For years, we’ve watched our young people leave West Virginia. The children of our friends, whom we’ve watched grow up, head off to college or a job opportunity, and they don’t come back. Now, their parents—our friends and neighbors—are entering or nearing retirement, and asking one another: Are you going to stay in West Virginia? It’s remarkable how many say no, or give a long sigh and shrug that says, “I don’t know.” It’s not that they have somewhere else calling them. It’s the politics.
Economy & Environment
On our wall hangs an ammunition poster printed in the 1940s featuring a crouched rabbit and ten Bobwhite quail. Painted by sporting artist Lynn Bogue Hunt, it celebrates bygone days when hunting was a favorite fall pastime.
West Virginia downtowns in dire need of redevelopment and revitalization are getting much needed aid through the Downtown Appalachia Redevelopment Initiative.
The whistled call, “Bob-White,” is seldom heard here anymore. But that may be about to change. Interested farmers and landowners in Virginia and West Virginia now have an opportunity to bring the cheerful little quail back to their original habitat.
On October 23, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) will hold a public hearing on Rockwool’s applications for two stormwater permits. The hearing will begin at 6pm in the Storer Ballroom of the Shepherd University Student Center and will end at 8pm. Any citizen concerned about drinking water should come to this hearing.
Rockwool’s controversial arrival to Jefferson County was made more contentious upon news in late July that the Danish insulation company hired state Delegate Paul Espinosa (R-Jefferson) as its public affairs manager. After all, it wasn’t just any delegate, but precisely the one supposed to represent tens of thousands of constituents who do not want the company to build an insulation plant across the street from North Jefferson Elementary School and burn 92 tons of coal and 1.6 million cubic feet of fracked gas per day.
To me, the fight against the Mountaineer Gas pipeline and the Rockwool factory are not just related battles, they are both part of the same long struggle I’ve been part of for the past three years.
When I decided visit Colombia for a spring break trip, I was asked many times if I was traveling there to see Pablo Escobar landmarks and participate in other “narco-tourism” activities, which have gained world notoriety in part because of the widely popular Netflix series “Narcos.” One of my travel companions had even expressed interest in visiting an Escobar compound. Of course, I was looking forward to relaxing and sightseeing, but I was also curious to speak to Colombians about views on this recent tourism interest.
— Local activists continue to leave their mark.Going to jail as an act of non-violent direct action is completely different than going to jail under other circumstances. First, you are prepared to risk arrest, and you’re willing to face charges, if necessary, for a reason. Typically, people get arrested because they committed a crime, and […]
I saw my first rough-winged swallow when I was a teenager fishing along a creek in western Pennsylvania. I thought it wasn’t much to look at. It had a graceful swallow shape, but otherwise it was plain and dull. Skimming low over water catching insects along with other swallows, a rough-wing lacks their polished plumage and contrasting, iridescent colors. The back, head, and wings are wood-brown and the throat is drab, shading to gray on the chest and sides. The belly is a dirty, brownish white. Only the undertail feathers are dazzling white. The black, shiny bill looks very short, even for a swallow.
When Jefferson County’s municipal water customers turn on their faucets, they may not think about saving farmland or Civil War battlefields. Martin Burke, chair of the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission, would like to change that.
A sign beside Route 45 says: “1.5 miles north is Swan Pond Manor, a 2,000-acre retreat set aside in 1745 for use of Thomas Lord Fairfax, once the proprietor of the Northern Neck of Virginia who established an estate at Greenway Court, Frederick County in 1738. So named because wild swans inhabited [the] site.”
According to Houser, Bordoff, and Marsters, 2017, West Virginia’s total coal job loss from Q4 2011 to Q4 2016 was 12,533. This has been a scary time for many Appalachian people. Severe environmental damage has been done, and social problems, such as drug addiction, continue to threaten their future. To help combat these issues, the Reclaiming Appalachia Coalition, a regional collaboration, is pursuing mine reclamation projects throughout Central Appalachia that are responsive to community needs and interests.
John James Audubon was a French immigrant who adopted nineteenth-century America as his home. Early on, he resolved to roam the country hunting and drawing birds. “Audubon” has become synonymous with birds and conservation, but few today appreciate his indefatigable genius.
The Eastern Panhandle Expansion Project pipeline would, if built, run from Fulton county, PA, to Jefferson County, WV. The middle portion of the pipeline from Berkeley Springs, WV, to Martinsburg, WV, is almost complete. The portion of the pipeline through the state of Maryland, however, is still in the approval stage—construction has not begun. The terminus of the pipeline in Jefferson county, WV, would be the highly controversial, highly polluting insulation factory run by the Danish multinational, Rockwool. Eastern Panhandle Protectors opposes this proposed coal- and fracked-gas-fueled facility and the pipeline that would provide the gas.