Reflecting on Gainesville Loves Mountains

Thursday, May 10th, 2012 | Posted by Brian Sewell | No Comments

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We’re happy to share this guest blog post by Kathy Selvage. Last month, Kathy traveled to Florida to speak at Gainesville Loves Mountains. There she found engaged citizens with open hearts and minds.
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I landed at the airport in Jacksonville, FL., on Saturday afternoon, April 14, 2012 at the behest of Jason Fults who invited me to be part of the second Gainesville Loves Mountains series of events and activities. The image of two smokestacks near Jacksonville, seen from high above the earth, seemed to drive their image into my chest as we descended. It haunted me for quite awhile but quickly dissipated by the warm and wonderful people I met afterward.

Saturday night was devoted to getting to know my extraordinary hosts, Jason Fults and Laurel Nesbit, and I was thankful for that time to unwind slightly before we wound ourselves up again for what has proven to be a whirlwind of events.

The very next morning, I attended service with amazing people at UC Gainesville. It was a beautiful service, amazingly inclusive, a wonderful sermon by a seemingly “too young to be a minister” young man named Vince Amil. The repetitive words from a song stuck with me: “When the worship is over, service begins.” After crossing a very inviting courtyard, we met at 11:00 in a separate room for an Adult Education Class on Mountaintop Removal. How cool is that? I left them with a book for the church library accessible to all to remind others of the consequences of burning fossil fuels in this country, the consequence that is most often left out and ignored, the consequence of the extraction process on the Appalachian region and its people. I left there knowing in my heart that these intelligent, thoughtful people would engage and continue to be creative in ways not yet imaginable by me.

Circles close quickly when we are open to others and will have heartfelt conversations with them. I met a woman in the Church who was born in Wise, VA, where I have lived nearly all my life.

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Appalachian Treasures on tour out West!

Friday, March 23rd, 2012 | Posted by Kate Finneran | No Comments

The Appalachian Treasures Tour is out West right now! Our own Lenny Kohm is out on the road in Arizona currently and headed to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Fullerton, and then Northern California! Click here for upcoming tour dates.

In order to bring the country together to protect the region from the ravages of mountaintop removal, we created the Appalachian Treasures slideshow, with images and voices from the region. Along with directly impacted residents, we travel with this presentation to key Congressional districts across the country to build a national base to gain support for the Clean Water Protection Act and the Appalachia Restoration Act. Along the way, we have traveled to over 20 states and talked to over 7,000 people directly.

Click here to listen to Lenny’s radio interview in Santa Fe!

Beverly Walkup joins us on tour in LA this month, hailing from Southern West Virginia where her community has been affected by mountaintop removal.

Beverly Walkup joins us on tour this weekend in Southern California to speak about how mountaintop removal has affected her community and what folks in Southern California can do to end it.

Is Appalachian Treasures coming to a venue near you? Check our schedule.

Stay tuned for more updates from the road!

Thanks, Allegheny Unitarian Universalist Church!

Thursday, January 12th, 2012 | Posted by Molly Moore | No Comments

Appalachian Voices recently had the honor of being inducted into the Allegheny Unitarian Universalist Church’s Share The Plate program, in which the church donates 50% of their quarterly tithings to a justice-related nonprofit. Our longtime field staff member Austin Hall was on hand last weekend to accept the church’s generous $1,250 check.

Allegheny Unitarian Universalist Church generously donated half of their quarterly tithings to Appalachian Voices.


During his first Appalachian Treasures tour in Pittsburgh with Coal River Mountain Watch activist Junior Walk in 2010, Austin had the pleasure of meeting Shane Freeman, a local activist and congregate of the Allegheny UU Church. In all-star fashion, Shane maintained contact with Appalachian Voices. When Austin and Adam Hall, a West Virginia native and Keepers of the Mountains activist, embarked on their fall 2011 Appalachian Treasures tour, Shane helped schedule a presentation at the Allegheny UU Church.

After seeing the presentation Shane organized, the Reverend David McFarland and the church board decided to sponsor us in the Share The Plate program. This was a tremendous honor, as all past recipients are predominantly from the greater Pittsburgh area.

We’re honored and thankful to receive this donation from the Allegheny Unitarian Universalist Church, and proud to have Shane Freeman as a supporter.

Appalachian Treasures Tour Pennsylvania and Ohio: It’s A Wrap.

Thursday, September 29th, 2011 | Posted by Austin Hall | No Comments

Fresh off the road from a fantastic Appalachian Treasures Tour in Pennsylvania and Ohio, I wanted to take a moment to wrap up the tour with a recap of events.

First of all I wanted to give my profound thanks from the entire Appalachian Voices team and to Adam Hall who joined us on this latest tour. Adam, a native of Raleigh County West Virginia, is a highly decorated veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars (Recipient of: Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart), whose family farm was destroyed by the Edwight mountaintop removal mine in Raleigh County, WV. This sprawling mountaintop removal mine sits above the Marsh Fork Elementary School. He is rapidly becoming leader in the fight to end mountaintop removal coal mining, and I am honored he is willing to take time away from his work with the Friends Of Blair Mountain and the Keepers Of The Mountains to travel with us.

We had a great presentation tour in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Speaking at churches, rotary clubs and local businesses we encountered dozens of caring individuals who upon learning about the horrors of mountaintop removal became instantly energized to join the movement that will put an end to this practice.

We shared the story of mountaintop removal and it’s devastating impacts to communities and the environment of Appalachia to approximately 200 Ohioans and Pennsylvanians. The presentations generated dozens of hand written letters to Representative Steve Latourette (Oh-14), Representative Todd Platts (PA-19), Representative Mike Doyle (PA-14) and Representative Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) urging them to protect the mountains of Appalachia and co-sponsor the Clean Water Protection Act HR 1375. Hopefully our efforts and the efforts of our presentation hosts and audiences will result in important new bipartisan co-sponsors to this bill that will help end mountaintop removal!

Thank you so much to all of our hosts, without you these trips would be impossible. We cannot express how much we value those who attend, host and assist these vital presentations.

Appalachian Treasures Colorado: It’s a wrap.

Monday, October 18th, 2010 | Posted by Austin Hall | No Comments

Austin Hall and Dustin White give a presentation in Colorado.


Fresh off the road from a fantastic Appalachian Treasures Tour in Colorado, I wanted to take a moment to wrap up the tour with a brief recap of events.

First of all I wanted to give my profound thanks from the entire Appalachian Voices team to Dustin White who joined us on the Colorado tour. Dustin is originally from Boone County WV, and knows firsthand the impacts mountaintop removal coal mining poses to coalfield communities. Dustin is rapidly becoming leader in the fight to end mountaintop removal coal mining, and I am honored he is willing to travel with us.

We had a great presentation tour in Colorado. Throughout my travels there is a consistent theme of understanding and comprehension for the issue of mountaintop removal coal mining from States that have invested in preserving and protecting what we know to be integral to a healthy economy: clean air, clean water and intact mountains. Colorado was certainly not an exception to this rule.

We shared the story of mountaintop removal and it’s devastating impacts to communities and the environment of Appalachia to approximately 100 Coloradans. We spoke in churches, conference rooms of solar panel installers, and a renovated stagecoach stop in Rollinsville Colorado elevation 9000 feet! The presentations generated dozens of hand written letters to Senator Mark Udall and Senator Michael Bennet urging them to protect the mountains of Appalachia and co-sponsor the Appalachia Restoration Act S 696. Hopefully our efforts and the efforts of our presentation hosts and audiences will result in two new Western co-sponsors to this bill that will help end mountaintop removal!

Thank you so much to all of our hosts, without you these trips would be impossible.

If you have not seen it yet, check out this video update from the tour.
Appalachian Treasures Colorado.
For more information about the Appalachian Treasures road show contact Kate Rooth at kate@appvoices.org

Please adjust your seat for landing, we’re heading to Colorado!

Monday, October 11th, 2010 | Posted by Kate Rooth | No Comments

Well as the autumn air begins to change the leaves, the team at App Voices is back on the road, and this time we are heading to Colorado with our Appalachian Treasures tour!

We have a jam packed itinerary so check us out if you live nearby:

Tuesday, October 12th, The Stage Stop Inn, 60 Main St, Rollinsville, CO, 80474
7 p.m.—Herman Family Band
8 p.m.—Appalachian Treasures
9 p.m.—more music and merriment, bring an instrument!

Wednesday, October 13th, 7pm Namaste Solar- Boulder, 4571 Broadway Street • Boulder, Colorado 80304

Thursday, October 14th, 7pm Namaste Solar- Denver, 3330 Larimer Street, Suite 1A • Denver, Colorado 80205

Saturday, October 16th, 9:30am 3220 S. Acoma St Englewood CO 80110
Is God Green? A workshop engaging the Christian Community with Environmental Concern

And be sure to tune in to KGNU (88.5 FM) for a LIVE interview Tuesday morning on “The Morning Magazine”.
Don’t live in Colorado? Stream the interview live online.

Maine, Philly, DC, oh my!

Monday, September 20th, 2010 | Posted by Kate Rooth | No Comments


Well our crew on the road has been tirelessly traveling throughout New England since last Wednesday and has done a knock out job.

Here are the highlights:

In Boston they had an hour long live interview on WMBR after an interview on the steps of the State House Building.

In Maine there was a press conference in Portland that got great pickup on WERU, a local radio station, as well as a 30 minute interview with public public radio.

They also visited the Danforth Wind Farm and then had a great presentation in Bangor at Waterfall Arts, and were in the Bangor Daily News!

Next stop on the tour was Philly where they had two presentations this weekend and then another press event this morning- updates from PA soon!

Keep on following us on Twitter, @AppVoices and #apptours and right here at the Front Porch Blog!

FARCES of Coal: World 2 – Luke Popovich 0

Friday, September 17th, 2010 | Posted by JW Randolph | 2 Comments

The FArCES of Coal are here for YOU, Candlestick Makers of America

One of my favorite people to see quoted in the news is the ever-dour NMA mouthpiece Luke Popovich. This guy has a simple job description which reads “Say whatever the coal industry tells you to say.” They even make up the numbers and statistics for him. Easy as pie! However, while we expect that Popovich will happily put on his blinders, collect his check in DC, and spout the nonsense of the day about Appalachia, the incredible thing his how he continually manages to screw up his message. Popovich would be hilarious if he wasn’t using his words to support something as reckless and deadly as mountaintop removal.

As you’ll remember, Popovich was the one who accused President Obama of “parking tanks on our front lawns.” Of course, Popovich’s “lawn” is in Washington DC, and for those who know the area I’d wager that his house is nowhere near the armory.

Right now two actual coalfield residents from Kentucky and West Virginia – both directly impacted by mountaintop removal – have traveled all the way to Maine to share their story with the good people of the northeast. The story is here on MPBN, and I hope you’ll listen to it. The reporter does a good job, and in an attempt to cover “the other side of mountaintop removal,” calls Popovich in his Washington office. He manages to get a quote in, and says:

“The effect [of passing the Appalachia Restoration Act] would be fairly devastating because you would see the loss of up to 17,000 jobs…And with those jobs, of course, would be a terrific impact on the communities that coal supports: the candlestick makers, the dry cleaners who all depend on the coal payroll. Then you would have a corresponding impact on the state and local budgets.”

The candlestick makers? WHAT?!! Luke, you silly guy.

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On the Road…In New England!

Thursday, September 16th, 2010 | Posted by Kate Rooth | No Comments

Well this week our team hit the road for an Appalachian Treasures tour of the New England States in hopes to raise awareness about the issue of mountaintop removal coal mining and the importance of the Appalachia Restoration Act (SB 696) in the Senate.


Our road warriors are:

Dustin White, who was born and raised in West Virginia and grew up in the coalfields. He is the son of a retired coal miner and his family has been living in Appalachia since before the Revolutionary War. He is a volunteer with Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and became actively involved in the campaign to end Mountaintop Removal when Horizon Resources began active blasting at a mountaintop removal site on a mountain named for Dustin’s family, Cook Mountain, where his ancestors once lived. He continues to fight for protection of his family cemetery and others across Central Appalachia.

—and—

Mary Bettis Love, a native of Knoxville TN, has lived in and around Louisville KY for the past 22 years. Her roots in Appalachia are deep, with family having settled in East Tennessee near the Smoky Mountains in the late 1700’s. She is currently retired, which gives her more time for volunteer work with her church and with Kentuckians For The Commonwealth (KFTC).

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