For Those On Probation, Pot Decriminalization May Not Help

Virginia is preparing to decriminalize possession of an ounce or less of marijuana starting July 1. That means if a police officer finds that amount on your person or in your car for example, you’ll get a written citation and have to pay a $25 fine, rather than being charged with a crime. But some people may find not much has changed in the law, and in their lives. WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports.

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Virginia's Department of Labor says the jobless rate in the commonwealth surged to more than 10% in April.  The sharp rise in unemployment is creating a lot of new food insecurity.  WMRA’s Jessie Knadler checks in with the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank to find out how it’s dealing with the growing demand.

Court Square Theater

The Arts Council of the Valley announced this week that they will suspend operations at Court Square Theater for at least one year due to financial pressures, starting this summer. WMRA’s Calvin Pynn spoke with the Council’s executive director Jenny Burden about what the future holds.


Many organizations have had to get creative during these times to continue to serve the community, including American Shakespeare Center in Staunton. 

The Staunton Creative Community Fund is facilitating a virtual Rebuild and Recovery program for small business owners in the Shenandoah Valley who have been hurt by the economic downturn.  WMRA's Bob Leweke reports.

Updated 5/14/20

As many states begin taking steps toward reopening their economies, Virginia is set to allow some businesses around the state to open up later this week.

Free Clinic

As hospitals and doctor’s offices work on managing COVID-19, the Harrisonburg - Rockingham Free Clinic has also had to make some changes to adapt to the pandemic. 

Governor Ralph Northam says parts of Virginia may be ready to begin re-opening for business as early as next Friday, May 15th.  The Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville says that’s reckless.  WMRA’s Bob Leweke reports.

Courtesy of Sara Zia

Some people who would otherwise be fine with having a hospital procedure done are now avoiding the hospital out of fear of the novel coronavirus.  That includes some expectant mothers, more of whom are turning to out-of-hospital births. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler talks to local midwives about the surge of baby business, and the challenges they face.

Updated on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. ET

President Trump said he had planned to wind down the White House coronavirus task force, but now plans to add two or three new members by Monday, noting he had received "calls from very respected people" to keep it going.

Trump said the task force would continue "indefinitely" and made clear its focus would be on "opening the country." Some members of the task force, such as people who worked on increasing the supply of ventilators, "may be less involved," he said.

Randi B. Hagi

Many of us are staying home, but when we do have to make a grocery run, we're also encountering egg shortages at our local grocery stores.  In response, some people are part of a new wave of backyard chicken-herders, buying up chicks at an unprecedented rate. WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports.


The Latest from NPR

New York City launched a methadone delivery program last month so that patients won't have to leave home during the pandemic to get their next dose. Methadone, a highly regulated medication for opioid addiction, has to be taken every day, otherwise patients risk a painful withdrawal.

The National Women's Soccer League announced Wednesday that it will return in June to play a 25-game tournament without fans.

The league's nine teams are set to gather in Utah to play for 30 days, according to a statement the league sent out Wednesday. All players, officials and staff members will be tested two days before their arrival in Utah and will be subject to consistent coronavirus testing and symptom review during the tournament, according to the statement.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit

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