The Rapp for Feb. 28

Tick risk

Until now it was believed that for a Lone Star tick to trigger an allergic immune response to alpha-gal (aka the red meat allergy) it had to have recently fed on the alpha-gal-rich blood of a mammal. Now, new research from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine presented at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology conference in San Francisco shows that may not be so.

“Our original hypothesis was that humans developed the allergy after being exposed to alpha-gal through a tick that had fed on a deer, dog or other small mammal that has alpha-gal,” said UNC’s Dr. Scott Commins “This new data suggests that ticks can induce this immune response without requiring the mammal blood meal, which likely means the risk of each bite potentially leading to the allergy is higher than we anticipated.”

There is no treatment for AGS other than avoiding foods and products that cause reactions. Commins therefore urges people to take precautions to prevent bites from Lone Star ticks, which spread AGS and are plentiful in Rappahannock County.

Mobile Congress

Congressman Denver Riggleman’s Mobile Office will roll into Rappahannock next Tuesday, March 5, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Riggleman’s staff will be available to provide aid to constituents in the Rappahannock County Library’s Jamieson Room, 4 Library Road, Washington. Contact: Esther Page, 434-973-9631,

Ghost gold

Gray Ghost in Amissville is off to an incredible start in 2019 with 10 gold medals awarded at the Virginia Governor’s Cup, as well as San Francisco Chronicle Wine, International Eastern in Sonoma, and Florida State Fair competitions.

Here in Virginia, Gray Ghost’s 2017 Adieu won Gold at the Virginia Governor’s Cup competition. The 2017 Chardonnay won both Double Gold and Gold honors in Florida.

In California, Gray Ghost captured four Gold medals at the 2019 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Gold medalists were: 2015 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 2016 Petit Verdot, 2017 Chardonnay and 2017 Adieu. Gray Ghost Reserve Cabernet was the only non-California Cabernet to win Gold in its category.

Also in California, the International Eastern Wine Competition in Sonoma awarded the 2016 Ranger Reserve Double Gold and Gold and the 2015 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Gold.

Circa Blue on sale

Tickets are now on sale for nationally acclaimed contemporary bluegrass band Circa Blue, coming to Rappahannock on March 9. Courtesy photo

National bluegrass favorite Circa Blue, born in Martinsburg, WV, and known for its creative-dynamic arrangements, clean instrumentation and tight vocal harmonies, is coming to Rappahannock County one week from Saturday.

Circa Blue’s most recent hit “Once Upon A Time” rose to #11 on Bluegrass Today Radio Charts.

Concert venue is Little Washington Theatre, 8 p.m. Saturday, March 9. Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 under 18. Reserve seats at

Potent weed

The Blue Ridge Poison Center that serves Rappahannock County is warning about unexpected side effects of modern-day marijuana, the most commonly ingested illegal drug in the United States. The new concern surrounds the increasing potency of pot.

In the early 1990s, the average THC (mind-altering chemical tetrahydrocannabinol) content of marijuana plant material was between 3 to 8 percent. Today it’s between 9 and 16 percent.

“Rising THC levels may be partly responsible for the rise in emergency department visits involving marijuana,” says the center.

Marijuana remains illegal in Virginia and under federal law. However, the District of Columbia and many states have decriminalized the plant in part or entirely.

Oil in school

Before the close of its 2019 session, the Virginia General Assembly passed three bills that would help people using cannabis-derived medications, including allowing students who have proper documentation to use CBD oil and THC-A oil at school.

The bill would prohibit schools from suspending or expelling a student for using CBD or THC-A oil with valid permission. The bill would also protect school nurses from prosecution of possessing and distributing the oils in accordance with school board policy.

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