Blog - West Virginia Strong

New website rapidly responds to pandemic needs

"Taking care of each other is the West Virginia way," is how the new statewide effort, Rapid Response WV, describes its mission. Through the site, anyone can view available pandemic resources or request support, become a volunteer or offer resources of their own to those in need. The site also links to CDC guidelines on what to do if you feel sick. Read more here: IMAGE: Photo by ray sangga kusuma on Unsplash

WV school staff steps up to feed at-home students and families

The pandemic has put students out of school and away from meals many rely upon. But West Virginia school staff and county boards of education are stepping up to prep and share meals that are driven by bus drivers to keep children fed, often stopping by the side of the road in rural West Virginia. Continue reading

Why are West Virginia's Covid-19 test numbers so low?

Governor Jim Justice deserves lots of credit for taking steps to reduce spread of Covid-19, but we need way more testing to be able to identify and isolate those with the virus. Most other small population states have tested way more than we have. What's different in those states?

Seeking West Virginia Volunteers in a Pandemic

West Virginians are quick to help out in hard times. Volunteer West Virginia is collecting safe and creative ways to volunteer all around the Mountain State  during the pandemic and posting them on their website.   Continue reading

Turning the state’s soil into enduring craft

(Audio Story): West Virginia Public Radio profiles rural Preston County potter Mel Sword who fashions pottery out of the soil of his homeplace, leaning on an old tradition to create modern-day pottery.  Sword bought his property because of the clay soil on it, in order to make something new out of something very old.LISTEN: One Appalachian Potter's Twist On The Craft: Digging ClayPHOTO: Caitlin Tam photo | WVPB

Former Mayor Danny Jones cooks up new gig

Danny Jones, former longtime mayor of Charleston WV, has been a colorful, sometimes controversial political figure in the state’s capital city. What’s not so controversial is that Jones, a seasoned restaraunteur, can cook. This past week, Jones opened a new restaurant in the city he loves — Danny’s BBQ Stand — which will start out operating during lunch hours and may expand, depending on how it goes, in hopes of revitalizing a storied part of the city.READ ON: Ex-Charleston mayor hoping new restaurant will help bring life back to Quarrier StreetPHOTO: From Charleston Gazette-Mail

Is the Teddy Bear a West Virginia native?

Historians seem to agree that the first teddy bear in the U.S. was crafted by toymaker Morris Michtom, who was inspired by a 1902 panel cartoon that teased President Teddy Roosevelt for saving the life of a bear cub while hunting in Mississippi. However, at least one West Virginian claimed the first teddy bear was a black bear cub captured on Allegheny Mountain and that he himself gifted it to the president, according to WVExplorer magazine. Continue reading

What purple paint in the WV woods means

If you're a part of the long lineage of West Virginia hunters, you are likely aware the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources requires that hunters must have in their possession written permission from a landowner before entering any posted private land. A 2016 state law can also help let you know if you are on private land through the use of purple paint marks. Here’s more on that. READ ON:a) Purple paint posting option on private land now available in West Virginiab) Purple paint posting law now in effect

Making sure kids get fed this summer

Part of the lifeblood of West Virginia communities is helping local neighbors in need. There are few higher sorts of help than making sure children are fed and getting good nutrition. So, take note that the West Virginia Department of Education is looking for partnerships with organizations across the state to feed children and offer supervised activities this summer, especially in low-income areas. Continue reading

The penitentiary busts out a new career

The West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville close in 1995. But as an article in notes, the prison “has had quite the second act." Locals believed the storied institution would yet another abandoned hulk in a Rust Belt town. Yet the penitentiary now has a thriving career as a locale for TV shows, videos, and film. Continue reading

Finding land to farm in the Mountain State

There are many who’d rather not leave West Virginia, if they could find a job to support themselves and their family.  Some dream of being a part of one of the state’s historic occupations—running a farm. But national surveys show the biggest challenge to being a farmer, regardless of geography or if you grew up on a farm, is finding land. So, check out the Finding Farmland Course, a free online tool for young and beginning farmers.  Continue reading

New Martinsville restaurant has been the place to eat for eight decades

Sometimes the best restaurants in town boast the longest history since they stick to the basics that keep West Virginians so attached to chowing down in the Mountain State: home-cooked meals in a friendly setting. Quinet’s Court Restaurant in West Virginia has been offering homecooked meals for nearly eight decades in New Martinsville, where the owners first began serving dishes in 1941. Continue reading

Looking back on 100-year-old WV man’s WW2 service

West Virginia has a long, impressive history of service by the state’s men and women in America’s wars. Dabney Kisner of Durbin, who turned 100 years old Jan. 13, 2020,  served bravely in World War II, and his exploits flying as a bomber pilot read like a Hollywood movie. Some airmen refused to go on any more terrifying bombing runs and Kisner would fly in their place, at one point bailing out by parachute over a Belgium town after his plane was hit. Hear the tale of what happened next in this Pocahontas Times reprint of a story about his war service on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Continue reading

Strong women and right to vote celebrated in 2020

It’s no secret strong women—from mothers to grandmothers, sisters to aunts—have made West Virginia strong through hard work, family ties and community involvement. Women are also a growing force as entrepreneurs and politicians in the Mountain State. The year 2020 marks 100 years since women in the state and country earned the right to vote which brought them influence far beyond the homeplace. To mark ratification of the 19th Amendment, public and private organizations are teaming up to organize events around the state to commemorate the centennial and the role West Virginia played in ensuring women had the right to vote. Continue reading

From Afghanistan to the West Virginia hills

Ask a West Virginia resident about their family history and you will likely trace their family roots back to any number of countries around the world. The state continues to be a welcoming place for others, including refugees such as 28-year-old Najib Ahmad Bakhtari, who found safety in the West Virginia hills when he left the danger and unrest in his home country of Afghanistan. “The thing that got me about West Virginia was the beauty of the mountains and peacefulness of the small town,” he says.  Continue reading

The notable working class history of the WV hotdog

Laura Jackson Roberts used to be a hot dog minimalist, but is now a convert to the pleasures—and history—of the loaded West Virginia Hot Dog, one of the state’s culinary delights. The Mountain State version of a loaded hot dog—which may include chili, onions, mustard, coleslaw and more—speaks to the state’s proud, working class roots, as it may have originated during the Great Depression, she says.  Continue reading

Grant program can help communities highlight history

If you live in rural West Virginia, love where you live and want to bring attention to its rich history, check out a new grant program. The program is targeted at rural communities in West Virginia through the State Historic Preservation Office of the Department of Arts, Culture and History, the West Virginia Legislature and the National Park Service, Department of the Interior.  Continue reading

Look ahead to Spring 2020 festivals around WV

Among the many blessings of life in West Virginia are the distinct seasons, each one of which brings particular pleasures for celebrating community life and the state’s many special features. WV Explorer magazine looks ahead to Spring 2020 and community festivals that include ramp dinners (photo), wildflower walks, and maple-syrup festivals, events which are attracting more tourists to the charms of the Mountain State. Continue reading

‘Chamber Cash’ supports local business

West Virginia communities have a long history of supporting local businesses. But the Chamber of Commerce in the Wetzel County city of New Martinsville has taken it to the next level with “Chamber Cash.” The idea—share it with your own town or city!—encourages community members to support local businesses and foster a more connected community by using Chamber Cash, which works similar to a gift certificate. You can use the $25 Chamber Cash certificates at 27 local businesses and also re-sell them through raffles and prizes. Continue reading

Still creative and back home in West Virginia

We’re all familiar with tales of why people leave West Virginia. Then, there are tales of why they come back. Chelsey Kedding left Wheeling to attend Manhattan School of Music Conservatory in New York City, where she married and began to raise a daughter. She moved back to Wheeling recently, where she now teaches children music, offers sound therapy classes and much more. “Here we have family around us for support, we can explore creative endeavors without breaking the bank, we can live a little bit slower pace of life and grow within a community.” Continue reading