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; economist Jessi Troyan of the free-market Cardinal Institute; and liberal columnist and avid goat herder Rick Wilson with 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 works in recovery from opioid addiction, and how can we educate West Virginians about it?

That's what we learn this week from Dr. Michael Brumage, new director of the Office of Drug Control Policy in West Virginia.

Investment Europe

$8.8 billion. That's what a new study estimates the opioid epidemic is costing the West Virginia economy every year.

That's 12 percent of the state's GDP, and more than any other state.

On this week's Front Porch podcast, we debate the opportunity cost of opioid addiction for our economy - and how we can get out of this mess.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online

Legendary Charleston Gazette Publisher Ned Chilton called it "sustained outrage." He said it wasn't enough to do a story or two about an injustice - it took in-depth coverage to fix a wrong.

But with the Gazette-Mail going bankrupt, supporters are concerned about that tradition of investigative reporting. How can we keep accountability journalism healthy and strong in West Virginia?

Who Overdoses and Why?

Jan 26, 2018

Most people who overdose on opioids have seen a health care provider in the last year, and many had recently been released from jail, according to a new study from West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

This suggests that overdoses can be prevented with the right intervention.

Here are some of the findings, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail:

"Recovery is possible!" is a mantra in addiction treatment. Lois Vance says recovery is happening every day at Cabin Creek Health Systems, where she works.

Perry Bennett / Legislative Photography

Gov. Justice’s second State of the State made full use of several props, two whiteboards and his entire girls’ basketball team.

Justice also laid out what he thought was really important in his speech. Here are two themes I heard: finally turning the corner on the opioid epidemic, and helping young people find technical and vocational careers.

How bad is the staffing crisis in West Virginia's jails and prisons?

So bad, Gov. Jim Justice asked the National Guard to help with staffing. And he signed an order allowing corrections employees to keep unused vacation time, because they've been forced to work so much overtime.

The rise of entrepreneurship in West Virginia is one of the top 5 trends shaping our state in 2018.  

Congress has passed the GOP tax bill – will it help the people of West Virginia?

That’s the debate we’re having on The Front Porch podcast this week, with liberal columnist Rick Wilson with the American Friends Service Committee, and guest host Jessi Troyan, Ph.D. economist with the free-market Cardinal Institute in Charleston.

Shockingly, they have starkly different takes on the tax bill. Wilson says its another step toward turning America into an oligarchy, and a trojan horse designed to force cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.

About one in three West Virginia high school grads needs to take remedial classes when they go to college – and that number is growing. Why are so many new college students so unprepared?

Also on this week’s podcast, we’ll break down the results of the Alabama Senate race. If a Democrat can win there, what does that mean for West Virginia’s congressional races?

Allegations about sexual harassment and assault are rocking the political and media worlds at the national level (including public media) - but what about West Virginia?

On this week's Front Porch podcast, we discuss when that shoe might drop in West Virginia. 

It's Thanksgiving week! Let's take a break from politics and talk pop culture. 

In "Game of Thrones," siblings Cersei and Jamie Lannister enjoy a loving and suportive relationship. But Front Porch host Laurie Lin can't get past the "ick" factor.

Simple, transparent and broad-based - that's the sort of tax system The Cardinal Institute would like to create through tax reform.

Executive Director Garrett Ballengee says the current GOP plans are not perfect, but they take the tax code in the right direction.

Meanwhile, Front Porch co-host Rick Wilson worries about starving federal programs such as Medicaid and eduction.

But Wilson and Ballengee agree on one thing - they both love "For the Love of Money"

The opioid epidemic. Obesity. Low workforce participation. These adult problems have their roots in childhood trauma.

Dr. Michael Brumage wants West Virginians to understand what the research shows - that exposure to childhood trauma can lead to a variety of public health problems in adulthood.

Brumage is talking about ACES: Adverse Childhood Experiences. In a recent study, West Virginia children scored higher than the national average of 46 percent.

"Jobs aren't a silver bullet," says Coalfield Development Corporation CEO Brandon Dennison.

But they are a good start.

Dennison's social enterprise has helped 100 percent of its first 30 graduates find employment or further their education. Now, it's hoping to repeat that success with 50 employees.

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?

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