Hello, Friends.

Welcome Ben Peters!

The early observations about life and local news from Ben Peters, newly arrived editor of the Rappahannock News, say a lot about our unique county and about Ben himself.

Most formerly the associate editor of the weekly Athens (Ohio) News, Ben has hit the ground running, with nuanced coverage in our county’s weekly of the complex path facing Rush River Commons as well as the frustrating-for-all first week of school.

We met Ben over lunch at Headmaster’s Pub and inquired about first impressions.

“What struck me most about Rappahannock is just how genuinely engaged residents are with public affairs and the newspaper,” says Ben. “Every community claims that people care about its newspaper, but I’ve not seen or heard of local news fanfare quite like in Rappahannock.”

And about the transparent relationship between the nonprofit Foothills and the Rapp News?

“As somebody who finds immense journalistic value in enterprise reporting, the model is quite innovative and sustainable.”

In coming to the Rapp News, Ben extends an informal pipeline of journalistic talent over the years from Ohio University to Rappahannock (including reporters Julia Fair, Sara Schonhardt and Randy Rieland – all through the auspices of Foothills board member Andy Alexander).

Get to know Ben when you have the opportunity and let him know where you think he’ll find local news stories.

Where’s Sperryville headed?

Fueled by an energized business community and confronted by strong demand for rural property, Sperryville is facing both daunting challenges and new opportunities. That’s according to “Sperryville at a Crossroads,” the latest explanatory takeout by Foothills’ Bob Hurley.

Hurley interviewed a score of longtime residents, elected and appointed officials and business folk. The piece addresses land use planning, zoning, infrastructure challenges, traffic, tourism and business. Several interviewees spoke to the need for Rappahannock County to consider establishing a planning department to better handle developments in land use, zoning and ongoing changes.

“I wouldn’t call it gentrification so much as it is change,” stated Martin Woodard, a resident since 1976. “When we first arrived, there was only one other business on Main Street. The village has grown and changed since then and that growth has accelerated in the last five years. This place has always attracted people with creative ideas and energy.”

The Crossroads report followed Hurley’s June 29 news report on a new survey and study conducted by the nonprofit Sperryville Community Association.  Some 221 respondents and participants in focus groups addressed the balance between the village’s growth and preservation.

Save the Date: Oct. 1.  It’s Foothills’ Annual Meeting

Circle Friday, Oct. 1 on your calendars. We’re planning, once more, to celebrate with all you who value local news and quality journalism. Regrettably, because of Covid, this year’s Annual Meeting must be virtual. Nonetheless, it will be less of a meeting and more of a social gathering. We will celebrate a year of high quality, independent journalism in Rappahannock, learn about Foothills’ plans for the future, see new and old friends, and make some toasts. Please stand by for details!