The Rapp for Aug. 13

Tula’s and the Kramer building: sold

Washington’s Kramer building and its ground-floor Gay Street restaurant Tula’s will soon be transferred from the five-year ownership of the Thompson family to the ownership and management of two longtime local weekenders — one of whom has just made his weekend place in Woodville into a full-time residence, and both of whom promise no major changes to the three-story building or the restaurant.

“Like any new business owners, we’ve got some ideas,” said Alexandria real estate attorney Mark Allen, a familiar face in Rappahannock who’s had a weekend home in Culpeper for 25 years and who is buying the restaurant and office/commercial building with national radio talk show host, author and columnist John McCaslin. “But we are not fixing anything that’s broken. We want to continue in the spirit of conducting business the way Ken Thompson has conducted business.”

Thompson, who with wife Mary, son Andy and daughter-in-law Dana owns the Thornton River Grille complex in Sperryville, purchased the Gay Street building from its namesake, furniture maker Peter Kramer.

Allen said all the current tenants will stay on, including Kramer and the county’s building and emergency services offices downstairs, Butch Zindel’s Rappahannock Real Estate Resources on Gay Street and the Virginia Extension offices that share the top floor with Thompson’s successful Rapp Office telecommuting center — which will also remain in place, Allen said, and is included in the deal.

“All the restaurant employees will keep their jobs,” said Allen, who expects that McCaslin will be more involved in the restaurant, and day-to-day doings, while Allen manages the building.

Settlement is scheduled for the first week of September, at which point a purchase price is expected to be made public.

Book Barn specials

A reminder that now through September, hardcover novels by authors whose last names begin with R to Z are on sale at two for $1 at the Book Barn, the used-book emporium next to the Rappahannock County Library. Low prices are in effect books on all subjects, from architecture to zoology, at the Book Barn, which has lots of cookbooks, gardening books and books of local interest. All books are donated, all workers are volunteers and all the money earned goes to the Rappahannock Library. The Book Barn is open 9 to 3 every Saturday.

‘The Gin Game’ at RAAC Theatre

Joyce Abell and Andy Platt rehearse the RAAC Community Theatre production of "The Gin Game," coming Sept 25-26.
Joyce Abell and Andy Platt rehearse the RAAC Community Theatre production of “The Gin Game,” coming Sept 25-26. Patty Hardee | Rappahannock News
The RAAC Community Theatre production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “The Gin Game,” reunites actors Andy Platt and Joyce Abell with director Mike Mahoney. They previously worked together in 2012 when Mike directed Andy and Joyce (and local actor-musician Dontez Harris) in “Driving Miss Daisy.”

In “The Gin Game,” elderly nursing home residents Weller Martin (Andy) and Fonsia Dorsey (Joyce) strike up an acquaintance over games of gin rummy. As they talk about their families and their lives outside the nursing home, gradually, each conversation becomes a battle, ruining their brief friendship. The original production of “The Gin Game,” written by Donald Coburn, opened on Broadway in October 1977 and ran for 517 performances. It was directed by Mike Nichols and starred the married couple Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy.

The RAAC Theatre performances are 8 p.m. both Friday, Sept. 25 and Saturday, Sept. 26 at 310 Gay St., Washington. For tickets ($15), visit or call 800-695-6075, ext. 1.

The Imitation GameMovies resume Sept. 4

“The Imitation Game” restarts RAAC’s Friday movie series at The Theatre at Washington at 8 p.m. Sept. 4. The PG-13 biography-drama-thriller stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightly and Matthew Goode in the true story of mathematician Alan Turing as he tries to crack the enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians during World War II. The film won an Oscar for best adapted screenplay.

Tickets ($6) at the door; popcorn, candy and water are available for purchase. For more information, visit

Cheetahs, cucumbers and Cuba, oh my!

If you come to the 18th annual Taste of Rappahannock fundraiser for Headwaters Foundation on Sept. 12, you’ll find out all about cheetahs, cucumbers and Cuba (the last being a vacation destination offered in the Taste’s extensive auction menu, the others being also auction-related). Organizers say there are still tickets available for the annual fundraiser that supports the Headwaters Foundation and the programs and scholarships created for young people in Rappahannock County.

“Pickle Potential,” by Patton Wilson, is among the eight cigar-box artworks designed and painted by famous artists for the "Taste of Rappahannock" auction, with all proceeds benefitting the Headwaters' Starfish Mentoring Program.
“Pickle Potential,” by Patton Wilson, is among the eight cigar-box artworks designed and painted by famous artists for the “Taste of Rappahannock” auction, with all proceeds benefitting the Headwaters’ Starfish Mentoring Program.

The event, starting at 5 p.m. at the Miller Barn in Sperryville, brings the community together to celebrate all things local and features only the best epicurean delights all grown and prepared by a village of volunteers and businesses. Visit for a peek at some of Headwaters’ first-time auction treasures; call 540-987-3322 for tickets or information.

Conservation District seeks BMP data

The Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District is known for many services throughout the five member counties in which it operates, including Rappahannock: technical assistance to landowners, homeowners and local government, engineering reviews for land development, engineering design for ag projects, general technical assistance, education programs for K-12 and for the public at large, training for engineers and more.

“I expect we do some things well that many people are not aware of but one of the more prominent services is the local delivery of the state agricultural cost share program and all that is involved with putting Best Management Practices (BMPs) on the land,” says District Manager Greg Wichelns. “Most agricultural producers are familiar with this aspect of district services. We have been engaged in delivery of this program since the mid-1980s, to the benefit of both the producer/land owner and the environment.”

Most of the projects have included a five- to 10-year contract, Wichelns says, during which the property owner or applicant was responsible for upkeep of the BMP. At the end of the contract, that responsibility ended — although, he notes, “many of these BMPs have become a permanent part of the operation and still provide both the management benefits and help protect the environment. We are very interested in these older BMPs at this time.”

Through the years, all of these BMPs have been included in the computer modeling of the Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts; the modeling science that lawmakers, state agencies and the district use to make decisions regarding additional investments to protect and restore the environment. Those modeling efforts are currently being updated and the modelers are seeking information on the status of many of these older BMPs that no longer have the contract requirements.

“Both the district and the state are interested in confirming that they still exist and function more or less as intended,” said Wichelns. “The benefit to all is that Virginia gets credit for all these practices in its efforts to meet restoration expectations.”

The district has hired a part-time employee to assist with the collection of this information: Edward “EJ” Burke from Madison County. He has been charged with contacting all landowners to see if they are willing to assist the district in this effort.

“We encourage consideration of participating in this initiative; it is to the benefit of all. There is no long-term commitment or any new contract to sign other than a verification statement that the district did complete the assessment. We are simply seeking data to update the modeling status,” says Wichelns.

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