The Rapp for Oct. 25

Fourth Estate hiatus

Fourth Estate Friday, this newspaper’s monthly coffee chat with readers, will skip October and resume in November, allowing us to gear up for the Tuesday, Nov. 6 general elections. The News encourages everybody who hasn’t already done so to get out and vote.

Keeps on pumping

A fire truck from the Stanley Volunteer Fire Department Co., which once belonged to the Sperryville Volunteer Fire Department, and previously rolled to emergencies in Fairfax County, is now headed all the way to Panama City, Panama.

“It was a very good engine,” Stanley Fire Chief Terry Pettit tells the Rappahannock News of Engine 26, which he said was in “excellent condition” when it crossed the mountains from Sperryville.

“It did a good service, and we’ve replaced it with a newer engine, a bigger engine that met our needs,” Chief Pettit says. “And it’s still in good shape. It will be great for Panama.”

The fire department was founded in 1948, and Pettit has served as its fire chief for 38 years.

Was it George?

George Pettie, who grew up near Old Rag, is author of a trilogy of novels “In the Land of Rob” that span Blue Ridge history from the late 1800s to the 1960s. He will lead the Second Friday Talk on Friday, Nov 9 at 8 p.m. at the Rappahannock Library. Courtesy photo

The namesake of Little Washington figures prominently in the Inn at Little Washington’s first event of its book and lecture series at the Little Washington Theatre this Saturday (Oct. 27) at 11 a.m..

“Young Washington” author Peter Stark will be discussing his book, about how wilderness and war forged America’s founding father.

That said, some folks will argue that Washington set out on his illustrious path in life from these very streets of Little Washington, which he purportedly laid out as a young surveyor.

“Of the more than thirty Washingtons in the United States, only this town, ‘The First Washington of All,’ was surveyed and platted by George Washington on the 24th day of July 1749,” states the Virginia historical marker erected at the town’s entrance. “He was assisted by John Lonem and Edward Corder as chainmen.”

Old Man Rob

The Second Friday Talk on Friday, Nov 9 (8 p.m.) at the Rappahannock Library will feature an exciting look back at Rappahannock history, with novelist and researcher George Pettie as our guide. Pettie is the author of a trilogy of novels, In the Land of Rob, that span Blue Ridge history from the late 1800s to the 1960s.

As a young boy living near Old Rag, Pettie listened raptly to the tales of a local man, then about seventy, who spun tales of growing up in a mountain hollow and eventually confronting the modern world. (Those confrontations included the relocation of many local families, to make way for Shenandoah National Park.)

By the time young George Pettie came to visit, Old Man Rob lived alone in a cabin with his dogs. Eventually Pettie learned that most of the old man’s stories were true. Those tales inspired Pettie to set out on his own journey, researching the lives of the people who lived in our mountains and hollows.

Pettie will talk about what he learned about the early Blue Ridge residents and how they viewed the land, and what they made of religion and health and welfare and peace and security. (George also leads local walking tours that he calls Walks Back in Time.)

George Pettie is eager to share insights and answer questions and show photographs of Old Man Rob, his cabin, and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Some of the photos are George’s, and some were taken by one of America’s premier photojournalists, Arthur Rothstein.

Screening Nol

Movie poster for Nol Putnam film Courtesy imag

The new film documentary “Forging Art” — to be screened Sunday, Nov. 11, at 3 p.m. at the Little Washington Theatre — takes a peek inside White Oak Forge in Huntly, where artist-blacksmith Nol Putnam employs centuries-old techniques to make art out of iron and steel.

Over four plus decades, Nol has bent metal into iconic pieces such as his trio of Gates for the Washington National Cathedral, whimsical indoor sculptures and colorful Poppies in honor of the Farriers who served in WWI, and more recently a stately private commissioned sculpture titled ‟Raven.”

Nol talks art, mythology and making metal move in the short documentary, a production of NCITV co-owned by Rappahannock weekenders Tracy and Mathieu Mazza. A Q&A with Nol will follow the screening.

‘New’ battlefields

The Virginia Department of Historic Resources has announced state grants to protect land at 10 battlefields, including two in our backyard.

The first of its kind in the nation, the annual funds save sites from the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War. This year’s grants will be awarded to two nonprofit partners in battlefield preservation: the American Battlefield Trust and the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.

The former will be awarded $895,000 to acquire 430 acres of battlefields, including Rappahannock Station II in Culpeper County. The latter will be awarded $255,000 to purchase, in part, an easement over 130 acres of farmland in Shenandoah County that figured in the Battle of Tom’s Brook.

Pipeline clears hurdle

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has approved the Erosion and Sediment Control, Stormwater Management, and Karst Protection plans for the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP).

The ACP project now has authorization from the Commonwealth of Virginia to begin construction on the pipeline. Final approval to begin construction is subject to approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas and oil.

The detailed protection plans specify engineering designs that would protect water quality during and after pipeline construction along the 300-mile project that stretches from Highland County to Greensville County.

Mrs. Northam speaks

Drawing over 150 attendees this past weekend, The Piedmont Environmental Council held its annual meeting, where First Lady of Virginia Pamela Northam spoke about the importance of conserving lands.

“Land conservation has long been a priority of the commonwealth, and for good reason,” she said. “Conserving land is how we protect and honor Virginia’s rich history, environment and scenic beauty, and we would not be nearly as effective at conserving lands without the tireless, courageous work of our land trusts partners across the state.”

The Warrenton-based PEC was founded in 1972 to promote and protect the Virginia’s Piedmont’s rural economy, natural resources, history and beauty.

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