Down Memory Lane for Aug. 31

Dec. 2, 1998

After an undisputedly successful and productive term as sheriff of Rappahannock, Gary Settle has decided not to seek re-election and is stepping down in what he calls “the hardest decision of my life.” His last day will be Dec. 9, and the county government has already been notified of his resignation.

Chairman of the Rappahannock Board of Supervisors Charles K. “Pete” Estes said, “Sheriff Gary Settle has served Rappahannock County well and he will be missed. He has conducted the business of the sheriff’s office in a very professional manner and he has been a pleasure to work with. We will wish him every success in the future.”

“I am a very proactive and progressive person and committed to doing the very best job I can. I’ve always given 110 percent to the job and there are a lot of pressures that come with it,” Settle said.

For the most part, he said, they’re not a problem but he admits that the job entails quite a bit more political maneuvering than he had anticipated. “In order to get the grants you want and need, you have to be on the phone to Richmond about once a day. I underestimated the political arena, not only on the state level, but also at the county and local level. But if you want to continue to build for this department you have to be in contact with Richmond and seek support. The job is much more administration oriented than people think.”

The decision to return to the state police as a trooper — Settle was with the state police for 10 years prior to being elected sheriff — was a personal one, he said. The sheriff’s job is 24 hours a day and although he gave that time and commitment to the job, he said, he feels that it has taken its toll. He wants to be able to spend more time with his family, had decided not to run for re-election and a job came open with the state police at the same time. He felt the opportunity was ripe — he decided to take the position.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality completed its draft of the risk assessment of the pollution at the Aileen, Inc. property, although the complete report will not be available until January 1999.

The report was based on the maximum concentrations from test results of samples of groundwater from monitoring wells at the Aileen plant and drinking wells at the Flint Hill Pentecostal Church and surrounding residential properties.

Contaminants of potential concern still exist at the site and the Flint Hill Pentecostal Church. The DEQ report assessed the Aileen facility to be within a safe range for workers who might have skin contact with groundwater during renovation of the facility. Likewise, the report stated that the Flint Hill Pentecostal Church and the Aileen plant were safe as long as bottled water was provided and use of well water was prohibited until chemical concentrations reached acceptable drinking water standards.

The threat of lawsuits stemming from the plant’s pollution hangs over the property and thus deterred others who looked into purchasing it, said local real estate agent Butch Zindel.

March 25, 1976

At the Rappahannock School Board meeting March 11, school Board member Walter Masterson mentioned in a discussion about ‘alternate diplomas” that an informal check had revealed to him that a diploma from Rappahannock HIgh School carries very little weight with Culpeper businesses. His remarks, as printed in the Rappahannock News, aroused some concern on the part of school administrators and teachers. Masterson said he’d like an opportunity to explain his statement.

What he meant, Masterson said, was not that the diploma was meaningless, but that it needed further clarification before it was of any use to prospective employers.

Rappahannock High School principal Dennis Wingfield has contacted Culpeper businesses regarding the value of a diploma from Rappahannock High School. He was told that the diploma alone meant nothing; the businessmen said it was necessary to contact the school administration, guidance department and at least two teachers in order to determine the exact course of study followed by the student.

“If you brought a college diploma into a food management business, it wouldn’t mean a thing unless that diploma shoed that your major was in chemistry or some food industry-related field,” said Masterson. “This is the same thing.”

Rappahannock County could build a new office building and amortize a capital investment of $100,000 at 10 percent for the amount the county is now paying for rented office space, according to figures compiled by County Engineer Fanning Baumgardner.

In a memorandum for the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors, county planning commission and clerk E. M. Jones, Baumgardner includes a preliminary survey of current office space rented and not rented as part of a study necessitated by requests for additional county office space.

Under Virginia Law, it is the responsibility of a county board of supervisors to provide sufficient space for the conduct of the courts, including record-keeping. Commonwealth’s Attorney George Davis explained that “the courts would like to make this a request, but under the statutes, it could be an order with a writ of mandamus.”