Inside Appalachia

By West Virginia Public Broadcasting

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Inside Appalachia tells the stories of our people, and how they live today. Host Jessica Lilly leads us on an audio tour of our rich history, our food, our music and our culture. Watch Inside Appalachia videos View stories from the Folkways Reporting Project Inside Appalachia Podcast - Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher , Spotify , or SoundCloud. Inside Appalachia is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting with help from public radio stations in Kentucky, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Episode Date
‘Country Roads’ Take Me Inside Appalachia
3217
This episode of Inside Appalachia is about returning home. For some people, timing and circumstance force you back. It is only then that you realize how much you missed home. Others spend decades longing to return. There are many songs about that longing. One of the most famous is “Take Me Home, County Roads,” a song that has come to represent the feeling of homesickness that many Appalachians know so well.
Sep 18, 2020
7 Stories About Appalachians Who Find Solutions And Rekindle Traditions
3366
National stories about Appalachia sometimes overlook the people who are working on the ground to solve problems in their communities. This episode of Inside Appalachia highlights the work of several people who are thinking outside the box to find solutions. We’ll hear about the Grace Life Coach Academy , which trains high school students in West Virginia to help their peers who struggle with substance abuse and trauma. The program focuses on building resilience among Appalachia’s young people. The Life Coach program has drawn national attention from others looking to duplicate similar efforts in their communities. Also, the program is now also working to help adults who are front-line workers during the coronavirus pandemic. We’ll also visit Weirton, West Virginia where volunteers from the Serbian immigrant community are trying to keep their culture and traditions alive despite population loss.
Sep 10, 2020
When Strangers With Cameras Travel Inside Appalachia
3219
What happens when strangers with cameras come to Appalachia? It’s a complicated topic that many Appalachians have strong feelings about. We’re taking another listen to an episode we aired in 2015 , but it seems like this issue never goes away. Who gets to tell our story? What is the right way to photograph a community? We’ll hear from some Appalachian photographers, writers, and social media experts, and we’ll talk with a person who has been on the other side of the camera. We’ll also look at a photo essay that was published in VICE magazine, called “ Two Days in Appalachia ,” which caused a lot of debate throughout our region, and we’ll hear from artists and photographers who are hoping to cultivate more diversity and civilian artists.
Sep 04, 2020
Finding Economic Resilience In Appalachian And Western Coal Communities
3233
In this episode of Inside Appalachia , we are listening back to a show that originally aired in 2018. It’s about poverty. Appalachia is not the only place in America where some people live in extreme poverty. But several communities here are among the poorest. Poverty is an issue that we’re sure to hear even more about in the coming months, perhaps years, as our country grapples with the effects of the recession we’re currently facing as a result of COVID-19.
Aug 28, 2020
How Appalachians Are Finding Strength, Peace, And Sobriety During A Pandemic (Hint: Community)
3200
Human beings are social creatures, but the pandemic is making it difficult to interact with one another. It is also bringing to light just how important human connection is in our lives. Across the country, drug overdose deaths increased in 2019 . This follows several years of increased attention on the dangers of prescription drugs, which have led many who struggle with substance use disorder to turn to street drugs like heroin, many times laced with Fentanyl. Experts fear 2020 may be even worse. Social isolation, increased anxiety and widespread unemployment can all trigger relapses for people who struggle with substance use disorder.
Aug 21, 2020
Forest Farming, Falcons and Frozen Fungus Ice Cream? We Got It All Inside Appalachia
3219
The natural world can be a source of food and medicine along with a place to escape and unwind. There are people who know plants like they’re old friends, complete with stories and histories. These experts can also help guide us to recognize how plants can even help us in times of need. We’ll hear stories about tapping into the natural world, from a recipe that uses chanterelle mushrooms to make ice cream, to the sport of falconry (the oldest form of hunting), to a new initiative that teaches people how to raise native plants- like ginseng, cohosh and wild ramps on their own forested land as a source of income and as a way to preserve the forests.
Aug 14, 2020
Flying High In, From, And Around Appalachia
3378
Many of us are dreaming about the things we want to do when this pandemic is over — like traveling someplace far away. If you have wanderlust, or the itch to fly, these are not ideal circumstances. But being grounded does give us time to reflect and dream about flights in our future and those in our past. In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we are looking at the history of flight in West Virginia and some of the unique stories that comprise the Mountain State’s history of aviation.
Aug 07, 2020
Dollywood, Hotrods And Moonshine Getaway Cars Inside Appalachia
3265
One could spend a lifetime learning about Appalachia, and just scratch the surface. On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’re listening back to a show we originally aired earlier this year, before the pandemic changed so much of our lives. While some of the stories take place before social distancing, before we had to limit our contact with big crowds, the heart of this episode remains true to our current situation. We’ll hear stories spanning from fiddle music, to Appalachian style food. We’ll also hear how moonshine getaway cars turned into an Appalachian subculture of families who rebuild and race hot rods.
Jul 31, 2020
Addressing Racism And Passing On Traditions Inside Appalachia
3387
Across the globe, many people are wondering how to change society to deal with structural racism. It might all depend on our youth. Today’s episode of Inside Appalachia features people inspiring the next generation to change the world around them. You’ll also hear a unique story about a group of women working to preserve an ancient tradition by passing on the skills and knowledge.
Jul 24, 2020
7 Stories About Appalachia You Probably Won't See In Mainstream Media
3216
For this episode of Inside Appalachia , we’re taking another listen to an episode we originally aired in January of this year, featuring stories about the ongoing struggle to rebuild from the 2016 West Virginia flood and the work yet to be done to make sure it doesn’t happen again. You’ll also hear how a video game is helping players from all over the world make a connection to the Mountain State, and a discussion about our diversity of dialects throughout Appalachian culture. And we learn about a truly unique community in West Virginia and its landmark restaurant: The Hütte. The town was originally founded by Swiss settlers in the mid-1800s. They felt the steep mountains, thick forests and winding river resembled their homeland. The Hütte is the center of the town, both literally and metaphorically.
Jul 17, 2020
Finding Resilience Through Song, Faith, And Storytelling
3252
In this episode of Inside Appalachia , we hear how religious leaders are adapting to change and finding ways to continue helping people find solace and peace during the pandemic. We also hear a series of stories from high schoolers who were challenged to work outdoors, in snow and ice and didn’t complain. Quite the opposite. Their teachers say they appeared to be more engaged in learning. The students reported on topics like sheep farming and ice hockey, as part of a project that’s meant to help students build resilience through storytelling and outdoor education.
Jul 10, 2020
Urban Renewal Forces Black Community Out Of Triangle
3255
The recent killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minnesota has reignited the Black Lives Matter movement, sparking protests across this country, including in several cities in W.Va. It has launched candid conversations about long held institutionalized and systemic racism and brought forth stories of individuals that are vital to understanding injustice in our country. For this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we are taking another listen to an episode we originally produced earlier this year. We focus on one chapter in the history of the Black community of Charleston, West Virginia.
Jul 02, 2020
Culture That Connects Appalachia To The World
3137
Culture can connect us to our kindred spirits across great distances, even during a global pandemic. It helps build bridges in other ways, too. In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we hear stories about cultural ties that bind us to people across the globe.
Jun 26, 2020
‘I Hope You’re Never Afraid When I’m Around’: Dads Share Their Stories
3104
In honor of Father’s Day, this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia is dedicated to dads. A man’s brain is rewired when he holds his newborn baby just after birth. Scientists have found that after holding his infant in his arms for 30 minutes, a dad’s brain gets flooded with dopamine and oxytocin, which is sometimes referred to as “the love hormone.” In just a few moments, his brain chemistry is changed forever. This episode includes stories from new fathers who have spent more time with their children during the coronavirus lockdown, a dad remembers his daughter’s birth 37 years ago, and we include a personal essay about what it's like to become a foster dad. In this interview , recorded in the StoryCorps recording bus in 2018, Renee Frymyer and her father Thomas Burger discussed an uncommon practice for a dad back in the 1970s. He stayed home as a full-time father for a year while his wife worked. Only two percent of fathers stayed home with the kids back then, and 40 years later, it
Jun 19, 2020
7 Stories Of Growing Up Black In Appalachia
3221
Protests against police killing unarmed black Americans continue across the country, including here in Appalachia. Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in recent weeks protesting the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor among others. These protesters seek an end to police brutality and many point to our nation’s long history with systemic racism. In this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia , we’ll listen to stories about the protests and hear the voices of Appalachians who have dealt with discrimination based on the color of their skin.
Jun 12, 2020
Meet The Appalachians Tapping Into The Craft Beer And Spirits Industry
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People in our region have made spirits for hundreds of years. Some even say Appalachians are among the best at making whiskey and moonshine, but this history is sometimes coupled with negative stereotypes. Outsiders have long portrayed Appalachians as dangerous, lawless moonshiners. We originally aired this show last year, but we thought it would be a good one to listen to again. During the pandemic, with fewer of us going to restaurants and bars, the alcoholic beverage industry has taken a hit. On the other hand, in-home use has increased. Of course, that raises concerns for people who struggle with substance use disorder, including alcoholism.
Jun 05, 2020
Perseverance Through Music, Stories And Art
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This week’s episode of Inside Appalachia is about perseverance through music, stories and art. We’ll introduce you to some folks from the other side of the ocean who have deep connections to Appalachia, and discover reflections of our own cultural identity in their stories.
May 29, 2020
Hands-on Education Provides Route To Success
3238
We’re focusing on the power of experiential learning in this episode of Inside Appalachia . We’ll look at how students learn life, academic and practical skills through career and technical education (CTE) programs. The goal of these programs is often to give students an idea of what kind of career they might want to go into after high school. In a rural Wetzel County, W.Va., community, there’s a high school program that not only has kids raising animals, but they are also processing the meat and selling it. Students learn where their food comes from and couple their real-world experience with work in the classroom. Studies show that students who go to a career high school have higher graduation rates than their peers who choose a traditional path. According to the West Virginia Department of Education, the graduation rate for students involved in CTE programs was eight percent higher than the overall graduation rate in 2018. Making Bacon Between March 2019 and March 2020, reporter
May 22, 2020
Exploring Unique Connections — Both To And In — Appalachia
3400
There is a deep connection among generations that holds steady for many families across central Appalachia. Perhaps it’s a combination of shared struggles and enduring repeated cycles of economic boom and bust. Maybe it’s our deep ties to the land that help bind so many of us to our past — after all, these mountains are among the oldest on the planet. While many Appalachians have fled the region in search of better opportunities, many of them we interview on Inside Appalachia tell us about the pull to return, even after many years.
May 15, 2020
Maybe The Best Classroom Is Right Outside Your Door, Inside Appalachia
3259
With kids cooped up inside their homes and classroom instruction happening remotely, we thought it would be a great time to take another listen to an episode of Inside Appalachia that originally aired in 2019. We explore the power of getting children outside to learn, a topic that’s perhaps even more important now than ever. Doctors agree that getting kids outdoors is safe during the pandemic as long as we maintain social distancing so we are looking at why learning outdoors is good for all of us, but especially kids. “I think there’s a difference between opening up a science textbook and learning about water quality when you can go outside and be in your own watershed,” Hannah Spencer said. Spencer is a co-founder of the Mountain Stewardship and Outdoor Leadership school, or Mountain SOL, an outdoor education program based in Morgantown. Much research today supports the notion that people thrive outside, but other studies show we spend the vast majority of our lives in poorly designed
May 08, 2020
Appalachian Strength In The Face Of A Pandemic Devastating Local Economies
3288
The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all of our lives, whether you’re working from home, worried for your health or unexpectedly out of a job. PBS’s beloved Mr. Rogers often quoted his mother saying to “look for the helpers” during a crisis. We’ve been looking and have found that there’s no shortage of those in our region. People are struggling to make ends meet and keep their lights on, but this episode of “Inside Appalachia” focuses on resiliency and mutual aid. Appalachian communities have weathered previous economic hardships. Those who know Appalachia’s labor history understand the idea of working class people joining forces. From what we’ve seen, one way we’ll get through this is by relying on each other. Small Business Assistance Before the pandemic, many people in Appalachia worked in restaurants, stores, hotels and in seasonal tourism jobs. The majority of West Virginia employers, public and private sectors combined, are considered small businesses, according to WorkForce
May 01, 2020
Faith And Tradition In A Time Of Pandemic
3249
From religious services to a renewed love of gardening, quarantine gives and takes. The global pandemic has taken things from all of us. Some more than others. Thousands have died, many of them alone, and separated from their families. At least 26 million Americans have lost their jobs. Most rituals and traditions have also been disrupted, especially those that normally include people gathered in large groups.
Apr 24, 2020
Black Community In Charleston, Destroyed For Interstate, Not Forgotten
3802
Why was the Triangle neighborhood, once steeped in the richness of black music and culture, demolished in 1974 in Charleston, W.Va.? Why were some residents unaware that their neighborhood was being torn down until the bulldozers showed up? And why do some members of Charleston’s African American community today believe that this history could repeat itself in the city’s West Side neighborhood 50 years later, unless this history is reckoned with and remembered?
Apr 17, 2020
Laughter Is The Best Medicine, Inside Appalachia
3307
Can laughter be beneficial for our health? Research suggests that laughing can be therapeutic not only for our emotional well-being, but it can help heal us in a physical sense, too. One study from 2019 , for example, tested the effects that laughter therapy had on a group of elderly residents in Japan. After four weeks the patients showed improved blood pressure and heart rate. So, in light of the possible healing power laughter may have for us, this week on “Inside Appalachia,” we’re listening back to a show we originally aired in 2016. It’s one of our favorites, and we still find ourselves laughing out loud when we listen to it. This show features three storytellers from the West Virginia Storyteller’s Guild, all of whom have won prizes across the country for their stories. They are all professional storytellers, who tell stories to audiences and teach workshops. We think the magic of a well-told story is needed now more than ever.
Apr 10, 2020
Upper Big Branch 10 Years Later - Honoring the Miners Who Lost Their Lives
3219
Ten years ago, on April 5, 2010, 29 men who worked at an underground coal mine in Raleigh County, West Virginia, lost their lives. The Upper Big Branch Mining Memorial Group, Inc. has placed wreaths at the monument in Raleigh County on April 5 every year since. But this year, they aren’t encouraging family members to visit, due to the spread of COVID-19.
Apr 03, 2020
How Is Appalachia Grappling With The Coronavirus? Humor, Resilience, And Compassion
3247
Usually this time of year marks the start of festival season. So many little communities throughout the region celebrate springtime in their own way. But things are basically on pause right now as the country holds its collective breath. On this week’s episode of “Inside Appalachia,” we check in with our friends and neighbors across the region, many of whom are hunkering down at home, trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.
Mar 27, 2020
A Break From Coronavirus News: Inside Appalachia Explores The Power Of Connecting With Loved Ones
3114
On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we are taking a much-needed break from the news. We’ll explore ways we can continue to stay connected with each other, even when we’re self-isolating for health reasons. We hear from students in Wales and West Virginia who have been exchanging audio diaries about their lives. And because fresh air and being in the forest is so good for our health, we’ll explore some fantastic places right here in our own backyard. Also we’ll learn why compassion and meditation can help us deal with anxiety.
Mar 20, 2020
Tapping Into The Love Of Wild, Inside Appalachia
3401
There is a lot happening in the world that is stressful. But the risk of the coronavirus doesn’t necessarily have to mean you have to barricade yourself indoors. Diseases spread in close quarters, so some researchers advise that you should get outside and exercise with your friends if you can. Go on a walk. You can still avoid sneezing into each other's faces and make sure you wash your hands, but your immune system loves to be outside.
Mar 13, 2020
Failure To Prioritize Worker Safety Leads To Illness, Injury And Death: Inside Appalachia
3266
What is the human impact of a failure to prioritize workplace safety? In this episode, which we originally aired in 2019, we’ll hear how weak regulatory laws, and a failure to prioritize worker safety, may be contributing to more deaths, and a higher risk of workplace accidents -- both at the state and national levels.
Mar 06, 2020
Appalachians Reclaiming Their Stories And Means Of Earning A Living
3561
Most people rarely think about where food comes from. We go to the grocery store and have so much to choose from. But global experts say small and medium-sized farms are critical to future food systems. That’s what we’ve got here in Appalachia, but more and more farmers across our region are facing economic challenges. On this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’re exploring ways people are trying to reclaim their own story, including how conversations about earning a living are playing out across our region. We’ll hear how people are impacted by unreliable internet access and why small farmers can’t afford to stay in business. We’ll also hear from people who are rediscovering their own families’ racial history, and how that’s impacted their work in their communities.
Feb 28, 2020
Finding Meaning And Authenticity In Hot Rods, Dollywood and Everywhere Inside Appalachia
3203
One could spend a lifetime learning about Appalachia, and just scratch the surface. On this week’s episode, we take a deeper look at traditional cultural practices found throughout these mountains. We’ll hear stories spanning from fiddle music, to Appalachian style food. We’ll also hear how moonshine getaway cars turned into an Appalachian subculture of families who rebuild and race hot rods.
Feb 21, 2020
Love For Mountains And Each Other, Inside Appalachia
3443
This week’s episode of Inside Appalachia is all about love. Not the florist and jewelry store version of love, but love for something deeper: love for home, family, for the mountains. We also have a variety of personal love letters from listeners, and we'll talk a little bit about being in love, too.
Feb 14, 2020
Looking At National Stories Through An Appalachian Lens
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On this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll hear several stories about people who are working to help address problems within their own communities.
Feb 07, 2020
7 Important Stories About Appalachia You Probably Won't See In Mainstream Media
2910
Stories about Appalachia tend to fall into two camps-- quaint stories about cultural oddities, or reports about grim health and economic statics that our region struggles with. And while those stories have merit, they aren’t the only stories that matter.
Jan 31, 2020
Understanding What Mountains Mean, Inside Appalachia
3331
“Montani Semper Liberi ⁠— Mountaineers Are Always Free” is West Virginia’s state motto, but it is more than that. It is a belief system that is not just true about the Mountain State. It rings true throughout Appalachia and even mountains on other continents. On this episode of Inside Appalachia, we're taking another listen to a show that we aired last summer. It delves into how the natural environment has influenced our lives. West Virginia Public Broadcasting recently launched a reporting series called “Wild, Wondering West Virginia” . Listeners submit questions, an online audience votes for the question they’d most like to know about and then reporters seek out the answer. The latest question came from Brian Joseph, of Wheeling, West Virginia. He wanted to know about the Appalachian Mountains and their sister mountains, and how they shape who we are. While at one time, researchers considered the Appalachian Mountains among the oldest on Earth, West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s
Jan 24, 2020
Stories Of Resilience, Self-Reliance And Survival In Appalachia
3245
Here in central Appalachia, we have plenty of high-tech skills, and many of us can connect to orbiting satellites, and therefore people and ideas on the other side of the globe, in milliseconds. But there are also a lot of isolated pockets throghout Appalachia where a smart phone is rendered pretty dumb. In place of that though, you can find small farms, beneath star-studded night skies, where people still know how to raise much of their own food. Places where people visit each other’s kitchens and front porches unannounced and are welcomed. This connection to the earth and each other goes back hundreds of thousands of years, and might just give us the tools to survive in the years ahead.
Jan 17, 2020
Politics Is A Difficult Topic, But Necessary — Inside Appalachia
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In this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’re doing something a bit different. We’re taking a temperature check on how people are feeling about politics as we head into what is sure to be a critical election year. While most people have the presidential race on their minds, there are many local races here that will have lasting impacts as well.
Jan 10, 2020
Working The Rivers: Their Importance, Inside Appalachia
3233
It may be winter, but work on the waterways around Appalachia never stops. In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we are listening back to an episode that originally aired over the summer about people who work on the rivers. Our rivers are a vital part of our identity as Appalachians. We depend on them for survival, recreation and transportation. And we depend on rivers for economic reasons, too.
Jan 03, 2020
Holiday Food And Music Traditions, Inside Appalachia
3233
At Inside Appalachia, we can’t get enough of the holidays and the traditions that come out of these mountains. So for this week’s episode, we are taking another listen to a show that originally aired last December.
Dec 27, 2019
Passing Down Holiday Traditions, Inside Appalachia
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In this episode of Inside Appalachia we’ll hear stories about holiday traditions that have been passed down through several generations. We’ll travel to a toy maker’s workshop where toys are handmade⁠ — similar to what your grandparents might remember from Christmases past. We’ll also explore the grief that sometimes comes with the holidays, as family members who created traditions are no longer with us, and look at Christmas tree farms in Appalachia trying to help preserve family traditions.
Dec 20, 2019
Hound Dog Hookers, Appalachia’s Energy Drink & More, Inside Appalachia
3357
In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll take a trip across our region and meet people in Tennessee, to Kentucky, and Ohio. Each of the stories featured highlight an element of life here in Appalachia that is often overlooked.
Dec 13, 2019
Rivers And Lakes See Heavy Recreational Use, Inside Appalachia
3204
For many people in Appalachia, the lakes, rivers and creeks are the first places we swam, played in the water or caught crawdads. For many adults, our waterways are some of the best places to get outdoors and cool off in the summer. We have whitewater rafting, swimming, boating and even scuba diving to choose from (yes, scuba diving, you read that right.) It may be December, but we wanted to take another listen to this episode to imagine the fun we will have this summer. And as a reminder that the rivers and waters of Appalachia are an important, vital resource all year long.
Dec 06, 2019
Reimagining A New Economic Future For Appalachia
2973
Our region has faced major economic changes and challenges in the past decade. But if you know our region’s history, this story of boom and bust, renewal and recession, is an all too familiar story. In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll explore how these economic changes affect people, our friends, our neighbors, and how entire communities can be uprooted by the closing of a local factory, or coal-mine layoffs.
Nov 29, 2019
Connecting, And Reconnecting With Loved Ones -- Inside Appalachia
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This week on Inside Appalachia, we’ll meet several people who are making connections with each other, themselves, or a spiritual community. We’ll hear the story of one woman in Austria who spent years searching for her family in the United States. She didn’t know they were living in rural West Virginia, because her mother was afraid to reveal her father’s name. We’ll hear how the families finally came together, and met face-to-face for the first time. And we’ll visit a Southern Gospel Convention in West Virginia that’s been drawing people together to sing for 70 years. As we head into the holiday season, this is a good time for some of us to reconnect with family, or make new connections with friends.
Nov 22, 2019
Rediscovering The Power Of Learning Outside, Inside Appalachia
3218
Increasingly, teachers are finding that spending time in nature with their students is essential to learning. In this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll hear from educators who are knocking down classroom walls so that kids can get some fresh air and exercise, and improve test scores in the process.
Nov 15, 2019
Working Moms Struggle To Make Breastfeeding Work, Inside Appalachia
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Doctors point to overwhelming evidence that breast milk is superior to formula. But breastfeeding rates in the United States continue to be low. Reasons for that may be lack of paid maternity leave in the U.S., challenges breastfeeding at work, the role of WIC in subsidizing formula and the fact that for many women, breastfeeding, although natural, is a learned skill and there aren't enough people teaching techniques. We’re taking another listen to an episode this week that we aired earlier this year about this important topic. More than a dozen women share their stories about motherhood, breastfeeding, and society’s demands.
Nov 08, 2019
Promoting Tourism And Reclaiming The Hillbilly Narrative, Inside Appalachia
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By branding southern West Virginia “Hatfield & McCoy” country, are we re-affirming negative stereotypes in Appalachia? In this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll look at how some communities in southern West Virginia are hoping to jumpstart their local economies through tourism. In particular, we’ll explore a type of tourism that caters to ATV riders along the Hatfield and McCoy trail system. But what do we gain, and what do we lose, when we market ourselves to visitors? Are people able to remain true to their real identity, and claim ownership of their own narrative? We'll discuss that and more in this week's episode.
Nov 01, 2019
Ghosts, Monsters And Things That Go Bump In The Night -- Inside Appalachia
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For a few years now, an Inside Appalachia tradition is to ask listeners for a favorite ghost tale or legend. We have a lot of great storytellers here in Appalachia, and we love to celebrate that. The legends and stories in this episode aren’t fact-checked or verified. And they aren’t meant to be taken too seriously. But they do speak to something traditional for us. After all, long before Netflix or Snapchat, our ancestors spent many an evening sitting around the fireplace spinning tales and telling stories. It’s one of the oldest forms of entertainment there is.
Oct 25, 2019
How Scientists, Faith Leaders, And Foster Parents Are Fighting Adversity Inside Appalachia
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Adversity isn’t new to Appalachia. We’ve faced boom and bust cycles for over a century. This episode of Inside Appalachia looks at some of those struggles and various efforts to curtail them. We’ll hear stories about West Virginia’s overwhelmed foster care system, to questions about what is killing off apple trees. And we’ll explore the research behind job creation programs ⁠— many of which are supported by federal grants. Do they bring long-term economic impact to Appalachia?
Oct 18, 2019
Meet 5 People Who Complicate The Narrative About What It Means To Be Appalachian
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Think back to the last time you saw an Appalachian portrayed on TV, in the national media, in a book or a cartoon. Often, when people talk about Appalachians, they portray us as white, or poor, or ignorant -- or all three. But when you dig beneath the surface, and challenge the stereotypes that are often used to misrepresent people who live in our region, the story becomes much more honest, and interesting.
Oct 11, 2019
When Traditional Food Becomes Trendy, Inside Appalachia
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What foods did your parents and grandparents cook when you were growing up? What memories of food do you hold onto after all these years? This week on Inside Appalachia, we'll talk about food from our region. We'll explore what happens when fancy chefs start cooking up our traditional fare, and we discuss how what we consider to be staples are called "trash food" by others. It’s no secret that some of the more urban or modern restaurants will recycle food concepts and call it “new” or “rediscovered.” But why did our cultural dishes get a bad reputation in the first place?
Oct 04, 2019
In The Face Of Adversity, 6 Stories Of Resilience In Appalachia
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Across Appalachia, there are remarkable stories of resilience in the face of adversity. This week on Inside Appalachia, we’ll meet several people who are recovering from drug addiction, and are finding a new path forward by learning to build stringed instruments. And we’ll learn about a rare plant that rebounded after being put on the endangered species list. And why this particular plant, called the buffalo running clover, has a secret weapon; when it’s beaten down, it bounces back even stronger.
Sep 27, 2019
Thousands Of Children Are Born Exposed To Opioids: These Are Some Of The People Working To Help Them
3115
This week on Inside Appalachia, we’re dedicating our episode to all the children who are affected by substance abuse before they're even born. Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is a topic that is heartbreaking, but critically important for us to spend some time understanding. The stigma that follows mothers, and their unborn babies, is keeping them from getting the prenatal care, and help for recovery, that women across our region desperately need.
Sep 20, 2019
Families and Caregivers Struggle to Find Resources Inside Appalachia
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Today, many seniors in rural communities don’t have the support they need to live independently, safely. Who’s going to care for our elders in the years to come? In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll explore the resources available to caregivers and their loved ones. We’ll also hear what some people are doing to help seniors feel less alone and isolated. Across most of central Appalachia, population is declining as young people leave to find work. Those who stay are rapidly aging. In West Virginia, for instance, about 16 percent of the population is 65 or older, according to a Department of Health and Human Resources report . Seniors are expected to be about a quarter of the total population by 2030. In this episode: Families Discuss Struggles and Help for Caregivers Fighting Loneliness Taking Care of a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Taking Care of a Partner at the End of Life Interview with a Hospice Care Nurse Appalachia Health News Coordinator Kara Lofton spent several months
Sep 13, 2019
Reshaping Appalachia while Remembering the Past — from Coal Mining to Culture
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This week on Inside Appalachia, we’ll look at how our history is intertwined with our future. We’ll hear from coal miners and children about how they are reshaping Appalachia, while remembering the past. Also in this episode, we’ll hear from a woman who found recovery, and a job, after struggling with drug addiction for more than two decades. And we’ll hear from some of the miners in Harlan County, Kentucky who are protesting their employer, coal operator Blackjewel LLC. We’ll talk about what the protest says about the state of organized labor in the mines. In this episode: “Bloody Harlan” Revisited: Blackjewel Miners Draw On Labor History While Facing Uncertain Future A Growing Recovery: Food Service And Farming Jobs Provide a Path Out of Addiction Working at the Black Sheep Brick Oven Bakery W.Va. Counties Implement ‘Family Treatment Court’ Hoping to Reunify More Families National Guard Program Eyes Southern W.Va. Expansion, But One Community Remains Skeptical It’ll Come Monster
Sep 06, 2019
Inside the River Boat Industry, How Mussels Clean Our Rivers & More Inside Appalachia
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In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’re looking at how water shapes us ⁠— and how we’re impacting our waterways. Our rivers are a vital part of our identity as Appalachians. We depend them for survival, recreation and transportation. And we depend on rivers for economic reasons, too. The handful of riverboat companies that still operate in Appalachia have primarily made the majority of their money towing coal barges. But a downturn in coal production meant many of these companies had to look to other ways to stay afloat.
Aug 30, 2019
Black Lung Disease Back and Worse Than Before, Inside Appalachia
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Across Appalachia, thousands of coal miners have suffered from black lung disease. In the 1960s, miners organized a movement to end the chronic condition. They convinced Congress to pass new laws that were supposed to make black lung a thing of the past. Today, conditions underground have changed, and the disease has come roaring back. For this episode of Inside Appalachia, we are taking another listen to this show which aired in the spring. Black lung, also known as coal workers' pneumoconiosis, is caused by long-term exposure to coal dust in the process of mining. Inhaled coal dust builds up in the lungs, causing inflammation, and eventually tissue death. Many sufferers describe a feeling of drowning because their lungs are unable to work properly and they can’t take a breath. A 2013 investigation by the Center for Public Integrity into the misconceptions surrounding the disease and the regulatory maze associated with applying and being approved for black lung benefits revealed a
Aug 23, 2019
What Happens When People Meet the Gas Industry, Inside Appalachia
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The economy of central Appalachia has long revolved around extractive industries: timber, coal, oil and natural gas. The jobs associated with these industries are often good paying jobs. They also can bring environmental and health issues to the region. In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll explore how an increase in natural gas development has brought challenges and concerns, both for our health and our natural environment. But for some, the jobs and economic benefits that come with this increased activity are welcome, especially as so many jobs have left our region in recent years.
Aug 16, 2019
What Happens When a School Closes Inside Appalachia
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School is, or soon will be, back in session, so we wanted to take another listen to an episode we originally aired in May, about the devastating effects a school closure can have on a community. Basketball was a big deal for the small town of Northfork, in McDowell County, West Virginia. The high school team won the state championship eight years in a row. “Little old ladies who wouldn’t know a football from a basketball became big fans because it brought positive notoriety and attention to the community,” Northfork alumni Gary Dove recalled. Yet, despite its success on the basketball court, Northfork was one of thousands of schools that have closed across the country in recent decades. Declining population in rural Appalachia has made this especially common as school boards attempt to consolidate resources. But when a school is closed, it’s more than a building that disappears. In this episode, we’ll explore how school closures affect community pride, and participation in
Aug 09, 2019
Boom and Bust, Recession and Renewal; When Factories and Mines Close, Lives Change
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Our region has faced major economic changes and challenges in the past decade. But if you know our region’s history, this story of boom and bust, renewal and recession, is an all too familiar story. In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll explore how these economic changes affect people, our friends, our neighbors, and how entire communities can be uprooted by the closing of a local factory, or coal-mine layoffs.
Aug 02, 2019
Paddleboats, Whitewater Rafting and Scuba Diving — in the Mountains? Yep — Inside Appalachia
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For many people in Appalachia, the lakes, rivers and creeks are the first places we swam, played in the water or caught crawdads. For many adults, our waterways are some of the best places to get outdoors and cool off in the summer. We have whitewater rafting, swimming, boating and even scuba diving to choose from (yes, scuba diving, you read that right.)
Jul 26, 2019
Alternative Enterprises and Destinations: Inside Appalachia
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On this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’re taking another listen to a show we aired in March. It’s an off-the-beaten-path tour of some of the region’s alternative cultures and economies. We’ll visit a factory where workers are reviving the art of glassmaking. We’ll hear how farmers and chefs are returning to some of our old-fashioned recipes for inspiration and attempting to reshape our region’s economy in the process. And we’ll go back to the 1970s to hear what it was like to be part of the LGBT community in Roanoke, Virginia. We’ll also meet entrepreneurs experimenting with an old Appalachian crop: hemp. We’ll hear the hidden backstory behind Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s iconic theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and take a chili bun and slaw dog tour across Southern Appalachia. We’ll also hear from a father and son-in-law who are preserving the time-intensive craft of traditional furniture building through a family business in rural West Virginia. Think back to the last time you
Jul 19, 2019
'He Died In Terror' - Thousands of U.S. Workers Die Each Year, Leaving Families With Questions
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What is the human impact of a failure to prioritize workplace safety? In this episode, we’ll explore how weak regulatory laws, and a failure to prioritize worker safety, may be contributing to more deaths, and a higher risk of workplace accidents -- both at the state and national levels.
Jul 12, 2019
How Mountains Influence Our Lives: Inside Appalachia
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“Montani Semper Liberi ⁠— Mountaineers Are Always Free” is West Virginia’s state motto, but it is more than that. It is a belief system that is not just true about the Mountain State. It rings true throughout Appalachia and even mountains on other continents. On this episode of Inside Appalachia, we'll take a look at how the natural environment has influenced our lives.
Jul 05, 2019
A Response to 'Hillbilly Elegy' by Appalachian Writers: Inside Appalachia
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“Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis”, a personal memoir by JD Vance, was on the New York Times Bestseller list for 24 weeks. After the 2016 presidential election, some people read the book hoping to gain insights into the region. It sold more than a million copies, and a Ron Howard film is now in the works. West Virginia University Press recently published a new book called “Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy.” The book includes essays, poetry and photos from 40 activists, artists and poets.
Jun 28, 2019
Politics, Apple Butter, and Talking to Each Other Across the Aisle
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This week on Inside Appalachia, we’re taking another listen to an episode we aired last winter. With the political season heating up, we probably all need another reminder. We’re wading into the American political divide and bringing you voices with distinct points of view from opposite sides of the country. It’s no secret that these days, we live in the divided states of America. Sometimes, it can feel like the only thing that unites us anymore is that now-nearly universal experience of sitting awkwardly around the Thanksgiving table with family members who have different political beliefs, trying to find a way to avoid politics altogether.
Jun 21, 2019
Farmers Across Appalachia Get New Customers Through Craft Beer Craze
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People in Appalachia have made spirits for hundreds of years. Some people even say Appalachians are among the best at making whiskey and moonshine. But this history is sometimes coupled with negative stereotypes. Outsiders have long portrayed Appalachians as dangerous, lawless moonshiners.
Jun 14, 2019
Without Enough Support, Working Moms Struggle to Make Breastfeeding Work
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Doctors point to overwhelming evidence that breast milk is superior to formula. But breastfeeding rates in the United States continue to be low. Reasons for that may be lack of paid maternity leave in the U.S., challenges breastfeeding at work, the role of WIC in subsidizing formula and the fact that for many women, breastfeeding, although natural, is a learned skill and there aren't enough people teaching techniques. In this episode more than a dozen women will share their stories about motherhood, breastfeeding, and society’s demands.
Jun 07, 2019
Stories of Love, Friendship and Loss from StoryCorps: Inside Appalachia
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StoryCorps producers brought their mobile recording studio to Charleston, West Virginia, in fall 2018, and recorded more than 100 stories. These recording are between friends, co-workers and family members. StoryCorps’ mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world. These recordings will be archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in the largest collection of oral histories in the world. We edited and selected a few of those conversations for this episode of Inside Appalachia.
May 31, 2019
Inside Appalachia Expands to Tell More Stories of Folklife, and the 'Art of Everyday Life'
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In this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we explore how our cultural traditions change over time and evolve as they get passed from person to person. How does foklife fit into our already busy, and frankly, quite stressful lives? “Henry Glassie, another folklorist, says that folklore is the creation of the future out of the past. So in order to know where we're headed, we have to know about these traditions in the past,” explained West Virginia state folklorist Emily Hilliard.
May 24, 2019
‘It’s Just Really Hard’- Families and Caregivers Struggle to Find Resources Inside Appalachia
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Across most of central Appalachia, the population is declining as young people leave to find work. Those who stay, are rapidly aging. In West Virginia, for instance, about 16 percent of the population is 65 or older, according to a Department of Health and Human Resources report. Seniors are expected to be about a quarter of the total population by 2030.
May 18, 2019
‘It Was a Terrible Loss’: School Closures and Their Effect on Communities Inside Appalachia
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This week on Inside Appalachia, basketball was a big deal for the small town of Northfork, in McDowell County, West Virginia. The high school team won the state championship eight years in a row. “Little old ladies who wouldn’t know a football from a basketball became big fans because it brought positive notoriety and attention to the community,” Northfork alumni Gary Dove recalled. Yet, despite its success on the basketball court, Northfork was one of thousands of schools that have closed across the country in recent decades. Declining population in rural Appalachia has made this especially common as school boards attempt to consolidate resources. But when a school is closed, it’s more than a building that disappears. In this episode, we’ll explore how school closures affect community pride, and participation in extracurricular activities, like sports. During the past 50 years, many people in coal country have watched as their towns faded to mere shadows of what they used to be. As
May 10, 2019
Beneath the Surface — Drinking Water Inside Appalachia
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For many families in parts of eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia, the absence of clean, reliable drinking water is part of daily life. Blaine Taylor, a 17-year-old resident of Martin County, Kentucky, struggles to manage basic hygiene when his water comes out with sediment in it. “I had to use a case of water last night just to get enough water in my bathtub just to get myself cleaned up for today at school,” he said. “It’s rough.”
May 03, 2019
Ground Zero for the Opioid Epidemic, How Law Enforcement is Finding New Ways to Tackle Addiction
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Like a slow-motion tsunami, the opioid epidemic continues to claim the lives of our friends and neighbors. Four of the top five states with the highest rates of drug overdose deaths are here, in Appalachia. The drug epidemic is changing, but it’s not going away. People are still fighting for their loved ones and communities. This episode of Inside Appalachia looks at traditional and innovative ways law enforcement is tackling the challenge. And we’ll hear from people who end up behind bars anyway, as they struggle with substance use disorder.
Apr 26, 2019
Clock is Ticking for Thousands of Coal Miners Who Suffer From Black Lung
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Across Appalachia, thousands of coal miners have suffered from black lung disease. In the 1960s, miners organized a movement to end the chronic condition. They convinced Congress to pass new laws that were supposed to make black lung a thing of the past. Today, conditions underground have changed, and the disease has come roaring back. Black lung, also known as coal workers' pneumoconiosis, is caused by long-term exposure to coal dust in the process of mining. Inhaled coal dust builds up in the lungs, causing inflammation, and eventually tissue death. Many sufferers describe a feeling of drowning because their lungs are unable to work properly and they can’t take a breath. A 2013 investigation by the Center for Public Integrity into the misconceptions surrounding the disease and the regulatory maze associated with applying and being approved for black lung benefits revealed a system in which coal miners are fighting an unfair battle for disability payments and medical care. CPI found
Apr 19, 2019
Play Ball! What Baseball Means Inside Appalachia
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Spring is here and that means baseball season. This week on Inside Appalachia we’re taking another look at baseball throughout the region. We’ll learn about the history of early baseball in the coal camp towns of southern West Virginia and go inside the legendary baseball bat factory — the Louisville Sluggers. And we’ll meet a man who went from living in an isolated timber town in Pocahontas County, West Virginia to being a professional umpire for the Cincinnati Reds.
Apr 12, 2019
Appalachian Reckoning: Writers Respond to JD Vance’s ‘Hillbilly Elegy’
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“Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis”, a personal memoir by JD Vance, was on the New York Times Bestseller list for 24 weeks. After the 2016 presidential election, some people read the book, hoping to gain insights into the region. The book sold more than a million copies, and a Ron Howard film is now in the works.
Apr 05, 2019
Controversy, Culture Clashes Surround Needle Exchange Programs in Appalachia
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The opioid crisis is one of the biggest public health challenges in our region today. One strategy that’s been proved to help curb the epidemic’s worst effects is to implement harm reduction programs, which include a variety of services. One of the most controversial is a component called needle exchange.
Mar 29, 2019
Inside Appalachia, Maple Syrup Means Spring
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In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’re taking another look at the sugar shacks of Appalachian maple producers, and we’ll learn how to use syrup in everything from glazed greens to buttermilk ice cream – and even roasted rabbit. Maple syrup production in West Virginia has increased by about 30 percent each year since the state Department of Agriculture began keeping track in 2016, and that’s partly due to new technologies that make producing large quantities of syrup more efficient for farmers. We’ll hear from several maple producers in the Mountain State, some who have been working for decades, and one who just started this year. We’ll also talk with a farmer, food writer and chef, Mike Costello, who runs Lost Creek Farm in Harrison County, W.Va., about his favorite stories from the history of maple syrup production in these mountains, a practice that dates back thousands of years to when Native Americans used it as their main sweetener. Costello, who prepares Appalachian meals
Mar 22, 2019
From Dollywood to the Magic City: Appalachia’s Alternative Enterprises
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This week on Inside Appalachia, we take off-the-beaten-path tour of some of the region’s alternative cultures and economies. We’ll visit a factory where workers are reviving the art of glassmaking. We’ll hear how farmers and chefs are returning to some of our old-fashioned recipes for inspiration and attempting to reshape our region’s economy in the process.
Mar 15, 2019
Why We Still Need Collaboration, Compassion and Community to Thrive Inside Appalachia
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In this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll explore why communities with a culture of volunteerism, and strong support systems, are more resilient. This episode features several stories that all have one thing in common -- they’re about the impacts of community, and social interactions, have on our ability to thrive. We’ll learn about “bright spot” communities in Appalachia, which have better than average health statistics, despite also experiencing economic challenges. Researchers have been studying these communities, where they found most organizations share resources and collaborate on projects. We’ll hear about one such community, Wirt County, West Virginia , where educators at the local schools are partnering with counselors who specialize in helping children who’ve experienced trauma. Also in this episode, we'll explore how music, and in particular spiritual music, can also bring people together, especially when times are tough. Here in Appalachia, there are several
Mar 08, 2019
Dear Red States and Blue States, Can We Talk?
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This week on Inside Appalachia, we’re wading into the American political divide and bringing you voices with distinct points of view from opposite sides of the country. It’s no secret that these days, we live in the divided states of America. Sometimes, it can feel like the only thing that unites us anymore is that now-nearly universal experience of sitting awkwardly around the Thanksgiving table with family members who have different political beliefs, trying to find a way to avoid politics altogether.
Mar 01, 2019
Appalachian Writers Discuss Their Work: Inside Appalachia
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People who write novels, short stories and newspaper articles each tell Appalachia’s story in their own way. This is an encore airing of an Inside Appalachia show that deals with a few of the writers who tell Appalachia’s story. We’ll hear from journalist Ken Ward. He’s been writing for the Charleston Gazette-Mail in Charleston, West Virginia for 27 years covering environmental issues, coal mining and worker safety. He’s heard both praise and criticism for his coverage. "When somebody who’s been through what they’ve been through says you’ve always been here for us, if that doesn’t move you a little bit as a journalist, you need to get in some other business." -- Ken Ward He was awarded a MacArthur fellowship , a grant given to outstanding contributors in their local communities who push the boundaries of science, art and culture. Jessica Lilly talked to Ward to find out what this honor means to him. Karen Spears Zacharias is the writer-in-residence at Shepherd University in
Feb 22, 2019
Appalachia’s Folkways: Handmade and Passing It On
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This week on Inside Appalachia, we’ll hear from Appalachians who have a knack for making things with their hands -- people who make the essentials of life in the old ways. “And when I sit down at one of those looms and I start creating a piece of cloth, I feel connected to the place of my ancestors, the people who have come before,” said weaver Jane Gilchrist.
Feb 15, 2019
Appalachia's Connection to the United Kingdom
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For many people in central Appalachia, coal mining doesn't just mean jobs or the ability to earn a good living right out of high school. We’re also talking about identity and culture.
Feb 08, 2019
Inside Appalachia: Stories of Love, Friendship and Loss from StoryCorps
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StoryCorps producers brought their mobile recording studio to Charleston, West Virginia, in fall 2019, and recorded more than 100 stories. These recording are between friends, co-workers and family members. StoryCorps’ mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world. These recordings will be archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in the largest collection of oral histories in the world.
Feb 01, 2019
Inside Appalachia: EPA May List Minden, Government Shutdown Causes Delays
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Two years ago, residents of Minden, West Virginia, asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to do more testing and consider the town’s soil and water to be a health and environmental risk in need of another cleanup. Last September, residents received the news that, after analyzing new data, the agency proposed listing Minden on the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). A final determination was supposed to happen this spring, but the partial government shutdown has pushed that back.
Jan 25, 2019
Stirring the Waters Inside Appalachia: How Drinking Water Systems Are Failing Rural Residents
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For many families in parts of eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia, the absence of clean, reliable drinking water has become part of daily life. This week on Inside Appalachia we’ll hear from folks like Blaine Taylor, a 17-year-old resident of Martin County, Kentucky, who struggles to manage basic hygiene when his water comes out with sendiment in it.
Jan 18, 2019
Inside Appalachia: In-depth Look at Needle Exchange Programs Fighting the Opioid Crisis
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The opioid crisis is one of the biggest public health challenges in our region today. One strategy that’s been proved to help curb the epidemic’s worst effects is to implement harm reduction programs. These generally offer a variety of services but the most controversial component is often the needle exchange. Just because something is proven effective, doesn’t mean the public has bought into the idea. This week we’re taking an in-depth look at needle exchanges -- and what they can mean for their surrounding communities.
Jan 11, 2019
Inside Appalachia: Some of Our Favorite Stories
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To begin 2019, Inside Appalachia is taking a look back at some favorite stories. Not our favorite stories, but those of the show’s friend Adam Harris. Harris is the Executive Producer for West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Mountain Stage with Larry Groce. Pepperoni rolls have been called the unofficial food of West Virginia. They were invented here in the Mountain state. Legend has it they were originally made for coal miners to take underground in their dinner buckets - because the cured pepperoni didn’t spoil. Harris picked a trio of stories about pepperoni rolls, including an interview he did with his own mother about the first time he ever tried them himself. Before that story, though, Roxy Todd visits with a bakery that is credited with inventing the pepperoni roll and an author who wrote a book on the subject. What’s your favorite way to eat pepperoni rolls? Or if you’ve moved away, what do you do to satisfy your pepperoni roll cravings? Tell us your story on twitter at
Jan 04, 2019
Inside Appalachia: A Look at Religion with StoryCorps
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To wrap up 2018, we're re-airing stories about faith and religion and their influence in Appalachia. We’ve teamed up with StoryCorps and Georgetown University’s American Pilgrimage Project for this episode. Each segment includes a StoryCorps-style interview where the participants are talking about life, faith and what it all means to them. We'll hear from a woman finds out how important her faith was to her after her father was injured in a mining accident. Adelina Lancianese is a West Virginia native and a producer at NPR Story Lab. She interviewed her 84-year-old grandfather. “It’s hard to keep the faith in situations like that. But you kind of have no other choice. It’s like you have your faith or you have nothing. And I’d rather have my faith than have nothing,” she said. We'll hear from a rabbi, who remembers the first time he visited West Virginia 30 years ago. Victor Urecki, the rabbi at B’nai Jacob Synagogue in Charleston, W.Va., was originally born in Argentina, but he found
Dec 28, 2018
Inside Appalachia: Traditions Make Holiday Season Special
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This week we’ve put together a special holiday episode about seasonal traditions. Holidays in these mountains have always been meaningful. In Appalachia, it’s usually a time to go home, or to carry on traditions of home in a new way.
Dec 21, 2018
Inside Appalachia: The Farmington Mine Disaster, 50 Years Later
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On Nov. 20, 1968, an underground explosion ripped through a West Virginia coal mine and killed 78 miners. Fifty years later, the local community still comes together the Sunday before the anniversary of the Farmington Mine Disaster to remember the men lost that day. Following the tragedy in Farmington in 1968, the widows of the families demanded safer working conditions and action from Congress. The disaster was one of the instrumental forces that led Congress to pass the 1969 Federal Mine Safety Law, also referred to as the Coal Act. This legislation was more comprehensive than any previous mine safety law. The Coal Act required two annual inspections of every surface coal mine and four at every underground coal mine. It also gave federal inspectors more authority in enforcing mine safety violations by issuing fines. And while mine fatalities haven’t stopped completely since the 1969 legislation, the number of deaths of miners has decreased dramatically. And with each passing decade,
Dec 14, 2018
Indie Pro-Wrestling, A Look Back: Inside Appalachia
This week on Inside Appalachia, we take another look at the world of independent pro-wrestling. While pro-wrestling is popular across the country and all around the world, the sport has a rich and storied history here in Appalachia. In this episode we’ll take a glimpse at the action, intensity, and drama (real-life and otherwise) that happens between the ropes. We’ll visit Madison, W.Va., where All Star Wrestling (ASW) draws hundreds of people to most matches and meet Gary Damron who organizes all of the shows. We’ll also talk the inimitable Rocky Rage, a professional wrestler from the area and his switch from local hero to bad guy. And we’ll learn why Tim Hagen, who used to wrestle under the name of Vance Desmond -- or Violent Vance Desmond, depending on whether he was the villain or the good guy -- decided to turn his passion for the sport into an opportunity to teach young wrestlers. We’ll also visit Oak Hill, W.Va., where a local TV station aired a weekly show called “Saturday
Dec 07, 2018