WMRA Feature

Governor Ralph Northam says parts of Virginia may be ready to begin re-opening for business as early as next Friday, May 15th.  The Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville says that’s reckless.  WMRA’s Bob Leweke reports.

Courtesy of Sara Zia

Some people who would otherwise be fine with having a hospital procedure done are now avoiding the hospital out of fear of the novel coronavirus.  That includes some expectant mothers, more of whom are turning to out-of-hospital births. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler talks to local midwives about the surge of baby business, and the challenges they face.

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.

Deanna Reed is Mayor of Harrisonburg.  WMRA’s Bob Leweke spoke with her Monday morning (May 4), and started by asking for her view on why the city has had one of the highest concentrations of COVID-19 reported in Virginia.

Calvin Pynn

The Heritage Oaks golf course has been a contentious topic in Harrisonburg over the past two decades.  An online petition has more than 1000 signatures demanding the city stop subsidizing it, but on Sunday hundreds of supporters took to the course to show they want it to stay. WMRA’s Calvin Pynn 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.

Calvin Pynn

Poultry workers and their advocates are concerned about working conditions in Rockingham County’s processing plants.  Monday afternoon, advocates held a local car rally to show solidarity for workers, and to send a message to those in power. WMRA’s Calvin Pynn reports.

The Wilmer family

There’s an urgent need for face masks as communities up and down the Valley attempt to flatten the curve of the coronavirus. Plenty of individuals and organizations have responded to the call.  WMRA's Jessie Knadler takes a look at this grass roots effort and how it’s brought a region in crisis together.

Pat Jarrett / VA Folklife

During the COVID-19 pandemic, artists and performers have been losing work and many have taken their craft online.  The VA Folklife Program recognized this and started the TRAIN program, which pairs master artists with students online. 

Mike Tripp

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s easy to feel alone. One Staunton neighborhood handles the isolation by howling as a community each evening. WMRA’s Mike Tripp has the story.

Elliott Robinson is the news editor at Charlottesville Tomorrow, one of WMRA’s news partners.  Bob Leweke spoke with him about their latest reporting and what’s happening in Charlottesville during the COVID-19 crisis.

Earl Dotter of Oxfam America

The Shenandoah Valley’s poultry processing plants have continued to operate through the pandemic.  They are considered essential businesses under the governor's closure order.  But line workers at those plants have expressed fears that new safety measures implemented recently are not enough. WMRA’s Calvin Pynn reports.

Harrisonburg Family Practice

Dr. Greg Jesteadt is a physician at Harrisonburg Family Practice and a clinical professor of family medicine for the University of Virginia.  WMRA's Bob Leweke reached out to him for his perspective, as a physician seeing patients, on the COVID-19 crisis.  Dr. Jesteadt emphasized that his views are his own, and not necessarily those of other physicians at the practice, or at UVa.  Bob began by asking him what he’s seeing in his practice now.

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.

Universal History Archive / Universal Images Group

The flu pandemic of 1918 lasted from January of that year till about December of 1920, and it infected roughly 500 million people.  But what was life like during that time?  And how did the federal government respond? 

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 Devils Backbone

During the pandemic, Devils Backbone Brewing has found a way to help families in need in both Nelson and Rockbridge Counties. WMRA’s Mike Tripp has the story.

In Part 2 of his report on the Harrisonburg Farmers’ Market's transition to a new normal, WMRA’s Calvin Pynn takes us to the Market on its first day back, and how its managers plan to continue operating for the foreseeable future.

A group of valley counselors and peer mental health advocates have launched a new mental health service designed to help during COVID-19. The Shenandoah Valley Emotional Support Line, staffed by volunteer mental health professionals, is now available to valley residents in need of non-emergency emotional help.

Courtesy of Harrisonburg Farmers Market

The Harrisonburg Farmers Market is moving its operations online to keep going during the COVID-19 pandemic. In part one of this story, WMRA’s Calvin Pynn explores how James Madison University’s X-Labs and a group of graduate students helped get them there.

With more than 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the city of Harrisonburg now ranks second in Virginia in the number of cases per capita.  That’s according to the latest figures from the Virginia Public Access ProjectThe Citizen is keeping track of how Harrisonburg’s city council is responding, and WMRA's Bob Leweke asked co-founder Ryan Alessi about that story and more.

Farm Choice

COVID-19 has wildly changed the landscape of operations for small businesses. In the second part of her report, WMRA’s Bridget Manley takes a look at how businesses in Harrisonburg have adapted to help customers and those in need.

Bridget Manley

In a few short weeks, COVID-19 has changed the way small businesses operate. WMRA’s Bridget Manley has the first in a two-part report on the health of small business in Harrisonburg.

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.

We are checking in with mayors from our region about how they are managing the new coronavirus crisis and we spoke on Monday, April 6th with Winchester Mayor David Smith.

As part of our ongoing conversations with WMRA's local news partners, Bob Leweke spoke with Elliott Robinson, news editor at Charlottesville Tomorrow.  The conversation started with Elliott's description of their coverage of how local non-profits are dealing with the loss of funding during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Courtesy of Jolynne Bartley

The Gus Bus, a popular children’s literacy program in Harrisonburg, has also adapted to the physical distancing guidelines, while still engaging students and getting them excited to read. WMRA’s Bridget Manley reports.

With closed doors and cancellations, many organizations are taking creative steps to continue to serve the community. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced restaurants, bars, and other businesses to close their doors to practice physical distancing. As music venues have followed suit, cancelled gigs have forced touring musicians to suddenly adapt, including some well-known groups in Harrisonburg. WMRA’s Calvin Pynn reports.