Rockfish Valley News: December 2021

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Nelson County Community Orchestra at Rockfish Valley Community Center

“Darkness to Light” Celebrates Return of Live Orchestra 

The Nelson County Community Orchestra (NCCO) with conductor Kimberly Souther presented Darkness to Light November 7 at Rockfish Valley Community Center. A doctoral student in orchestral conducting at James Madison University, Souther is in her second season as conductor, but her first in-person season with NCCO. She has performed extensively in symphony orchestras and theatres. 

The concert included an extraordinary rendition of Franz Schubert’s “Ave Maria” by Michele Zehr, a musical whistler and Nelson County resident who ranked 15th in the world in the 2020 Global Whistling Championship. Zehr is a former Marine who performed in the military and currently gives regional performances in addition to performances on YouTube. She also performs as the percussionist in the NCCO. 

NCCO live performances will return on February 5 and 6 with Celebratory Dances featuring local guest dancers and the music of Handel, Brahms, Strauss, Piazolla, Loving and Bernstein. A spring concert is also planned for April 30 and May 1 featuring Beethoven and Broadway musicals. 

“Johnny” Ponton 

A celebration of the life of John Willard Ponton was held November 14 at Calvary Baptist Church in Lovingston. The church was filled with those honoring the Nelson native in liturgy and Masonic Rites. Stories of Ponton’s life in service were offered by Reverends John Campbell and Marion Kanour, the family and community members who recalled sharing student life at Nelson High School, witnessing the teenage Ponton saving a young life during the flood of Camille and his term of service on Nelson Board of Supervisors. Sharon Ponton shared her reflections and asked for memorial donations to the Blessings Food Pantry. 

Board of Supervisors Approve Rezoning Request to Service Enterprise (SE-1)

A public hearing on Nov.9 included a rezoning request for Rockfish Apartments, LLC on Rockfish Valley Highway in Afton from R-1 Residential and A-1 Agriculture to SE-1 Service Enterprise. Supervisors approved the request by a 5-0 vote. Justin Shimp, the owner and applicant, plans to build eight two-family dwellings and put a Christmas tree operation on the 16.34-acre property (tax map/parcel number 6A-46A). He agreed to eliminate uses including farm winery, farm brewery and restaurants for the property. 

Nelson County Supports Augusta County Grant Request for Rockfish Gap

A collaboration between Augusta County and Rockfish Gap property owner James F. Dulaney, Jr. to seek a federal Economic Adjustment Assistance Program grant has received the formal support of Nelson County. The grant sought is intended to create a conceptual master plan to revitalize Afton Mountain and Rockfish Gap.

Amendment to Transient Occupancy Tax Passed

By an unanimous vote, the Nelson Board of Supervisors passed an amendment of the tax code that will create a of registry of short-term rental property in the county. An annual fee will be required of proprietors. No public comments were made on the subject during the October 12 public hearing. 

Holiday Market at Rockfish Valley Community Center

The annual indoor winter market will be held Saturday, December 18, from 9 a.m. to noon inside RVCC’s auditorium. Markets feature local produce, meats, cheeses, jams, baked goods, plants, greenery, and art & crafts. Celebrations include live music by Kim and Jimbo playing rhythms of world music and sharing unique instruments. For vendor registration or more info, contact RVCC at 434-361-0100 or [email protected] 

The “People Feeder” pantry located near Treasure Chest Thrift Store is open for holiday food donations and to serve local food needs. Donations are needed in non-perishable and unbreakable sealed cans. Healthy fresh local food can still be picked up on Wednesday and Thursdays by on-line orders to Old Orchard, Little Hat Creek, Hindes Harmony, River Oak Farms and 4P Foods / Shenandoah Produce

Treasure Chest is under new management and accepting donations in good condition during business hours from Tuesday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Volunteers are needed for half or full days and receive a 25% discount. Contact 434-361-0103 for details or stop by. 

Public Hearing for Reapportion of Local Election Districts

The Nelson Board of Supervisors will hear public comments on redistricting Woods Mill from Central District to East District on Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. The county is required to correct population deviations in election districts as determined by the 2020 census. Some lines in the Woods Mill area are proposed to be adjusted, moving voters from the Central District to the East District. The board will accept public comments for 30 days starting Dec. 1. Interested persons may submit data, views, and arguments in writing by mail, facsimile, or email. 

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