Washington column for Nov. 1

Hurricane Sandy visits

As high winds and rain from Hurricane Sandy were heading toward Rappahannock Monday evening, people prepared for the worst. The county offices, public schools and Rappahannock News closed their doors by noon on Monday, with power outages and flooding possible.

Monday afternoon, I took a look at the big parts of the economy that will be hurt by Hurricane Sandy. Sure, a lot of telecommuters can keep working on company reports, write speeches for the boss, fill orders that come in via the Web and do pretty much anything that requires working on a laptop – if you were lucky enough to have internet.

But there is a big, unseen toll from Sandy on a significant part of our economy – people whose jobs require them to go somewhere to perform them.

While some employers might be generous and pay people even if the establishment is closed, others may simply say, “Hey we’re not open, you’re not going to get paid.”

Washington Ladies Auxiliary volunteers (from left) Mary Collins, Shirley Franey, Louise Bondelid and Dorothy James present Washington Volunteer Fire and Rescue Chief Gary Jenkins a check for $10,000 — representing a year’s hard work by the volunteers, who provide high-quality recycled clothing and household goods to the community while raising funds for WVFR. Photo by Russ Collins.
Washington Ladies Auxiliary volunteers (from left) Mary Collins, Shirley Franey, Louise Bondelid and Dorothy James present Washington Volunteer Fire and Rescue Chief Gary Jenkins a check for $10,000 — representing a year’s hard work by the volunteers, who provide high-quality recycled clothing and household goods to the community while raising funds for WVFR. Photo by Russ Collins.

So, although we are looking at a small piece of the economy, let’s not forget those folks outside the area getting hit worse than we are. At least 7.4 million people across the east were still without electricity Wednesday. Airlines canceled more than 12,000 flights. Sandy sent a record-high 14-foot surge of water coursing through Lower Manhattan, flooding its low-lying streets.

Tisch Hospital evacuated 200 patients after its backup generator failed, which also left about 20 infants from the neonatal intensive care unit on battery-powered respirators.

A construction crane that collapsed during Monday’s high winds still dangled precariously 74 floors above the streets of midtown Manhattan; on Staten Island, a tanker ship wound up beached on the shore.

Police and fire officials in New Jersey, some with their own departments flooded, fanned out to rescue hundreds after the storm came ashore Monday night. Marion Virginia, where my sister-in-law lives, got a foot of snow. So let’s all count our blessings – it could have been much worse.

New hours and low prices

Once again, the Thrift Shop is bursting at the seams with fantastic winter clothes for men, women and children of all sizes. Come in and tour the shop with a large brown bag, which can be filled with your choice of clothing, shoes, accessories, linens or toys for only $5. Household goods and a select few specially marked items do not qualify for the bag sale, which runs from this Saturday (Nov. 3) through Saturday, Nov. 17. Don’t miss it!

For those who haven’t yet visited the Thrift Shop, the store is located right beside the fire department off Warren Avenue in the town of Washington. Current hours of operation are 10 to 5 Mondays and Wednesdays and 9 to 3 Saturdays, though those hours change beginning Dec. 1 (when the shop opens 10 to 5 Tuesdays instead of Mondays).

Birthday wishes

Birthday wishes go out to a very special friend of mine, Sheila Haun of Washington. She celebrates her special day Sunday (Nov. 4). Happy birthday, Sheila!

Lecture

On Nov. 14 at 7 p.m., the Rappahannock Hospitality and Visitors Association sponsors Karen Riddle’s talk, “Think Like a Visitor and Increase your Sales” at the town hall. For more information email Berni at rhvapresident@gmail.com. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Annual survivor dinner

Relay for Life of Rappahannock will holds its second annual Survivor Dinner on Saturday, Nov. 10 at Sperryville Schoolhouse (12018 Lee Hwy.). Doors open at 5:30 p.m., dinner (from the Country Cafe) is at 6:30. (Items for auction table need to be there by 5). Tickets are $30, available at Union First Market Bank, the Country Cafe and from team captains; sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information, contact Katherine Todd at katherinec07@aol.com or Ellen Timbers at etimbers@rrcsb.org.