Economy

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin
Courtesy Photo

Rumors had it that WV Senator Joe Manchin would be the next Secretary of Energy. But following a meeting with President-elect Trump, the Democratic Senator says he will remain in the Senate. Former Texas governor Rick Perry has been tapped for a cabinet position instead.  

Ryan Loew / Allegheny Front

Moving goods on barges is big business. But it’s a part of the economy that floats precariously on infrastructure in dire need of an overhaul. 

Becca Schimmel / Ohio Valley ReSource

During the presidential campaign I visited two regional manufacturing executives who do business in the same county but hold views on trade that are worlds apart. Now that Donald Trump is the president-elect, I asked them and some regional economists how the new administration’s approach to trade might affect the Ohio Valley region.  

In a legislative interim meeting this week in Charleston lawmakers questioned officials from the state Department of Transportation and the Division of Highways about everything from current practices to choices in legal representation. 

The hearing came in response to ongoing lawsuits - one where federal charges have been filed against state Division of Highways employees in an alleged bribery scheme, and another involving an alleged monopoly that's inflating asphalt prices in the state.

picking tomatoes
Laura Elizabeth Pohl / Bread for the World

On Nelson Key Road in Murray, Kentucky, lies a 30-acre tobacco farm and there sits the road’s namesake, Nelson Key himself. He’s just at the end of this year’s harvest, which was brought in with the help of migrant workers.

“I used American workers up until 1991 then I went to the migrant workers and I've had them ever since,” he explained.

Doctor's Exam Room
Tinton5 / Wikimedia Commons

Highland Hospital has announced it is not selling its facilities to Franklin, Tennessee-based Acadia Healthcare.

The sale was to include Highland's Kanawha City hospital. Highland's board of directors unanimously agreed to sell Kanawha City hospital three months ago.

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, each year more than 600,000 people return to our neighborhoods after serving time in federal and state prisons. Another 11 million cycle through local jails. And many people end up cycling right back into prison.

Why? And what is life like upon release?

The office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia coordinates a program designed to help communities understand that experience, and maybe shed some light on some of the contributing factors to high recidivism rates.

MOUNTAIN STAGE/PAT SERGENT

Music has traditionally played a big role in the culture of Appalachia, and it seems that other countries are taking notice of the region’s rich musical tradition. In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll hear from the tourism music trail in West Virginia called The Mountain Music Trail (MMT) Since we last heard from them, they have grown. The MMT recently was a finalist in the British Guild of Travel Writers 2016 tourism initiative awards in the “wider word” category, and was recognized as one of the top three destinations in the world. 

Trumped: Coal’s Collapse, Economic Anxiety Motivated Ohio Valley Voters

Nov 18, 2016
Trump political rally
Robert McGraw / WOUB

 

The electoral map of Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia is a sea of red with a few islands of blue. Of the 263 counties in the three states only nine went for Hillary Clinton, most of them around the region’s cities.

The Ohio Valley ReSource looked to voters and voting data to learn more about what motivated Donald Trump’s supporters and what they hope he will do as president.

“More than Obama did!” Judy Collier said from a grocery story parking lot in Whitesburg, Kentucky. “We need jobs.”

Unemployment Line
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

Unemployment increased in West Virginia in October but has declined over the past year.

The state said the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate last month was 6 percent, with an increase of 2,400 unemployed residents, bringing the total to 47,900.

Jim Justice Victory Speech
Walter Scriptunas II / AP

Democratic Gov.-elect Jim Justice says West Virginians can expect to see some noticeable enhancements to the state's sluggish economy in his first 10 months in office.

The billionaire businessman and owner of The Greenbrier resort defeated Republican Bill Cole in Tuesday's election.

Roxy Todd/ WVPB

What happens to a community as coal jobs go away? Here are some things you might expect: many people leave, schools empty, local businesses struggle to keep their lights on. But here’s something that may not come to mind: extra curricular sports go away.

That’s what happened to children in McDowell County over 25 years ago. They lost their local soccer league. And while the thousands of lost coal jobs may not come back, thanks to a 4-H project, and about a dozen volunteers, soccer is making a comeback in McDowell County.

WVU Medicine - Ruby
WVU Medicine

West Virginia labor officials say the state's 100 largest private employers are led by WVU Medicine, this year replacing Wal-Mart, which slipped to second place.

Based on March 2016 data, WorkForce West Virginia says the former West Virginia United Health System was No. 2 last year.

Jeff Bright

Mountain Party gubernatorial candidate Charlotte Pritt is no stranger to the political scene. She spent 8 years as a state legislator in the ’80s into the ’90s. Then she ran for governor and almost won in ’96. She made history once, and she’s hoping to do it again.


Energy, heat, money, thermostat, heat pump, furnace
Dave Mistich via Tableau Public

A federal agency has released nearly $26 million in funding to help low-income families in West Virginia with energy bills and energy-efficiency upgrades.

The money comes from The Administration for Children and Families and its Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Representatives from energy and manufacturing industries, as well as policy makers came to Wheeling this week to talk about infrastructure challenges in the region.

Touchstone Advanced Composites

A research lab in the Northern Panhandle has produced two new companies. One compresses coal into remarkably strong, lightweight, fire-proof foam panels. A second uses the same foam to make molds for airplane and rocket parts. 


casino
Maksim / wikimedia commons

West Virginia officials are awarding $1.2 million in tourism advertising grants to 14 attractions around the state.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that the West Virginia Tourism Commission approved the matching grants Thursday.

Giant Eagle
Hhm8 / Wikimedia Commons

The Giant Eagle supermarket chain based near Pittsburgh is offering buyouts to 340 corporate employees, or one percent of its 34,000-employee workforce.

The company, based in O'Hara Township, says it's cutting costs because of falling grocery prices, and analysts say the company is also dealing with increased competition from discount grocers like Aldi.

The chain owns or operates more than 420 supermarkets and GetGo! Convenience stores and other outlets in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland.

Nicole Erwin / Ohio Valley ReSource

Mount St. Joseph in Daviess County, Kentucky, may appear calm with the Green River flowing past  homes that dot the farmland here. But there is trouble in the air and it comes along with the smell of a large hog farm.

Sixty-three year old Jerry O’Bryan was born and raised on a farm in Daviess County. By the time he was 22 he had lost both parents and was left 150 acres to support his family.

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