Washington column for Sept. 25

‘Cause for Paws’ raffle

RappCats holds its annual “A Cause for Paws” raffle as part of the Artisans’ Market at Avon Hall during the 2014 Rappahannock County Farm Tour and Festival this weekend (Sept. 27-28).

Tickets are just $5 (five for $20); prizes include a romantic package for two (complete with dinner) at the Inn at Little Washington and a one-night stay at the luxurious Middleton Inn, one of a handful of Four Diamond inns in the U.S.

Local trio Mandalele donated their time (and music) last Sunday evening at Trinity Episcopal Church, to raise money for Trouin, Haiti.
Local trio Mandalele donated their time (and music) last Sunday evening at Trinity Episcopal Church, to raise money for Trouin, Haiti. Ruthie Windsor-Mann

Only 500 tickets are available, so the odds of winning are very good — and for a very good cause. Since the tickets and prizes were donated, all proceeds benefit the RappCats Spay & Neuter Fund.

The raffle was created in 2006 by Michelle and Gary Schwartz, former owners of Heritage House B&B, in memory of Toby, their rescued cat and a guest favorite who was killed by a motorist on Main Street. The Schwartzes decided to turn this sad experience into something positive by creating the raffle in his memory.

“Knowing that there were individuals in the county who rescued cats but couldn’t afford to spay or neuter them, we worked with RAWL in creating a feline spay and neuter fund,” Gary said. The Schwartzes agreed to hold the raffle and donate the proceeds as seed money for the fund.

Approximately $12,000 has been raised in the eight years since the raffle’s foundation. For the fourth year in a row, the raffle benefits RappCats, a nonprofit organization working to help the stray, abused, abandoned and unwanted cats of Rappahannock County.

It has meant a lot for Michelle and Gary to turn their negative experience into something that positively benefits animals in the county. “We truly believe that if everyone makes an effort to spay and neuter, it will help reduce the unwanted cat population in the county,” said Michelle.

To those who don’t consider themselves to be cat lovers, she adds, “Please purchase a raffle ticket and help us control the cat population. It will make your dog and the songbirds of Rappahannock very, very happy!”

Tickets are available through this year’s Studio and Gallery Tour Nov. 1-2; the drawing is Nov. 2. For the first time, tickets can also be purchased through rappcats.org. Tickets are also available from RappCats volunteers. For more information, contact RappCats at 540-987-8099 or rappcats@rappcats.org or find them on Facebook.

Trinity news

Local trio Mandalele “donated their time and music to entertain a receptive audience at Trinity on Sunday evening,” said Russ Collins, who reports that “the music and lyrics were inspiring, the acoustics in the church were wonderful and everyone had a great time while raising money to support Trinity’s projects in Trouin, Haiti. During the concert, Mandalele announced plans for a CD release party at the Theatre in Washington on Nov. 15 — an event their fans can look forward to.”

Aging Together workshop

Aging Together’s six-week class, “Living Well with Chronic Pain,” started Monday (Sept. 22) and continues from 10 a.m. to noon every Monday through Oct. 27 at the county library. The workshop is free. For more information or to sign up, call 540-829-6405.

Blessing of the animals

Rev. Jennings Hobson III and Trinity Episcopal Church are offering a short service for the blessing of animals in the Quiet Place in front of the church, at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5. Bring your pets for a blessing in honor of St. Francis’ feast day. For more information, call 540-675-3716.

Birthday wishes

Happy birthday to Andy Berry, who celebrates today (Thursday, Sept. 25). Warren Foster would like to wish you a happy birthday.

Birthday wishes also go out to Kelly Estes, who will be celebrating on Sunday (Sept. 28), and to Jay Brown, who turns 50 on Monday (Sept. 29). Jay’s present, according to Kevin Adams, includes a trip to Iceland to see the northern lights. What a nice gift!

Enjoy the cool weather, and have a wonderful week!