The Rapp for Jan. 26

Newsminders: Meet us Friday

Come brainstorm with Rappahannock News staff at the Thornton River Grille at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning (Friday, Jan. 27) for the News’ second open-to-all “story conference” meeting – hereafter a monthly occurance. Help us decide what readers want and need to see in the paper. Story topics, submissions and contest ideas will be discussed collectively with those in attendance. We invite your criticism, and will surely address your concerns. The last “story conference” meeting Jan. 6 was constructive, and a number of points made by attendees – like a need for increased public-meeting and human-interest coverage, as well as better promotion of the Rappahannock News free website (rappnews.com) – are already influencing what hits the presses on Wednesday nights.

Art, wine, oysters and . . . Benevolence

This Saturday at River District Arts is a chance to sample local flavor from the Little Washington Winery and Rappahannock River Oyster Co., in a tasting event that grew so big the winery had to ask the folks at River District and the Farm to Fork Market if it could be held at their place in Sperryville. Come by between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. to celebrate the grand opening of Terri Diley’s Farm to Fork Market, try some Setter Mountain Moonshine Barbeque and enjoy demos on alpaca, wool and woodworking – not to mention a dozen or more of the artists with studios at River District. For more information, call 540-987-8770.

Middle Street Gallery, SperryvilleGary Anthes | Rappahannock News
Middle Street Gallery, Sperryville

Meanwhile at Middle Street Gallery (shown here), also at Rappahannock Central, the coop’s annual two-month exhibit “Artists and Friends” opens Saturday with a reception from 2 to 5 p.m. The 21 members of the nonprofit artists’ cooperative are joined by 17 artistic friends to put on an amazingly eclectic assortment of paintings, sculptures, pottery, photographs and multimedia works. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served. (The gallery will also use the occasion to welcome and introduce two new members, painter Kevin Adams and the water colorist Liz Roberts.)

Finally, after you’ve quenched your art thirst, plan a stop Saturday evening at the Benevolent Fund’s evening of hors’ d’oeuvres and merriment at the Washington fire hall: You’ll have a a good time – plus you’ll be helping raise funds for an organization that truly helps people who are in need, and does so without fanfare. More details in the event calendar on page 10.

Two Fridays, two movies

This Friday (Jan. 27) at 7 p.m. you can support the Rappahannock County Elementary School (RCES) band by attending the band boosters’ Movie Night Fundraiser to see the animated family film “Rio” in the gym. Admission is free; a $2 donation is suggested, and larger ones gratefully accepted. Any student or group of students must be accompanied by a chaperone. Popcorn, drinks and candy will be sold for a dollar each. So bring a pillow and a blanket to the gym, and enjoy the movie! If you have questions, call 540-987-9232.

Next Friday (Feb.3), the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and Community (RAAC) will be showing “The Help” at 8 p.m. at the Theatre in Washington. Set in Mississippi in the 1960s, “The Help” stars Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Emma Stone and Octavia Spencer. Lives and a small town are turned upside down when a society girl interviews “the help” – who, it turns out, have plenty to say. The film is rated PG-13 and runs 146 minutes. The concession stand will be open for popcorn, candy and water. For more information, including a review of the film, visit raac.org.

‘Threads of Hope’: the Endos in Israel

Paula Endo

Paula Endo snapped this picture of the wall built in Bethlehem that interrupts the major north-south highway from Hebron through Bethlehem to Jerusalem, creating access to the grounds of Rachel’s Tomb  – a former mosque – for Jewish visitors to the site. Paula and her husband Todd, part of an Interfaith PeaceBuilder’s Tour group, were able to walk right up to the wall. The two will detail their recent visits to Israel and Palestine – their presentation, called “Israel and Palestine: Threads of Hope,” starts at 4:30 p.m. Sunday (Jan. 29) – in the parish hall at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Washington. (There’s a wine and light appetizer reception at 4.) A discussion will follow. Open to all. For more information, contact Fran Moore Krebser at 540-631-0821.

The uranium question: addressed

Should corporations be allowed to mine and mill radioactive uranium in Virginia? This question – with high stakes for Virginia’s public health and environmental quality – will be the subject of an informational town hall meeting in Washington this Saturday (Jan 28). The 5 to 6 p.m. meeting at the Theatre in Washington will be hosted by the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC). A wine and cheese reception will follow the meeting.

Although there are deposits of uranium throughout the state – including in Rappahannock – the mining and milling (processing) of uranium is currently banned in Virginia, because of the risk of release of radioactive and toxic materials, including multiple carcinogens, into the environment. An ongoing drive by a company called Virginia Uranium, LLC, to end the ban has been the subject of hot political debate. This debate took a significant turn on Jan. 19, when Gov. Robert McDonnell requested that there be no effort to lift the ban this year, but directed state agencies to begin a process of drafting laws and  regulations for potential uranium mining in Virginia.

A major study by the National Academy of Sciences released in December concluded that uranium mining in Virginia’s rainy and volatile climate would expose citizens to unprecedented risk, and that no state or federal regulatory agency has the expertise or experience necessary to manage those risks.

PEC President Chris Miller said in response to the Governor’s announcement, “It is a waste of time and money to start drafting regulations at this time. The National Academy of Sciences report affirmed just how risky uranium mining in Virginia could be, and called on the commonwealth not to move forward without substantial public input and without extensive scientific and technical briefings.”

At the town hall meeting this Saturday, PEC’s director of state policy, Dan Holmes, and senior energy policy analyst Rob Marmet, will address the potential impacts of uranium mining and milling in Virginia, the implications for Rappahannock and the surrounding area, and the political process in the wake of the governor’s recent  announcement.

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The Rappahannock News welcomes contributions from any and all members of the community. Email news and photos to editor@rappnews.com or call us at 540-675-3338.