COVID-19 vaccines given to residents of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County
Harrisonburg and Rockingham County population that is fully vaccinated

Author: Randi B. Hagi

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How the pandemic has affected the area’s criminal justice system

People reported fewer crimes overall in Harrisonburg over the last year. And fewer defendants stayed in jail as they awaited trial. At the same time, though, many of those trials have been delayed, forcing the courts to put in overtime in order to catch up on the backlog of cases. Harrisonburg and Rockingham County’s criminal justice system — like many facets of life — has operated a little differently since the pandemic began, in some cases prompting prosecutors and judges to adapt and make exceptions they wouldn’t normally do.

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Middle River Regional Jail board delays action on expansion as officials ‘need to verify’ figures

Plans to expand the Middle River Regional Jail have stalled – for now. Rockingham County Administrator Stephen King, who serves as chairman of the jail’s authority board, announced at the board’s meeting Tuesday that the board would not take any action on an expansion proposal that day.

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Current and former MRRJ inmates raise complaints about conditions

As Middle River Regional Jail and its inmates continue navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, some inmates and people formerly incarcerated in the jail are speaking out about what they call unsanitary conditions and inadequate health care.

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School board to send more students back to class next month

More elementary and middle school students will be back in city classrooms in a month, after the Harrisonburg School Board voted unanimously in a special meeting Tuesday to approve the next phase of the division’s reopening plan.

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‘Providing support and encouragement.’ How former inmates are paying it forward.

Charles Kelly was arrested for the last time in August 2001. He’d been incarcerated for a few different stints over the years because of his cocaine and heroin addictions. This time, he had a two-year sentence to serve – the final six months of which he spent at Gemeinschaft Home in Harrisonburg, a therapeutic residential program for those under court supervision or leaving incarceration.

Harrisonburg prepares for students’ return and potential restart of the new high school

When school bells ring Monday morning, they’ll signal the beginning of in-person classes for the most students inside Harrisonburg school buildings since the pandemic began.

Area network of mental health help for inmates is stretched thin

Every morning, Jennie Amison gets buzzed through the gate at work and walks down the red-tiled staircase and past the payphone to get to her office. At 9 a.m., her group session begins, and she leads 11 men through cognitive behavioral therapy exercises to get at the root of their drug use.

Council seeks to clean up recycling ordinance

The Harrisonburg City Council is updating its ordinance to direct businesses and residents to separate recyclable materials — such as cardboard, cans and certain plastics — from their trash. The city has left open the option of curbside recycling since discontinuing it in 2015 but has no plans to resume that service anytime soon.

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