The Rapp for Dec. 14

007 trimming

It looked like something out of James Bond: A helicopter, equipped with a dangling arm of large circular saw blades, slicing and dicing through the hills and hollows of Sperryville in recent days.

According to an alert issued by Shenandoah National Park, aerial tree trimming involving the saw-laden helicopter, its pilot and ground crew has been underway for the past seven days and will continue for another week, albeit at higher elevations.

Tree trimming took place through Monday along power lines that cross the park through Thornton Gap. As a result, Buck Hollow Trail just outside Sperryville was temporarily closed to hikers. Other park closures, including portions of the Appalachian Trail, will continue.

Power companies keep trees and brush from growing too close to electrical lines by enlisting helicopters that maneuver up to 10 razor-sharp circular saw blades through the thick foliage, particularly in steep terrain that vehicles can’t access.

A helicopter hauling a similar buzz saw rig carved a big impression in the 1999 James Bond flick, The World Is Not Enough.

Stick to the left

Effective January 1, Virginia state inspection stickers will no longer be affixed to the bottom center of a vehicle’s windshield. Due to new innovations in the automotive industry, the state inspection stickers will be placed in the bottom left corner of the windshield, when viewed from inside the vehicle.

The relocation stems from the fact that automobile manufacturers now offer crash avoidance technology in many of their vehicles. In such vehicles, the new technology utilizes the center of the windshield. Therefore the placement of items in that area, including stickers, could prevent crash avoidance systems from operating properly.

Courtesy image

There have been no changes made to the size or appearance of the existing vehicle inspection sticker.

“The core mission of the Virginia Safety Inspection Program is to promote highway safety and the crash avoidance technology is another tool provided by manufacturers to ensure vehicles operated on the roadways are safe at all times,” says Capt. R.C. Maxey Jr., Virginia State Police Safety Division Commander.

Inaugural anyone?

The 2018 Inaugural Committee has passed along details surrounding ticketing information for Governor-elect Ralph Northam’s swearing in ceremony and inaugural ball on Saturday, January 13.

The swearing-in ceremony will be held at noon and is free and open to the public. Due to limited seating, tickets will be available on a first come, first serve basis to those who request a ticket online no later than December 22.

The Inaugural Ball will be held at 8 p.m. at the Main Street Station, a registered National Historic Landmark in Richmond.

Those who are interested in tickets for the swearing-in ceremony and/or Inaugural Ball can obtain them online at

Celtic in Castleton

Renowned Celtic musicians Linn Barnes and Allison Hampton will perform their “Celtic Christmas Concert” Sunday, Dec. 17, at 4 p.m., at Castleton. The Castleton in Performance (CiP) concert series welcomes back the local favorite, which has been described by The Washington Post as “a Washington institution” for their memorable Christmas concerts.

The Barnes and Hampton Celtic Consort Quartet, led by Linn Barnes (second from left) and Allison Hampton (right) will perform Christmas selections at the Castleton Theatre House this Sunday at 4 p.m. Courtesy photo

With a musical partnership spanning four decades, as the Barnes and Hampton Celtic Consort quartet, they offer a rare combination of styles and instrumentation creating memorable concerts and recordings, enjoyed by a wide variety of audiences.

Barnes and Hampton began performing and recording as duo-luternists playing 16th century Renaissance court music. Later, inspired by the 18th century Irish composer Turlough O’Carolan, their musical interests moved toward Celtic compositions, proving the need for a broader range of instrumentation — Hampton focusing exclusively on a variety of nylon and wire-strung Celtic harps, and Barnes focusing on an assortment of steel-stringed instruments, including the guitar, harp-guitar, and cittern. Barnes also plays the Irish (Uillean) pipes.

Tickets for this CiP concert range from $20 to $40, and the performance will be held in the Theatre House at Castleton. Call 703-489-8704 for more information and visit to purchase tickets.

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