Inside Appalachia

Roxy Todd/ West Virginia Public Broadcasting

It’s been a year since we started following six Appalachians as they grappled with whether to stay in their home state or leave for better opportunities. On this week’s episode, we’ll revisit those we profiled in our Struggle to Stay series– and reflect on what we learned as we helped them tell their stories.


ASSOCIATED PRESS

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


Kara Lofton/ West Virginia Public Broadcast

This week on Inside Appalachia, we'll learn more about how our reliance on coal and other extractive industries have affected our region’s economy.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, President Donald Trump held a roundtable discussion Thursday in White Sulphur Springs that was originally billed to highlight the impact of last year’s federal tax reform legislation. But, at various points, Trump veered off course to address issues such as immigration, trade, energy policy and the race for U.S. Senator Joe Manchin’s seat. Dave Mistich brings us the details.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear from West Virginia high schools students gearing up for the March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C.; a farmer and chef who uses maple syrup as a main ingredient in his recipes; a former coal miner and veteran who has been honored with the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award in volunteerism; and this week's Mountain Stage Song of the Week.

CREDIT COURTESY OF WV STATE ARCHIVES (WVSA), COAL LIFE COLLECTION

After a nine-day statewide strike, West Virginia teachers and school service employees are back to work with a hard-won commitment from lawmakers of a 5 percent pay raise for all public workers. Gov. Jim Justice also ordered the creation of a task force to explore long-term solutions to the public employees insurance program known as PEIA.

Katie Fallon

In honor of Valentine’s Day, this week's encore episode of Inside Appalachia features one of our favorite and most downloaded podcasts. We hear from writers Neil Gaiman, Ann Pancake, Carrie Mullins, Charles Frazier, and Nikki Giovanni sharing their love letters to Appalachia. It's a place that, while flawed, has been a source of inspiration and awe for them.


courtesy photo

This week on Inside Appalachia, we'll hear stories of women whose grit and determination changed their own lives - and changed other people's lives, too. We’ll hear from women who overcame a lot of challenges to succeed as students, musicians, entrepreneurs and educators.

oxycontin
Toby Talbot / Associated Press

Between 1999 and 2015, roughly 300,000 people in the United States died from opioid overdoses. And of the five states with the highest rates of drug overdose deaths in 2016, four were in Appalachia. The opioid epidemic is killing our friends and neighbors.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, President Donald Trump has helped put the national spotlight on the Ohio Valley’s opioid crisis. But his record of action on the issue is mixed. As part of the series, One Year, Under Trump, Ohio Valley ReSource reporter Aaron Payne reports that public health officials in the region say they need more funding to back up the president’s promises.

Jessica Lilly

This week on Inside Appalachia, we discuss one part of coal's legacy: as mining companies have closed, the water companies they built and helped maintain have largely been neglected. Today, residents are struggling with crumbling water infrastructure that hasn’t been updated for, sometimes, 100 years. 

STORYCORPS

We’ve teamed up with StoryCorps and Georgetown University’s American Pilgrimage Project for this episode about faith in Appalachia.

Adobe Stock

This week's Inside Appalachia is a special holiday edition.  We hear stories of Christmas past, present and hope for the future. We’ll check in with West Virginians still recovering from historic flooding that hit in 2016, find out how to avoid gaining weight, hear a story about a welcomed Star of David on a Christmas tree, and more. 


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Here’s a question:  Is it easier to feel that sense of nostalgia for home when we don’t have to deal with the day-to-day reality of living there?

In this episode of West Virginia Morning, we’ll hear from Jesse Donaldson, who wrote an entire book based on the tension between his own mixture of romance and reality of his memory and longing for home in Kentucky. 


courtesy Ann Lockard

This week on Inside Appalachia, we talk about what brings people back home to the mountains of Appalachia. And we’ll hear about what happens when people finally do come home. Can the reality of home ever truly live up to our memories of it?


courtesy Joni Deutsch

Jewish communities across West Virginia are struggling to keep their traditions alive.

“It is actually kind of scary. I worry because a lot of people my age are moving away for, like, school or jobs and because of that the communities are getting smaller,” said Kirston Kennedy, a young Jewish Appalachian who inspired our show. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear an Inside Appalachia preview. In honor of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, which begins Dec. 12, this weekend’s episode of Inside Appalachia explores stories of Jewish-Appalachians.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, here in West Virginia, one source of energy -- coal -- tends to dominate discussions about the economy. But it’s another form of energy production that brought The World’s Jason Margolis to the state.

Derek Cline/ Inside Appalachia

So how do you say Appalachia? This week, our episode is about the many different accents, and pronunciations, of Appalachia. Many of those interviewed for the show said they have very strong feelings about pronunciation.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we conclude our 8-month series, The Struggle to Stay. We hear the final chapter of Derek Akal’s story.

Derek is from a coal-camp town called Lynch, in Harlan County, Kentucky. The last time we heard from Derek, he was planning to move to California. But to do that, he needs to save enough money.

courtesy Derek Akal

This is the last part of our Struggle to Stay series, and the final chapter of Derek Akal’s Struggle to Stay. Derek, 22, is from a coal-camp town called Lynch, in Harlan County, Kentucky. If you haven’t caught his earlier stories, here’s a quick recap: Derek says he wants to leave eastern Kentucky to find work. A few years ago, he moved away on a college football scholarship, but then a neck injury led him to move back home. 


Much of Appalachia’s economy has rested on the boom and bust cycles of industries like coal and manufacturing for decades. It’s true that these industries have long put bread on the Appalachian table, but as those industries have faded in recent decades, jobs have grown scarce. 

So are there industries that might one day provide more financial stability to the region? This week on Inside Appalachia, we learn more about some unexpected and unique ways Appalachians are thinking outside the box to earn money, like growing industrial hemp, installing solar panels and even growing tea.

courtesy Derek Akal

This is chapter four of Derek Akal’s Struggle to Stay. In the first chapter, we met a young man from Harlan County, Kentucky, who thought a college football scholarship was going to be his ticket out. But a serious neck injury led Derek to drop out and move back home.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we have a special show that features the next installment of our Struggle to Stay series following Derek Akal. Derek is a young man from Harlan County, Kentucky whose grandparents encouraged him to leave Appalachia, to go to college and find opportunity out of state.

Benny Becker/ WMMT

This is chapter two of Derek Akal’s Struggle to Stay. In the first chapter, we met a young man from Harlan County, Kentucky, who thought a college football scholarship was going to be his ticket out. But a serious neck injury led Derek to drop out and move back home. 


Benny Becker/ WMMT

Too many times, when stories of Appalachia are in the national spotlight, we hear shallow, shocking and grim stories. But they miss some of the most inspiring aspects to our realities: the struggle, the perseverance and the resilience.  On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia we’ll meet storytellers who work to help Appalachians tell their own stories, and capture the true Appalachian spirit behind the statistics.

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


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