Essays

Inside Appalachia Podcast
6:00 am
Sat July 5, 2014

Documenting Appalachian Culture, The Meaning of Wheeling, A Special Soldier and More

Two regular guys take on the job of documenting Appalachia’s culture and history.

A new book explores the meaning behind the name Wheeling.

Looking at Appalachia is still looking for photographs of the region.

And a West Virginia soldier is honored to be a member of the Old Guard.

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Essay
9:54 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

WVU Athletic Director Takes Issue With Professor's Opinion on Stadium Renovations

Oliver Luck

There is another point of view as to whether West Virginia University should spend millions of dollars to fix up its football stadium than the one expressed by visiting law professor Michael Blumenthal in his essay for West Virginia Public Broadcasting's Inside Appalachia.

Blumenthal questions whether such an outlay is appropriate for an institution of higher learning. Needless to say, as athletic director at West Virginia University, I believe it is – and for reasons that are both practical and educational.

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Essay
10:47 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Fond Memories of a Mountain Childhood in Appalachia

Phylenia French
Credit Submitted Photo / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

I want to invite you to walk with me through the woods and around the rugged hills of my home.

Our house was situated beside the community water tank, with a rock cliff behind it, and the mountains that rose high above the cliff…well, they were my mountains.  

We made a path around the side of the hill that led us to a garden spot which we tended annually, It was an open plot of ground, with good sun exposure and a natural spring flowed nearby. It was the perfect place for a fresh drink of water.

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Essay
1:42 pm
Sat June 21, 2014

Moving Around, But Keeping Those Appalachian Connections

John Wesley Statue at West Virginia Weslyan College
Credit Sarah Lowther Hensley / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

 

When people ask me where I’m from – I tell them “West Virginia."

When they ask, “where in West Virginia exactly?...Where’s ‘home’?”…

Well…that’s a little tougher to answer.

You see, I’m a “PK”.

For those who don’t know, that’s a “Preacher’s Kid.”

Specifically, I’m a United Methodist PK.

United Methodist pastors are itinerant.

Meaning…they move from place to place.

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Inside Appalachia Podcast
7:00 am
Sat June 21, 2014

Heroin Problems, W.Va. African American History, Growing Hops and More

Heroin could be replacing prescription pills as Appalachia’s biggest drug problem.

West Virginia is 151 years old and we look at the African American contribution to its culsture.

Efforts are underway to encourage farmers across the region to grow hops to support the brewing industry.

And we visit with Bridget Lancaster from America’s Test Kitchen.

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Essay
9:00 am
Mon June 9, 2014

One Professor is Asking: Should WVU Spend Millions to Fix Up its Football Stadium?

Michael Blumenthal

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine what you would do with seventy-five million dollars. Better yet, close your eyes again and imagine how much suffering, how much disease, how much poverty and homelessness, how much gross inequality, that seventy-five million dollars might relieve.

Now open your eyes and go take a look at WVU's Milan Puskar Football Stadium. Because that's where-- with the recent approval of the WVU Board of Governors-- those $75 million are about to go.

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Inside Appalachia Podcast
6:00 am
Sat May 31, 2014

Opposition to New Black Lung Regs, A Kentucky Banjo Legend, Helping the Birds & Bees, and More

Efforts to combat black lung disease draw criticism.

Meet Kentucky banjo player Lee Sexton.

A look at efforts in Kentucky and Pennsylvania to save the birds and bees.

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Just Talking
6:00 am
Sun May 25, 2014

Essayist Misses the Old Ways Of Communicating

Cat Pleska

 


Athena!

I just found out that if I were a Greek goddess, I’d be Athena! A proud and insightful warrior.

Or if I’m not Athena, maybe I was a royal queen in ancient Egypt. And this is fascinating—it turns out my aura is blue! These revelations must mean something!

Just take a few, or fifty, Facebook quizzes and you, too, can learn just how fascinating you are. It’s easy. Answer a few inane questions such as what’s your favorite movie or actor and the answer is: you’re Marilyn Monroe or Ryan Gosling!

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Drive Carefully
8:42 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Essay: Pothole Season Has Arrived With a Vengence

This pothole is near Sarah Lowther Hensley's house in Fairmont, West Virginia.
Credit Sarah Lowther Hensley / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

You know the drill.

Eyes trained straight ahead – glued to the patch of pavement directly in front of you – picking and weaving and bobbing your way along the street.

Yep.

Pothole season.

That perennial pox of problematic pavement.

Drivers miss a lot of beautiful scenery this time of year just because we have to focus our gaze straight down and straight ahead.

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Inside Appalachia Podcast
7:47 am
Sat May 3, 2014

Problems With Lawn Fertilizer, Pondering Potholes, Spring Wildflower, Quilting and More

There’s a push to decrease the use of lawn chemicals.

An inside look at the struggle for political power at West Virginia’s Capitol.

This is the time of year when certain wildflowers make their brief appearance.

And quilters gather in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, to hone their craft.

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225 Years and Counting
11:18 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Happy Birthday Congress, The Underappreciated Branch

Ray Smock
Credit Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies

I have a confession to make. I love the United States Congress. I don’t recall hearing that from anyone else lately; although I do know there are others who could say the same thing. If you can trust the latest poll only 6 percent approve of the current Congress and I doubt most in that group would go so far as to profess love for the institution.

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Essay
2:44 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Happy and (For the Most Part) Healthy in Unhappy and Unhealthy West Virginia

Michael Blumenthal

For those of us who like to make up our own minds about who, what, and how we are, this is a strange country, where U.S. News and World Report, TIME Magazine and the Gallup Poll profess to know more about our human condition than we do ourselves.

According to those harbingers of happiness and taste, for example, I and my fellow West Virginias  are now served by (and, in my case, teach at) the nation's eighty-third best law school (up from ninety-ninth in a single year) and reside in its unhappiest, unhealthiest and most obese State.

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Rite of Passage
1:03 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Spring Brings Flowers, Sunshine and Fond Memories for This Mom

Sarah Lowther Hensley

It’s spring and along with bunches of daffodils, robins, and ramp festivals, there is a feeling in the air of fresh starts and new beginnings.

After the winter we have had all I can say is “hallelujah!”

Ironically, though, it was a hint of autumn that made me think of new life this week.

As I drove by our elementary school, I noticed the sign in front heralding that the next day was “Kindergarten Registration Day.”

We are just about a year away from “High School Orientation”  but, boy, do I remember that earlier rite of passage.

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Essay
3:38 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Charleston (The Town for Extreme Tourists)

Credit Steve Shaluta / West Virginia Division of Tourism

Like many others, I’m distressed and angry about the chemical leak that fouled my city’s water supply and turned off the taps for three hundred thousand taxpayers. But I can’t sustain my outrage without a dose of laughter now and then. And it occurs to me that Charleston may want to consider looking for a niche in the extreme tourism market. So, with the help of my co-writer and accompanist, George Castelle, I’ve put my thoughts into a song:

Charleston—the town inimical

Hip, historic, cool and chemical

Yes, there's sludge, and it could spill

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Essay
12:55 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Water, Water Everywhere

“I learned to take a bath in a tea cup!” I often chortled to anyone who would listen. A slight exaggeration, of course, but one time when I had been without water for 5 weeks, I learned to adapt, plus this important lesson: “I’ll never take water for granted again.”

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Essay
4:52 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Nesting

Credit Colleen Anderson

When my elderly parents moved to a retirement community in West Virginia, at my request, it was a tough transition. To lifelong flatlanders, my cherished mountains seemed oppressive, not protective. The roads were narrower and much twistier than those in Michigan. Their tiny new apartment was a poor substitute for the comfortable home where they’d lived for more than sixty years. And, even though they’d grown too frail to do much gardening, the hanging flower basket on their new balcony was nothing like a whole yard with trees, flowers, squirrels, and birds.

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