Robbie Harris

WVTF/RADIO IQ New River Valley Bureau Chief

Robbie Harris is based in Blacksburg,  covering the New River Valley and southwestern Virginia. 

The former news director of  WBEZ/ Chicago Public Radio and WHYY in Philadelphia, she led award-winning news teams and creative projects.  Early in her career, she was the Humanities Reporter at New Hampshire Public Radio, and also served as a tape editor on Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

Robbie worked at New Jersey Public Television and WCAU/CBS TV in Philadelphia while she pursued  her Master's Degree at the University of Pennsylvania.  During college, she was a Page at Saturday Night Live in New York and a reporter and program host for Cross Country Cable Television in Somerville, NJ.  Robbie also worked at the Rutgers College Radio Station, WRSU and was part of the team which founded "Knight Time Television" at the university.

Virginia Tech

The bond between humans and animals runs deep. And now, scientists know more about why and what that means for human health. Virginia Tech brought national experts together to explore the latest findings about that connection. 

It’s lunchtime at the Human Animal Bonding Symposium at the Skelton Center in Blacksburg.  But even as people mill about and the scent of food fills the air, two service dogs in training sit calmly and at attention when their handlers stop to talk with me.

“My name is Alison Proctor and this is Luke.”

Reading is often a solitary experience, but when everyone in town is reading the same book, it becomes a community event.  That’s the idea behind “The Big Read” which kicks off this Saturday.  One book is the focus of exploration, conversation and presentations for six weeks and everyone is invited. 

The book is The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. Alyssa Archer is a Radford University Librarian who’s spearheading The Big Read.

It’s a sad fact that we produce enough food in this country to feed everyone in it, yet hunger remains a problem for many. 

Virginia Tech is joining the effort to change that.  It kicks off its “Campus Kitchens” program Wednesday, September 30th.  It’s a carefully orchestrated volunteer effort to save still-fresh food, left over from student dining halls, and get it to people who need it.  

A highly destructive invasive insect that attacks tomatoes is spreading rapidly around the world.  A Virginia Tech Plant Pathologist is calling for preventative measures to stop it from reaching the U.S. 

The tiny South American Tomato Leaf Miner bores into the leaves, stems and fruit of tomato plants. With no natural predators outside that region, like any invasive species it proliferates largely unchecked. Already the tiny moth, called ‘Tuta Absoluta,’ has affected 40% of the world’s tomato crop and where it strikes, it can cause nearly total crop loss.

Creative Commons

The coal counties of Appalachia have seen their share of the boom and bust cycle, but industry officials fear this time could be different. 

The comment period for new rules protecting waterways near coal mining is being extended after industry officials asked for more time to digest them, but to many, it looks like the handwriting is on the wall for the future of the coal industry.  Harry Childress is the son of a coal miner, now President of Virginia’s coal and energy alliance.  He worries the proposed new rules would make this time more than just a cyclical down trend.