Down Memory Lane for Nov. 29

Aug. 31, 1978

There’s a war looming within the state welfare department and Rappahannock County isn’t sure which side of the battle line it’s on.

The conflict is between factions fighting to have administration of all social services programs handled by the state and those trying to keep administration under local control.

“I can see where it would help us and I can see where it would hurt us,” said family and child services worker Ellen Mustoe in reference to a change in state administration. “I don’t know which I’d like to see.”

In reporting to the Rappahannock Welfare Board at last Wednesday’s meeting, Social Services Director Mrs. Elizabeth Buntin said the switch to state payment of administrative costs was currently scheduled to become effective in 1980. A bill passed during the last session of the General Assembly calls for the state to assume responsibility for local administrative costs, according to Mrs. Buntin. “I’ve heard it said in effect, that the state will assume administration.”

“If the state pays all the costs,” she continued, “the state will have all the control over welfare programs.

“In my own thinking, I’ve been very wishy-washy” on whether the change would be beneficial or detrimental, she said. Mrs. Buntin noted that welfare programs have become so complex that only an expert can keep up with it all. As director of the Rappahannock Department, she’s responsible for supervising food stamps eligibility. Title 20 and services and is supposed to be an expert in all these areas as well as having charge of overall administration.

April 12, 1979

L. V. Merrill, owner and operator of Merrill Motor Company, can qualify as an historical monument in the town of Washington. With his trademark of a stubby unlit cigar protruding from the corner of his mouth. Mr. Merrill is a permanent fixture sitting behind the plate glass windows of his motor company. His business at the corner in the center of town has been around for as long as most of the under-50 generation can remember.

And along with his cars, Merrill deals in “helping hands.” For every person who’s bought an automobile from the motor company, there are probably two more who’ve received assistance of some kind from this good samaritan.

Back when a family was lucky to have a car, Merrill lent brand new automobiles for folks to use if tragedy struck. “Whenever there’s sickness or death, especially a death in the family, Mr. Merrill just can’t do enough. He’d bend over a mile backwards for you,” volunteered one long time acquaintance.

“You’d better plan on naming an attorney because we’re going to be in court on May 2,” warned attorney Claude Compton after Rappahannock supervisors again delayed action on C. L. Goode’s Flint Hill subdivision at last Thursday’s board meeting.

The development proposal has been under consideration for two and a half years. Goode first applied for approval for a 15 lot, five acre subdivision in September 1976. Following public hearings, the supervisors denied the zoning from agriculture conservation to residential subdivision at the recommendation of the planning commission. Goode subsequently filed two suits, challenging the denial under both the zoning and subdivision ordinances.