West Virginians Rally in Charleston

Pics from the Daily Kos




August 31, 2006 at 11:58 am 4 comments

Symposium on Mountaintop Removal

A symposium called “Writing about Mountain Culture, Mountain Top Removal, and the Environment” will be taking place at Marshall University on Friday, Oct. 20 and Saturday, Oct. 21.

Six authors will hold writing workshops, give readings, and engage in roundtable discussions. The authors include Chris Holbrook, Charlie Hughes, Kristin L. Johannsen, Eric Reese, Anne Shelby, and Mary Ann Taylor-Hall, all of whom worked on Missing Mountains (Wind Publications, 2005), a book dedicated to stopping mountain top removal. Denise Giardina will be the featured speaker on Saturday afternoon.

For details about times and events, email Chris Green. Anyone interested may participate (all activities are free), but space in writing workshops is limited, so interested parties are recommended to register by contacting Green.

August 31, 2006 at 11:36 am Leave a comment

Mountain Mourning Collection – DVD Three-Pack

Patchwork Films announces the release of a three-film DVD entitled “The Mountain Mourning Collection.” This DVD is aimed at bringing immediate focus to the effect mountaintop removal coal mining has on the land and its people.

The films are as follows:

The title film, filmmaker uses photography and personal stories to create an epiphany, a personal awakening, as nature’s beauty is starkly contrasted with scenes of ruin. Powerful narration is supported by traditional gospel and Appalachian music to tell this story of tragedy and hope. “Mountain Mourning” calls upon Christians and their churches to summons moral courage and effective advocacy that will bring healing and justice to this land and its people. Produced by B. J. Gudmundsson, West Virginia Filmmaker of the Year 2005 Time approximate: 30 minutes.

An outing with Maria Gunnoe in Bob White, West Virginia, provides a snapshot of the Mountaintop Removal Mining that has moved into her back yard. Filmmakers, B. J. Gudmundsson and Doug Chadwick, traverse the rocky road up Cazy Mountain to survey the aftermath of a strip-mining operation. Maria’s Native American ancestry is revealed through her memories of family and their respect for the land. Her story is one of courage and strength that is woven around the heart by musical recordings of her mother and father. Time approximate: 20 minutes.

Larry Gibson is the only permanent resident on Kayford Mountain, just 35 miles from Charleston, West Virginia. For 19 years he has held on to his fifty acres – that which remains of his ancestral home. What was once a living community is now an island of life surrounded by death. Patchwork filmmakers join Larry and his band of friends as they pass through “Hell’s Gate” and – in one breathtaking moment – come upon “the end of the world.” Time approximate: 18 minutes

Read the story in the Huntington News. Learn more about the films.

August 31, 2006 at 11:29 am Leave a comment

What We Lose

A poem by Wanda.

My List of What We’re Losing in Mountain Top Removal

Firefly evenings
in mountain shadows,
water sung music
from scyamore choirs
on quiet mist mornings,
even Kudzu our savage

views of legends,
breaths of greatness,
creations of heaven,


August 22, 2006 at 11:24 am Leave a comment

West Virginia Smiles, A Song

West Virginia smiles
warm and wild on an autumn day.
West Virginia smiles
like she wishes you would stay.
West Virginia smiles
and I’m smilin’ too:
broad and wide I cannot hide so glad to be with you.

West Virginia smiles
she’s so proud of her past.
West Virginia smiles
fueled a nation’s furnace blast.
West Virginia smiles
and we smile right back:
forged in bonds unbreakable we’re family to the last.

West Virginia smiles
through the tears of grieving wives.
West Virginia smiles
honors men who gave their lives.
West Virginia smiles
and she opens her arms wide:
so grateful for the chance to meet each new one that arrives.

West Virginia smiles
for how much longer I don’t know.
West Virginia smiles
while they’re raping her for coal.
West Virginia smiles
how can they be so bold?
‘Cause shaven hills and hollow fills must be troubling to her soul.

Fill all the valleys, make the moutains fall.
Isn’t that what ol’ Isaiah said?
But this one sure don’t look to me like no prophet’s call:
with increasing speed they feed their greed
it’s the call of profit instead.

But West Virginia smile
we won’t abandon you to die.
West Virginia smile
let your spruces scratch the sky.
West Virginia smile
wipe that teardrop from your eye.
We don’t know if we’ll win this one but we sure are gonna try

to see West Virginia smile
for ages all to come.
And the mountaineers stand high
while woodpeckers beat the drum.
West Virginia smiles
and it almost strikes me dumb:
so blest to see in her this day a little piece of where she’s from.

Learn the story of the song from the writer. And listen to a snippet sung by Jay Clark.

August 22, 2006 at 11:16 am Leave a comment

Thou Shalt Not Remove the Tops of Mountains


Let it be known that activist Corina Lang of Southern Illinois was so moved by what she learned from a Heartwood conference about mountaintop removal coal mining that she pimped out her truck with banners and literature and took off on a five week journey across the US, going as far as Seattle, spreading the message about the evil of mountaintop removal.

“It doesn’t matter what your politics are. Most people think this is wrong,” says Lang. She’s gotten a little funding for her trip, and much of her support has come from churches in the southern states affected by the practice.

“Many people there have strong faith. They believe this is a sin against God.”

August 22, 2006 at 11:09 am Leave a comment

Governor Fletcher, Silent on Mountaintop Removal

The Lexington Herald Leader carried an AP piece on the myriad ways that Governor Ernie Fletcher has been good for Appalachia:

* crackdown on (coal) truckers hauling overweight loads resulting in a significant decline in traffic fatalities
* pushing for more stringent laws to protect coal miners
* secured state funding to open drug treatment centers to help eastern Kentucky deal with widespread prescription drug addiction
* pushed for the creation of “coal academies” to train miners
* donating about 1,000 discarded state computers to low-income families in the region

If these accomplishments are genuine and pure, that’s great, but what about the biggest threat, namely mountaintop removal, to his region?

Dave Cooper, a Lexington environmentalist who has crusaded against blasting away mountaintops to expose coal seams, said the governor has been mum on the issue.

“I’m not a Fletcher basher,” Cooper said. “I really think he’s a decent guy. … Yet, I have never heard Gov. Fletcher say the words ‘mountaintop removal.'”

August 22, 2006 at 10:43 am Leave a comment

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