WMRA Feature

David McCandless and Stefanie Posavec via Flickr / Creative Commons

Over the past forty years, society has gotten increasingly more polarized in regards to differing political and personal ideas.  David R. Brubaker, professor at Eastern Mennonite University, offers advice for navigating in our polarized environment.  He’s our speaker for WMRA's virtual Books & Brews on May 11, 2021.  David recently spoke with WMRA’s Chris Boros who asked him to describe what causes polarization.

Calvin Pynn

Senator Tim Kaine visited the Shenandoah Valley Thursday.  He met with aviation business leaders at Blue Ridge Community College and with faculty and staff at James Madison University.  He also met with local officials and volunteers in Broadway to learn more about an effort to repurpose an unused railroad corridor as a multi-purpose trail.  WMRA’s Calvin Pynn reports.

Now that all Virginians age 16 and up are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, local health officials and community leaders are trying to overcome the barriers that may be preventing people from getting vaccinated. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

[The Virginia Department of Health sponsors programs on WMRA.]

Prescribed Burns Ignite In Virginia

Apr 26, 2021
Randi B. Hagi

Each spring and fall, local U.S. Forest Service rangers conduct prescribed burns on national forest land. Most recently, they ignited a 5,000 acre burn in Rockingham, Augusta, and Pendleton counties, straddling the Virginia - West Virginia border. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

Last Friday morning, a sleek yellow helicopter landed next to the Hone Quarry reservoir. In the distance, a hazy cloud of smoke began rising from the ridgeline.

National Archives

This Friday marks 70 years since students at Moton High School in Farmville, Virginia walked out of class to protest racial segregation in Prince Edward County public schools in a moment.

James Madison University

Several JMU physicists lent a hand to a groundbreaking particle physics discovery that jolted the global science community since last week. WMRA’s Calvin Pynn reports. Note: WMRA's operating license is held by JMU's board of visitors.

Lindsey Walters/Miscellaneous Media Photography

Since its artistic director resigned earlier this year under a cloud of allegations, the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton has embraced change – with a new model led by the actors. WMRA’s Mike Tripp takes us backstage.

Remote Area Medical, or RAM, is a Tennessee-based organization that runs pop-up clinics across the U.S. where people can get free healthcare, including dental and vision services. This weekend, RAM made its second appearance in Harrisonburg. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

Middle River Regional Jail

The board that oversees the Middle River Regional Jail near Staunton is considering whether to expand the facility, which has become overcrowded in recent years.  But critics say that expanding the jail isn’t the answer. WMRA’s Calvin Pynn reports.

Calvin Pynn

The COVID crisis led many universities to move classes online, but some enterprising professors took their classes outside instead.  And one prof at James Madison University says he’s going to keep his students away from the classroom even after the pandemic is over.  Virginia Public Radio's Sandy Hausman reports.


For many children, COVID-19 has meant educational setbacks as they struggled to absorb lessons online.  But for others the pandemic has underscored the value of learning outside.  Virginia Public Radio's Sandy Hausman reports on a school near Charlottesville where students spent 90% of their time in fields, forests and tents.

Randi B. Hagi

Hundreds of students at Washington and Lee University in Lexington walked out of classes earlier this week to show their support for dropping ‘Lee’ from the college's name. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, and it's likely that you know someone who's been affected by a brain injury. One in every 60 people in the U.S. lives with a disability resulting from a brain injury; and it is the leading cause of disability and death for kids and adolescents in the U.S. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

Jeff Heie

A Harrisonburg nonprofit called Give Solar has a new partnership with the Central Valley Habitat for Humanity to install solar panels on homes in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.  WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

The Blue Ridge Irish Music School in Charlottesville has been celebrating Irish culture for 21 years.  Teaching Irish dancing during a mask wearing pandemic hasn't been easy with multiple concert cancellations and switching to an online teaching platform. 

Calvin Pynn

Gemeinschaft Home provides refuge in Harrisonburg for men rejoining society after incarceration, but that option hasn’t been available for women in the same situation. Now, they have new money for a women’s program, and they’ve been welcoming their first guests at a new house near downtown Harrisonburg.  WMRA’s Calvin Pynn reports.

Skye Sherman / Creative Commons

In journalist Connor Towne O’Neill’s new book, he takes a deep dive into American history, while exposing the still-raging battles over confederate Southern monuments dedicated to one of the most notorious Confederate generals, Nathan Bedford Forrest. WMRA’s Chris Boros spoke with Connor about his first exposure to a confederate monument after moving to Alabama.

Dusty Donaldson

Each year, the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer selects a cohort of people who have personal experience with the disease to become patient research advocates. This year's cohort includes a Harrisonburg resident whose mother is a lung cancer survivor. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

Bridget Manley

In February, James Madison University's Board of Visitors unanimously selected new names for three campus buildings.  Their choices were notable in more ways than one.  WMRA’s Bridget Manley reports.

Mustang Joe via Flicker / Creative Commons

In his first book, Futbol In The Park, James Madison University sociologist David Trouille dispels some common myths about immigrants based on playing soccer with Latino men in public parks.  David Trouille spoke with WMRA’s Chris Boros about how his research was spawned by an angry flier from neighbors who were not happy with the soccer games.

Christina Rivera

An experience for one woman at Sentara RMH in Harrisonburg highlights concerns about racial bias in healthcare, especially regarding the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. WMRA’s Bridget Manley reports.

Randi B. Hagi

As the pandemic rages on and the vaccine slowly becomes available to more people, one local church has found a visual way to pay homage to those lost to the virus in our area. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

Wildlife Center of Virginia

As we get closer to springtime, both humans and black bears are eager to leave our dens for some fresh air. The Wildlife Center of Virginia has some tips in case you encounter a bear. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

Commonwealth Institute

The effort to fight racial segregation in schools will continue into the future.  What are local officials doing to address the problem?  WMRA’s Bridget Manley has this follow-up report.

Commonwealth Institute

According to two studies released last November, school segregation is getting worse across Virginia, and in particular in the Harrisonburg area.  But local officials say it’s more complicated.  In part one of a two part report, WMRA’s Bridget Manley digs into the specifics of the studies.

Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel Foundation

Charlottesville author Mary E. Lyons chronicles the history of the Blue Ridge Tunnel and the slave labor that built it in her new book. 

Randi B. Hagi

Several hundred people celebrated the King holiday in Lexington by gathering in the city streets to honor the lives -- especially Black and brown lives -- lost to COVID-19 and racial violence.  WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

Middle River Regional Jail

An outbreak of COVID-19 at the Middle River Regional Jail in Staunton appears to be slowing, but not yet stopped. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

Randi B. Hagi

High school basketball teams in the area started playing games last week in a season shortened and restricted by the pandemic. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

Matt Bingay

At a time when most organizations were preparing to manage the holidays, WMRA scrambled to address an almost catastrophic failure on the main signal serving Charlottesville and surrounding areas.

On December 16, 2020, a winter storm blanketed the area with snow and ice. Not an unusual event in and of itself, but that's where this tale begins. Sometime in the following 36 hours, as melting began, a large chunk of ice fell from an upper structure on our Castle Rock tower and struck the WMRY 103.5fm antenna with enough force to bend it out of shape.