When we decide what is private and public

Nol Putnam

I take issue with two items in last week’s Rappahannock News (Nov. 15, 2018).

The first is Ben Jones’ letter, which only seems to further inflame the divide in the county between old and new, that he rightly decries.

The second is BOA Supervisors Ron Frazier and Christine Smith’s rather casual understanding of FOIA requirements, where you may talk on the same issue but personally decide one conversation is open to the public and the other closed and private. I did not realize the intent of the laws on FOIA gave way to such individual attention, however laudable the intent.

As to Ben’s letter, isn’t it time to get over the distinction of who came from where and when?

We are here because we love the land. This is what settled the county in years past; it is what brings people to the county now. I do not believe the love and appreciation is different on either side. What is different are the sensibilities we bring or have within us.

Is there a litmus test? Is having roots in the Park more important than farming the valleys? Is running a farm more important than using internet (where available) for work? I think not.

I moved to the county in 1982. I came from the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts. It seems I cannot live far from old, gnarly hills. But through my Mother’s family, my great-great uncle camped not far from my current home in Huntly, marching toward the Battle of Gettysburg for Virginia, and thank God, safely home to his farm in Northumberland County. On my Dad’s side, my great-great uncle had twelve horses shot out from under him while commanding the Union forces in the Cavalry Battle of Cedar Creek. It was the last that killed him.

Chief Joseph once said that you do not know nor belong until the bones of your grandfather’s grandfather have lain in the hills. Not many can claim that honor … but we will all have a chance at furthering that legacy.

For the record, I did not think the Bike Trail was a good idea. It smacked too much of ‘sides.’ The pros did not do due diligence on what the cons wanted or thought. The cons reverted to misinformation and distortion. All that was achieved was bitterness, anger, resentment, which of course begets more. We, all of us, are better than that!

The writer lives in Huntly

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1 Comment

  1. Nol, your comments bring joy to my heart and hope to my mind. We’re all here for the same things. Let’s get along, and continue to celebrate the gifts of Rappahanock that Nature provides.

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