The Front Porch

Fridays at 4:50 p.m.
  • Hosted by Scott Finn, Laurie Lin
  • Local Host Rick Wilson

Welcome to “The Front Porch,” where we tackle the tough issues facing Appalachia the same way you talk with your friends on the porch. 

Hosts include WVPB Executive Director and recovering reporter Scott Finn; conservative lawyer, columnist and rabid "Sherlock" fan Laurie Lin; and liberal columnist and avid goat herder Rick Wilson, who works for the American Friends Service Committee.

An edited version of “The Front Porch” airs Fridays at 4:50 p.m. on West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s radio network, and the full version is available at wvpublic.org and as a podcast as well.

Share your opinions with us about these issues, and let us know what you'd like us to discuss in the future. Send a tweet to @radiofinn or @wvpublicnews, or e-mail Scott at sfinn @ wvpublic.org

The Front Porch is underwritten by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Charleston Gazette-Mail. Find the latest news, traffic and weather on its CGM App. Download it in your app store, and check out its website: http://www.wvgazettemail.com/

What will President Trump's executive orders do to the insurance market in West Virginia?

Kara Lofton has been reporting on that issue, and she says it could mean 19,000 West Virginians seeing premium increases averaging $1,200 on the Afforadable Healthcare Act exchanges. Meanwhile, Trump's order to allow associations to sell insurance across state lines could lower rates for some.

Lofton speaks with Scott Finn and Rick Wilson on this week's Front Porch podcast about what this means for rural healthcare.

What if West Virginia had never split from Virginia during the Civil War? Would the citizens of present-day West Virginia be better off as Virginians?

On one hand, Virginia is a larger and wealthier state. Would that mean more money for poorer West Virginia residents? Better schools or roads?

Or, would distant Richmond ignore its western citizens - just like it did in 1863?

Host Laurie Lin is moving back to Virginia, and she argues a merger could benefit us all. Rick and Scott aren't so sure.

There's a surprising correlation between guns and West Virginia's Trump voters. Also, the fight over school consolidation goes to the Supreme Court. And our favorite Tom Petty songs. On this week's Front Porch podcast.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

It's been almost two months since Governor Jim Justice, elected as a Democrat, changed his party affiliation to Republican. WV MetroNews's Brad McElhinny talks to Laurie and Rick about the reasons behind the switch, and examine whether it's made the job of governing any easier for Justice. Will it help him with the upcoming road bond referendum?

Country Roads

Sep 21, 2017

On this episode of The Front Porch - we announce a sad departure.

Also, what is it about "Country Roads?" Why do North Korean waitresses love it so much?

And finally, why are our country roads in such crappy condition, and should we vote "Yes" on the road bond to fix them?

The Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy is sponsoring a big intellectual shindig here in Charleston on Thursday with the American Conservative Union. It's called, "West Virginia on the Rise: Rebuilding the Economy, Rebuilding Lives."

The conference features speeches by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, W.Va. Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, and Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va.

There also will be panel discussions with national experts on drug abuse, the economy, and changes in the family.

Why does Laurie object to Game of Thrones? What is "Hillbilly Nerd Talk?"

And, what is the perfect coal Haiku?

Find out these answers, and Walking Dead! In this Front Porch podcast.

AP

Governor Jim Justice is pitching a proposal to President Trump: the federal government should subsidize eastern coal at $15 a ton to protect the power grid.

Justice says it's a matter of national security - at times of war or terrorist attack, eastern coal is needed to keep the lights on along the Eastern Seaboard.

It was only a pair of shoes -- Nike Cortez shoes, to be exact.

On the other hand, these shoes had the power to divide West Virginia teenagers into two camps: Hillers who could easily afford them, and Creekers who could not.

This week, we discuss an episode of Trey Kay's podcast "Us & Them" called "Hillers and Creekers." It's about shoes, pickup trucks, and the things that divide us, beginning in school.

NPR

After Charlottesville, we wonder if racism and fascism are on the rise across America and/or West Virginia.

Front Porch host Scott Finn found a survey showing white millennials were just as likely to hold racist beliefs as baby boomers and Gen Xers. Why do more than one third of whites still tell researchers that "blacks are lazier than whites"?

Governor Jim Justice switched parties again today, returning to the Republican roots he left in 2015.

On this special edition of the Front Porch podcast, we debate what this means for Justice, the Democratic and Republican parties and the state as a whole.

In West Virginia, a growing number of working-age adults are qualifying for federal disability benefits. But once they're receiving an SSI or SSDI check, they rarely return to work.

And that's leading to growing resentment across Appalachia of some people with disabilities.

Sam Owens / Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP

Here’s what happens 97 percent of the time in federal court: a plea deal. The defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser offense, and the prosecution gets a guaranteed conviction.

But earlier this month, Judge Joseph Goodwin rejected a plea deal for a drug dealer, saying the defendant should face the “bright light” of a jury trial. He said this is especially important in West Virginia, which has the highest drug overdose rate in the country.

"I did not come to Washington to hurt people."

That is how Sen. Shelley Moore Capito announced, on Twitter, she would not support the GOP effort to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan that addresses her concerns "and the needs of West Virginians."

Capito was one of a handful of GOP Senators who dealt the Obamacare repeal a serious blow this week.

Is "Trumpcare" dead? And if so, what does that mean for heathcare in West Virginia, and for Capito's political future. Listen to the Front Porch podcast to find out.

WVU Today

The state Legislature just cut $16 million from higher education, starting this month. Meanwhile, WVU announced a 5 percent tuition increase.

What’s that mean for students and the state as a whole? We have WVU Vice President for Legal, Government and Entrepreneurial Engagement Rob Alsop on The Front Porch podcast.

Yoga in Appalachia

Jul 4, 2017

Sara Limb has practiced yoga in places you might not expect- first while serving as a medic in Iraq, and now in West Virginia.

On this week's episode of the Front Porch, Sara shares how yoga helped keep her sane in a war zone, and how it continues to help veterans and others.

Molly Collins

Dozens of women marched topless through the streets of Charleston recently to protest the objectification of women, and norms that discourage breastfeeding in public.

Charleston Mayor Danny Jones called it "a naked spectacle" and asked marchers to stay clear of a street fair going on nearby.

West Virginia state law does not specifically prohibit women going topless. But the uproar around the march shows that it continues to be controversial.

WVPB

After months of a budget standoff, Governor Jim Justice announced he would allow a budget heavy on cuts and with no tax increases to become law without his signature.

That doesn’t mean he was happy with it.

“I can’t possible sign this,” he said. “They voted against the people of this state. They didn’t hurt me. They hurt the people.”

WVSAO

With just days until the end of the fiscal year and no budget agreement, there’s a real possibility of a government shutdown in West Virginia.

We asked the man who pays the bills, state Auditor J.B. McCuskey, 10 questions about what he’s doing to prevent a total disaster if state government shuts down.

Canadian Press

West Virginia is one of 27 states with no firm minimum age for marriage.

Between 2000 and 2010, a total of 2,759 minors got married in West Virginia - one of the highest states per capita, according to the New York Times.

Some states are moving to bar marriage for minors. On this week's Front Porch, we debate whether this is a good idea for West Virginia and the rest of Appalachia.

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