Upwards of 300k are without potable water in West Virginia’s Kanawha Valley after a chemical spill was detected Thursday. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin issued a state of emergency that night for 8 counties and a town in one other.


Great recap of the situation by Elaine McMillion.

**We first reported West Virginia American Water’s ‘do not use’ advisory Thursday night/Friday morning. At that time details were scarce as to what the chemical — 4-methylcyclohexane menthanol — used in coal processing does if consumed or inhaled. That’s still unclear, as reported here.

More than 24 hours after the leak was reported, the press and public heard from Freedom Industries President Gary Southern, who gave few details on the situation inside the facility, which sits along the Elk River above the Kanawha Valley’s water intake.

The presser was short and interrupted by Southern walking away from reporters. Watch this video to see WCHS reporter Kallie Cart call him back.

Freedom Industries has been a company in its current form only since the start of the year, according to this article.

It hasn’t been determined yet when water for these customers will be determined safe. For now, several distribution sites have been set up throughout the region.

Here are more headlines on the spill from my colleagues:

If you’re on Twitter, you can follow updates and conversations on the chemical spill by searching for #wvchemleak.

**Full disclosure, I write for this paper.

My move had me feeling super positive and enthusiastic about life. But, as leaves fell from trees and this silly polar vortex moved in, I lost a lot of my oomf. Let’s reflect for a moment.

2013 handed me a lot of big changes and challenges.
- One of my oldest and closest friends passed away much too soon. I still find it difficult to understand and accept that.
- I was fully immersed in my job, started to feel unsatisfied with said job and left with, basically, no plan other than “further my freelance career.”
- I learned in D.C. I don’t blow in the wind as much as I thought.
- I moved back to West Virginia for a new challenging job that already has me learning. But, I still feel awkward and insecure about my capabilities.
- My hometown is much different than I thought it’d be. I now know what it’s like to feel lonely when you’re surrounded by all your friends.

A new year has me thinking the tides are right to change. (Again.)
- I’m entering my quarterly “ick, boys” phase, feeling more creative, motivated and less like a barfly.
(Can this just become a way of life? Let’s channel Christine De Pizan for a sec.)
- A recent project at work made me realize there’s one thing that makes me happy without fail: Photography.
- I have a new goal: Photograph until the day I die. (But how?)
- Ask more questions, listen.
- Have this space evolve to become a place for images and reflections.

Weekends here haven’t been filled with much. I’ve been on some photo excursions, and I’ll share those soon enough. For now, here are images of how I frequently spend my weekends.

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Red curry soup with rice and purple kale.

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Herbed omelette.

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Pickles and brie grilled cheese.

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Boozy banana bread.

I recently headed back to Wild & Wonderful (Did you know, I moved to NoVa for a hot second?), and thought I’d spend my first Saturday celebrating an old standard: our bigass bridge and the people who like jumping off it.

Bridge Day is an annual event during which adrenaline junkies from all over the world can release some of those endorphins by BASE jumping or repelling from the New River Gorge Bridge. It was once the highest arch bridge in the world (Thanks, China and AZ/NV). It’s more than 850 ft tall and makes me feel like puking when I look over the edge.

View from the bridge

The festival, held in Fayette County, allows thousands to walk across and hang out on the bridge for something like 8 hours every October.

Despite having spent much of my childhood in Raleigh and Kanawha counties, I have never been to Bridge Day or, really, many of the other annual fun days West Virginia has to offer.

I was amazed by a number of things on our trip:

The drive was beautiful. With a stop and Kanawha Falls and frequent photo stops, I thought we might never make it to the event.

Kanawha Falls

 

Houses

 

Kudzu dinosaurs

Access is outstanding. Spectators aren’t limited to one holding area. People are free to move up and down the bridge as they please, though you can’t hang where the jumpers chill post-fall. If you want to talk to a crazy (I use this term with the utmost respect and envy), they’re all around. Just look for someone wearing a helmet and a backpack.

basejumper

 

documentarians

Kettlecorn. Seriously. How have I only now awakened to the glory that is this sweet and salty snack? Is this real life?

kettlecorn

Fellow photog and dear friend, Pang, and I photographed a wedding in Emmitsburg, Md., last month. Judy and Kevin are a fantastic couple, and their wedding day went off without a hitch. Well, other than the marriage one. (View some images here) Working with Pang was awesome–we decided we’re a great team–and taking a short roadtrip with her was even better.

Here are some (film!) images from our Sunday drive through Maryland.

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Pang_1field_1

Pang

farmscape

summit

view_2 High_Rock
pose

Directions

espresso

rachelmolenda:

A post from a friend, Peter MGunn, on why people riot (obvisously. see headline.). He brings up interesting points that go deeper than “people are pissed.” I recommend following his blog.

When rioting occurs, we often treat it as a sickness, instead of as symptoms of an underlying sickness of the political/economic system itself. Because if we acknowledged the underlying sickness, then we’d have to deal with something like structural change, we might actually have to work at dissolving the nation state. That’s too much, and so instead of acknowledging the pathologies of the system, we pathologize the rioters.

 

Originally posted on Occupy, Goddamnit.:

This is almost entirely a theoretical exercise, since the twin engines of neoliberalism and reality TV, with a healthy nitrous oxide boost from the commodification of dissent, has almost thoroughly obliterated any idea of popular rebellion, making what was reality only a decade ago largely unimaginable today (except of course in Oakland. Shine on you crazy diamond). But, I promised myself I would write this if that racist murdering fuck was found innocent, just in case America has another one in it. To be clear, I am not inciting anything.

Riots are often seen as the work of monsters, unjustifiable acts committed by degenerates. The liberal-minded will take a sociologist approach and offer a condescending explanation about social inequality. The most sympathetic mind will say “Well why don’t you go riot in rich people’s neighborhoods?” As if the police would ever let them get that far.

People who condemn the…

View original 844 more words

I had the honor of documenting a good friend’s wedding Friday night. McKenzie and I went to college together, and seeing her tie the knot with Jesse was phenomenal.

The two haven’t been engaged for very long. I think they planned their intimate ceremony in about six weeks! Kudos to those two and their families. Everything was gorgeous. Here’s two preview images I’m excited to share.

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