Ten Years After Upper Big Branch Disaster, New Play Memorializes Impact Of Horrific Event


On this West Virginia Morning, we hear about a new play that honors those who lost their lives at the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster 10 years ago. We also bring you the latest updates on coronavirus in West Virginia.

Health departments from six West Virginia counties, under an expanded order from Gov. Jim Justice, are quickly enacting new policies aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus. Dave Mistich has more.

A nursing home patient with underlying health conditions has become the third person to die from the new coronavirus in West Virginia. The Department of Health and Human Resources reported the 76-year-old man was a resident of the Sundale nursing home in Morgantown, where 21 residents and eight staff members tested positive for the virus.

As coronavirus cases continue to increase throughout the Ohio Valley, rural hospitals are preparing for a potential surge of COVID-19 patients. But as Liam Niemeyer reports, these hospitals are having to make tough financial decisions or risk closing altogether.

A new report shows the Ohio Valley is likely to feel the negative fiscal impacts of COVID-19 sooner rather than later. That’s because the region’s mix of major industries and tax structures make it especially vulnerable. Becca Schimmel has more.

Sunday marked the 10-year anniversary of the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster. On April 5, 2010, 29 men who worked at an underground coal mine in Raleigh County, West Virginia were killed. Upper Big Branch was one of the deadliest mining disasters of our lifetime.

On the latest episode of Inside Appalachia, we honor those who lost their lives. But because of the coronavirus, families aren’t supposed to gather in big crowds this year to memorialize the dead. The pandemic has also impacted a play about the families affected by the tragedy. It’s called “Coal Country,” and it was being run at an off-Broadway playhouse in New York City. The dialogue is drawn from interviews with people who worked in the Upper Big Branch mine and those who lost family members there.

Jeff Young of the Ohio Valley ReSource spoke with the playwrights just before the production was paused.

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