The Rapp for May 5

Stamps for your approval

Hard to find anyone in the county with a collection quite like his, so next weekend, May 14-15, be there or be square (or at least rectangular) when Flint Hill Postmaster Lee Morrison hosts a stamp show and display from 8 to 5 Saturday and 12:30 to 5 Sunday at the Flint Hill fire hall. The event is free, and is held annually to promote the Flint Hill community’s Relay for Life activities the following weekend (May 21-22). For more information, call 540-675-3430.

New judges in Rappahannock

Among the large number of judicial appointments Virginia lawmakers made last week were two that affect local courtrooms: The General Assembly voted last Thursday night (April 28) to appoint J. Gregory Ashwell, now a juvenile and domestic relations judge in the district Rappahannock shares with Fauquier and Loudoun counties, to fill a general district court vacancy in the same district. Fauquier County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jonathan Lynn was named to fill Ashwell’s vacancy. The terms begin July 1.

Memorial service

Family and friends of Dugald Walter Brisbane Day, a 2008 Rappahannock High School graduate who passed away unexpectedly in Richmond last week, plan a memorial service at 3 p.m. this Saturday (May 7) at the race course on Bill Fletcher’s Thornton Hill Farm, off U.S. 522 south of Sperryville. All who knew and loved this boy, whom his mother describes as someone who especially loved the land, outdoors and people of Rappahannock County, are invited.

The Civil War today

The Civil War poetry reading this Saturday night (May 7) at the high school offers Rappahannock residents an unanticipated and poignant opportunity for a community gathering to reflect upon the U.S. Navy Seals’ bringing justice to Osama Bin Laden. So many of the poems resonate across time to our own trials, tribulations and victories, that the 7:30 p.m. event may take on special meaning. The poems will be read by film director Ron Maxwell, TV star and former congressman Ben “Cooter” Jones and Civil War film and popular stage actor Brian Mallon. —Walter Nicklin

Masons honor Sheriff Smith

Chambliss and Smith. Courtesy photo.

Rappahannock County Sheriff Connie C. Smith was honored by the Grand Master of Masons in Virginia, John M. Chambliss, Jr., with a Community Builders’ Award in a ceremony at the Masonic lodge in Front Royal last month.

Chambliss, of Roanoke, leads some 39,000 Freemasons in the Commonwealth. The Community Builders Award is part of Chambliss’ statewide outreach effort and honors a non-Masonic individual for contributions made in support of local communities. Washington lodge master Arthur Candenquist of Amissville nominated Smith for award, based on her longtime service to Rappahannock County; the award to Rappahannock’s sheriff was one of six Chambliss made during his visit to Front Royal for a gathering of Third Masonic District lodges, which includes the one in Washington.

Besides being the county’s first female sheriff, Smith has been part of the Sheriff’s Office staff since 1988, as a dispatcher, patrol deputy and investigator until her election in 2008. She joined the Castleton Volunteer Fire and Rescue department in 1983, and has been an EMT and firefighter with Amissville Volunteer Fire and Rescue since 1993. Active with local sports as a girls’ softball coach for almost 10 years, she’s also been a member of the Rappahannock Lions since 2007.

Planning for the Age Wave

Today, one in four Rappahannock residents is 60 or older, and by 2020 almost one in three will fall into that age group. As the Rappahannock County Planning Commission kicks off its review of the county’s Comprehensive Plan, one salient question is how that “Age Wave” will affect our community and how we can respond to and plan for its impact.

To help answer that question, the Planning Commission and the Aging Together partnership will co-host a Community Conversation from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 18 at the courthouse, with a focus on how we can make the county a great place both to grow up and to grow older.

The framework for the discussion is the concept of “livable communities for all ages,” which counties and cities across the country are using to assure that older adults and those with disabilities will have the supports they need to be able to stay in their home communities as their needs change. And as those localities have discovered, by making sure older adults are supported, everyone in the community benefits.

The 6:30 meeting starts an hour earlier than the usual Planning Commission meeting time to allow time for the special program. County residents are invited to express opinions or concerns.

One observation made recently by a local resident is that many who have made significant contributions to the county are having to look at moving out of the community as their support needs change with age. Another issue that has come to Aging Together’s attention is whether local rescue squads will be able to meet the demand as the population ages.

The discussion is not limited to the county government’s role in addressing the Age Wave, but also may include suggestions for a broader community response such as exploring a rural variant on the “village” concept where individuals contribute to a volunteer bank to help each other as they need supports, or looking at ways to provide affordable, accessible housing or to strengthen intergenerational connections in the county.

If you have an opinion or a suggestion but cannot come to the Community Conversation, you can send an email to or call Aging Together at 540-829-6405. —Sallie Morgan

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