The Rapp for Jan 3

Shenandoah shuttered

Because of the federal government shutdown and resulting lapse in appropriations, facilities at Shenandoah National Park remain closed. There is no National Park-provided services — visitor centers, restaurants, gift shops, lodgings, restrooms, trash collection or road maintenance.

The Thornton Gap Entrance Station at Shenandoah National Park remained unstaffed on New Year’s Day, when this photo was taken. Restrooms and other National Park services are also closed. Photo by John McCaslin

Shenandoah’s trail system is partly accessible. Skyline Drive is open from mile 0 to mile 65 (Front Royal to Swift Run/Rt. 33), however the Drive is closed from mile 65 to mile 105 (Rockfish Gap/I-64) due to widespread damage from November’s ice storm, and will remain closed during the government shutdown.

In event of an emergency, find the closest cell signal and call 911.

Medicaid anyone?

Rappahannock residents take note: new Medicaid rules are in effect and you might now be eligible.

New coverage is available to men and women ages 19 through 64 who meet certain income requirements. For example, a single adult with an annual income at or below $16,754 could receive coverage, as well as an adult in a three-person family with a total household annual income at or below $28,677.

The new Medicaid rules went into effect Nov. 1 and residents can apply at any time. Visit or call 855-242-8282.

“I’m proud of the tremendous progress we’re making to enroll Virginians who are newly eligible for health coverage under Medicaid expansion,” says Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.

Healthy New Year!

If Rappahannock County is like the rest of America, 25 percent of adults were fast asleep when 2019 rolled around.

Now that everybody is awake we can concentrate on the new year, including 2019’s most popular resolution surrounding a healthier lifestyle: eating better, exercising more and losing weight.

Who better to turn to for advice than Virginia Tech’s expert on human nutrition, foods and exercise, Vivica Kraak, who has been a research fellow for the World Health Centre for Obesity Prevention in Australia and the British Heart Foundation, and Nutrition and Physical Activity Advisor for Save the Children.

Kraak offers five easy steps for weight loss and a healthier lifestyle:

— Eat more slowly and serve yourself smaller portions, making half your plate fruit or salad.

— Replace all sugary beverages with zero calorie drinks, preferably water.

— Keep caloric snacks out of view.

— Politely decline sweets and replace with whole fruits or vegetables.

— Take a 30-60 minute brisk walk every day or participate in other moderate-to-vigorous activity.

Cattle survey

Rappahannock County ranchers and farmers be advised that in the coming days the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will start gathering information about local farm economics and production practices, the third and final phase of its 2018 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS).

ARMS is the only survey that measures the current financial well-being of Rappahannock producers and their households as a whole. The 2018 survey seeks in-depth information about operating revenues, production costs, and household characteristics. The survey includes versions focused on cattle and calf sector costs and returns. Results will help inform decisions on local and federal policies and programs that affect Rappahannock farms and farm families.

Gathered data will be published in the annual Farm Production Expenditures report on Aug. 2, 2019. Questions? Contact Herman Ellison at 804-771-8560 or

Gray Ghost medals

Raise a toast to Gray Ghost Vineyards owners and winemakers Al and Cheryl Kellert: the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association has presented the couple with two “Best of Category” awards at its annual Capitol Hill awards presentation in Washington, D.C.

Gray Ghost’s winning wines were the 2015 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon for “Best Cabernet Sauvignon” and 2016 Reserve Chardonnay for “Best Chardonnay.”

Winning wines were selected by a panel of 19 judges from 483 entries from 89 wineries in 13 East Coast states. The Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association promotes wine produced in 17 eastern states.

Senate and House members of the U.S. Congressional Wine Caucus, congressional members, chiefs of staff, legislative assistants concerned with wine industry issues, wine industry reps and other special guests were in attendance for the ceremony.

Gray Ghost Winery is located at 14706 Lee Highway in Amissville.

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