Posts Tagged ‘The Appalachian Voice’

Aug./Sept. issue of The Appalachian Voice released!

Thursday, August 14th, 2014 - posted by Amber Ellis
Read the latest issue of The Appalachian Voice here.

Read the latest issue of The Appalachian Voice here.

I joined The Appalachian Voice crew at the beginning of June for a summer internship, and the staff immediately had me out getting my feet wet — literally and figuratively. I hopped on the issue just in time to start work on a piece exploring mountain bogs for our Naturalist Notebook page, so dipping my toes into journalism meant getting my boots muddy in some of Appalachia’s most unique ecosystems.

I wasn’t the only young-gun working on this issue, though. In it you’ll also hear from my fellow intern Carvan Craft about ways in which colleges and students across Appalachia are pushing toward environmental sustainability through campus projects and initiatives such as fossil fuel divestment, renewable energy and friendly competitions.

Writer Rachel Ellen Simon also focuses on educational institutions in her profiles of five colleges in Appalachia and the smart ways they save energy.

Interns at the New Beginnings camp meet in the afternoons to plan for upcoming days and discuss how to resolve conflicts between campers. Photo by Kimber Ray

Interns at the New Beginnings camp meet in the afternoons to plan for upcoming days and discuss how to resolve conflicts between campers. Photo by Kimber Ray

The New Opportunity School for Women and the High Rocks Academy for Girls, however, demonstrate that education is never restricted to the walls of the university. Writer Kimber Ray showcases the numerous ways in which these organizations are revealing educational and economic opportunity for females in rural Appalachia through innovative academic courses, summer camps and training programs.

Also in this issue, Matt Wasson, director of programs for Appalachian Voices, breaks down the recently-published U.S. Geological Survey study on lower fish populations in streams near mountaintop removal mines. Additionally, Eric Chance, water quality specialist for Appalachian Voices, explains selenium pollution and why it is so harmful for our streams, and writer Molly Moore tackles fracking and points to ways in which it is and is not being regulated.

Don’t forget our regular features! Hiking the Highlands presents Camp Creek in West Virginia, a wonderful park to explore in late summer. This issue’s politics page covers states’ reactions to the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon emissions rule and provides a summary of how our representatives voted on environmental issues in the 113th Congress. The Energy Report page covers some hopeful news of the court ruling that favored the EPA on mountaintop removal and the local opposition to a West Virginia surface mine near a state forest. It also covers the unfortunate updates to Kentucky’s coal general permit processes, and the N.C. coal ash bill that is still pending due to the inability of the Senate and House to find a compromise.

Regular readers of our online edition might notice a new format, designed to make years’ worth of quality content more accessible than ever. Read the online version here! Or, if you prefer to read it in print, round off the summer by picking up a copy of The Appalachian Voice from a newsstand near you, or join Appalachian Voices to receive a one-year subscription in your mailbox.

Questions or comments? Email voice@appvoices.org, or submit a letter to the editor!

From farm to fork to mountain trails: summer edition of The Appalachian Voice

Monday, June 23rd, 2014 - posted by Kimber

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You don’t need to travel far to experience a summer rich in laughter and discovery. In this issue of The Appalachian Voice, we scope out some of the region’s most lively farmers markets and showcase the natural beauty of the “Heart of Appalachia,” a region in southwest Virginia hailed as among the most biodiverse in the country.

Writer Megan Northcote explores the growing phenomenon of “destination farmers markets,” which host events and activities that lead Northcote to dub them “more than a market.” Visitors can enjoy cooking and artisan demonstrations, hands-on kids activities, live music and dancing -‒ all while enjoying fresh and delicious food from the surrounding community. And access to this healthy, locally-sourced produce is expanding. From a mobile farmers market in eastern Tennessee to a program in West Virginia where children grow and sell food from their school garden, the way that communities think about food is being transformed all across Appalachia.

At the same time, ecotourism is continuing to gain momentum as a way to promote and protect the natural features that shape a community’s unique identity. In the Clinch River Valley of southwest Virginia, the recent opening of a river tubing outfitter, as well as the development of driving, biking and hiking trails, have been attracting tourists from across the nation. Visitors are enticed by the region’s astounding biodiversity ‒ the crystal-clear waters of the Clinch River are home to more endangered and rare aquatic species than anywhere else in the country ‒ and the famous voices of the region’s musical history steeped in the origins of bluegrass.

Residents, organizations and businesses of the Clinch River Valley are banding together to preserve these assets by working towards the creation of a new state park. The state legislature is still working through the process of funding the park, but in the meantime the issue’s regular Hiking the Highlands column explores some of the trails that already traverse the area. The ability to discover and interact with the outdoors in the Clinch River Valley is further aided by several phone applications ‒ introduced throughout the articles ‒ that provide visitors with guided tours and wildlife interpretation.

Potential threats to our food and environment are also investigated in this issue. Valerie Bruchon analyzes some of the issues surrounding genetically modified food and what it could mean for Appalachia. You can learn more about which food labels exclude genetically modified foods and other controversial components from our “What’s in Your Food” chart.

You can also read about some of the continued difficulties associated with fossil fuel consumption. In “At What Cost?” residents of Belews Creek tell their stories about how coal ash ‒ the toxic byproduct from burning coal ‒ has endangered the health of their community. Brian Sewell examines the need for federal rules to regulate the practice of using coal ash as fill material for abandoned surface and underground mines. And in “Confronting Carbon Pollution,” Molly Moore investigates the Obama administration’s plans to implement carbon pollution regulations for new and existing coal-fired power plants.

Be sure to check out our regular features too. This issue’s Naturalist Notebook takes a look at the Eastern grey treefrog, whose mating song can be heard in Appalachia from April to August. Our This Green House column checks out the European Solar Decathlon, an energy-efficient home design competition. Appalachian State University has teamed up with a French university to compete in the decathlon this June.

Wherever your plans take you this summer, make some time to get outdoors! And while you’re out there, be sure to read this issue of The Appalachian Voice. You can pick up a copy from a newsstand near you, read the online version here or join Appalachian Voices to receive a one-year subscription in your mailbox. Questions or comments? Email voice@appvoices.org, or submit a letter to the editor!

The Voice: Toxic Warnings, Trilliums and More

Friday, April 18th, 2014 - posted by Kimber

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In this issue of The Appalachian Voice, we explore the struggle to balance health and economic concerns, and where our decisions have taken us. Protecting the natural environment — whether it’s a rare flower, a wild natural landscape, or the river that feeds them both — also protects our communities.

The aftermath of the Elk River chemical spill in West Virginia and the Dan River coal ash spill in North Carolina and Virginia is explored in “Toxic Warnings.” From stories of the people affected by these spills, the dramatic consequences of lax regulation are laid out alongside the community’s resulting determination to take action. And from the broken policies that allowed these failures to occur, we see that the issue of water contamination in our country runs much deeper than any would like to imagine.

Writer Molly Moore investigates the origins and achievements of the War on Poverty through the lens of Appalachia where, even 50 years later, the region remains among the most impoverished in the country. Yet Patsy Dowling, who considers herself a success of the War on Poverty, is quick to point out that continued progress takes commitment. Today, Dowling is the executive director of an anti-poverty nonprofit, and one of many who remains dedicated to the success of Appalachia.

Some achievements flourish best undisturbed, as the Dunaways observe during the blooming months of spring. While walking together through their eastern Tennessee property, they stumble on a delightful surprise. A burst of yellow displayed against the medley of leaves covering the forest floor, an elegant, three-petaled wildflower, turns out to be an undiscovered species of Trillium tennesseense. On the Dunaways’ land, the trillium has evaded the rising threat of sprawling development.

You can also read about some of the creative approaches being used to secure a bright future for our communities, and even get involved yourself! This issue’s regular Hiking the Highlands column follows Matt Kirk’s 350-mile hike along the nearly complete Southern Appalachian Loop Trail, which has been developed to foster a healthy environment and economic growth. You can volunteer to help maintain the route, or check out our special section on volunteer opportunities in Appalachia. The listing includes caring for rescue horses, fixing bikes to donate to low-income residents and residential environmental service programs. We’ve also posted our online exclusive summer camp listing, for all ages ranging from five to 18 years old.

Be sure to check out our election coverage too. Whether it’s through voting, volunteering, or your everyday work, there are many ways to get involved in your community. We only provide a small sampling of how you can help, but we hope to inspire you to stand up for your community and stand for a solution.

Read the online version here, pick up a copy on a newsstand near you, or join Appalachian Voices to receive a one-year subscription in your mailbox. Questions or comments? Email voice@appvoices.org, or submit a letter to the editor!

Discover the Latest Issue of The Appalachian Voice

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 - posted by molly

cover As the cover photo indicates, the latest issue of The Appalachian Voice features coverage of the ongoing water crisis in West Virginia, which began in January when coal-processing chemicals spilled into the Elk River and poisoned the water supply of 300,000 West Virginians in nine counties.

In this issue, you’ll hear directly from folks affected by the spill, learn more about the event from the perspective of Appalachian Voices Water Quality Specialist Erin Savage, and read about the underlying problems with water privatization that allowed one spill to put so many residents in jeopardy.

We usually plan our stories for the print publication months in advance, thinking about seasonal ways to enjoy the beauty of Appalachia, such as snowshoeing in West Virginia’s Canaan Valley, or dates such as the five-year anniversary of the destructive coal ash spill in Kingston, Tenn. Writer Kimber Ray researched the unprecedented Kingston coal ash disaster, outlining its lingering effects and describing how little has been done to prevent future spills. Unfortunately, that story turned out to be more timely than we realized — about 30 minutes after we went to press we received word that tens of thousands of tons of coal ash were spilling into the Dan River near Eden, N.C. (For more about the Dan River spill, click here.)

In this issue, you’ll also hear from residents of southwestern Virginia about the Coalfields Expressway, a partnership between the state and coal companies that could lead to publicly subsidized mountaintop removal mining disguised as a highway project. Adam Hall, an energetic and determined West Virginian, shares his story of opposition to mountaintop removal coal mining. And in North Carolina, volunteers and homeowners-to-be are working with a Habitat for Humanity chapter to bring energy-efficient, sustainable housing to families in need.

We also invite you to shake away preconceived notions about Appalachia’s ethnic and cultural diversity with a couple of special stories that explore Melungeon identity and put the region’s current rise in ethnic diversity in historical context.

You can read the online version here, pick up a copy on a newsstand near you, or join Appalachian Voices to receive a one-year subscription in your mailbox. Questions or comments? Email voice@appvoices.org, or submit a letter to the editor!

The Appalachian Voice

Friday, February 7th, 2014 - posted by Kelsey Boyajian

The Appalachian Voice
171 Grand Boulevard
Boone, NC 28607
www.appalachianvoices.org

The slopes of Big Bald Mountain, which straddles the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, were cushioned in soft heaps of snow on this perfect “powder day.” Former Appalachian Voices intern Megan Naylor descended on her snowboard, with her dog Bella close behind, and her boyfriend Bo Wallace captured this photo. For those who prefer a slower pace, snowshoeing offers another way to enjoy the winter landscape. Read more on p. 6

The slopes of Big Bald Mountain, which straddles the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, were cushioned in soft heaps of snow on this perfect “powder day.” Former Appalachian Voices intern Megan Naylor descended on her snowboard, with her dog Bella close behind, and her boyfriend Bo Wallace captured this photo. For those who prefer a slower pace, snowshoeing offers another way to enjoy the winter landscape. Read more on p. 6

The War on Poverty at 50

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014 - posted by molly
Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon Johnson declared a war on poverty from the front porch of a home in Martin County, Ky. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon Johnson declared a war on poverty from the front porch of a home in Martin County, Ky. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

On this day 50 years ago, President Lyndon Johnson looked out from the front porch of a weary-looking eastern Kentucky home and declared war on poverty.

At the time, one in three Appalachians were considered poor. The poverty rate in the region is now closer to the national average — 16.1 percent in Appalachia compared to 14.3 percent nationally — but, as you might suspect, those statistics tell only part of the story. Economic disparities between Appalachian counties and sub-regions remain high, and, as it was in 1964, eastern Kentucky remains a focal point.

Today President Obama announced that eight counties in southeastern Kentucky would comprise one of five new “Promise Zones.” This designation doesn’t provide new funding, but it grants those counties higher priority for existing federal funds, and federal assistance in accessing those opportunities. The announcement also coincides with a push toward collaboration and economic diversification in eastern Kentucky.

In these counties, as in much of Central Appalachia, the road out of poverty has been troubled by the region’s complicated relationship with coal. As Brian Sewell wrote in a 2013 issue of The Appalachian Voice, “The mixed results of economic initiatives in Appalachia are not for a lack of will. During the 20th century, social and labor movements repeatedly rose in opposition to unjust land leases, anti-union policy, insufficient medical care for miners with black lung disease and the destruction of mountaintop removal. Each time, there were powerful forces pushing back.” Read his analysis on why poverty is such a persistent challenge in Appalachia here.

In the next issue of The Appalachian Voice, we’ll look closer at the War on Poverty, exploring its goals and outcomes and examining what the lessons from the past 50 years can tell us about the way forward.

Independent journalist Ralph Davis, who is among the 27 visionaries featured in the current issue of the publication, created this excellent infographic about the impacts of the War on Poverty in Central Appalachia. Do these numbers reflect your experience? Tell us in the comments.

27 Visionaries: Stories of Regional Changemakers

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013 - posted by molly
Doug Estepp, left, discusses the assassination of Sid Hatfield with a tour group. Photo by Klair Gaston

Doug Estepp, left, discusses the assassination of Sid Hatfield with a tour group. Photo by Klair Gaston

In 2009, Blair Mountain was removed from the National Historic Register, and West Virginia resident Doug Estepp was outraged. The battlefield on the mountain was the site of a landmark uprising of coal miners in 1921, and for a West Virginia history buff like Estepp, the decision to delist the site was an affront to the region’s proud past.

Estepp reasoned that tourism centered around the state’s compelling history could be a source of sustainable economic diversification and also help raise awareness of the region’s stories and struggles. After Blair Mountain was delisted, Estepp decided that it was time to make that vision a reality. He formed a small company called Coal Country Tours, and has taken more than 400 visitors on multi-day tours during the past few years.

In the current issue of The Appalachian Voice, we share the stories of 27 regional movers and shakers — people and collaborators that, like Estepp, devote their energy and talents to creating positive change.
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Resourceful and Resilient: June/July issue of The Appalachian Voice celebrates farmers

Friday, June 21st, 2013 - posted by molly
Farmers Holly Whitesides and Andy Bryant grace the cover of the June/July 2013 issue.

Farmers Holly Whitesides and Andy Bryant grace the cover of the June/July 2013 issue.

From determined Virginia cattle farmers to entrepreneurial vegetable growers in eastern Kentucky, the latest issue of The Appalachian Voice showcases the resourcefulness and resilience of our mountain farmers.

In our features, Today’s Farming Frontier looks at how growers are adapting to changing markets. A special three-page section explores Appalachian farm ownership. In A Matter of Self-Preservation, writer Matt Grimley explores how aspiring farmers are struggling for land access and the ways family farmers are passing down the business. He examines the issue from a land ownership point of view in Making it Last, where he studies how aging farmers can plan for their farm’s future.

States have consistenty failed to protect water resources from toxic coal ash. But the U.S. House of Representatives just passed a bill to prevent the EPA from doing anything about it.

States have consistenty failed to protect water resources from toxic coal ash. But the U.S. House of Representatives just passed a bill to prevent the EPA from doing anything about it.

Former Appalachian Voices editorial intern Davis Wax explores the controversial aftermath of pesticide use in Toxic Legacy: Yesterday’s Pesticides, Today’s Problem. And in Addressing Food Insecurity, writer David Brewer speaks with some of the movers-and-shakers who are working to close the gap between healthy, local food and the consumers who need it most.

In addition to those farm-oriented features, we take several shorter looks at trends in Appalachian agriculture. Our editorial intern Alix John discovers the world of seed-saving and heirloom plants, and Brian Sewell examines how climate change might impact farming in our region, and surveys the growth of Appalachian agritourism.
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The Dollars and Sense of Energy Savings

Thursday, April 25th, 2013 - posted by molly

Using electricity wisely is vital for Appalachia, a region that has borne the burdens of our national appetite for cheap energy. Unlocking the Southeast’s vast energy savings potential could be the key to forging a cleaner, greener future.

That’s the premise behind The Dollars and Sense of Energy Savings, our first-ever issue devoted to electricity conservation. This April/May issue is stuffed with 28 pages of stories, profiles and resources. The Appalachian Voice is available free on newsstands across the region, and is delivered to the mailboxes of Appalachian Voices members.

We begin with Power to the People, which takes a broad look at how different electricity providers approach energy efficiency — hint: companies such as Duke Energy have very different motivations than member-owned electric cooperatives. While researching the story Powering With Change, Matt Grimley discovers how member-owned electric cooperatives in South Carolina are finding ways to help homeowners trim utility bills while strengthening the cooperative as a whole.
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The Appalachian Voice — February/ March issue

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013 - posted by molly

At grocery stores, coffee shops and libraries throughout the region, newsstands are filling up with spring peepers. We’ve chosen this little frog as the cover celebrity for “The Silent Majority” — the countless creatures that share our treasured Appalachian Mountains with us.

This issue of The Appalachian Voice is dedicated to understanding how the region’s wildlife are faring and listening to what they’re trying to tell us. We also feature a four-page politics pull-out section on some of the loudest voices in Appalachia, our representatives in Washington and our state legislatures.
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