Community Meetings in Virginia Confront Water and Mine Blasting Problems
Over the summer, the Appalachian Water Watch program partnered with Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards to host community meetings around southwest Virginia. Meetings were held once a month, moving between Wise, Dickenson and Buchanan counties, with each meeting tailored to address specific concerns within that community. Now, we are helping individuals who attended these meetings to address problems with water contamination and blasting from nearby surface mines. We were able to connect the impacted citizens with our water monitoring program and our Appalachian Water Watch Alert System to help report and monitor contamination issues in their areas. To learn more, visit appvoices.org/waterwatch.
Photo Exhibit to Benefit Appalachian Voices
Photographer Rachael Bliss will present her experience of life on a sustainable Appalachian farm in a special exhibit titled, “Down on the Farm,” on display at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Asheville until the end of October. The collection of images documents a period of time she spent on her daughter’s sustainable farm in Knoxville, Tenn. For the second consecutive year, Bliss has offered to donate a portion of profits from her exhibition to Appalachian Voices. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to have the continued support of such a talented photographer.
To view Bliss’s work, visit her Blissingstoyou Facebook page, or her website at bliss-ingstoyou.blogspot.com. Bliss can be contacted at 828-505-9425, or through the church at 828-252-8729. The church is located at 20 Oak Street in Asheville and is open 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fridays.
Outreach and Education Efforts in the Region
Our campaign teams are working hard this year to provide education and assistance on a variety of topics.
In Tennessee and Virginia, we’re opposing proposed new mountaintop removal mines (see p. 20) at public meetings, through formal comments and by working with our partners to mobilize citizen voices to save our mountains.
Our Energy Savings for Appalachia program is reaching out to electric cooperatives in the Southeast, garnering support for statewide pilot programs that can finance energy efficiency improvements for homeowners. Stay tuned for the fall launch of our online Energy Savings Action Center!
And in North Carolina, our Red, White & Water crew has been meeting with people living near coal ash ponds, assisting residents who are seeking protection from water contamination.
Hellos and Goodbyes
Appalachian Voices is excited to welcome several new staff to the team. Jonathan Harvey joins us from Charleston, W. Va., to serve as our new director of development. Kara Dodson, a former intern with our Appalachian Water Watch team and a recent graduate of Virginia Tech, will be serving as our new field coordinator, collaborating with volunteers and recruiting new members to further our work in the Appalachian region.
We also would like to welcome our 2013-14 Project Conserve Americorps members, both of whom will serve an eleven-month term through July of next year. Kimber Ray is serving as our communications associate and the associate editor of The Appalachian Voice, while Sarah Kellogg will act as the outreach associate for the Red, White & Water and Energy Savings programs.
And lastly, we would like to bid a fond farewell to Sandra Diaz, who has served in many capacities at Appalachian Voices for the past seven years, most recently as the coordinator of our Red, White & Water and North Carolina campaigns. Her extensive knowledge, phenomenal volunteer organizing skills, and irrepressible “green fire” will be greatly missed. We wish her the best of luck in her new ventures.
Learn more about these folks and the rest of our staff at appvoices.org/about/team/