Home Crystal Graham: Top 2023 stories focused on animal welfare, affordable housing, mental health

Crystal Graham: Top 2023 stories focused on animal welfare, affordable housing, mental health

Crystal Graham

crystal abbe grahamIn case you missed them, reporter Crystal Graham prepared a roundup of her top stories from 2023.

From animal welfare to homelessness and mental health to weather, she shares some of her most impactful stories from the year.

Scroll down for links to news and sports stories from 2023.


Expert: Virginia earthquakes classified as swarm; ‘much larger earthquake’ possible

Valley ASAP program appears to be in disarray, court appointments in limbo

Waynesboro: South River Greenway extension from North Park to Basic Park likely in 2024

Sunset Park in Waynesboro has potential to be open by end of year

Goodbye asphalt, hello open space: Waynesboro begins work on South River Preserve

Waynesboro: City manager buries denial of rental inspection program

Harrisonburg: Controversial KKK flyers distributed over weekend throughout city

Waynesboro: Rising temperatures don’t meet ‘criteria for a cooling center’

Youngkin celebrates first lab school; critics say governor ‘waging war’ against K-12 ed

Roe v. Wade anniversary: Legislators push to restore the right to seek abortion care

Waynesboro High School pride message gets ‘positive and supportive’ response

Staunton DEI Commission chair: Diversity, equity, inclusion work ‘is not lip service for us’

Waynesboro supports closing tourism information center, no plans to explore new location

Trains move hazardous materials through the Valley: Are we prepared for a derailment?

Sunset Park under construction with $2.5 million price tag, trails on hold

Augusta County hearing: ‘For the safety of everyone involved, there need to be cameras’

Augusta County resident waiting on Waynesboro to solve ‘toxic water’ problem

Injustice: It’s time for someone to go to bat for Jennifer and Linda Lubin

‘Not forgotten’: Birth mother, grandmother fight for parental rights for two children

Town of Grottoes votes to close Grand Caverns pool, citing leaks, staffing issues

Waynesboro ransomware attack isn’t the only security issue the city has faced

Waynesboro City Manager confirms digital infrastructure was stolen, posted online

Ransomware group claims it has infiltrated Waynesboro city government, police data

Waynesboro seeks grant to construct trail from Blue Ridge Tunnel to downtown

Finally! Waynesboro receives $3.9M grant to develop property near exit 96

No opening date available for Waynesboro-Augusta Health Department


On anniversary of UVA shooting deaths, event to discuss gun violence, stories of healing

Minority children are more likely to drown: Waynesboro Y working to save lives

Damar Hamlin injury, response keeps spotlight on athletic trainers, sports medicine

Former NFL player on Damar Hamlin, UVA football tragedy, mental health

Athletic trainer recalls injury to varsity baseball player similar to one on ‘Monday Night Football’

Scary NFL injury highlights need for CPR, AED training at youth-sports level

Annabelle and SVASC

New animal shelter designs shared with owners’ group, public invited to offer comment

Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center makes progress on internal procedures

Animal shelter closed May 3-5 for development of ‘administrative procedures’

Augusta County leader demands answers on questionable animal shelter deaths

Animal advocates ask Waynesboro City Council to use tragedy as catalyst for change

Augusta County residents demand justice after shelter euthanizes four dogs

Critics question Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center move, citing costs, capacity

Craigsville dog euthanized by shelter; owner was waiting for paycheck to pick up pet


Charges against Virginia man who killed vet’s service dog go to the grand jury

Virginia military veteran speaks out about service dog’s murder, justice ahead of court date

GoFundMe account set up for veteran whose service dog was shot and killed by neighbor

Protective orders granted for vet, neighbor from man, wife in service dog shooting case

Explainer: Details of the case involving the Augusta County man who killed a vet’s service dog

Wife of man accused of killing service dog attempts to run down vet, second husky

Augusta County: Conditions for bond released for man accused of killing veteran’s service dog

Augusta County judge approves bond for man accused of killing vet’s service dog

Augusta County: Bond appeal filed by man accused of killing neighbor’s service dog

Bond denied for Augusta County man accused of shooting service dog

New to Virginia, Augusta County military vet’s service dog shot and killed by neighbor


Noise ordinance amendment on the table to address growth of music venues in Waynesboro

Wayne Theatre to build music and technical resource center; requests $5M grant from state

Construction set to begin in 2025 on Museum of Natural History Waynesboro campus

Waynesboro purchases decibel meter, reviewing noise ordinance related to entertainment venues

Patina Italian Inspired: High integrity, simple ingredients, contemporary approach

Waynesboro: River City Bread Basket aims to help people on the ‘fringe’

Urban winery with Bohemian vibe opens in Metalcrafters building in Waynesboro

Century old Coca-Cola ghost mural to get new life in Charlottesville

Waynesboro veterinarian ‘Dr. Dan’ hanging up stethoscope after 55 years in practice

Arcadia Project receives $1.5 million in grant funding; venue expected to open in 2025

Buc-ee’s Travel Center expanding to Rockingham County, opening slated for 2025

Waynesboro noise ordinance subjective; business owner asks city to define decibel levels

The Foundry owner challenges ‘noise,’ working with city leaders for more clarification

Family feud of 20+ years pits restaurant owners against each other in Facebook spat

Three years in, Bottles owners finally taking a moment to celebrate their success

From trash to treasure: Art Hive emphasizes creative reuse at gallery coming soon to Staunton

Micah’s Coffee on frustrating delays: ‘We miss you; we will be back’

Shenandoah Valley Art Center director: Main Street location is the ‘realization of a big vision’

Magnolia Rose growing, planning for teen outreach and home for sex trafficking survivors

Basic City Beer creates destination with 800-person music venue, restaurant

Laurie’s Chocolates comes full circle in Staunton with popularity of ‘Harry Potter’

Feature stories and columns

Friendship and fruitcake: How tradition has kept two buddies connected for nearly two decades

Swifties, beware: I almost became a victim to a Taylor Swift ticket scam

Meet Happy Hobble: A new ‘family help’ genre of mental wellness books

An entire day in the Charlotte airport: Shopping, $25 margaritas, a Minute Suite

‘Monster hunters’ wanted: Sign up to volunteer for Loch Ness monster search

Staunton entrepreneur finds her voice, overcomes mental health challenges

Hanging out with my 20-something friend brought out the ‘mom’ in me

An adoption story: Rockingham County couple open their hearts to foster and ‘fail’

2,000 stories filed and counting: I’m now the second most prolific writer on the AFP staff

Augusta County author Elizabeth Massie to be honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

Want to see Bigfoot? If you are in Virginia, you better be ready to hit the road

Friends of SVASC steps in to help dog owner in need with life-saving surgery

Affordable housing/homelessness

Waynesboro: Homeless advocate to spend 24 hours outside for challenge to raise awareness

Waynesboro City Council, RHA address affordable housing crisis for those on the fringe

Virginia Organizing renews call for rental inspection program in Waynesboro

Housing summit brings stakeholders together; CFCBR hopes to maintain momentum

Region’s cold-weather shelter to double capacity; offer respite to ‘feel like a human being’

Harrisonburg faces uncertain timeline for homeless center due to supply chain, cost issues

HUD to distribute $7.5 million to Virginia for efforts to increase affordable housing

Eviction prevention efforts in Arlington helped prevent homelessness during COVID-19

Zoning compliance for Waynesboro B Street homeless encampment ‘will take time’

Homeless encampment on B Street in Waynesboro remains open – for now

Time’s up: Ten days pass, homeless remain at B Street encampment in Waynesboro

Waynesboro renters living with mold, leaks afraid to report conditions, fear retaliation

Waynesboro had a day shelter for the homeless; it was shut down due to zoning

Recent HUD funds won’t address homeless, affordable housing in Waynesboro

Despite options, most Tent City residents ‘pitched their tents elsewhere’

City of Waynesboro awarded $597K to improve affordable housing in River City

Evicted again: Police assisting B Street landowner with ‘trespass enforcement’ of homeless

Property owner responds: Has ‘compassion’ for homeless, will allow them to stay on land

Resident: Tent City evictees land at B Street encampment, ‘unsafe’ for children

Harrisonburg shares vision, designs for Homeless Services Center

Local ministry on the ground helping Waynesboro’s homeless survive, thrive

Citizens urge Waynesboro to take the lead on homelessness, affordable housing

Ending homelessness: What can Waynesboro do to prevent the next Tent City?

Homeless population packing up, moving out of Tent City in Waynesboro

Waynesboro homeowner says B Street homeless encampment ‘not safe’

Harrisonburg ready to share designs for planned Homeless Services Center

Tent City evictions: Councilman thinks the city should have answers for housing problem

Evicted: Waynesboro’s homeless population served trespassing orders for Tent City

Mental health

Christmas season full of cheer for some; overwhelming, stressful for others

Gov. Glenn Youngkin announces strategy to improve youth mental health in Virginia

UVA researchers find unlikely source that may help people with stress, depression, anxiety

Virginia partners with community, faith organizations on mental health, substance use

Bipartisan bill looks to learn more about VA benefits that may help prevent suicide

World Mental Health Day: Make plans now to address seasonal affective disorder, or SAD

Augusta Health removes mental health language from credentialing applications

Virginia Tech expert: Tips to help at-risk dog breeds survive climate change

Department of Defense continues work to prevent suicide in the military community

Legislators want information from VA on root causes, risk factors of veteran suicides

Medical boards, health systems make it safer for employees to seek mental health care

Region’s suicide rates almost double state, national average; treatment options in the works

School’s in session: Bullying brings fear to many elementary school students

Expert: Tips to help children with stress, anxiety of returning to school

Not just new clothes and supplies; mental health treatment also on back-to-school list

Harrisonburg on track to better address mental, behavioral health with ARPA fund distribution

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline sees increase of 2 million contacts, adds Spanish, LGBTQI+ outreach

Senate committee passes bill with directives to strengthen mental health care

Virginia delivers for behavioral health, signing bills to support workforce, individuals in crisis

Explainer: How the wildfires are impacting our physical and mental health

Congress stepping in to reduce suicide, working to create grants for nets on bridges

JMU expert: Mental Health Awareness Month ends, climate anxiety discussion not over

U.S. death rate reaches all-time record due to alcohol, drugs and suicide

Music artist Kevin Gates: Mental health struggles shouldn’t be taboo

DNA markers for increased risk of schizophrenia identified for first time in newborns

Mental Health Month: More funding needed for behavioral health providers

Mental Health Month: Harrisonburg opens up local ARPA mental health grants

Mental Health Month: Poor diet, lack of exercise remain after pandemic ends

New program would connect veterans overcoming ‘mental wounds of war’

Time for change? ‘I’ve lost more soldiers to suicide than I have to enemy combatants’

Mental health for farmers: A small gesture can go a long way for those who aren’t OK

Sen. John Fetterman on depression treatment: Care ‘changed my life’

After one year of input, DoD response to suicide prevention in the military is more studies

New podcast to help provide ‘desperately needed’ support to kids and teens

New mental health facility aims to meet demand for Virginians with depression, anxiety

Department of Defense updates approach to suicide prevention after internal review

Research may lead to new therapies for depression, anxiety, stress

Majority of teen girls feel sad, hopeless; ‘need more support to thrive’

Eligible students in Waynesboro receiving mental health treatment, counseling

$4.5M in grants available to support veteran suicide prevention, addiction

VT students analyzing Reddit to better understand mental health, prevent suicide

Central Virginia farm family on mental health: ‘Be vulnerable with each other’

Metallica brings attention to our demons inside with ‘Screaming Suicide’

Virginians believe behavioral health should be ‘high priority’ for General Assembly

Team to study suicide prevention, mental health accessibility for LGBTQ+ youth

$245 million allocated to support mental health of youth, health care workforce

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.

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