Millions Of Gig Workers Depend On New Unemployment Program, But Fear It'll End Soon

Updated at 8:35 a.m. ET Kris Snyder didn't set out to be a professional musician. She began her working life as a corporate trainer for a big retail company. But after churning through seven managers in five years, she got fed up. She gave up a regular paycheck and corporate benefits and started looking for music gigs. "Weddings, funerals, parties — that sort of thing," says Snyder, a fourth-generation harpist. She supplemented her performing income by teaching the harp to about two dozen...

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Randi B. Hagi

How should society deal with someone with mental illness or injury who is threatening or bothering others?  The criminal justice system?  Mental health providers?  WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi has the story of one man in Lexington.

Trevor Brady

Irish poet and theologian Pádraig Ó Tuama’s work centers around themes of language, power, conflict and religion. He is the author of four books of poetry and prose and will be our guest for WMRA’s first Virtual Books & Brews, September 15, 2020 at 3pm on Facebook Live.

Calvin Pynn

Just one week into the Fall semester, JMU announced that all classes will go online for the next month, and residents on campus are being sent home. WMRA’s Calvin Pynn caught up with some of those students.

Screenshot from Twitter

  After student cases of COVID-19 soared to more than 500 by yesterday, James Madison University says classes will transition almost completely online by next Monday.  WMRA's Bridget Manley reports.

Mayor Deanna Reed

UPDATE 7pm Tuesday, Sept. 1: JMU announced classes will go online, and students must leave campus housing, beginning Monday, Sept. 7.

As of Tuesday morning [Sept. 1], JMU had reported 524 students testing -- or reporting -- positive for COVID-19, an increase of well over 100 in just one day.  WMRA's Bob Leweke spoke with Harrisonburg Mayor Deana Reed just as those numbers were being released, and he asked her how the city is responding.  Reed said city officials had expected cases to rise once students returned, but that does not relieve her concern.

The Rockingham County Fair is among the largest in Virginia and has won first place for its agricultural exhibitions for about 20 years running. This year, the fair carried on with agricultural displays and livestock sales, without a lot of other bells and whistles. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

In our last installment of the Mental Health Matters series, we dive into some of the arts-based therapies in our area, speaking to practitioners who use music, visual art, and other methods to help their clients deal with grief, depression, and anxiety. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

Music speaks to us. It distracts us from hardship; it expresses emotions that we have trouble articulating. For music therapist Robby McCoubrey, the benefits aren't just in listening to a poignant song, but in making music together.

With uncertainty about schools opening in the Fall, many parents are considering homeschooling as an option.  Teela James is an instructor for CHEC – the Community Homeschool Enrichment Center in Charlottesville.  WMRA’s Chris Boros recently spoke with Teela and he asked her to describe what CHEC is all about.

Calvin Pynn

Senator Mark Warner sat down with Harrisonburg community leaders on Thursday to discuss health care concerns and explore solutions to the pandemic crisis. WMRA’s Calvin Pynn reports.


The Latest from NPR

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Election workers around the country are preparing for what could be one of the most chaotic elections in history. There's not only a pandemic, but dozens of ongoing legal fights over voting rules. That's left a lot of things up in the air only weeks before Election Day.

In election offices such as the one in Lehigh County, Pa., workers are trying to deal with the uncertainty.

Like everything else, the ongoing pandemic and the nation's civil rights reckoning has completely upended this year's Emmy awards.

And it may be the best thing that has happened for the contest in quite a while.

Most years — held back by groupthink, star worship and Hollywood's unending popularity contests — the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences overlooks quite a lot in its nominees for TV's ultimate awards, the Emmys.

Which is why, years ago, I created my own TV honors, called the Deggys.

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Link to the Books & Brews Video

Link to a video of Pádraig Ó Tuama, discussing his book, In The Shelter: Finding a Home in the World

NPR Updates: Protests For Racial Justice

A Salt Lake City police officer is facing a felony charge stemming from an April encounter in which he ordered a police dog to attack a Black man who was on his knees with his hands raised, seemingly complying with officer commands.

Updated at 2:53 p.m. ET

The city of Louisville, Ky., announced a $12 million settlement Tuesday in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Breonna Taylor.

The settlement also includes a series of police reforms to be adopted by the Louisville Metro Police Department, including establishing a housing incentive program to encourage officers to live in low-income neighborhoods within the city.

Other changes to police tactics include creating a clearer command structure when executing warrants at multiple locations.

Demonstrators gathered to protest the death of 27-year-old man who was shot and killed by a police officer in Lancaster, Pa., over the weekend.

The Lancaster District Attorney's office said in a statement that the investigation is ongoing, and that the man, identified as Ricardo Munoz, was armed with a knife when he was shot dead by an officer who has not been publicly identified.

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Coronavirus Live Updates

Joeller Stanton used to be an assistant teacher at a private school in Baltimore and made about $30,000 a year. In mid-March, when the pandemic was just starting, her school closed for what was supposed to be two weeks. "Up to that point, we were under the impression that it wasn't that serious, that everything was going to be OK," Stanton recalls.

But as schools in Maryland switched to virtual learning indefinitely, Stanton was let go from her job. She received her last paycheck in March. "I had about $300 savings that was basically gone by the end of March," she says.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which regulate nursing facilities, are lifting the ban on visitors, effective immediately. CMS imposed the restriction in March in an effort to control outbreaks of the coronavirus.

Certain businesses in most of Texas will be able to expand their operations starting Monday, thanks to an improvement in the state's COVID-19 metrics. But there is one notable exception: Bars must stay closed.

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The WMRA Daily brings you each day's local, regional and statewide news, including WMRA feature stories.

Mental Health Matters: Special News Series

During this time, our mental health is under unprecedented strain. In this special series, WMRA explores access to mental health services, and how therapies have adjusted to the current crises.

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