The Rapp for June 21

Woodard tapped

Local Realtor Cheri Woodard was nominated last week to serve on the Rappahannock County Water and Sewer Authority based in Sperryville. She appeared before the authority at its June 14 meeting to discuss her qualifications for the position, which will be available in July when member Rick Lessard steps down at the end of his term.

If Woodard is approved by the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors’ July 2 meeting, she will begin her 4-year term at the authority’s July 12 meeting.

Hogweed hysteria

Potentially dangerous Giant Hogweed plants were discovered close to Rappahannock County, but experts say don’t worry. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Giant Hogweed, an invasive plant that can cause third-degree burns and permanent blindness, has been discovered north of Rappahannock County. But don’t be too alarmed.

The Massey Herbarium at Virginia Tech said 30 giant hogweeds were found between Winchester and Leesburg, and yes the plant contains a toxic sap that when combined with sun exposure can cause painful blisters. Wiping the sap into the eyes is even more dangerous.

However, Virginia Tech researchers who helped identify the plants in Clarke County stressed that the weeds are believed to have been “planted intentionally decades ago, and have not spread in the years since.”

“It’s a dangerous plant but I’m not overly concerned about it. This seems to be an isolated incident,” said Virginia Tech weed science specialist Michael Flessner.

Carver scholars

In 1946, with segregation in full force and little educational opportunities for local African American students beyond seventh grade, representatives from Rappahannock, Madison, Orange and Culpeper counties requested and received funds from the state to build a regional high school. George Washington Carver Regional High School in Culpeper opened in 1948 and quickly earned respect for the quality of education and students.

Now, once again this spring and as a result of generous financial support from alumni, community, friends, and one anonymous donor, the George Washington Carver Regional High School Alumni Association Inc., has awarded $17,000 in worthy scholarships.

At least one scholarship went to a qualifying student in each of the high schools in the association’s original “feeder-counties.” The Rappahannock County High School recipient is Nyah August, who will attend Virginia Tech.

Settle on safety

Rappahannock County’s Gary Settle, superintendent of the Virginia State Police, was at James Madison University last night to give the keynote address at the annual Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety Awards Banquet.

Colonel Settle honored schools, students, teachers, and law enforcement from across Virginia who demonstrated exemplary efforts during the 2017-2018 school year to encourage safe driving and passenger safety among teenagers.

Castleton serenade

International musical group the Olga Vocal Ensemble from the Netherlands is coming to Castleton on June 30. Courtesy photo

International musical groups Olga Vocal Ensemble from the Netherlands, Tiharea from Madagascar, and the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir perform as part of a two-part series concert for the “Serenade! Choral Festival,” presented by Classical Movements at Castleton.

Tiharea from Madagascar will perform Saturday, June 30 at 4 p.m. at Castleton, appearing with the group Olga from the Netherlands. Courtesy photo

The first concert is Saturday, June 30 at 4 p.m., and features the all-male a capella group Olga Vocal Ensemble, as well as a trip around the globe to Madagascar with the female vocal group Tiharea. Founded in the Netherlands, Olga’s singers hail from Russia, England, Iceland, and the Netherlands, and cover everything from medieval Icelandic drinking songs to nostalgic hits. Tiharea will perform traditional music and dance from southern Madagascar, outfitted in traditional costume and hairstyles.

The second concert on Monday, July 2 at 6 p.m., will feature the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir. They will perform German sacred hymns and baroque music in their native languages.

The Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir will be performing in one concert at Castleton on Monday, July 2. Courtesy photo

Tickets are $10 to $20, and the performance will be held in the Theatre House at Castleton (663 Castleton View Road, Castleton). Call 540.937.3454 or visit to purchase tickets.

Park with Kevin

Rappahannock landscape artist Kevin H. Adams, Shenandoah National Park’s 2017 Artist in Residence, will return to the park on Saturday, July 14, at Big Meadows Lodge for a one-day painting-in-the-park seminar focused on nature.

Kevin Adams painting last summer at Black Rock Summit in Shenandoah National Park. Courtesy photo

The park invites people to come paint and learn from Adams, who will concentrate on landscape and the challenges of plein air painting. He will walk participants through the start and finish of two plein air paintings.

Space is limited to only 15 participants and advance reservations are a must. Click into or phone the park at 540-999-3582.

Cardinal company

Virginia has more than 40 emblems that represent the state’s cultural heritage and natural resources, from the beloved northern cardinal and big-eared bat to the tiger swallowtail butterfly and nelsonite, Virginia’s official rock.

Now, another state emblem has become law — the official state red salamander. The striking crimson amphibian was selected because of its beautiful coloration, widespread distribution throughout the commonwealth, and its ability to raise awareness about the conservation of a species that depends on a clean environment.

The amphibian is a member of a group of lungless salamanders that breathe through their skin. Because of their unique respiration, their environment needs to be free of toxins or they will absorb pollutants through their skin.

Sara Schonhardt
About Sara Schonhardt 22 Articles
Sara Schonhardt is the summer fellow for Foothills Forum. A former staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal in Indonesia, Sara reported from around Southeast Asia for more than 10 years for the International Herald Tribune, Christian Science Monitor and Voice of America, among others. Her most recent reporting has focused on rural communities in southern Ohio.