Arts & Culture

Wendell Smith/Flickr

Here in Appalachia, it’s ramp season, and that means many small towns have their annual ramp feed to help raise money for their communities. This week we’ll travel to the Feast of the Ramson in Richwood, West Virginia, where we’ll meet 12-year-old ramp digger, Tyler McCune. And we’ll head to the Shenandoah Valley to hear a crowd of shape note singers. Although more and more people are leaving Appalachia, we will also hearing from some, like musician John Wyatt, who have returned home.

Mountain Stage

Get excited, 'cause West Virginia Public Broadcasting's spring pledge drive is happening this week! Since this station is our "Mountain Mama," we're pulling out all the stops to show you why West Virginia Public Broadcasting is "Almost Heaven" and deserves your pledge of support! That's why we're playing exclusive, archived shows from 1988 and 1989 on this weekend's Mountain Stage After Midnight.

Wikimedia Commons

Two Civil War battlefields in Maryland are ringing bells to mark the 150th anniversary of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's surrender.
 
The Antietam National Battlefield near Sharpsburg and the Monocacy National Battlefield near Frederick are ringing bells for four minutes Thursday starting at 3:15 p.m. The four minutes symbolize the four years of the war.

herdzone.com

Marshall University is looking for three students to play the role of Marco, the school's mascot.

Friday is the deadline to apply.

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An apartment building in a former Raleigh County coal camp has been saved from the wrecking ball.

A coalition of preservation, development, community and government agencies are working to preserve the Helen Apartments in Helen.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

After almost two months since closing its doors, the Bloomery Sweetshine Distillery in Jefferson County reopened this weekend after a successful cry for help to West Virginia lawmakers.

Biz 3

What do you get when you mix a classically trained voice with dreamy electronic beats? You'll get Niia, an up-and-coming alt-pop singer with a debut EP called Generation Blue. I sat down with Niia to talk about her new release, how she handles stage fright and her love for all things James Bond.

Note: We briefly talk about 50 Shades of Grey (nothing explicit!) and bring up some House of Cards Season 3 spoilers around 19:00 to  27:00, in case you need to avert your ears.

Arts Alive is West Virginia Department of Education's annual event to showcase outstanding arts education programs and student achievements in public schools. The work included in Arts Alive is selected from state arts conferences, festivals, and exhibits throughout West Virginia, a competitive submission process, and/or by invitation.

Watch our video of the 2015 event from Friday, May 3.

Brian Blauser / Mountain Stage

We're so excited for Kentucky bluegrass rocker Chris Stapleton's return to the Mountain Stage!

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A somewhat mysterious Morgantown landmark was opened up to the public recently. The Calvary Chapel Church is renovating Pietro’s Castle, and more than three hundred people got to see the results for themselves.  

Italian immigrant and stonemason Thoney Pietro earned his slice of the American Dream by building infrastructure across the region, from Mingo County to Pittsburgh. When he retired in 1928, he built a home for his family that reflected his strong Catholic faith, complete with a large cross sitting between two soaring parapets.

 

Bkwparadox / wikimedia Commons

Groups working to preserve a 180-year-old pavilion in Greenbrier County have surpassed their fundraising goal.

The Greenbrier Historical Society and Friends of The Blue launched a Kickstarter campaign in February to raise $25,000. WVVA-TV reports that the campaign raised $27,000.

NPS

In this episode: Appalachians who love their land and their mountain homes. But history reveals some unsettling stories about some Appalachians who were forced off their land in the 1930s to make room for the Shenandoah National Park. 

Shervin Lainez

Whether you call it indie pop, alt-folk or punk rock, Lady Lamb (aka Aly Spaltro)'s newest record is a force to be reckoned with. The 25-year-old singer-songwriter sat down to chat with me about her teenage aspirations, upcoming projects and why her moniker still works.

Bettmann/Corbis

The Appalachian Regional Commission was created as part of the War on Poverty, declared by Lyndon B. Johnson in Appalachia in 1964.

Earlier this week Senator Shelley Moore Capito, along with other federal representatives, introduced legislation that would reauthorize the Appalachian Regional Commission. The announcement comes on the heels of a report evaluating the progress of the Commission after 50 years. 

Josh Saul

  When Ryan Kennedy picks up a guitar, people pay attention. Kennedy has released his debut CD titled Something to Say– a collection of nine original compositions. The 34-year-old Berklee School of Music trained Charleston native is a member of both the Bob Thompson Unit and the Mountain Stage Band.

The Ryan Kennedy Trio will be performing at his CD release party – Friday, March 27 at Black Sheep Burrito and Brews, 702 Quarrier St, in Charleston at 8 p.m.

Senator Shelley Moore Capito, along with other federal representatives, introduced legislation that would reauthorize the Appalachian Regional Commission. The announcement comes on the heels of a report evaluating the progress of the Commission after 50 years.

50 years ago this month, in March of 1965, armed policemen attacked peaceful civil rights demonstrators attempting to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. The incident became known as Bloody Sunday. 17 marchers were hospitalized and 50 more were treated for injuries.

An African American artist, Jacob Lawrence, depicted a scene on the bridge. That work of art is among the pieces being gifted to West Virginia University’s new art museum in Morgantown.


WVU Men's basketball coach Bob Huggins
Creative Commons Photo

After being picked by many so called college basketball experts to lose their opening NCAA Tournament game to Buffalo, West Virginia University is now headed to the Sweet 16.

The game tonight will pit the Mountaineers against the Wildcats in a rematch of the 2010 elite 8 game. That win by WVU put the Mountaineers in the final four for the first time in 51 years. A win Thursday evening, would put WVU one win away from a second final four in just five years.

Brian Blauser / Mountain Stage

Sexton and Lovell and Earle, oh my! We're off to see the wizard of live performance radio on this week's "Mountain Stage After Midnight." (Ruby red slippers are optional.)

Broadcast from 1am-5am Saturday and Sunday mornings here on West Virginia Public Broadcasting, "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.  

Office of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin / Office of Governor Steve Beshear

  Some signature goodies are up for grabs in a friendly wager between the governors of West Virginia and Kentucky ahead of the Sweet 16 matchup between the states' two flagship universities.

West Virginia's Earl Ray Tomblin said Tuesday he's wagering a small basket of Mountain State favorites, including pepperoni rolls, while his Kentucky counterpart, Gov. Steve Beshear, is offering a selection of bourbons.

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