WMRA Feature

Randi B. Hagi

Counter-protesters, some of them members of local militias, weren’t the only people with firearms at recent Black Lives Matter protests in Broadway and Elkton.  One group with the protesters was also carrying weapons.  WMRA’s Calvin Pynn spoke with some of them, and also got reaction from a criminal justice expert.

Randi B. Hagi

Earlier this summer, hundreds of protesters gathered in Elkton and Broadway for youth-led Black Lives Matter rallies.  At both events, members of local militias and unaffiliated citizens showed up and patrolled around the parks. Some Rockingham County residents expressed alarm about that armed presence at the peaceful rallies, in particular the rally in Broadway.  WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi has this follow-up report.

Randi B. Hagi

Black Lives Matter protests this summer in the towns of Broadway and Elkton were met with counter-protesters and members of various militia groups. Some local residents have expressed concerns about relationships between the militias and the police departments in those towns. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports in the first of a series.

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.

Bridget Manley

Back-to-school time has never been like this.  As reports emerge of rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in children, local school systems have made tough choices and even changed plans to keep children safe and educated. WMRA’s Bridget Manley reports.

Mike Tripp

The new chairman of Staunton City’s school board made history last month.  WMRA’s Mike Tripp has this profile of Kenneth Venable.

Bridget Manley

Universities and colleges continue to tweak and fine tune their re-opening plans as the days count down to the start of fall semester classes.  And some faculty want more say in re-opening in the midst of this pandemic.  WMRA’s Bridget Manley reports.

One of the consistent demands coming out of this summer's protests is that police departments across the country change the way they interact with mental health crises in the community.  And police have their own mental health to protect in a stressful job. In the next installment of WMRA’s Mental Health Matters series, Randi B. Hagi reports.

Calvin Pynn

Hundreds of protesters marched through downtown Luray on Saturday calling for the mayor's resignation after he shared a racist post on Facebook. WMRA’s Calvin Pynn reports.

In 2017, after the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, a special fund was established by the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation.  They released a report detailing how the Heal Charlottesville Fund was able to help the community.  WMRA’s Chris Boros spoke with the foundation’s CEO Brennan Gould and Chris asked her to describe how the fund got started.

Virginia's Supreme Court has granted a request from Gov. Ralph Northam to temporarily stop evictions proceedings, extending protections for tenants who can't pay their rent through the beginning of September.

In a 4-3 ruling Friday, the court agreed to a moratorium on eviction proceedings through Sept. 7, declaring that public safety concerns due to the coronavirus pandemic constituted a "judicial emergency."

WMRA will be adding some new programs to our schedule starting Saturday, August 15.

Virginia has announced the roll-out of COVIDWISE, an exposure app that is the first of it's kind in the country. The app is designed to assist with notification of potential exposure to COVID-19.

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.


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.

How have treatments for addiction, especially the all-important group therapy sessions, been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?  In the next installment of WMRA’s special series on Mental Health Matters, Jessie Knadler reports.

COVID-19 Cases Spike at Farmville ICE Detention Center

Jul 22, 2020

Earlier this month, more than 70% of detainees at the ICE facility in Farmville had tested positive for COVID-19.  Alan Rodriguez Espinoza with VPM News in Richmond spoke with Jenny Gathright, a reporter with WAMU in Washington, D.C., about her investigation into the outbreak.

Calvin Pynn

Thousands of workers across the country walked off the job on Monday to demand racial and economic justice for workers.  In Harrisonburg, more than 200 people rallied at Court Square to protest structural racism in the Shenandoah Valley. WMRA’s Calvin Pynn reports.

For those with developmental disabilities or mental illness, the pandemic and resulting stay-at-home orders have created isolation from services that normally help them live independently. In the next installment of WMRA’s special series, Mental Health Matters, Mike Tripp reports.