Inside Appalachia

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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.

 

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

It’s nothing unusual to think about leaving your hometown after you graduate high school, but sometimes it’s not an option to leave, and sometimes, as we’ve heard, leaving can be difficult and expensive, too. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Kara Lofton/ West Virginia Public Broadcasting

It used to be that women typically gave birth in home-like environments. Today most women head to the hospital and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that across the U.S., one in every three mothers has a cesarean delivery.  

Recently, Inside Appalachia won first place in Public Radio News Directors Inc.’s (PRNDI), Long Documentary category for an episode titled “Hippies, Home Birth and the History of Birthing Babies in Appalachia.”

U.S. National Archive Jack Corn

This week time travel back to your own childhood summer memories with the Appalachian storytellers.      

Kyra Soleil-Dawe, Kyra, The Struggle to Stay
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Last week, we met Kyra Soleil-Dawe, a 20-year-old aspiring theater director and playwright who lives in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

“And this place is so beautiful," Kyra said, "how would you ever wanna leave it? And I hope that I’m not the only one that sees that, I hope that I’m not the only one that sees that there’s something really incredible happening here.”

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

 


In 2014, when Kyra Soleil-Dawe was 17-years-old, they formed a small, theater company out of West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle in Shepherdstown – a historic, artsy, college town just miles from Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

Lundy Bailey II / The Nicholas Chronicle

Several communities in West Virginia were devastated during the 1,000 Year Flood that hit June 2016. Many families lost everything – their homes, their belongings, their livelihoods. Some of those communities even lost their school buildings.

Chris Oxley/ WVPB

This week on Inside Appalachia, we are revisiting some of the people whose lives were changed forever after the flooding of 2016. This episode was part of a TV special called A Year of Recovery. We hear about the hurt of losing loved ones and how flood victims are coping after the disaster. We hear why when a community goes through devastation together, they can come out stronger.

Chuck Frostick

There is more to recovery than physically rebuilding a house, or a building. Communities are also recovering mentally and emotionally. Dr. Carol Smith is a Professor of Counseling at Marshall University, says finding basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter is just the beginning.

Inside Appalachia co-producer and host Jessica Lilly sat down with Dr. Carol Smith to discuss the year of mental and emotional recovery that West Virginia faced since the flooding of June 2016. Parts of this interview are included in a special TV show, “Inside Appalachia: A Year of Recovery.” You can watch the show Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. on WVPB or listen on radio.

Chuck Frostick

Inside Appalachia co-producer and host Jessica Lilly sat down with Major General James A. Hoyer of the WV National Guard to discuss the year of recovery that West Virginia faced since the flooding of June 2016. Parts of this interview are included in a special TV show, “Inside Appalachia: A Year of Recovery.” You can watch the show Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. on WVPB or listen on radio.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, lawmakers working on a tax-reform plan heard from Gov. Jim Justice. Ashton Marra s following budget negotiations at the Capitol and brings us the latest on discussions between the governor and legislative leaders.

We also preview this week's Inside Appalachia episode and Mountain Stage's Song of the Week.

Cameron Williams

Day One

Very early one fall day in 2016, Mark Combs set west from Morgantown, West Virginia, with lots of hope, California dreams, and as many belongings as he could fit into a small SUV -- including a few companions.

“I’m feeling really positive about the trip,” Mark said into a handheld recorder while stopped at a gas station somewhere in Ohio. “We started out very, very strong this morning. We’re still going strong.” 

He was traveling with his border collie Lily, a cat named Terror Czar (TC for short), and his good friend from theater school and fellow West Virginian Cameron "Elias" Williams -- a dancer, rapper, writer and like Mark, a comedian. Together, they’ve been planning this move West with similar ambitions.

Roger May/ Looking at Appalachia

In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we talk about faith and music. We learn about Sister Rosetta Tharpe,  one of the first great recording stars of gospel music, find our the story behind a song that became an American icon, and we’ll learn more about a project Glory that depicts images of Pentecostal style tent revival in Kentucky and West Virginia.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear about U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions's visit to Charleston. We also spend time with photographer Roger May, interviewed by Inside Appalachia host Jessica Lilly as part of this week's episode about music, religion and the song Amazing Grace.

We also feature a new tune from Mountain Stage's Song of the Week.

Courtesy Maria Marotto

“If you want to stay in West Virginia, then I believe you’re doing something right," Colt Brogan told West Virginia Public Broadcasting for The Struggle to Stay series. "I mean, cause it’s hard to want to stay here in my opinion. Cause it is so rough.”


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