Inside Appalachia

Benny Becker/ WMMT

Derek Akal, 22, grew up in the famed coalfields of Harlan County, Kentucky. He’s a bit over six feet tall, he’s black, and he has an athlete’s build. Neat curls of black hair rise off the top of his head, and on his chin, he keeps a closely-trimmed mustache and goatee.

I first interviewed Derek in October 2016. At that time, he said he was trying to become a Kentucky state trooper, but also making plans to move to Texas to work on an oil rig. 


USDA/ Daniel Boone National Forest

In this week's episode of Inside Appalachia, we visit communities impacted by creation of flood-control lakes. Like the Village of Lilly, where back in the 1940s, about 40 families were pushed off their land along the Bluestone River in Summers County, West Virginia. Many of these families had lived there for more than 200 years. 

Inside Appalachia Host Jessica Lilly has deep roots to this community, as we hear in this episode. 

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.

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


Reid Frazier/ The Allegheny Front

For the past few weeks, we’ve been following the story of Dave Hathaway, a laid off miner from Greene County, Pennsylvania, as part of our series The Struggle to Stay.

Late in 2016, he got a job offer for a company that was doing blasting work. It was great money, and a steady day shift. But it was in Maryland. He’d have to spend four nights a week in a hotel, leaving Ashley to take care of newborn Deacon. “We agreed I pretty much had to do it,” he said. “I didn’t have any funds coming in.”

Emily Hilliard/ WV Folklife Program

Eighty-seven year-old Jim Shaffer has had his hands busy since 1946. He is the last commercial broom-maker left in West Virginia. People from all over the country have come to see, and take home, some of Shaffer’s work.

A short film about Jim Shaffer is being screened at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress later this month at an event called "Reel Folk: Cultural Explorations on Film". The video was produced earlier this year by Inside Appalachia, in collaboration with the West Virginia Folklife Program

Mark Regan Photography

Today, more than 45 million Americans live in poverty. After decades of widely publicized campaigns with names like “the War on Poverty”, living on low income often comes an extreme sense of shame and self-doubt. On this episode of Inside Appalachia, we hear different ways of reporting on financial security, or lack thereof. From a coal miner who lost his job, to a long-time welfare director, how do we talk about folks who are good at making do with what they have? How do we react when we hear these stories? 


courtesy Charlie McCoy

Even if you don’t recognize the name Charlie McCoy, you’ve probably heard his music. Many of the great musicians who recorded in Nashville over the past fifty years have played with McCoy, a native of West Virginia who’s been working in the Nashville music industry for over five decades. He’s recorded with some of the best known country music and rock and roll legends, including Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, and George Jones. Charlie McCoy's new memoir is called 50 Cents and a Box Top

EMILY SARKEES

There’s no place in America that’s gained a bigger reputation for country and rock and roll music than Nashville, Tennessee. So what does it take to make it there? Well, perhaps having West Virginia roots might help. There are so many talented musicians from our region who’ve found success in Nashville that some refer to the scene as the “WV music mafia.” But what about the folks who stay here in the Mountain State? What does it take to “make it” in the current music scene here?  


Katie Fallon

Author Katie Fallon was inspired, in part, by her own children to write the book, Look, See the Bird! In the book, Fallon writes about children from different parts of the world. It's an imaginary trip across parts of the world, and the perspectives of migratory birds help guide the story.

Kara Lofton/ West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In our ongoing Struggle to Stay series, we’ve been following Crystal Snyder, who works at a job-training program called Refresh Appalachia. She’s learning how to grow squash and shiitake mushrooms, while also going to a community college, working on her associate’s degree in Applied Science. 


Emily Hanford / APM Reports

The start of a new school year can be a stressful time, but it’s also a season of transition, and of new beginnings. In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we hear the conclusion to Crystal Snyder's Struggle to Stay story, as she juggles school, work and family responsibilities. And we travel to McDowell County, where people are exploring new ways to deal with a chronic teacher shortage. 


Purple Orchid
Claire Hemme / West Virgina Public Broadcasting

If you live in West Virginia, chances are, you’ve driven past a cluster of wild pink or white orchids just off the side of a curvy road. Some of the best opportunities in the country to find them are located along our rural mountain hillsides.

A few years ago, two orchid enthusiasts discovered a rare and previously undiscovered species, known as Platanthera shriveri, or Shriver's Purple Frilly Orchid. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, this week's episode of Inside Appalachia celebrates getting outdoors with a new series called "Hidden Gems of Appalachia." Host Jessica Lilly spoke with a children's book author Katie Fallon, who wrote a book that's meant to encourage children to get outside and check out the unique birds you can find in West Virginia.

stock photo

President Donald Trump's Commission on the Opioid Crisis recently recommended that the president declare the opioid crisis a national public health emergency. The commission said that such a declaration could free up money to fight the epidemic.

Back in April, we aired a special report about the opioid epidemic here in Appalachia. So this week, we’re going to revisit that story to remember how some Appalachians became addicted, and what a battle for sobriety can be like.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, President Donald Trump’s visit to West Virginia Thursday was eclipsed by a major announcement from a state official during his campaign rally in Huntington. Trump was joined on stage by Democratic Gov. Jim Justice, whose announcement that he is switching party affiliation is sending shockwaves through the state’s political circles.

Kara Lofton/ West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Appalachian economy is changing. In this episode of Inside Appalachia, hear from people who are switching careers, including former coal miners who are learning computer programming and non-traditional students who’ve graduated from college. Meet the next person in our Struggle to Stay series, a mother of two named Crystal Snyder. She’s also switching careers.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, in Hampshire County West Virginia, there is a small mountain ridge called Ice Mountain. Historical records suggest that, years ago, ice could be found here, even in the heat of summer. Inside Appalachia producer Roxy Todd recently visited Ice Mountain to find out if ice could still be spotted, and to check out the rare plant species that have existed here since the last ice age.

Nature's Icebox in W.Va

Jul 31, 2017
Roxy Todd/ WVPB

In Hampshire County West Virginia, there is a small mountain ridge called Ice Mountain. Historical records suggest that, years ago, ice could be found here, even in the heat of summer. I recently visited Ice Mountain to find out if ice could still be spotted, and to check out the rare plant species that have existed here since the last ice age. 


Kara Lofton/ West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Do people who identify as LGBTQ struggle for acceptance in Appalachia? In this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we explore how ideas about gender are changing across the country and in the region.

 

Still, some people, like 20-year-old Soleil-Dawe, who lives in Shepherdstown and identifies as gender queer, have found that coming out to their family isn’t easy.

 

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