Therapeutic Gardening for Vets, Gardens Feeding the Hungry, Chinese Medicine and More


The country’s top energy official visits Pittsburgh.

Veterans find gardening therapeutic.

We visit with Appalachian blogger and podcaster Dave Tabler.

And take a tour of a historic home in Hinton West Virginia.

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Can EPA regs be a good thing? West Virginia and other Appalachian coal producing states can actually thrive under new US Environmental Protection Regulations that aim to reduce greenhouse gasses according to three panelists participating in a recent public forum.  West Virginia Public Radio’s Liz McCormick has more on the forum, which took place in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

Mr. Moniz goes to Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, energy infrastructure, efficiency and the role of natural gas in fighting climate change was on the mind of President Obama’s top energy official, who spoke in Pittsburgh this past week. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz toured the city as his department heard public comments on its roadmap for America’s energy future. Among Moniz’s stops was a tour of PNC Bank’s so-called ‘green’ skyscraper under construction. The Allegheny Front’s Reid Frazier reports.

Veterans find work and therapy through agriculture. The recent controversy at the VA hospitals where veterans had long wait times before being seen is just one issue the country is dealing with as it struggles to help those returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. One fledgling program in West Virginia isn’t wasting any time tackling the issues vets face.  From transitional job training to psychological therapy, members of the Warriors and Veterans to Agriculture Program say they’re discovering that they can help West Virginia veterans in more ways than they ever anticipated. West Virginia Public Radio’s Ashton Marra reports.

Community gardens that help feed the hungry. Agriculture is also the centerpiece for an effort in Charleston, West Virginia, that aims to help feed the city’s hungry. 81-year-old Tom Toliver is creating community gardens on vacant lots in the city’s west end, and giving the food grown there to people in need. Volunteers, including at risk youth have helped at times, but for about five years Toliver has been creating these neighborhood gardens mostly all by himself. But recently, new volunteers have begun to join him and just this week, a group of twenty-two 11-14-year-olds from the YMCA have been working with Toliver to help bring fresh vegetables to a local shelter. West Virginia Public Radio’s Roxy Todd reports.

Growing Chinese medicine in Virginia. Last week we learned about the Blue Ridge Center for Chinese Medicine in Floyd County, Virginia. When people hear about the Center they sometimes look surprised and ask, “What’s that doing here? As Robbie Harris from WVTF Public Radio tells, not only is it serving a local clientele, it’s also working to create a network of farmers raising certified traditional Chinese herbs to supply a growing sector in health care.

Documenting Appalachian history on the web. The Appalachian region has long been the focus of fascination and study going back to the early 1900’s when historians and musicologists traveled through the region collecting stories and songs. But folks from outside the region have not always promoted a flattering image. And that, along with a curiosity about his own family, inspired Dave Tabler to start his blog on Appalachian history. Tabler’s family is originally from the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, where he spent a lot of time as a child. West Virginia Public Radio’s Cecelia Mason spoke with Tabler about what influenced his interest in Appalachian history.

Visiting a historic house in Hinton, West Virginia. Historic houses can often draw tourists to an area like eastern Kentucky- and Southern West Virginia where- in the town of Hinton a small nonprofit organization is working to restore an old house with an interesting story. West Virginia Public Radio’s Jessica Lilly recently visited the Campbell-Flannagan-Murrell house to find out more.