Martha Woodroof

Host

Martha is both a college dropout (Mount Holyoke) and a graduate school dropout (the University of Virginia).

Her first real job was as a teacher’s aide in a pilot Head Start program in Greensboro, North Carolina. She's been with WMRA since the (latest) turn of the century, and has actively freelanced for the NPR Culture Desk and for npr.org.

Before that – among a lot of other things - she co-owned restaurants, did a bit of acting, was fired as a magazine editor, hosted local TV talk shows and anchored the news, wrote a book called How to Stop Screwing Up: 12 Steps to a Real Life and a Pretty Good Time, cooked for an artist’s colony, was a country music disc jockey and a psychiatric occupational therapy aide, taught preschool, published a bunch of essays, was a morning drive-time personality on a tiny AM radio station, ran a college bookstore coffee shop, directed a college’s co-curricular programming, and failed to sell cars.

Her daughter is spinner, weaver, author, and content provider, Liz Gipson. Many of the photographs accompanying her work were taken by her husband, Charlie.

She loves words and their power to tell other people’s stories.

Her first novel, Small Blessings, was published by St. Martin’s Press in the summer of 2014.

Ways To Connect

On this episode of The Spark: Renard Turner came to Louisa County in 1996 for two reasons: to work at the University of Virginia hospital and to work towards establishing a sustainable lifestyle on his 94-acre Vanguard Ranch. So, how’s he doing?

Shawnna Miller

On this edition of The Spark: JMU Graphic design Professor Trudy Cole’s special relationship with special needs horses.

Life Recycled

Aug 14, 2015

On this edition of The Spark: A conversation with Eric Walter, who’s mid-life reinvention took him from running his own IT business in Chicago, to running his own recycling business in Crimora.

On this episode of The Spark: Ann-Janine Morey is an English and Religious Studies professor at James Madison University, as well as Associate Vice Provost for Cross Disciplinary Studies. A.J. began collecting old pictures of people and their dogs while undergoing chemotherapy. And low and behold, the collection grew into her latest book, Picturing Dogs, Seeing Ourselves: Vintage American Photographs.

On The SparkDennis Lynch first came to the Valley fresh out of college to work at the Wayside Theater. But he stayed to run the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival.

On This Episode of The Spark: These days 83-year-old Bob Brennan busies himself with Percheron Horses and a recalcitrant donkey on his Orange County farm. But he started his farming career raising chickens... at about the same time he started going to school.

Kara Lofton

On this episode of The Spark: Former Bridgewater college... and soon-to-be Sweet Briar college president,  Phillip Stone.

Chainsaw Glenn

Jun 26, 2015

On this episode of The spark: Meet Glenn Richardson... he has been making art for decades. Now in his fifties, Glenn has settled into sculpting phantasmagoria out of firewood using a chainsaw.

The Gate inspired by the Japanese Torii gate

Glenn Richardson's Website

The Avtex Legacy

Jun 19, 2015

On this episode of The Spark: Ralph Bolgiano remembers being part of the 1989 study that shut down AVTEX in Front Royal and put a stop to a major source of pollution in the South Fork of the Shenandoah River.

Martha Woodroof speaks with DeLois Warr, who still carries anger from her days growing up in segregated Mount Jackson.

She has made a mission out of challenging her community to help her maintain Mount Jackson's antebellum black cemetery.

Note: This episode of The Spark originally aired October 24, 2014.

Valley Black Heritage Project

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