The Rapp for Feb. 9

Fake news and such

It was supposed to be RAAC’s Second Friday at the Library lecture series — except the library might not have had enough seats for this much-anticipated discussion, what with all the recent buzz surrounding fake news, false stories, and now suddenly “alternative facts.”

So there’s been a change of venue for Leslie Cockburn’s lecture, titled “Fake News and False Stories.”

Instead of the Rappahannock County Library, Cockburn — of CBS “60 Minutes” and PBS “Frontline” fame — will speak tomorrow evening (Friday, Feb. 10) at 8 p.m. at the Little Washington Theatre, 291 Gay Street, Washington, VA.

“We expect a large crowd, so we’re experimenting with a new venue,” explained one organizer.

It’s no wonder. Cockburn during an impressive career has covered stories around the globe: Israel to Haiti, the Nicaraguan war to the Gulf War; she’s dug into alleged CIA drug shipments, co-produced films including Peacemaker (starring George Clooney and Nicole Kidman), and found time to teach journalism at Princeton.

Cockburn’s talk is free and all are welcome.

Burn restrictions begin

Virginia’s spring wildfire season — and burning restrictions — begin next week, as officials expect an increased threat of fires due to minimal rain and snowpack. In the latest Virginia drought monitor report (Feb. 2), Rappahannock County is listed as “abnormally dry.”

More than 60 percent of Virginia’s annual average of 1,000 wildfires occur in the spring, with March and April the most active months. As a result, the “4 p.m. Burning Law” will go into effect next Wednesday, Feb. 15, the first day of the wildfire season. The law prohibits open burning between midnight and 4 p.m. each day, and remains in effect until April 30.

While burning is permitted between the other hours, officials caution residents not to burn under certain weather conditions, including low humidity, warm temperatures and winds over 10 miles per hour.

The number one cause of wildfires in Virginia is people burning yard debris and trash.

A violation of the 4 p.m. Burning Law is a Class 3 misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine. In addition to the criminal violation, those who allow a fire to escape are liable for the cost of suppressing the blaze as well as any damage caused to others’ property.

Among wildfire prevention tips: remove all branches that touch the house, garage, shed, etc.; clear all brush (tall grass, leaves, branches, weeds, etc.) within 30 feet of the home and other structures; keep gutters clear of debris; install spark arresters on chimneys.

Local actress UK bound

RAAC actress Celia Cooley of Culpeper to cross the pond.

A talented young local actress was awarded the grand prize in a British Council-sponsored film competition. Celia Cooley, 12, of Culpeper, a familiar face in RAAC Community Theatre productions, won first place in the Shakespeare Shorts global film competition, beating out over 90 other filmmakers from around the world.

Open to entrants of any age and based anywhere in the world, Shakespeare Shorts was a new competition website for filmmakers. Entrants were invited to create short films that were inspired by, or reinterpreted, Shakespeare’s works.

Celia’s film, with her father Mark as cameraman, is Oh, Romeo: The Forbidden Love Between a Girl and her Cat. In announcing her win, the British Council, the United Kingdom’s international organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities, said, “Celia showed originality and innovation with her unusual take on Shakespeare’s famous Act II Scene II, including an unusual twist.”

When she received the letter announcing her win, Celia said she was “blown away. I’m very excited.”

“This is all so surreal for us,” says Mark. “Celia and I have been making movies together since she was three. We collaborated on this one too, but it was really all her idea.”

With the win comes an all-expenses paid trip this month to the UK for Celia and her parents. The 5-day itinerary includes an awards ceremony at the Institute of Contemporary Art before an audience of TV and movie producers, a weekend filmmaking workshop, professional-level camera equipment for Celia to continue her filmmaking, and a private breakfast meeting with the producer of “Downton Abbey.”

Going forward, says Celia, “I’d like to be in small, independent films and do community theatre.” She was last featured in the RAAC holiday production of “The 12 Days of Christmas” in December.

Moving stones

A special event will take place in Sperryville this Saturday when the first stones will be selected for the “Chimney Memorial”, commemorating the hundreds of mountain people who were unwillingly moved out of their homes to make way for the Shenandoah National Park.

Local stones  — symbolic of what remains of long lost homes — will be transported from a farm in Sperryville to the Thornton Orchard property on Route 211, where a stone mason will work to erect the memorial upon a parcel of land generously donated for the project. Thornton Orchard is across from the Hearthstone School, just outside the park boundary.

Those willing to help are asked to gather at the HeadMaster’s Pub at 11 a.m. Saturday and then proceed together to the local farm. All are welcome to lift a stone or simply observe. Either way, it promises to be a moving event.

“Granted, the forecast could change, but as of now it looks like we’ll have perfect weather Saturday for moving stone for the chimney memorial,” says organizer Missy Sutton. “If you can join us, please do. Dressing in layers is recommended. Snacks and beverages will be provided. The stone mason will be onsite with us and he will teach/show us the types of stones we need to select/move to the memorial site.”

Gotta love cats

With no offense to dogs, Charles Dickens opined: “What greater gift than the love of a cat.”

Courtesy photo
A cute pair of RappKittens.

To return that love, RappCats, which rescues, cares for, and finds loving forever homes for stray, abandoned, injured, neglected, abused and feral cats throughout Rappahannock County, is holding a fundraiser at Griffin Tavern in Flint Hill on Friday, Feb. 17, from 7 to 9 p.m. Everyone is invited.

Music will be provided by Ben Mason, a talented Castleton singer-songwriter who has performed with leading rock and roll bands at world-class venues. The honorable John Sullivan, mayor of Washington, and John McCaslin, editor of the Rappahannock News, will serve as celebrity bartenders.

RappCats is raising the necessary funds to rescue and care for more cats and kittens throughout Rappahannock as the need is great. Operating the only Virginia state-licensed cat shelter in the county, RappCats’ cageless, no-kill shelter is absolutely essential as the Rappahannock animal shelter is funded to care only for dogs.

Step up — and mind the sodium!

More Rappahannock residents are stepping — and walking and running and eating healthier and . . . well, you get the message.

Commit to Be Fit offers weekly exercise classes and wellness workshops geared toward the entire Rappahannock community, young and old alike. Better yet, all classes, workshops and events — held at Rappahannock County schools — are free of charge.

Upcoming Events for the Week of February 13:

  • Monday, Feb. 13 — Step Classes, 3:45 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. (RCHS Room 2)
  • Tuesday, Feb. 14 — Walking/Running Group, 3:45pm (RCES parking lot)
  • Wednesday, Feb. 15 — Step Classes, 3:45 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. (RCHS Room 2); Balletone Class — 4:30 p.m. (RCES AUX Gym Band Room)
  • Thursday, Feb. 16 — Walking/Running Group, 3:45 p.m. (RCES parking lot); Yoga Class — 4 p.m. (RCES Music Room)
  • Friday, Feb. 17 — Country Heat Class, 3:45 p.m. (RCHS Auditorium); Diet & Nutrition Lecture, presented by Dr. D. Brooke Miller, MD and nurse practitioner Ann H. Miller, 7 p.m. (RCHS Auditorium
  • Saturday, Feb. 18 — Fit Fun Circuit Class, 10 a.m. (RCES, meet at AUX Gym)

Nutrition tip from Commit to Be Fit Nutritionist Amanda Grove: High sodium diets can lead to high blood pressure. When there’s excess sodium in the bloodstream, it pulls water into your blood vessels which increases the total volume of blood. The added pressure adds stress to the heart by forcing it to pump harder. Strategies to lower sodium include limiting processed foods, compare labels for lower sodium options, choose fresh produce, be mindful with condiments, and cook more at home.

For more information on upcoming events, contact Holly Jenkins, Wellness Integration Specialist, at

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