Rappahannock News - - COMMENT - From Back Is­sues of the Rap­pa­han­nock News • Com­piled by JAN CLATTERBUCK

Jan. 13, 1999

The new chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer for Rap­pa­han­nock National Bank, Michael T. Leake, is 16 years re­moved from his days as Rap­pa­han­nock High School’s star bas­ket­ball player, yet he ra­di­ates youth­ful en­ergy.

“I guess you can see the ex­cite­ment in my face,” he said, when in­ter­viewed dur­ing his sec­ond week on the job. Def­i­nitely.

The man is burst­ing with en­thu­si­asm for his new job, which is this: to be in charge of the old Rap­pa­han­nock National Bank un­der a new, bet­ter-funded um­brella.

Last year RNB was bought by Union Bankshares of Bowl­ing Green, Va.

This means that for the first time since its found­ing in 1902 RNB is not lo­cally owned.

“I would never have taken this po­si­tion if I didn’t think there was tremen­dous op­por­tu­nity,” he said.

When Union Bankshares first ap­peared in Rap­pa­han­nock, Leake was hap­pily work­ing at The Fauquier Bank in War­ren­ton as as­sis­tant vice-pres­i­dent of the com­mer­cial bank­ing di­vi­sion.

“I al­ways wanted to come home and be in this area,” said Leake. “I don’t know why any­one would want to live any­where else.”

He­len Dixon’s farm, Dixie Mead­ows in Viewtown, calls to mind an ex­otic Noah’s ark.

Her col­lec­tion in­cludes wa­ter buf­falo, drom­e­daries, Red Brah­min and Sim­men­tal cat­tle, Nil­gai an­telopes, wa­ter­buck, Ana­to­lian shep­herds, Miki dogs, goats, don­keys and 38-inch minia­ture cat­tle called Dex­ters.

She has pea­cocks, tur­keys, geese, ducks, as well as the small birds at­tracted to her feed­ers.

There’s even an an­i­mal whose name isn’t in the dic­tio­nary — a zon­key, cre­ated by cross­ing a ze­bra and a don­key. Like pop­u­lar im­ages of Noah’s ark, most of Dixon’s an­i­mals are gen­tle, tamed by her an­i­mal-rais­ing meth­ods.

The camels, ze­bras, an­telopes and wa­ter bucks are bot­tle fed when young. The wa­ter buf­falo, cat­tle, don­keys and zon­keys are hal­ter-bro­ken at an early age. “Not an an­i­mal on the place isn’t hal­ter-bro­ken,” she says.

Even the ducks and geese are hand-raised, wad­dling fear­lessly to­ward visitors.

Feb. 7, 1980

The ski area in Har­ris Hol­low is no longer for sale. Ac­cord­ing to Eric Adam­son, Front Royal at­tor­ney and part­ner in the op­er­a­tion, the Rap­pa­han­nock slopes will open in De­cem­ber 1980 — “Novem­ber, if there’s snow” — as a pri­vate club.

In a tele­phone in­ter­view on Tues­day, Adam­son said that 1,400 mem­ber­ships will be sold at $295 for the first in a fam­ily, $275 for the sec­ond and $225 for the third.

“Ski­ing has be­come no fun around here be­cause of the crowds,” Adam­son said. He es­ti­mated the num­ber of skiers in the Washington D.C. area at over 100,000.

“About one out of ev­ery ten be­longs to a ski club and there are ten clubs. The Washington Ski Club it­self has 5,800 mem­bers,” he said.

On Saturday, Sun­day and hol­i­days, the ski area will be re­stricted to club mem­bers and their guests. On week­days and evenings, how­ever the Har­ris Hol­low slopes will be open to the gen­eral pub­lic.

In Septem­ber 1976. C. L. Goode ap­plied to the Rap­pa­han­nock County Plan­ning Com­mis­sion for ap­proval of a 15-lot, five acre devel­op­ment lo­cated just out­side Flint Hill.

Three and a half years later, on Jan­uary 24, 1980, Cir­cuit Court Judge Carl­ton Penn of Lees­burg signed an or­der that re­moved the fi­nal road­block to Goode’s re­vised devel­op­ment plan.

Goode’s sub­di­vi­sion ap­pli­ca­tion was turned down by Rap­pa­han­nock’s zon­ing ad­min­is­tra­tor, plan­ning com­mis­sion and board of su­per­vi­sors in 1977, 1978 and 1979, pri­mar­ily on grounds that each lot in the devel­op­ment did not con­tain five acres un­der 14 per cent slope as re­quired by county or­di­nances.

Goode ap­pealed the de­nials to cir­cuit court but re­peat­edly asked for con­tin­u­ances in the case. To date, the county’s le­gal bill, in­clud­ing fees for an ex­pert plan­ning con­sul­tant, to­tal $8,634.

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