Series Explores Innovative Ideas in Appalachia


On this West Virginia Morning, we begin a new series of stories called Appalachian Innovators. When you think of Appalachian coalfields, images of stripped mountaintops might spring to mind. But what if these barren landscapes were covered with purple fields of lavender? Some people in West Virginia think lavender could give the state’s struggling economy a boost. Roxy Todd has the story.

Also on today’s show, the Appalachian Regional Commission is looking for ideas for a more diverse economy in coal country, and it has $20 million dollars to support those ideas. The ARC wants proposals for its POWER initiative, aimed at economic development and worker training. The commission also has a new study on the coal industry’s decline. As Becca Schimmel reports, that study shows just how hard it will be to turn around an economy built on coal.

And we visit Pittsburgh, where natural gas industry stakeholders gathered last week with an eye toward expansion in Appalachia. Nancy Andrew reports.