Taking advantage of the fact that hundreds of people sit and wait for hours each day in Highland Hospital alone, we will transform the waiting room into a storytelling space and provide the human and technological resources for patients to tell and listen to stories on-site. At the heart of this effort is an interactive story booth to be built – in partnership with the Alameda County Medical Center – as a permanent feature into Highland Hospital’s waiting room. The booth will allow patients and staff the opportunity both to record their own story as well as view other stories from the community. The booth will ask the user to either respond to either a theme or issue-based question. Booth users – depending on the level of privacy they desire – will have four ways to communicate: video, audio, text and physical journal.
McDowell County Senator Fanning Will Not Seek Reelection
January 27, 2012
CHARLESTON (January 27, 2012) — Senator John Pat Fanning (D-McDowell) announced today that he will not seek reelection to the West Virginia State Senate.
Senator Fanning said.: “I have served the residents of my district and the state to the best of my ability for 32 years. I now want to spend more time with my family and take care of some on-going health issues. ”
During his time in the West Virginia State Senate, Senator Fanning has held many high profile positions including chairmanships of the Finance, Transportation, Labor and Natural Resources Committees and as Vice Chair of several others.
“I want to thank the people of the 6th Senatorial District for electing me and giving me the honor and privilege of serving them for more than three decades,” he concluded.
WELCH — Ten people escaped injury after a fire destroyed a historic building in downtown Welch Tuesday.
The fire at the five-story Libby Building on McDowell Street began around 9:45 a.m. At least 10 residents were occupying about half of the 13 apartments in the top three floors of the building when the blaze began, according to Welch Fire Chief Dennie Hale.
Hale said no one was in the two businesses at the base of the building, a bar and a vacant storefront.
AREDALE, IA. — A new era of city government began with a simple postcard from Jeremy Minnier to his 73 neighbors.
“As your newly elected mayor,” Minnier wrote, “I would like to encourage your attendance and participation at our meetings.” Aredale’s 18-year-old mayor, who won 24 write-in votes out of 32 ballots in November, also included his phone number — not that his constituents should have trouble finding him. The bulk of this town (grain elevator, bar, bank, post office, etc.) is contained within a few square blocks.
A few years ago, at a conference about the woes of rural America, one speaker really caught my attention with a very simple message. “Never say ‘rural brain drain,’” She told us. “Think about it.” She pointed out that to say “brain drain” in a rural community is basically telling everyone present — the people who stayed — that they’re dumb. You’re implying they somehow missed the boat and are demonstrating low IQ just by being rural.
If things are, as they say, slower in the South, then integration was no exception. The 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring separate public schools for white and black children unconstitutional, finally incited change in McDowell County schools 11 years later; in some West Virginia counties, like Mercer, which desegregated in 1969, change trickled even slower.
Smith had been a teacher and a coach at Gary District School, an all black institution, before the consolidation into Gary High School happened. With two West Virginia Class A championships under his belt, one in football and one in basketball, he felt certain he’d have a position in the newly consolidated school, coaching black students and white students alike to be their athletic and academic best. He was wrong.
“Segregation became a part of my life when I was born,” Smith states. “But integration started in 1965. It was good that integration came.”
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Construction projects in West Virginia totaled $5.3 billion in 2011, up from $1.9 billion the year before, according to a report from McGraw-Hill Construction.
But the bulk of the increase can be attributed to two large projects, not an overall increase in construction projects in West Virginia, according to the Contractors Association of West Virginia.
A $3 billion coal-to-liquids plant in McDowell County and a $400 million natural gas processing plant in Natrium account for the increase, said Mike Clowser, the group’s executive director.
"I think the numbers are right, the issue is, is it truly [representative] of construction in West Virginia?" Clowser said. The vast majority of construction workers work on highways, bridges, hospital, schools and the like, he said.
Beeson is a human rights activist and photographer, and he received the award for his work in McDowell County.
Beeson has created an online exhibit for the Kimball World War I Memorial, and students of the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism contribute to the site each semester.
The project included an exhibit installation to the memorial in Kimball, W.Va., called “Soldiers of the Coalfields: The Story of African American Soldiers in World War I.”
Beeson also created the PBS- aired documentary, “Fighting on Two Fronts: the Untold Stories of African American WWII Veterans,” which is where he met Marcus Cranford, who introduced and presented Beeson with the award.
First, what do I mean by unfairness? Half of the electrical power in the United States comes from coal. This has been true for years. People I grew up with dig the coal that lights the lights and heats the buildings all across this country today. The world we know exists because coal miners go down to the mines. But the carbon emissions from that coal, and from oil and natural gas, and agriculture and so much other human activity– causes global warming, and we have to act to cut those emissions, and act now.
Now, some people’s response is to demand that we end all coal production now—they say “End Coal.” Never mind that such a thing is simply not going to happen—there is no substitute now for metallurgical coal and if we stopped burning coal this afternoon and cut the power in the U.S. grid by 50 percent, as Mayor Bloomberg advocates, he’d be reading handwritten memos by candlelight this evening. Given that reality, it’s important to think about how that slogan is heard in places like my hometown of Nemacolin, Pennsylvania.
Nemacolin lives on coal—the coal mine my grandfather and my father went down to every day of their working lives, the power plant the mine feeds, the rail lines that carry coal to other plants. When these folks hear “End Coal,” it sounds like a threat to destroy the value of our homes, to shut our schools and churches, to drive us away from the place our parents and grandparents are buried, to take away the work that for more than a hundred years has made us who we are.
So why, in an economy without an effective safety net, would the good men and women of my hometown and a thousand places like it surrender their whole lives and sit by while others try to force them to bear the cost of change.
The truth is that in many places – and not just places where coal is mined – there is fear that the “green economy” will turn into another version of the radical inequality that now haunts our society—another economy that works for the 1% and not for the 99%.
Former coal miner James Weekly refuses to sell his land in Blair, West Virginia, to mining companies, which are seeking to strip mine the mountain he lives on to remove billions of dollars worth of coal.
WELCH — Three McDowell County elementary schools have been selected to start new literary and early childhood programs as part of the Reconnecting McDowell project aimed at improving performance and quality of life for county students.
McDowell County Superintendent Jim Brown said Welch Elementary, Iaeger Elementary and Bradshaw Elementary schools will be the focus of the non-profit organization Save the Children’s literacy programs.
$18.4m in grants are fostering a ‘critical mass’ of Boston-area tech outreach projects
Thanks to its concentration of high-tech activity and educational institutions, the Boston area has reaped a considerable amount of that funding - $18.4 million in grants to 19 projects.
“Because of Knight, we now have a critical mass of community, technology, and media projects,’’ said Eric Gordon, the creator of the Boston public school-based project Community PlanIt and an associate professor of visual media arts at Emerson College.
“It’s an exciting time to be here,’’ he said. “What’s coming out of Boston is going to change what’s happening around the country.’’
NOTE: Eric Gordon, quoted above, is an advisor on Hollow and will help develop how to approach getting the community involved in a meaningful way.
The McDowell County Public Service District is trying to make a difference in the county one life at a time. With water and sewer projects progressing throughout the county, a Wastewater Coalition engaged in resolving long-standing infrastructure woes and a growing number of families that want change, a flicker of light is starting to appear at the end of a mighty long tunnel.
Dorothy Horne is ready to open the faucet at her Bradshaw Mountain home and see clean drinking water come out. She has worked 15 years on the dream, and when Phase 3 of the Jolo Water project is completed in March or April, that dream will become reality.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia has gotten failing grades for behavioral health care from advocates for people with mental illness, but the people who provide that care disagree over whether an upcoming legislative proposal will make that situation better or worse.
West Virginia is the only state that licenses people with master’s degrees as psychologists. A measure slated for the 60-day regular session that begins Wednesday would require a more advanced graduate degree, a doctorate, as a minimum standard for future licenses.
Though many in rural areas, such as Monroe County, are concerned about their cultural heritage and landscape, DeMarco said drilling is here to stay.
“I have been to Monroe County years ago, and I understand there are people there who own mineral rights who want to develop,” he said. “You have a situation where individuals want to develop the minerals and one person in that group takes the position that they don’t want development. They don’t have the right to stop a person from using their mineral rights.”
Manchin said he believes drilling wells will soon be popping up all over rural West Virginia.
“This is the industrialization of rural West Virginia,” he said. “We don’t have a plan for how we can reclaim these sites. Very few sites have been reclaimed. What can happen is if they dig one well, the company tries to hold their lease rather than continue to dig more wells. We don’t want these companies holding on to this land for 10 or 15 years with no new development. After five years, they have to drill again on the site or reclaim the land.”
Consider three important facts about West Virginia. We have one of the oldest populations in the country, we have historically had a high proportion of our citizens serve in the military, and we are an extremely rural state.
Yet, our senior citizens, our veterans, our active duty military personnel and their families, as well as our neighbors who go to federally funded rural health clinics, have terribly limited access to psychological services. Why? Because the programs that fund health services for these people (Medicare, the VA and TRICARE, the insurance program for current and former military personnel) and the federal dollars that support rural health clinics all require that psychologists be educated at the doctoral level.
While the interactive designer/programmer creates wireframes for the HTML-5 website that will be launched in Spring 2013, I decided to put this website together as a landing page for information about the project. Check out the site here!
"It’s frustrating to come from a state that most people don’t even know exists. The only thing worse is when they do. They get that mischievous twinkle in the eye and then, out pour the jokes. The barnyard jokes, the banjo jokes, and everyone’s favorite, the incest jokes. I’m not sure what response people are hoping for when they accuse me of screwing my sister, but I can assure you it never endears me toward them. And I don’t even have a sister. But these sad stabs at humor can’t be unique to West Virginia. I’m sure it happens to people from all sorts of Southern states: Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky. Hell, to be perfectly honest, I’ve made those sorts of jokes about people from Kentucky. But it all leads up to a bigger question. These are attitudes about the South. So, is West Virginia a part of the South?"
I can’t actually think of a time beyond boyhood when I thought I was going to stay. It’s strange. Ungrateful, I suppose. You were the only thing I knew and somehow you weren’t enough. But my interests and ambitions grew beyond any realistic expectations. Far beyond the reach of your panhandles. And I suppose that changes a relationship forever.
Read the full article by West Virginia native (California resident) Jason Headley here
Like Jason and many others, I have always had a love and reverence for my homestate but knew if I were to ever achieve my dreams I would have to leave. This article is so beautiful, personal and yet still relatable.
West Virginia really is a special place but only natives recognize it. The rest of the world sees us how we have been portrayed and not how we are. The piece is related to Hollow, which will address rural brain drain and youth exodus in West Virginia.
So kudos to Jason for putting these memories and shared feelings so eloquently in writing.
In his Jan. 11 State of the State address, Gov. Tomblin said Save the Children will receive $1 million in state funds for its trainers to work with students and their families in three McDowell schools to implement early childhood and literacy programs. Tomblin also proposed making McDowell a “County Innovation Zone Pilot Project,” to allow teachers, school staff and McDowell school administrators the regulatory and legislative flexibility they need to improve struggling schools. This will help the partners as they work on education reforms for McDowell.
Since the partnership’s Dec. 16 launch, new commitments have moved the effort forward:
An acute housing shortage in McDowell County makes teacher recruitment difficult, and the mountainous terrain impedes new construction. The West Virginia AFL-CIO has provided the additional funding necessary to begin digging water lines for several homes. Discussions are under way for financing for additional homes.
To enhance educational opportunities, Frontier Communications has given $100,000 to Globaloria for online learning projects for McDowell students.
AFT education specialists are developing an education plan with county teachers and education leaders to provide training and other resources to improve teaching and learning.