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Charles PayneWhen we think of Fluvanna history, we think of people like “Texas” Jack Omohundro, the Timberlakes, and other notables who designed buildings, fought in battle and blazed trails. Few ever mention those who came after, growing up in humble beginnings in rural Fluvanna. They were trailblazers of a different kind, who made sacrifices, withstood trials and faced obstacles. A woman named Chris was one of those people who is rarely talked about, but who made a significant impact in the lives of those who knew her.

In his book titled Chris, Charles Payne talks about Chris and her unique journey through life as a single mother and a woman who made it in a male-dominated world when it was difficult to do so.

“Chris was an extraordinary woman – a product of the Great Depression who had unflagging determination to improve her life and a can-do attitude,” said Payne. This inspired him to write her story.

The book opens around 1910. Payne sets the scene with the innovations, economy and society of that time, and the marriage of Chris’ parents in 1911. Chris was related to the Perkins and Morris families in Fluvanna.
Payne would not give too much away about his story, including Chris’ last name, where in Fluvanna she lived, or his relationship to her, but he did say the family suffered many hardships during the Depression.

“Chris had several siblings and during those years they suffered life-shattering losses and deprivation. They lost everything they had, forever altering the paths of their lives, and death stalked them,” said Payne. “Remember also, in World War II women did many men’s jobs. Chris was tall, slender, pretty, outgoing and kind hearted, but she was also fiercely tenacious and brighter than she or anyone else realized until her accomplishments began to be noticed.” Add a comment

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Cheryl ElliottI blame my brother. He was the one who proclaimed: “May 2016 be a year of adventure and blessing!” I had no choice but to respond with “challenge accepted,” and treat last year’s unexpected breast cancer diagnosis as both adventure and blessing.

For me, his proclamation became: “May this breast cancer adventure bring unusual and exciting experiences, bursting with God’s favor, protection and well-being!” Although he also said I was going through a lot of trouble just for a boob job! Brothers!

As it turns out, my breast cancer journey – in which I experienced the whole gamut:  chemotherapy and its ugly side effects, breast surgery, immune system collapse, and reconstruction – has brought both adventure (and some misadventure) and blessing. I’m told I’ve handled the diagnosis and treatment a little differently than most women, and I pray that sharing my journey will bring hope and encouragement. Here are a few ponderings from my cancer adventure.

Facing fears

A breast cancer diagnosis unleashes a storm of fears. Fear of the unknown: Did I cause this? What’s going to happen to me?  Fear of pain: Will it hurt? Fear of losing control. Fear of dying and fear of a life unlived. Information is often the antidote for fear because I am most afraid of what I don’t know. If I’m going to buy a refrigerator, I have to learn everything I can about refrigerators before making a final choice. The same is true when dealing with a diagnosis. Make decisions based on the information available and advice of doctors. Sorry, but “Doctor Google” should not be a trusted advisor.
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( 5 Votes )

Gov. McAulliffe and supportersClose to 500 people gathered on the lawn behind the Pleasant Grove House on a cool, sunny fall Saturday (Sept. 30) to support Democratic candidates for the upcoming Nov. 7 election.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) and other Virginia politicians urged the crowd to cast votes for local and statewide Democrats. Local candidates used the opportunity to ask for the crowd’s support.

Attendees at the Justice Jamboree and Crab Fest cracked fresh crabs, munched corn on the cob, and cheered as speaker after speaker drove home the pro-Democrat message.

“Virginia is the first state that gets to have an election in the Trump era,” said former Congressman Tom Perriello (D), who carried Fluvanna but lost the state in the June 13 governor primary. “Donald Trump’s election was a seismic step backwards for the ideas of justice and liberty for all.” Touching on the Aug. 12 neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, he said, “We have an opportunity… We need to send a very strong signal on Nov. 7 that this is not Virginia.”

Justin Fairfax (D), candidate for lieutenant governor, said his running mate and gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam (D) released a program called G3 that could benefit Fluvanna residents. G3, which stands for get skilled, get a job and give back, would allow students to obtain two free years of community college.

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( 3 Votes )

When I wrote my homework column, called “Dear school system: Let my son be a child” (Sept. 21 issue), I had no idea that my deep-rooted questions regarding the impact of public school life on childhood would resonant so profoundly with my neighbors.

The column rocketed to the top of the Fluvanna Review’s Facebook statistics, eventually becoming the highest-performing post in the paper’s history. The overwhelming response was even more notable because the post was an opinion column, not a shocking news story. Clearly I had struck a chord.

But I also had no idea when I wrote my column that anyone would think I was impugning the teacher who assigned the homework in question. In fact, I went out of my way to ensure that I did not. I mentioned multiple times my own experience as a teacher, made sure I spoke about school systems as a whole rather than teachers, and included the following paragraph at the end of the column. It bears repeating.

As a former teacher, I am keenly aware of the pressure dynamic in education. School Boards and superintendents bear down on principals and teachers. But they, in turn, can be held hostage to state and federal regulations that can tie desperately-needed money to test results. Though there is much to celebrate in public school systems, there is much that needs to change.

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In the end, 90 minutes just wasn’t enough.

At the Fluvanna library on Thursday (Sept. 28), local elected officials met with Delegates Lee Ware (65th District), Rob Bell (58th District), State Senator Mark Peake and a representative from Fifth District Congressman Tom Garrett’s office to talk about their hopes and dreams for the coming year.

With only 15 minutes to go, the group was still discussing the third of five items on their agenda.

It was a loaded agenda, made even heavier by what seemed like great ideas that just kept popping up – like partnering with Virginia Tech to do educational farming at Pleasant Grove.
Board of Supervisors Chair Mike Sheridan (Columbia) presided over the meeting that included the following agenda items:

  • Public school funding;
  • Local law enforcement: search warrants and applications for concealed hand gun permits;
  • Department of Education and Children’s Services Act funding; and
  • Zion Crossroads economic development opportunities and partnerships.

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