Down Memory Lane for Aug. 18

March 8, 1984

Most subscribers to the Rappahannock News don’t get 17 copies each week, but most subscribers don’t use their papers in as many different ways as Bobbie Brochu does at the elementary school reading lab.

The county weekly as well as the daily issue of the Star Exponent incite 6th and 7th grade students to debates on all manner of events ranging from the extinction of the dinosaur to the defeat of the Redskins. The pupils avidly follow Rappahannock sports, supervisors races and controversial issues.

In fact, the children are encouraged to take their arguments home. Teacher Brochu says she occasionally assigns her pupils to start family dinner table discussions based on editorials they’ve read in class.

Brochu works with a total of 125 children who are reading below grade level or have special reading related difficulties that their regular classroom teachers have identified and asked her to help with. The newspapers in the upper level lab are simply “an additional motivational factor,” she says, which “reinforce skills from their regular reading book and classroom teacher” as well as the assortment of other books and magazines in the lab.

“This benefits so many people. When you weigh that against the little bit of damage it causes for a few, it seems to me we have no choice but to make an exception,” said Supervisor Clarence Baldwin as the Rappahannock board voted unanimously to approve a special exception allowing Amissville’s ballfields and eight acres to be deeded to the village’s Ruritan Club.

The property would be deeded as a gift to the Ruritans for the benefit of area youth, said Mrs. Luther Stuart, who noted that deed restrictions and covenants will require that the club fence the fields, keep them clean and prevent loitering, and maintain the roadway leading to the fields.

May 23, 2001

Last week’s Planning Commission meeting was preceded by a meeting of a Commission committee that is drafting a county lighting ordinance. The committee met with consultant Mark Schuyler of Charlottesville, who is assisting in the ordinance development process and who discussed “dark sky” codes and the lighting ordinances of other nearby counties.

The intent of the proposed ordinance is to continue the process of ensuring that Rappahannock County remains ‘rural and scenic”by protecting the county from the glare that affects more populous jurisdictions, and thus furthering the objectives of the Comprehensive Plan.

Robert Lindquist said that the proposed ordinance is “a tool to burden citizens and control growth” and he suggested that there were more important problems to deal with in the county. In his letter he spoke of the need for security lighting in the in the face of increased rates of crime in rural areas, and the need of the county’s ordinances to better reflect “the will of the majority of all citizens and not only the ideas of the vocal minority special interest groups.”

Phil Irwin of Flint Hill illustrated the need for an ordinance that preserves the county’s dark sky by recalling that a recent guest, looking up at the night sky, asked “What is that bright band?” The guest was referring to the Milky Way, and said that he had never been able to see it before visiting Rappahannock County.