Fluvanna Review

B.E. Peterson.  Photo by Christina Dimeo GusemanWhen Bouson E. Peterson, Jr., Fluvanna County’s Clerk of the Circuit Court for over 26 years, retires at the end of his term on Dec. 31, an era in the clerk’s office will come to a close.
A courtly, kind-hearted gentleman, Peterson, 69, has led his clerk’s office to a place in which it regularly earns praise from those who use its services. In fact, sometimes his clerk’s office is even referred to as the best in the state.
The commitment to excellent customer service, Peterson said, is shared by his seven “honest, dedicated, devoted, energetic, and hard-working” deputy clerks. “I really am gratified by their commitment to serve the public in a very cordial and meaningful manner,” he said. “I can very honestly state that my current staff is the very best staff which I have had in my 26 years of service here.”
Perhaps Peterson’s biggest contribution to Fluvanna County is the new courts building in Palmyra. Dedicated in 2001, the new courts building embodied Peterson’s highest moment as clerk, when he realized that his “dream of Fluvanna County having a beautiful, functional, and handicapped-accessible new courthouse had come true.”
Peterson, who played a pivotal role in bringing the courts building into existence, said, “Because I consider it to be such an incredible and wonderful building, I consider my very deep involvement in the planning, design and construction phases to be my greatest legacy. I have been told by retired judges from all over the state that it is the most beautiful court facility that they have ever seen.”
Helping to create the new facility was certainly a high watermark for Peterson. On a more day-to-day basis, in addition to working with his beloved staff, he said he enjoys “serving the public and not having to charge them for my assistance, like I had to do when I practiced law before I became the circuit court clerk.” His clerk’s office often does not charge a fee for services that would cost money in other counties.
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Lake Monticello Police Chief Thomas BoisvertLake Monticello Owners Association meetings have taken on a different flair under Valerie Palamountain’s leadership.

Palamountain now has each department head reporting to the Board at the monthly meeting and that includes crime statistics from Lake Police Chief Thomas Boisvert.
“I introduced it – asking police, maintenance, and finance to make the reports,” Palamountain said. “(General Manager) CatherIne  Neelley will give reports on the big things. It makes for a more open board.”

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The Fluvanna School Board learned at its Wednesday, Aug. 12 meeting that their budget is “on track” according to Fluvanna Schools Finance Director Ed Breslauer.
“This is actually one of the first years since I’ve been here where the revenue over the summer was enough so that we didn’t have to use any of the county’s money to get through July,” Breslauer said.
The Board emphasized that the overage was not because the budget had not been well planned, but because of lower than expected fuel costs and higher than expected Average Daily Membership (ADM.) Local school systems receive compensation from the Commonwealth for each day attended by each student, so student attendance has a direct impact on the budget.
The School Board is considering using some of that overage to give staff a one-time bonus. “I would like to see numbers run for how much it would cost to give every staff member $300, $400, or $500 extra,” said School Board Chair Washington. “This is a stipend - this is a one-time thing,” Washington emphasized, concerned that staff would come to expect the bonus annually.
“That was my first thought,” said Board Member Brenda Pace, referring to the overage. “If we could do something to compensate staff … this would be the opportunity to do it with the money we have now,” she said. “Certainly I think it is something worth talking about. “
“I think it would be a great morale booster,” said Board Member Charles Rittenhouse. “I think it should be a flat rate – the same for everybody,” he added.
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Without much warning, Two J’s Smokehouse closed Sept. 1.

But barbeque lovers don’t despair, Two J’s is reopening around the corner in the same building, said co-owner Megan Ball.

 

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Initial SOL scores are back for Fluvanna County Public School students, and the news is mostly positive.
Fluvanna Middle School exceeded the state averages in 5 of the 7 areas tested by the Standards of Learning (SOL) examinations according to a press release from Fluvanna County Public Schools. Fluvanna County High School met or surpassed state averages in 11 of the 17 areas tested.
According to a Virginia Department of Education Website, SOLs “describe the Commonwealth’s expectations for student learning and achievement in grades K-12 in English, mathematics, science, history/social science, technology, the fine arts, foreign language, health and physical education, and driver education.” Schools that do not meet specific criteria in SOL test results can lose their accreditation. SOL testing was prompted by the Commonwealth’s participation in the “No Child Left Behind” educational program launched in 2002 by President George W. Bush.
The mathematics assessment was passed by 82 percent of Fluvanna’s students, with a 7 point increase over last year’s numbers. This exceeds the state passing average of 79 percent. Grades 5 and 8 saw a 20 and 17 point increase respectively. Grades 3 and 7 improved their test scores by 9 points each. In all, students exceeded state averages in grades 4, 5, 6, and 8, and in Algebra I and Geometry. Students earned scores of 80 percent or higher on 7 of the 9 areas tested in mathematics.
Black students in Fluvanna schools made a 15 point gain in mathematics achievement compared to the previous school year. Decreasing the achievement gap between white and black students in mathematics, Fluvanna’s black students surpassed the state average by 6 points with a score of 73 percent.
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