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

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.

leyruta.org

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.

Christpher Clymer Kurtz

More than a year and a half ago, a crowd of about 150 gathered outside the Pale Fire Brewing Company in downtown Harrisonburg to sign a giant "Postcard to Paris" in support of the then upcoming world climate talks in Paris. This past Saturday, at least half that many braved the summer sunshine to say that even though President Trump has withdrawn the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, they believe the agreement was a good thing. WMRA's Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

This summer marks the 25th anniversary of the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival, but that doesn’t make it a same-old, same-old event, as WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Courtesy of leyruta.org

Today could be pivotal for the Harrisonburg man awaiting deportation to Mexico. An attorney for Cesar Lara Rios has filed a motion to reopen the case with the Board of Immigration Appeals.  WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz has this update.*

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

Residents in Rockingham and Augusta Counties whose water comes from a well, spring, or cistern can learn more about the quality of their water through several upcoming Virginia Cooperative Extension Drinking Water Clinics.  WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Harrisonburg’s Cesar Lara Rios was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, on May 10, and last week ICE denied him another stay of removal. Now he is poised to be deported to Mexico, but his attorney has one remaining hope for enabling him to stay here, as WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Courtesy of Jennifer Murch

On Monday more than 75 people in Harrisonburg rallied outside the Department of Homeland Security office on Neff Avenue against a pending deportation. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

After serving two decades in prison for complicity to murder, Gregory Winship was granted parole, in 2010. Just a few days ago, in Harrisonburg, he became the first to receive a master’s degree in restorative justice from Eastern Mennonite University. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

NPR reported last week that President Trump’s travel ban is having a “chilling effect” on international student enrollment at universities across the country. In Harrisonburg, that’s also true when it comes to potential participants in peacebuilding coursework. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Sing Off!

Apr 6, 2017
Courtesy of Exit 245

Remember that 2012 Anna Kendrick movie, Pitch Perfect, about a capella singing groups facing off? This weekend in Harrisonburg, you can listen and watch in real life as 10 local community and university groups sing to win -- all for a good cause. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

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