The Rapp for July 12

Debate slate

Leslie Cockburn, the Rappahannock-based Democratic candidate for Virginia’s 5th congressional district seat, and her Republican challenger Denver Riggleman of Nelson County, will face off in a political debate scheduled for 7 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 5, at the Little Washington Theatre, located at 291 Gay Street in Washington. Doors will open at 6:30, so arrive early to guarantee seating.

Theatre owner Nancy Raines is kindly providing the venue for this all-important candidates’ forum. The debate is being sponsored by the Rappahannock News and Businesses of Rappahannock.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Hogweed update

The presence of Giant Hogweed has now been confirmed in Alexandria, as well as Clarke, Fauquier and Rockingham counties, but experts at the Virginia Tech and Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) say the toxic weed was intentionally planted by homeowners and is not spreading.

“There’s not cause for widespread worry. It’s growing where it’s been planted from what we’ve seen,” said Virginia Tech’s Michael Flessner, a weed science specialist.

Bad skeeters

Mosquito season 2018 “is a strong one, one of the worst in years” — and that goes for people and animals, says Dr. Charles Broaddus, Virginia’s State Veterinarian. The deluge of rain in May and June created stagnant pools of water that were perfect for mosquito breeding.

Prevention methods include draining standing-water breeding sites (containers or remaining puddles), removing animals from mosquito-infested areas during peak biting times (usually dusk to dawn), and turning off lights at night in and around barns and elsewhere in buggy areas.

“Now it has hit in full force, and horses are at risk of contracting mosquito-borne diseases such as Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile Virus (WNV),” the vet warns. The horse mortality rate with EEE is 90 percent, and owners are asked to check with their vets and see if they recommend vaccination.

Proud parents

As you can see by the pair of photographs above, Benjamin Montgomery, a 2015 graduate of Rappahannock High School, never considered any other career than law enforcement. He recently graduated from the Prince William County Criminal Justice Academy as a sworn police officer, having completed a vigorous 24-week course of training.

Benjamin Montgomery, a 2015 graduate of Rappahannock High School, then and now.

Montgomery attended Lord Fairfax Community College focusing on criminal justice studies. He was hired by Prince William County Police Department in March 2016 as a police cadet, which led to his selection as a police officer candidate for the January 2018 Police Basic Recruit School.

Officer Montgomery has a family in law enforcement. His mom, Machelle Bailey, is a communications specialist with Prince William County Police Department; and his dad, Scott Montgomery, is a retired Prince William County Police Officer. Both live in Rappahannock County.

Shahin on stage

Iranian-American guitarist — and longtime Rappahannock County resident — Shahin Shahida and his band will grace the Castleton stage with their eclectic Spanish guitar-influenced tunes this Saturday, July 14, at 7 p.m. The band will be accompanied by Castleton CEO and Artistic Director Dietlinde Turban-Maazel.

Rappahannock’s own Shahin Shahida performs at Castleton this Saturday. Luke Christopher | Rappahannock News

A native of Tehran, Shahida came to the United States in 1979 to attend American University. “We moved here [15 years ago] because we . . . wanted our two children to grow up in this environment,” he boasts of Rappahannock.

Tickets range from $20 to $40, and the concert will be held in the Theatre House, 663 Castleton View Road. Call Connie Payne at 540-937-3454 or visit to purchase tickets.

‘The Post’

The make-up date for the rained-out RAAC Film-TalkBack event, featuring “The Post,” is set for Saturday evening, August 11 at 7 p.m. Please save the date for a late summer night special.

RAAC is joining with Foothills Forum to offer this first-ever Film-TalkBack event. The screening of “The Post” will be followed by a discussion led by two local luminaries: Jay Ward Brown and Andy Alexander. Brown, an eminent First Amendment lawyer, has defended organizations in delivering news to the public and litigated privacy and access issues from around the country before the Supreme Court. Alexander, former ombudsman for The Washington Post and Washington Bureau Chief for Cox Newspapers, is a nationally respected expert in the public’s right to know and dangers of government secrecy.

In lieu of ticket sales, RAAC will be collecting donations for the nonprofit organization Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

Second Saturday

July is the month for taking a real vacation from school or work. How about a staycation? Explore country stores, artist studios, galleries and eclectic shops. Relax at a B&B, enjoy a local restaurant, and sip award-winning wines at popular wineries. Here are some goings-on around the county.


Magnolia Vineyards and Winery: Live music from 2 to 5 p.m.; Josh Lowe on Saturday and Bruce Lowe on Sunday. SoBo Mobile will serve local, natural, and organic foods both days. Bees and Trees will be on site with honey and other local items. Open 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Narmada Winery: Josh Schmidt plays pop, classics and current hits from 2 to 5 p.m. Enjoy wine tastings and small-plate food pairings. Open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Shenandoah National Park

A full day “painting in the park” seminar with artist Kevin Adams. Begin at Big Meadows Lodge learning special techniques, then hike to Blackrock and start painting. In the afternoon, paint a piece with Big Meadows as backdrop. All painting supplies furnished. For more information:  8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


De’Danaan Glassworks: Stained glass beginner’s workshop with artist Patti Brennan. Make a small glass panel from start to finish. All supplies and tools provided. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., $55.00. Call 540-987-8615.

River District Potters: Learn how to create a pottery spoon rest from a clay slab. Potters Sara Adams and Nancy Nord will guide the process. Email 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free.


Hazel River Arts and Antiques: Exhibit featuring Old Rag Photography. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Carole Pivarnik demonstrates watercolor techniques; 1 to 3 p.m. textile demo of hooking rugs by Sally Mello and book-signing by “Prickly Roses” author Joyce Abell. Divine Swine BBQ serves lunch Noon to 3 p.m.; Mountainside Dance Center bake sale 10 a.m. to Noon. 540-987-8440.

Little Washington Winery: Wine Bootcamp class is all about wine in plain English. Learn to achieve aeration perfection and more. A molecular pairing with sandwich, chocolate pairing session, and the Dirt Road Wine Tour are included. Reserve at

Middle Street Gallery: Kate Anderson’s “Winter Landscapes” oil paintings are on display. Cool off with scenes of snow and wintry skies. Artist Reception 3 to 6 p.m. Open Friday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free.

Quievremont Winery: Brilliantly colored exhibition of over 40 monotypes by Carolyn Roth. Check the winery calendar for live music. Open Noon to 7 p.m.

The Inn at Little Washington: Farmer’s market with bluegrass music and local vendors and artisans offering fresh organic vegetables, artisanal breads, meats and more. Pulled pork BBQ, baked goods, jams, pickles. Portion of the proceeds donated to the Rappahannock Food Pantry. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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