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/

PBS

Amber Miller admits she was no angel. She hung out with the wrong crowd. She used drugs.

When she was 20, she went to prison for stealing $30 from her grandmother.

But 12 years later, she is still labeled as a felon. And that's hurt her ability to find work.

A bi-partisan group of state lawmakers is sponsoring a "second chance" bill. It would allow first-time, non-violent felons to ask a judge to expunge their record a certain time after release.

Does the Religious Freedom Restoration Act protect religious expression, or allow people to discriminate against certain groups?

On this Snowmaggedon edition of The Front Porch:

1. A huge snowball fight breaks out over Right to Work, and whether it is right for West Virginia

2. Does Sen. Chris Walter's bill to expand broadband internet access stand a snowball's chance in hell? Should it?

Governor Tomblin
AP Photo / Tyler Evert

It’s the second Legislature with Republicans in charge and the swan song for Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, all in the middle of the biggest budget crisis in a generation.

In this week’s “Front Porch Podcast,” we debate the 5 biggest issues of this legislative session, and how they may affect your lives (in reverse order of importance.)

5. Tobacco tax increase – Gov. Tomblin proposed a 45 cent increase to $1 a pack. That’s lower than what many Democrats asked for, and some Republicans want no increase at all.

What do Don Blankenship, heroin, and pepperoni rolls have in common? They’re all on our highly-unscientific list of top stories for 2015.

West Virginia is likely to become the 26th “right-to-work” state when the legislature meets in January. GOP leaders say they have the votes, and they can override Gov. Tomblin’s veto with a simple majority.

How would passing a right-to-work (RTW) law change West Virginia?

Jody Lee Hunt gunned down his ex-girlfriend, two of her lovers and his main competitor in one day. The 2014 slayings near Morgantown are just one example of mass shootings in America.

But are mass shootings more common in gun-rich Appalachia? And are we more likely to target strangers or the people we know and love?

Find out by listening to this week's episode of The Front Porch podcast.

lifelinesyria.ca

W.Va. Delegate Joshua Nelson, R-Boone, has launched a petition seeking to stop Syrian refugees from coming into America, at least until better safeguards are in place.

His experience serving in the military informed his decision, he said.

"Most people in that area just want to live peaceful lives. I've served with Middle Eastern people, Islamic people, that had my back," Nelson said

"But, in regards to what happened in Paris, these guys are posing as Syrian refugees. Until we are certain that (screening) process is adequate, we have to be very careful."

Story telling is a great part of family gatherings.  This Thanksgiving StoryCorps is encouraging families to sit down and record some of those stories as part of a national project.   A particular focus is working with high school students, however anyone can participate. So, take some time, download the app and give a listen to someone you love. 

This Thanksgiving weekend, StoryCorps will work with teachers and high school students across the country to preserve the voices and stories of an entire generation of Americans over a single holiday weekend.

Wv Broadband Mapping Project

West Virginia has some of the lowest rates of broadband access at some of the slowest speeds in the nation.

Sen. Chris Walters, R-Putnam, wants state government to build a sort of fiber-optic interstate highway and then lease it to private providers. The goal is to bring high internet speeds at cheaper costs.

On The Front Porch podcast, Walters gave ten reasons for building the network:

Last week, The Front Porch focused on the issue of school consolidation, in light of the ongoing fight in Fayette County.

Many people took issue with the fact that we had no one from Fayette County on the show. So we're hoping to rectify that with this follow-up podcast.

Craig Cunningham / Charleston Gazette-Mail

As Fayette County fights over school consolidation, The Front Porch gang questions whether the promises made about school consolidation ever came true.*

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, West Virginia Penitentiary,  Mothman...our region has a long list of haunts and haints.

David Grubb via Facebook

        

What impact will President Obama's new strategy have on the epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse and heroin use in West Virginia and Appalachia?

Jim Justice
Scott Halleran / Getty Images

West Virginia’s only billionaire, who just happens to be running for governor, owns companies that have millions in unpaid tax bills.

Fotolia DollarPhoto Club

    

West Virginia has the worst unemployment rate in the nation. Patriot Coal warned 2,000+ employees they might be losing their jobs.

What can West Virginia do to turn things around?

Don Blankenship's attorney Bill Taylor
Jeff Pierson

In this week's episode of the podcast "Blankenship on Trial," host Scott Finn discusses the first full week of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship's trial with reporter Ashton Marra and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Hissam.

Jeff Pierson

Host Scott Finn discusses the first day of jury selection in the trial of former Massey CEO Don Blankenship with reporter Ashton Marra. They talk about the lack of access to the courtroom for both members of the media and family members of those who lost their lives in the Upper Big Branch mine disaster.

Charleston Gazette-Mail's David Gutman discusses Blankenship's political influence in the West Virginia. Ten years ago, Blankenship attempted to bankroll the Republican Party to move his political agenda forward. A decade later many of the issues Blankenship pushed for have been approved and his hired political operatives remain major figures in the West Virginia GOP.

Find the entire episode of Us & Them here.

Filmmaker and journalist Roopa Gogineni usually covers civil wars in Africa. But when she saw Ferguson, Baltimore and the fight over the Confederate flag, she decided it was time to cover America's ongoing Civil War.

Blankenship Trial
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

On Monday April 5, 2010, an explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, West Virginia, killed 29 miners. At the time, the mine was owned by Massey Energy, which federal regulators and a state funded independent investigation found responsible for the blast. Massey’s CEO was Don Blankenship.

Pages