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Mtn. News: Local, Regional & National News

Mtn. News: Local, Regional & National News

In this episode we bring you a medley of local, regional, and national news: from voting predictions as caucus season begins, to an inaugural meeting between mine agencies in an attempt to tackle black lung. And, from the Appalshop Archive, in honor of Black History Month, we’ll bring you audio from the late blues musician, Nat Reese, performing live at Seedtime on the Cumberland in 1993.

First: Officials with the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration met with health researchers in early February to discuss ways to better protect coal miners from the dust that causes black lung disease. For the Ohio Valley Resource, Sydney Boles reports it was an inaugural meeting between agencies that haven’t always agreed on how to address the disease.

Residents of Denison, Iowa, gather for a mock caucus at the town’s library, where they caucus for food — pizza, ceviche and egg rolls — rather than candidates. A multicultural spread reflecting a diverse town. Andrea Tudhope | America Amplified: Election 2020

Then we bring you two stories from America Amplified: a national public media collaboration focused on community engagement reporting.

First:  a new survey from APM Research Lab shows our attitudes across the country toward immigrants shift depending on the makeup of our local communities. As caucus and primary season launches, producer Andrea Tudhope of America Amplified: Election 2020 spent time with residents of Denison, Iowa, where immigrants make up at least a third of the local population.

Second: Americans are divided on lots of issues. But a new survey shows across partisan lines, people agree on at least one thing: the U.S. health care system needs fixing. Side Effects Public Media’s Christine Herman spoke with several people who participated in the survey from Public Agenda and USA Today.

Miners & community members block a coal train in Pike County, KY in January 2020: demanding pay they are owed. Photo by Sydney Boles.

A familiar protest took place this January in Pike County, Kentucky. WMMT’s own Sydney Boles brings us the story of a group of jilted miners blocking a coal train to demand their pay.

Last in this episode of Mtn. News: February is Black History Month so we poked around in the Appalshop Archives to bring you a recording of Nat Reese performing at Seedtime on the Cumberland Festival in 1993. According to the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame:

“Nat Reese was a nationally recognized blues singer and guitarist who lived in Princeton for nearly all of his life. Born in Salem, VA in 1924 his family moved to Wyoming County four years later, settling in Princeton in 1935. There, Nat was exposed to a wide range of musical styles, from big band jazz and popular music, to blues, polkas and country music.

He began playing the guitar as a young man and performed in various string bands that played throughout the coalfields in the days before racial integration. For a time, he led a group called the Starlight Gospel Singers, based in Itmann, Wyoming County. Later, Nat concentrated on blues and swing music, often appearing with renowned fiddler Howard Armstrong. Howard and Nat traveled and performed extensively, including several European tours, where they appeared in Switzerland, Belgium, France, and East Germany.

In addition to his many musical talents, Nat was also a gifted artist and a commercial sign painter. Nat Reese received the Vandalia Award in 1995 and the John Henry Award in 1988. He passed away in 2012.”

The late blues musician Nat Reese, of Princeton, WV. Photo courtesy of Centrum.

Intro & Outro music on this episode features Earl Gilmore with a tune called “Love Like a River” from his album From the Depths of My Soul.  That album was produced by Appalshop’s own JuneAppal Recordings in 1977.





appalachian history,
arts & culture,
Black History Month,
coal industry,
economic transition,
Election 2020,
Nat Reese,