Jessie Knadler

Freelance Reporter

Jessie Knadler is the editor and co-founder of Shen Valley Magazine, a quarterly print publication that highlights the entrepreneurial energy of the Shenandoah Valley. She has been reporting off and on for WMRA, and occasionally for National Public Radio, since 2015. Her articles and reporting have appeared everywhere from The Wall Street Journal to Real Simple to The Daily Beast. She is the author of two books, including Rurally Screwed (Berkley), inspired by her popular personal blog of the same name, which she wrote for six years. In her spare time, she teaches Pilates reformer, and is the owner of the equipment-based Pilates studio Speakeasy Pilates in Lexington. She is mom to two incredible daughters, June and Katie. IG: @shenvalleymag

Dr. Wornie Reed

After the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville last month, many people in the Shenandoah Valley, an area rich in Civil War history, are asking, what now? WMRA’s Jessie Knadler takes a look at unfolding discussions about race across the region.

Courtesy Brookhaven Women's Health Center

Midwives have delivered babies for centuries, but in America they mostly went underground as childbirth became medicalized in the 20th century.  So, like many other midwives these days, Misty Ward, owner and founder of Brookhaven Women’s Health and Natural Birthing Center outside Harrisonburg, is a bit of a rebel, part of a growing movement to de-medicalize childbirth.  For the next installment of our Women of Interest series, WMRA’s Jessie Knadler has her profile.

Jessie Knadler

The majority of streams in the Chesapeake Bay watershed – that includes most rivers that flow through the Shenandoah Valley – are in some state of pollution. The first and best stop for clean-up is on agricultural land.  But government assistance is woefully inadequate—and if President Trump’s proposed budget goes through could become even worse. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler looks at the future of water quality in Virginia.

Jessie Knadler

A group of Staunton teenagers is traveling to Honduras for eight days this month to help rebuild a church. It’s the focus of a Christian mission trip organized by Trinity Episcopal Church in Staunton. But there’s at least one teen joining this mission who some might assume wouldn’t want to take part in the spread of Christian doctrine. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler explores the power and the risk of stepping outside of one’s faith to help others, while raising consciousness back home.

Jessie Knadler

A long awaited report looking into Rockbridge area Department of Social Services was released this month. In it, a special grand jury uncovered “highly disturbing” practices may have played a role in the deaths and abuse of local children. But the report concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to establish probable cause to bring criminal charges. Some residents – including at least one DSS board member -- are left wondering, how? WMRA’s Jessie Knadler reports.

Jessie Knadler

A Church in Staunton was the site of the 7th Annual Virginia Liars Contest‑--yes, a liars’ contest at a church – over the weekend, where weavers of whoppers had eight minutes to spin fantastical fibs for a crowd. The best whopper won $100, a golden shovel and a bag of manure. WMRA's Jessie Knadler was there to take in the tall tales and learn more about the fine art of storytelling.

Jessie Knadler

Two brothers from Venezuela bring a staple food item from their native country, arepas, to rural Virginians from the window of their beat-up food truck. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler caught up with the brothers to find out what it’s like being immigrants hustling for the American dream in the age of Trump.

Courtesy Fringe Festival

Staunton is known for its eclectic art scene and nowhere is that captured better than at the two day Shenandoah Fringe Festival that kicks off this weekend in the Queen City.  So-called “Fringeketeers” showcase their work in a demonstration of the town’s artistic muscle.  WMRA’s Jessie Knadler caught up with the festival’s “Grand High Poobah” Carmel Clavin for a preview.

Are elections rigged? That’s the question before the courts in recent cases about gerrymandering, the process of carving up district lines for political advantage. Last week, a Richmond Circuit Court judge ruled against a group challenging eleven of Virginia's districts for disenfranchising black voters, and favoring Republicans.  Another case on the issue is still pending.  WMRA’s Jessie Knadler talked to redistricting reform proponents who are also trying to find a solution by working with state lawmakers.

Courtesy of Joy Lynn Davis

Where does the art you enjoy in any given exhibit come from?  The Department of Art and Art History at Washington and Lee in Lexington collaborated with the University’s Roger Mudd Center for Ethics to host a conference in early March that looks at the ethics of acquiring cultural heritage objects around the globe. It’s an open secret in the art world that many objects are stolen. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler filed this report.

After a whirlwind first month of the new Congress — lawmakers took a recess this week, and many are facing the music back home. Constituents have gotten vocal, and are demanding face time. Jessie Knadler was in southwest Virginia for what was originally scheduled to be a town hall meeting with Congressman Bob Goodlatte. 

We are one month into the Trump administration and ample attention has been paid to the growing activism and protests against it.  But what about those who support President Trump? WMRA's Jessie Knadler caught up with a handful of Trump voters in Rockbridge County to find out how they think the new President is doing. 

The pink pussy cat hats of the Women’s March may have been taken off, but a spirit of rebellion on the local level has swept up and down the Shenandoah Valley. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler has this survey of activist groups that have mushroomed in the wake of the election, dedicated to resisting the new Administration.

VMI Photos by H. Lockwood McLaughlin

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg visited Virginia Military Institute yesterday to talk about the case that transformed the school. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler filed these excerpts from the event.

Courtesy of the U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg visits Virginia Military Institute in Lexington on Wednesday, February 1. This is significant because Justice Ginsburg had a profound impact on the school by writing the majority opinion in a landmark case that forced the all male Institute to admit women. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler examines the impacts of that case.

Courtesy of Nancy Sorrells

The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline is undergoing regulatory review.  Anti-pipeline and environmental groups are not satisfied with a recent report -- called a Draft Environmental Impact Statement, or DEIS -- from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, (FERC). WMRA’s Jessie Knadler reports.

One day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, the largest protest against a new president took place in Washington, D.C., and in cities around the world. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler caught up with a few locals who helped spearhead efforts to get people from our area to the Women's March on Washington, and she also was in Washington, for this report on the massive protest in the nation’s capitol.

Jessie Knadler

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC hosted a construction expo in Fishersville on Thursday, December 8 to garner support and highlight employment opportunities for area workers in communities along the controversial project’s route.   WMRA's Jessie Knadler reports.

Jessie Knadler

Mary Baldwin revealed last week that the University will begin enrolling men into a residential undergraduate program that will allow male students to live on the traditional women’s campus. The news sparked outrage among some alumnae and students. WMRA's Jessie Knadler has the story.

Jessie Knadler

WMRA's Jessie Knadler attended Tuesday's rally of poultry workers, and filed this report.

Earl Dotter / Oxfam America

As Americans turn their attention to Thanksgiving preparations next Thursday, WMRA’s Jessie Knadler talks to workers inside the poultry industry of Rockingham County.  Some of them allege break-neck processing speeds, unsafe conditions and denial of benefits for injuries sustained trying to bring cheap poultry to consumers.

Virginia Votes

Nov 8, 2016

As Virginians voted on Election Day, WMRA heard from some of them at polling places around our region.

Jessie Knadler

In Rockbridge County, as in many others in Virginia, there is a divide between those who live in the county and those who live in the city.  Those differences are laid bare during election season, with Trump signs dominating the county and Clinton signs prevailing in the city of Lexington. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler talks to voters about the stark political divide expressed by the signs and how it’s widened during what could be called the ugliest Presidential election in history.

Jessie Knadler

In part two of our series about the changing face of single-sex education, WMRA's Jessie Knadler explores what Mary Baldwin University is doing, in addition to pushing for greater racial and ethnic diversity, to stay relevant and competitive in an increasingly co-ed world.

Courtesy Mary Baldwin University

Mary Baldwin College officially changed its name to Mary Baldwin University at the end of August, an event that also kicked off a yearlong celebration of the traditional women’s college 175th anniversary.  With so much history behind them, combined with the attempted closing in 2015 of fellow women’s school Sweet Briar, the name change reflects a drive to stay competitive in an increasingly co-ed world. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler went to Staunton to find out why this women’s college still matters.

Jessie Knadler

The discovery of a natural gas pipeline rupture in Alabama on September 9th temporarily raised gasoline prices in Virginia and other mid-Atlantic and Deep South states, and also prompted worries about environmental contamination.  That leak, plus the release of a new study that concludes the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline is not necessary, has emboldened protesters in Augusta and Nelson Counties. WMRA Reporter Jessie Knadler has the story.

Jessie Knadler

On Saturday, Natural Bridge became the 37th Virginia State Park.  The ceremony followed a journey involving a tourist attraction under disrepair, troubled finances, and a place deep in Virginia's history.  WMRA's Jessie Knadler was at the ceremony and has this report.

Jessie Knadler

A Rockbridge County judge signed an order late in August that officially begins the selection process of up to 11 county residents to serve on a special grand jury that will investigate Rockbridge County’s social services department. The department has been rocked by scandal in recent months after an internal review accused the agency of disregarding, even shredding, reports of child abuse and neglect that may have resulted in the death of at least one child. As the case gets underway, victims are coming forward with disturbing details about the agency. WMRA's Jessie Knadler has one such story.

Jessie Knadler

A report this summer revealed deep problems at the Rockbridge Department of Social Services – problems so deep they may have contributed to the death of at least one child, and allegations of mismanagement and improper document shredding go back years.  WMRA’s Jessie Knadler reports.

Jessie Knadler

Nearly 30% of Virginia teenagers are either obese or overweight, and many of those calories come from sugary beverages. A statewide campaign is underway to encourage Virginia teens to forego the sodas and energy drinks for water. WMRA's Jessie Knadler heads to the high school in Buena Vista to find out if the campaign is effective and whether teens would ever consider ditching soda pop and energy drinks for a healthier alternative.

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