On this episode of The Spark: Harrisonburg's Claudia McClain picked up her knitting years ago when she put down alcohol. And not being able to find the right yarns, she decided to design and manufacture her own. Voila! Claudia's Hand painted Yarn. When she's knitting, Claudia says that four words repeat like a mantra in her mind as she knits:  peace, love, comfort, joy.

Easter and the Equinox

Mar 18, 2016
Wikipedia Commons

On this episode of Our Island Universe: We take a look at the connection between the vernal equinox and Easter.

Emily Richardson-Lorente

If you’ve got middle schoolers, chances are you’ve heard of Minecraft. It’s a video game with blocky graphics, a single level and no story line. But it’s also an obsession for millions of kids — and many adults — who will happily spend hours digging for resources, building houses and fighting off monsters. If that sounds to you like just another on-screen waste of time, WMRA’s Emily Richardson-Lorente has some good news for you.

This week, thousands of people will come to Charlottesville for the 22nd annual Virginia Festival of the Book. As WMRA’s Sefe Emokpae reports, this year’s event is expected to be the biggest yet.

Staunton Stories

Mar 14, 2016
Wikipedia Commons

Saturday, March 19, the Staunton Downtown Development Authority is kicking off their 20th anniversary by hosting Staunton Stories, a one day event to celebrate and document life in Staunton. 

On this weekend's Second Look, WMRA's Jessie Knadler talks to those who still feel left out of Virginia's slowly changing laws restricting the use of marijuana extracts for medicine.... We talk to Virginia lawmakers about the prospects of a Trump nomination.... And we turn the pages of a book that explores the punishment of a black woman a century ago.... We've also got The Spark and Our Island Universe!

Born to Read

Mar 11, 2016

On this episode of The Spark: Last fall, high school junior Eleanor Alger took time out from her honors classes, busy extra-curricular life, and college tours to read some 500 children's books. Eleanor is an unofficial part of the selection process for this year's Newberry medal and honors.

The Dark of Night

Mar 11, 2016

In this episode of Our Island Universe: We look at how many stars you can see at night. Thanks to light pollution, you can't see very much.

Learn more about Starry Nights events in your area.

Last year, Virginia allowed patients with epilepsy to possess certain medical marijuana oils. Earlier this week, the General Assembly voted to allow these oils to be manufactured and distributed in state so epileptic patients – but only epileptic patients – can get them without crossing state lines. But the laws still leave patients suffering from other diseases feeling marginalized. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler explores what some are calling “medical discrimination."

In this week's edition of Second Look, WMRA's Christopher Clymer Kurtz, Jessie Knadler and Emily Richardson-Lorente went to their respective neighborhood polling places and elicited the sentiments of voters, who went for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in Virginia.... Brit Moorer takes us on a tour of the Ragged Mountain Reservoir near Charlottesville.... and Jordy Yager concludes our #RefugeesinVirginia series with a look at preparations for the next wave of Congolese refugees, and the work of the pastor of a little church in Barboursville.  We've also got this week's installment of The Spark!

Goodnight Songs

Mar 4, 2016

On this episode of The Spark: Batesville's Emily Gary and her musical partner, Tom Proutt,  recently collaborated to set a hidden trove of the late Margaret Wise Brown's previously unpublished poems to music. Margaret Wise Brown is the author of the fabled children's classic, Goodnight Moon.

Brit Moorer

Residents of Charlottesville and Albemarle County won’t have to worry about a drought draining the water supply anytime soon.  It took two years to fill and several years of planning, but now Ragged Mountain Reservoir has reached its capacity – and the rivers and streams around Charlottesville are protected, as well.   WMRA’s Brit Moorer reports.


Mar 4, 2016
By ESO/P. Kervella

On this episode of Our Island Universe: Someday, we'll have to say goodbye to Betelgeuse... in a most spectacular way!

Jordy Yager

In the final installment of our series on Refugees in Virginia, WMRA’s Jordy Yager takes a look at the next wave of refugees set to arrive in Charlottesville this year, and some of the people getting ready to help them.

Emily Richardson-Lorente

Virginia gave Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump victories in the state's primary Tuesday.  (Results here.)  Voters expressed excitement, fear, and civic duty -- and some brought the kids along -- for Virginia's open primary election, part of Super Tuesday voting.  WMRA's Christopher Clymer Kurtz, Jessie Knadler, and Emily Richardson-Lorente talked with polling officials and voters to get a sense of turnout, and of what's on voters' minds this election season.

Virginia votes today in a primary election for Democratic and Republican candidates for president, along with about a dozen other states for Super Tuesday.

The Virginia Department of Health has confirmed three cases of Zika virus disease in the state. Just over a month ago McGaheysville’s Heather Baker learned she was Virginia’s first. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz called Heather last week, for an update.

On this week's Second Look, we continue to learn about our refugee neighbors with WMRA's Jordy Yager.... Sefe Emokpae takes us on a listening tour of a new Virginia Folklife Program exhibit featuring eastern Virginia's gospel music.... plus, some General Assembly news, and this week's episode of Our Island Universe.

On this episode of The Spark: Rusty Noesner retired two years ago after six years in the Navy. He spent five of those years as a Navy Seal, including a year of combat duty in Afghanistan. These days he lives in Harrisonburg, where he is working on slowing his head down and figuring out what he wants to do next with his life.

In honor of Black History Month, the Google Cultural Institute unveiled an online, interactive collection of more than 80 curated exhibits featuring artwork, artifacts and archives of the nation’s African American history. One of those 80 exhibits came from the Virginia Folklife Program and features the unique sounds of eastern Virginia gospel. WMRA’s Sefe Emokpae gives us a listen.