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Mtn. News: Sickness & Health in Appalachia

Mtn. News: Sickness & Health in Appalachia


Vickie Salyers of Rush, KY holds a photo of her late husband who passed away from complications with lung cancer after years of working in the mines. Photo by Sydney Boles.


 In this episode, we bring you stories of sickness and health in Appalachia.  

First, from WMMT’s own Ohio Valley Resource reporter, Sydney Boles, we hear from widows of miners with Black Lung about how effects of the deadly disease ripple out into the community.  On Tuesday January 22, 2019 PBS Frontline Aired an NPR Investigation of the resurgence of Black Lung Disease in Appalachia.  Black Lung sickens and kills coal miners, but as Sydney Boles reports, the disease also has much broader effects. Boles gathered stories from women whose husbands worked in coal, and who died from what the widows believe was Black Lung.  

Joyce Birman of Lynch, KY holds a picture of her husband George who passed away in 2013 from a heart attack and Black Lung Disease. Photo by Sydney Boles.

 Then, also from Ohio Valley Resource, reporter Mary Meehan brings us a story about officials who are warning that a small vaping device called Juul is proving to be a major health risk to youth.

While the first two stories focus on challenges to health in the region, we finish this episode on a positive note with the second in a six-part series from Michael and Carrie Kline. “Hope Shorts” explore Wit & Wisdom on Race, Class & Community Survival from Mount Hope, West Virginia. In this second segment Home Grown, Made from Scratch, Preserved to Last Bernice Clayton and Nathan Shelton, natives of Fayette County, WV describe their older family members’ ability to make do from scratch, from the land, making sorghum molasses, making soap, preserving food, and squatting on land during the time of the WV Mine Wars.  Getting by with a dose of humor and a pound of know how.


Music on this episode features Buell Kazee with a tune called “Short Life of Trouble” from Appalshop’s own June Appal Recordings.  





appalachian history,
Black Lung Disease,
coal industry,
mountain healthcare,

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