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A suspect in a ginseng investigation faces charges of shooting at officers who were trying to serve warrants.

Division of Natural Resources Capt. W.W. Brogan III tells the Charleston Gazette-Mail that DNR officers arrested Bill Wolfe following a brief standoff on Saturday night.

At the legislature today, the vote tally board in the house turns bright red as lawmakers vote against eliminating West Virginia’s Courtesy Patrol roadside assistance program.  Forest-grown ginseng is said to be as valuable as the wild grown roots and it could be a valuable industry for West Virginia as well.  And we’ll talk with U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin about the benefits of the Opioid Antagonist Act to treat drug overdoses on The Legislature Today.

At the legislature today, the pros and cons of consuming raw milk is debated in the House.  Senate Bill 30 passed overwhelmingly and heads back to the Senate to consider House changes to the bill.  In the Senate there’s more discussion about funding for state roads and another agreement for more study about that issue.  And we begin a two part series about ginseng. Could it become a leading cash crop? These stories and more coming up on The Legislature Today.

Glynis Board

On this episode, we’re learning more about Appalachian roots. Some industries are growing in Appalachia that aren’t really new at all, but new practices are building on traditional crafts. While these  changes develop across Appalachia, we inevitably want to hang onto our identity. Strong roots, after all, are one of the characteristics many of us take pride in.

  When you hear the word “ginseng” you might think about a wild plant that grows in the hills of Appalachia … and you would be right, that’s the good stuff. But there’s another way ginseng grows that’s a little less wild. Basically, we’re talking about ginseng farming in the forest, which can yield roots as valuable as the wild stuff. So is it a viable business for West Virginians? Well, there are some rules and regulations that might be hindering growth, but experts say there are ways to promote the industry.

 The War on Coal, pressures from natural gas development, crumbling infrastructure, whatever you want to blame it on - jobs are becoming more and more scarce these days in communities dependent on coal. As a result, some folks are reaching back to their roots, literally and figuratively, to make ends meet - just as they have for generations. And there’s some big money there. Especially harvesting ginseng. But can plants like ginseng play a significant role in our economy today? Enquiring minds would like to know…

Growing Warriors

This week, we’ll hear from farmer Peg Taylor,  who’s excited that Hemp is being grown in Kentucky for the first time in four decades. But some farmers in West Virginia, like Bill Gorby, say they’re concerned about what hydraulic fracturing could do to the water on their farms.

And for What’s in a Name, we’ll travel to a small town that’s famous for its unique hunter’s stew.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, operators of public water and sewer systems tell lawmakers that they are over-regulated.  They want the Public Service Commission to ease up.  And Glynis Board has an interesting story about wild ginseng and how a little bird could help the plant survive.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Some researchers at West Virginia University have discovered that wild ginseng—a native and valuable medicinal plant—could be using specific birds to catch a ride into climates for which it’s better suited.

National Geographic

A new reality TV show that features ginseng hunting premiered this week. Smoky Mountain Gold pits four teams against each other to see who can collect the most wild-ginseng. It comes in the wake of another reality show that aired in January this year, Appalachian Outlaws. Dried ginseng root sells for 400-900 dollars a pound, and these reality shows are generating a lot of new interest in the plant.  That might be a good thing for the ginseng industry… or it might not be.

West Virginia natural resources police say they have made 11 arrests and seized 190 pounds of dry ginseng that was illegally harvested.

The West Virginia Department of Natural Resources estimates the market value of the native herb at $180,000.

The department said Wednesday the arrests followed a year-long investigation in southern West Virginia. Besides the ginseng, they said they also seized stolen guns, illegal drugs and $30,000 in cash.

Ginseng annually brings millions of dollars in revenue into Appalachia. But its future as a revenue option, or even its existence at all in these parts is far from certain. Growers are struggling to conserve the plant and ensure the vitality of the industry. Those concerns as well as new research that sheds light on the therapeutic qualities of the plant were discussed at the 2014 Ginseng Summit.

A small gathering of key stakeholders in the ginseng industry gathered at the Golden Seal Botanical Sanctuary just outside the small town of Rutland, in Meigs County Ohio, to discuss important topics surrounding the medicinal root.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Glynis Board reports from the 2014 Ginseng Summit  and food tourism continues to grow in Appalachia with a new culinary map that shows where to find the best. Also, our friends at Traveling 219 bring us a story on an old time music workshop in Marlinton, West Virginia. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Legislature clears ten bills in a one-day special session after finishing budget negotiations on Friday. With a rich history in the state behind them, a group of students from north central West Virginia is hoping a rocket will also launch them to the very top. And, lastly, does the History Channel's Appalachian Outlaws accurately depict the practice of ginseng hunting in West Virginia?

The History Channel featured a new show this year that focused on ginseng in Appalachia. According to Neilson ratings, the show, called Appalachian Outlaws, was one of the most popular on cable channels, averaging over 2.7 million viewers per each of its six episodes. There’s no official word if season two is in the works, and while some fans are hoping that there will be a second season, other people are hoping the show will just go away.