Issue 1: February 2007



Appalachian Voices volunteer delivers clean air message

At a moment when North Carolina’s strong clean air legislation seemed under attack on the federal level, Appalachian Voice volunteer Brenda Huggins showed how leadership and common sense can make an important political point. Huggins was concerned about the possibility that a 2005 federal bill would dilute strong state air pollution laws such as the […]


Buffalo Creek Survivor Testimonies

“It was a nightmare” Betty Tackett I took my children out of the house, and my husband ran across the railroad track to make sure the neighbors weren’t still in bed. He told me to take the children up off of the main road. When I got the kids in the car, we lived in […]


Appalachian Women: A Vital Role in the Drama

With a long history of organizing and activism, Appalachian women have played vital roles in the drama of this mountainous region. Activists such as Anne Barton, Aunt Molly Jackson, and Widow Combs, all who hail from the first half to the middle of the twentieth century, provide the foundation for contemporary Appalachian women, those […]


So Cool - Winter hiking offers peace and solitude

Appalachia may be famous for its colorful fall foliage, But autumn gives way to an equally enchanting wonderland of snow covered hills, frozen waterfalls and the promise of evergreens speckled throughout hillsides. Hiking in the wintertime gives you a new perspective about otherwise familiar trails and local parks. In the winter, the lack of foliage […]


Two Catholic Sisters: Working in the Web of Life

For the past 26 years, Sister Beth Davies has lived in one of the most remote towns of southwestern Virginia, in a little coal camp called St. Charles. Her “holler” literally dead ends into a mountain, but it is neither a metaphor for the way she lives or what she has helped the people of […]


The virtues of the hickory tree

When European settlers arrived in America, they found an abundant nut tree unknown in the Old World. Native Americans had a curious practice of pounding the nuts and tossing them into boiling water. The heat separated a cream-colored oily substance from the nuts, which was skimmed off and stored as a pasty material the […]


Buffalo Creek - 35 years later

Imagine. You’re cooking breakfast. Suddenly, the lights blow out. A low rumbling sound like an explosion echoes down the hollow. You run outside. Someone screams: “The dam has broke!” You grab the children and run uphill — any direction will do. Then you hear it. A three story wall of water roars down your […]


Meet Appalachian Voices Youngest Volunteer

When asked what Olivia “Blue” Stegall thought of mountaintop removal coal mining she described it as “eeewy.” This was the word that Appalachian Voices’ youngest and highly dedicated volunteer had to say about people blowing up the mountains. Blue, a Johnson County, TN native, attests that it makes her sad when she sees destruction of […]


Wilma Dykeman 1920 - 2006

Appalachia lost a beacon of righteousness and a tower of talent when Wilma Dykeman died at the age of 86 on December 23, 2006, in Asheville, North Carolina. Wilma Dykeman, who lived in Newport, Tennessee, throughout her adult life, was a uniquely compelling force for decades, combining a high-class background and presentation with a conscientiously […]


The ghosts of Buffalo Creek

On the 35th anniversary of the Buffalo Creek disaster, we remember with great sorrow the 125 innocent men, women and children who lived their lives in harm’s way and lost them due to the recklessness of Pittston Coal Company. We will never forget the unethical engineering that brought millions of gallons of water crashing down […]


Cool Cities - acting locally on global problems

Appalachia is waking up to the political impact of local action. For example, Blacksburg VA and Morgantown WV joined over 350 cities and towns nationwide in recent weeks, pledging to reduce their global warming pollution. Other cities in the region are working towards similar goals. Black Mountain, NC, for example, has a Green Buildling Council […]


Across Appalachia: Acting Locally on Global Problems

Appalachia is waking up to the political impact of local action. For example, Blacksburg VA and Morgantown WV joined over 350 cities and towns nationwide in recent weeks, pledging to reduce their global warming pollution. Other cities in the region are working towards similar goals. Black Mountain, NC, for example, has a Green Buildling Council […]


Buffalo Creek

I first heard about the Buffalo Creek Disaster while at a meeting in central West Virginia. A group of activists had gathered to form an Appalachian chapter of the People’s Party — an anti-war, populist political party that in 1972 ran Dr Benjamin Spock for President. It was Saturday, February 26, 1972. An hour or […]


Dominion Power's Blank Check

Deregulation of Virginia’s electric utilities has been a failure – almost everyone agrees on that. What to do about it ought to be the subject of a broad and far-reaching public policy debate. Instead, Virginia’s leading utility, which wrote its own ticket for deregulation back in 1999, is now hurrying to write itself a blank […]


Listen Here - Women Writing in Appalachia

Astute observations are not at all unusual in a Survey of American Literature course, usually arising out of lively discussions of what is to be found among the pages of college textbooks. Sandra L. Ballard, a teacher in the English Department at Appalachian State University in Boone, had an insight focused more upon what was […]


Book Reviews - Slow Road Home and Homeplace Geography

Slow Road Home: A Blue Ridge Book of Days. By Fred First. Goose Creek Press. 216 pages. $15.95 Fred First is a biologist, photographer, and writer who did what many simply dream of. Several years ago he quit his “day job,” moved to a small farm nestled in the Blue Ridge, and set out to […]