The Rapp for March 31

Map graphic by Anna Eisenberg/Times Community News

Athey’s departing but his district might be arriving

Del. Clifford L. “Clay” Athey Jr. of Front Royal told the Northern Virginia Daily this week that he wouldn’t be seeking reelection in November to his 18th District seat in the General Assembly, citing family reasons (although at least one report reached us that Athey might also be in the running for a Circuit Court judgeship).

This perhaps would be of less interest to Rappahannock residents if the General Assembly weren’t also considering a bill that would redistrict the 18th to include all of Rappahannock and parts of Fauquier, Culpeper and Warren counties. (See map below.) If this bill goes through, that’s one more unexpected line on our ballots in November — and an unforeseen chance to send some Rappahannock blood to Richmond next year.

Ben Jones

Cooter finishes symphony

Rappahannock’s own Ben “Cooter” Jones returns to the Theatre at Washington April 9 with Cooter’s Garage Band for an evening of music and whimsy that he is calling “Cooter’s Unfinished Symphony.”

“This one will be in the semi-great tradition of ‘Cooter’s Excellent Adventure’ and ‘O Cooter, Where Art Thou?’ says Jones. “Some old songs, some new songs, some very old jokes, and my new impersonation of Calvin Coolidge. I’ve also written a new tune called ‘The Old Rag Rag.’ ”

In Jones’ career he has worked with noted directors including Orson Welles, Stanley Tucci and Mike Nichols, actors such as Eva Marie Saint, Anthony Hopkins and James Earl Jones, and singers Loretta Lynn, Waylon Jennings, and Dr. Ralph Stanley. His resume includes 280 theatrical, television and film productions — and a two-term stint in the U.S. House of Representatives. For all of that, he is surely best known as the sidekick mechanic Cooter in “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

He is also a published poetry, fiction, and opinion writer. His memoir, “Redneck Boy in the Promised Land” from Random House, is available at

Tickets for the concert Saturday, April 9 at 8 are $20 ($10 for students 17 and younger). For reservations: 540-675-1253 or

Reagan Day: April 30

This year, Republicans in Rappahannock County plan a special Centennial Reagan Day Dinner to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the former president’s birth. The keynote speaker isJames C. Miller III, a Reagan cabinet member, Bush appointee and (as the Rappahannock Republican Committee succinctly put it) household word among conservatives.

The potluck dinner, an annual event, is 6:30 Saturday, April 30 at Reynolds Memorial Baptist Church, Sperryville. All are invited to share this evening — and a covered dish — with family, friends and fellow Republicans. You can get more details from Terry Dixon at or 540-937-7940.

Play (or work) free in the park

Shenandoah National Park, like all of the country’s 394 national parks, will be open free of charge April 16-24 in celebration of National Park Week.

In addition to waiving entrance fees throughout the week, special programs include opportunities the first Saturday (April 16) for volunteers to help with park projects. On Saturday, April 23, kids will be the special guests for the fifth annual Junior Ranger Day.
More details are at

Additional fee-free days scheduled for 2011 are June 21 (the first day of summer), Sept. 21 (National Public Lands Day), and Nov. 11-13 (Veterans Day weekend).

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