Inside this week’s News (Jan. 28)

Here’s a quick look at this week’s Rappahannock News — at newsstands, mailboxes and inboxes now.
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The Blizzard of 2016

Even the geese saw this one coming, as flocks of a dozen or so merged into strings a hundred strong, fleeing the white wall of snow that had faded the Blue Ridge to the West on Friday by about 10:30 a.m., soaring high over frozen ponds in Washington.

At the Quicke Mart, drivers lined up four-deep waited to fill their tanks. Every parking spot was full of residents checking fluids, adding oil, buying last-minute toilet paper and beer before the big snow hit. The first flakes began to fall slowly in Sperryville at the Corner Store at 11:30 a.m. By noon, fast-falling, mid-sized flakes coated the ground.

The snow increased in intensity and the winds picked up over the next 36 hours, when a total of 36 inches fell in Chester Gap, and several other areas of the county reported between 20 and 30 inches of snowfall. Steady winds at around 20 mph kept the accumulation from flexing and snapping the trees.

BJ Knobloch
Main Street in Washington during last Saturday’s snow storm.

‘Outside the box’ sentence for probation violation

A complex, sometimes arcane, discussion between Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey W. Parker, Commonwealth’s Attorney Art Goff and attorney Frank Reynolds last Thursday (Jan. 21) ended with an innovative compromise sentence for Joseph Sanford Burns II. The 24-year-old Castleton resident was charged with violating his probation, part of the sentence imposed after being found guilty in December 2012 of felony possession of the schedule II drug oxycodone, eluding police and a misdemeanor charge of contempt of court.

Profile: Turning scraps to treasures on Chester Gap

Burning east Indian rosewood in the woodstove would be wrong. Purple heart, choke maple, bloodwood, these can’t be burned and lost forever.

But one man’s scraps are another woman’s treasures.

Cathy Wolniewicz collaborates with her husband Mike — who’s been designing, building and finishing custom furniture for nearly 30 years — to upcycle scraps of wood from furniture projects to create “spirit boxes” with fired clay tops crafted by Cathy in her pottery studio above Mike’s woodshop.

Wild Ideas: Wildlife in the snowpocalypse

After Winter Storm Jonas, Pam Owen was eager to get out and see how our local wildlife fared up on the mountain where she lives but also found navigating the deep snow a challenge, in this week’s Wild Ideas column.

Is there hope for historic Waterloo Bridge?

For the past two years, Frank Bossio, Culpeper County’s former county administrator and Fauquier County resident, has looked at the temporary detour signs that direct him away from the closed historic Waterloo Bridge he travelled across several times a week for 22 years. Bossio crossed the bridge from his home a quarter mile away to Culpeper for work. Now, he ponders if the signs are really temporary.

“They do look permanent, if they put a few rocks around it,” said Bossio, with a broad grin.

The Warrenton-based Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) is asking similar questions as little seems to have been accomplished to rehabilitate the bridge, one of about a dozen metal truss bridges left in Virginia. The bridge, which before closure carried 680 vehicles per day across the Rappahannock River, is owned and maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

Missing the train

Rappahannock County failed to get a railroad link to the outside world six times in the 1870s and twice in the 1880s. Now, in the spring of 1890, the giant Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Railway Company was contemplating a railroad along the Blue Ridge that would pass through Rappahannock County. This line, from Crozet, ten miles west of Charlottesville, to Alexandria, just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., was one of C&O’s three options to get to the nation’s capital.

Plus: Richard Brady, the Washington column, Events, the Crossword and more.

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