The Rapp for Aug. 8

Church listings taking a summer break

The weekly directory of county church listings is not running in this week’s paper, but it will return. Our business partner, Times Community Media, decided to discontinue the feature in their publications. We believe this directory provides a valuable service for readers and the loyal advertisers who sponsored it. So, a revitalized church directory will return in the near future. In the meantime, thanks for your patience, and thanks for reading.

Artisans wanted

All craftspeople and gifted art-types are invited to participate in this year’s Rappahannock County Farm Tour & Festival as part of the festival’s artisans market, which will be held on the picturesque grounds of Avon Hall in Washington Sept. 28-29.

A basket of materials used at the artisan's market. Courtesy photo.
A basket of materials used at the artisan’s market. Courtesy photo.

Whether you throw clay, stitch unique apparel, wrangle artisan soap, spangle beads, dye fiber or capture the world in photographs, there’s a lot of space to share under the huge shade trees that populate the historic Avon Hall property.

For the first time, craftspeople from outside the county are also being welcomed for the event. If you can’t participate yourself, consider spreading the word to your favorite artists who live outside Rappahannock County. For more information, contact Beth Hall at 540-675-1124 or, better yet, at bethhall@wildblue.net. Information about the farm tour can be found online at rappahannockcountyfarmtourfestival.com.

New life for old truck tailgates

A bottle opener is standard equipment on the Blue Collar Benches created by Yesterday Reclaimed in nearby Griffinsburg — several of which are now on display at River District Arts in Sperryville.

One of Roque Castro's custom benches, on display now at RDA.
One of Roque Castro’s custom benches, on display now at RDA.

The mastermind behind the benches is Roque Castro, owner, founder and chief designer of an industrial design and fabrication business that specializes in using salvaged materials to make well-built, patina-heavy furniture, pieces which are created by gathering reclaimed wood from antique barns slated for demolition and harvesting salvaged steel from a network of farmers and scrap yards in the area.

Castro’s novel bench idea has even garnered attention from as far away as Detroit — General Motors recently commissioned him to create benches for an automotive trade show. The Yesterday Reclaimed crew will even create a bench from your own tailgate or create a bench using a truck model you specify.

The large “LOVE” sculpture in downtown Culpeper is also one of Castro’s projects, this one built from recycled film reels, and commissioned by the Culpeper Tourism Department in 2012 with a grant from Virginia Tourism.

Cash payments for working farm easements

Conservation easements have long played a key role in conserving Virginia’s natural and cultural resources. Through such easements, private landowners agree to protect important features on their properties, such as prime farmland soils, waterways and historical features. In turn, the landowners are eligible to receive tax credits and deductions.

While the majority of conservation easements are donated, some landowners are eligible to receive cash for a large portion of the value of their donation. Top among these eligible landowners are farmers who work their own land.

Multiple state, local and federal programs are available to encourage protection of these community resources. Two that are specifically available to farmers include the Rappahannock County Farmland Preservation Program and the USDA Farm and Ranch Protection Program.

Both are set up to retire development rights on actively farmed land to insure that it will be available for future generations to farm. Farmers can receive compensation through both programs for retiring development rights on their farmland, while continuing to own the land and maintaining the right to sell or pass it on to the next generation.

For more information about both the county and USDA programs, contact Don Loock at the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) at 540-522-4222 or dloock@pecva.org. He can help explain these programs, as well as suggest other conservation options that may be available to specific landowners.

The county program is currently accepting applications through Sept. 16. Applications are available by contacting the county administrator’s office at 540-675-5330 or jwmccarthy@rappahannockcountyva.gov.

Voter registration online

The State Board of Elections (SBE), in partnership with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), last week launched online voter registration as a result of recently enacted legislation sponsored by Del. David Ramadan. Eligible citizens are now able to submit a voter registration application or update their registration information online.

To complete the application process online, citizens must provide their DMV customer identifier number, which is displayed on DMV issued identification cards or driver’s licenses. Those who do not have a customer identifier may still fill out the registration application online, but are required to print and return the completed application to the appropriate local voter registration office.

“The launch of online voter registration will enable eligible citizens to apply to register to vote and to update their registration information online, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, regardless of where military service, family or professional obligations may require them to be,” said Del. Ramadan. “I am proud to have sponsored this legislation to assist Virginians to more conveniently participate in elections. Online registration is secure and enhances the integrity of Virginia’s voter rolls; further, it saves costs and increases efficiency and access.”

More information is online at SBE.Virginia.gov.

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