WMRA News

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.

On this weekend's Second Look, we compile our first three installments in our series on Refugees in Virginia, by Jessie Knadler and Jordy Yager.... and, Christopher Clymer Kurtz talked to the woman with the first confirmed case of imported Zika in Virginia.

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.

Mary Plank

In our second installment on refugees in Virginia, WMRA’s Jordy Yager takes a look inside a new non-profit group in Charlottesville that pairs Americans with refugee families in an effort to strengthen community by doing something revolutionary… being a good neighbor.

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.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

In just a few weeks, Zika has gone from being a little known virus to a rather infamous one. The disease, new to the Western Hemisphere last year, is being closely watched internationally, and the World Health Organization has declared its spread a global public health emergency. Just last week, the Centers for Disease Control confirmed the first case of the Zika virus disease here in Virginia, in McGaheysville. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

We devote much of this week's Second Look to action in the General Assembly, where legislators debated concealed carry and cops in classrooms.  We also meet the Virginia Tech researcher who may be saving Flint, Michigan's water supply.... and we've got this week's episodes of The Spark and Our Island Universe, too!

  On this episode of Second Look, we focus on the Harrisonburg backyard fight club known on YouTube as "Streetbeefs," with a report from Christopher Clymer Kurtz, and an in-depth profile of the fight club's founder, Chris Wilmore with Martha Woodroof.... Also, a few of the "18 Stories of War" at EMU.... why Virginia's rules on bars may change.... and, Our Island Universe (hint: is there a bigger, badder new planet in our solar system?)

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

When you think of “war,” which war comes to your mind? How far removed are you from that war? How has war impacted your work? These are the questions asked of 18 people in a project currently on display at Eastern Mennonite University.  WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

On Thursday morning, Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency for Virginia, in anticipation of this weekend's expected winter storm.  Around 2 feet of snow may accumulate between Friday afternoon and Saturday night.

Courtesy Chris Wilmore

A new documentary called “Guns to Gloves” has been making the rounds on social media, and getting a lot of buzz in the Shenandoah Valley.  It was posted by the New York Times earlier this month.  In that video, we meet a man in Harrisonburg who is engaging in a unique, but perhaps time-honored – method of dispute resolution, staging fistfights in his backyard. And as WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports, the organizers of these fights have had to get used to LOTS of attention.

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.

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