Appalachia

In 1962, a 35-year-old physicist from Kentucky became president of the university we know today as Virginia Tech. The late Marshall Hahn was a maverick, who brought change to a mostly male, mostly white, southwestern Virginia military school.

Hahn died in 2016. His daughters live on the family property, much of which has been protected from development by conservation easements, which the family put in place decades ago. 

The vast region that comprises Appalachia is known for its abundance of water. High mountain ridges here function like ‘water towers’ holding moisture from the atmosphere and sending it down into rivers, streams and aquifers, ultimately quenching the thirst of millions of people beyond its borders.  But a new study finds that climate change could have a strange and devastating effect on this ancient system.

American Cancer Society

Virginia has one of the lowest cancer rates in the country, but in some parts of the Commonwealth, for a certain form of cancer, the rate is among the highest.

In Southwestern Virginia, many people can trace their roots back to before America got its independence.  Appalachian culture prevails to this day, so, when a Jewish professor of creative writing moved here to teach at Virginia Tech, she found a cultural landscape very different from where she grew up. Erika Meitner’s award-winning new book of poetry explores her new home from an outsider’s perspective, something that runs deep in her own family.

Central Appalachia, once home to a bustling coal industry is today riddled with abandoned mine lands. But efforts continue to re-purpose and transform them into economic drivers for the future.  In southwestern Virginia many projects are in the planning phase, some are under way, and many more are in the works. 

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