Monday, April 17, 2017

Podcast follows the struggles of six Central Appalachian residents to stay in the coal region

Colt Brogan, 19, wants to stay in West Virginia, if he
can find a decent job (WVPB photo by Roxy Todd)
West Virginia Public Broadcasting has launched a podcast, "The Struggle to Stay," that follows six Appalachian residents for a period of six to 12 months, "as they decide if they will stay or leave home — and how they survive either way," WVPB reports. The subjects, from Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, range in age from 19 to 38, and include an aspiring farmer, a disabled veteran working to be a comedian and artist, a single mother, a young man who recently returned to his coal-mining community, an aspiring actress and a laid-off miner.

The first story focuses on Colt Brogan, a 19-year-old resident in Lincoln County. "In high school, Colt planned on joining the Army, or maybe working for a construction company, anything except working to avoid working in the coal mines," Roxy Todd writes. "When he was in high school, he saw many miners lose their jobs- including his stepfather. Despite the economic challenges, he wants to stay in West Virginia to be close to his family, especially his 7-year-old brother, River. It’s been a struggle for Colt to find a way to stay in West Virginia."

Brogan says drugs have ravaged the county and his mother has struggled with addiction, Todd writes. What's keeping him in Lincoln County is a "training program that’s teaching him agriculture and helping him go to college. But will farming pay the bills after his two years in the program are up? And in the meantime, how is he going to juggle a full-time job, school, and the stress of his turbulent relationship with his mother? Because things do change between them over the next year. Well, kind of."

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