Politics/Government

Town re-abandons street at meeting abandoned by decorum

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At a memorable-for-all-the-wrong-reasons meeting Monday night (May 11) at town hall, the Washington Town Council definitively — or defiantly, depending on the view from your pew — reaffirmed an action it first took in 2013 to abandon the stub end of Middle Street.
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Letter: County needs to change special-use process

Imagine waking up to find out your next-door neighbor had moved and turned their home into a junkyard or a chicken fertilizer plant or even a race track. Well, in Rappahannock County that can happen without your even knowing it.
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Supervisors trim, approve school budget

By a 3-2 vote at its afternoon meeting Monday (May 4), the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors passed Piedmont supervisor Mike Biniek’s motion to reduce this year’s proposed $94,000 increase in the county’s share of a $12.9 million school budget by about $44,000.
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On Common Ground: The Fed has no interest in seniors

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May 7

Last week’s front-page story highlighted how rising property taxes in Rappahannock County are causing big problems for middle-aged and senior citizens living on fixed incomes. It doesn't help that the Federal Reserve has no interest in seniors or savers.
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Letter: What the public’s hearing: done deals

The facts of your April 30 article on the Rappahannock County budget really should come as no surprise to anyone. In my opinion, the outcome of the meeting was preordained, as it has been for many years. After all, the “public hearing” is for the public to hear the decision already made, not for...
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Letter: Don’t let the town give public property away

At its meeting next Monday night (May 11), the Washington Town Council is scheduled to consider measures to vacate and convey public property — for free — to a private business, The Inn at Little Washington. The town property in question is the Middle Street “stub” adjacent to the building housing the Post Office...
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Tax rate up 3 percent; hearing attendance down 50 percent

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April 30

Once again, Rappahannock County’s property tax rate appears to be going up, while the number of citizens who attend public hearings on county and school budgets isn’t.
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Sides argue Konick’s ‘standing’ in lawsuit against town

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April 30

At the close of an hour-long hearing in Rappahannock County Circuit Court Monday morning, at which lawyers for the town of Washington and the Inn at Little Washington argued against lawyer David Konick’s “standing” to legally bring suit against both of them, Judge Jeffrey W. Parker took the matter home (the legal term being...
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News Briefs: Whitson enters race for Hampton supervisor seat

Keir Whitson is running for supervisor in the Hampton district this November.

Harris Hollow resident and Rappahannock County Water and Sewer Authority vice-chairman Keir Whitson announced this week that he’ll seek the Hampton District seat on the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors.
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Letter: Biting the hand

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck . . . If Demaris Miller thinks she proved how smart she is, she failed. This county feeds off the Inn at Little Washington. They create jobs (I worked there for 6½ years), the Country Cafe gets customers for their delicious food, the souvenir and antique shops get...
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Konick: No vendetta, just violations

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April 23

In a response to the Inn at Little Washington and owner Patrick O’Connell’s attempt the week before to quash attorney David Konick’s lawsuit, Konick said this week that the Inn's claims about his motivations for bringing suit are “absolutely false.”
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Cooter’s scraps outdoor-music plan

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April 23
Plenty of Generals Lee showed up for a 2006 "Dukes Fest" at Cooter's Place in Sperryville.

After a lengthy stretch of questions and concern from commissioners, and a neighboring property owner’s worries about noise and traffic, Ben “Cooter” Jones and Alma Viator withdrew the application they’d made to the county planning commission for a special-exception permit.
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Rapp, Culpeper go metro

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April 23

The federal Office of Management and Budget added Rappahannock and Culpeper counties earlier this month to the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria statistical metropolitan area (SMA). What does it mean?
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Letter: Oklahoma City: It started with words

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April 23

Just over 20 years ago, an explosion at 9 a.m. on a typical workday morning tore apart the center of Oklahoma City and changed our world forever. A group of homegrown malcontents mixed a lethal brew of ammonium nitrate fertilizer and fuel oil and set it off in a Ryder truck parked in front...
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Letter: The culture of community / community is culture

As a rarified denizen of the American Kennel Club world (self-described and perhaps appropriate) and a resident of Poe’s Road, I feel qualified to discuss the issues presented by my neighbor Charlene James-Duguid in her letter of April 9. I must agree, no one wants a lifestyle disrupted or placed in disarray. No one...
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Letter: High school pep rally or town council meeting?

The council meetings of the Town of Washington are turning into the equivalent of a high school pep rally. Article 3.7 of the town’s charter states that, “. . . the council shall follow Robert’s Rules of Order, latest edition, for rules of procedure necessary for the orderly conduct of business . . .,”...
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Wednesday’s night developments

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April 16

Washington's town council approves an Inn-related property adjustment that will bring a new gallery to town, and Cooter's in the Country withdraws its permit application for outdoor music in Sperryville.
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Draft county budget would mean 2-cent tax hike

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April 16

The $22.83 million FY 2016 draft budget released this week by Rappahannock County Administrator John McCarthy could mean a 2-cent increase in the county’s property tax rate.
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Town council hires lawyer, hears opinions, legal and otherwise

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April 16

The Washington Town Council hired a lawyer at a special meeting Monday afternoon, heard almost two hours of legal opinion in closed session about two pending lawsuits against the town and the Inn at Little Washington, then reconvened for another hour of citizen opinion on a controversial Inn-related boundary adjustment.
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What’s recyclable in Rappahannock?

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April 16
Tom Morris via Wikimedia Commons

A wrap-up of what you can now recycle at Rappahannock County recycling centers at Amissville and Flatwood.
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Clark Hollow Ramblings: Well blessed and highly favored

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April 16

It was getting past time for this old ram to be shorn, so I made my way up to the Sperryville barbershop. It seems like I hit it on their busy day, anymore. For some reason I forgot myself, and when Stacy asked me how I had been doing I started into my litany of old...
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Letter: The Inn’s ‘desperate’ distraction

The article under the front-page banner headline in your paper last Thursday (April 9) seems to be the result of behavior that harks back to an old saying dating at least to the early 20th century: “If the facts are against you, hammer the law. If the law is against you, hammer the facts....
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Lawsuit is ‘homophobe’ vendetta, Inn attorney says

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April 9
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Inn at Little Washington's attorney characterizes lawsuit initiator Konick as a "homophobe with a vendetta" against O'Connell; meanwhile Konick files another suit, specifically alleging conflict-of-interest violations by O'Connell.
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Fire-rescue changes needed to keep volunteer system viable

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April 9

Rappahannock County’s supervisors were told by the consultants who assessed the county’s fire and rescue needs that the county faces a lengthy list of potentially difficult decisions to keep the all-volunteer system viable — as well as all-volunteer.
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Letter: Beautification, development and conversation

Rappahannock is a beautiful and unique, special place. Letter-writer Stanley Reynolds reminds us to get involved, and to work together to keep it that way.
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Letter: Community — a precious commodity

I live on South Poes Road, a winding, seemingly undistinguished, quiet, two-lane thoroughfare at the east end of the county. “National Geographic” isn’t going to show up anytime soon to train their cameras on our exotica, nor is Vanity Fair going to chase us down to document our chic, trendy lifestyle. On the surface,...
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Letter: Hydrant vs. parking lot

Regarding William Metcalf’s letter March 26 pointing out the repeated failure of the town of Washington to respond to the safety needs of the Piedmont Street residents of Washington, it is indeed curious that the town council could afford to spend $20,000 for parking lot beautification, yet finding $5,000 to repair a fire hydrant...
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Governor criticized for allowing more surveillance

Courtesy of VCU CNS

A Democratic senator, a prominent Republican and civil libertarians are blasting Gov. Terry McAuliffe for amending a bill that would protect Virginia citizens from high-tech government surveillance.
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Gov. McAuliffe signs 733 bills, vetoes 17 

FB Virginia State Capitol Richmond FB

With two days left to act on legislation passed by this year’s General Assembly, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Friday that he has signed 733 bills, vetoed 17 and amended 50 others, including tightening ethics reforms.
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Retirement rumors premature, McCarthy says

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April 2
Rappahannock County Administrator John McCarthy says he's not retiring — yet.

John McCarthy, Rappahannock County’s chief executive for the last 30 years, said this week that rumors of his impending retirement are premature.
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Herring told mental health, drugs top police concerns

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April 2
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring speaks with the region’s law enforcement officers Monday in Front Royal.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring heard from law enforcement officials in the region Monday in Front Royal that one of their biggest worries — in addition to drugs — is in dealing effectively with prisoners who require mental-health evaluations and treatment.
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Council meets to hire counsel

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April 2

The Washington Town Council has scheduled a special meeting, ostensibly to hire a lawyer to defend the town in a lawsuit alleging the town broke laws for its 2013 town-square beautification project.
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Letter: The fool, the jester and the scold  

Every little town in the world has its fool, its jester and its village scold — and Washington, Va., is no exception. Over the past three years our quiet, lovely town has been plagued with a barrage of nasty, hateful attacks on our mayor, our business owners and our town government. You can’t pick...
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Capital briefs

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Governor vetoes redistricting bills Gov. Terry McAuliffe last week vetoed six redistricting bills, saying they would weaken citizens’ trust in government. Speaking on 1140AM WRVA, McAuliffe questioned the constitutionality of the bills, which sought to adjust the lines for about 20 legislative districts in seven counties. The six vetoed bills are: SB 1237, affecting...
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Letter: Focused on the positive side

Nancy and I got our Red Oak Mountain land 33 years ago. Last year Nancy took over the theater in town. (I told her she was crazy, but do you think she listened?). Does this make us “locals?” Probably not. Does it mean that we love this county and admire the people here? Definitely....
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Town beautification gets uglier

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March 26
A photo in the Dec. 13, 1962 Rappahannock News touted the “facelift” being given to the corner of Main and Middle streets, after Trinity Episcopal Church (far left) had purchased the lot and was tearing down several buildings to build a parking lot.

Efforts made two years ago to beautify the “town square” of Washington have landed the town, and its chief tourist attraction, in court. A lawsuit filed Friday also alleges that Inn at Little Washington owner and town council member Patrick O'Connell violated conflict-of-interest laws.
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Planners OK Castleton’s year-round events

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March 26

The Rappahannock County Planning Commission recommended approval last Wednesday night of two event-related permits for the Castleton Festival.
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Stickers, no. Assessors, yes.

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March 26
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Two quick reminders from your county government: You don't need a vehicle sticker any more, and assessors will be visiting your property soon.
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Governor orders training for ABC agents

FB Virginia State Capitol Richmond FB

Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order Wednesday meant to improve the law enforcement arm of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
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Letter: What are the town’s priorities? 

The hydrant, since painted black.

When will common sense prevail? I am writing this letter because I am simply out of options and tired of the Town of Washington’s inability to make respectable, rational decisions. Several years ago, I returned home on Piedmont Avenue to discover a garbage bag on a fire hydrant located in front of our home....
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