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Letters to the editor reflect the opinion of the writer(s), not the Rapp News. Comment below or by writing a letter to the editor: editor@rappnews.com. 

I read with interest Mike Wenger's letter in the Rapp News, dated Sept. 27, 2021, entitled, "Kudzu, an invasive plant, runs rampant in Rappahannock," because of my visit to see my son in Kentucky last July. I traveled from Sperryville to Lexington through the mountains to our destination. On the way I noticed the huge Kudzu enshrouded forests. Observing the shadows of the sentinels of coniferous and deciduous trees, now living in darkness, I found myself thinking, "What a horribly magnificent parasite!" 

I know that it is not a  "parasite" in the usual sense but in the scientific literature it is considered a "structural parasite." And it has no symbiotic relationship to the forests it wantonly swallows in its wake. I don't know why Mike's commentary was titled in this manner, because Mike never said that Kudzu was "running rampant" here in Rappahannock and he was anything but alarmist or dramatic in his approach. He simply stated facts to educate those who aren't aware. He says, "The scourge of Kudzu on our roadsides and in our forests has been relatively muted in this county," and then goes on to say, "In the past two years, Kudzu has quickly expanded here." and then tells us where it has been found in our county and the importance of managing it early to eradicate it.

On Oct. 14, 2021, Ben Jones responds to Mike's letter with "You better watch out for the kudzu that ate Rappahannock." He then goes on to comment, "Mr. Wenger, opining on Rappnews.com, sounds the Red-alert in breathless tones about Kudzu ..."  He then says, "I wouldn't worry much about it around here, the growing season is much shorter and the sun so shaded by hills and mountains, that it will likely be another century before a bumper crop of Kudzu covers, say, the Inn in our county seat."

Before Ben Jones goes on to reminisce about "back in the '20s and 30's" in Georgia, his commentary becomes very personal as he states, "Mr. Wenger apparently assumes that everyone here is as clueless as he is about "the miracle vine ..."  Mr. Jones calls Mr. Wenger "clueless"  which is just plain silly! 

Ben, I must ask you, have you ever met this extremely kind, unassuming, gentleman? 

What do you know about him?  Here are some facts that you may not know: Mike Wenger is a humanitarian, master naturalist. He volunteers with Rapp-At-Home and donates his time to drive those of us who are unable to drive to our various doctor appointments and more!  He is a member of the board of directors of RLEP (Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection), and holds a DPhil from Oxford University, and is Vice-Chair of the Lord Fairfax Community College (soon to be "Laurel Ridge") board of directors and chairman-elect. 

Ben, if you don't know him, you might try getting to know this gentleman before passing more judgment. You may actually find out that Mike is anything but "clueless." Mike Wenger is a respectful and unassuming man sharing his gifts of knowledge with those of us who appreciate it.  We must all learn to manage the Kudzu that has been discovered here before it gets established.  Once it is established it is almost impossible to eradicate. 

With all that being said, I'm with Mr. Wenger on this one. 

The writer lives in Sperryville



 

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