Flames consumed this house on Rolling Road in Sperryville last week. No injuries were reported.

Gutted by fire 

A house on Rolling Road south of Sperryville was gutted by fire during the height of last Wednesday afternoon’s electrical storm. 

“Fire and Rescue companies from around Rappahannock County were dispatched . . . for a working structure fire,” according to Sperryville Fire. “A Rappahannock County deputy sheriff was the first to arrive on the scene and reported heavy fire conditions in the residence. The house was unoccupied at the time of the fire.”

Culpeper County fire personnel were “instrumental in helping setting up a sustainable rural water supply by pumping out of a local creek,” it continued. “Fire Suppression took about 4 1/2 hours and consumed approximately 6,200 gallons of water before the fire was declared out.”

Former Rappahannock artist Jeanne Drevas wrote from her home in Oregon to say that “lightning struck” her former house, painstakingly created stick by stick, “and it has burned to the ground.”

She said its subsequent owners “are devastated. I feel as if a child of mine has gone MIA.”

Fourth Estate Friday

Given COVID-19, Fourth Estate Friday has been a no-go since early spring.

Now, with most Rappahannock residents learning how to safely navigate their way through the pandemic, the Rappahannock News tomorrow (Friday, July 31) at 9 a.m. will again welcome readers to its monthly “story conference,” held on the fourth (or in cases like tomorrow, the fifth) Friday of each month.

Host restaurant for this long-awaited reunion of dialogue will be Off the Grid, 11692 Lee Highway in Sperryville, where complimentary coffee will be served in the establishment’s outdoor dining area along the banks of the Thornton River. Social distancing will be in place and all attendees are reminded to wear masks until properly seated.

We look forward to seeing everybody.

Masks are mandatory

Yes, Virginia, masks are mandatory.

Some Rappahannock residents obviously remain confused about the protective mask order in place in the county. That is apparent even at certain local businesses, where customers — and employees even — are repeatedly seen not wearing face coverings, despite signs taped to their own doors stating masks are required for entry.

Given the recent spike of COVID-19 cases in Rappahannock County, it is especially important that Virginia’s mask mandate be adhered to by citizens and visitors alike. It reads:

“All patrons in Virginia age 10 and older have to wear a face covering while entering, exiting, traveling through and spending time inside areas that include: food and beverage establishments; brick and mortar retail, including grocery stores and farmer co-ops; personal care and grooming businesses; Rappahannock County government buildings; and any other indoor space shared by groups of people who may congregate within six feet of one another or who are in close proximity to each other for more than ten minutes, as in but not limited to churches and other places of worship.”

Orchids anyone?

The Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Master Gardeners of Fauquier and Rappahannock Counties are offering a presentation called “All About Orchids,” live on Zoom this Tuesday, Aug 4, at 7 p.m.

In this interactive class, orchid master James Jones will cover the basics of taking care of orchids: watering, fertilization, where to place orchids in a home, how to get orchids to rebloom, and basic insect and disease management. Jones also will provide a demonstration of repotting an aged orchid and the best soil.

The 60-minute program is free and open to everyone in Rappahannock. Please pre register at A zoom link, pass code and registration will be emailed to participants, who may also submit orchid questions before the program to

We want you! 

If you care about equity, Rappahannock County Public Schools (RCPS) wants to hear from you. 

Executive Director of Administrative Services Robin Bolt is putting together an “Equity Team” composed of parents, teachers, administrators, community members and students to discuss how RCPS can make schools safer and more equal for all. 

“There’s always room for improvement,” Bolt said, “because we all have our built-in things that we don’t even think about. And sometimes it’s about bringing that to light and making people aware that, hey, when you say this it might not mean anything to you but it means [something else] to this person.”

Bolt said she wants RCPS students to feel comfortable coming forward and participating, so they will have their own independent committee and then elect representatives to sit in on the Equity Team meetings. 

To participate, contact Bolt at

Oak View growth

Oak View National Bank, with a lending branch on Main Street in Washington, reported that net income for the second quarter ended June 30, 2020 increased 33.1 percent to $673,574 compared to $506,002 for the same quarter of 2019. 

Return on average assets (ROAA) was .89 percent for the second quarter of 2020 compared to .82 percent for the second quarter of 2019.

Michael Ewing, vice chairman and CEO said: “Although Oak View continues to be impacted by the events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, our participation in the SBA Payroll Protection Program (PPP) has allowed us to receive approvals for $25.4 million in forgivable loans under this government program as of June 30, 2020, which has provided much needed assistance to over 360 small businesses in our communities.”

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