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Our Rappahannock dark skies have been filled with a huge canopy of twinkling stars I continue to enjoy. How lucky we are to live in this magical place which, in this New Year 2021, seems to be filled with even more promise in what I consider the well deserved Rappahannock Recovery.
Earthly stars have appeared, blending strongly into the rich tapestry that benefits our community. Rosa Crocker Asia created a dedicated mask sewing force steadily working for months now. Lilla Fletcher Leto founded Helping Hannock, an online networking of services, opportunities and ideas to ease the challenges faced by so many during these COVID-19 times.
A while ago, John Lesinski headed the county’s Broadband Committee, establishing a foundation that has led to the new Broadband Authority which will enable Rappahannock’s access to grant funds and establish better broadband. In 2020, the need for this was illustrated by students and medical telecommunications representatives who lack access here.
During a recent Zoom Foothills Forum meeting, which discussed the series about housing that appeared in the Rappahannock News, Rappahannock Benevolent Fund Community Coordinator Bernie Olson emphasized possible solutions. Lately, others have stepped up with ideas to adapt properties that have been dormant many years, like the old mill near the library. Small additions of businesses and housing in and around our villages have always been a part of our comprehensive plan, now completed again.
The vast open surrounding vistas have, in part, been protected by restrictive conservation and other easements which total about 24% of the county.
The Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection (RLEP), founded by the late Phil Irwin, has a program providing down shielded lights which aids the continuation of our precious dark skies. Many travel here to see the wondrous Milky Way and other dark sky beauties invisible in surrounding areas. Including this type of lighting in future new construction here will keep these dark skies with small additions of housing and businesses, assuring the peaceful atmosphere as necessary growth occurs.
Remember that much of this growth will simply be replacing what has been lost over time, notably apple industry jobs and houses repurposed for businesses. Replacing is part of the Rappahannock Recovery due to emerge to benefit all and return our Rappahannock County to the more vibrant community many remember.
Together, much is possible in 2021. Join the stars already shining here, like all the volunteers expanding the wonders of our county park, and RappAtHome which has continued through COVID-19 with Zoom activities, Hal Hunter with his unending creativity in community solutions, Betsy Dietel and Rappahannock Communities.
Let’s celebrate the Rappahannock Recovery now.
— The writer lives in Washington.