The Rapp for Sept. 14

Survey time

Beginning tomorrow, Sept. 15, all residents of Rappahannock County are asked to access the much-anticipated countywide Broadband Needs Assessment Survey online at, or else obtain a paper copy at the local library, schools, county administrative offices, and many local businesses. Distributed by the Rappahannock County Broadband Committee, the survey can also be completed at one of the two upcoming town hall meetings.

The first meeting will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Amissville Fire Hall. The second will be held on Thursday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Washington Fire Hall.

This important survey will provide data to attract and incentivize broadband service providers to expand service in Rappahannock County.

Scholar Mahlet

Rappahannock High School senior Mahlet Yirgu continues to impress. Photo by Jimmy Swindler

The last time we wrote about Rappahannock County High School student Mahlet Yirgu was May 19 when, as a member of the Virginia State Champion Governor’s Challenge Personal Finance team, she and three of her classmates — Savannah Stevens, John Paul Riedel and Bryce Jones — captured impressive 9th place honors in national’s competition at Kansas City, Mo.

Now we learn of Mahlet’s selection in the prestigious LEDA Scholars Program, which offers a highly selective, seven-week, all-costs-paid summer program on the Princeton University campus for high achieving, low-income high school juniors.

Get this: Out of 1,275 applicants from across the United States, Mahlet was one of 100 to be selected. She is the first-ever LEDA Scholar from Rappahannock County High School.

Eighty-three percent of LEDA Scholars have attended the nation’s most selective colleges, and in 2016-2017 58 percent went to an Ivy League college, MIT, or Stanford. LEDA Scholars have gone on to work at companies such as Google, Teach for America, and Capital One.

Students from low-income backgrounds are underrepresented at the nation’s top universities, diminishing their opportunities to become leaders in society, explains LEDA’s Kara Daniels. LEDA works to close the gap, dedicated to helping these exceptional young people overcome challenging circumstances to reach and succeed at the most selective colleges.

“We want to get the news out there to the Rappahannock County community so that more people in the area know about our program,” says Daniels, pointing out that LEDA helps guide the students from the admission process through college graduation and beyond.

Daniels encourages Rappahannock students and parents to visit the LEDA website at She has also provided us with personal contact information of LEDA’s top officers in the application process: Joseph Lee, the Development and Communications Officer at or at 212-672-9703, and Beth Breger at

Weird timing

Rappahannock resident Nina May couldn’t have picked a more appropriate time to release the first six episodes of her new television series, Daily Bread, following a year and a half of production.

“We have all been amazed that the day we release our series — which is about a solar flare knocking out electricity around the world — we get hit by a solar flare. The strongest in 10 years. Is that wild?” she says of the production, filmed almost entirely in Rappahannock County and starring several familiar faces like John Hallberg.

Added the official news release from Nina’s team in California: “NASA Records Largest Solar Flare in Nearly a Decade . . . on Premiere Date of Faith-Based, Post Apocalyptic Series.”

“TV doesn’t come more topical than this: Just dropped today for streaming is Daily Bread, a new series depicting how a solar flare knocks out the worldwide power grid, forcing people from all walks of life, with all levels of faith in God and government, to search for something to hold onto when they lose their grip on everything they’ve known.

“And even as the show became available for viewing, NASA recorded the biggest real-life solar flare since at least 2006. Fortunately, no immediate damage was felt on Earth, but as scientists wonder what caused it, humans are left to wonder what they’d do if we aren’t so fortunate next time.”

Readers are invited to check out the


All are invited to the annual membership meeting of the Rappahannock Historical Society, followed by a presentation on World War I and Rappahannock County soldiers who were members of the 116th Infantry. Jimmy Kilbourne and Rick Potter of the 116th Infantry Regiment Foundation and Museum will lead the discussion.

Descendants of Rappahannock County’s WW I soldiers are encouraged to attend and share information/documents starting at 2 p.m. at Washington Town Hall, 485 Gay Street. Refreshments will be served. A $10 donation is suggested, which will be shared with 116th Infantry Regiment Foundation and Museum.

To Washington

Bel Canto is a group of 15 singers from our five county area who normally gather in Madison every Tuesday to share their love of music. Four residents of Rappahannock are among the singers: Geoff Gowan, Sallie Morgan, Mary O’Meara, and Jennifer Wheelock.

Now, Bel Canto will be performing at Little Washington Theatre on Gay Street at 7 p.m., on Saturday, Sept. 23. This fall marks their 15th season of singing together as Bel Canto.

Under the direction of local musician Lauren Estes, Bel Canto has prepared a delightful variety of colorful pieces, among which are familiar favorites Blue Moon, Fields of Gold, Deep Purple, Blue Indigo, True Colors, Greensleeves, and Lennon and McCartney’s Blackbird, as well as an Italian madrigal and a traditional Irish Ballad.

Admission is free, although there will be an opportunity to contribute to Bel Canto’s ongoing support if you wish. If you enjoy listening to Bel Canto as much as they enjoy singing, your evening will be well spent.

High Holiday

In order to offer better lighting, easier parking, and handicap accessibility — not to mention a sparkling new theater setting — Rabbi Rose Jacob will understandably be moving her upcoming annual High Holiday service from Vint Hill to the Marshall Community Center at 4133-A Rectortown Road (adjacent to the Marshall Public Library).

Rabbi Rose Jacob, center, in the renovated space at the Marshall Community Center that will host her High Holiday services. Courtesy photo

“This beautifully renovated facility has new, comfortable, theater seating, large windows with plenty of sunlight and good lighting for evening services,” says the Rabbi. “It looks just like a synagogue!”

“Those of you who have attended any of my services in the past know that we use quite a bit of English, hit all the important things and sing old, familiar melodies. Our services are just the right length, and they always start on time! The Machzor (High Holiday prayer book) that I have written is brief and accessible.

“We have added an additional service, Erev Rosh Hashanah, to accommodate those who may not be able to attend on Rosh Hashanah day. Our Yom Kippur service and Yizkor service will be held on the afternoon of Yom Kippur, since there are previously scheduled activities in the morning and the theater will not be available.”

There is no charge for the High Holiday services, she adds.

“We just want to make sure that all Jews have a comfortable, welcoming place to spend the holidays be they Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Secular or Interfaith.” Here’s the complete schedule:

Erev Rosh Hashanah: Wednesday, Sept. 20

First Day Rosh Hashanah: Thursday, Sept. 21

Kol Nidre Evening: Friday, Sept. 29

Yom Kippur Day: Saturday, Sept. 30

Yizkor-Memorial Service: Saturday, Sept. 30

RSVP to or call 540.923.4599. Remember to say how many people will attend so there’s enough printed material and challah.

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