Arts & Culture

courtesy Ann Lockard

This week on Inside Appalachia, we talk about what brings people back home to the mountains of Appalachia. And we’ll hear about what happens when people finally do come home. Can the reality of home ever truly live up to our memories of it?


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear from listeners who speak about their journeys to reconnect with their roots in Appalachia -- and return home.

While producing this week's Inside Appalachia show, we asked for your stories of homesickness on Twitter, and we got back variety of heartfelt responses.

Retired truck driver Bill Needham poses at his home in Asheboro, N.C., Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017.
Gerry Broom / Associated Press

Truck driver Bill Needham braced for death at the bottom of the Ohio River after a bridge collapse 50 years ago in West Virginia sent his rig and dozens of other vehicles into the frigid waters.

A crucial joint in the 39-year-old Silver Bridge’s eyebar suspension system snapped from years of corrosion and neglect, and the normal vibrations of heavy rush-hour traffic on U.S. Route 35 shook it apart on Dec. 15, 1967. Cars and trucks that had been stuck in traffic on the bridge due to a malfunctioning traffic light tumbled into the river at Point Pleasant, and 46 people perished.

courtesy Joni Deutsch

Jewish communities across West Virginia are struggling to keep their traditions alive.

“It is actually kind of scary. I worry because a lot of people my age are moving away for, like, school or jobs and because of that the communities are getting smaller,” said Kirston Kennedy, a young Jewish Appalachian who inspired our show. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning we hear the next part of our occasional series on the timber and forest products industry – from seedlings to final products, we reach our first final product:  hardwood flooring.  Today independent producer Jean Snedegar visits Armstrong Flooring in Beverly, in Randolph County, and meets the plant manager, Blaine Emery. 


Andrey Burmakin / Adobe Stock

The Volunteer Office at WVU Medicine and the West Virginia University Music Therapy Program have launched a volunteer program to provide music for patients and families at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear an Inside Appalachia preview. In honor of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, which begins Dec. 12, this weekend’s episode of Inside Appalachia explores stories of Jewish-Appalachians.

Christmas Tree
Aurevilly / Wikimedia Commons

With hundreds of people expected at Tuesday's holiday celebration at the West Virginia Capitol, police plan to detour some traffic starting in the afternoon.

Gov. Jim Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice are hosting the annual gathering.

Derek Cline/ Inside Appalachia

So how do you say Appalachia? This week, our episode is about the many different accents, and pronunciations, of Appalachia. Many of those interviewed for the show said they have very strong feelings about pronunciation.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, coal miners were some of President Trump’s staunchest supporters in the 2016 election. He promised to bring back jobs in the industry, and that promise is tantalizing to some in coal country.

Reporting for StateImpact Pennsylvania, The Allegheny Front’s Reid Frazier found coal miners who are sticking with the industry, instead of looking for a new career.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we conclude our 8-month series, The Struggle to Stay. We hear the final chapter of Derek Akal’s story.

Derek is from a coal-camp town called Lynch, in Harlan County, Kentucky. The last time we heard from Derek, he was planning to move to California. But to do that, he needs to save enough money.

Tim Kiser / wikimedia Commons

A boulder whose engraving may be two centuries old has been given to the city of Beckley.

Councilman Tom Sopher, also president of the Raleigh County Historical Society, says it predates the city's founding and indicates the area's early civilization.

Steve Helber / Associated Press

Several families impacted by flooding last year in West Virginia have received new homes.

WVVA-TV reports the Rainelle residents were handed keys to their homes on Monday. The homes have 8-foot (2-meter) support beams should severe weather come again.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear the next chapter in The Struggle to Stay. Lately, we’ve been following 21-year-old Derek Akal, a native of eastern Kentucky. We’ve met several generations of his ancestors, and heard the stories of how they moved to and from the coal-camp town in Harlan County, where Derek lives.

Wikimedia Commons/ Snoopywv

High-profile confrontations between African-Americans and police officers have fueled racial tensions across the country. How do we in Appalachia talk about how these issues affect us here in the mountains?

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we have a preview of this week's Inside Appalachia episode, in which we learn more about a four-part series by Us and Them about gun violence, race and urban revitalization in West Virginia.

Inside Appalachia’s Jessica Lilly sat down with Trey Kay, the host of Us and Them, to talk about Charleston’s West Side -- the poorest neighborhood in the city.

Tradition so Rich, so Fragile, so Sweet

Nov 7, 2017
Farmers Donnie Tenney (left) and Charlie Radabaugh inspect sorghum canes at Tenney’s farm in Tallmansville, W. Va. before harvesting and processing into sorghum syrup.
Mike Costello / 100 Days in Appalachia

Gone from most kitchen pantries, sorghum keeps connections strong in some rural communities. Just a few miles down a narrow, winding road from Buckhannon, the seat of Upshur County, West Virginia, a carved wooden sign welcomes visitors to Tallmansville. At first glance, there’s not much to the rural village of around 400 residents, but I’ve spent enough time in these hills to know what little first glance says about a place.

John Denver
RCA / AP Images

A song beloved by West Virginians will now represent the state across the country. The West Virginia Tourism Office is hoping the song will help promote the state.

The West Virginia Tourism Office says it has obtained rights to use the song "Take Me Home, Country Roads" in marketing and will begin this week.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we have a special show that features the next installment of our Struggle to Stay series following Derek Akal. Derek is a young man from Harlan County, Kentucky whose grandparents encouraged him to leave Appalachia, to go to college and find opportunity out of state.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, across the country, the tense relationship between African-American communities and police officers has become a focus throughout social and news media spheres.

On the latest episode from West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Us and Them podcast, host Trey Kay reports on an effort to resolve the tension between police and a black community in Charleston, by bringing that tension out into the open.

Benny Becker/ WMMT

This is chapter two of Derek Akal’s Struggle to Stay. In the first chapter, we met a young man from Harlan County, Kentucky, who thought a college football scholarship was going to be his ticket out. But a serious neck injury led Derek to drop out and move back home. 


In 1958, voters sent Byrd to the U.S. Senate, where he would remain from 1959 until his death in 2010 at age 92.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Sen. Robert C. Byrd, US Senate, 1964 Civil Rights Act, Senate Appropriations Committee

Author and former speechwriter for West Virginia's late U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd plans to discuss the myths and reality of the influential Senate leader next Thursday in Charleston.

David Corbin, who worked for Byrd for 16 years and another decade for other Senate leaders, wrote "The Last Great Senator: Robert C. Byrd's Encounters with Eleven U.S. Presidents".

Benny Becker/ WMMT

Too many times, when stories of Appalachia are in the national spotlight, we hear shallow, shocking and grim stories. But they miss some of the most inspiring aspects to our realities: the struggle, the perseverance and the resilience.  On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia we’ll meet storytellers who work to help Appalachians tell their own stories, and capture the true Appalachian spirit behind the statistics.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, this year’s West Virginia Filmmaker of the Year is a Pittsburgh native who hails these days from the Morgantown area.

Here at West Virginia Public Broadcasting, we know Larry Dowling as a production manager -- but he’s also a videographer, lighting designer, grip, gaffer, director, and just about any other role you could think of on a film set. Inside Appalachia’s host, Jessica Lilly spoke with Larry after he won the award.

Jesse Wright

This year’s West Virginia FILMmaker of the Year is a Pittsburgh native who hails from West Virginia these days. Here at West Virginia Public Broadcasting we know Larry Dowling as the Production Manager but he’s also a videographer, lighting designer, grip, gaffer, director, and just about anything else you could think of in filmmaking. This year, he can add West Virginia Filmmaker of the Year to that list.


Jessica Lilly

For communities in the rugged Appalachian Mountains - when it rains hard, water doesn't have anywhere to go but straight down into the hollers. Floods - especially flash floods - are simply a way of life. In fact, our region has experienced some of the largest measured flash flood events in the world.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we preview of our weekend radio show, Inside Appalachia. The latest episode, we visit communities impacted by the creation of flood-control lakes.

Like the Village of Lilly, where in the 1940s, about 40 families were pushed off their land along the Bluestone River in Summers County. Many of these families had lived there for more than 200 years.

courtesy Emily Hilliard

Here in Appalachia, it’s apple season. And that means apple growers are sending this year’s crop to farmers markets and grocery stores. But the majority of the apples grown here get sent to manufacturers to be used in apple sauce and apple juice. By the way, did you know that Golden Delicious Apples originated right here in West Virginia?  In fact, apples are our state fruit. 

Shepherd University

Author Wiley Cash is the 2017 Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence at Shepherd University. His newest novel The Last Ballad will be released October 3. Cash sat down with reporter Liz McCormick to discuss his latest work, which centers on union leader and balladeer Ella May Wiggins, who died during the Loray Mill Strike in Gastonia, North Carolina in 1929.

Jack Corn/ U.S. National Archives

Coal mine owner Andrew Jordon and environmental attorney Joe Lovett grew up together in Charleston, but have taken two completely different, even adversarial, paths in life. On this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll hear “Two Tales of Coal” from the Us & Them Podcast


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