Politics/Government

Governor praises budget’s passage

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Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe is praising the Republican-controlled General Assembly for passing state budget amendments that will increase funding for education and provide pay raises for teachers, state troopers and other government employees.
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Transparency, legality of town ‘beautification’ questioned

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Feb. 26
An artist's rendering of what the new Trinity Church parking lot will look like when refinished.

Several critics of the town of Washington say the town’s council broke at least one state law in the summer of 2013 when it voted to contribute $20,000 to a effort by the Inn at Little Washington to improve the Trinity Episcopal Church parking lot.
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Editorial: Hoping for a spring thaw

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Feb. 26

A critical look at the Rappahannock News' coverage (or lack thereof) of the so-called "Inn crowd conspiracy," and a possible step toward a spring thaw.
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Up in the Hollow: ‘They Destroyed Paradise, Put Up a Parking Lot’

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Feb. 26

Let's review: The Inn got a free street and a nicer parking lot for the church, a lot the Inn uses. The church asked for and got $20,000 from the town for their parking lot, and the town apparently broke the law in the process.
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Almost all-in-one

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Feb. 26
By Roger Piantadosi/Rappahannock News

Marijuana extracts OK’d for epilepsy treatment

By O'Dea via Wikimedia Commons

Two types of medical marijuana extracts would be legal to possess and recommend for epilepsy treatment in Virginia under legislation passed by the state Senate on Wednesday and sent to the governor for his signature.
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Virginia bans powdered alcohol

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Cocaine isn’t the only white powder on drug authorities’ radar these days. They’re also targeting Palcohol — powdered alcohol that can turn a glass of water into a mojito. The General Assembly this week gave final approval to legislation that would outlaw the possession, sale, purchase or use of powdered or crystalline alcohol in...
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Assembly blocks out-of-state access to handgun permits

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It is now up to Gov. Terry McAuliffe whether to sign into law legislation that would prohibit certain out-of-state police agencies from accessing information regarding concealed weapon permits issued by the commonwealth of Virginia.
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Governor signs law allowing Uber, Lyft to operate

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After operating under a temporary agreement for the better part of a year, ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft now have a law allowing them to transport passengers in Virginia after Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed a bill that sets licensing procedures and standards for drivers.
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Storm-free budget season ahead?

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Feb. 19

Following two consecutive years of 4-cent increases in Rappahannock County’s property tax rate, early signs point to an annual local-government budget season this spring that might offer taxpayers a break from bad news.
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Draft school budget starts by holding the line

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Feb. 19

Although school board members spent some time afterwards discussing adding more than $100,000 for athletics-related positions, superintendent Donna Matthews presented a draft 2015-2016 budget last Thursday (Feb. 12) at the high school that would increase last year’s $9.09 million county-funding tab by just $27,700.
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House kills anti-gerrymandering bill

Sen. John Watkins discusses his bill, SB 840, with (from left) Dels. Steven Landes, Buddy Fowler and Margaret Ransone. The three would shortly vote to table SB 840.

A bill aimed at taking some of the politics out of redistricting was struck down by a House subcommittee early Thursday morning.
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Clark Hollow Ramblings: What you see is what you get

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Feb. 19

Columnist Richard Brady is thankful to be able to tell stories in the Rappahannock News, and apologetic about one in particular.
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Senate passes ‘Tebow Bill’ for home-schoolers

By Peter Merholz via Wikimedia Commons

The Senate passed a bill this week that would allow home-schooled students to participate in extracurricular activities such as sports, debate and band at their local public school.
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Presidential summit

By Raymond Boc

Virginia still deciding if women are equal

An ERA parade at Virginia Commonwealth University in 1979.

In 1972, Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment and asked the states to ratify it. Forty-three years later, Virginia is still deciding whether to ratify the ERA, which would guarantee women and men equal rights.
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Conservation easement bill passes first Senate test

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The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources has approved a bill that would establish an authority to mediate between land conservation owners and easement holders.
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Dominion bill wins final passage

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The House gave final approval Thursday to a bill that freezes Dominion Virginia Power’s base rate for five years but prevents the state from forcing the company to reimburse customers if the utility company earns excessive profits.
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Castleton founders receive Outstanding Virginians award

At the governor’s mansion in Richmond Tuesday following the General Assembly’s recognition of Lorin and Dietlinde Maazel as Outstanding Virginians of 2015, are (from left): Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Dietlinde Maazel, County Administrator John McCarthy (rear), First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe and Orson Maazel.

Lorin and Dietlinde Maazel, founders of Rappahannock County’s annual Castleton Festival, were honored Tuesday (Feb. 10) by the Virginia General Assembly as the “Outstanding Virginians of 2015” at a ceremony on the floor of the State House in Richmond.
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School budget tonight — but first, some appreciation

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Feb. 12

The school board — which holds its first public hearing on its 2015-2016 budget Thursday, Feb. 12 in the high school auditorium — took a few lighthearted moments between controversy and budget-crunching at its regular monthly meeting Tuesday night to appreciate its staff (and be appreciated in return).
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New home, new gallery, familiar names on town’s agenda

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Feb. 12

The Washington Town Council took the first steps at its monthly meeting Monday night (Feb. 9) toward bringing a new weekend home and a new gallery to Gay Street.
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Letter: Virginia’s domestic violence solution: Get your own gun

Woman with smoking gun via Wikimedia Commons

According to the House Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety, victims in domestic disputes in Virginia should purchase a gun, sleep with one eye open for months, waiting for an ex to launch an attack. And if said attack ends in a shootout in front of kids, that’s okay, as long as the...
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Clark Hollow Ramblings: The responsibility of leadership

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Feb. 12
Special deer hunts at Virginia State Parks this year.

Do most county residents feel they are getting a fair shake from our county leaders? Though he's inclined to think that we are better off than most, the supervisors' recent decision to participate in the state's "Earn a Buck" program is worrying columnist Richard Brady.
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2015: A ‘big’ local election year

election-5

More than a dozen government posts in Rappahannock County — from sheriff to supervisors, school board members and soil conservation directors — are up for grabs this fall.
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Stickers gone; flat-rate vehicle tax is back

supervisorsSticker-5

Many tax-related issues across the land will no doubt continue to grow more complex in the years to come — but in Rappahannock County this fall, a simple line item for a flat-rate county motor vehicle tax will reappear on most everyone’s tax bills.
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Planners make mandated zoning adjustments

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Jan. 29

The Rappahannock County Planning Commission reorganized last week, then voted to reorganize several dozen pages of zoning code amendments.
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Letter: Look after energy, economy and environment, please

An open letter to Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-26th) and Del. Michael Webert (R-18th): The Unitarian/Universalists of the Blue Ridge (UUBRidge) congregation located in Sperryville wishes our state to expand the use of solar and wind energy sources instead of fossil fuel. We wish to promote alternative energy to replace fossil fuel wherever possible. Thus,...
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Panel kills marijuana decriminalization bill

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The Senate Courts of Justice Committee on Wednesday killed a bill to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.
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Park modifies fee increase proposal

Shenandoah National Park is closed until further notice.

Officials at Shenandoah National Park announced this week that they will modify a proposal, first announced in November 2014, to increase park entrance fees.
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Senator calls for marijuana decriminalization

Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, would make simple marijuana possession a civil offense punishable by a $100 fine.

A senator from Northern Virginia is urging the General Assembly to decriminalize marijuana possession, as about 20 other states have done.
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Senate limits out-of-state access to gun permit records

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The state Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would prohibit certain out-of-state police agencies from accessing information regarding concealed weapon permits issued by the commonwealth of Virginia.
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Single-stream recycling starts soon

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Jan. 22
Recycled cans, by Tom Morris via Wikimedia Commons

If the weather cooperates, Rappahannock County should be offering single-stream recycling — glass, metal, plastic and office paper in one container — by sometime next month.
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The county in court

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Jan. 22

The county government — or, more specifically, attorneys for the school board and supervisors whose fees are paid by government liability insurance policies — has been spending more than the usual amount of time in circuit court these last few past months.
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On Common Ground: Don’t tax away gas price relief

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Jan. 22

Let people take advantage of the price-of-oil breather while they can, writes Bill Walton. Instead of the gas tax, let them invest in themselves.
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Going green? You should probably walk there.

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Jan. 22
Via Pixabay

Beneath the Keystone XL debate and our current oil glut, a low-impact, forgotten carbon fuel remains buried. In us.
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Letter: Shining a light upon truth

John Kiser’s opinion piece in last weeks’ Rappahannock News couldn’t be timelier in the aftermath of the recent horror in Paris. John brings forth a shining example of an Islamist emir who, after fighting the French for the right reasons, losing, and then being imprisoned and terribly mistreated, was able to “turn the other...
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Letter: No pain, no gain

I heartily support raising the gas tax. As pointed out in last week’s editorial, the state of our transportation infrastructure is abysmal and we are doing nothing about it. While no one enjoys paying taxes, I think most people are willing to share the burden of cost for services provided them. The gas tax...
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Letter: A request for our man in Richmond

An open letter to Del. Michael Webert (R-18th): As residents of Rappahannock County, we urge you to do all you can to ensure the protection of our lands and landscapes; supporting the Virginia Land Preservation Tax Credit is one meaningful and effective way. With the human presence increasingly felt and seen throughout the world,...
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Lawmakers seek to curb heroin overdose epidemic

Carolyn Weems, who lost a daughter to heroin, speaks at a heroin overdose legislation conference in Richmond Tuesday.

Attorney General Mark Herring and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers are seeking passage of four bills addressing the heroin and prescription painkiller abuse epidemic in Virginia, including one that would hold drug dealers accountable for overdose deaths.
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Bill denying in-state tuition to immigrants fails

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The Virginia Senate on Tuesday narrowly defeated a bill to deny in-state tuition to so-called “DREAM-ers” – young adults who immigrated illegally to the U.S. as children.
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