Appalachia

Jessica Lilly

The economy in southern West Virginia is suffering due to the collapsing of the coal industry and it’s not hard to find reports of layoffs. But an international coal company called ArcelorMittal Princeton is expanding operations at a McDowell County mine bringing 50 to 75 jobs back to the region.


While millions of addictive pain pills flooded West Virginia, a generation of Appalachians grew up with a parent addicted or abusing drugs. Hear some of their stories on this week's classic episode of Inside Appalachia.

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This week's Inside Appalachia is a special holiday edition.  We hear stories of Christmas past, present and hope for the future. We’ll check in with West Virginians still recovering from historic flooding that hit about 6 months ago, find out how to avoid gaining weight, hear a story about a welcomed Star of David on a Christmas tree, and more.

Paula Riley Thomas was living in Alexandria, Va. in 1991 when her son James was born. She moved back to McDowell County, W.Va. when James was a year old to escape a domestic violence situation. She struggled to recover emotionally but found some hope in her Christian faith and writing poetry.

Listen to hear her story and a poem she wrote about her son, James, shortly after she moved back to McDowell in 1992.

Photo by Crystal Good

Ever hear the word 'Affrilachian'? In the 1990s, a poet in Kentucky named Frank X Walker came up with the term. It refers to African Americans living in Appalachia. 

“To us it was about making the invisible visible, or giving voice to a previously muted or silenced voice,” Walker told the Appalachian Studies Association during its 2016 conference at Shepherd University.

Benny Becker/Ohio Valley ReSource

NPR revealed this week that more coal miners in Appalachia are suffering from black lung than National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports. Inside Appalachia Host Jessica Lilly spoke with NPR investigative reporter Howard Berkes about the points raised in his report.


Courtesy

For a generation of Appalachians, growing up with a parent addicted or abusing drugs is a way of life. On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we hear from men and women who have experienced the effects of opioid addiction and of the innocence that this epidemic has claimed.

Keith Alan Sprouse

On October 3rd, BBC News published an article with this headline: “Among the forested hills of West Virginia, residents of a small town have taken to cooking roadkill to revive their flagging economy.”

The lead photograph was of an older gentleman missing several teeth.

Scotty White / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Appalachia has some of the best settings for scary stories, including dark underground coal mines and remote forests. There are hundreds of remarkably bizarre, mysterious ghost tales that take place here in West Virginia.

Swimmerguy269 / wikimedia Commons

Two public events at West Virginia University this week will examine the work of artists from Appalachia.

Self-taught artist Minnie Adkins and writer-musician Mike Norris, both of eastern Kentucky, are visiting during the events. Work by Adkins is on display in an exhibition in the Art Museum of WVU, and Norris and Adkins have written several children's books together.

Candace Nelson

If your father worked in the coal mines, chances are you remember his lunch or dinner bucket and the food that he brought to work. For many families, the extra food that was packed away in these dinner buckets was practical -- it would be there just in case an accident happened.


Steve Inskeep/ NPR

It's election season and we want to know what Appalachians are looking for in a new president. We’ll hear from a former coal miner from Whitesburg, Ky, Gary Bentley. We'll also hear from a veteran who lives in Bristol, Va., Ralph Slaughter.

Jess Schreibstein

Fall is upon us, which means apples are now in season. Apples played a major part in the history of Appalachia, and on this week’s episode, we explore some of that history, and what the apple is doing for the state now.


Paw Paw
Joey Aloi

Those who’ve eaten a pawpaw before often say that the creamy, tropical fruit resembles a mix of a mango and a banana, or a mango and an avocado. They often can’t believe that the fruit is native to Appalachia.

Courtesy Old Cove Press

It’s been about 15 years since the opioid epidemic first hit Appalachia. And now, there’s a whole generation of teenagers in West Virginia and Kentucky who have grown up with drug addiction strongly affecting their friends and families.

Novelist Carrie Mullins grew up in Mt. Vernon, KY. After spending a number of years in Lexington, she returned home in 2003.

Roxy Todd/ WVPB

This week, we've been hearing a series of stories from the Inside Appalachia team about the challenges that some Appalachian families face when trying to eat fresh food. Sometimes it’s the cost, or poor choices. Sometimes it’s limited access because they live in what’s called a food desert.

Seven months ago the Walmart in McDowell County closed, and this was especially difficult for the Five Loaves and Two Fishes food pantry, run by Linda McKinney and her husband Bob. They say the superstore’s closing has actually inspired their family to rethink how they get food for the pantry.

Roxy Todd. WVPB

Eating your fruits and veggies is good for you, but it’s not always an easy choice. On this episode, we explore some of the challenges, choices, and barriers to eating healthy. Sometimes it’s the cost, or poor choices, sometimes it’s limited access because they live in what’s called a food desert.

Glynis Board

This week on our Inside Appalachia podcast, we're revisiting some of the stories from our recent TV episode of Inside Appalachia. We hear stories of heroism and survival in towns like Richwood, Rainelle, and Clendenin. Residents and community leaders share their stories of loss and resilience.

Here's a link to the video:

U.S. National Archive Jack Corn

On Inside Appalachia this week, a look back at VISTA workers and the impact they had on our region in the 1960's. They were Volunteers in Service to America.  VISTA was started in December 1964 by President Lyndon B Johnson as part of his "War on Poverty". 

Reid Frazier/ The Allegheny Front

On this week's show, we hear how the natural gas industry is affecting communities in the region. We feature a special report by The Allegheny Front about environmental concerns surrounding the production and transportation of natural gas.  Hundreds of miles of new pipelines are in the works to move natural gas from the shale formations in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio to markets across the country. 

Pages