Arts & Culture

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."

This week we revisit an Inside Appalachia episode from 2014 packed with so much information we felt it’s worth sharing again.

We go back into the archives for the November 15, 2014 show. It includes an interview with Gary Quarles, who lost his son Gary Wayne Quarles, in the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster in 2010. He spoke with host Jessica Lilly about Don Blankenship's indictment before federal Judge Irene Berger ordered a gag order against speaking with the media and more.

A seemingly fitting show since on this same day, nine years ago, loved one gathered in West Virginia as they waited to hear if their loved ones survived a mine disaster. In the end, they found 12 coal miners died.


Mike Cline / wikimedia Commons

Starting this month, hatchery workers will begin stocking trout to 55 West Virginia waters.

Joni Deutsch

December's finally here, a season full of yule log background savers and ugly-yet-still-popular-at-Urban Outfitters holiday sweaters. To me, the best part of the holiday season comes from rock'n around the Christmas tree/menorah and giving special gifts to my family and friends. And yes, dear reader, A Change of Tune, West Virginia Public Radio's brand new indie/alternative music program, is sending some holiday musical cheer your way.

Official Bridge Day Logo
New River Gorge Bridge Day Commission

Some BASE jumpers plan to skip West Virginia's Bridge Day festival next year because of a new security requirement.

Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage

Rather than keeping to the ol' "Eat Better, Work Out More, Read More" New Year's mantra, why not spice up your resolution routine with "Hear More Rock'n Music?" We here at "Mountain Stage After Midnight" are more than happy to supply such music. 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.

HuntingtonCorps / Flickr

Beech Fork State Park is making it easier to reserve campsites.

Beginning Thursday, visitors can reserve campsites online for up to a year in advance.

Official Bridge Day Logo
New River Gorge Bridge Day Commission

Rappellers, BASE jumpers and vendors participating in future Bridge Day events will have to undergo fingerprint scans.

Jessica Lilly

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and the Division of Natural Resources are gearing up for their 10th annual Christmas tree recycling event.

Lori Jo Jamieson / Flickr

Several West Virginia historic sites including the Colonial cabin that was an off-the-grid oasis for a Manhattan magazine illustrator and his wife have been named to the National Register of Historic Places.

wvdnr.gov

Officials say the transfer of operations for Pocahontas County's historic Cass Scenic Railroad to the State Rail Authority is expected to go seamlessly.

West Virginia Division of Culture and History / www.wvculture.org

The state Division of Culture and History is seeking participants for the 2015 West Virginia State Dance Festival.

West Virginia Symphony Orchestra / Twitter

Two young musicians have been selected as fellows through the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

Over the last six weeks, 15,000 people rode the Polar Express train in Randolph County. 35 other Polar Express trains exist across the country. But the one in Elkins is the only Polar Express in the Mid-Atlantic region- so it's extremely popular. This themed train also supports dozens of local jobs- at least seasonally.

Sandra Groce

Chestnuts are roasting, Jack Frost is nipping and Mountain Stage is jingling with a holly jolly holiday special! Broadcast from 1am-5am Saturday and Sunday mornings here on West Virginia Public Radio, "Mountain Stage After Midnight" takes the best performances from the show's 31 year history and shares their memories and songs with our late-night listeners. Each week we'll hand-pick two of our favorite episodes that'll alternate order each night.

http://hilltoppersports.com/

A year after falling just one win short of a Division 2 National Championship, West Liberty Basketball is once again one of the best teams in the country.

marshall.edu

  Marshall University Leadership met Thursday to discuss the next step in finding leadership for the University in the wake of the death of Marshall President Stephen Kopp.

Kopp died Wednesday night. He was 63.

Marshall’s 10-member leadership team met Thursday morning to discuss the process for going forward with operations.

The Board of Governors retains the authority to run the university in Kopp’s place. Thursday morning the Board of Governors directed the senior leadership team to take care of the usual day-to-day operations.

http://www.ucwv.edu/

The University of Charleston plans to build a replacement for its gymnasium.

The Eddie King Gym, built in 1947, is the oldest facility on the university's campus. The university will build a new arena and learning center called The Martha Gaines and Russell Wehrle Innovation Center. Media outlets report it's named after a foundation that donated $5 million toward the project.

The facility also will have locker rooms and offices.

University President Ed Welch said Wednesday the learning center is intended to foster innovation and entrepreneurial thinking on campus.

marshall.edu

  Marshall University President Stephen Kopp passed away Wednesday evening in Huntington. Kopp suffered a heart attack early in the evening and was then transported to Cabell-Huntington Hospital in Huntington. There he was pronounced dead at 9 p.m. 

According to a Marshall University press release the leadership team will meet first thing Thursday morning to review the university's operation plans of continuity. 

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