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

Aug. 31, 1978

There’s a war loom­ing within the state wel­fare depart­ment and Rap­pa­han­nock County isn’t sure which side of the bat­tle line it’s on.

The con­flict is be­tween fac­tions fight­ing to have ad­min­is­tra­tion of all so­cial ser­vices pro­grams han­dled by the state and those try­ing to keep ad­min­is­tra­tion un­der lo­cal con­trol.

“I can see where it would help us and I can see where it would hurt us,” said fam­ily and child ser­vices worker Ellen Mus­toe in ref­er­ence to a change in state ad­min­is­tra­tion. “I don’t know which I’d like to see.”

In re­port­ing to the Rap­pa­han­nock Wel­fare Board at last Wed­nes­day’s meet­ing, So­cial Ser­vices Di­rec­tor Mrs. El­iz­a­beth Buntin said the switch to state pay­ment of ad­min­is­tra­tive costs was cur­rently sched­uled to be­come ef­fec­tive in 1980. A bill passed dur­ing the last ses­sion of the Gen­eral Assem­bly calls for the state to as­sume re­spon­si­bil­ity for lo­cal ad­min­is­tra­tive costs, ac­cord­ing to Mrs. Buntin. “I’ve heard it said in ef­fect, that the state will as­sume ad­min­is­tra­tion.”

“If the state pays all the costs,” she con­tin­ued, “the state will have all the con­trol over wel­fare pro­grams.

“In my own think­ing, I’ve been very wishy-washy” on whether the change would be ben­e­fi­cial or detri­men­tal, she said. Mrs. Buntin noted that wel­fare pro­grams have be­come so com­plex that only an ex­pert can keep up with it all. As di­rec­tor of the Rap­pa­han­nock Depart­ment, she’s re­spon­si­ble for su­per­vis­ing food stamps el­i­gi­bil­ity. Ti­tle 20 and ser­vices and is sup­posed to be an ex­pert in all these ar­eas as well as hav­ing charge of over­all ad­min­is­tra­tion.

April 12, 1979

L. V. Mer­rill, owner and op­er­a­tor of Mer­rill Mo­tor Com­pany, can qual­ify as an his­tor­i­cal mon­u­ment in the town of Wash­ing­ton. With his trade­mark of a stubby un­lit cigar pro­trud­ing from the cor­ner of his mouth. Mr. Mer­rill is a per­ma­nent fix­ture sit­ting be­hind the plate glass win­dows of his mo­tor com­pany. His busi­ness at the cor­ner in the cen­ter of town has been around for as long as most of the un­der-50 gen­er­a­tion can re­mem­ber.

And along with his cars, Mer­rill deals in “help­ing hands.” For ev­ery per­son who’s bought an au­to­mo­bile from the mo­tor com­pany, there are prob­a­bly two more who’ve re­ceived as­sis­tance of some kind from this good samar­i­tan.

Back when a fam­ily was lucky to have a car, Mer­rill lent brand new au­to­mo­biles for folks to use if tragedy struck. “When­ever there’s sick­ness or death, es­pe­cially a death in the fam­ily, Mr. Mer­rill just can’t do enough. He’d bend over a mile back­wards for you,” vol­un­teered one long time ac­quain­tance.

“You’d bet­ter plan on nam­ing an at­tor­ney be­cause we’re go­ing to be in court on May 2,” warned at­tor­ney Claude Comp­ton af­ter Rap­pa­han­nock su­per­vi­sors again de­layed ac­tion on C. L. Goode’s Flint Hill sub­di­vi­sion at last Thurs­day’s board meet­ing.

The de­vel­op­ment pro­posal has been un­der con­sid­er­a­tion for two and a half years. Goode first ap­plied for ap­proval for a 15 lot, five acre sub­di­vi­sion in Septem­ber 1976. Fol­low­ing pub­lic hear­ings, the su­per­vi­sors de­nied the zon­ing from agri­cul­ture con­ser­va­tion to res­i­den­tial sub­di­vi­sion at the rec­om­men­da­tion of the plan­ning com­mis­sion. Goode sub­se­quently filed two suits, chal­leng­ing the de­nial un­der both the zon­ing and sub­di­vi­sion or­di­nances.

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