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

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.

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