The Rapp for July 5

County trailblazers

That was Rappahannock County Administrator Garry W. Curry recently walking the length of the proposed 1.2-mile Rappahannock Schools Connector Trail, its funding — $815,871 — approved June 20 by a unanimous vote of Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board.

“He was inspecting and envisioning” the planned site for the paved multi-use path connecting the Rappahannock County elementary and high schools, said Jane Whitfield, who with Cliff Miller IV of Sperryville is spearheading the project with support of Rappahannock County Schools Superintendent Shannon Grimsley and the Board of Supervisors.

“He was engaged in assessing the route and possibilities of where the trail will be built and accessed,” Whitfield said of the county administrator, who had access to property deeds, plats, drawings and parking options for trail users.

The trail has had its share of opponents, including Andrew Haskell, represented by attorney David Konick, who filed a 23-page Memorandum of Opposition to the project in February. The document cited alleged misrepresentations in Whitfield’s grant application, which the state ultimately approved.

“This project will provide great benefits to the schools and the Rappahannock community,” Grimsley stated last month after funding was approved. “The multi-use trail meets a critical need in our safety plans by allowing alternate routes for evacuation [and] directly aligns with our health and fitness initiative by promoting physical activities in a safe, off-road environment.”

Wedding bells

Actress Dietlinde Turban Maazel of Castleton Festival fame married English-Australian Antony Nigel Wood on Sunday, July 1, on the Castleton grounds. In 1997, Dietlinde and her late husband, Maestro Lorin Maazel, created the Castleton Theatre House, one of the most exquisite performance spaces in the world.

Sunday’s wedding ceremony, attended by some 150 guests, was described an “an exciting moment for Castleton amidst a busy concert season.”

Apple anyone?

Grape vineyards are certainly cropping up in Rappahannock County, but don’t count out apples.

Across Virginia, apple production for 2017 was 225 million pounds — up 25 percent from 2016. Apples for processing accounted for 133 million pounds of the 2017 crop, up 27 percent from the previous year. And the yield per acre was 22,500 pounds — 5,000 pounds more than in 2016.

Which puts Virginia this year 5th in the nation for apple production, according to Elaine Lidholm, director of communications for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

As for grapes, total production for 2017 was 8,810 tons, up 310 tons from 2016, with an average yield of 2.67 tons per acre.

And then there’s peaches. In 2017, total peach production statewide was 7,000 tons — up 3,100 tons from 2016, with an average yield of 5.83 tons per acre, an increase of 2.58 tons from 2016. Virginia ranks 11th in the nation for peach production.

Hospital A-okay

The Virginia Department of Health has approved Valley Health System’s application to build a new Warren Memorial Hospital on Leach Run Parkway in Front Royal. Valley Health expects to open the new facility in late 2020.

The new three-story hospital with adjoining medical building will occupy a 28-acre campus. The hospital will have 36 private inpatient rooms, including a 12-bed critical care unit, 18 emergency rooms (plus shell space for four additional), six observation rooms (for stays of less than 24 hours), three operating rooms, two endoscopy/procedure rooms, and a cardiac catheterization lab.

The current Warren Memorial Hospital on North Shenandoah Avenue dates to 1951.

Free the weed

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine has joined New York Sen. Chuck Schumer to introduce a bill to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, leaving the decision about legalization in states’ hands.

Specifically, the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act would remove marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act, effectively decriminalizing it at the federal level. The legislation would allow states to decide how they will treat marijuana possession.

The legislation does not change federal authorities’ ability to prevent trafficking from states where marijuana is legal to states where it is not.

Meanwhile, on June 28 the U.S. Senate passed legislation that includes a measure by Virginia Sens. Kaine and Mark Warner to legalize industrial hemp production, a crop that isalready cultivated for research purposes in Virginia but which the agriculture industry cannot currently grow for commercial use.

Swine and such

Members of the Rappahannock County 4-H Livestock Club have been working hard getting their animals ready for the 2018 Culpeper-Madison-Rappahannock Farm Show, which will be held July 12-16 at the Culpeper Agricultural Enterprise.

Members will be participating in the following showtimes: Goat Show, Friday, July 13 at 1 p.m.; Swine Market Show, Friday, July 13 at 6 p.m.; Beef Show, Saturday, July 14 at 10 a.m.; Swine Showmanship Show, Saturday, July 14 at 7 p.m.

For a full list of events visit www.cmrfarmshow.com.

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