The Rapp for Jan. 5

The curator speaks

RAAC’s Second Friday at the Library lecture series begins a new season 8 p.m Jan. 13 with a talk by Jane Livingston, one of the nation’s leading art curators. Livingston, who lives in Flint Hill, was the associate director and chief curator of the Corcoran Museum in Washington, D.C. for many years. Her newest book is on the acclaimed American artist Richard Diebenkorn, whose work Livingston has long championed.

Over the years Livingston presented some 50 major shows, on topics from African-American folk art to National Geographic photography to the work of Richard Avedon to Hispanic art. In 1989 she curated a show on the controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. When the Corcoran canceled the show, Livingston resigned in protest.

The library talks are free. All are welcome. For more information, call 301-246-0022.

Gray Ghost’s top awards

Gray Ghost completed the 2016 competition season taking top honors on the last three competition announcements of the year. The Amissville winery’s 2015 vidal blanc was named “Best Dry White Wine” at the Mid-Atlantic Southeast Wine Competition in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In addition, Gray Ghost won three Platinum and six Gold awards at the Virginia Wine Lover Magazine Wine Classic. Their petit verdot, Gewurztraminer and Seyval blanc were all Platinum medal winners.

In Texas, the reserve cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay won Double Gold honors at the Tasters Guild Consumer Wine Competition. To earn a Double Gold medal, wines are first awarded Gold by an initial panel of judges. Then the wine is submitted to a larger panel of judges where every judge must rank it Gold in order to earn Double Gold status.

Gray Ghost uses wine competitions to compare its wines to top producers around the world. For the 14th consecutive year Gray Ghost surpassed the 100-medal mark, making it the most awarded Virginia winery. Of the 102 medals earned in 2016, Gray Ghost took Best of Class honors, three Double Golds, one Platinum and 22 Golds. Every Gray Ghost wine took Gold or higher in 2016.

The tasting room at Gray Ghost (14706 Lee Hwy, Amissville) is open 11 to 5 Saturdays and Sundays during the winter. Call them at 540-937-4869.

Benevolent Fund’s Celebrity Dinner: Jan 28

By Megan B. Smith
Benevolent Fund supporter John Kiser hams it up at last year’s Celebrity Waiter Dinner.

The Rappahannock Benevolent Fund’s eighth annual Celebrity Waiter Dinner is on for Jan. 28.

The Benevolent Fund was formed in 2008 to provide emergency assistance to individuals and families with short-term needs. It’s a concerted community effort to help provide much needed emergency assistance to local families, help that can truly mean the difference between buying groceries or paying for a car repair. Since 2010, the annual dinner has become the main source of funds raised against an anonymous matching grant of up to $60,000.

The dinner is organized by a volunteer committee and community members, and is served by “celebrity” volunteers. In addition to the price of admission, the enthusiasm of the waiters adds to the fun and entertainment as well as encouraging more contributions. Admission is $85 per person but come with additional funds because there will be many opportunities to spend money for a good cause — including raffle items. The waiter raising the most money in tips receives a prize, and the competition among the waiters is fierce.

This year’s theme is “A Walk in the Woods.” In a change from years passed, the dinner will feature a tapas-style buffet of hot and cold small plates, hors d’oeuvres and mini-desserts supplied by Rappahannock restaurants. The evening entertainment will feature local talent, including Richard Brady and Forrest Marquisee along with their respective bands. Decor will be woodsy, so dress accordingly! (We hear there may even be a old-time still on site).

This year the dinner is 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28 at the Washington School. The 2017 waiters are: Dick and Nancy Raines; Debbie Donehey; Paul Reisler; Russ Savage; John and Heidi Lesinski; Bubby Settle; Mike Leake; Steph Ridder; Mimi Forbes and Hal Hunter; Jessica Lindstrom, Betsy Dietel and Mike Sands; John Kiser; and Sal Abbate and Jane Whitfield. Waiters invite guests to their tables but there are extra seats available, so email Lindsay Sonnett ( or Jane Whitfield ( to request a spot. The organizers make every effort to seat everyone who’d like to attend, but if they can’t seat you this year, they can put you at the top of the list for next year’s dinner (or you can volunteer to be a waiter).

In lieu of attendance, the Benevolent Fund will happily accept a contribution. Please make checks payable to the Rappahannock Benevolent Fund at Box 133, Washington, VA 22747.

The Benevolent Fund is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit and all donations are tax deductible. All contributions will be matched up to $60,000 by an anonymous donor.

Seedling ordering starts Jan. 10

Virginia’s tree seedling store opens at 10 a.m. next Tuesday (Jan. 10). Orders may be placed online at or by calling the Augusta Forestry Center at 540-363-7000.

“We grew and sold 30 million tree seedlings last year,” said Justin Funk, forestry centers manager. “And we expect demand to remain strong — so much so that it’s likely some varieties of our loblolly pine seedlings may sell out early.”

The top loblolly pine varieties offered this season include Control Pollinated (CP) priced at $135 per 1,000 tree seedlings and are limited to 25,000 seedlings per customer. Virginia’s Best are selling at $105 per 1,000 and Elite at $85 per 1,000 seedlings; both varieties will be limited to 50,000 per customer. These prices include pesticide treatment for Pales weevils.

In addition to pine seedlings, Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) nurseries offer 45 other species of tree seedlings for sale to Virginia landowners. These other species include dogwood, apple, bald cypress, maples and nine species of oaks. “We also have several specialty seedling packs that are designed for specific uses, such as riparian buffer establishment, wildlife habitat enhancement and quail management,” said Funk.

Payment must be made at the time of purchase. If placing an order by phone or online, credit card is the only accepted method of payment. Walk-in orders may be paid with credit card, check or money order.

Tax-exempt orders must be placed over the phone or in person, and a fully completed ST-18 form must be provided before the tax-exempt order is placed. Funk recommends having the form filled out in advance and mailed/faxed to one of our centers to avoid delays.

“If you would like to browse our seedling catalog prior to the store opening, it can be found on our website at, or you can access the link on our Facebook page (Virginia State Nurseries),” said Funk.

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