The Rapp for May 30

Fourth Estate Friday

The Rappahannock News invites readers from Chester Gap south to Slate Mills to meet with the newspaper’s staff tomorrow — Friday, May 31 — at 9 a.m. sharp to discuss the important news that shapes our community.

We will gather at Before & After, 31 Main Street in Sperryville, for this monthly Fourth Estate Friday — yes, normally held on the fourth Friday of every month, except when the calendar provides bonus Fridays, as in this month of May 2019.

We look forward to greeting everybody and pouring your cups of coffee.

Same old snakes

Despite the past year’s record-breaking wet weather, there aren’t more snakes than usual this spring, reacts J.D. Kleopfer, a Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries herpetologist, to numerous inquiries suggesting otherwise.

“There’s no science or evidence that the snake population is increasing,” he says.

Not that Rappahannock is lacking for snakes. So watch your step and gardening trowel.

Farmer gals

Rappahannock ladies in agriculture are encouraged to participate in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s “Women in Ag” online survey to assess their goals and achievements in the industry. Women farmers, ranchers, farm employees, employees of agricultural businesses, pursuing ag-related higher education or supporting agriculture in other ways are invited to participate in the online survey.

Approximately 17 percent of Virginia’s primary farm operators are female, according to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Data collected will be used to gauge trends related to achievements of women in agriculture, including leadership positions, business successes and election to public office. Findings are scheduled for release this fall. Take the survey at

Artistic journey

Mighty Dog, an abstract painting by Philip Ward that took 24 years to complete, is home at last at Middle Street Gallery, through June 26, according to the gallery’s Gary Anthes.

The vibrantly colored paintings in Ward’s show, “Mighty Dog and Finch, A Journey Unfolding,” do not begin with some grand design, he says. “Starting with a small pencil drawing made on-site, one thing leads to another . . . missing turnings and circling about, because in painting you have to deal with what you don’t know,” he says. “The journey may lead on, but there is no known destination.”

The years-long evolution of Mighty Dog might suggest slow progress, but Ward can work quickly as well. His painting, Bloddo Robert, was created in 36 days and underwent 91 color modifications in just over a week.

Make your destination Middle Street Gallery on June 1 from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. for Ward’s opening reception. Other members of the artists’ co-operative will also show works during June. The gallery is located at 325a Middle Street in Washington. Hours are Fri.-Sun. 10am to 5pm. Call (540) 675-1313 or visit for more information.

Tune in this week to hear song and instrument catcher John Hallberg reveals his plans for the soon-to-open dulcimer museum at Estes Mill.

By Ray Boc

You will also get the pleasure of hearing Hallberg play myriad dulcimers in tribute to the folk genre by performing ballads in the Appalachian tradition.

Check out this latest piece of living history over, with host Kiaya Abernathy.

Jack and Kitty

The next installment of the Luncheon & Lecture Series, hosted by the Inn at Little Washington, is this Sunday, June 2, at 11 a.m. at the Little Washington Theatre on Gay Street, welcoming author and national broadcast journalist Jack Ford for a special talk surrounding his recently published book, “Chariot on the Mountain,” about a local Rappahannock slave named Kitty and her family — which in this amazing story happen to be her “owners.” The lecture is free to the public.

Novant gets ‘A’

Culpeper Medical Center, a Novant Health UVA Health System facility, was awarded an “A” in the 2019 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade report card. The designation recognizes the medical center’s efforts in protecting patients from harm and providing safer health care.

For the Spring 2019 Hospital Safety Grades Survey, all Novant Health UVA Health System hospitals including Culpeper, Haymarket Medical Center and Prince William Medical Center were among the top 32 percent of hospitals nationwide.

3 feet for bicyclists

Now that the weather has improved, more bicyclists (keep an eye open for Rappahannock Supervisor Chris Parrish) are appearing in Rappahannock County. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) urges bicyclists and drivers alike to respect the rules of the road.

Thirteen bicyclists were killed in crashes in Virginia in 2018. Nearly 600 bicyclists were injured; 127 of those injuries were classified as serious (21 percent).

“In both 2017 and 2018, we lost 13 bicyclists each year in crashes on our roadways. That’s a tragedy,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “Bicycles have the same rights to the road as any other vehicle, but, since they are smaller, they can be harder to spot. This is why it is so important for bicyclists and motorists alike to stay focused when traveling . . .

“When passing a bicyclist, motor vehicles must proceed at a reasonable speed and travel at least three feet to the left of the overtaken bicycle. Drivers may cross double yellow lines to pass a bicyclist if such movement can be made safely.

About Staff/Contributed 5589 Articles
The Rappahannock News welcomes contributions from any and all members of the community. Email news and photos to or call us at 540-675-3338.

1 Comment

  1. Do you have any information about finch populations in the area? We have been surprised by how thin the population levels seem to be this year. Ideas about where to find such info? Thank you. T Wirth

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