WMRA News

Charlottesville City Council voted 3-2 on Monday to sell to the highest bidder the Robert E. Lee statue that has been the subject of so much controversy.  In February, Council had voted by the same margin to remove the monument from Lee Park – a controversial vote that spurred a lawsuit against the City Council, limiting its action for now.  WMRA’s Marguerite Gallorini reports.

Marguerite Gallorini

It’s billed as a week of innovation and art, with Charlottesville itself as the canvas.  The sixth annual Tom Tom Founders Festival is happening this week in Charlottesville. WMRA’s Marguerite Gallorini has the story.

NPR reported last week that President Trump’s travel ban is having a “chilling effect” on international student enrollment at universities across the country. In Harrisonburg, that’s also true when it comes to potential participants in peacebuilding coursework. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Courtesy Fringe Festival

Staunton is known for its eclectic art scene and nowhere is that captured better than at the two day Shenandoah Fringe Festival that kicks off this weekend in the Queen City.  So-called “Fringeketeers” showcase their work in a demonstration of the town’s artistic muscle.  WMRA’s Jessie Knadler caught up with the festival’s “Grand High Poobah” Carmel Clavin for a preview.

Sing Off!

Apr 6, 2017
Courtesy of Exit 245

Remember that 2012 Anna Kendrick movie, Pitch Perfect, about a capella singing groups facing off? This weekend in Harrisonburg, you can listen and watch in real life as 10 local community and university groups sing to win -- all for a good cause. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

It’s not so much a statement about the health care system, or a model for how it should be fixed. Instead, it’s more like a doctor just arrived at his own approach, sidestepping convention and filling a niche. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz visited the clinic of one general practitioner working outside the health insurance system.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

Tuesday marked 50 years since Martin Luther King Jr. gave what is considered his “most controversial speech” -- against the war in Vietnam. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports how some in Harrisonburg yesterday honored that message.

Courtesy of Sam Droege, a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

Several bee species are becoming conservation concerns, with populations declining across the country. Some scientists have been setting bee traps from Charlottesville to northern Virginia to find where they are and why they're dying out.  WMRA’s Miranda Bennett joins the search for one species, the 'rusty patched' bumblebee.

Are elections rigged? That’s the question before the courts in recent cases about gerrymandering, the process of carving up district lines for political advantage. Last week, a Richmond Circuit Court judge ruled against a group challenging eleven of Virginia's districts for disenfranchising black voters, and favoring Republicans.  Another case on the issue is still pending.  WMRA’s Jessie Knadler talked to redistricting reform proponents who are also trying to find a solution by working with state lawmakers.

On April 11, 2017 at 7pm, at Pale Fire Brewing Co. in Harrisonburg, our Books & Brews series featured author, and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Glenn Frankel discussing the House Committee on Un-American Activities hearings in the early 1950's, the Hollywood Blacklist, and the making of the film High Noon. 

The evening was co-sponsored by the Massanutten Regional Library.

Courtesy of Laura Katzman

An exhibition centering on the artwork of Ben Shahn has attracted a stream of visitors to James Madison University.  Shahn advocated for the downtrodden from the 1930s through the 1960s. WMRA’s Bonnie Barrineau reports.

Jana Asenbrennerova/Courtesy of MCC

On Monday, the bodies of United Nations worker and Eastern Mennonite University graduate Michael Sharp, a Swedish colleague and their Congolese interpreter were found two weeks after they and their Congolese motorbike drivers went missing in the Democratic Republic of Congo. News of Sharp’s disappearance and death has stirred memories of his antics and mischievous ways, as WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Senate Judiciary Hearing for Judge Neil Gorsuch

Mar 21, 2017
Public Domain

The NPR Politics team was able to live blog during the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearings on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. This blog features highlights, context and analysis from NPR reporters and correspondents.

The 23rd annual Virginia Festival of the Book kicks off Wednesday, March 22 in Charlottesville with some pre-festival events planned for as early as Tuesday evening. WMRA’s Sefe Emokpae spoke with organizers and several authors for this preview of what attendees can expect.

Architect of the Capitol

NPR will provide live coverage of the House Intelligence Committee’s public hearing on the investigations into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. This live blog will include streaming video of the proceedings, with posts featuring highlights, context and analysis from NPR reporters and correspondents.

Courtesy of Joy Lynn Davis

Where does the art you enjoy in any given exhibit come from?  The Department of Art and Art History at Washington and Lee in Lexington collaborated with the University’s Roger Mudd Center for Ethics to host a conference in early March that looks at the ethics of acquiring cultural heritage objects around the globe. It’s an open secret in the art world that many objects are stolen. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler filed this report.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

Last Wednesday was International Women’s Day. To celebrate, local organizers held a march in Harrisonburg from the Rockingham County Administration Building to a rally at Court Square on Saturday. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz filed this report.

Emily Richardson-Lorente

Yesterday, in honor of International Women’s Day, some women stayed home from work, others wore red and hit the streets to protest, and still others got together to celebrate.  WMRA's Emily Richardson-Lorente went to one such celebration in Charlottesville.

Emily Richardson-Lorente

Last night, a crowd gathered at the Christ Episcopal Church in Charlottesville. Not to celebrate faith, but to explore failure. The event was the latest installment of a popular speaker series focused on Charlottesville artists and sponsored by the New City Arts Initiative and the Garage. Emily Richardson-Lorente was in attendance.

Sefe Emokpae

Traditional Irish music filled the air across the country Sunday night for a national effort to benefit the American Civil Liberties Union. WMRA’s Sefe Emokpae reports from Charlottesville, where one of these “Sanctuary Sessions” took place.

Courtesy of vasun.org

Home and business owners thinking about going solar can learn more about a cost-cutting and helpful option at several meetings in the Valley this week. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

The Virginia Slave Who Mailed Himself to Freedom

Mar 3, 2017
Pamela D'angelo

Henry “Box” Brown was a born into slavery in Louisa County. At 15, he was sent to Richmond. 

Today, a group of musicians has chosen to honor Brown's story with a song about his escape. They performed recently during a Black History Celebration on Virginia’s Northern Neck. 

This weekend, area protesters will again assemble in Harrisonburg and Staunton. But the protests will be less about resisting President Trump than they will be about something closer to home... or rather about bringing Congressman Bob Goodlatte closer to home for a visit. WMRA's Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

President Trump will address a joint session of Congress for the first time on Tuesday evening at the Capitol, around 9:00 PM Eastern Time. The address comes a day after Trump gave an outline of his budget plan for Congress, which would increase defense spending and make cuts to domestic programs. Following tradition, House Speaker Paul Ryan invited the president to make the speech to lay out his agenda in the early days of his new administration.

UVA Memorial

Feb 27, 2017
Jordy Yager

A team of designers are set to unveil their latest proposals for a memorial to the enslaved men and women who built and operated the University of Virginia for much of the 19th century. WMRA's Jordy Yager has more. 

After a whirlwind first month of the new Congress — lawmakers took a recess this week, and many are facing the music back home. Constituents have gotten vocal, and are demanding face time. Jessie Knadler was in southwest Virginia for what was originally scheduled to be a town hall meeting with Congressman Bob Goodlatte. 

The Final Week of Virginia's Legislative Session

Feb 24, 2017
By Anderskev (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

To recap this final week of Virginia’s Legislative session, we turn to Virginia Public Radio’s Michael Pope and Luke Church.

Jordy Yager

In 2004, religious congregations in Charlottesville formed a coalition to prevent homeless people from freezing overnight in the winter. Today, that group shelters more than 200 people, 150 nights out of the year. WMRA’s Jordy Yager has this report.

Jordy Yager

Nearly 200 people showed up Tuesday evening to learn about zoning and housing regulations in Charlottesville. WMRA’s Jordy Yager has this report.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz

A recent Brookings Institution report named Harrisonburg as one of the top ten communities in the United States in terms of the proportion of immigrants from the seven countries on President Trump’s temporary travel ban.  WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz spoke with several people in Harrisonburg whose lives and work are being affected by the recent turmoil in immigration and refugee policy.

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