Rockfish Valley News: June 2022

North Branch School team Mr. Windwide: L-R in photo:  Amory Harris, Izzy Valenzuela, Dylan Butler, Katie Lanahan, Townsend Stumpf. Photo submitted.

North Branch School Wins 

Middle school students at North Branch School in Afton studied wind energy and designed their own turbines.  Students formed three teams to design a turbine, create a poster explaining their experimental process, and to practice presenting to judges. Their designs were tested March 9 against other middle school teams at the KidWind Regional Challenge at James Madison University.

Team “Mr. Windwide” brought home a first-place trophy after the judges reviewed their presentation, asked the students questions, and watched their design in action in a wind tunnel. Team Lake Windipeg won the Wind Guru Instant Challenge for the best solution for offshore wind farm siting (off the coast of New Jersey). 

Team “Mr. Windwide” took their design to the state competition in April and on to the national competition in Texas in May. The team received the National Rookie of the Year award recognizing an impressive first-year team. 

Rockfish Valley Gallery and Gifts

The Rockfish River Gallery will move to Rockfish Valley Community Center (RVCC) under new management on June 11. Kathy Bonham has retired and closed the Gallery in May. The RVCC Board of Directors approved a transition plan and a new name, Rockfish Valley Gallery and Gifts. The shop will operate on a consignment basis for local artists and producers.

Like the Treasure Chest, the Gallery will run only with volunteer help. RVCC invites volunteers to run the desk, complete sales, merchandising and display, inventory management, and promotion/marketing. Volunteer interest for Art Committee Membership is welcome. 

Contact Community Outreach and Events Director Fox Ware at [email protected]. 

Renaissance Ridge 

Renaissance Ridge developers provided an update of latest plans with a Phase 1 start date expected by fall.  Project Manager Stu Armstrong said 80% of units are designed for those who prefer single floor living and approximately 20% are described as offerings for local workforce. There is only one vehicular access off Rt. 151 to ensure that traffic does not go through the main entrance of Stoney Creek Village. Updates are available at 

VDOT Area Land Use Engineer Jeffery Kessler recommended that a full right turn and taper along with a standard left turn lane and taper be installed due to long-term safety concerns and higher traffic volumes observed with weekend and seasonal traffic. The recommendation derived from a special traffic count along Route 151 performed nearby by VDOT during the 2021 fall foliage season.   

Afton Girl Scouts Building Community

Kaitlyn Rebert, a Nelson High School senior, is going for the Girl Scout Gold Award. As a Troop 9330 Senior Girl Scout, she and her troop leaders, Courtney Truslow and Jessica Rebert, have been raising funds for a project to build a picnic pavilion at the Rockfish Valley Firehouse on Route 151 in Afton.  In May they completed a groundbreaking to prepare for the 20 by 20-foot cement base. 

The Rockfish Valley Fire Department is also home to a new food pantry in the middle of the parking lot. Alexis Alexander and Emily Rebert from Troop 1270 completed a Silver Award project at the same location known as a “Blessing Box.” This easily accessible food pantry is voluntarily stocked with non-perishable goods for those who need something extra. Necessary non-food items welcome. 

Nellysford Farm Market Now Open

The Nellysford Farmers Market is open on Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. to noon, rain or shine, through October with 35 vendors under the big tent at 3079 Rockfish Valley Highway in Nellysford. Tim Marsh continues as the market manager and live music is offered from 10 until noon. Local growers and producers are invited to participate.

The Nelson Master Gardeners will be there weekly to help answer questions and provide information for home gardeners. 

The Farmers Daughter Open 

The Farmers Daughter Market is now open in the Nellysford shopping center on Rockfish Valley Highway on Wednesdays through Saturdays. The market offers fresh seafood from the Eastern Shore, fresh produce, specialty gifts and more. The owner partners are Tyron Canada and Amanda Campbell, “Farmers Daughter,” working with Paula Gower. 

Board of Supervisors

Public comments against a doubling of the Transient Income Tax (TOT) from 5% to 10 % made a difference at the May 10 Board of Supervisors meeting.  At least one of the Supervisors thought visitors all paid the tax and established the new budget on the revenue expected. The Board also learned from tax revenue staff that the 5% tax is not paid by half of the Airbnb businesses in the county. Jessie Rutherford, Board Chairman, proposed a committee including members of the public members and revenue collections staff to work with two Board members to study how to improve the county’s ability to collect the tax before any vote on raising it. 

The Board of Supervisors is looking for citizens interested to serve a term on commissions and boards. Terms are expiring and open for new replacement members. A list of openings and an application form is online at

For more information, please contact Amanda Spivey at the County Administrator’s Office (434) 263-7000 or email [email protected]. 



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