launch of the West Virginia Channel in January, 2016, Suzanne has been working with independent producers and filmmakers throughout the state, building production partnerships and broadening program offerings for the channel.

Her past projects have included producing and hosting live television studio programs, documentaries, multiple radio series, community events and film screenings, and contributing reports to the network's ongoing news and public affairs programs. 

Suzanne is also a 2016 graduate of the Leadership West Virginia program, the recipient of the national Pew Charitable Trust’s Batten Award for Excellence in Civic Journalism, the Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting, two Emmy awards, a PRNDI award, several West Virginia Associated Press Broadcasters Association awards, and the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Virginias’ Associated Press Broadcasters Association.

Ways to Connect

WV State Troopers, WV State Police
Suzanne Higgins / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  West Virginia State Police say they've arrested dozens of people in southern West Virginia on charges of manufacturing methamphetamine during targeted efforts in the past month.

Since October 26 state troopers in Webster, Pendleton, Randolph, and Braxton counties found 2 meth labs, arrested 14 people and seized a little over $1000.

This resulted in 28 felonies and 2 misdemeanor charges.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller
Politico

Sen. Jay Rockefeller say's he's deeply honored to receive the prestigious Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun from the Japanese government.  The award recognizes Rockefeller’s work to strengthen the economic and cultural relationship between the two countries.

In a news release the senator says the people of Japan have shaped his life and the lives of thousands of West Virginians.

Suzanne Higgins / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

New housing is in the works for McDowell County, thanks to Reconnecting McDowell, a group working on improving schools, growing the economy and addressing the needs of local families.

The 2-year old public-private partnership has just hired an architecture firm to design housing in Welch.

The lack of housing has for years been cited as a major reason why recruiting teachers is an ongoing problem for the McDowell school system.

Cecelia Mason

The 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress report shows 35 percent of West Virginia's fourth graders scored at or above the proficient level in math.

While that's up from a score of 31 percent in 2011, it's still below the national average. Nationwide, 42 percent of fourth graders are meeting or exceeding proficiency.

At the same time West Virginia’s eight graders show similar improvements and have similar disparities in scores.

Politico

West Virginia Internet providers say they're working hard to reach the nine percent of people who lack broadband access, but hurdles remain.

The internet providers spoke Monday at the third Discover the Real West Virginia Foundation Broadband Summit in Morgantown.

The Foundation was formed by Sen. Jay Rockefeller who noted when the last broadband summit was held four years ago, less than 72 percent of West Virginians had access to broadband. Today, 91 percent have access.

The fourth series of Inspiring West Virginians  features one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century, John Forbes Nash, Jr, a 1994 winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. Nash grew up in Bluefield, West Virginia, and the town still holds an importance for him. Now 84, John Nash is currently a Senior Research Mathematician at Princeton University in New Jersey. 

 

Inspiring West Virginian, bio-engineer Linda Powers
Jean Snedegar

Bio-safety-level-2 laboratories in the Bio5 Building at the University of Arizona Medical School is where Linda Powers has designed and built several impressive and important scientific instruments.

“Here we handle microbes that can make you sick, but generally not kill you,” said Powers on a recent tour.

But the 64-year-old Beckley native, now the Thomas R. Brown Distinguished Professor of Bio-Engineering at the University of Arizona, does handle microbes that can kill you.

Rodney Bartgis 2013 Inspiring West Virginain
Jean Snedegar

Fifty-four-year-old Rodney Bartgis, state director of the West Virginia Nature Conservancy, stood atop Cave Mountain in Pendleton County, an elevation of 2,777 feet.

“It almost looks like the Rocky Mountains,” said Bartgis. “This is the biggest uplift of limestone in the eastern mountains of the United States, and a lot of the rare plants and animals in this canyon are associated with this limestone,” he said. 

Beth Vorhees / WV Public Radio

June 20, 2013 · West Virginia is the only state in the Union that was created as a direct result of the Civil War. When war broke out in 1861 and Virginia seceded from the Union, some living in that state’s western regions saw it as an opportunity to break away and create a new state.

 

Diane Lewis, Morgantown AFM
Jean Snedegar

Action Facilities Management – or AFM – overlooks I-79 near Morgantown and employs more than 300 people in nine states. 

“In Fairmont we work for the West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation and we do the security, maintenance and janitorial for all these facilities here,” said founder, president and CEO Diane Lewis. “It’s one of our commercial clients.”   

John Nash
Jean Snedegar

Editor's note: Nobel-prize winning mathematician John Nash and his wife were killed in a traffic accident May 23, 2015. This profile from 2013 is part of our series, "Inspiring West Virginians."

Suzanne Higgins

Between the 1880’s and 1920’s there was an intersection of two historical phenomena in Appalachia. The railroads opened the region for the large scale extraction of coal and Jews from Eastern Europe came to the United States seeking opportunity.

In her book “Coalfield Jews: An Appalachian History,” Deborah Weiner writes “…their story is treated here as Jewish History and as Appalachian history, in equal measure.  The linkages that emerge between these two seemingly unrelated fields help to illuminate both.”

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