Hometown Stories Podcast

From hard-hitting to heartwarming, Hometown Stories will guide you through the Blue Ridge Mountains and into the heart of Virginia. Hometown Stories is a production of WDBJ7-TV based in Roanoke, Virginia.

November 16, 2023: Along a stretch of the New River in southwest Virginia, you’ll find a town nearly unchanged by time. For nearly a century, the people of Fries, Virginia worshiped, played and grew up under the watchful eye and guiding hand of its textile mill. It was an Appalachian mill town centered on community, cotton and country music. But that changed when the mill closed in the 1980s, and Fries became a shell of its former self. Today, Fries is using its past to guide its future - hoping to weave a new chapter into its unique story.

November 8, 2023: The Norfolk and Western Class J No. 611 locomotive has retained celebrity status in her hometown of Roanoke, Virginia and has amassed fans in the rail enthusiast community worldwide. The Queen of Steam recently rode the rails once again, harkening back to its early days in the passenger rail business. Now as the last remaining of its kind, fans flock to see the Spirit of Roanoke run. In this episode of Hometown Stories, we explore the 611′s past, how she gained celebrity status and look ahead to its future.

October 4, 2023: Since the era of Daniel Boone, sengers have been trying their luck at turning roots into riches. The wild American ginseng created outlaws and bylaws, fact and fiction, in trying to define a people almost as elusive as the plant itself. Fueled by a robust Asian market, the ginseng trade has persevered, though today with conservation top of mind. In this episode of Hometown Stories, a look at the histories and mysteries rooted in Appalachia’s ginseng trade as Virginia’s season gets underway.

September 27, 2023: Did you know you can help plant trees in Virginia just by exploring your backyard? Virginia’s Department of Forestry wants your acorns! In this episode of Hometown Stories, we speak with nursery manager, Joshua McLaughlin, about how you can get involved.

August 30, 2023: Five members of the Green Bank Observatory team in Green Bank, West Virginia have spent the last two weeks dodging polar bears, climbing glaciers and dismantling a giant telescope in one of the world’s northernmost human settlements. They’re bringing the spare parts, floppy discs and all, back to Green Bank. In this episode of Hometown Stories, we get a look into their epic adventure.

August 23, 2023: The journey from the grapevine to the bottle is a journey filled with challenges for wine makers worldwide. Thanks to climate change, those challenges are mounting. In this episode of Hometown Stories, a look at how climate change is forcing Virginia’s billion dollar industry to adapt.

August 16, 2023: Garrett Brumfield has a dream, a dog and a high-tech mobility scooter. Cerebral palsy hasn’t stopped him from living his life, it’s just made him adapt and overcome. That’s the encouraging message he delivers as a disability advocate. But it’s not all positive messages and good vibes. Brumfield and others are on a mission to highlight accessibility gaps in rural Virginia. In this episode of Hometown Stories, we’ll measure those gaps and learn how we might begin to bridge them.

August 9, 2023: School is about to begin for Virginia public school students. In addition to having backpacks, uniforms and new shoes ready to go, public health leaders also want children to be prepared physically. That means getting their annual physical and required vaccinations - as well as checking up on their mental health. We spoke with Dr. Karen Shelton, Virginia State Health Commissioner, about what parents need to know ahead of the school year. This conversation originally appeared on the WDBJ7+ Digital News Desk.

August 2, 2023: A migraine is the cranial nerves around the face being activated- nerves which can be hypersensitive to the senses. Episodic migraines can occur once a week or once a month. Chronic migraine sufferers typically experience more than 14 headache days a month. Migraines are also hormonally triggered, which is why they often affect women. But what can be done to treat and even prevent them? We invited Jamie Brackenrich, Family Nurse Practitioner with LewisGale Regional Health System, to join us for a discussion.

July 26, 2023: The mountains around Eagle Rock, Virginia were the backdrop to the early life of a man you’ve probably never heard of, but whose name a community hopes you now won’t forget. On a July day 71 years ago, boxer Norvel Lee made history as Virginia’s first Black Olympic gold medalist. Decades later, the community that raised him is recognizing his achievements. In February 2022, we highlighted Norvel’s story as researched by local author Ken Conklin. In this episode of Hometown Stories, we’re stepping back to a summer’s day when Botetourt’s most famous son was given his due credit.

July 19, 2023: In recent months, a local public school district had to close because of a ransomware attack. In the spring, Bluefield University also fell victim that ensnared operations there for weeks. Two years ago, our entire region was dealing with the effects of a cyber-attack against the Colonial Pipeline. As our online networks get more sophisticated, so do the bad guys. In this episode of Hometown Stories, a member of FBI Richmond’s Cyber Squad joins us for a discussion about our cyber vulnerabilities and ways we can stay protected.

July 12, 2023: Arlene Davis likes to tell people she went from the tobacco fields of southwest Virginia to the halls of the White House. The Pittsylvania County woman spent almost three decades working under seven presidents. Her mission was to keep the White House clean and it was a duty she performed admirably. Now her hometown is honoring her and the example she’s setting for the younger generation.

July 5, 2023: Roanoke City’s Black history is rich and unique. For one Roanoke man, it’s also personal. That’s why he’s taking a unique approach to preserve it. In this episode of Hometown Stories, we meet Jordan Bell, who gives us a tour of the Gainesboro neighborhood as it was and how he hopes it can be.

June 28, 2023: Sometimes, in the middle of the night, the Wilkinson sisters could hear their father talking in the basement - strangers coming and going under the cover of darkness. It was as President of Roanoke’s NAACP that the Reverend R.R. Wilkinson worked on a secret, biracial committee of businessmen and clergy, strategizing integration of Roanoke’s schools, lunch counters and water fountains. Decades later, the Wilkinson family is working hard to see their father’s legacy remembered.

June 21, 2023: It’s Pride Month! And Roanoke’s queer community has a lot to be proud of. Historians, elders and the new generation are coming together to tell stories of back street bars, campfire chats and welcoming front porches - where Roanoke’s LGBTQ women have found refuge for decades. In this episode of Hometown Stories: a look at the past and a path forward for queer connections in a southern city.

June 14, 2023: A mountain midwife is said to have lost more than 20 of her own children before becoming a midwife to hundreds of local families. That’s the life, legacy and lore connected to a woman people called Aunt Orlean Puckett. In this episode of Hometown Stories, we take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway to learn about resilient mountain living and the efforts one family is taking to keep a memory alive.

June 7, 2023: Joseph McGill Jr. has spent the last 13 years attempting to sleep in every extant slave building still standing. The South Carolinian’s travels have even brought him to southwest Virginia. This week he released a book which he wrote with writer Herb Frazier. In this episode of Hometown Stories, we hear from McGill and Frazier about their book, the journey that led them here and the stories of the ancestors they’re working to honor.

May 31, 2023: Caring for small farm animals is a tall order. Koressa Malcolm is keeping a nine-generation farm alive with the care of abandoned, neglected and abused miniature horses. In this episode of Hometown Stories, we take a tour of Elegius Mini Equine Sanctuary and meet some of the farm’s big personalities.

May 24, 2023: The little critters are small but mighty. And a dedicated team at Virginia’s Department of Health is intent of tracking not only the prevalence of certain types of ticks - but the diseases that they carry. Dr. David Gaines, a public health entomologist, and Joshua Bertalik - a vector-borne disease epidemiologist, joined us for a discussion on all things tick. Together we help you identify ticks, prevent them and if you need to - properly remove them. They say grandpa’s way may not be the most effective.

May 17, 2023: Technology is evolving faster every day - and so are the means by which bad actors can access and use our personal data. This is the basis of research experts at Virginia Tech are conducting to better protect us when it comes to our online presence. In this episode of Hometown Stories, we discuss the importance of privacy measures, how bad actors could be using your data and ultimately - how to regain control.

May 10, 2023: One rural Virginia county has a robust relationship with all things maple. In fact, they’re so sweet on the product there’s an entire festival dedicated to it. In this episode of Hometown Stories, let us take you on a sugar camp tour. They teach us how they’ve come to boil down to a science the art of tradition and innovation to keep producing their precious products even as winters grow shorter and warmer

April 5, 2023: The FDA has just approved the lifesaving opioid overdose reversal medication for over-the-counter purchase. What does this mean? How could it help prevent more fatal overdoses? In this episode of Hometown Stories, Danny Clawson with the Virginia Harm Reduction Coalition explains why everyone should carry Narcan and how this approval will help save lives.

March 29, 2023: In 2020, Frederick Miller was looking to buy a place in Gretna, Virginia to host family gatherings. He settled on Sharswood, a stately home with gothic architecture and a hidden past. He discovered a beautiful property and a family mystery. In this episode of Hometown Stories, WDBJ7s Makayla Shelton explains how the Millers unknowingly reclaimed the land once home to their enslaved ancestors.

March 22, 2023: Henrietta Lacks was born in Roanoke in the 1920s. Unknowingly, she would go on to change the world, thanks to her immortal cells - taken from her without her consent or knowledge. More than 70 years after her death, her hometown is recognizing her in new ways with the help of two local artists.

March 13, 2023: Three years. That’s how long it’s been since we first became aware of the threat of COVID-19. During her recent teleconference, we asked the head of the Roanoke City Alleghany Health District to reflect on this anniversary that is both somber and celebratory. Dr. Cynthia Morrow says there is so much we’ve learned from COVID-19. And while it’s hard to extract silver linings from tragedy, there is a lot public health leaders are grateful for.

March 1, 2023: A historian walks into the National Archives and walks out with something we’ve never seen before. Virginia Tech Professor Ed Gitre unearths forgotten surveys of WWII soldiers. In this episode of Hometown Stories, how history and technology are painting us a more intimate picture of life as a soldier, one Gitre hopes will allow us to better understand the Greatest Generation. (A note from the curators of the project, the archive materials contain sensitive historical documents that may be difficult to read, harmful and offensive and some may be unsuitable for children.)

February 2, 2023: In this episode of Hometown Stories, we speak with WDBJ7 reporter Janay Reece who highlights the history of slavery in Appalachia. Some people falsely believe it simply didn’t exist in our Blue Ridge Mountains. Now, the Glencoe Museum in Radford, Virginia is highlighting that history with a special exhibit and oral histories from locals and experts.

December 14, 2022: On December 8, Hometown Stories hosted its first ever in person storytelling event! We invited the community to hear from three guest speakers to talk about Hometowns - how they have been inspired by and continue to inspire their hometowns. Our guests included recently retired WDBJ7 meteorologist and anchor Robin Reed, Xavier Duckett (Humble Hustle and Imagine Me Mentoring), and Leah Weiss, award-winning southern writer (If the Creek Don’t Rise and All the Little Hopes). And we made sure to record it so we could share it with you.

December 1, 2022: This month, Robin Reed will bid WDBJ7 viewers goodnight for the last time. His retirement caps off a tremendous career spanning more than 40 remarkable years. We speak often of the impact Robin has had on his community. In this episode of Hometown Stories, a look at the impact the community had on him.

November 14, 2022: Renowned TV Chef, scientist and dog-dad Alton Brown, best known for Good Eats and Iron Chef, joins us to talk about his upcoming visit to Roanoke City! In this episode of Hometown Eats, we preview his Live show Beyond the Eats: The Holiday Variant. It’s a show that involves cooking, music, comedy game shows and things never before seen by human eyes! We talk about live audiences, laughing brains, rescue dogs and watch collections.

November 9, 2022: In a cafe along Main Street in Clifton Forge, Virginia the past and the present are brewing something unique for the town’s future. Caffe’ Museo has been open just three years. But the work to bring it to live has been centuries in the making. In this episode of Hometown Stories, we take you to the only Coffee Grinder Museum this side of the globe.

September 28, 2022: This is a story about big dreams, small print and making happier endings wherever you can. Jennifer Williams is on a mission to give away 1 million books. In this episode of Hometown Stories, a look at her years long journey to bring books to schools, jails and everywhere in between.

September 22, 2022: The man leading the Virginia Tech Hokies into battle this season isn’t new to the field at all. Head Coach Brent Pry made his first tour of Lane Stadium back in the 1990s. Coach has been the boss for almost a year now and we figured it was time to pry back the layers and get to know Coach outside of work. In this episode of Hometown Stories, we chat with Coach Pry about everything from his pizza preferences to his chances at winning Survivor.

September 3, 2022: Dr. Kenneth Garren, who sometimes goes by Kenny G, is known for his tenure leading educational institutions in southwest and central Virginia. But Garren also has a military career and a NASA Career under his belt, too. As NASA works to launch phase 1 of the Artemis mission, Garren recalls his time working on Artemis’ twin sister, Apollo.

August 26, 2022: NASA has sights set on human exploration of Mars. But before they run, they’ve got to walk and NASA leaders see the Moon as the perfect place for those baby steps. In this episode of Hometown Stories, a member of Artemis’ team at Kennedy Space Center details the plan to take us from Apollo to Artemis.

August 20, 2022: Longtime WDBJ7 Sports Director Travis Wells says farewell to broadcast sports. He is about to embark on a new career with the Virginia Tech Hokie Football team. In this episode of Hometown Stories, we sit down with Wells to reflect on his impressive 27-year career and the exciting adventure that awaits him.

August 16, 2022: After Roanoke’s national bestselling author Beth Macy wrote Dopesick in 2018, she was convinced she never wanted to write about the opioid crisis again. It was too frustrating, too depressing. But as she traveled the country, she found something that changed her mind: Hope. Macy is launching her latest book, Raising Lazarus: Hope, Justice, and the Future of America’s Overdose Crisis. She says it takes a look at the unique ways people are working to meet those with substance use disorder where they are and why it’s working. In this episode of Hometown Stories, I chat with Macy about Raising Lazarus, the inspiration for its title and the hope she hopes we find in its pages.

July 29, 2022: The James Webb Space Telescope has given us some of the clearest, deepest images of our universe yet. Webb was many years, many hands and billions of dollars in the making. And at various points - it struggled. In 2018, after almost three decades with NASA, Gregory Robinson was tapped see the project through as Webb’s program director. Born to a family of sharecroppers in segregated Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Robinson’s sights as a young man were set not on the far reaches of our universe. His journey to NASA and beyond has landed him on Time’s List of Most influential people of 2022. As Webb’s mission begins, Robinson’s comes to a close.

June 17, 2022: This is a story about a baseball team that played better than it ever has. And then... lost. In this episode of Hometown Stories, we take you to Blacksburg, Virginia where an underdog team is proving that some wins don’t show up on the scoreboard.

May 18, 2022: Bedford, Virginia is home to the National D-Day Memorial for a devastating reason. The small, tightly knit community lost more men on D-Day per capita than any other city in the United States. As part of its continuing outreach, the memorial is now offering a podcast, intended to reach people in Bedford and Beyond. In this episode of Hometown Stories, we speak with podcast host and professor John McManus about examining the pivotal moment in fresh ways.

May 10, 2022: Opera Roanoke is closing out its season with a show that’s not technically an opera. It’s a requiem - a Catholic Mass for the dead. More specifically, it’s Guiseppe Verdi’s Requiem. Opera Roanoke Conductor Maestro Steven White says they’re using the nearly 150-year-old music to honor those lost to COVID and war. In this episode of Hometown Stories, White shares a modern take on an ancient text.

May 2, 2022: Books and Crannies in Martinsville, Virginia found customers from all over the country during the pandemic. Givens Books in Lynchburg found a loyal customer who returned week after week for another Agatha Christie novel. And while Oracle Books in Wytheville opened shortly before the pandemic, the support it’s received from the community has them feeling right at home. In this episode of Hometown Stories, cozy up and join your next virtual book club.

April 18, 2022: God’s Pit Crew is a robust group of staff and volunteers dedicated to helping people following a disaster. They’ve been kept busy by the tornadoes and wildfires that have swept the southeast over the last several months. In this episode of Hometown Stories, one of those immediate responders sets down his chainsaw to tell us what he’s seeing on the ground.

April 14, 2022: In 2007 the Virginia Tech Campus became the focus of international attention when a gunman killed 32 people in one morning. For local journalists first on scene, what they saw and heard that day is forever engrained in their memories. In this episode of Hometown Stories, we sit down with the journalists who were the first to tell the stories of the horror that unfolded on April 16, 2007. Two reporters, a photojournalist and an anchor describe the camaraderie developed out of grisly work that tie them together forever. In this candid round table, they share the memories from that day that never made air.

March 20, 2022: NASA researchers have just shared an image of their record-breaking discovery from the Hubble Telescope. The image shows a red arc in a distant part of our universe. In the midst of that red arc, they discovered a star. The light from that star is so old, NASA says this Hubble image shows us the farthest star ever seen. They’ve called it Earendel. In this episode of Hometown Stories, NASA Astrophysicist Dr. Padi Boyd explains why Earendel is important, even if you’re not an astrophysicist.

March 25, 2022: In 1948 a man was arrested and fined $5.00 for refusing to sit in the Colored section of a train. That man happened to be Virginia’s first Black Olympic gold medalist and a Tuskegee Airman. In this episode of Hometown Stories, we take a look at how Norvel Lee’s fight in the ring and the courtroom is being recognized today.

March 11, 2022: WDBJ7 shares a special connection with Ukraine. Over the years, several journalists visited the country in an exchange program which also brought Ukrainian journalists to Roanoke. But many say the trip was farm more than just a professional exchange of ideas and had a profound impact personally. In this episode of Hometown Stories, we invite current and former WDBJ7 journalists to share their experiences with us.

March 9, 2022: GOES-T is going up. NOAA and NASA have launched a new satellite, GOES-T, that is top of the line for monitoring weather here on Earth and in Space. In this episode of Hometown Stories, satellite project leader Liz Kline filled us in on GOES-T’s mission right before it’s successful launch.

March 2, 2022: Globally, COVID-19-based restrictions are easing up as case counts seem to be stabilizing. So, what will the future of this pandemic look like? What’s next for us as we continue to fight back against COVID-19? Those are the questions we posed in this episode of Hometown Stories to Dr. William Petri, a leader at the University of Virginia’s Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health.

February 24, 2022: Botetourt County, Virginia features something thought to be one of the last remaining of its kind in all of southwest Virginia: An unassuming cabin and a crumbling kitchen. They are leftover relics from Greenfield’s history as an antebellum plantation. For the last several years a group of dedicated volunteers, including descendants from Greenfield Plantation, have been working to restore the buildings. In this episode of Hometown Stories, we take a look at how the group is pushing forward, even as the buildings continue their battle with time.

February 16, 2022: John Crews laid a wet bag filled with flopping fish onto the scale and stood back. He just needed to see the number 16 appear. When the final weight leveled out, he didn’t even bother to look at the ounces. Fists and fish in the air, the fisherman from Salem, Virginia looked out to the crowd victorious. In this episode of Hometown Stories, John Crews joins us from the bow of his boat as the newly crowned Bassmaster Elite champ.

January 19, 2022: The Transportation Security Administration says people are packing heat at record numbers in Virginia airports. In 2021, agents stopped close to 100 firearms at Virginia airport security checkpoints. The upward trend is true for airports nationwide. In this episode of Hometown Stories, we’re joined by a TSA spokesperson to take a look at the data, the things people try to bring on board planes and the excuses they offer up for them.

December 29, 2021: A lot of us tend to make healthier eating a goal for the new year. But how can we actually turn healthy ideas into healthy habits? While working at home during a pandemic? In this episode of Hometown Stories, Dietitian Clarence Tawney gives us practical solutions for eating our way into a better year.

December 21, 2021: Yes Virginia, there is a Mrs. Claus. And she lives in Roanoke, Virginia. In this episode of Lighter Fare, we introduce you to our Mrs. Claus and take you to her workshop, where magic, love, and memory make a WDBJ7 tradition sweet each year.

December 7, 2021: All the way from Quebec, a special delivery to historic Lexington, Virginia takes precise and detailed work to get just right. In this episode of Hometown Stories, reporter Bruce Young brings us to a place where the seemingly mundane carries a tune and a story from the past.

November 11, 2021: In Episode 1 of The Final Salute, we’ll take you to the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia. Bedford suffered the greatest number of casualties per capita of any American town on D-Day. We’ll hear the stories about the 20 young men who were killed in the first 15 minutes of the invasion and how it affected an entire town for years to come.

October 28, 2021: Roanoke writer Beth Macy has seen her bestselling book Dopesick turned into a Hulu miniseries staring Michael Keaton. In this episode of Hometown Stories, veteran reporter Joe Dashiell talks with Macy about turning stories into screenplays, sticking up for Appalachia and her brief but tough cameo on set.

October 21, 2021: In the mid 1900s, polio outbreaks hit some communities hard - driving families to isolation and creative solutions to keep their children safe. Now, improved sanitation and vaccine campaigns have successfully eradicated most polio strains. Only one wild poliovirus strain remains. Dr. Bill Petri, Chair of the Polio Committee of the World Health Organization, joins us to talk about what’s next in the fight against what he says is an ancient disease.

October 14, 2021: In the summer of 1950, the rural community of Wythe County, Virginia had the highest number of polio cases per capita of anywhere in the country. We look back at an epidemic that has striking similarities to the COVID-19 pandemic - and what we can learn from both. In this episode of Hometown Stories, we examine the “Summer Without Children.”

September 29, 2021: What does it take to start your day? Opinions are as varied as there are ways to prepare your cuppa joe. September 29th is National Coffee Day. Our Editor Ben Riquelmy is using the day to find out which brew is best in the Hometown Stories series, Lighter Fare.

August 31, 2021: “We are literally made of star stuff.” The Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia is home to the largest fully steerable telescope in the world. From inside the observatory people, like newly named director Dr. Jim Jackson, are looking at the cosmos beyond us and within us. In this episode of Hometown Stories, Dr. Jackson helps us take a look at what’s on the horizon for the observatory and beyond.

July 20, 2021: Life after a stroke may be a lonely journey for the Rudder family. But by the numbers, they certainly aren’t alone. People living in Appalachia face greater obstacles when it comes to getting care for strokes. And we’ve learned, some of our hometowns have among the highest rate of strokes in not just Virginia, but the nation. In this episode of Hometown Stories in our series Bridging the Great Health Divide, we’re taking a look at the facts. And the faith that’s kept one Virginia family going, despite it all.

May 14, 2021: The Department of Health and Human Services is making it easier for more health care providers to prescribe a drug that could help people suffering from addiction. How might it make a difference for rural American in general and Appalachia in particular? That’s the focus of our conversation with addiction expert Cheri Hartman,

March 31, 2021: We invited Christine Baldwin, a peer recovery specialist from the Roanoke Valley’s Hope Initiative, and Dr. Robert Trestman, the Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine with the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, for a conversation In our round table discussion, we talk about resources for people looking for help for their substance use disorder

March 31, 2021: 2020 will be the worst year on record by far for fatal overdoses for Virginia. That was the grim hindsight projection forecast by one of the Commonwealth’s top medical leaders. But why? And what’s being done to stave off the power of the poppy in communities hit hard by both the opioid crisis and COVID-19? In this episode of Hometown Stories, part one in our series Bridging the Great Health Divide, we’re taking a fresh look at the epidemic inside the pandemic. And we’re looking at the bridges people in these communities are building to bring hope to those who need it most.

January 22, 2021: A Virginia WWII pilot left his cap behind when he returned home from the European theater. No one knows why. And up till now, no one in his family knew it even existed. But with the help of two strangers, a history buff in the Netherlands and a gemologist in Italy, Lt. E.B. Thrasher’s family gets a present that allows a glimpse into the past. In this episode of Hometown Stories, the cap comes home.

October 21, 2020: If the walls of a home in a small, rural town could talk, they’d hold many of the answers to questions Sarah Meadows has had nearly her whole life. Walter Reed the Medical Center grabbed news headlines this month. But Walter Reed the person has a connection to a southwest Virginia hometown that reporter Michael Alachnowicz discovered during a recent Google search.

October 16, 2020: In this episode of Hometown Stories, a story from a home project in progress. In a series we call, Lighter Fare, our Editor Ben Riquelmy puts in some manual labor. He’s shedding some light on the illuminating art of DIY and lessons learned in the shadow of failure, with a few words of wisdom from his high school shop class teacher.

October 6, 2020: Meteorologist Brent Watts is a local TV staple. Known for his trustworthy forecasts, his service to the community and his sense of humor, Watts now finds himself on the mic in a while new way. In this episode of Hometown Stories, weather for the ear.

September 7, 2020: Cities are getting hotter, but not evenly. Studies suggest poorer parts of cities are bearing the brunt of brutal summers. And more studies are working to prove that. Meteorologist Ian Cassette takes a drive around Roanoke to measure the urban heat island effect and discover ways to battle rising inequality with rising temperatures.

August 24, 2020: In a series we call Lighter Fare, our editor Ben Riquelmy tries to get to the bottom of his messy closet and initiate a quarantine clean.

August 14, 2020: It’s been three years since the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. What has happened since then? What is still to come? In this episode of Hometown Stories, we hear from WDBJ7′s Pete DeLuca who covered the events that unfolded that day. And we catch up with the families who were among those most affected by the violence.

August 12, 2020: President Trump just signed the Great American Outdoors Act into law. What could this mean for our local communities? And how did proper care of our parks, like the Blue Ridge Parkway, get pushed off for so long? In this episode of Hometown Stories, we’re taking a drive onto the parkway and detouring into the history of a bill so many are calling historic.

July 31, 2020: Just how well is your face mask stopping your spittle? Face masks are still one of the most widely recommended ways to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. In this episode of Hometown Stories, we’re asking researchers at Virginia Tech to test their effectiveness in the lab, letting their own bacteria do the talking.

July 21, 2020: The Covid-19 pandemic has moved college lectures to living rooms and graduations to front porches. In five, 10, 15, or 100 years from now, what will be remembered about this time? In this episode of Hometown Stories, we’re meeting an archivist from Virginia Tech who’s not waiting until after the pandemic to answer that question.

September 16, 2019: Regine Archer says becoming an American Citizen was one of the best days of her life. She spent part of her teenage years in hiding. In Episode 1 of Hometown Stories, you’ll hear from Regine about growing up as a Jew in Belgium during WWII, where and her sister hid in a convent where only the Mother Superior and a priest knew their true identity. Now a resident of southwest Virginia, Archer recalls what it was like to hide from Nazis, live off of rations and experience liberation by the Americans.

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