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The saying “be careful what you ask for” seemed at play at the School Board Budget seminar Friday (Jan. 19).

Often in response to Board member inquiries, Superintendent Chuck Winkler supplied so much information the seminar went over the allotted time by three hours.

All five members of the Board wanted to focus on salaries. Andrew Pullen (Columbia) also asked for specifics on the cost of athletics, career and technical education; Brenda Pace (Palmyra) on special education issues; and Chair Perrie Johnson (Fork Union) on evaluations, staffing ratios and alternative education.

Current budget
Winkler reported there is a low projected surplus of a half million dollars in the 2017-18 budget. When the last Board built the current budget, the governor talked about providing a 1.5 percent raise to school employees.
That did not happen, but the Board decided to include it anyway and find a way to give the money to employees, Winkler said. 

Operations costs have been low in a couple of the past months which also played into the surplus, he said.

Winkler proposed giving a 1 percent raise to all employees, with no employee receiving less than $300. That adds up to $280,000.

At the end of the school year, if there is still a surplus, Winkler proposed giving employees another bonus. He asked the Board for direction so he could bring back a solid proposal in the Feb. 14 meeting.

Pullen suggested using the money to work toward a long-term goal of giving raises and getting all staff on one pay scale. Right now they are on two. Johnson said she also preferred a raise over a bonus.

Winkler said if they did that, it would double next year’s budget because it would be a recurring cost. He reminded them those costs include retirement and FICA they’d be committed to providing.
“This money is here now; I can’t guarantee it’ll be there next year,” he said.
After discussing and deciding against capping the bonus for employees at the high end of the pay scale, the Board suggested a flat-rate bonus rather than one based on income.
Winkler said he’d work out the numbers and have them ready for the next meeting.
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Courtesy of fluvannasportsphotography.comBased on the final score of 28-34, it might be assumed that the Flucos and the Powhatan Indians engaged in a fierce defensive battle on Friday (Jan. 19). That was not really the case.

Certainly both teams worked hard on the defensive end. In fact, after the game Fluco Coach Chad White praised his team for its hard work on defense, but the low score was actually more the result of off nights from the field by both teams.

The Flucos do not rely too heavily on outside shooting, but in this game they had none. The ball just would not go down. Powhatan, which came in with an impressive 9-3 record, had similar problems. Each team made only one three-point shot for the night, and the Flucos’ came at the final buzzer.

The best part of the game for the Flucos was the first four minutes. The Flucos’ usual full court press caused some problems for the Indians early. Sophomore Kyia Scott scored two quick baskets for the Flucos for a 4-0 lead. One of Scott’s baskets came on nice pass from senior center Jamika Johnson. Sophomore forward Mya Wright was fouled on a rebound put back attempt and made two free throws for a 6-0 lead. Powhatan made two free throws to make it 6-2.

Fluco sophomore guard Nevaeh Ivory grabbed a defensive rebound and took the ball the length of the court for a lay-up and the Flucos led 8-2. With a little over half of the quarter remaining, the Indians called time out. In the final four minutes of the quarter a lay-up by Powhatan was the only score.

Ominously for the Flucos, Wright went down with a sprained ankle with three minutes left in the quarter. She would not return. The Flucos were already without sophomore point guard Jules Shepherd, who was out ill. As a result they had to play the vast majority of the game against a strong opponent with two starters sidelined.

In the second quarter, Powhatan bounced back and they outscored the Flucos 12-8 to tie the game at the half 16-16. Ivory had three in the quarter and Johnson had two free throws. Tahirah Amos, off the bench, had a nice jumper from the lane and freshman Caitlyn Broderick had a free throw, which ended the scoring in the quarter. Add a comment


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Mary Ann MarloweShe is a computer programmer by day but by night, Mary Ann Marlowe writes romance. As a writer, she is able to draw on many life experiences, including living in 12 U.S. states and abroad, including France. She studied French literature, taught French and tutored in German, was a college radio disc jockey, a webmaster, a blogger, and has a second degree black belt in karate. But one desire she was reluctant to pursue was writing a novel.

“One day my karate teacher asked, ‘What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?’ I would write,” said Marlowe. This question can lead to a revelation about the choices people make.

The thought of writing over 75,000 words was overwhelming for Marlowe but Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird changed all that.

“You are allowed to write garbage but you are writing,” she said. “It’s like driving down a road but don’t look too far ahead. Instead focus on what is right in front of you.”

Marlowe started the book and soon learned to write by writing. She also learned something else about herself during the process.

“With my first book I didn’t know where I was going until I was immersed in it,” she said. She discovered she was a pantser. A pantser is a writer who works impulsively without an outline. It is more spontaneous, going where the story and characters take the writer, rather than the writer dictating every scene. It’s not a style for every writer but many employ it.

“Drafting is the most challenging. Nothing relates to anything else and starting out is so daunting,” Marlowe said. She added that plotters often remedy this by creating an elaborate system to revise their work, like a spreadsheet or chart. Marlowe uses what she calls a beat sheet for writers, or a worksheet that provides guidance on things like layout, characters, progression, and relationships.

Marlowe can write a book in a month but it takes longer to revise. She said she could complete a book every three months but there is only so much that can be published in a short amount of time. She has written two books, Some Kind of Magic and Crazy Kind of Love, which are at Barnes & Noble and Amazon. She is currently working on Dating by the Book, which should be out next year. Add a comment


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Scottsville Even though there were plenty of activities during the month of December to keep everyone busy, the Scottsville town governing body remained dedicated to town business. There was activity in several ongoing projects and work begun on new projects – all destined to improve both the town itself and those who call it home.
With town finances in good shape, the Town Council made several expenditures over the past several months, each with the welfare of the town as the motivating factor.

Sidewalk project advances
With the approval of Town Council, the Timmons Group, a well-known civil engineering company based in Richmond, was enlisted to do a preliminary engineering study of a proposed sidewalk project linking “downtown” Scottsville to the “uptown” economic area.

Phase one of the project calls for a sidewalk with associated improvements from the area of Warren Street along Valley Street to the area of the intersection between Route 6 and Route 20. Phase two would continue from that point up Route 6 to James River Road.

The cost of phase one is estimated to be around $2 million while phase two would cost an additional $850,000. There are several grant programs available to funds projects such as this one. The Scottsville Planning Commission and town administrator, with the help of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, are working to find the best grant program to finance this project. Add a comment


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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