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BatteauBrian Coffield is keeping Fluvanna’s batteau history alive.

He bought and helped restore a batteau that he plans on guiding down the James River starting June 17 from Lynchburg to Maiden’s Landing in Goochland. Coffield and his crew of six, along with up to 24 other batteaux, will make the 120-mile trip in eight days as a part of the 32nd Batteau Festival. John Wilkinson, who lives in Lake Monticello, is part of Coffield’s crew.

Coffield christened his batteau the Queen Anne, taking his cue from the Rivanna River, named after the Queen of England.

Coffield works part-time as an attendant at the Pleasant Grove House Museum telling visitors about Fluvanna’s rich history of using batteaux to take goods from farmers to Richmond.

The batteau (French for boat) was designed flat-bottomed and pointed at each end. It was powered and steered with long oars or sweeps at the front and back.  The design allowed for easy navigation in the shallow rocky waters of the Rivanna, James and other rivers throughout the east.

The boats ruled river waters from 1775 to 1840 when canal locks, then trains, brought more efficient means of transportation.

While people have long been interested in batteaux, the modern era started when construction workers at a site in Richmond unearthed more than 40 of the vessels, Coffield said.

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VoteFluvanna voters have the opportunity to select candidates for Virginia governor and lieutenant governor during the Democratic and Republican primaries held Tuesday (June 13).

Turnout for primaries is notoriously low. But the fact that fewer people exercise their right to vote in a primary means that every vote carries more weight. Voting in a primary, therefore, is a significant way for voters to make their voices heard.

Primary voting is easy to do. Fluvanna voters should show up at their regular precinct on Tuesday between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Rivanna District voters should note that their precinct, which has changed twice in recent years, is the Maple Room of the Lake Monticello Fire House.

Virginia voters do not register as Republicans or Democrats. Voters may participate in either primary, but they must choose only one.
A valid photo identification (ID) is required. Acceptable forms of photo ID include:

  • Virginia driver’s license;
  • Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles-issued photo ID;
  • U.S. passport;
  • Employer-issued photo ID;
  • Virginia voter photo ID;
  • Other U.S. or Virginia government-issued photo ID; and
  • Student photo ID issued by a school, college or university located in Virginia. Add a comment


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Job huntersEven though Fluvanna’s unemployment rate is only 3.1, people are still looking for work.

So the Virginia Employment Commission held a job fair June 2 at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church near Lake Monticello.

More than 40 people showed up to visit nearly 20 employers hoping to hire.

Anthony Edmonds said he was thinking about a career change and stopped by to check things out. “I’m looking for possible opportunities,” he said. “They need to have more job fairs here because some people can’t make it to Charlottesville.“

Flora Cardwell and Tammy Richardson represented the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women. Cardwell, the human resource manager, said it was a good experience to prepare her for the Correctional Center job fair June 14.

“This is excellent exposure for us,” she said. “Our job fair is all day, from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. We have lots of openings and will be making offers on the spot.”

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Shaun Cobb, Natalie Hughes, Nathan Carney, O'nae Harris and Conner DobbinsEven though the school year is over, Fluco athletes turned out in force on May 30 for the annual year-end banquet for spring sports teams. Darren McCauley assumed the master of ceremonies duties, as Scott Morris was attending a Fluco softball play-off game. The usual format was followed, as each coach was called to the microphone to supply a brief report on how the season went and to acknowledge the team’s top performers and honorees.

The most honors were garnered by the girls’ track and field squad under the tutelage of Coach Rose Brogan. Brogan announced that her squad finished second at the Region 3A West meet.

Top performances were turned in by a host of athletes. Matasha Martin had an outstanding meet. She was the Regional champion in the long jump with a school record-tying leap of 18 feet, 1.5 inches. She also gained All-Region recognition in the 100-meter dash and the 100-meter hurdles. Add a comment


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Susan Carol KentA bookworm since childhood, author Susan Carol Kent (formerly Susan Snead) has a passion for books and writing which has finally led her to publish her first novel, a mystery set in the charming fictional river town of Potoma, Va., inspired by Colonial Beach, Va.

“I have written poetry and stories since I first learned to form sentences,” she said. Her debut novel, “Bad Neighbors,” highlights a sinister plot with unexpected twists and turns to keep the reader guessing as to who murdered a popular teenager in town. Her two protagonists, officers Katie Bell and Anna Madrid, are ideal for an ongoing series. Though Kent is pursuing other ideas, she hasn’t ruled out a series if the book takes off.

Kent said she begins her writing process with an idea, but has no set vision or outline to follow to the end. The story and the characters take wing and fly and she follows. Authors like Kent are known as “pansters,” a term used to describe writers who write stories by the seat of their pants.

Kent likes to use places she has been to or lived and use them in her stories. A historian, she is currently working on a different novel set at Maymont in Richmond. She focuses on the Dooley family, the prominent family who owned Maymont and functioned as the movers and shakers of their day during the latter part of the 19th and early 20th century.

“Nothing is known about the Dooleys, except he was a prominent lawyer who had many ties to the community, but Mrs. Dooley before her death in 1923 destroyed all letters, mementos and any personal items,” she said. “No one knows why and as a result no one knows anything personally about the family.”

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