The Town of Washington has a new mayor, and you guessed it — the mayor is a woman. Mrs. Virginia Miller was elected at the November meeting of the town council. Mrs. Christine Johnston, a council member for many years, was named treasurer to succeed Mrs. Miller. The election came about following the resignation of former mayor Andrew Kozik, whose move to Sperryville created the vacancy. Mrs. Miller had been treasurer for a number of years. Mr. Kozik was the only male mayor since the women took over in 1950. The council also presently has one man, Kermit Weakley, among its members.
Washington Baptist Church will celebrate its 100th anniversary on Dec. 2. Dr. Gary Gruber, a former pastor, will conduct the 11 a.m. worship and dedication service. The church, located on Gay and Proctor Streets, is constructed on two lots, one given by Miss Mary Long and the other purchased from her for $100. The two-story brick structure was established as a branch of the Mt. Salem Church whose members helped with the financing of the building, along with the Washington Masonic Lodge, which owns the upper story. The Masonic group aids with the maintenance of the main building.
Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Rutherford of Sperryville celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on Nov. 18 with a buffet supper at the fire hall in Sperryville. Fifty relatives and friends were present to extend best wishes and congratulations on their 50 years of marriage. The Rutherfords were married Nov. 23, 1923. She is the former Mamie Jenkins. They have six children — three of whom were present for the occasion — 24 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. A tiered wedding cake was served following the buffet.
In a move that should spark lower unemployed in Rappahannock County, the Aileen garment manufacturing plant in Flint Hill reopened its cutting room this week, creating jobs for about 20 local workers. The cutting room closed two year ago in response to a decrease in orders that left employees at both the Flint Hill branch and the plant in Woodstock working well below capacity. “We closed due to lack of product sold,” explained manager Wayne Walker. “ We didn’t need it. We didn’t have enough work,” he said. In addition to the 20 old employees called back to work this week, Walker expects to hire 30 to 40 more people when the operation goes into “hand spread” (as opposed to “machine spread”) in about a month.
“It appears now that we’re going to have our communications equipment before we have a place to put it,” Donald Gore told the board of supervisors last week, reporting that the county-wide police and emergency services communications system will be ready for installation in mid November. Gore, who is president of the local Fire and Rescue Association, said that radios, antennas and tower have been ordered through the state purchasing office. A site in the jail for the tower must be determined, he added. “We want to put it up before the cold weather hits.” Gore had more good news for county residents: “We’ve worked out an agreement with CenTel [the telephone company that services the town of Washington]. No individual in Rappahannock County will be charged for emergency services calls,” he reported. “Calls will come through Sperryville on a call diverter to the communications center.”
Mr. and Mrs. L.J. Crews have good news for local people who are tired of driving 30 miles for a spool of thread or a card of buttons. They have opened Ice House Fabrics in the little ice house building on Main Street in Washington. The Crewses, who live outside of Washington at Peyton Farm Estates, decided to open a Rappahannock shop after closing their shop, The One Stop Sewing Center in Front Royal. They’re expecting more winter material — wool, corduroy and velour — in the next week.
Rappahannock Water and Sewer Authority secretary-treasurer Jimmy Swindler announced last Thursday that Sperryville sewer plant operator Tim Falls had been placed on paid administrative leave until a final decision is reached on his employment status. Mr. Swindler said the WSA had contracted with Environmental Systems Service (ESS) of Culpeper starting last Wednesday to “conduct plant operations and all required testing at the waste water plant” until other arrangements can be made.
Ned Bittinger’s easy-going manner and boyish good looks belie the stereotypical conception that artists must have rumpled hair, paint splattered clothes and a generally tortured demeanor to produce great art. This newcomer to Rappahannock County appears to be anything but tortured, in fact. Bittinger, 41, whose successful career as a portraitist, artist, author and muralist has earned him national recognition, exudes a certain laidback quality and a wry sense of humor, often directed at himself. In 1990, he was chosen as one of 50 American artists to be part of the Washington Moscow art exchange. He spent a week in Moscow during the exhibition of his work at Tretyakov Gallery and then hosted a Russian artist during the Washington exhibit last October.