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.

Jessie Knadler

The discovery of a natural gas pipeline rupture in Alabama on September 9th temporarily raised gasoline prices in Virginia and other mid-Atlantic and Deep South states, and also prompted worries about environmental contamination.  That leak, plus the release of a new study that concludes the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline is not necessary, has emboldened protesters in Augusta and Nelson Counties. WMRA Reporter Jessie Knadler has the story.

Jessie Knadler

On Saturday, Natural Bridge became the 37th Virginia State Park.  The ceremony followed a journey involving a tourist attraction under disrepair, troubled finances, and a place deep in Virginia's history.  WMRA's Jessie Knadler was at the ceremony and has this report.

Jessie Knadler

A Rockbridge County judge signed an order late in August that officially begins the selection process of up to 11 county residents to serve on a special grand jury that will investigate Rockbridge County’s social services department. The department has been rocked by scandal in recent months after an internal review accused the agency of disregarding, even shredding, reports of child abuse and neglect that may have resulted in the death of at least one child. As the case gets underway, victims are coming forward with disturbing details about the agency. WMRA's Jessie Knadler has one such story.

Jessie Knadler

A report this summer revealed deep problems at the Rockbridge Department of Social Services – problems so deep they may have contributed to the death of at least one child, and allegations of mismanagement and improper document shredding go back years.  WMRA’s Jessie Knadler reports.

Jessie Knadler

Nearly 30% of Virginia teenagers are either obese or overweight, and many of those calories come from sugary beverages. A statewide campaign is underway to encourage Virginia teens to forego the sodas and energy drinks for water. WMRA's Jessie Knadler heads to the high school in Buena Vista to find out if the campaign is effective and whether teens would ever consider ditching soda pop and energy drinks for a healthier alternative.

Jessie Knadler

Activists who helped bring an end to the Keystone XL pipeline from crossing Nebraska have come to Virginia to help local landowners do the same with Dominion’s Atlantic Coast pipeline. The alliance is staging six protests across Virginia and West Virginia, planting sacred corn along the route of the proposed pipeline. WMRA's Jessie Knadler attended one event in Stuarts Draft to learn more about these “seeds of resistance.”

Jessie Knadler

With the Natural Bridge in Rockbridge County slated to become a state park this year, local artist Mark Cline has been asked to move his plastic foam replica of England’s famous Stonehenge, dubbed Foamhenge, because it sits on property that will become part of the new park. Jessie Knadler talks to the artist about his quirky foam attraction, what it means to Rockbridge County and where he plans to move it.

Jessie Knadler

Before urban sprawl and big box stores, folks in rural communities did their shopping at the local general store. Many of these stores have disappeared from the rural landscape, but one in the town of Middlebrook in Augusta County is not only surviving, it’s thriving.  WMRA’s Jessie Knadler paid a visit and has this report.

Devils Backbone, the eight year old craft brewery headquartered in Nelson County, was recently bought for an undisclosed sum by global beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev. Now, some Virginia fans of the scruffy indie brand are questioning whether the label has sold out. Jessie Knadler sat down with CEO Steve Crandall to find out what’s in store for the Virginia brewery.

Scholars from all over the world convened at James Madison University in Harrisonburg this week to discuss how we as a species can continue to survive in an increasingly troubled world. And it all boils down to our core beliefs. WMRA's Jessie Knadler headed to JMU to find out more about the science behind values and beliefs and how they dictate the sort of world we live in.

There are 80 million feral cats in the United States, according to some estimates, and the question of how best to curb over population on the local level has been a real issue in Rockbridge County. Cat advocates are alarmed by the high rate of euthanasia at the County shelter, arguing for a more humane approach. WMRA reporter Jessie Knadler heads to Buena Vista, ground zero of the cat controversy, to find out more about this new approach and whether it actually works. 

Jessie Knadler

Is climate change affecting Virginia's vineyards, or is it just crazy Spring weather? The balmy February and March encouraged plants to bud early, only to be damaged or killed by the bitterly cold temperatures of last week. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler talks to two winemakers in Rockbridge County about techniques and strategies they employ to keep up with shifting weather patterns.

Jessie Knadler

One component of marijuana has been gaining a lot of attention lately as a healing agent, treating everything from epilepsy to PTSD to arthritis. A law just passed in Virginia allows this component, known as cannabidiol, or CBD, oil, for the treatment of epilepsy. But medical marijuana proponents say that CBD on its own is actually not that effective as a healing agent. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler explores what really is doing the healing and why it’s so politically noxious.

Jessie Knadler

Numerous Ku Klux Klan leaflets were found on people’s lawns in a neighborhood in Lexington over the weekend of March 13th.   On Monday, March 21, Lexington residents turned out for an anti-KKK peace rally, and WMRA’s Jessie Knadler was there.

Jessie Knadler

How do you capture a town’s “It” factor at any given moment in time? Planners in Staunton came up with a clever idea. Think, Antiques Roadshow dosed with ample civic pride.  Staunton residents braved the cold and snow on the last day of winter and offered all sorts of interesting, quirky, momentous Staunton memorabilia — providing a sort of “scrapbook of the community.” WMRA’s Jessie Knadler was there.

Last year, Virginia allowed patients with epilepsy to possess certain medical marijuana oils. Earlier this week, the General Assembly voted to allow these oils to be manufactured and distributed in state so epileptic patients – but only epileptic patients – can get them without crossing state lines. But the laws still leave patients suffering from other diseases feeling marginalized. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler explores what some are calling “medical discrimination."

Emily Richardson-Lorente

Virginia gave Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump victories in the state's primary Tuesday.  (Results here.)  Voters expressed excitement, fear, and civic duty -- and some brought the kids along -- for Virginia's open primary election, part of Super Tuesday voting.  WMRA's Christopher Clymer Kurtz, Jessie Knadler, and Emily Richardson-Lorente talked with polling officials and voters to get a sense of turnout, and of what's on voters' minds this election season.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Jessie Knadler

The world migration crisis has brought more attention to the plight of refugees.  But global terrorism and other concerns have fueled a national debate over whether America’s promise of welcoming those fleeing violence and persecution can be maintained. In the first of a month-long series on refugees, WMRA’s Jessie Knadler looks at who is being resettled in the Shenandoah Valley, who’s helping them, and whether local communities are welcoming them.

Thousands of tourists visit Natural Bridge each year – it’s where Rockbridge County got its name. But the Park is in financial trouble after being purchased by a Roanoke-based healthcare executive last year. WMRA‘s Jessie Knadler heads out to Natural Bridge to learn more about what happens when a man with good intentions throws himself into an industry he knows little about.

Even though we’re heading into winter, it’s a good time to think about sunscreen. A new study finds that the sunscreen most of us slather on contains an ingredient that is killing coral reefs around the world. The lead author of the study lives in Amherst County, and WMRA’s Jessie Knadler spoke to him to get the lowdown on the shady side of sunscreen.

Another October, another year of stink bugs finding their way into your home and office, getting caught in overhead light fixtures, and generally being a nuisance.  WMRA's Jessie Knadler looked into the latest research in dealing with this pest.

Jessie Knadler

As the solar movement gains traction in Virginia, one installation company, Sigora Solar out of Waynesboro, is experiencing particularly explosive growth – some 1,200% over three years. This has earned it a ranking as one of America’s fastest growing companies of 2015.  WMRA’s Jessie Knadler heads to Waynesboro to find out more about the company that seeks to be more, way more, than your neighborhood solar installer.

Jessie Knadler

Civil engineers build roads, bridges, canals; heavy-duty stuff. It’s what you’d expect to learn at a school with a strong engineering program, like at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington. One civil engineering professor there has taken the construction process way back for his cadets – we’re talking thousands of years – by teaching them how to timber frame, in the process exposing them to a much wider world. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler has the story.

Jessie Knadler

Most of us have a general sense of what solar panels do – they harness the sun’s light energy to produce electricity -- but we’re not used to seeing them on normal houses in normal neighborhoods in our area.  But that’s changing very rapidly in the Shenandoah Valley, thanks to plummeting prices for solar panels, and it’s making utility companies nervous. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler has this update on the rise of solar co-ops.

Jessie Knadler

For a lot of people, pets are members of the family. And it can be heartbreaking to see a beloved dog or cat suffer from injury, or from hip dysplasia, degenerative joints, or arthritis. In years past, pet owners had to rely on medication, surgery or even in some cases, euthanasia to mitigate an animal’s suffering. Now, stem cell therapy is poised to revolutionize the veterinary field even as the hard science behind it has a way to go.  WMRA’s Jessie Knadler has the story.

Jessie Knadler

The Buena Vista Police Department has a brand new $46,000 drug dog. That may seem like a lot of money for a single animal, particularly for a town undergoing serious financial strain. WMRA's Jessie Knadler went to Buena Vista to meet the newest member of the force.

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