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Jessica Wetzler


Location icon United States

Since December 2018, I have been a reporter at the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg, VA., covering Rockingham County, agriculture and local/state government. I created and ran the podcast Valley Polity, covered happenings in the county's seven incorporated towns, shot and edited photos and wrote a variety of editorials and columns for the DNR.

I graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in December 2018 with a bachelor's degree in mass communications with a minor in creative writing.

Past experience includes: Sports Editor for The Commonwealth Times, VCU's independent student press; editorial assistant for VCU's College of Humanities and Sciences; editorial intern for Richmond Magazine; intern for The Henrico Citizen and Capital News Service Reporter for the 2018 General Assembly session.


Rockingham County Coverage

Daily News-Record
Residents Voice Challenges, Support For Solar Farm

Joni Lam is the first to admit that when her husband Duane showed her a house for sale that was situated on the foothills leading up toward Massanutten Mountain, she wasn't sold right away. It wasn't until she stepped onto the front porch, overlooking the bucolic valley below, that she felt at home.

Daily News-Record
How The Valley Became Home To Historic Places, Districts

To the naked eye, a structure made of limestone wouldn't garner any attention other than showing resemblance to James Madison University's original campus. But much like Linville's Mannheim house, limestone shows how locally sourced materials paid homage to the Rockingham County area, and how the German settlers who constructed the building contributed to the county's growth.

Daily News-Record
Facebook Post From Mayor Stirs Town

A Facebook post by Luray Mayor Barry Presgraves on his personal page has drawn the ire of some Town Council members. Shortly after 5:30 p.m., Presgraves posted on Facebook that “Joe Biden has just announced Aunt Jemima as his VP pick.” Aunt Jemima, a breakfast brand from Quaker Oats, was retired in June after the company said the Black character’s origins were “based on a racial stereotype,” The Associated Press reported.

Daily News-Record
Inside A Disaster

Editor's Note: This narrative was written from the perspective of someone involved in the drill in the role of a civilian experiencing the disaster being simulated. HARRISONBURG - James Madison University's Bridgeforth Stadium is home to Saturday night football games and crowds of cheering fans.

Daily News-Record
Broadway Student Says Experiences Led To Black Lives Matter Event At Heritage Park

BROADWAY - Throughout TJ Williams' time living in Broadway, he experienced several events in town and at the high school that sparked something inside of him. The rising junior at Broadway High School said he saw the Confederate flag, experienced racism and heard stories from his friends about racism at other Rockingham County Public Schools.


Daily News-Record
Pleasant View Adjusts To COVID-19 Challenges

Even from a distance, a smile can be seen behind Derek Yoder's mask as he walks around Bryan Ungar, Billy King, Scott Jones and a dozen other residents of Pleasant View Inc.'s Harrison House playing his guitar.

Daily News-Record
Fabric Stores Essential During Pandemic

Peggy Simmons turned her quilting setup into a face-mask making production weeks before elastic, thread and sewing needles were hard to come by. And with help from local fabric stores, Simmons has been able to donate more than 300 masks to people across the United States.

Daily News-Record
Couple At Bridgewater Retirement Community Separated By Pandemic

In the 45 years Mary and Jack Whitley have been married, the only time they were separated was when Mary had to travel for work. The couple were "joined at the hip," Mary said, from the moment a manager at the bowling alley they both worked at introduced the Bridgewater College and James Madison University graduates to each other.


Daily News-Record
Livestock Sale Brings Out Emotions

The atmosphere coming from a Friday at the Rockingham County Fair could be best summarized by the weather - somber. Inside the hoop barn, hundreds of 4-H and FFA students lined up to sell the animals they had been training for several months, some even longer than a year.

Daily News-Record
'Lost Art' Of The Cattle Dog Still Found In The Valley

MINT SPRING - Leon Armentrout stood at the base of a hill and called on his dog, Pickett, to herd four sheep located on a farm in rural Augusta County. With whistle in hand, Armentrout commanded Pickett beside him and then sent the border collie off 400 yards to circle around the sheep.


Daily News-Record
Bill Defining Dairy Products Advances In General Assembly

Dairy farmers have been fighting the fight of what is and isn't milk for decades, but with some legislative initiative, the winning blow may be reached soon. Over the years, plant-based beverages using the name "milk" have become increasingly popular, making it difficult to go to a grocery store and not see soy milk or almond milk on the same shelf as dairy milk.

Daily News-Record
Valley Residents Join Richmond Gun-Rights Rally

Residents from across Rockingham County and Harrisonburg gathered together early Monday morning to voice their support for the Second Amendment and attend the Virginia Citizens Defense League's annual Lobby Day and Second Amendment Rally in Richmond. More than 60 people joined residents from New Market and Woodstock to hitch a ride to Richmond with the help of VCDL-sponsored charter buses from the Shenandoah Valley.

Daily News-Record
Runion Eager As General Assembly Session Begins

RICHMOND - Between the rallies, crammed elevator rides and overall first day scramble, a tucked away hallway on the fourth floor of the Pocahontas Building is quiet. Few staff members are walking up and down the halls, passing by the office of Del. Chris Runion, R-Bridgewater.

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