The Rapp for Nov. 21

Fourth (Estate) Friday

Our next public story-conference meeting is 9 a.m. tomorrow (Friday, Nov. 22) at Tula’s Off Main in Washington, your monthly chance to meet the staff and let us know what’s on your mind — and whether it’s also been in the paper, or ought to be. The coffee’s on us until 10. (If you stray too close to Tula’s always-inviting pastry display, you’re on your own.) For more information, call 540-675-3338 or email

Our Citizen, Washington’s Christmas Parade

The Rappahannock News will name its Citizen of the Year in next week’s edition — in time for that distinguished county resident to be Grand Marshall of the Christmas in Little Washington parade on Sunday, Dec. 8. This person will have the honor of leading the 1 p.m. parade that promises to be another magical event.

Joining the parade: The Rappahannock Hunt, its horses and hounds.
Joining the parade: The Rappahannock Hunt, its horses and hounds. Courtesy photo

The Rappahannock Hunt will grace the parade with more than a dozen riders in scarlet jackets astride their beautifully turned-out mounts, accompanied by a group of hounds. As one of the U.S. Army’s premiere musical organizations, the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps returns to inspire onlookers as it marches in uniform through the village followed by spectacular floats.

Just follow the Castleton Festival’s “Pied Pipers” at the end of the parade to go to the next Christmas event. And don’t forget to bring canned food for the food pantry that day. For more information, check out Christmas in Little Washington’s Facebook page.

RLEP’s 43rd annual meeting

In late 1970 a delegation of Rappahannock County leaders motored up the drive to Caledonia Farm, just off Fodderstack Road. Owner Phil Irwin ushered in Newbill Miller, Hebert Foster, H.B. Wood and George Davis.

These officials, guiding forces for Rappahannock in those days, had already done much to keep development pressures out of this still-pristine county. They had an urgent message about a worrisome threat. The power company was proposing a 138,000-volt transmission line right between Irwin’s acreage and the Shenandoah National Park.

“We need to have somebody do something about that,” Irwin recalled them saying. So Irwin wrote a letter to the editor. “It said: ‘Anybody who’s interested in this power line, meet me at the courthouse,’ ” he added.

On Dec. 15, 1970, 65 people showed up. The result was the Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection (RLEP). Over the next 15 months, Irwin and others made the case against the power lines and forced the company to withdraw its plans.

Irwin served as the organization’s president for the first 17 years and continues as RLEP’s vice president. Now the region’s longest-serving conservation group, RLEP is a respected voice for environmental protections and carefully planned growth for this treasured county. RLEP is guided by values rooted in the preservation of priceless natural resources, farmland, scenic beauty and rural landscape.

The inheritors of RLEP’s 43-year legacy gather at 6:30 p.m. this Saturday (Nov. 23) at Wasmund’s Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville for a festive annual meeting. Board president Rick Kohler will provide an update on past and future activities for RLEP members, participants and guests. Light fare, beer and wine will be served. All are welcome. RSVP at or call 540 675-RLEP.

Norton on climate change Dec. 13

At 8 p.m. Dec. 13, the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community (RAAC) welcomes Doug Norton as the featured speaker at its Second Friday at the Library lecture series. Norton’s specialty is climate change. For nearly 20 years in his career as a NASA scientist, he studied the climate and the environment. Now he’ll sort out for us what the climate change debate is all about: What is happening? What are the stakes? What is the timetable?

Norton’s focus is on science but his interests extend to the broader questions of how climate change will affect our lives. Some of these changes will be close-up; others will affect matters of national security. A teacher at heart, Norton has presented climate talks to countless business leaders and even to the White House. His talks are fast-paced and pitched to “interested adults who are not technical experts.”

A man of many talents, Norton is also an acclaimed wildlife photographer and scuba diver, a pilot and a parachutist. The lecture is free, at the Rappahannock County Library. For more information, visit or call 800-695-6075.

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