The Rapp for July 13

Allow for transition

Much criticism was leveled at outgoing Rappahannock County Administrator Debbie Keyser for not posting to the county’s website in timely fashion the meeting minutes of the Rappahannock Board of Supervisors — not that the job description of an administrator entails note taking.

 Now comes an eye-opening headline and story from the publication Charlottesville Tomorrow, forwarded to the Rappahannock News by supervisor John Lesinski, who reportedly received it from supervisor Ron Frazier: “Albemarle fails to post majority of past year’s meeting minutes.”

 “In the past year,” the story begins, “the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors has held 23 regular meetings. As of July 1, only four of those meetings have had meeting minutes approved and posted on the county’s website . . . [T]here were no minutes available online for any regular meeting held between April 13, 2016 and June 1, 2017.”

Offered Albemarle County Clerk Claudette Borgersen, who was hired in August 2016 (one month after Keyser became administrator in Rappahannock County): “We had a much larger gap than we would normally experience, just because of the transition period that we were going through.”

Summer repaving

Motorists traveling along Fodderstack Road of late between Washington and Flint Hill have experienced moderate delays due to summer repaving. Here are some other current road closures and detours to follow:

Route 628 (Dearing Road): Rehabilitating bridge over a tributary of the Jordan River. Road closed to traffic. Follow detour. Anticipated completion Aug. 21.

Route 640 (Battle Mountain Road): Paving of a gravel road through Friday, July 14, from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., expect intermittent lane closures controlled by flagging.

Route 681 (Rolling Road): Paving of a gravel road through Friday, July 14, from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., expect intermittent lane closures controlled by flagging.

Road conditions and other real-time travel information can be found on the 511 Virginia website. VDOT updates are also on Facebook and the district’s Twitter account, @VaDOTCulp.

Lyme support

The Warrenton (and Rappahannock County) Lyme Disease Support Group has been meeting in a “small, hard to find church for many years,” notes local Lyme sufferer Erwin Lesh, who dropped by the Rappahannock News this week with some positive news.

“We now have new digs, centrally located and easy to find,” Lesh reports, namely Fauquier Hospital’s Chestnut Room, located above the Bistro Restaurant.

The first meeting in the new location will be next Thursday, July 20, at 7 p.m.

“We usually meet the third Thursday of the month,” Lesh notes.“We will also have a booth indoors at the Fauquier County Fair, July 12 to 15. Please stop by and see us.”

At their regular meetings, the group holds discussions on current Lyme and tick-borne disease topics and shares knowledge and the latest updates from the National Capital Lyme Disease Association. Lesh invites anybody with questions to contact him at 540-937-5763.

Falls at the falls

Dark Hollow Falls Trail in Shenandoah National Park. By John McCaslin

Hikers who enjoy Dark Hollow Falls Trail in Shenandoah National Park take notice: safety improvements to the trail are underway.

Trail crews through the remainder of this week and into the weekend are making the well-traversed trail safer by erecting fencing to encourage hikers to view the falls from established viewpoints. Each year, Shenandoah emergency medical personnel respond to numerous injuries caused by off-trail exploration around the popular falls.

Through this Saturday, July 15, both the trail and parking lot will remain closed from 6:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. However, the trail and parking will open back up during early evening hours. All of the work should be completed by Saturday evening, weather permitting.

Visitors can still access the falls via the Rose River Fire Road at mile 49.4 of Skyline Drive.

Galileo to Castleton

Jim Reston’s “Galileo’s Torch”, which inaugurated John Henry’s amphitheater in June 2014, is returning to Rappahannock County as the featured event of the Castleton Festival with three weekend performances, Friday through Sunday, July 28, 29, and 30.

Unlike its premiere, this is going to be largely a professional production with a cast of notable actors surrounding Judge David Tatel as he reprises his role as the Grand Inquisitor. This is a musical performance that blends scenes from the play with the music of Linn Barnes and Allison Hampton on lute and harp. It’s also notable for the fact that Dietlinde Maazel will direct.

Courtesy image

Here’s the playwright’s note for the program:

“Galileo’s Torch had its premiere on a lovely early June evening in 2014 at John Henry’s spectacular amphitheater at Stone Hill on the Crest Hill Road. Since then the play has had six subsequent productions —at the Italian Embassy in Washington, Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, the University of Oklahoma, and the Folger Shakespeare Theatre in Washington.

“In each of these performances the play has evolved. Scenes have been added and discarded. Period music has been introduced to set the tone of the Renaissance. Different stagecraft and elaborate projections have further enriched the environment of the stage. This is a dynamic piece.

“But for all these refinements the core of the play remains the same. Galileo’s Torch is about one of the great tragedies of history: the crushing of the great scientist for advocating the Copernican theory of the universe in contradiction of Roman Catholic geocentric dogma. The interrogation of Galileo by the Grand Inquisitor in the play comes from the actual transcript of the four inquisitional sessions that I discovered in Rome when I was researching my biography of Galileo. [Galileo: A Life, 1994].

“The Castleton production affords me another splendid opportunity to explore the possibilities of this drama. I’m thrilled that Dietlinde Maazel agreed to direct. We have a superb cast of prominent Washington actors, led John Lescault in the title role as Galileo. Judge David Tatel reprises his role as the Grand Inquisitor after his bravura performance in the play’s premiere. Weston Vrooman, a wonderful Sagredo in the Oklahoma show, comes from Tulsa. The acclaimed duo, Linn Barnes (lute) and Alison Hampton (harp), well known for their Christmas concerts at Castleton, provide the music.

“As the novelist Howard Jacobson wrote recently in the New York Times about Shakespeare plays, ‘we might enter the theater in rash spirits, but we leave it consumed in thought.’ May it be so tonight.”

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