WMRA Feature

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.

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.

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
VPM

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.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

The pandemic.  An unemployment crisis.  Daily reckonings with police brutality and systemic racism in America....  These days, people of color are experiencing a special need for mental health care. In the next installment of our series, Mental Health Matters, WMRA’s Calvin Pynn spoke with providers in the valley about how they are addressing that need.

Calvin Pynn

Governor Ralph Northam announced yesterday that Virginia will be the first state in the nation to adopt emergency workplace safety standards in response to COVID-19. These new rules will protect essential workers, including those in the Shenandoah Valley’s poultry plants. WMRA’s Calvin Pynn reports.

Bridget Manley

In the second part of WMRA’s special series, Mental Health Matters, Bridget Manley explores how children – and their parents -- are coping during the pandemic.

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.

In a stunning announcement Sunday, the developers of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline say they are cancelling the controversial project.

Local newspapers have felt the sting of the economic downturn.  Many have been furloughing and even laying off staff, including reporters.   WMRA’s Mike Tripp has the story.

Governor Northam announced that by executive order, Friday, June 19th of this year, also known as "Juneteenth" will be recognized as a holiday within the Commonwealth and all Executive Branch state offices will be closed.

Governor Northam announced plans to reopen Virginia schools in a press conference on Tuesday, June 9th, 2020. The plan laid out a phased opening, with physical distancing requirements in class rooms and on school buses, specific guidelines for school sports, teleworking and remote learning options, and mask requirements for staff and mask recommendations for students. School divisions will have flexibility to implement plans based on the needs of their localities.

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.

Updated at 1:40 p.m. ET

Virginia will remove a statue honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in the city of Richmond "as soon as possible," Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday.

"Today, we're here to be honest about our past and talk about our future," Northam said, adding: "We have to confront where we've been in order to shape where we're going."

The statue will be placed into storage, where it will remain until government leaders and the community can discuss its future, according to the governor.

Mike Tripp

As Governor Ralph Northam continues to lift coronavirus-related restrictions on businesses, how are shops in downtown Staunton responding?  WMRA’s Mike Tripp has the story.

Calvin Pynn

Harrisonburg demonstrators joined global protests over racial injustices in America with a silent march Monday night. WMRA’s Calvin Pynn reports.

The Heavy Toll of COVID-19 on Local Latino Communities

May 29, 2020
Cat Modlin-Jackson

Since the Virginia Department of Health began reporting the ethnic breakdown of coronavirus cases, data have shown a consistently disproportionate hit in Latino communities, including those in Harrisonburg.  As Virginia Public Radio’s Cat Modlin-Jackson found, there’s more to the impact than what the numbers show.

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.

Virginia's Department of Labor says the jobless rate in the commonwealth surged to more than 10% in April.  The sharp rise in unemployment is creating a lot of new food insecurity.  WMRA’s Jessie Knadler checks in with the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank to find out how it’s dealing with the growing demand.

Court Square Theater

The Arts Council of the Valley announced this week that they will suspend operations at Court Square Theater for at least one year due to financial pressures, starting this summer. WMRA’s Calvin Pynn spoke with the Council’s executive director Jenny Burden about what the future holds.

ASC

Many organizations have had to get creative during these times to continue to serve the community, including American Shakespeare Center in Staunton. 

The Staunton Creative Community Fund is facilitating a virtual Rebuild and Recovery program for small business owners in the Shenandoah Valley who have been hurt by the economic downturn.  WMRA's Bob Leweke reports.

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