Jessie Knadler

Freelance Reporter

With Asha the Elephant at the Natural Bridge Zoo.

Jessie Knadler is a writer and reporter based in Lexington, Virginia. Before moving to the Shenandoah Valley, she was an editor at various women’s fashion magazines, including Glamour and Cosmopolitan.  She has written and reported for many publications and websites, including The Wall Street Journal Weekend Edition, The New York Post, Self, Women’s Health, Redbook, Fitness, ForbesTraveler.com, Jezebel.com and the Disney-owned parenting blog Babble. She is the author of two books, including Rurally Screwed (Berkley, 2012), inspired by her popular personal blog of the same name, which she wrote for six years.

She is the mother of two young daughters. In her spare time, she enjoys physical fitness, photography, music, home décor and raising meat chickens.

Courtesy Brookhaven Women's Health Center

Midwives have delivered babies for centuries, but in America they mostly went underground as childbirth became medicalized in the 20th century.  So, like many other midwives these days, Misty Ward, owner and founder of Brookhaven Women’s Health and Natural Birthing Center outside Harrisonburg, is a bit of a rebel, part of a growing movement to de-medicalize childbirth.  For the next installment of our Women of Interest series, WMRA’s Jessie Knadler has her profile.

Jessie Knadler

The majority of streams in the Chesapeake Bay watershed – that includes most rivers that flow through the Shenandoah Valley – are in some state of pollution. The first and best stop for clean-up is on agricultural land.  But government assistance is woefully inadequate—and if President Trump’s proposed budget goes through could become even worse. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler looks at the future of water quality in Virginia.

Jessie Knadler

A group of Staunton teenagers is traveling to Honduras for eight days this month to help rebuild a church. It’s the focus of a Christian mission trip organized by Trinity Episcopal Church in Staunton. But there’s at least one teen joining this mission who some might assume wouldn’t want to take part in the spread of Christian doctrine. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler explores the power and the risk of stepping outside of one’s faith to help others, while raising consciousness back home.

Jessie Knadler

A long awaited report looking into Rockbridge area Department of Social Services was released this month. In it, a special grand jury uncovered “highly disturbing” practices may have played a role in the deaths and abuse of local children. But the report concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to establish probable cause to bring criminal charges. Some residents – including at least one DSS board member -- are left wondering, how? WMRA’s Jessie Knadler reports.

Jessie Knadler

A Church in Staunton was the site of the 7th Annual Virginia Liars Contest‑--yes, a liars’ contest at a church – over the weekend, where weavers of whoppers had eight minutes to spin fantastical fibs for a crowd. The best whopper won $100, a golden shovel and a bag of manure. WMRA's Jessie Knadler was there to take in the tall tales and learn more about the fine art of storytelling.

Jessie Knadler

Two brothers from Venezuela bring a staple food item from their native country, arepas, to rural Virginians from the window of their beat-up food truck. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler caught up with the brothers to find out what it’s like being immigrants hustling for the American dream in the age of Trump.

Courtesy Fringe Festival

Staunton is known for its eclectic art scene and nowhere is that captured better than at the two day Shenandoah Fringe Festival that kicks off this weekend in the Queen City.  So-called “Fringeketeers” showcase their work in a demonstration of the town’s artistic muscle.  WMRA’s Jessie Knadler caught up with the festival’s “Grand High Poobah” Carmel Clavin for a preview.

Are elections rigged? That’s the question before the courts in recent cases about gerrymandering, the process of carving up district lines for political advantage. Last week, a Richmond Circuit Court judge ruled against a group challenging eleven of Virginia's districts for disenfranchising black voters, and favoring Republicans.  Another case on the issue is still pending.  WMRA’s Jessie Knadler talked to redistricting reform proponents who are also trying to find a solution by working with state lawmakers.

Courtesy of Joy Lynn Davis

Where does the art you enjoy in any given exhibit come from?  The Department of Art and Art History at Washington and Lee in Lexington collaborated with the University’s Roger Mudd Center for Ethics to host a conference in early March that looks at the ethics of acquiring cultural heritage objects around the globe. It’s an open secret in the art world that many objects are stolen. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler filed this report.

After a whirlwind first month of the new Congress — lawmakers took a recess this week, and many are facing the music back home. Constituents have gotten vocal, and are demanding face time. Jessie Knadler was in southwest Virginia for what was originally scheduled to be a town hall meeting with Congressman Bob Goodlatte. 

We are one month into the Trump administration and ample attention has been paid to the growing activism and protests against it.  But what about those who support President Trump? WMRA's Jessie Knadler caught up with a handful of Trump voters in Rockbridge County to find out how they think the new President is doing. 

The pink pussy cat hats of the Women’s March may have been taken off, but a spirit of rebellion on the local level has swept up and down the Shenandoah Valley. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler has this survey of activist groups that have mushroomed in the wake of the election, dedicated to resisting the new Administration.

VMI Photos by H. Lockwood McLaughlin

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg visited Virginia Military Institute yesterday to talk about the case that transformed the school. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler filed these excerpts from the event.

Courtesy of the U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg visits Virginia Military Institute in Lexington on Wednesday, February 1. This is significant because Justice Ginsburg had a profound impact on the school by writing the majority opinion in a landmark case that forced the all male Institute to admit women. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler examines the impacts of that case.

Courtesy of Nancy Sorrells

The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline is undergoing regulatory review.  Anti-pipeline and environmental groups are not satisfied with a recent report -- called a Draft Environmental Impact Statement, or DEIS -- from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, (FERC). WMRA’s Jessie Knadler reports.

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