Bre Bogert’s Natural Moments Photographer captures the people and places of Clarke County

by Claire Stuart
Kids running through the woods. Kids grinning and mugging for the camera. Kids sometimes looking sulky or even crying. Kids giggling and peeking from behind trees. Kids with their siblings, their moms and dads and their dogs. Clarke County photographer Bre Bogert loves catching families in natural moments against a backdrop of nature, unpaved roads, old barns and rustic benches. The uniform of the day is often jeans.
But you don’t have to have (or be) a kid to enjoy a photo shoot with Bogert. She also does informal portraits of individuals, couples, and even pets.
Interestingly, in some of Bogert’s most captivating shots, her subjects have their backs to the camera, walking away down narrowing country lanes or running off through the woods. Observers are left to wonder where they are going and to make up their
own stories.
Bogert says about half of her business is photographing people and animals. The other half is shooting nature and rural landscapes, and she offers prints for sale. She is adept at capturing the tranquil essence of the countryside in simple scenes. It might be a curious cow peering through a fence, a barn and silo in snow, the tailgate of an old truck, a railroad track winding away into the distance, or a gravel road in fading, dappled autumn sun.
You could say that Bogert was practically born with a camera in her hand. She has been taking pictures most of her life, learning from her father, a dedicated amateur photographer who took pictures wherever he went. Every summer they headed out to Colorado, where he photographed landscapes, mountains, nature and horses.
In Colorado, they did a lot of travelling on horseback. “Dad took pictures of everything with his old Nikon,” Bogert recalled. “He always carried his camera equipment, and he even had a saddlebag for our horses to carry it.”
As a child, Bogert practiced photography at her father’s side. “He was an engineer for NASA who worked on the lunar module,” she explained. “He was very exacting because he was an engineer, and he taught me everything about cameras and photography. I learned all about apertures, F-stops, speed, all the manual controls.”
Her father passed away when she was 13, but he left her his Nikon camera, which she still has. It’s presently in a specialized camera shop
being repaired.
She started taking pictures on the side as a teenager, and continued through college in her spare time. She used film cameras until about eight years ago, when she finally went digital, but she uses various lenses and manual controls.
She began her career by taking landscape pictures, and in the beginning she was
hesitant to start photographing people. “Now I love taking pictures of people,” she said, “but I was scared at first because I didn’t like posed pictures. I got around that by concentrating on what I call my ‘natural moments portraits’.”
Bogert doesn’t do much in the way of weddings because of the traditional poses and formality generally demanded of wedding photographs, but she will consider weddings on a case-by-case basis. “I hired a photojournalist for my own wedding because I wanted more behind-the-scenes type pictures. Besides,” she laughed, “it was cheaper!”
She also enjoys what would probably be called art photography — studies of architectural details of buildings.  She finds beauty in a weathered wooden door, a wrought iron gate decorated by a dewy spider web, a rusty outdoor faucet, a skeleton key in an old lock.  A series of her photos of locks and doors was purchased to decorate an “escape room,” the trendy activity game where a group of people is locked in a room decorated in a theme that goes with a story. They must work together to find hidden clues and solve puzzles that will lead them to the key to escape the room in a given amount
of time.
Bogert says that about 99 per cent of her photos are taken around Clarke County. She does a few complimentary shoots over the year on subjects of her choice. Every holiday season, Bogert does what she calls a “deserving family shoot.” This year, it celebrated the hopeful occasion when a young local girl who was seriously injured in a house fire found a courageous matching donor for a kidney transplant.
Bogert is now offering gift certificates that can be given in any denomination, good for full or mini photo sessions or for a print of any of her landscape, rural or architectural photos.
Visit her Facebook page at BreBogertPhotography; see her work at: brebogertphotography.pixieset.com.

Time for leadership change at Virginia DEQ

The 2017 news cycle has whiplashed all of us. Just as we think it can’t get any weirder, bingo, it does. One result of being glued to news-of-the-weird is that it is easy to get distracted from important matters we face, like clean air and water. The Trump administration is living up to its campaign promise to decimate environmental protections.

They’ve nearly ceased enforcement for industrial polluters and crowed with pride about rolling back regulations that took years of science and public comment to develop. None of this should surprise anyone — they ran on a platform of rolling back rules and regulations that protect public health, and they won.

This puts an even bigger responsibility on the states. Entering the new year and a new administration in the Commonwealth, the question is: Will the governor and legislature step up? Or will they step aside?
Other questions abound. How will our landscape, air and water be protected from the impacts of natural gas extraction? How can rivers and streams be spared the negative impacts of mammoth gas pipelines? When will Virginia do a better job of enforcing its own laws with regard to rivers and streams that are, or should be, classified as impaired? Will local land use authority be maintained with respect to oil and gas development? Will the Commonwealth actually put stronger commonsense protections in place to protect the people, environment, and natural resources of Virginia?

So much remains to be seen. Virginia is fortunate to have a strong community of conservation organizations who work in the trenches, who bring the science and data — they present them in terms that even a legislator could understand should he or she have an interest in science. If you care about the Virginia landscape, clean air and safe water, you might consider supporting one of these organizations in your year-end giving.

On the subject of the new year, we think it’s time for a fresh face at the helm of the Department of Environmental Quality. Director David Paylor has served three governors: McAuliffe, McDonnell, and Kaine. Three is enough.

We have elections to bring in new ideas and to ensure our Commonwealth does not become a mirror reflection of a single point of view. If three governors thought enough of Paylor to appoint him, so be it. But the leadership of a critical agency should not be a lifetime appointment.

The issues we face today are vastly different than those of 2006. Virginia needs some new
energy and new ideas.

Life and Times in the Hawthorne Building

By Betsy Arnette
When Melinda Kramer purchased the Hawthorne Building from the York family in 2006, Mrs. York told her, “You’re buying a very special building because it was built in three centuries.”
The Hawthorne Building sits at the northwest corner of Buckmarsh Street and West Main Street in downtown Berryville. An imposing Federal-style brick building, it was built in three phases. The earliest portion of the building is the rear half that fronts onto Buckmarsh Street. Distinguished from the newer sections by its smaller windows and rubble stone foundation, this section is presumed to have been built around 1795.
According to Mrs. York, the portion of the building that faces West Main Street was built in 1816. Treadwell Smith purchased the building at public auction in 1830 and operated an “ordinary,” or tavern, offering food and lodging to travelers. After Treadwell died in 1872, his son Charles inherited the building. The historic photo (courtesy of the Clarke County Historical Association) was taken around 1900 with members of Charles’ family on the front steps.
In 1887, Dr. Alfred Tucker rented the building and established his medical office and a small hospital there. A Clarke County native who attended medical school in Georgia and New York, Dr. Tucker returned to Berryville after receiving his medical degree. Dr. Tucker died in 1915.
In 1919, Archibald Cummins purchased the building from Charles Smith’s heirs. A year or so later, Cummins built the last addition to the building, on the back and adjacent to the original portion. Sometime before 1958, the front steps of the building were removed and a new interior staircase was built, leading from the street level to the main level of the building.
A mining engineer from Pittsburgh, Archibald and his bride, Anna, had honeymooned in Berryville in 1902, staying at the Crow’s Nest on Church Street. Anna was from Lynchburg and wanted to settle in Virginia. In 1903, Archibald purchased Audley, the plantation that had been the home of Nellie Custis, the adopted granddaughter of George Washington. They lived there until 1921, when Archibald sold Audley to Bernard and Montfort Jones, who turned the estate into a thoroughbred horse breeding and training center. Archibald built Anna a new home, Caryswood, on a hill overlooking the Shenandoah River.
Archibald Cummins was a generous philanthropist. After purchasing the Hawthorne Building in 1919, he hired Clarke County’s first public health nurse and opened a clinic in what then became known as the Cummins Clinic Building. He also brought a doctor up from Norfolk twice a year to perform tonsillectomies on Clarke County children. In those days, removing tonsils was commonly thought to prevent or reduce infection.
Cummins later decided that the county needed a library, so he hired a librarian and established the “Hawthorne Library” in 1929, named after his favorite author, Nathaniel Hawthorne. The library’s books came from his own personal collection.  The Hawthorne Library remained Clarke County’s only public library until the new high school, now Johnson-Williams Middle School, opened in 1954 and the books were transferred there.
Some years earlier, on a trip to Florida, Archibald had met a young man named Frank Tappan, and convinced him to come work for him at Audley. He paid for Frank to attend the University of Virginia for both his bachelor’s degree and his medical degree. After he graduated, Frank and his wife Alice moved into one of the upper-floor apartments of the Hawthorne Building, with Frank’s medical offices on the first floor. When Archibald died in 1933, he willed the building to Tappan. In recognition of Archibald’s kindness, Frank and Alice gave their daughter the middle name of Cummins and called her “Cummie.” When Cummie was growing up, the Tappans owned a home on the mountain, but often lived at the Hawthorne Building during
the winter.
During World War II, the Hawthorne Building served as an informal bus station. According to Cummie, her father never locked the building and often he would arrive in the morning to find that soldiers who were waiting for the bus had taken shelter inside.
In 1953, Dr. Robert “Bob” York joined Dr. Tappan’s practice in the Hawthorne Building. Five years later, Bob and Cummie married. For the first two years of their marriage, the Yorks lived in the Hawthorne Building while they renovated the former McDonald School for Boys at 314 South Church Street. Dr. York retired from practicing medicine in 1994 and, in 2006, the Yorks sold the Hawthorne Building to
Melinda Kramer.
Melinda completed an extensive renovation of the building shortly after buying it. Today, the Hawthorne Building contains four offices and seven apartments. Fully leased, the building is currently for sale. According to realtor Gillian Greenfield, there is an offer pending on the building.

Margaret Barthel, Berryville Treasure

By Edith Welliver
Berryville is lucky to have held a little population of delightful people over the years, drawn in from the surrounding county. One particular such asset is Margaret Barthel, the attractive little lady in neatly pressed slacks with numerous sidewalk conversations along the way. She is someone everyone wants to talk to.
Margaret was born in Gaylord, up by the West Virginia line. She remembers the town’s post office and granary and railroad tracks. In fact, as a child she had the rare privilege of hanging up the mail bag for a postal agent to grab from its hook as the train rolled past. However, she entered school in Berryville while Gaylord’s small elementary school was temporarily out of service. She started at the Academy Street brick school house, of which reused bricks still survive in homes on the site. She stayed through graduation from Berryville High, before it became Clarke County High School.
In high school Margaret had a teacher for commercial subjects who formed a little orchestra and introduced her to the violin, which became a particular joy, although she wasn’t able because of gas rationing to continue out-of-town lessons. The friendship grew even after Miss Mary Roberts Pugh, nicknamed Robbie, moved away, married, was eventually widowed, suffered gracefully and independently through macular degeneration until she finally had to move to an assisted living community. Their intermittent correspondence, regular every Christmas, found Margaret as the information source about Berryville people whom Mary remembered and inquired about over the years until her death last February at ninety-nine.
The commercial courses paid off when Margaret graduated and looked for a job. For a while she joined her elder sister Clara at the telephone company, but in an odd way the local draft board redirected her. It summoned repeatedly a young man employed at the Bank of Clarke County without inducting him. When he finally was actually called into service, the bank drafted Margaret as his replacement in the
bookkeeping department.
From there she learned other new duties and became a teller for years, popular with the many many customers she tactfully served. She has a smile as she recalls the procedures with pen and ink and adding machines that have disappeared today. It was policy, for instance, not to correct customers’ errors while they were present with others waiting. The corrections were indeed made, but quietly when no one else would witness the mistake.
In 1963 Margaret and Clara moved from Fairfield into the house on Chalmers Court, where Margaret lives today amid the family heirlooms. She was the driver for the household, so people regularly saw the two sisters together. Margaret sadly lost Clara in 2016, but she still drives a veritable taxi service for a number of friends. When she is not behind the wheel, she loves to “dig in the dirt”, she says, growing vegetables and flowers and living close to nature as the
seasons revolve.
Wars came and went. Margaret worked for the Red Cross as a volunteer, and, though she says she isn’t a “joiner”, she was—and is—active tirelessly in the church. As a very little girl she was an Episcopalian, but by the time she entered school, her family changed to Berryville Presbyterian Church, following a men’s Sunday school teacher whom her father particularly admired.
She went from the children’s Sunday school classes and community-wide summer Bible school sessions, in which a number of churches participated, to youth activities and then, with her mother and sister, to Presbyterian Women. She has especially appreciated her contacts through the women’s group with others across the district, the Presbytery. For a period she served as chairwoman for an area that included parts of West Virginia as well as the upper Shenandoah Valley.
On Sunday, November 5, Berryville Presbyterian Church awarded Margaret a well-deserved Honorary Life Membership status in Presbyterian Women, with a certificate and pin to recognize her years of devoted service. She is as much involved as time permits, rehearsing and singing with the choir, contributing to Bible study circle discussions, and managing the little local treasury for an international Least Coin missions project. When a member recently introduced the congregation to a program that creates sleeping mats made from plastic shopping bags, Margaret joined the weekly work days of
the women.
She keeps the Berryville congregation aware of district, national, and international activities by reporting from her reading of the Presbyterian Women’s Horizons publication and the wider church’s Presbyterians Today. She is an avid reader.
If you are one of the few people in Clarke County who haven’t yet met Margaret Barthel, don’t miss the opportunity. She is modestly, gently a “people person”, easy to talk to, a fountain of knowledge, and a pleasure to know.

You said what? Not hearing can have unintended consequences

By Karen Cifala
Picture a woman sitting on the exam table getting a check-up and the doctor says, “Big breaths,” as he listens to her chest. And she says “they used to be.” We make fun of that type of misinterpretation every day and we can laugh at it, but for many people, living with a loss of hearing has far-
reaching implications.
Statistics show nearly 48 million people in our county experience age-related hearing losses, including seniors between the ages of 70-79, yet only one in seven uses a hearing aid, mostly due to the high cost. Medicare and most private insurance plans do not cover hearing aids, and the out of pocket costs run anywhere from $900-$3,500 or more per ear, not including the batteries and other supplies. Being unable to fully engage in life because of a hearing loss can negatively impact a senior’s health when it’s left untreated.

If you, or someone you know has a hearing loss, here are some of the symptoms and their associated consequences that you should be aware of;

Anger, stress and loss of alertness that affect your daily activities. These may progress into more serious outcomes such as physical safety  in completing daily activities.

Withdrawing from conversations or discussions. This may create a feeling of isolation by not admitting you can’t hear or fear of appearing weak or helpless, you just stop socializing with others.

Depression or being sad and lonely. It can creep up on you from being isolated, and may result in not only lack of socialization, but other personal risks like unhealthy eating and unintentional weight loss, sedentary days with no exercise that can create weakness and eventually loss
of independence.

Signs of dementia. Even with moderate hearing loss, research shows the cognitive loss triples the risk, and a severe hearing loss increases dementia risk by five times. Muscles atrophy when you don’t use them-so does your brain when you have hearing loss.

Falls. When you have a hearing loss, you miss the signals that your ears usually pick up that help with balance.
So here is the good news:  A bi-partisan bill was passed in August 2017 called the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act as part of the Food and Drug Administration Reauthorization Act of 2017. Sponsored by Massachusetts Senator Democrat Elizabeth Warren with the help of Republican Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, this bill creates a new class of hearing aids that you can purchase over the counter without a doctor’s appointment. The cost will
approximately be a tenth of the cost of traditional hearing aids. The Senate voted 94-1 to pass it, and the president signed it into law. This bi-partisan support will have a life changing effect for millions of Americans. For those with mild to moderate hearing impairment, this legislation will ensure that these hearing aids meet the same high standardsas all FDA-regulated medical devises.
Make a commitment this season to get yourself and your senior loved ones engaged in the holiday conversations around the table this year. Reconnecting your loved one to the world around them is a gift and it will greatly improve your senior’s quality of life. Bypass the old excuses for not wearing one, and let them know that technology has made great strides for hearing aids making them more user-friendly
and wearable.

Where to start when purchasing or helping your senior purchase a hearing aid:

Visit an audiologist. There may be a reason for the loss of hearing that a hearing aid
can’t fix.

Don’t buy a cheap, low-quality hearing aid. These just amplify all the sounds making hearing conversations more difficult.

Seek out options. If you can’t afford to buy a good hearing aid or need a referral, consult
these resources.

Lions Club. For information, call Sharon or Greg Hart at
540-955-6229. Each Lions Club is independently run, and they each have ongoing relationships with audiologists in the local areas where you live. The Lions Club has access to help make hearing aids available and help reduce costs. They provide a free service with The Sight and Hearing Mobile Screening Unit which is outfitted with two vision screening stations, two hearing booths with new state-of-the-art audiometers, and one station for
glaucoma screenings.

Starkey Hear Now. The program helps low-income clients with the purchase of a hearing device. Call 800-328-8602 or email hearnow@starkeyfoundation.org, or visit www.starkeyhearingfoundation.org/hear-now.

Audient. An alliance for accessible hearing care, Audient provides low-income hearing care through a network of providers – 866-956-5400 or go to www.audientalliance.org .

Social Services in Clarke County. Call the agency at
540-955-3700.

Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging. Call 540-635-7141 or visit www.shenandoahaaa.com.

Learn more at the Wellness Festival. On February 24, 2018, Valley Health and Shenandoah University sponsors The Lions at the Wellness Festival at Apple Blossom Mall from 10am. to 6pm. They will be doing free sight, hearing and glaucoma, and children’s vision screenings.
Encourage your senior to wear the hearing aid regularly so they can reap the rewards. Keep them clean and take good care of them. If possible, get insurance for them to cover misplacement or loss or forgetting to take off before getting in the shower (some are waterproof though).  The technology has come a long way, and some of them can even be connected to smartphones, MP3 players, TVs etc., and can be recharged similar to recharging a smartphone, eliminating the need
for batteries.
Karen Cifala is a Remax agent in Clarke County. She can be reached at her office located 101 E. Main St. in Berryville, 540-955-0911, on her cell 303-817-9374 or by email
kcifala@gmail.com.

From Heartbreak to Change: Clarke County Graduate featured in Starbucks “Upstanders”

By Karolyn Mosher
It was an image seen by millions of people around the world, and one the world would not forget. Alan Kurdi was just three years old when he lost his life trying to flee Syria with his family in 2015. Images of his lifeless body that washed ashore on a beach in Turkey shocked everyone who saw it. Mary Poole, a 1999 graduate of Clarke County High School, was breastfeeding her nine-month-old son and scrolling through the web on her phone when images of Kurdi hit home. She said her heart broke and “as a mom nothing affected me like this photo did,” so she decided to do something.
First, she donated $20 to the United Nations refugee program, but felt that wasn’t enough. She began asking questions to members of her community, friends, and local officials if helping refugees was something they could do. She had meetings at Town Hall to openly discuss with community members about their reservations in becoming a host city. Soon, she co-founded Soft Landing Missoula, which is a non-profit in Missoula, Montana, where she currently resides with her husband Dan, a wildland firefighter, and their two children Jack and Grace. The foundation was created to help families escape war-torn countries. According to the Soft Landing website, the goal of the organization is “to be a welcoming, supportive and informed community that can assist refugees to integrate
and thrive.”
When Mary first started to ask questions about helping refugees in Missoula, she didn’t realize that it was a controversial topic or know government policies on relocation. She said she wanted to start a discussion within her community to see what they could do to help. She created Soft Landing Missoula to ask her community, “Is this something that we can do?”
Last year, The Starbucks Channel created an original series called “Upstanders” that was viewed by 80 million people worldwide. According to their website, the series is “a collection of short stories celebrating ordinary people doing extraordinary things to create positive change in their communities.” In its second season, the show recognizes 11 people from across the nation for their courageous and humanitarian efforts. Mary Poole was one of them. Her story is featured in an eight-minute episode.
In the episode, Mary says that her decision to help, “wasn’t based on a political battle.” She just wanted to “help a couple of people.” When she first started making phone calls to see if creating a relocation program was possible, she discovered that Montana was one of two states that had none. She met with local and state officials to see if it was possible to help those wanting to relocate to Montana. After hard work, policies were changed to allow the first family to relocate
to Missoula.
When asked about those who oppose relocation she says that it was never about changing people’s minds but about opening up a discussion. She says that there are some “really tough questions” about relocation. She says, “It’s important to sit down together and share stories and discuss the issues.” She has made good friends out of these discussions.
In “Upstanders,” Mary, who studied nursing and later
became an arborist, is being recognized because she had no background in government policies, and yet is making a difference one family at a time. Missoula is now home to 30 families from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Eritrea, and Syria. 200 volunteers have donated their time to help these families adjust to their new life.
For Mary, change is about listening to each other. Her parents, Cathy and Leon Warner who are still Berryville residents, are proud of her accomplishments. Her mother Cathy said in a phone interview, “millions of people saw the images of Alan Kurdi, but how many did something?” Mary has been getting a lot of media attention but stays down to earth. In “Upstanders” she says, “It takes tiny steps to make change, but I think anyone can do it.”
You can watch Mary’s story “From War to Montana,” at starbuckschannel.com/
upstanders and on Amazon Prime. You can also learn more at softlandingmissoula.org.

As the Crow Flies: Kingfishers Make A Big Splash

Story and illustration by Doug Pifer
Just as we passed the pond near the Freshwater Institute, we saw a kingfisher perched on a utility wire that ran about twenty feet above the water. Shooting swiftly straight down like a meteor, the bird spread its wings wide just before hitting the water just a few feet away from us. The arc of water from its impact shot more than a foot into the air, and the bird was up and flying back in the direction it came from before the splash had settled. Had we passed by a moment later we would have missed the
whole drama.
Belted kingfishers repeat this process many times daily. Like all predators, their success isn’t guaranteed. We’ve seen kingfishers dive many times and are surprised how successful most of these efforts are. Part of the accuracy might be attributed to the white spot kingfishers typically have in front of each eye.
Some scientists call these white spots “false eyes,” and believe kingfishers use them as sighting devices to focus on prey. A kingfisher, theoretically, uses binocular vision to align the white spots while looking down its bill at a fish, like sights on a gun barrel. This allows the bird to accurately compensate for the refraction on the water’s surface that makes a fish or crayfish appear closer than it is.
Sometimes, instead of diving from a perch above the water, a kingfisher will hover briefly and launch its dive from midair. When successful it carries its prey, usually a small fish, frog or crayfish, to a perch. Holding the prey tightly in its strong bill, it repeatedly slams it against the perch. After the prey is sufficiently stunned or tenderized, the bird tosses it upwards into the air and swallows it whole, headfirst.
A kingfisher’s unique appearance suits its way of life. Compared with most birds a kingfisher looks front-heavy.  A sword-like bill that looks far too big for the rest of the bird is supported by a large skull that flares widely at the forehead and eye sockets. The big-headed look is accentuated by the bird’s shaggy crest and
white collar.
Another odd kingfisher feature: tiny feet. Furthermore, kingfisher feet aren’t webbed as might be expected from a bird that gets its living in water. Instead, the two outer toes on each foot are fused together for most of their length. Their purpose becomes clear during the nesting season. Kingfishers dig tunnels in sandy or clay banks in the spring, stabbing their sturdy bills into the soil. The small feet handily scoop loose dirt backward and out of the way. After digging a narrow tunnel from 6 to 8 feet into the bank, the bird digs a nest chamber where it lays eggs and raises its young.
Photographers and bird watchers say a kingfisher is a good “scope bird.”  Kingfishers typically use a favorite perch—pier post, tree root, dead limb, or stretch of utility wire—as a launching pad and dining area.  So, you can set up a spotting scope or camera on a tripod and focus it on a perched kingfisher with a great likelihood that it will return to the
same perch.