Randi B. Hagi

Freelance Reporter

Randi's writing has been featured in The Citizen, where she's the assistant editor; The Mennonite; Mennonite World Review; and EMU's Crossroads magazine. She also raises muscovy ducks, chickens, and Katahdin sheep. Her roots are in West Virginia, but she can’t seem to let go of Rockingham County. Check out Randi's latest photo work on instagram at @randi_b_hagi_photography.

Kirsten Beachy

Tens of thousands of people across the world, including some folks in our area, are competing in something called the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt, or GISH. Teams complete unusual tasks – such as balancing potatoes into a cairn, or planting trees – and upload photos of their work to earn points. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

Courtesy of Crissanne Raymond

Earlier this week in our Mental Health Matters series, we spoke with local mental health professionals and trainers about the need for suicide prevention services throughout the pandemic. In this follow-up report from WMRA's Randi B. Hagi, we hear from a mother who lost her son to suicide earlier this summer.  (This story may be difficult for some listeners to hear.)

National Institute of Mental Health

The social isolation, economic instability, and concerns about wellbeing resulting from the pandemic have spurred an increase in symptoms of depression and anxiety in many of us. And with those mental health symptoms comes an increase in suicidal thoughts for some.  That worries local mental healthcare providers and trainers. In the next part of our Mental Health Matters series, WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

HRHA

Harrisonburg's housing authority is using federal stimulus money in a new campaign for renters. Households with low-income, elderly, or disabled residents can apply.  But during a pandemic-related eviction crisis, the trick is getting landlords to sign on. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

COVID-19 has created a dilemma for mental health.  The pandemic has increased the need for such care.  At the same time, social restrictions have made access to mental health services even more burdensome.  Add to that the economic downturn and the renewed battle for racial justice, and we're looking at a potential crisis of depression and anxiety.  In the first of a series on mental health matters during a pandemic, WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

Randi B. Hagi

It’s graduation season – but with most of Virginia in just phase two of reopening, schools are finding alternative ways to celebrate their graduating seniors. Rockingham County Public Schools held their ceremonies at the fairground this weekend, drive-in style. WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports.

Randi B. Hagi

The SUN SiNG Collective is a group of musicians and artists from across Virginia producing original work to protest the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines. They, along with their parent organization, ARTivism Virginia, are now broadcasting livestream concerts twice a month. WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports.

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.

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.

Randi B. Hagi

The city of Harrisonburg, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health and Sentara RMH, set up two mobile testing sites on Saturday afternoon to offer free COVID-19 tests to residents of the Northeast and Mosby Court neighborhoods, which were selected to increase testing access in diverse areas. WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports.

The week of March 15, Governor Ralph Northam ordered establishments to serve no more than 10 patrons at a time. Also that week, ABC sales in the Charlottesville and Harrisonburg region were up 57% over the same period last year.  Even without the ability to imbibe in crowded bars, Virginians are still knocking ‘em back. WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports.

Courtesy of Jon Henry

The Virginia Cooperative Extension offers a "Shop Smart Eat Smart" initiative to get healthier, fresher foods to shoppers, even amidst the pandemic. Shenandoah County has its first participant in the program. WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports.

Courtesy of Melody Eaton

As educators across Virginia adjust to a state of emergency, some programs that rely on hands-on learning face particular challenges in transitioning to digital or remote instruction. The School of Nursing at James Madison University is using virtual clinicals for its nursing student seniors. WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports.

Coutesy of Project GROWS.

Farmers and healthcare providers in the Staunton area are teaming up to provide fresh, locally grown food to those in the community experiencing food insecurity. But the need has changed due to the pandemic, and so has the way they help.  WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports.

Randi B. Hagi

While businesses struggle to adapt to social distancing guidelines in response to COVID-19, one business in the Harrisonburg area -- Brian Mayes Karate -- is “pivoting” instead of “panicking.” WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports.

Randi B. Hagi

With all Virginia schools closed for the rest of the academic year due to COVID-19, the Harrisonburg City Public Schools have decided to continue the program they started last week to provide bags of free food for all their students under age 18. WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports.

As folks stay home to avoid contracting or transmitting COVID-19, some are turning to fostering cats for companionship, which is good news for nonprofit animal rescue Cat’s Cradle. But others are having to give up their pets, for the same reason. WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports.

Randi B. Hagi

As Virginia adapts to life with COVID-19, many local businesses are scrambling to operate in creative ways in an effort to stay open. But one small business owner says that he may stand to gain some customers, thanks to social distancing. WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports.

Randi B. Hagi

The Rocktown Rollers, Harrisonburg’s women’s roller derby team since 2009, recently hosted a “Derby 101” at Funky’s Skate Center to give any “derby-curious” folks an opportunity to lace up some skates and get on the track. WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports.

Randi B. Hagi

In Part One of this report, Harrisonburg resident Ruth Toliver recalled when her husband’s childhood home on Myrtle Street was destroyed as part of urban renewal projects in the 1950s and ‘60s.  Many homes in the predominantly African-American neighborhood were destroyed, and families uprooted.  Some never came back. In this second report, WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi explores the legacy of that project, more than 50 years later.

From the Sullivan Papers, Special Collections, James Madison University

Randi B. Hagi

On January 3rd, a group of United Methodist leaders publicly announced a plan for the denomination to divide, based on disagreements over same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay people as pastors. If that plan is approved at the denomination’s General Conference this May, it would give regional conferences and individual churches the option to leave and join a new “traditionalist” denomination. WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports on how local Methodist leaders are reacting.

Randi B. Hagi

Activist groups gathered in cities around the world on Saturday [Jan. 25] to show their opposition to the conflict between the U.S. and Iran, in which they see the United States as the aggressor, particularly after the U.S. assassination of a top Iranian general. The Shenandoah Valley Antiwar Coalition held one of those rallies in Harrisonburg. WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports.

Randi B. Hagi

The Rockingham County school board is considering closing down Linville-Edom Elementary School, in light of the more than $8 million it would cost to renovate the school. Superintendent Oskar Scheikl says the school’s fate will be decided later this spring. In response, a passionate group of parents, staff, and alumni have organized a campaign to save the little school they love. WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports.

Randi B. Hagi

A small crowd gathered at the Beth El Synagogue in Harrisonburg on Sunday afternoon to hear from three speakers about the need for statewide LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections. WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports.

Randi B. Hagi

A regional network in our area has a humble goal – to resurrect Virginia’s grain economy, from the wheat in our soil to the bread on your table. WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports.

The proposed Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines are slated to carry natural gas from West Virginia through Virginia, and in the case of the Atlantic Coast pipeline, on into North Carolina.  Even as construction has been halted or limited by legal challenges, opposition to those projects remains strong among some residents.  WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports.

Randi B. Hagi

Voters across the Commonwealth were out at the polls today, casting their ballots for the state legislature and local offices.  WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi filed reports from two Harrisonburg-area districts, one in the city, one in Rockingham County.  And WMRA's Kimberlea Daggy talked with some voters at the precinct where she votes in Augusta County.

Randi B. Hagi

Sixty years ago, a Piedmont airliner crashed into Bucks Elbow Mountain near Crozet, killing 26 of the 27 people on board. Yesterday, one of the plane’s landing gear wheels was returned to rest at the crash site. WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports.

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