The Rapp for Aug. 30

Is the bridge open yet?

It was going to be a close thing, as we went to press, whether the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) contractor would finish the closed-since-May U.S. 522 bridge over the Thornton River in Sperryville before the week was out (Barbara Adolfi’s photo here was taken during paving Monday). On Wednesday afternoon, guard rails were still being erected, and unofficial estimates were that the bridge would be – hooray – open to all traffic by this weekend. Which brings us to . . .

This weekend . . .

• Cafe Indigo reopens its doors for the first time in almost a year starting this (Labor Day) weekend. Under the new management of Thornton River Group’s Terri Lehman, who is joined by John Pearson, the restaurant will be open for breakfast and lunch on Saturdays and brunch on Sundays, at least through December.

• Next door to Cafe Indigo at River District Arts, there’s a “From the Attic Day” this Saturday (Sept. 1) from 11 to 3 p.m.:  If there are any paintings you might wish to sell on consignment, simply bring them by River District Arts (RDA) and have them appraised. Certified fine arts appraiser Rene Ruffner will be on hand to answer questions about the painting’s condition, origin or artist. RDA staff will select pieces to be part of a September exhibit in which paintings will be consigned for sale.

• Finally, Rappahannock County High School’s varsity football team plays its first home game in two years under the lights of Panther Stadium this Saturday: The Panthers play Randolph-Macon Academy, and will officially (and literally) kick off their regular season at 7:30 p.m.

. . .  and next weekend

Tickets are still available for the 15th annual Taste of Rappahannock fundraiser, which starts at 6 p.m. next Saturday, Sept. 8, at Belle Meade School. Sponsored by the Headwaters Foundation, the Taste will feature a live auction which will once again offer the chance to win one-of-a-kind experiences. One such prize is a stay at the Island of Raasay – a picturesque island between the Isle of Skye and the Applecross peninsula off the northwest coast of Scotland. The five-bedroom home (pictured here) can comfortably sleep eight. Many more prizes are also available. Individual open seating at the Taste is $150 per person. For more information, contact Headwaters’ executive director, Jane Bowling-Wilson, at 540-987-3322 or

‘The Artist’ is The Movie at The Theatre

Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo in “The Artist.”
Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo in “The Artist.”

The Rappahannock Association for the Arts and Community (RAAC) resumes its Friday night film series at 8 p.m. Sept. 7 with “The Artist,” winner of the 2012 Academy Award for best picture (and four other Oscars), a PG-13-rated black-and-white feature in which a silent movie star faces the arrival of talkies. It’s at The Theatre in Washington, 291 Gay St., where there will be water, candy and popcorn at the concession stand. For a movie review or more information, visit

New art studio opens in Flint Hill

Local artist and county resident Thomas Mullany will be opening a new art studio and teaching space in Flint Hill. The studio is in the old apple packing shed near Settle’s gas station and will officially open with an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 7.

Mullany, whose paintings can be seen locally at R.H. Ballard Art, Rug and Home in Washington, will offer a variety of art classes at the new studio, including acrylic and oil painting classes for adults, and several classes for younger artists, including an open studio session and help for students submitting pieces to the Virginia Junior Classical League’s annual Latin Convention.

Mullany has been an artist for 30 years and graduated from the Corcoran School of Art. He and his wife Kerrie Mullany have been offering art classes at their home for years, but decided they needed more space. Mullany had previously rented the space to store some murals which wouldn’t fit in his home studio, and realized managing the property simply made sense.

“We’re thinking about offering workshops and inviting other artists out to host their own workshops,” said Mullany. “The same way people go to a B&B for the night, we’re hoping to lure people out here to take an art class for a day.”

For more information on the studio, including a full list of courses, or to sign up for classes, visit or call 540-675-2193.

Trinity’s Haiti project

St. Marc’s trade school students check out the new stove, which Trinity purchased for them in June. Photo by Pere Michaud.
St. Marc’s trade school students check out the new stove, which Trinity purchased for them in June. Photo by Pere Michaud.

Trinity Episcopal Church hosts a reception and public forum at 3 p.m. Sept. 16 in the church’s parish hall, to illustrate Trinity’s support for Trouin, Haiti, through the St. Marc School. Construction on the new school started last August and the school is now ready for classes. Russ Collins, Lorraine Duisit, Sharon Kilpatrick, Harold and Mary Frances Beebout and Jenks Hobson travelled to Trouin early this summer to deliver supplies and help with finalizing the construction of the new school. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, call Trinity at 540-675-3716.

Hike to help support parks

Shenandoah National Park Trust, the official nonprofit philanthropic partner of Shenandoah National Park, hosts a new fundraiser – dubbed the Shenandoah Scramble – on Sept. 22, the first official day of fall. The Scramble is designed to accommodate hikers of any skill level and will help raise money in support of various projects and programs in Shenandoah National Park, including monitoring clean air levels and helping park managers control invasive, non-native plant species.

Participants agree to raise at least $100 for the cause, and will get to enjoy one of six different hikes, ranging in length and difficulty from very easy to strenuous. Registration includes a group breakfast, post-hike refreshments and a Shenandoah Scramble T-shirt for every hiker. Prizes – including a kayak and camping gear – will be awarded the hikers who raise the most money.

The Scramble starts at 9 at Big Meadows picnic area. For more information and to register, visit The Shenandoah National Park Trust can also be reached at or 434-293-2728.

Rapp’s McCullough is a London Games’ torchbearer

Jon McCullough, a former U.S. Paralympic Games athlete and a leader in the international Paralympic movement, was chosen to be a torchbearer for the 2012 Paralympic Games, which began in London yesterday (Wednesday, Aug. 29).

A 1984 graduate of Rappahannock County High School, McCullough is the son of Daphne and Francis Hutchinson of Washington.

Jon McCullough, RCHS ’84. Courtesy photo.
Jon McCullough, RCHS ’84. Courtesy photo.

This Olympiad’s location has special significance for athletes with disabilities. The torch was to be carried from Stoke Mandeville, where in 1948 a neurologist who was treating World War II veterans with spinal injuries began using competitive sport as part of their rehabilitation program. That competition grew into the Parallel Olympics or Paralympics, which in 2008 drew 4,200 athletes from 148 countries to Beijing.

A disabled Coast Guard veteran who now resides in Winter Park, Fla., McCullough was a starter for the U.S. Paralympic soccer team, playing in the 1996 and 2004 Games and the 1998 World All-Star Game. Although he left the field in 2008, he’s stayed active in international sport, serving as vice chair on the United States Olympic Committee’s Athlete Council, chair of U.S. Soccer’s Athlete Council and on the board of directors for U.S. Soccer.

In addition, McCullough was chosen by his peers to be an athlete coordinator for the 2002 Paralympics in Salt Lake City, the 2005 Innsbruck Winter World University Games, the 2006 Torino Winter Olympic Games and the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. McCullough has an undergraduate degree in international health from American University in Washington, D.C., and a MBA certificate in International Sports Leadership from England’s Manchester University. He is presently the deputy director of Man Up, a global campaign to activate youth to stop violence against women and girls. McCullough is also a speaker on motivational and leadership development topics.

ORMN welcomes newest members

In June, the Old Rag Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists (ORMN) program welcomed 15 newly trained graduates into its chapter. The chapter draws its membership from Culpeper, Greene, Orange, Madison, Fauquier and Rappahannock counties.

For 12 weeks this spring, the group received training in how to protect our region’s natural resources, with a focus on land conservation, air and water quality, environmental education, wildlife and other natural resources. Courses were led by trained and experienced professionals from Virginia’s departments of Game and Inland Fisheries, Forestry, and Mines, Minerals and Energy; the Virginia Native Plant Society; StreamWatch; Smithsonian Institution; and Virginia Cooperative Extension.

The graduates join other Master Naturalists from the chapter who last year contributed more than 4,000 hours of volunteer activities, including removing invasive species from Shenandoah National Park and Montpelier; creating an educational trail through Montpelier’s forest; developing a program for bringing nature talks and exhibits to senior centers; conducting educational field trips for students in partnership with the Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District; establishing a native plant and wildlife habitat at Little Washington; leading wildflower walks at Shenandoah National Park. A new training course will be offered in the spring of 2013. (If you’re interested, check the ORMN website at

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