Christopher Clymer Kurtz

Freelance Reporter

In addition to reporting for WMRA about the greater Harrisonburg region, Christopher Clymer Kurtz commutes by bicycle whenever he can, helps his young kids clean up their endless creativity scenes, and writes, plays guitar, and sings for his original rock band.

A graduate of Eastern Mennonite University’s social work and James Madison University’s English master’s programs, Christopher has dabbled in blogging, photography, and newspaper journalism, taught middle school English for 12 years, and now is a staff writer for Eastern Mennonite University.

He resides near Linville, Virginia and can be reached by email at christopher@clymerkurtz.com.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

This year Governor Terry McAuliffe signed legislation giving localities authority to regulate short-term rentals such as Airbnb. In Harrisonburg, those regulations of this currently illegal form of hospitality are taking shape. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Last week marked a year since the death of singer / songwriter Leonard Cohen. This Veteran’s Day in Harrisonburg, a tribute to Cohen sold out Pale Fire Brewing Company. Proceeds benefitted a Harrisonburg-based nonprofit called War Paints, which showcases and sells creative and artistic products by veterans and first responders.

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In June the Harrisonburg City School Board unanimously endorsed building a second high school for the city, to alleviate the overcrowding at Harrisonburg High School. Even as the city pursues that, a variety of voices are weighing in on what they want to see happen. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

This fall marks the start of something new at Shenandoah University in Winchester: A partnership between the university and a film and television production company. It’s starting off with the University as the set for an upcoming feature film starring Barry Bostwick and Jennifer Stone. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz visited the set for this story.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

I’m Christopher Clymer Kurtz. When I was at Shenandoah University at the end of October to report about the making of Santa Girl, a collaboration between the university and Capital Arts Entertainment, I sat down with two of the film’s professional actors, Barry Bostwick and then Jennifer Stone. We talked about the Shenandoah Valley, about working with students, college, and, of course, acting.

Jennifer Stone is known for being Harper on Disney’s “Wizards of Waverly Place.”

Marguerite Gallorini

As Virginians went to the polls to select the next governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general, as well as candidates for the House of Delegates, WMRA's Christopher Clymer Kurtz and Marguerite Gallorini talked to some of them.

Marguerite Gallorini

This fall the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ, issued a drought watch for much of the WMRA listening area, and a number of localities from Winchester to Charlottesville encouraged — or mandated — their residents to conserve water. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

With election day nearing, Virginia’s District 26 incumbent delegate Republican Tony Wilt and his challenger Democrat Brent Finnegan met last night [Thursday, November 2] in a forum hosted by the James Madison University student newspaper The Breeze. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz filed this report.

Images courtesy of candidates’ Facebook account

On Tuesday, November 7, when voters in Virginia House of Delegates districts 25 and 26 head to the polls they will have choices. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz spoke with both Republican incumbents and both Democrat challengers, and has these profiles of each.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

Unused land within city limits has potential, and some community organizers have begun turning one such area in Harrisonburg into a place of social and ecological restoration. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

In accordance with President Trump’s ending of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, Thursday, October 5, 2017, is the last day that some eligible DREAMers, also called “DACAmented” residents, can apply for renewal of their DACA status. While Congress is working out what to do, many of these young people are anxious about their options. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz spoke with two students at James Madison University, and filed this report.

Peggy Brubaker

This Saturday [Sept. 30], the 20th International Festival in Harrisonburg will again include Aztec dancing as part of the celebration of the city’s cultural and language diversity. The dancers are led by a Harrisonburg couple who are working to keep alive the Aztec traditions in their Mexican roots, as WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

Forty years ago, bald eagles were in danger of extinction, but they’ve made a rebound, and theirs is considered an “Endangered Species Act success story.” But as they spread across Virginia in search of new habitat, they are finding some free lunches that are actually quite costly. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

Across Virginia this week people gathered at offices of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ, to voice their concerns and demands about the proposed Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast natural gas pipelines. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz attended Thursday’s [Sept. 14] gathering just outside of Harrisonburg at the Valley Regional DEQ Office.

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In May [2017], Harrisonburg’s Cesar Lara Rios was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, and appeared to be set for deportation to Mexico. But his attorney made one more attempt to prevent that from happening, and over the weekend learned of the rare outcome, as WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

In Harrisonburg, City Council may soon decide whether to accept a new proposal to provide animal sheltering services for the city, with lower euthanasia rates promised, and for about $50,000 less than the contract the city has with the Rockingham-Harrisonburg SPCA.  But what might Rockingham County do if the city decides to switch shelter services?  WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

Growing and processing hemp is against the law in the United States. But 6th District Representative Bob Goodlatte wants to see industrial hemp become a legal crop for farmers, and a JMU professor is developing that potential option. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

A recent report by The Sentencing Project says that nearly one in every seven people in prison is serving what effectively amounts to a life sentence. Twenty years ago, a book of photos and interviews of nearly 60 lifers in Pennsylvania prisons, where a life sentence really means a life sentence, gave rare insight into their lives and thoughts.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

Earlier this year, the Harrisonburg City Council received an unsolicited proposal from Anicira Veterinary Center to take over animal sheltering services for the city, which the Rockingham-Harrisonburg SPCA has provided for both the city and Rockingham County for decades. In July, the city opened a bidding period for the contract, and that period ended yesterday [August 31, 2017]. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

Since at least back to 2000, local nonprofits have not had to pay the $52-per-ton dumping fee at the Rockingham County Landfill. Next year, however, they will need to pay. For some, that change could hurt, as WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Courtesy Shanil Virani

Don’t worry! If you’ve not made plans to travel to see the solar eclipse on Monday [August 21] from the path of totality, you can still enjoy it from right here in the Valley. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

On Monday (Aug. 7) at James Madison University, several hundred people attended the first of five public hearings across the state to be held by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ, about the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Dominion Energy says the pipeline, set to cross Virginia, will create lots of jobs, provide much-needed domestic and “clean burning” natural gas, and more.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

Deanna Reed’s four-year term on Harrisonburg's City Council began this year. She says she never planned to run for office -- but now she's the mayor.  In the second installment of WMRA's Women of Interest series, Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

Since 1988, an organization called  Church World Service has resettled about 3,500 refugees from around the world to the Shenandoah Valley. This month the Harrisonburg office is hosting a photography exhibit featuring 29 portraits of these refugees. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

On Monday, July 24 the U.S. House of Representatives voted down S. 114, a bill that many veterans opposed. One veteran from Harrisonburg spoke to reporters Monday against the House bill, as WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

The American Civil Liberties Union predicts that by 2030, the number of state and federal prisoners who are 55 and older will be more than 400,000, or one-third of prisoners. In Harrisonburg this weekend, the public is invited to attend the premiere event of a new chapter of an organization called Release Aging People in Prison.  WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

The efforts of congressional Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, are concerning many people. Some of them attended a so-called “Health Care Vigil” Wednesday night on Harrisonburg’s Court Square, as WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Photo courtesy casa4children.org

In Rockbridge, Augusta and Rockingham counties, more than 300 children enter foster care annually. An upcoming training aims to increase the number of volunteers advocating for those children. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

A fledgling music organization is just taking shape in Harrisonburg, called the Rocktown Music Collective. But as WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports, it’s not all new.

A national voice in race dialogue is presenting a workshop open to the public in Harrisonburg this weekend. It’s called the White Ally Toolkit. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

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