WMRA News

On Wednesday, Jan. 13th, Gov. Terry McAuliffe delivered his State of the Commonwealth address to the General Assembly.  On this week's Second Look, we bring you highlights from that speech, plus the Republican response.

Harrisonburg police on Monday evacuated students and staff from Spotswood Elementary School due to a bomb threat.  Students were loaded onto buses and taken to Harrisonburg High School, where parents were asked to pick them up from the auditorium.

WMRA's Sefe Emokpae introduces us to the non-profit in Charlottesville that provides a safe space for victims of human trafficking.... Virginia Public Radio's Sandy Hausman has the details on Gov. Terry McAuliffe's trip to Cuba, and on State Sen. Creigh Deeds' lawsuit targeting state health agencies after the death of his mentally-ill son in 2013.  Also, we've got this week's installments of The Spark and Our Island Universe!

In December, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced the online expansion of his campaign against human trafficking across the Commonwealth. Virginia ranks among the top five states for instances of trafficking. WMRA’s Sefe Emokpae introduces us to one Charlottesville organization doing its part to help.

WMRA brought you nearly 150 stories in 2015 from right here in our part of Virginia.  But what were the most listened-to, the most popular, the most compelling stories of the year?  We have room for four of them, and here they are!

For those aged 70½ or older, it is once again possible to make tax-favored charitable gifts from traditional and Roth IRA accounts.

On December 18 the President signed into law legislation that retroactively extends the charitable IRA rollover for 2015 and makes this provision permanent for future years. A total of up to $100,000 can be transferred directly from traditional or Roth IRAs to one or more qualified charities such as WMRA and WEMC free from federal income tax each year. There may also be state income tax savings. Amounts given in this way count toward required IRA minimum withdrawal amounts for the year of the gift.

To make such gifts, it is important to not withdraw funds prior to a gift, but have the gift amount distributed directly from an IRA to one or more qualified charities. For those with check writing privileges on their accounts, this may be the most efficient way to make gifts directly from an IRA.  Check with us, your IRA administrator or your tax advisor for more information.

Here's the statement from Augusta County schools on Friday's closure.  We also take a look at the letter from Christian leaders expressing solidarity with the Muslim community in the Shenandoah Valley, with WMRA's Christopher Clymer Kurtz.... Amy Loeffler explains the economic (and gastronomic) importance of local food systems.... Virginia Public Radio reports on Gov. Terry McAuliffe's budget proposals, and on a new program for drug offenders that de-emphasizes prison.... and, we've got this week's episode of The Spark.

Courtesy Jennifer Davis Sensenig

The recent spate of anti-Muslim sentiments expressed by public figures such as Liberty University’s president and presidential contenders has prompted many Christian leaders, including some in the Harrisonburg area, to vocalize their own messages--of solidarity with Muslims. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Photo from @karwasher

In 2014 Harrisonburg was designated Virginia’s first culinary district. More than 30 food-themed businesses in the downtown area make it a mecca for locally-sourced food and beverage in the Shenandoah Valley.  WMRA’s Amy Loeffler reports how what’s good for your belly can also mean a more sustainable community food system.

WMRA's Christopher Clymer Kurtz introduces us to next year's recipient of a custom-designed bike from James Madison University engineering and kinesiology programs, and to the professor who received the first bike and got the whole program started....  Plus, Virginia Public Radio's Sandy Hausman reports on the group that is helping to preserve land in nine counties in Virginia, on the college presidents getting paid the most, and on Gov. Terry McAulliffe's proposal to cut corporate tax rates in Virginia.  We've also got this week's Spark segment, and Our Island Universe.

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