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GroundbreakingAt long last people gathered to turn over the first spade of soil signaling the Farm Heritage Museum is on its way.

On a chilly Wednesday (Jan. 10) afternoon, friends and family of John May, 95, pushed a golden shovel into the ground at Pleasant Grove.

“Because John’s doctors wouldn’t let him come today just means we can say more about him; brag about him a bit,” said Overton McGehee, May’s nephew.

May grew up on his family’s Fluvanna farm where he learned the art of horse farming.

He stayed home to keep the farm going while his brothers went to fight in World War II, McGehee said.

May, who at one time served on the Board of Supervisors, became interested in collecting old farm equipment. As his collection grew, he wanted others to enjoy it. That desire was the seed of Old Farm Day, first held in 1996 at Pleasant Grove.

So many attended Old Farm Day to see the old tractors, hand and field tools May collected, he thought of building a museum to house it.
May “wants us all to know the people we came from worked really, really hard and that we as people have always been innovating,” McGehee said. “In this museum you’ll see the evolution of farming from 1865 through 1965. Uncle John would want us to remember we always need to keep looking for new ways to plow the ground and improve what we produce.”

Marvin Moss, the president of the Fluvanna Historical Society executive committee, spoke to the crowd.

“When John May said he’d be willing to donate his collection, a group started raising money in 2011,” Moss said. “We started out with $70,000 in grants, and then raised $200,000 from people in Fluvanna County. This is a public-private partnership. Most jurisdictions don’t do this, but we do it well.”

The county put the project out to bid, and in November, awarded it to Fuog/Interbuild, Inc. At the same meeting, supervisors voted 4-1 to cover the difference between the $285,425 that had been raised and the anticipated final cost of $339,895. Add a comment

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Kyia Scott on defenseFluco Coach Chad White said that he had been encouraging sophomore guard Navaeh Ivory to be aggressive. Ivory took that advice to heart on Jan. 12 against the visiting Hornets from Orange County. She took the ball to the basket again and again in a James Hardin fashion. Not all her slashing attacks at the basket were successful, but there were plenty of good results. At halftime, the Fluco girls had a comfortable 36-20 lead and Ivory had posted 17 of her team’s points.

In the first quarter Ivory hit for nine points, scoring seven straight of the Flucos’ points in mid-quarter, including a three-point play and a lay-in on a nice feed from Mya Wright. The Fluco defense was strong and the Hornets turned the ball over and were forced into difficult shots. The Flucos led 16-8 after the first eight minutes.

The second quarter scoring started with a three-point basket by Fluco point guard Jules Shepherd, who, like Ivory, is only a sophomore. The Flucos had six players in the scoring column in the second quarter, as they outscored Orange 20-12 for their comfortable 16-point halftime lead. Ivory had eight in the quarter, while Shepherd had five.

In the third quarter, the Fluco offense seemed to sputter a bit. Orange showed some offensive punch and cut the lead to 12 at 40-28. However, the Flucos turned to sophomore back-up guard Maggie Wentz for two three-point shots and the quarter ended with the 12-point lead intact, at 48-36.

The Flucos outscored the Hornets 7-1 to start the fourth quarter and the game was effectively over. These seven points came on a three-point basket by Ivory and back-to-back scores inside by Kyia Scott, yet another sophomore. While Ivory led the scoring, Scott contributed 12 points. Next in scoring with eight was Destini Monroe, a freshman. Shepherd and Wentz had seven and six respectively. Add a comment

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SwimmersFluco swim Coach Feda Morton described the efforts of the girls’ and boys’ swim teams on Jan. 9 as “a great showing with stiff competition in every event.” The squads were competing at the University of Virginia in the annual and prestigious Ben Hair swim meet. Thirteen teams competed on the girls’ side while there were 15 teams in the boys’ competition. The girls finished third and the boys were sixth, but third among public schools.

Three girls broke school records in this event. Abby Harlow broke the Fluco school record in the 50-meter free sprint. Her time was 25.52, which was 0.07 seconds faster than the previous record held by Fefe Nardone. Harlow’s time was good enough to qualify her for the year-end State meet.

Swimming the 100-meter freestyle event, Abby Fuller finished in 54.67, cutting 0.85 seconds off her own school record. Caylyn McNaul also bested her own school record. She completed the long distance 500-meter freestyle event in 5:40.00. Her prior best was 5:42.67.

Harlow, Fuller and McNaul were not done with their record-breaking swims. Harlow also finished first in the 100-meter breaststroke, and sixth in the 100-meter butterfly. Fuller took fourth place in the 400-meter individual medley, and McNaul was fourth in the 100-meter breaststroke.
There were also a number of other top performances for the Flucos.

Emma DiFazio took third in the 100-meter backstroke. Zoe Moore was seventh in the 50-meter freestyle and the 100-meter freestyle. The girls also did well in relay events. The 200-meter medley team, consisting of DiFazio, McNaul, Harlow and Fuller, took second. The 200-meter free relay team, made up of Harlow, Moore, McNaul and Fuller, took third.

The top swimmer for the boys was Hunter Strickland. He finished fifth in the 100-meter butterfly and sixth in the 200-meter individual medley – both difficult events. The boys also had two relay teams finish in the point count. The 200-meter free relay team was eighth, as was the 400-meter free relay team. The 200-meter team consisted of Owen Strickland, Joshua Rocklien, Jack Kershner and Hunter Strickland. The 400-meter relay team consisted of Rhett Jones, Matthew Snead, Gabriel Nardone and Kershner.

The swim teams participated in a Jan. 13 meet at Spotswood High and will travel there again for a Jan. 20 meet. There will be dive competitions at Woodberry Forest and at Harrisonburg on Jan. 20 and Jan. 26. The last swim meet before the District, Region and State meets in February will be Jan. 27 at Harrisonburg.


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Arts Faces2017 saw some big changes for many of the performing and visual arts in Fluvanna County, beginning with the departure of Warren Johnson, who stepped down as president of the Persimmon Tree Players (PTP) after nearly 13 years. Beth Sherk took his place and at first was reluctant in her new role, but has emerged stronger with a vision for a new destination for the group that builds on its successes. Always an optimist with a goal, she has teamed up with other PTP members who are looking out for PTP’s best interests in the coming year.

Sherk brings a fresh, energetic perspective to PTP, whereas Johnson was a stabilizing force who helped build the group back up to the well-respected community theater group it once had been. Sherk and fellow PTP member George Gaige are keeping the engine going.

PTP and the Fluvanna County Arts Council (FCAC) have also forged an alliance with 18-year-old theater wunderkind, Jessica Harris, who started the children’s theater group Empowered Players. Both PTP and FCAC see this as a milestone, encouraging young people and training them in the theater arts. PTP is hoping to eventually have some of her students join them and cut their teeth on a larger, more intense production.

Gaige, Sherk and Sharon Harris are working with FCAC on future projects to bring people in and introduce them to the magic of theater and music. With this addition of newcomers and innovative ideas, President Adele Schaefer feels the future is looking brighter for the performing arts.

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Christopher WhiteThe Fork Union Volunteer Fire Department voted Christopher White, 27, its newest fire chief.

White, who has volunteered with the department for more than nine years, said he’s happy to have the responsibility, but he’s not sure it’s worth a story.
White is uncomfortable tooting his own horn.

A surgical technician at University of Virginia Medical Center, White is the first black person to hold the title of chief in the Fluvanna Volunteer Fire Department. The position came open when Frankie Hackett stepped down.

As a black woman, Fluvanna County Supervisor Mozell Booker has broken a few boundaries herself. The most recent was when she was voted to serve as the chair of the Board of Supervisors.

Booker said she’s known White’s family for years.

“He’s just a fine young man and comes from a wonderful family,” she said. ”He was raised by a single mom. He was an usher at our church. He’s a typical, all-American young man.”

Mike Brent is the chief over the entire Fluvanna County Volunteer Fire Department.

“He’s a good man. I think the guys and girls follow him. He’s well respected and he has the training and credentials to be the chief,” Brent said, offering his thoughts on why White’s peers elected him.

Brent said the position of chief comes with no pay or perks. “There’s no pay, just more responsibility,” he said.

More than 150 firefighters volunteer in Fluvanna, which includes Palmyra, Fork Union, Kents Store and Lake Monticello. Brent said Lake Monticello has its own charter, but operationally he includes them in the numbers.

“We could always use more” volunteers, he said. “As is typical of a volunteer department, people are in and out.”

Brent said his organization is polling the volunteers to see what incentives they could be offered that would help attract and keep members.

Right now, the only incentive offered is that the county pays the personal property tax of the vehicle the volunteer uses to drive to and from the station or fire.

“We’re looking down the road – looking at financial stipends or educational opportunities,” Brent said.

But right now, he’s happy White stepped up and agreed to serve in Fork Union’s top spot.

The Fluvanna Review asked White about his role as Fork Union chief. Add a comment

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