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/

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Change is coming to education in West Virginia, at both the state and federal levels.

At the federal level, President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education is Betsy DeVos, a businesswoman and philanthropist who’s led the fight for vouchers and charter schools.

And at the state level, we have two resignations from the state school board, which will give Governor Jim Justice a majority – and the ability to reshape public education in the state.

West Virginia’s economy has a “chicken and egg” problem.

To grow more jobs here, we need better-educated, healthy employees.

But before we can afford to pay for better schools and health, we need more jobs and more businesses.

As you might imagine, liberals and conservatives have different ideas which should come first – lower taxes or higher education and health spending.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  

He bought the ax and the tackle box from a desperate woman by the side of the road.

"She was selling her life away, her memories, just to have enough money to have food," Jim Justice said in his first speech as governor, as he held the ax and the tackle box.

"She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, 'Mister, you don't have any idea how bad I'm hurting,'" Justice said.

Justice is promising big changes, now that he's governor. In his inaugural speech, he said he wanted to:

- Raise the pay of teachers

What do Donald Trump, goat yoga and West Virginia's budget have in common? Find out on this week's Front Porch podcast.

Woody Thrasher says West Virginians don’t give themselves nearly enough credit.

“West Virginians do have a self-esteem problem,” the incoming W.Va. Secretary of Commerce told “The Front Porch.”

“I oftentimes see where we don’t shoot as high as we should. I think it’s understandable, but regrettable, and it’s very much at the center of what Governor-elect Justice wants to change,” he said.

Charleston Gazette-Mail

Since Donald Trump’s election, membership in the ACLU of West Virginia has gone up 30 percent, according to executive director Joseph Cohen.

On The Front Porch podcast, Cohen discussed how his organization is preparing for President Trump in three areas:

Six W.Va. Stories to Watch in 2017

Dec 30, 2016
Frances Brundage / Wikimedia Commons

Front Porch hosts Scott Finn, Laurie Lin, and Rick Wilson tell us which stories they'll be following in 2017:

WVPA

Drug wholesalers sent 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills into West Virginia over six years, according to an investigation by the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Meanwhile, 1,728 West Virginians died from overdoses of these two powerful painkillers.

Who let it happen? Investigative reporter Eric Eyre, of the Charleston Gazette-Mail, answered our questions about his series on The Front Porch.

Tom Williams / Getty Images

This week on the Front Porch, U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito gives her take on what the new Trump administration means for West Virginia.

We discuss recent resurgence of black lung among coal miners, what comes after the promised repeal of the Affordable Care Act, what can be done to build rural broadband networks, and more.

Donald Trump
Darron Cummings / Associated Press

What were the top stories in West Virginia from 2016? We searched our archives from the past year and compiled this list of the most popular stories.

UC Hastings

How could a billionaire born into wealth become the champion of the white working class?

That question stumped a lot of liberal commentators, but Joan Williams wasn’t surprised.

Williams studies the white working class and is founding director of the Center for WorkLife Law at UC Hastings College of the Law.

Last week in Charleston, a white man shot and killed a black teen, 15-year-old James Means. The accused told police, “The way I look at it, that's another piece of trash off the street."

Unlike other cities where similar things happened, Charleston did not erupt into violent protests.

This week Scott, Laurie, and Rick are joined by guest Sharif Youssef. Youssef is the child of an Egyptian immigrant who grew up in the town of West Liberty, West Virginia, who now works as a producer on the popular podcast "99% Invisible" in the San Francisco Bay area.

Why did so much of middle America vote Trump? J.B. Akers says it’s too simple to write it off to racism and misogyny.

Akers is a West Virginia lawyer whose blog post on the Trump election went viral. It’s called, “Trump Won and I Don't Understand Why You Don't Understand.”

Akers said he was motivated to write the essay after reading the reaction of his more cosmopolitan friends on social media.

Spencer Platt/Scott Halleran / Getty Images

Jim Justice and Donald Trump both won big in West Virginia, and now it's time to get down to the real challenge of governing.

Steve Helber / AP Photo

If the new President Trump repeals the Affordable Care Act, what would happen to West Virginians? If Clinton wins, what does that mean for coal?

Should Union Group Call Itself "Family Values"?

Oct 31, 2016
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

When you think of the term "family values," chances are you think of the Republican Party, circa 1994. But recently, a labor-backed organization called "West Virginia Family Values" is funding attack ads against exclusively Republican targets.

On this week's Front Porch podcast, Laurie Lin suggests this is an attempt to muddy the waters and co-opt conservative messages.

Rick Wilson contests that the Republican Party neither holds a monopoly on family values, nor is it even particularly conservative.

Are Elections in West Virginia Rigged?

Oct 21, 2016
Spencer Platt / Getty Images

On this episode of the Front Porch, we deal with Donald Trump's claim that the race is rigged.

West Virginia had its share of election fraud in the past, but is it really at work today?

Also, what about another type of rigging - media bias?

Justice or Cole, Who Won the WV Governor Debate?

Oct 14, 2016
Associated Press

The two leading candidates for governor attacked each other over unpaid bills and Donald Trump at the last major party debate. Who won, and will it matter?

Battling Big Sugar in West Virginia

Oct 7, 2016
Roman Behar / Wikimedia Commons

The sugar industry spent years denying the harm it does to the nation's health, according to investigative reports.  

This week on the Front Porch, Laurie and Rick speak with Mandy Curry, co-founder of Healthy Kids, Inc.

They discuss the sugar industry's attempt to downplay health risks associated with sugar consumption, and the effects this has had on the sugar content of the food we all eat.

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