Turn This Town Around

As part of the West Virginia Focus Magazine project called Turn This Town Around, experts with the West Virginia Community Development HUB are helping Matewan focus, pursue, and execute plans to revitalize the town.

What's next for West Virginia? That's a question that will be posed to community members at meetings across the state in the coming months.  The West Virginia Center for Civic Life promotes local dialogue to challenge us to talk about problems and find solutions to better the quality of life here.  The center is holding its 18th annual Civic Life Institute at the University of Charleston on June 4 and 5.  The institute will train citizens from across the state to hold and facilitate local meetings to find out what's next for West Virginia.   Center director Betty Knighton and Catherine Moore, an Appalachian Transition Fellow assigned to the project, stopped by our studios to talk with West Virginia Morning host Beth Vorhees about the initiative.


Grafton Community Cleans Up To Turn The Town Around

May 12, 2014
Flickr Image

This morning we bring you another story in our series on how the towns of Grafton and Matewan are turning themselves around as part of a special collaboration. The transformation process for Grafton continued over the weekend with a chance for community members to not only clean up their city but to connect with one another, a crucial part of the effort.

As one of two winners of the Turn This Town Around project, Matewan hopes revitalize itself. Teewendee Sandwidi and his family have found a new life in Morgantown after fleeing their home country of Burkina Faso. Also, Marshall University School of Journalism professor Dan Hollis continues his streak of winning awards for his video storytelling.

West Virginia Focus

  

The small town with a population of less than 500 people already has a big history. During the 1920’s coal miners were fighting for equal pay and better working conditions. While dramatized, historians say the 1987 Jan Sayles film Matewan captures the atmosphere of the regional situation at the time.

While much has changed, the fighting spirit of Matewan is still alive and well. As one of the winners of the Turn this Town Around Project, the community has pulled together, yet again, in the last two months hosting community clean up days, and a community meeting which was standing room only.

A recent town meeting in Grafton allowed residents to discuss ideas on what projects they would like to work on as part of the Turn This Town Around project. The historic Rose Garden Theater adored by so many may once again have a reason to shine. Also, our friends at The Allegheny Front take a look at carbon capture technology and the hurdles it faces in solving the problems of carbon dioxide emissions from burning coal.

Grafton Residents Mull Ideas to Turn The Town Around

May 5, 2014
Ben Adducchio / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Editor's Note: We bring you a story in our continuing series on how the towns of Grafton and Matewan are turning themselves around through a special collaborative project between West Virginia Public Broadcasting, West Virginia Focus magazine and the West Virginia Community Development Hub. As Ben Adducchio reports, a recent town meeting in Grafton allowed residents to discuss ideas on what projects they would like to work on.

Grafton is the county seat of Taylor County and has a population of 5,000. It’s one of the two towns in the state selected as part of the “Turn This Town Around” project. Matewan, in Mingo County, is the other. These towns over the next year will be going through a makeover, so to speak, by members of the community, to make the towns look better.

National Geographic poses an important question in regards to studying climate change--can coal ever be clean? Taylor County's seat of Grafton begins a journey to turn their town around by improving its look and recreational possibilities. A Tucker County doctor trudges 1,000 miles across the Alaskan tundra to win the Iditarod Trail Invitational.

Grafton Begins to 'Turn This Town Around'

Mar 25, 2014
Ben Adducchio / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Throughout the next year, West Virginia Public Radio will bring you stories about two communities in West Virginia. These are Matewan and Grafton. These towns were selected as part of a special “Turn This Town Around” project. Grafton is starting its journey.

Grafton is the county seat of Taylor County and it’s got a little more than 5,000 people living in it. It was selected as the winner of the West Virginia Focus Magazine’s Turn this Town Around project, along with Matewan in Mingo County.

West Virginia Focus

“Turn This Town Around” is a unique and groundbreaking project to select two West Virginia communities to receive training, coaching, and technical assistance to help them achieve success in revitalizing their communities.

“Turn This Town Around” is a feature of West Virginia Focus, in partnership with West Virginia Public Broadcasting and the West Virginia Community Development Hub.

New South Media

It’s been a rough month in West Virginia, with the water crisis and all the negative, stereotypical coverage of Appalachia around the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty.

Let’s take all our anger and frustration and turn it into something positive. Let’s “Turn This Town Around.”

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