WMRA Feature

Bridget Manley

Harrisonburg fire officials have determined that the explosion and fire Saturday morning in a group of businesses just south of JMU was the result of a natural gas leak inside the building.  WMRA's Bridget Manley reports.

Bridget Manley

Questions still remain in an explosion in Harrisonburg Saturday that rocked the city and was felt for miles. WMRA’s Bridget Manley has this report.

OCP website

The pandemic has complicated this year’s fundraising for Our Community Place.  Instead of a separate fall Gala and Christmas Concert fundraiser, OCP will hold both at the same time this weekend. WMRA’s Calvin Pynn has this preview.

Randi B. Hagi

A lot of the traditional Halloween festivities are cancelled this season due to the pandemic, but there are still a few COVID-safe ways to get your thrills in this fall, including a ghost tour in Staunton. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi took the tour, and has this report on why the Queen City might just be a little more spooky than other places.

Wavley Groves

Private property owners in Staunton learned last week that they would not get federal disaster aid for the estimated $3 million in damage caused by floods in early August.  But friends and neighbors are stepping up.  And the trauma caused by losing a business, something all too common for entrepreneurs during this pandemic, can lead to an opportunity for personal growth.  WMRA's Jason Barr reports.

Calvin Pynn

The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Free Clinic will close at the end of the year, after serving uninsured adults in the area for more than three decades. Staff and volunteers are spending the final months making sure the clinic’s patients won’t be left behind. WMRA's Calvin Pynn reports.

Randi B. Hagi

One Harrisonburg neighborhood reported several sightings of black bears last week.  And while the streets and backyards have been quiet for a few days now, autumn is prime time for urban bear activity. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

Calvin Pynn

As universities in our area experiment with in-person learning and bringing students back to campus during the pandemic, communities that support and surround those campuses also live with the realties that come with an influx of students. WMRA’s Bridget Manley reports.

Caitlin Shaffer / Johan Burch

The Black Lives Matter movement, like the Civil Rights movement and social justice movements before it, has inspired new music that expresses the political and emotional moment. Musicians in the Shenandoah Valley are among those creating original music that captures the many facets of this movement. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

In a news press release Friday morning 9/25/20, the Virginia Governor's office announced that Governor Northam and First Lady Northam have tested positive for COVID-19.  Governor Northam is experiencing no symptoms. First Lady Pamela Northam is currently experiencing mild symptoms.

The Governor and First Lady are working closely with VDH and the Richmond Heath Department to trace their close contacts. The work of the Governor’s office continues remotely and uninterrupted.

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."