Walter Nicklin


Editorial: Farmland forever?

Jun. 14, 2012
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The cause is noble but, given human nature, perhaps inevitably doomed: preserving farmland and other open spaces. A lost cause, really? The question is timely and worthy of discussion, since the eighth annual Rappahannock Evening View, put on by the Rappahannock County Conservation Alliance (RCCA), is scheduled for Saturday evening (June 16). RCCA, made...
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Editorial: Congratulations, graduates!

Jun. 7, 2012
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At this time of year, when Rappahannock County High School as well as local private schools send their seniors on their way rejoicing out into the “ big, wide world” (see the graduates’ photos on pages 8-9 today), we are poignantly reminded of the county’s singular strength: its very smallness. Yes, small is beautiful....
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Editorial: Summer vacation!

May. 31, 2012
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June is upon us, and that means school is almost out! Even for aging adults, like yours truly, the school calendar remains a reflexive organizing principle of life. That means summer always should equal no homework. And no homework translates into fun. Growing up in this part of the world, I found my boyhood...
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Editorial: Battleground county

May. 24, 2012
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The last time Rappahannock County was a battleground was 150 years ago during the Civil War, or War Between the States. Today’s battleground status also is the result of a divided nation – no longer Confederate versus Union but Red versus Blue states. So the resolution of the nation’s current division should come this...
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Editorial: Reminder — money isn’t everything

May. 17, 2012
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Last Saturday’s Food Pantry fundraiser was, by all accounts, a dazzling success. But what made it a success? Was the amount of money raised the only measure of success? And could even more money have been raised by tapping into participants’ financial self-interest? Certainly, that’s the way we tend to measure all things nowadays:...
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Editorial: In memoriam

May. 10, 2012

When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people you deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But you have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer...
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Editorial: Who’re the real agroterrorists?

May. 3, 2012

“The $10 Buy Local Challenge!” That’s the recent call to action from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS): If each household in Virginia spent just $10 a week on locally grown agricultural products, consumers would invest an additional $1.65 billion back into the local economy annually. “The challenge is not limited...
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Editorial: Good news, bad news

Apr. 26, 2012

The bad news: Rappahannock residents have to drive everywhere, whether to go shopping or to visit friends.  The good news: we live right next door to miles and miles of some of the best hiking and walking trails not only in the country but also the world. Like the proverbial “elephant in the room,”...
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Editorial: ‘Earth Day’ weekend

Apr. 19, 2012

The weather forecast calls for possible rain on the parade of Fodderstack runners this Saturday. But few of these 10K racers will mind, I bet. Outdoor athletes are by definition in touch with the earth they pound – and understand that the small patch of the Planet Earth known as Rappahannock County could surely...
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Editorial: Legalize marijuana?

Apr. 12, 2012
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Drug use among young people is not an issue unique to Rappahannock County. But based upon the ever-growing volume of drug arrests and convictions, as regularly reported in the paper, it is an issue that needs discussing. Part of that discussion should include specifically marijuana use – and whether it should be legalized. If...
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Editorial: What’s the point of the Point-to-Point?

Apr. 5, 2012
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If you have to ask the question posed in the above headline, then Rappahannock County might not be the place for you. For certainly the precise place to be in the county this Saturday is Mrs. Thomas L. Eastham’s Ben Venue Farm, site of the annual Old Dominion Hounds Point-to-Point. It is not to...
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Editorial: Nice weather?

Mar. 29, 2012
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Spring in Rappahannock, though beautiful as always, feels a bit unnatural this year. It’s as if the latitude has shifted south and we’re now a part of north Florida. Or maybe it’s not spring at all, but an early summer. The ancient Greeks, in their wonderful way of mixing the poetic with the analytical,...
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Editorial: Priorities in our state capital

Mar. 22, 2012
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Rappahannock’s representatives in Richmond – Delegate Michael Webert and State Senator Mark D. Obenshain – are back in the state capital this week to try to pass a budget. This reconvening of the General Assembly in a special session is necessary because the regular session, which officially adjourned earlier this month, failed in its...
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Editorial: Dog days

Mar. 15, 2012
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Republicans or Democrats: that’s probably not the way most Rappahannock residents would categorize themselves. Rather, we’re either “cat people” or “dog people.” And so-called political Independents, it could be said, like both cats and dogs equally. But whether dog or cat, Rappahannock is the place to be. Here we have articulate advocates and fine...
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Editorial: Not-so-super Tuesday

Mar. 8, 2012
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Virginia may have been one of the 11 states comprising the huge delegate battle for the Republican presidential primary on so-called Super Tuesday this week, but for us here in Rappahannock County it was anything but super. Without Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum on the primary ballot in Virginia, we missed all the suspense,...
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Editorial: Newspapers in education

Mar. 1, 2012
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Mike Leake, the president of our local bank, Union First Market, is a product of the Rappahannock County Public Schools system. He never forgets where he came from. Whenever given the opportunity, he supports the local schools. Most recently, for example, he has supplied complimentary copies of this newspaper to all the students, both...
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Editorial: Made in Rappahannock

Feb. 23, 2012
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You lose money on every unit sold, but you make it up in volume. So goes the old joke, which perhaps encapsulates what was wrong with the “old” economy – the same globalized, mass-production, industrial-scale, high-volume, scaled-up, low-margin economy that ground to a virtual standstill four years ago. Now that this economy appears to...
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Editorial: Worst of places, best of places

Feb. 16, 2012
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In a map measuring the Gini coefficient of income inequality across the country, Rappahannock County pops off the page. Its familiar geographic silhouette is painted in the richest or darkest (depending how you look at it) hues — showing the county to have among the highest Gini in the whole state of Virginia. The...
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Editorial: Epekho

Feb. 9, 2012
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The headline above is ancient Greek, meaning: “I suspend judgment.” It is the skeptical philosopher’s (or newspaperman’s) response to dogmatic assertions – a polite and masterful way to avoid agitated argument with someone whose opinions seem off the mark, yet who seems unlikely to ever change those opinions. So it is that in recent...
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Editorial: The human comedy’s front-row seat

Feb. 2, 2012
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In days not too distant a well-bred Virginia gentleman’s name would appear in the local newspaper no more than three times during his life: birth announcement, wedding announcement and obituary. A lady, if a debutante, was allowed a fourth mention. In today’s world of Facebook, reality TV and endless self-promotion, such notions seem “so,...
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Editorial: Nobody to kick around anymore?

Jan. 19, 2012
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When I was in high school, I briefly dated a girl who went to Chatham Hall, just north of Danville near the North Carolina line. That part of Virginia is known as Southside, and it always felt like a foreign country. Except for its rural roots, it has very little in common with Rappahannock...
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Editorial: Citizen of the Year?

Jan. 12, 2012
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Last Friday marked the first of what we hope will be many open-to-the-public editorial meetings. Most of the “citizen journalists” and interested community members attending said they thought the newspaper was doing a pretty good job but offered some useful suggestions about how it could do even better. Among the questions posed was:  “What...
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Editorial: A new year

Dec. 29, 2011
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Two years ago, this newspaper’s longtime publisher, the late Arthur “Nick” Arundel, who loved the Rappahannock News because he loved Rappahannock County, decided it was time to sell. At about the same time, he sold another rural, county-seat-based paper, the Clarke Courier in Berryville. Today, the Courier no longer exists, but the Rappahannock News...
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Editorial: Slick operator

Jul. 28, 2011
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No major engagements in the Civil War, the sesquicentennial anniversary of which is now being celebrated, took place here in Rappahannock County. But in what is today’s not-so-civil conflict in Big Washington, our very own congressional representative is leading the charge. Rappahannock residents don’t know whether to be proud, frustrated, embarrassed or outraged about...
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Editorial: Civil War remembrance

Jul. 14, 2011
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The July 21-24 Sesquicentennial of the First Battle of Manassas makes me feel old enough to be a Civil War veteran. In a way, I am.
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Editorial: A patriotic Fourth

Jul. 7, 2011

“Liberty means responsibility. That’s why most men dread it.” George Bernard Shaw’s famous quip came to mind this Fourth of July weekend as our elected representatives in Big Washington struggled to become fiscally responsible. Or at least pretended and postured that they were struggling. Here in Little Washington and environs, our patriotism somehow seems more...
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Editorial: Blame the bears

Apr. 28, 2011
Joy Lorien spied this adult bear in a tree in Shenandoah National Park.

From all accounts, the Earth Day litter cleanup, sponsored by the local Democratic Committee, was a great success (see Jed Duvall’s letter this week). Apparently there is now much less litter on Route 211. But is that a good thing? The question should be asked. For some of us, the colorful food packaging and...
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Editorial: Drugs in school?

Apr. 21, 2011
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This headline poses a hard question. It is a question common to just about all high schools across the nation, but no one in a position of authority at our own local high school wants to give a good answer. Why?
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Editorial: Spring is sprung, part two

Apr. 7, 2011
r_editorialBook-07webfront

Oh, how he longed to be outside landscaping and plotting his garden, and thus to be “relieved from the drudgery of the pen.” Substitute “laptop” or “word processor” for “the pen” -- and the springtime sentiments of our first President, George Washington, ring as poignantly true today as two centuries ago.
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Editorial: Spring is sprung

Mar. 31, 2011
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Growing up in neighboring Fauquier County, I always knew when spring had finally sprung. The awareness lay not in the sweet scents and soft pastels of dogwoods and shad blossoms -- but in the bright colors and pungent smells of Saturdays at the races.
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Editorial: Our man in Washington

Mar. 24, 2011
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Rappahannock residents can only hope that our new (after redistricting) congressman will be as cognizant of our wants and needs as Eric Cantor has been.
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Editorial: Stupid or smart?

Mar. 17, 2011
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Assumptions, beliefs, "confirmation bias" and how a 13-year-old can sometimes teach a grown-up a thing or two.
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Editorial: Are we hypocrites?

Feb. 24, 2011
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With the budget battle raging in Big Washington, just about everyone I know in Rappahannock — Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative — agrees that it is irresponsible to keep running huge federal deficits, as we have for the last 10 years. To keep living on borrowed money, we’re essentially robbing our children and...
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Editorial: Straight ahead

Feb. 17, 2011
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Compared to the more civilized and manicured venues of Fauquier and Loudoun counties, horseback riding in Rappahannock County, and especially foxhunting, is a wild and woolly affair, like a frontier hunt. When eulogizing Arthur W. “Nick” Arundel at last Friday’s funeral service at Trinity Episcopal Church in Upperville, John Warner — retired senator, fellow...
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Editorial: Of errors and excellence

Feb. 3, 2011
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In his final column as The Washington Post ombudsman, Andrew Alexander asked the question: Will The Post’s “reputation for journalistic excellence . . . endure?” That Alexander happens to be a part-time resident of Rappahannock County only makes his lament more poignant, for we here at our own, relatively teeny-tiny, newspaper operation face many...
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Easements down, but totals add up

Jan. 27, 2011
Detail of map courtesy of Piedmont Environmental Council

The numbers are now in: 296 acres were recorded as conservation easements in Rappahannock County in 2010. These were fewer acres than in previous years, but nonetheless bring the total amount of land protected by conservation easements here to more than 28,600 acres, or 17 percent of the total land. As measured by a...
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Editorial: Who’ll pay the price at Clevenger’s Corner?

Jan. 27, 2011
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The wheels of “progress” are now in motion at Clevenger’s Corner, just across the border in Culpeper County, and there is precious little that we in Rappahannock County can do to affect the direction or speed of such progress. Or maybe there is? In a savvy gesture of good will and smart politics, Jim...
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Top 10 news stories of 2010

Dec. 30, 2010
r_topTenFire-30webfront

News that stays news, news that lasts. That, according to one poetic wag, is what makes literature. It doesn’t necessarily mean that any of Rappahannock County’s “Top 10” news stories for 2010 will have the staying power of the Iliad or a Shakespearean history, but who knows? At the very least, they are worth...
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Editorial: Citizen of the Year

Dec. 30, 2010

In the interests of full disclosure and transparency, it should be said that there was discussion and debate here at the newspaper some months ago about whether we should even have a “Citizen of the Year” award this year — even though it was a tradition going back more than 30 years to 1978....
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Deer rifle season: It’s on again this Saturday

Nov. 11, 2010

General firearms season for deer hunting opens this Saturday (Nov. 13). The season for archers and muzzleloader hunters is already underway. Hunting is a tradition in Rappahannock and other rural counties throughout the state — such a tradition that in years past schoolboys could “play hooky” and have their absence excused on the first...
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