On this week’s program, Google Earth and mountaintop-removal mining, a museum dedicated to miners, and a man with AIDS tells his story.
Archive for November 2007
Hugh Caperton, the owner of Harman Mining, discusses why he doesn’t think the Supreme Court treated him fairly in his lawsuit against Massey Energy. On Nov. 21, the court overturned a $50 million verdict against Massey that had ballooned to $76 million with interest. This segment also includes Dan Ringer, the host of the “The Law Works” on West Virginia PBS, discussing the case and other issues concerning the Supreme Court. It aired Nov. 29, 2007, on Outlook.
By Suzanne Higgins and Russ Barbour
Even if you haven’t heard of him, you’ve certainly heard his music. His songs include “Jackson,” made famous by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash; “Coward of the County” and “Coal Tattoo.”
He spoke to Suzanne Higgins on the day he was inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame. In this profile, Billy Edd explains how West Virginia is especially reflected in his work. This story first aired Nov. 29, 2007, on Outlook. A radio version ran Dec. 10, 2007, on West Virginia Morning.
By Scott Finn
Environmental activists who are trying to stop mountaintop removal mining have a new ally – Google.com. Appalachian Voices, a non-profit organization based in Boone, N.C., has teamed with Google Earth Outreach to launch a new tool. It allows people to type their zip code onto a web page and see their direct connection through their electricity to mountaintop removal coal.
It’s part of a pilot project by Google Earth Outreach, the new philanthropic arm of Google.com. Rebecca Moore of Google Earth Outreach says the new web tool grabs people’s attention in a new way.
“When you turn on your light switch, here are the mountaintops in Appalachia that were blown up, essentially, to provide the coal for your personal electricity,” Moore said.
By Clark Davis
Several cities from across the state are seeking more power. They want flexibility in how they raise revenue. They are seeking this power through a Home Rule Pilot Project approved by lawmakers last year.
A state panel can approve up to five cities for the project. Cities want the greater flexibility to generate revenue, which could mean new taxes or fees for residents and businesses.
By Anna Sale
More than 1,400 West Virginians are living with AIDS or HIV. About one-third are African-American, even though blacks make up only 3 percent of the state’s population. Women make up a quarter of the cases.
The first case of AIDS was reported in West Virginia in 1984.Since then, medical advances and new drugs have transformed an HIV diagnosis from a death sentence to what can be a treatable chronic disease. But the medical advances aside, the disease can still take a major toll on life in West Virginia. On the occasion of World AIDS Day on Saturday, Bernard Savage told Anna Sale his story.
By Cecelia Mason
Honey has long been used for medicinal purposes and there’s a long-held belief that eating local honey helps relieve allergy symptoms. But a Winchester, Virginia, man claims that putting honey in his eye helps clear up his allergies. Cecelia Mason reports Manuel Sempeles is working with a professor at the local pharmacy school to prove his technique really works.
By Jodie Breisler
Capitol News Connection
A new study by a national group ranks West Virginia as one of the least healthy states when it comes to depression and suicide. The study, released Wednesday by Mental Health America, uses federal data to rank all 50 states and the District of Columbia in both categories.
By Cecelia Mason
The interim joint education committee is proposing a major change in the way the state distributes money to county school systems. Currently the funding formula is based on the number of students enrolled in each county. Under the proposed system, the money would be distributed based on student population density. Cecelia Mason reports that Berkeley County’s superintendent supports the change, and thinks it will help the county deal better with problems caused by growth.
While the superintendent of Berkeley County schools is happy with a proposed school funding formula change, Tyler County Superintendent Jeff Hoover is not. He spoke to Beth Vorhees.
By Scott Finn
West Virginia’s rural nature and windy roads make for some of the longest school bus rides in the nation. Children in the state’s most isolated areas ride the bus for two or three hours every day.
State officials say they’re reducing the number of students with long bus rides. But the leader of the rural education group Challenge West Virginia is skeptical. She is pushing for a law to stop the consolidation of elementary schools, if it means children ride the bus for longer than state guidelines allow. Both sides made their case Monday to state lawmakers in Charleston.
By Greg Collard
An administrative law judge has sided with union workers in a labor relations complaint against Massey Energy and a subsidiary. The case concerns what used to be called the Cannelton Mine in eastern Kanawha County.
In 2004, Horizon Natural Resources of Ashland, Kentucky, laid off about 250 workers at the mine after a federal bankruptcy judge allowed the company to void its union contracts. That judge also allowed Horizon to drop about $800 million in health and pension obligations so that it could sell several union and non-union mines as part of bankruptcy proceedings.
Massey bought two of Horizon’s mines.One of them was Cannelton. But most of the laid-off Cannelton workers failed to regain their jobs. Massey claimed its hiring process was open, but a judge with the National Labor Relations Board disagrees.
Beth Vorhees talks to West Virginia Wesleyan political science professor Rob Rupp about the 2008 election.
By Colleen Anderson
After a warm fall, most of the leaves have finally fallen. A couple years ago, essayist Colleen Anderson got to thinking about the imprints some leaves make, and the imprint one person made on her life.
By Beth Vorhees
West Virginia is among 13 states that received federal startup monies to establish a program in rural areas called PACE that aims to keep elderly out of nursing homes. West Virginia is also the only the state that’s failed to start the program. Del. Don Perdue, D-Wayne, is chairman of the House Health and Human Resources Committee. He spoke to Beth Vorhees.