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 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

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

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.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

It’s not so much a statement about the health care system, or a model for how it should be fixed. Instead, it’s more like a doctor just arrived at his own approach, sidestepping convention and filling a niche. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz visited the clinic of one general practitioner working outside the health insurance system.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

Tuesday marked 50 years since Martin Luther King Jr. gave what is considered his “most controversial speech” -- against the war in Vietnam. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports how some in Harrisonburg yesterday honored that message.

Jana Asenbrennerova/Courtesy of MCC

On Monday, the bodies of United Nations worker and Eastern Mennonite University graduate Michael Sharp, a Swedish colleague and their Congolese interpreter were found two weeks after they and their Congolese motorbike drivers went missing in the Democratic Republic of Congo. News of Sharp’s disappearance and death has stirred memories of his antics and mischievous ways, as WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

Last Wednesday was International Women’s Day. To celebrate, local organizers held a march in Harrisonburg from the Rockingham County Administration Building to a rally at Court Square on Saturday. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz filed this report.

Courtesy of

Home and business owners thinking about going solar can learn more about a cost-cutting and helpful option at several meetings in the Valley this week. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

This weekend, area protesters will again assemble in Harrisonburg and Staunton. But the protests will be less about resisting President Trump than they will be about something closer to home... or rather about bringing Congressman Bob Goodlatte closer to home for a visit. WMRA's Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

A recent Brookings Institution report named Harrisonburg as one of the top ten communities in the United States in terms of the proportion of immigrants from the seven countries on President Trump’s temporary travel ban.  WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz spoke with several people in Harrisonburg whose lives and work are being affected by the recent turmoil in immigration and refugee policy.

Courtesy of Diane Lepkowski

Yesterday we brought you an account of trapping and banding a kestrel in the Shenandoah Valley Raptor Study Area. Today, WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz explores the current balancing act between human development and wildlife -- and asks about the long view.

Courtesy Jill Morrow

The American kestrel is North America’s smallest falcon, and across Virginia and other states, efforts are underway to study and save this raptor. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz accompanied one couple whose kestrel nesting boxes dot the countryside of northern Rockingham County.