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Erminia “Ermine” Kauer Daspit, 86, daughter of Carmel and Rose Minetto Ubaldi was born in Waterbury on Sept. 22, 1927.

  • Written by Darryl Woodson

Erminia “Ermine” Kauer Daspit, 86, daughter of Carmel and Rose Minetto Ubaldi was born in Waterbury on Sept. 22, 1927. In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by her husband, Woodson Daspit.

A graduate of Crosby High School, she received her bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg and her master of arts degree in library science from Columbia University. She was employed by DuPont/Westinghouse in their Savannah River Site as a technical librarian researching literature for atomic energy scientists until her retirement in 1995. She lived most of her life in Aiken, S.C., volunteering at the Aiken Historical Society, the Aiken Regional Medical Center, and ACTS, an interfaith social services agency. She was a communicant of Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church.

She is survived by a son, Brian Kauer; two grandchildren, Hayley and Brandon Kauer, all of Walhalla, S.C.; a brother, Carmel Ubaldi and his wife Agatha of Lexington; and a nephew, Joshua Ubaldi of Los Angeles, Calif.

The Cook Funeral Home in Torrington Conn., will arrange for the viewing and the mass of Christian burial at St. Peter Catholic Church as well as the burial in the family plot in St. Francis Cemetery, Torrington. Memorial contributions may be made to Rockbridge Area Hospice, 315 Myers Street, Lexington, VA 24450. The Harrison Funeral Home in Lexington, VA is in charge of local arrangements.

Holm, Fox Retiring From BV Schools

  • Written by Darryl Woodson



The Buena Vista School Board approved the retirements of Dr. Mary Holm, director of instruction, and Nelson Fox, a longtime PE teacher and successful golf and basketball coach.  Holm will retire effective June 17 and Fox at the end of the school year, on June 30.

Holm is a longtime educator who has served the Buena Vista division as director of instruction for the past seven years.

“We owe Dr. Holm a big thanks for stepping up as acting superintendent for a full year, after Dr. [Rebecca Gates] had resigned and during the search for a new superintendent [Dr. John Keeler],” said Board Chairman Steve Webb after Thursday night’s meeting.  “She did a big job for us and helped us out tremendously.”

Superintendent Keeler said that no discussion had yet taken place about a replacement for Holm.  He pointed out that Rockbridge County recently divided that job among administrators at the different levels.

Fox has been in education for 39 years, 38 of them in Buena Vista.  Webb said that Fox will be “hard to replace − he was such a class act, and a leader in our school system.”

“He knew how to lose and win gracefully, and taught our students the same,” he said.





Lost Hikers Located

  • Written by submitted

Approximately 25 area fire and rescue workers, mostly volunteers, spent the better part of Wednesday night searching for four Washington and Lee University students who decided to take an evening hike through the Devils Marbleyard area in Arnolds Valley.

All four students were eventually found with no injuries.

“It was very fortunate that we had cell phone service to help us out,” Rockbridge emergency management coordinator Robert Foresman who said volunteers from both the Glasgow fire department and rescue squad and the Natural Bridge Fire Department were called out shortly after 9 p.m. for search and rescue operations.  Two hikers were found at the base of the Belfast Trail.  However, the other two hikers had crossed several ridges, Foresman said, and were not located until after 4 a.m. in the Little Hell Gate Creek area.

“Hypothermia was a concern because temperatures dropped below freezing last night,” Foresman said.  He noted one hiker was wearing only a t-shirt and shorts.

Two firefighters were treated at Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital for a knee injury and general illness.  Foresman estimated that the billable cost for a comparable 10-hour search and rescue operation would equate to several thousand dollars.

Ecumenical Easter Sunrise Service At Manly

  • Written by Darryl Woodson

 The ecumenical Easter sunrise service for Lexington churches will be held at Manly Memorial Baptist Church, not Randolph Street United Methodist as stated in this week’s paper.

The Rev. Louis Grandberry will be preaching at the event, which will be followed by breakfast in the Manly’s fellowship hall.

The primary churches involved in this service besides Manly are Lexington Presbyterian, First Baptist, Randolph Street United Methodist and St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.

Ruscio Responds To Law Students' Letter

  • Written by Darryl Woodson

4:30 p.m. - Moments ago, W&L President Ken Ruscio sent a message to the W&L community responding to the letter sent to the school's board of trustees last week by a group of law students about issues relating to making the climate more welcoming for "students of color." The letter was the subject of a story in today's issue of The News-Gazette.

The following is the full text of Ruscio's comments:



Last week, some members of the Board of Trustees and I received a letter from 12 Law School students expressing concerns about the climate for students of color at Washington and Lee.

In their letter, the law students issued the following four demands:

               1. That the University fully recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day on the undergraduate campus.
               2. That the University stop allowing neo-Confederates to march on campus with Confederate flags on Lee-Jackson Day and to stop allowing these groups to hold programs in Lee Chapel.
               3. That the University immediately remove all Confederate flags from its property, including those flags located within Lee Chapel.
               4. That the University issue an official apology for the University's participation in chattel slavery and a denunciation of Robert E. Lee's participation in slavery.

In recent days, reports about the students' demands have appeared in several media outlets, and additional media attention will likely be forthcoming.

I first want to assure the community that we take these students' concerns seriously. The issues they have raised are important, and we intend to address them.

Upon receipt of their letter, I immediately responded to the students and asked that, as a first step, a meeting take place with them and members of the University Committee on Inclusiveness and Campus Climate (UCICC). That committee, chaired by Marc Conner, associate provost, consists of students (both law and undergraduate) and members of the faculty, staff and administration. We created UCICC in 2008 as "an institutional platform to address issues of inclusiveness and diversity, in response to concerns within the campus community." Throughout this year, UCICC and the Office of Student Affairs have been holding focus groups with students to discuss some of the very issues that the law students are raising.

I also asked Provost Daniel Wubah to schedule a meeting with the law students.

As we consider these questions as a community, I think it is important to state several key facts as background for the discussions.

First, as you undoubtedly are aware, Washington and Lee does recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day each year with a University-wide MLK Legacy Week, which features a prominent guest speaker. This year, Donna Brazile spoke in Lee Chapel, on Jan. 26. Other recent speakers have included Terrence Roberts, Andrew J. Young and Julian Bond. In addition, we make available the panels, symposia and programs that we organize not only to the University community, but also to the Lexington-Rockbridge County community.

The Law School participates in the observance by holding its own programs and by cancelling classes on King Day.

We hold undergraduate classes on King Day. In accordance with the University's governing process, the faculty approves academic calendars and any adjustments to the class schedule. The law faculty controls the calendar in the Law School; the undergraduate faculty controls the undergraduate calendar. These two calendars are different in many respects, not just in terms of King Day.

Lee Chapel displays replicas of eight battle flags that represented different armies of the Confederate States of America, at the back of the chapel's main floor, near the statue called "The Recumbent Lee." These replicas are designed for historical and educational purposes. I am aware of no similar flags displayed anywhere else on our campus.

Based on Lee Chapel's policies for the use of the facility by non-University groups, a private group has reserved the chapel for a lecture on Civil War history as part of Lexington's community-wide events commemorating the Commonwealth of Virginia's holiday, Lee-Jackson Day. This is not a University-sponsored event, and W&L does not observe Lee-Jackson Day.

Finally, last year I impaneled a special committee to explore the history of African Americans at Washington and Lee and to provide a report to me and to the community. Elizabeth Knapp, senior assistant to the president, is convening that group. While we are aware of some of that history, I believe we should have a thorough, candid examination. That group has to date met in only a preliminary manner.

Let me conclude by reiterating that the students have raised important questions that relate to ongoing discussions at the University. I welcome their contributions and those of all members of the University community. I am certain we can address these matters in a manner that is both respectful and productive.

I welcome your thoughts on these issues.