News

Leap Day!

Feb 26, 2016

On this episode of Our Island Universe: Why do we have a leap day and how do we keep track of our leap years?

Courtesy Tim Leroux

Lots of immigrants to the U-S are not technically refugees under the law, but nevertheless seek refuge here. It’s a population that mostly flies under the radar, but whose work has been vital to U.S. interests abroad. WMRA's Jordy Yager has the next installment of our series on Refugees in Virginia.

Courtesy Mohammed Eitta

For many refugees, faith provides continuity in a world that is otherwise upended. In our latest installment of WMRA’s special series, Jordy Yager looks at how two religious institutions in Charlottesville have helped Muslim and Christian refugees assimilate to life in America.

On this week's edition of Second Look, #RefugeesinVirginia rolls on, as WMRA's Jordy Yager introduces us to the doctors doing very special work treating the unique medical needs of their refugee patients in Charlottesville, and Jordy also discovers a new program there that's training newcomers for work, with the promise of a job at the other end.... and WMRA's Jessie Knadler has the story of the big employer near Harrisonburg that hires lots of refugees, and even helps pay for them to learn English.  We also explore how the death of Antonin Scalia might affect former Governor Bob McDonnell's corruption appeal... and, we've also got this week's installment of Our Island Universe.

On this episode of The Spark: As we heard in part one of Martha's conversation with now-retired Sara Robinson, she was an early woman cracker of the glass ceiling.

This week we hear that Sara, who was raised in the small Virginia town of Elkton, still carries her small town childhood around in her heart. Her latest book of poems, Sometimes the Little Town, juxtaposes photographs of small town life taken by her father, Hobby Robinson, with the poems those photographs inspired her to write.

Jessie Knadler

Harrisonburg is a designated resettlement area, accepting up to 200 refugees each year.  Many of them find employment at one of the big poultry processing facilities in the area, an industry requiring a lot of manual labor and not a lot of English. WMRA's Jessie Knadler spoke to the head of the Perdue facility in Bridgewater to get a sense of the benefits and challenges of this workforce dynamic.

Happy Birthday Copernicus

Feb 19, 2016

On this episode of Our Island Universe: We celebrate the legacy of renaissance mathematician and astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus.

Jordy Yager

Many immigrant newcomers, including refugees, take hourly-paid jobs in the service industry here.  That includes people who in their home countries were restaurant managers, or doctors, or engineers.  In the next installment of our series on Refugees in Virginia, WMRA's Jordy Yager finds one new project in Charlottesville that helps train people for specific work, with the assurance of a job at the other end.

Courtesy of Fern Hauck

Those who come here seeking asylum from violence in other countries, often suffer from years of poor -- or even nonexistent -- medical care.  In the next installment of our series on Refugees in Virginia, WMRA's Jordy Yager introduces us to one such patient, and the doctors at the University of Virginia who focus on the special needs of asylum-seekers.

On this week's Second Look, WMRA's Jordy Yager and Jessie Knadler continue our Refugees in Virginia series, with a focus on children.... Jessie also got a preview of this year's Mock Convention (Mock Con) at W&L (to see who they chose as this year's Republican nominee, click here).... and, Virginia Public Radio reports on a Republican proposal in the General Assembly to give a tax break to parents whose kids don't go to public school.

On this episode of The Spark: Back in the 1980's, Elkton's Sara Robinson boldly went where few women had gone before... to management level in the chemical manufacturing and minerals mining industries.

Gravitational Waves

Feb 12, 2016
R. Hurt/Caltech-JPL

 On this episode of Our Island Universe: Gravitational Waves... it's a game changer!

Jessie Knadler

Remember high school?  Even if those were great years for you, there were certainly times when you felt a little lost, or left out.  Imagine going to high school in another country, with another language, and another culture.  Oh, and you may also be carrying trauma from some horrific things you witnessed in your home country.  WMRA’s Jessie Knadler has the story of a Harrisonburg High School program that pairs refugee students with others who have been there.

Courtesy of Mary Plank

Sometimes, one reason that refugees flee their home countries is to ensure the safety of their children, so that they may have a future. In the fourth installment of WMRA’s special series on refugees, Jordy Yager looks at the community of people in Charlottesville working towards that end.

Jessie Knadler

Every four years, students at Washington and Lee University in Lexington stage a Mock Convention – or “Mock Con” as it’s known – to predict who the party currently out of power in the White House will nominate to run for president of the United States. With Donald Trump expected to win today in New Hampshire, students are inching closer to a final prediction, to be announced at the Mock Convention this weekend. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler sat down with the leaders of Mock Con, as it’s called, to talk about this 108-year-old tradition, how students go about arriving at a prediction, and what it says about the GOP.

On this weekend's Second Look, we compile our first three installments in our series on Refugees in Virginia, by Jessie Knadler and Jordy Yager.... and, Christopher Clymer Kurtz talked to the woman with the first confirmed case of imported Zika in Virginia.

Guitar Craft

Feb 5, 2016

On this episode of The Spark: Linville’s Steve Showalter made cabinets and furniture… but then he fell in love with making guitars.

Climate Change

Feb 5, 2016
NASA - Vostok ice core data/J.R. Petit et al.; NOAA Mauna Loa CO2 record.

On this episode of Our Island Universe: Looking beyond the Climate Change debate and seeing the science for what it is.

Jessie Knadler

Last month, the Senate voted on legislation that would have enforced even stricter background checks on refugees from Syria and Iraq. The bill failed by only five votes, but it underscored an increasingly common narrative in some parts of the media – that asylum seekers from Middle Eastern countries potentially pose a threat. What doesn’t get as much attention are all the people in the Shenandoah Valley and beyond who want to help refugees if and when they arrive.  In the third installment of our series, WMRA’s Jessie Knadler explores what it means to be a volunteer.

Mary Plank

In our second installment on refugees in Virginia, WMRA’s Jordy Yager takes a look inside a new non-profit group in Charlottesville that pairs Americans with refugee families in an effort to strengthen community by doing something revolutionary… being a good neighbor.

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