McDowell County

Childhood Education
8:58 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Concord University Hosts Screening of The First 1,000 Days

Credit Production still by Raelyn White.

Concord University is hosting a special screening of a documentary that explores the long-term educational challenges for children in low-income homes.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting's The First 1,000 Days: Investing In WV Children When It Counts will be shown on Thursday at 1 p.m. at the Athens campus. 

The hour-long documentary explores how poverty affects early childhood development and the challenges families face when the adults either have low-paying jobs or are unemployed.

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9:25 am
Mon January 19, 2015

January 19, 1894: John Hardy Hanged in Welch

Hardy was just one of tens of thousands of African Americans who poured into southern West Virginia in the late 1800s and early 1900s to work in the coal and railroad industries.
Credit e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

John Hardy was hanged in the McDowell County seat of Welch on January 19, 1894. The black railroad worker had been convicted of murdering a man in a gambling dispute at present-day Eckman.

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Water Infrastructure
6:47 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

What Does it Take to Build New Water Systems in the Coalfields?

Work to replace the water system in Elkhorn began summer 2014.
Credit Daniel Walker

This week, we’ve been talking about water in the coalfields. We met folks that deal with frequent water outages and boil water advisories because of crumbling water systems, and heard stories of folks living with no water source at all. We also learned that proper sewage disposal is still a challenge.


Progress has been made. Just this past year, the Elkhorn Water Project began. It's expected to bring clean water to folks living in several coal camp communities along Route 52 in McDowell County. A project in Wyoming County is expected to bring a permanent solution to water issues in Bud and Alpoca.

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Water Infrastructure
9:13 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

What Water Options Are Available In The Coalfields?

The mountain spring in Maybeaury, W.Va. is often crowded with folks gathering water for their homes.
Credit Jessica Lilly

While the chemical spill in Charleston left 300-thousand people without access to clean water, folks in the coalfields deal with water issues every day.  We heard from folks in McDowell communities living off dated water systems that frequently go without water. Some communities have been on boil water advisories for years.

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Water Infrastructure
10:11 pm
Sun January 11, 2015

Water Outages and Advisories Continue in W.Va. Coalfields

Betty Younger explains the struggle to keep tap water on her front porch in McDowell County.
Credit Daniel Walker

While the chemical spill in Charleston left more than 300,000 without usable water, it's a problem that folks in the coalfields deal with on a regular basis.

Mountainous regions like southern West Virginia have an abundance of water, but the terrain along with aging infrastructure create challenges, just as it has for decades.

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West Virginia History
10:18 am
Mon November 3, 2014

November 3, 1828: Birthday of Surveyor-Geologist Jedediah Hotchkiss

Today, most historians consider Jedediah Hotchkiss to be the greatest mapmaker of the Civil War.
Credit e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Jedediah Hotchkiss, mapmaking, Stonewall Jackson, Civil War

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Inside Appalachia
3:59 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Author Homer Hickam Visits His Home State

Homer Hickam at the 2014 Appalachian Heritage Festival at Shepherd University.
Credit Cecelia Mason / Shepherd University

Every October, author and West Virginia native, Homer Hickam, makes a trip home to West Virginia for the annual Rocket Boys festival in Beckley…but he also makes a point to stop in on his hometown of Coalwood in McDowell County during his visit. 

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State Fire Marshal
1:03 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Man Faces Charges for Impersonating Fire Marshal

A southern West Virginia man faces charges of impersonating a state fire marshal investigator.

The West Virginia State Fire Marshal's Office says the charges are an offshoot of an ongoing investigation of fires in McDowell County.

Jeffrey L. Moorehead II is accused of presenting himself as an investigator for the fire marshal both online and in person.

Fire marshal investigators arrested the 34-year-old Anawalt resident on Wednesday. He's charged with two counts of impersonation of a law enforcement officer or official.

Moorehead remains free on a $500 bond.

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8:27 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Pride of W. Va. to Perform in McDowell, Mercer Counties

Credit West Virginia University

BRADSHAW, W.Va. (AP) - The West Virginia University marching band will take a side trip to McDowell County on its way to this weekend's start of the college football season in Atlanta.
     WVU says the Pride of West Virginia will perform at Riverview High School prior to the start of Thursday night's game between Riverview and Mount View.
     The high schools rescheduled their season opener from Friday night to accommodate the band's pregame performance.

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West Virginia Morning
11:32 am
Wed August 13, 2014

The Bluefield Coal Symposium, W.Va. and Ky. Politics Heat Up Over Coal & McDowell Co. Improves Water

The Bluefield Coal Symposium brings together government and industry leaders to discuss challenges, West Virginia parallels Kentucky in coal jobs and politics in regards to the widely talked about "war on coal", and McDowell residents get closer to having safe water.

Elkhorn Regional Water Project
9:26 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

McDowell Residents Closer to Safe Water

Credit Daniel Walker

Residents in several McDowell County communities are one step closer to safe, public water. The Elkhorn Regional Water Project will replace two water systems that date back about 70 or 80 years. 

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5:48 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Feds: W.Va. Prison Had 10 Serious Safety Issues

Credit Schavda / wikimedia Commons

A federal investigation has found employees at a McDowell County federal prison were allegedly exposed to blood-borne pathogens and other safety hazards.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's January investigation into the Welch prison found 10 serious violations. This was OSHA's first inspection of the facility.

OSHA says the prison failed to train employees on pathogen issues and didn't ensure trainers were knowledgeable. Employees didn't use puncture-resistant containers for contaminated sharp objects.

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Reconnecting McDowell
2:10 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Attorney, Teacher & Student Say Reconnecting McDowell is Working

Emily Hicks also spoke during a press conference in West Virginia earlier this year.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A West Virginia corporate attorney, a McDowell County teacher and a high school student traveled across the country to share the good they see coming from the Reconnecting McDowell project.

The three traveled to Los Angeles to speak at the American Federation of Teachers convention about the program they say has changed lives and given the community a new sense of optimism.

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School Construction
8:25 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Construction of New McDowell Co. School to Begin Soon

Construction of a new $12 million elementary school in McDowell County is expected to begin after crews stabilize a riverbank that partially collapsed earlier this year.

Superintendent Nelson Spencer tells the Bluefield Daily Telegraph that demolition of the old Iaeger Elementary School has been completed. He says large rocks from the construction area are being used to help stabilize the bank.

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1:06 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

State Tells McDowell County to Address Jail Issues

Credit Division of Corrections

The Division of Corrections has told the McDowell County Commission to address deficiencies at the Stevens Correctional Center or risk losing its contract to house state inmates at the facility.

The Bluefield Daily Telegraph reports that Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein sent a letter to the commission regarding the deficiencies earlier this month. The issues include staff members not following Division of Corrections directives.

Rubenstein's letter says the county owes the division liquidated damages under the contract.

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12:25 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

McDowell Lays Off Eight Workers Amid Budget Shortfall

Delegate Clif Moore
Credit West Virginia Legislature

  Eight McDowell County employees have been laid off as the county struggles to plug a budget hole.

The layoffs include Delegate Clif Moore, who is an assistant county administrator.

Moore tells the Bluefield Daily Telegraph that seven employees were laid off Friday. His layoff is effect June 13 so he can continue working with county administrator Jennifer Wimmer to balance the budget.

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Public Safety
10:31 am
Fri May 30, 2014

W.Va. Bicyclist Charged With Operating Backpack Meth Lab

McDowell County Sheriff's Office says a 31-year-old bicyclist has been charged with operating a meth lab that deputies say was contained in his backpack.

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Law & Order
5:05 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

McDowell Co. Lawmaker Charged with DUI

Clif Moore, D-McDowell
Credit West Virginia Legislature

A McDowell County lawmaker has been charged with driving under the influence.

State police arrested Delegate Clif Moore during a traffic stop early Saturday morning on U.S. 52 on Elkhorn Mountain.

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West Virginia Morning
8:46 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Water Woes in McDowell County Examined, Students Learning in New Ways, Clock Ticking in Legislature

On this West Virginia Morning, state legislative officials are working against the clock and snow to get more bills passed.

We explore the water problems in McDowell County more deeply,

And students don't need classroom settings to learn.

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West Virginia Morning
11:12 am
Mon March 3, 2014

A NASA Launch, Water Woes in McDowell Co., & More

On this West Virginia Morning, a special NASA launch has a West Virginia connection.

Also, water woes continue in West Virginia, but not where you might think.

And a Pennsylvania story about a fracking law that's causing controversy.

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