Letter: Dark skies, bright streets — something for everyone!

Accolades to RLEP (the Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection) for acknowledging and wanting to protect the beautiful dark, clear skies of Rappahannock County. There is nothing more uniquely Rappahannock than our dark skies. Being able to look up and see the Milky Way is a rare gift that we should all celebrate. There are untold numbers of people around the world who, sadly, never get to experience that special sight.

Recently Hackley’s Store in Amissville and Cooter’s Place in the Country in Sperryville installed shields on their security lights to direct those lights downward. Not to extinguish them, just to redirect them. It’s curious that the lights were in place for several nights in both locations before I or the proprietor of Cooter’s Place even realized they had been installed.

The shields didn’t reduce the light, just focused it on the ground where we need it — where we want it! A positive thing.

I encourage you to consider shielding the brightest lights on your property. No one will be forced to do this — it just seems like the neighborly thing to do. We all love this place and want to preserve what we have for our children and our children’s children to enjoy. No less significant than clean water, and farmland.

Somehow, misinformation has been spread regarding this project. If you have questions, or simply want to hear the specifics of how this works, or what you have to do to get shielding for your lights, please call RLEP President Rick Kohler at 540-675-1373.

I’m so proud of RLEP for promoting this initiative, and more proud of my 90-year-old mother, the owner of Hackley’s Store, for supporting it. It’s one more step toward preserving aspects of Rappahannock that make this a uniquely beautiful place to be.

Jan Makela

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