Arts & Culture

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  The Bridge Day Commission has decided to require BASE jumpers, reppellers and vendors to undergo finger scans.

Commission members voted unanimously on Wednesday to require the scans. Commission members say the scans are less intrusive than the one-day festival's current background checks.

Several jumpers criticized the requirement during the meeting's public comment segment. Marcus Ellison of Fayetteville said jumpers feel insulted by the requirement.

Brian Blauser / Mountain Stage

Last year, "Mountain Stage After Midnight" posed a question to its music-loving fans: Who do you want to listen to overnight weekends? You voted on our Facebook, we tallied'em up and Bela Fleck and Robert Cray were crowned the victors.

Water Outages and Advisories Continue in W.Va. Coalfields

While the chemical spill in Charleston left more than 300,000 without usable water, it's a problem that folks in the coalfields deal with on a regular basis.

Last week, we heard stories of the water smelling of licorice, emptied shelves once stocked with bottled water, and other quests for clean water.  The water crisis in West Virginia's capital city lasted just a few weeks, but folks in the coalfields continue to deal with boil water advisories and outages.

Mountainous regions like southern West Virginia have an abundance of water, but the terrain along with aging infrastructure have been creating access issues for decades. Many of the current water systems in place today in the coalfields were installed in the early 1900's by coal companies. Coal operators, jobs, and most people left the area, leaving remnants of a once bustling economy including some beautiful buildings, coal tipples, and water systems. 

For some communities a boil water advisory is a way of life, like in Keystone, West Virginia, in McDowell County, where residents have been on an advisory since 2010. The town's neighboring sister city, Northfork, has been on a boil water advisory since 2013.

Brian Blauser / Mountain Stage

You know that ol' Wendy's slogan, "Eat Great, Even Late?" Well the same holds true for "Mountain Stage After Midnight," a delicious public radio program that feeds music lovers into the wee hours of morning. Broadcast from 1am-5am Saturday and Sunday mornings here on West Virginia Public Radio, "Mountain Stage After Midnight" takes the best episodes from the show's 31 year history and shares their memories and songs with our late-night listeners.

marshall.edu

West Virginia and U.S. flags at all state-owned facilities will be at half-staff in honor of Marshall University President Stephen Kopp.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin ordered the flags to be lowered from dawn to dusk on Tuesday.

Kopp died on Dec. 17 after being hospitalized for an illness. He was 63.

Marshall will hold a public memorial service for Kopp on Tuesday.

Tomblin says in a news release that Kopp's leadership had a permanent and positive impact on both Marshall and the state.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Coffee has always been a popular drink. It’s been a big trade item for hundreds of years and continues to be one of the leading beverages in the world. Coffee is so popular that many people don’t even care if it’s cheap or low quality; as long as they have that caffeine fix. But more and more people are searching for that higher quality coffee only found in the specialty shops.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A protest featuring giant puppets was held in front of the Kanawha County Public Library yesterday, commemorating the January 9th chemical spill one year ago.

Ona

They’re earnest, they’re indie, they’re Ona, the five-piece rock outfit that found its start in a sliver of unincorporated Appalachia called Ona, West Virginia. If you're a fan of deliciously mellow alt-rock bands that live by the motto "WWNYD" (that's "What Would Neil Young Do"), this interview and music are recommended for you.

Mike Youngren / Presidio Studios in Lewisburg

Mike Youngren has lived in Charleston for the last 20 years. A West Virginia Public Broadcasting alum, Youngren pursued filmmaking after retiring. When the January 9th chemical leak happened, Youngren decided the problem was widespread enough for people to stop to pay attention to what he had to say. With this in mind, he decided to develop his documentary, Elk River Blues.

Brian Blauser / Mountain Stage

National Bubble Bath Day was this past week (yes, that's a thing), but why not keep the relaxation celebration alive this weekend by unwinding, lighting some candles and listening to some smooth music provided by "Mountain Stage After Midnight?" Broadcast from 1am-5am Saturday and Sunday mornings here on West Virginia Public Radio, "Mountain Stage After Midni

Provided

Environmentalists, activists and artists of all sorts are commemorating the one year anniversary of a chemical spill into the Elk River near Charleston. The spill of MCHM by Freedom Industries tainted the water supply of 300,000 West Virginians across nine counties and left them without usable tap water for days. 

Here's a list of some of the events happening around Charleston and elsewhere to mark one year since the spill: 

marshall.edu

Marshall University will hold a public memorial service for the late President Stephen Kopp next week.

Marshall says the service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Cam Henderson Center Arena on the Huntington campus.

Classes will be cancelled from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. to allow students and faculty to attend the service.

Kopp died Dec. 17. He was 63.

Marshall says it will live stream the service at www.marshall.edu/it/livestream .

Magnus Manske / wikimedia Commons

The National Park Service has approved a 120-acre expansion of Charleston's East End Historic District.

City planners announced the park service's decision Wednesday. The boundary expansion became effective Dec. 16.

A 2014 consultant's survey found that more than 400 structures in the expanded area contribute to the neighborhood's historic nature.

Property owners in the district's expanded area will be eligible for tax credits for rehabilitation of historic properties.

The original district was created in 1978.

As we continue recapping our favorite stories of 2014, we return to Sophia in Raleigh County where a group of local musicians get together each week to play bluegrass. While most of the participants are from older generations, one Glenville State College student learned the basics from the group that eventually inspired him to study the music style in school.

Jessica Lilly brings us the sounds of the Sophia bluegrass jam band and discusses why this tradition is so important to Appalachia. 

WVDNR

Senator Joe Manchin has appointed the former state director of the division of natural resources to a new, elevated post. 

Manchin named West Virginia's former director of the Division of Natural Resources Frank Jezioro the senator's new liaison to sportsmen and natural resources. Manchin was recently tapped to serve as co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus and will hold a position on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in the new Congress.

Official Bridge Day Logo
New River Gorge Bridge Day Commission

Bridge Day organizers are re-evaluating a new security plan following protests by BASE jumpers.

The Bridge Day Commission has proposed requiring jumpers, rappellers and vendors to submit to fingerprint scans. The fingerprints would be checked against a terrorism watch list.

Some jumpers say they will skip Bridge Day this year because of the requirement. The jumpers cite privacy concerns.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin
Courtesy Photo

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin has been named co-chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus.

The Democrat says the agenda of the Sportsmen's Caucus is to protect the rights of hunters and other outdoors enthusiasts and to conserve land for recreational use. Manchin says he's an "avid sportsman" who understands the importance of the nation's hunting and fishing heritage.

Manchin will chair the caucus with Sen. James Risch, an Indiana Republican.

Berkeley County Courthouse
Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Berkeley County is giving residents an opportunity to recycle food as well as paper, aluminum and glass.

The Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority's food waste collection program is part of a 12-month composting pilot initiative funded by a $7,400 federal grant.

The authority is encouraging residents, businesses, church groups, restaurants and others to participate in the program.

Food waste that will be accepted includes meat, poultry, fish, table scraps, bread, coffee grounds and tea bags.

We're featuring our favorite stories of 2014 this week on West Virginia Morning. 

Monday starts the week with an interview with Fiona Ritchie, host of NPR's "The Thistle and Shamrock." Ritchie, along with noted musician David Orr, published a book in the fall which details the history and connection between Irish and Scottish heritage and Appalachian music and culture. 

Flickr bot / wikimedia Commons

West Virginia native and country music legend "Little" Jimmy Dickens has died at the age of 94. According to a press release from The Grand Ole Opry, Dickens passed away Friday afternoon as a result of cardiac arrest following a stroke he suffered on Christmas Day.

Born in Bolt, West Virginia on December 19, 1920, Dickens would go on to be the longest running member of The Grand Ole Opry. He first performed on the show in 1948 and last played on December 20, 2014--just a day after his 94th birthday.

"The Grand Ole Opry did not have a better friend than Little Jimmy Dickens,” said Pete Fisher, Opry Vice President & General Manager through a news release on the show's website Friday evening.  “He loved the audience and his Opry family, and all of us loved him back. He was a one-of-kind entertainer and a great soul whose spirit will live on for years to come."

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