most part, the lights are back on in eastern Kentucky, southwest Virginia and West Virginia after a massive storm plunged the
region into darkness over two weeks ago.
Subsequent storms a week later, wiped the power out as well. 53 of West Virginia’s 55 counties were affected as
residents scrambled for ice, water and food.
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin this week began a review of the state’s
response to the disaster and thanked those who came to the rescue both in and
from outside of the state. As a way of review, here are some of the voices
we heard this week in West Virginia as
during relief and recovery efforts before the power was turned back on.
There has been a resurgence of Black Lung in coal miners West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia. The debilitating disease was nearly eradicated in the 1970's after federal laws were enacted regulating the amount of coal dust in underground mines, but it’s back and in younger coal miners. An investigation by NPR news, the Center for Public Integrity and The Charleston Gazette found that diagnoses of black lung have doubled in the last decade and cases are getting more severe. The investigation blames a combination of factors, including operators who cheat the system and lax enforcement by regulators.
How much gas is leaking from these Marcellus Shale gas wells in regions of Appalachia where such drilling is occuring. No one can say for sure. Eric Lipsky is a scientist at Penn State-Greater Allegheny, near Pittsburgh. For years he’s studied air pollution like diesel exhaust with a group from Carnegie Mellon University. On a recent night The Allegheny Front’s Reid Frazier joined Lipsky on his current search. He’s now looking for methane from the gas industry.
The Green Wheeling Initiative is a cooperative community effort dedicated to strengthening the local food supply in the Northern panhandle. One of the major contributors to the effort is a non-profit organization called the Small Farm Training Center in Marshall County.
Mountain State University, a private for profit school in Beckley, WV says it will vigorously appeal a commission's decision to withdraw general accreditation. The Higher Learning Commission said the school doesn't meet its criteria for leadership, resources, planning and oversight. Interim President Richard Sours says he's disappointed and surprised by the decision. He calls the commission's action unwarranted, especially in light of comprehensive changes that have been under way during the past year., but following the news, the WV Higher Education Policy Commission is holding college-advising fairs for MSU students.
Incidental music for today’s program
is from Will Keys: A Banjo Original, 1997, County Records, Floyd, VA