Politics/Government

Election Day is Tuesday

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Oct. 30
Michael Brown of Washington says his name and address aloud for poll workers Jay Brown and Ellen Mustoe at the Washington fire hall Tuesday morning. Photo by Jan Clatterbuck.

Rappahannock County voters cast ballots next Tuesday (Nov. 4) in three races — for Virginia’s U.S. Senate seat, for the Fifth District’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, and for the county treasurer’s post. There is also a constitutional amendment referendum.
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Hurt: Private sector jobs are Job No. 1

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Oct. 23
Rep. Robert Hurt (R-5th)

Jobs: That’s the No. 1 issue Republican Rep. Robert Hurt says he is hearing about from constituents across Virginia’s vast North Carolina-to-Northern Virginia 5th District. A Q&A with the congressman who is campaigning for a third term.
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Editorial: That scary time of the year

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Oct. 23
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There’s plenty to worry about these days, but one truly scary discovery went largely under-reported and unremarked-upon — because, as an an abstraction, it doesn’t trigger the primitive fight-or-flight response: This past September was, on average, the hottest September on record for planet Earth.
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Letter: Veterans’ survivors a national obligation

This is an “off-year” election. That doesn’t make it unimportant! Think before you vote. Our state delegate, Michael Webert, is supporting an amendment to our state constitution. The issue will be on the ballot Nov. 4 as a referendum. The question: Shall Section 6-A of Article X (Taxation and Finance) of the Constitution of...
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County revisits, sheriff defends budget

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Oct. 16
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Near the end of last week’s monthly supervisors session, County Administrator John McCarthy had asked Sheriff Connie C. Smith to be present for a follow-up discussion of the sheriff’s office budget after the RSW Regional Jail had been open for three or four months.
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Letter: Pitting neighbors against each other

Mayor John Fox Sullivan’s cackling defense and characterization of folks who dare to speak in opposition to him and the town council reminds me of the sentiments expressed by some local elected officials from a bygone era. In the 1960s, small town mayors and sheriffs across the South railed against the influx of “outsiders” —...
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When a farm turns factory, what’s a town to do?

A Pennsylvania law designed to protect farms from nuisance complaints has also allowed concentrated animal feeding operations — factory farms — to escape local land use controls, writes Tim Rowland.
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Town’s route explained; county chooses bypass

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Though listed as an “informational” item, no one really expected the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors to take any official action on recent challenges to the town of Washington’s right to govern itself. And it didn’t — though it did express doubt that it ever would.
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Pond news is good news

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After a brief discussion of recent challenges to the town’s charter and government the Washington Town Council listened at its monthly meeting Monday night to an update on the Avon Hall pond by RappFLOW founder Beverly Hunter and others who’ve helped with recent efforts to clean it up.
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Editorial: In search of clarity

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Oct. 9
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Early Sunday morning, for many Rappahannock residents, brought the season’s first frost. And with it comes a certain clarity of vision — it’s the perfect time of year to reacquaint yourself with your favorite poems.
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Letter: Just answer the question, please

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Oct. 9

John Fox Sullivan’s rambling and slightly incoherent defense of the need for a town government last week raises more questions than it answers, and uses every old politician’s trick in the book to do it. The language is prickly, but the message is clear: If you question the town plutocracy, you will be mocked and...
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Letter: Life, liberty and (not) the pursuit of fear

I would like to respond to Mr. Klaus’ Sept. 25 letter, and his comments regarding your Sept. 11 interview with House of Representatives candidate Lawrence Gaughan. Rest assured the incumbent has been doing lots of things “for” people — they just aren’t the people who live in the 5th District of Virginia. They are the...
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Letter: Let’s also conserve our bitterness

I would dearly love to read a letter or opinion piece regarding a conservation issue that didn’t start and end with an attempt to get me to hate the person (or, more commonly, corporation) that disagrees with the opinion writer. A case in point is last week’s piece submitted by Robert N. Whitescarver. While...
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News briefs for Oct. 2

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Oct. 2
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The RSW Regional Jail Authority appoints a new superintendent; the planners and BZA approve a family apartment; the town ARB accepts Rare Finds’ and Ray Gooch’s projects; and three rabies cases were reported in Rappahannock last year.
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Editorial: Lessons from up north

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Oct. 2
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Maine and Cape Cod would seem to have very little in common with Rappahannock. But recent policy studies reveal the three distinct geographic areas have similar challenges — namely, youth out-migration and the cost of housing.
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Letter: The town’s so-called ‘governing body’

I attended the Sept. 15 meeting of the Washington Town Council to hear the discussion of the special-use permit requested by Deborah Winsor to have her residence at 199 Main St. run by the same off-site innkeepers as the White Moose Inn. So welcome, White Moose South (technically it’s known as a tourist home), to...
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Letter: Washington: facts vs. friction

There continues to be some controversy over the direction of the town of Washington. RappNet abuzz. Letters to the Rappahannock News. As a resident of the town for nearly 10 years, and having served on the Washington Town Council since 2005 and as mayor since 2010, I would like to offer my perspective as...
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Letter: Time to move on

At first glance, Scotland’s recent referendum on independence may have little in common with the discussion on these pages about Washington’s town charter. But therein lies a cautionary tale. Ultimately, the residents of Scotland voted not to break with what many saw as a too-alien, too-powerful and too-monied Westminster. That said, the vote has...
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Letter: Let’s look for solutions that matter

Of all the problems and opportunities facing Rappahannock County — and I prefer to think positively about opportunities — whether the town of Washington should lose its charter ranks very low. Recent letters to the editor and discussions on other public venues have been acrimonious and not helpful in trying to come together to...
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Letter: Healthy kids or cell towers?

We care about the schoolchildren of Rappahannock. We are not against cell service for the county. We attended the Aug. 12 school board meeting because we have four grandchildren who attend or will attend Rappahannock County High School (RCHS). As noted in that week’s Rappahannock News, we spoke up against allowing a cell tower at...
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Unwise pipeline calls for people power

The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline across Virginia is unwise. It endangers national forests and private properties, writes Robert Whitescarver, and illustrates the power of corporations, and the need for reform.
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Letter: Time to say goodbye to the town council

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Sept. 25

“Why does the village of Washington have its own government?” I first heard that question in the 1990s, when an article in the New Yorker magazine about the animosities between the Inn and its neighbors caused quite a stir around Rappahannock. The population of the town then was almost double what it is now....
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Letter: Do me no favors, Mr. Gaughan

Thank you for the interview with Lawrence Gaughan , the Democrat who hopes to replace Rep. Robert Hurt as our (5th district) delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives. The part I found most informative and decisive for me was his comment on why he should be selected for...
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Letter: Robert Hurt deserves reelection

I am writing in response to Fred Schaefer’s letter last week regarding the upcoming election. I could not disagree more with his conclusion and I implore my fellow citizens to join me in supporting our member of Congress, Robert Hurt, on Nov. 4. Rep. Hurt has been an effective voice for us in Congress, promoting...
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How to say hello in America

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Sept. 25

A quick (but by no means comprehensive) guide to the seemingly simple art of saying, "Hello," in America.
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Town weighs ‘balance,’ approves tourist home

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Sept. 18
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After three months of delays, the Washington Town Council held a public hearing on a special-use permit application Monday night at town hall that would allow White Moose Inn owner Jim Abdo’s hotel staff to book and manage an occasional tourist home at 199 Main St.
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Stickerless shock?

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Sept. 18
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In this year’s personal property tax bills, county residents will notice an increase meant to compensate for the discontinuance of the flat $20-per-vehicle tax collected in exchange for a county windshield sticker these last 30 years.
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Editorial: Autumn’s changing ways

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Sept. 18
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As this newspaper was going to press came word of a new government census: Exactly how many stink bugs are there? That’s kind of like asking how hot the sun is. As a harbinger of autumn, we now have stink bugs instead of apples.
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Photo: Constitution Week

Courtesy photo

Letter: Gaughan: the clear choice

In the past two years voters have endured both a contentious presidential and governor’s election, so it is no wonder so few people have expressed much, if any, enthusiasm for the congressional elections coming up on Nov. 4. But much is riding on this election: Our very dysfunctional House of Representatives is up for...
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Letter: Un-chartered territory, unmentioned last week

I would like to add some information that wasn’t noted in last week’s report of the September board of supervisors’ meeting. First, a note about process. It would be useful for someone to know in advance, when taking advantage of a public comment portion of the agenda, that apparently there is no requirement after...
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Central absentee voting OK’d; vehicle stickers on the way out

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Sept. 11
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At holiday-delayed sessions last Wednesday (Sept. 10), the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors discussed several ordinance changes, including doing away with county motor vehicle stickers creating a central absentee voting precinct.
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The goal: a good turnout

Democratic hopeful Lawrence Gaughan.

An interview with Lawrence Gaughan, the Democrats’ choice to face second-term incumbent Republican Robert Hurt in the Nov. 4 election for Virginia’s 5th congressional district.
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Editorial: Where the wild things are

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Sept. 11
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It’s hard to believe, but once upon a time not so long ago the federal government wasn’t dysfunctional and the Congress actually passed meaningful legislation. Fifty years ago last week, for example, the Wilderness Act was signed into law.
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Letter: A balanced Washington, Va.

Over the past several months, I’ve read many negative comments about the town of Washington. Some of the accompanying suggestions in those comments as to how to resolve those negatives seem misplaced. The main issue in much of the discussion is the population of the town. We have been in the midst of a...
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You gotta have a translator

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Sept. 11

Do be a conscientious citizen and attend government meetings . . . but make sure you bring a translator with you, writes Jed Duvall.
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Governor endorses Dominion pipeline

Flickr user rickz (www.flickr.com/photos/rickz/); licensed via Creative Commons

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe this week endorsed the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, an up to $5 billion, 550-mile proposal to build a natural gas pipeline through West Virginia to North Carolina.
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Welch apt. gets final zoning nod

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Sept. 4
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The Rappahannock County Board of Zoning Appeals approved the lone request before it Wednesday night (Aug. 27) — a family apartment request from Castleton resident Bryant Welch.
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Letter: The question of Washington, Va.

In March of 2005, the Town of Washington’s comprehensive plan update listed, in its vision of the town in 25 years, a population that had either stabilized or slightly increased. In 2000, the town’s population was 183 people, which further decreased to 135 in 2010. The declining population during that decade has not yet stabilized...
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Letter: When towns do and don’t grow in population

When towns grow, particularly through an increase in population density, they can — and quite rightfully should — seek to expand. However, before an expansion is warranted, a town needs an increase in residential population above and beyond what warrants the creation of a town in the first place. Without an adequate number of...
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