Robbie Harris

WVTF/RADIO IQ New River Valley Bureau Chief

Robbie Harris is based in Blacksburg,  covering the New River Valley and southwestern Virginia. 

The former news director of  WBEZ/ Chicago Public Radio and WHYY in Philadelphia, she led award-winning news teams and creative projects.  Early in her career, she was the Humanities Reporter at New Hampshire Public Radio, and also served as a tape editor on Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

Robbie worked at New Jersey Public Television and WCAU/CBS TV in Philadelphia while she pursued  her Master's Degree at the University of Pennsylvania.  During college, she was a Page at Saturday Night Live in New York and a reporter and program host for Cross Country Cable Television in Somerville, NJ.  Robbie also worked at the Rutgers College Radio Station, WRSU and was part of the team which founded "Knight Time Television" at the university.

 About half the private sector jobs in this country are in small businesses. Women comprise a third of small business owners nationwide.  But in Floyd Virginia, where county officials held a contest for the best new small business plans, 100% of the winners were women. 

In parts 1 and 2 of this report, you met some of them. Today we meet the others.

An environmental group is calling on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to extend the comment period for the proposed Mountain Valley Pipe Line.  The deadline was this past Tuesday, June 16TH.   It’s one of several requests for more time to discuss the potential impact of several pipelines proposed for the region.

High School graduation rates appear to be on the rise across the country, but for one segment of the population, they’ve dropped dramatically. The pass rate for prison inmates taking the G-E-D plummeted after a new computer based test was introduced in 2014.

G-E-D stands for General Education Diploma. It’s a test people can take if they failed to get their high school degrees. Corrections facilities are facing new challenges in making the tests available to inmates, even as experts stress, there’s nothing better than that degree to keep people from returning to jail.

The transition by the former Bruce Jenner into Caitlin Jenner is another symbol of how ideas about gender are changing in America.  But when it comes to rural communities, it can be more complicated for people who are, or would like to be transgender. 

Photo by Matt Wasson, Appalachian Voices.

The decline of coal mining is a blessing to some and a curse to others. And when it comes to what’s known as ‘mountain top removal’ the disagreement runs even deeper. Appalachia is ground zero for this form of surface coal mining. And while it’s only a small percentage of all coal mining, opponents are calling for it to stop.

“Appalachia has so much potential, but we can’t realize that potential if we continue to poison our water and destroy our mountains."

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