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

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.

Jessie Knadler

You might not be able to pinpoint any identifying details of the Eastern Hemlock.  But you’ve definitely seen them because they’re all over the Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains, and they range into the deep South, way up into eastern Canada, and as far west as Wisconsin. And chances are if you’ve seen one recently, it’s dead. Or in the process of dying.  WMRA’s Jessie Knadler has the story.

The embattled Natural Bridge Zoo, which was shut down by the State Game Commission back in March, is once again open for business. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler has the story.

It’s been a long three months for Karl and Debbie Mogensen, owners of the Natural Bridge Zoo. In March, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries suspended the zoo’s license to exhibit wild animals. The state agency used a USDA inspection report from January to conclude that, “many of the animals are confined under unsanitary and inhumane conditions.”

Jessie Knadler

In the second half of our series about the closing of the Natural Bridge Zoo, we explore what sometimes happens to all the animals once a zoo loses its license, and we take a look at the exotic animal trade.

Pages