The Rapp for Jan. 25

Fourth Estate Friday

Come and brainstorm with the Rappahannock News staff for the first time in 2018: 9 a.m. tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 26, at the Country Cafe in Washington. We call the gathering Fourth (Estate) Friday — a “story conference” held on the fourth Friday of every month.

Please bring with you story ideas, submissions, suggestions, criticisms, and even praise for the newspaper and website. Better yet, get to know the faces behind the bylines.

Settle in

Courtesy photo

Rappahannock County native Lt. Colonel Gary T. Settle was sworn in last Thursday as Superintendent of the Virginia State Police.

Colonel Settle, who replaces retiring Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, now leads and manages all aspects of the State Police, which with a $340-million operating budget for 2018 has a workforce of 2,118 sworn and 848 civilian personnel.

During his 32 years of law enforcement, Settle has served at the state and local levels in myriad public safety capacities. His first patrol assignment was in the Culpeper Division, and he’s gone on to serve as a tactical team supervisor, narcotics special agent, firearms instructor, and with the State Police Honor Guard.

Last, but not least, Settle was sheriff for Rappahannock County from 1996 to 2000. He assured this newspaper that, when all is said and done, he will be retiring to his home here, although that won’t be anytime soon.

March (run) for Life

Last Friday, a bus chartered by St. Peter Catholic Church — sponsored by Knights of Columbus Maurice du Castillon Council 14755 and supported by generous donations from the passengers — rolled out of Rappahannock County to the 45th annual March for Life on the National Mall.

The bus was “completely full — members of 14 Parish families on a 54-seat bus,” says Bob Klaus of Amissville. “Deacon Bob Benyo led a Rosary on the way in, and we were dropped off only about six blocks from the rally.

The U.S. Supreme Court as seen during last Saturday’s March for Life. By Peter Gasper

“Despite getting dispersed during the march, almost all were back at the rendezvous on time; our driver arrived and ‘got stuck’ behind a double-parked bus, enabling most of us to board,” he continues. “When traffic moved, the last two boys ran along the sidewalk, keeping up until traffic stopped again and they were able to get on.

“However, one last family, caught in the press of the crowd, was still struggling along the March route. Miraculously, a block and a half further east on Independence Avenue our driver found an empty space that our bus fit into, and we were able to park legally for half an hour waiting for them. We took some scenic routes to get home, but with everyone on board.”

Women’s March

A selfie records last Saturday’s 2018 Women’s March in Washington, D.C. By Francie Schroeder

Francie Schroeder was among several Rappahannock County residents to participate in the 2018 Women’s March on Washington, D.C., one of several such women’s marches in cities across the country last Saturday.

Schroeder says while this year’s D.C. march was “much smaller” than last year, “I felt the attendees were more diverse than in 2017. The speakers’ issues were varied but definitive. The day was perfect and the crowd always respectful of the individuals within it.”

Godspeed, Pandit

Narmada Winery mourns the passing of owner Pandit Patil. Narmada Winery photo

Narmada Winery is mourning the passing of its owner Pandit Patil, who came to the United States with his new bride Sudha some 50 years ago.

He would dedicate the winery to his late mother, explaining that her devotion to him made it possible to leave his native India and pursue his education in the United States.

According to the winery, Pandit as a young man did undergraduate work at New Mexico State University, earned a Master’s degree from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and later his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh. After an illustrious career as an engineer, he returned to his family’s agrarian roots with the founding of Narmada on Highway 211.

As winery owners, Pandit and Sudha together supervised the vineyard, researched sustainable farming practices, developed marketing strategies, and coordinated operations and finances. Pandit could often be seen on weekends in the winery’s tasting room, greeting guests and regaling them with stories of his life’s adventures.

Mitchell grants

RAAC is now welcoming proposals for 2018 Claudia Mitchell Arts Fund grants from individuals and organizations living and/or working in Rappahannock County. The 2018 guidelines, application and other details are available at

Last year RAAC awarded $43,000 in grants, and a total of $160,000 over the past 5 years, to artists and organizations in the county — reinvesting net proceeds from RAAC’s annual Art Tour and other programs back into the community.

Deadline for applications is March 15. All applicants will be notified by May 31.

Shutdown of sorts

The three-day federal government shutdown, which ended Monday, did little to impact Shenandoah National Park, with Skyline Drive, numerous trails and campsites all remaining open. Still, there were no facilities, restrooms (except for trees), guides or maintenance available.

Also affected was Shenandoah’s website, which wasn’t updated during the shutdown.

About Staff/Contributed 5438 Articles
The Rappahannock News welcomes contributions from any and all members of the community. Email news and photos to or call us at 540-675-3338.