She loves, and not only her husband and their children and not just her folks and his folks and all of their friends they’ve made along a daunting path back to the city of Wheeling.
Glynis Board, without fail, opens her heart and arms along with her mind to every new person she encounters and is critical, initially anyway, only with the completely absurd. As long as it’s not suggested to her to leave the homeless without assistance or that first-responders should allow overdose victims to die, she’s willing to give anyone a listen.
Board, a 2000 graduate of Mount de Chantal Academy, is a true journalist who suffers from math anxiety, at times, but consistently persists with a yearning to learn because, frankly, it makes for a better story for the readers and listeners of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, and the knowledge improves her, too. Board’s beats involve the energy industry and the environmental issues that coincide, and she is an important part of a regional broadcasting partnership that produces examinations on issues like agriculture, the economy, and the opioid epidemic within the country’s Appalachian region.
“What took place in the steel industry is what is now happening in the coal industry,” the 34-year-old reported. “And there are economic drivers that are trying to move on in a big way, and I feel I need to watch that very carefully and cover it very carefully so that those looking for that new identity can find that new identity.
“Is Donald Trump going to bring back manufacturing? He would like everyone to believe he is, but I don’t know if that’s what is going to happen now,” she said. “What needs to happen here is what has happened in the Pittsburgh area, and I believe we can learn from that and that we can chart a path to success for the people who live here by looking in that direction, and I just want to be a part of that narrative.”
She also has adopted a self-made role here in Wheeling once she, her husband, Chuck, their 11-year-old son Forest, and their 4-year-old son, Brynn made the move to Wheeling in July 2015. Not only has she worked as a journalist but also as a mentor to students in all schools in the Wheeling area. Board grew up near the Marshall County Airport and spent much time at her grandmother’s near Oglebay Park, but soon after her high school graduation she moved to Morgantown to attend West Virginia University.
And that is where she remained until uprooting to transplant in the East Wheeling neighborhood, a move she never contemplated before one fateful spring day in 2012.
“That was when I started doing some reporting on Danny Swann, and I started following him around, and he took me into a community garden in East Wheeling, and then he took me up on this hillside and into this field,” Board recalled. “And then two things: First of all I had never set foot in East Wheeling, ever, so it was completely new territory for me, and that was amazing to me because it’s not like this is an enormous city; then he took me up on that hillside, and I could see most of this Valley from up there.
“That’s when, for the first time in my life, I was proud of this town, and I thought for the first time that I might like to live in Wheeling,” she continued. “That was a phenomenal feeling for me because for a long time I hated the Valley, and I hated all of it, and I still don’t know why. It was truly breathtaking for me. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that moment.”
Plotting a path then became paramount, and the process began with finding solutions to imperative puzzles. How could it work with her job, her husband’s employment, and for the children.
“I lived there in Morgantown for 15 years, but it never really felt like I moved away because it’s not like it was all that far away. In my mind, moving away meant moving to Japan or California, but I didn’t even leave West Virginia,” Board said. “But I rarely came back here even though I was so close.
“I decided that if I was going to move back to this area, I was going to have a different experience than when I grew up in this area, and I knew I wanted to live near downtown Wheeling, and I wanted to be able to walk to work. That’s what I wanted,” she said. “That’s why, when we were ready to buy a house, I started looking in East Wheeling.”
Once Board discovered her family’s getaway gateway north from the city first settled in 1772 by Zackquill Morgan, she was determined to expose the forward momentum she experienced during that day on the hillside with Swann by producing statewide stories about her hometown area so the members of West Virginia Broadcasting’s audience finally could realize re-invention was a realistic notion.
Although the scope of her assignments since has been altered by her employer, Board has covered everything from industrial and recreation development along West Virginia’s rivers, flooding and fracking, and state and federal politics to the poetry produced by Mountain State writers and the rise of hip-hop music in the Upper Ohio Valley.
“My goal with my work here in Wheeling was to be the bureau chief and to increase the coverage from around this area, but when I got up here, a couple of things happened,” she recounted. “First, Weelunk really took off, and that relieved a lot of the pressure on me, and that forced some other good things happen with the press around. Then, we started the Ohio Valley ReSource partnership, and that’s a regional broadcasting network that includes journalists from here, Kentucky, and Ohio, and I cover energy and the environment for that.
“But still Wheeling does feel like my home now, more so than it ever has,” Board admitted. “I’ve lived in places where you lived in a house in a suburb area and didn’t know the neighbors. I felt isolated, and I was tired of that existence, and I really wanted to be part of a community, and I was attracted to the East Wheeling neighborhood by some pretty amazing people who made me feel like I wanted to be a part of what’s happening here.”
(Photos by Steve Novotney)