Blog - West Virginia Strong

Put to the Test in West Virginia

As businesses begin to open up and America passes more than 100,000 fatalities, West Virginians are being urged to do the right thing for their families and communities and get tested. Free Covid-19 testing is now being rolled out across West Virginia. A recent testing site in Huntington WV, sought to encourage more testing by people in low-income communities in the Mountain State hit hard by the virus. This video gives an up-close look at what public testing looks like in West Virginia. PHOTO IMAGE (Courtesy Cabell-Huntington Health Department physician director Dr. Michael Kilkenny and Bishop Pastor Charles Shaw of the Huntington Black Pastors Association look toward free Covid-19 testing that took place last weekend in the heart of Huntington's African-American community. The drive-up and walk-up testing was an attempt to get the measure of the impact of the virus, especially on low-income communities. VIDEO: A co-production of and

VIDEO: Too Few Masks? West Virginians take matters into their own hands

When it became clear public officials had not planned for enough facemasks to protect frontline workers in the Covid-19 pandemic, hundreds of resourceful volunteers from West Virginia got to work sewing masks at home to help nursing homes, clinics, hospitals, and coronavirus relief efforts stay safe on the job. More than 13,000 masks later, they are still hard at it ... For more on the group's efforts and to volunteer money, time or your own sewing skills, visit IMAGE: From Bobby Lee Messer video

Out of school, WV kids still being fed by their schools

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. IMAGE: Screen shot from video

VIDEO: Making Cupcakes and Making It in the Mountain State

From the streets of Charleston, W.Va., to her home in Rand, W.Va., Kim Walker Payne plans to pay off her mortgage selling cupcakes and cobblers. This video profile is part of the video series "Making It In the Mountain State." Continue reading

VIDEO: Pizzas & Cream Is Making It in the Mountain State with wood-fired brick oven

With a staff drawn from the Clay County region, and an idea inspired by a trip to Italy, a West Virginia family has launched a business "in the middle of nowehere" devoted to bringing good handmade, homemade food to the state. Continue reading

Building a Business in WV, One Family at a Time

Cheryl Herdman "felt a little left behind" trying to start her own business. But once she got the message that building a business in West Virginia was a "pull up your bootstraps and get to work," thing," then that's what she did. She and her staff at Hopewell Community Services, LLC, help individuals with intellectual developmental disabilities and their families live richer, fuller lives though innovative, personal programs. See this new episode in the West Virginia Strong series "Making It In West Virginia."

VIDEO: West Virginians cross border for better insulin prices

A bus load of West Virginians recently did what Mountaineers have long done to care for themselves and their families—they took matters into their own hands. Along with state lawmaker Barbara Fleischauer, they headed by bus to Canada to illustrate how much cheaper the life-saving drug is just a few hours drive across America's northern border. The Washington Post recently described how pharmaceutical companies have broken promises to drop the price of insulin while our political leaders fail to address the problem. It seems pretty clear that nothing will happen unless ordinary people start stepping step up....

VIDEO: Making It in the Mountain State with Good Wine and Good Friends

When a local couple started a winemaking business in their hometown of Spencer, WV, they weren’t sure what to expect. Chestnut Ridge Winery is now a thriving part of their community in the heart of the Mountain State. A new video in WVStrong’s ‘Making It In the Mountain State’ series. Continue reading

VIDEO: Barboursville WV 'makes' an artwork celebrating community

Inspired by Nancy Belmont's creation UNITY in 2016 in Alexandria, VA, a West Virginia minister and a local artist have presented a yearly event every September in the Cabell County community of Barboursville. The Barboursville Unity Project is a large collaborative public art creation that speaks to the ties that bind us all in West Virginia, both individually and collectively. NOTE: The community project in downtown Barboursville shown in the video was a Fall event and is no longer up.    Continue reading

Portrait of a West Virginia "Grandfamily"

Part of what it means to be a West Virginia is the willingness to quietly lend a helping hand to those in need when misfortune strikes.  This Kanawha County couple has helped raise seven young children from their extended family — one of many “grandfamilies” creating a brighter future for the next generation of West Virginians.     Continue reading

Father and son forge a hot rod bond

West Virginia offers a lot of activities that fathers and sons can enjoy together, learning important values and skills along the way. Working on a 1979 Camaro with his son, a Hurricane WV father has figured out a great way to connect with his son and provide a healthy outlet for his son's energies as he comes of age.  Post by WVStrong.Org.

VIDEO: Blue Collar Man Businessman

"Water Man" Timmy Cowan, with help from neighbors needing hauled water, saw a way to do well by doing good in West Virginia. This video is part of a new occasional series on, "Making It In the Mountain State." Continue reading

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