WMRA Feature

Courtesy of Wildlife Center of Virginia

Now that Virginians are ordered to stay at home, maybe this is the perfect time to start a garden. And the Wildlife Center of Virginia has advice for making your garden attractive to native wildlife, right in your backyard. WMRA’s Bridget Manley reports.

Randi B. Hagi

While businesses struggle to adapt to social distancing guidelines in response to COVID-19, one business in the Harrisonburg area -- Brian Mayes Karate -- is “pivoting” instead of “panicking.” WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports.

Jayberries via Wiki / Creative Commons

Anxiety and depression are running high these days over concerns of COVID-19.  Charlottesville resident and author Lisa Jakub has written about her own struggles with anxiety and panic attacks.  She recently spoke with WMRA's Chris Boros about some techniques that can calm a racing heart.

As part of a new series on WMRA, we are checking in with mayors from our region about how they are managing the new coronavirus crisis. We spoke on Monday, March 30th with Staunton Mayor Carolyn Dull and Harrisonburg Mayor Deanna Reed.

Courtesy 50 Ways Rockbridge

An activist group called 50 Ways Rockbridge is working to connect people into a network to help one another during the Covid-19 pandemic. WMRA’s Mike Tripp reports.

Governor Northam has ordered Virginians to stay at home, with just a few exceptions, to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus. The order is in place until June 10.

Bridget Manley

The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank has issued a call for volunteers for their area food pantries to help serve a growing need. WMRA’s Bridget Manley reports.

Calvin Pynn

Most Virginia universities and colleges have abruptly closed their campuses and moved classes online for the rest of the semester due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This past week, students at James Madison University had to pack up early and leave their dorms behind. WMRA’s Calvin Pynn reports.

Randi B. Hagi

With all Virginia schools closed for the rest of the academic year due to COVID-19, the Harrisonburg City Public Schools have decided to continue the program they started last week to provide bags of free food for all their students under age 18. WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports.

As folks stay home to avoid contracting or transmitting COVID-19, some are turning to fostering cats for companionship, which is good news for nonprofit animal rescue Cat’s Cradle. But others are having to give up their pets, for the same reason. WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports.

A local Harrisonburg nonprofit has been providing and promoting social well-being to the citizens of Rockingham County for years.  Hope Distributed provides relief to low-income individuals and families with food and clothing in a dignified and respectful manner. 

Randi B. Hagi

As Virginia adapts to life with COVID-19, many local businesses are scrambling to operate in creative ways in an effort to stay open. But one small business owner says that he may stand to gain some customers, thanks to social distancing. WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports.

Monday, March 23, Governor Northam announced new steps to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus in Virginia. K-12 schools will now remain closed for the remainder of the academic school year, recreational and entertainment business must close until at least April 23rd, and public gatherings above 10 people are now banned. 

One of WMRA’s community news partners is The Citizen, an online news source focusing on Harrisonburg.  WMRA’s Bob Leweke spoke with publisher Ryan Alessi about how they’ve been covering the virus outbreak, including the latest story in The Citizen, an interview with one of the three people in the Harrisonburg area who has developed COVID-19.

Beginning Friday [March 20], Bridgewater Retirement Community is among the facilities limiting access to the public in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.  WMRA’s Bob Leweke spoke with Crista Cabe at BRC.

In a press release issued Thursday, March 19, 2020, the Virginia Department of Health's Central Shenandoah Health District (CSHD) confirmed two additional positive cases of COVID-19 in Harrisonburg, VA. James Madison University announced that one of the cases is a JMU student. The student lives off campus, is self-isolating, and recently traveled overseas. Any individuals who were potentially exposed are being contacted.

This brings the total confirmed cases in Harrisonburg to three, other details regarding the new cases have yet to be released. 

In a press release issued Thursday, March 19, 2020, the Virginia Department of Health's Thomas Jefferson Health District (TJHD) confirmed three additional positive cases of COVID-19 in Charlottesville, VA. Kathryn Whitestone Goodman, Communications & Public Relations Manager with VDH added that two of the new cases are in the City of Charlottesville and one is in Albemarle County. TJHD is investigating each case to determine how the individuals got COVID-19. Any individuals who were potentially exposed will be contacted.

This brings the total confirmed cases in the Charlottesville region to four, and details regarding the new cases have yet to be released. 

ZeWrestler via Wiki / Creative Commons

Augusta County has declared a state of emergency in response to the threat to public health and safety from the Coronavirus.  The declaration allows the County to make decisions quickly concerning emergency actions.  Tim Fitzgerald is the Augusta County Administrator.

In a press release issued Monday, March 16, 2020, the Virginia Department of Health confirmed the first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in Charlottesville, VA. The University of Virginia also issued a statement identifying the individual as a member of the UVA community.

Randi B. Hagi

The Rocktown Rollers, Harrisonburg’s women’s roller derby team since 2009, recently hosted a “Derby 101” at Funky’s Skate Center to give any “derby-curious” folks an opportunity to lace up some skates and get on the track. WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports.

Virginia health officials on Saturday (March 14) reported the state’s first death from the coronavirus, a man in his 70s in eastern Virginia who died of respiratory failure after acquiring the virus through an unknown source.

In a statement on Friday, March 13, 2020, Governor Northam has odered all K-12 Schools to close March 16th - March 27th. It is a measure intended to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Virginia.

In a press release issued Thursday evening, March 12, 2020, the Virginia Department of Health confirmed the first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in Harrisonburg, VA. 

In a press conference Thursday afternoon, March 12, 2020, Governor Northam declared a state of emergency for Virginia. The declaration includes a ban on state employee out-of-state travel, recommended limits on public gatherings and plans to implement telework policies. 

The Johnson Collection / Public Domain

When indigenous people living in the valley and Central Virginia first encountered Europeans they had already established communities with social and political standards with rich cultural traditions. Award-winning historian and professor of History at Virginia Commonwealth University, Gregory Smithers, will discuss the history of Native Southerners at WMRA's Books & Brews March 10 and 11, 2020.

Tuesday is the biggest primary day of the 2020 race, when 14 states are holding contests with 1,357 delegates at stake. Follow NPR's coverage for the latest news, analysis and results.

Get the latest on Virginia's primary races for president, Senate and House.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.


Bridget Manly

Several local groups are quarreling over a proposed African American History Center in New Market, which raises the question: how important is equity when telling history? WMRA’s Bridget Manley reports.

2020 marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of one of the giants of classical music, Ludwig van Beethoven. 

Randi B. Hagi

In Part One of this report, Harrisonburg resident Ruth Toliver recalled when her husband’s childhood home on Myrtle Street was destroyed as part of urban renewal projects in the 1950s and ‘60s.  Many homes in the predominantly African-American neighborhood were destroyed, and families uprooted.  Some never came back. In this second report, WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi explores the legacy of that project, more than 50 years later.