The Rapp for Aug. 27

Fourth (Estate) Friday

As we do most every fourth Friday, the staff of the Rappahannock News will be taking coffee and public comment from 9 to 10 a.m. tomorrow (Friday, Aug. 28) at the Country Cafe, for our monthly public story conference. We hope you’ll come and trade your ideas, suggestions and comments on local news and news coverage for some free coffee (or paid upgrades from the Cafe menu) for an hour or so.

If you have any questions, please call 540-675-3338 or email

The supermoon in Shenandoah National Park

Ever seen a supermoon? A supermoon appears to be a little larger and brighter than other full moons as it nears perigee, its closest orbit to Earth. This Saturday (Aug. 29), Shenandoah National Park is hosting a supermoon viewing at the top of the park’s highest peak, Hawksbill Mountain (4,050 feet). Rangers will be stationed along the Upper Hawksbill Trail (mile 46.7 on Skyline Drive) and at the summit to help visitors enjoy the event. (Attendance is limited to 100 participants; other spots in the park are also excellent places to view the supermoon, including the east-facing overlooks along Skyline Drive and Big Meadows at mile 51.)

To sign up for the supermoon viewing at Hawksbill, call Byrd Visitor Center at 540-999-3500 ext. 3283 to make a reservation. Parking is at the Upper Hawksbill parking lot (mile 46.7). Hiking distance is just over two miles (a mile each way), out and back on the same trail. The elevation gain from the parking lot to the summit is approximately 520 feet. Parking spaces are limited, and carpooling is recommended.

A park ranger will be stationed at the Upper Hawksbill Parking area starting at 7 p.m. to check participants in before they depart for the approximately 30-minute hike to the summit. The moon will rise as the sun sets at about 7:45 p.m. Rangers will be stationed along the trail and at the summit from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. If the weather is clear, there will be views of the Shenandoah Valley to the west and Old Rag Mountain and the Virginia Piedmont to the northeast, as well as the night sky and its big, bright moon. The hike will go on in light rain and even if the sky is overcast, but it will be canceled if there is threat of a thunderstorm.

Come prepared to hike in any weather, with layers of clothing for cool mountain nights. Wear sturdy shoes, and bring water and a flashlight. There is no fee for the hike, but there is a $20 per-vehicle entrance fee to Shenandoah National Park (good for seven days).

A few seats for the Taste

There are still a few seats, according to the Headwaters Foundation, at the table for the organization’s annual fundraiser, the 18th annual Taste of Rappahannock, on Sept. 12. The Taste offers the best of Rappahannock County, with unusual and many first-time auction items this year, tastings from 10 different vineyards and breweries, appetizers and desserts prepared by the Rappahannock County Public Schools’ culinary arts classes and dinner by Laughing Duck Gardens and Cookery.

Proceeds benefit school children in the county through Headwaters’ After-School Enrichment program, a career and college access program through Next Step at RCHS, a mentoring and coaching program through Starfish Mentoring, a tutoring program (READ) for primary age students and a robust budget for the Farm-to-Table Program — plus Educational Enrichment Grants for local teachers, paid summer camps and (for last year’s graduating class) more than $40,000 in scholarships. Your participation in the Taste makes it happen. Call 540-987-3322 or email

Valley Health is a ‘Most Wired’ system

Valley Health System has been named to the 2015 list of the country’s “Most Wired” hospitals and health systems, recognizing how the not-for-profit system has integrated information technology (IT) to improve the quality of care and patient safety and lower healthcare costs.

The 17th annual HealthCare’s Most Wired survey and benchmarking study was released earlier this month by the American Hospital Association’s Health Forum and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). It is a leading industry barometer measuring IT adoption among hospitals nationwide. The survey of more than 741 participants, representing more than 2,213 hospitals, examined how organizations are leveraging IT to improve all aspects of patient care.

Valley Health’s six hospitals, outpatient clinics, physician practices (including the one expected to open this fall in Rappahannock), medical transport service and home care services use secure electronic data to exchange information across care settings in a variety of ways. These include encouraging patient involvement through My Chart; sharing test results between providers and facilities through the health system’s electronic health record, EpicCare; and ensuring medication reconciliation and safety.  

To achieve Most Wired designation in 2015, organizations were required to meet specific criteria in four key areas: infrastructure, business and administrative management, clinical quality and safety, and clinical integration. Valley Health is one of 338 organizations nationwide that met these core criteria.

“Being recognized as a Most Wired health system is a proud reflection of the true team effort involved in integrating technology across our continuum of care,” said Jim Burton, interim chief information officer and vice president of Information Systems at Valley Health. “It represents the collective efforts of everyone, from those who install, program, analyze and maintain our wide assortment of IT tools to all who collect, input, interpret, diagnose and otherwise use the resulting data and information throughout Valley Health.”

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