Fluvanna Review

Watercolor painting by Linda BethkeArtist Linda Bethke has her own philosophy when it comes to her watercolor paintings. She shared her thoughts and discussed her style and techniques at the monthly meeting of the Fluvanna Art Association (May 19).

She began talking about the unusual circumstances that led her to art as well as music in her childhood.

“When you can’t run and play you draw and play the piano,” she said, leaving some curious as to what she meant. She was told at an early age she would never walk due to deformed feet and twisted ankles. There seemed to be nothing that could be done for her club feet. The daughter of a military doctor, he found the only surgeon who could do the surgery but was told by the surgeon, “You can’t afford me.” That did not deter her parents who, through the Shriners, were able to have this surgeon perform what was close to a miracle for Bethke.

Once past the hurdles of her physical problems, Bethke could run and play but still chose to make art her focus. But when it came time for her to go to college her parents, like many, were skeptical that anyone could make a living from art, no matter how gifted.

“My father was a practical man, so I went to college and became a teacher and taught third grade,” she said. While she taught she continued to share her love of art with her students, which kept her passion alive.

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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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The Fourth of July this year was dreary and overcast with frequent periods of drizzle and some short bursts of heavy rain. Athletes at Lake Monticello were undeterred.

The annual Spirit 5K run came off on schedule at 7 a.m. Although it drizzled before the start, the runners were mostly dry during the event. The threatening weather did reduce the number of participants this year, but a substantial 164 athletes participated.

 

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Pickleball players ready for servePickleball is reportedly the fastest growing sport in the United States. You can now play this fast-moving, but not overly-taxing, sport in Fluvanna County and at Lake Monticello. The game is played on a downsized tennis court and folks are playing it indoors at Carysbrook and outdoors at the Lafayette tennis courts at Lake Monticello.

This game is becoming very popular with retirees because players can get some exercise and can work up a sweat, but they do not have to do a lot of running or lunging. Pickleball is played with a plastic wiffle ball that is about the size of a softball. The ball is volleyed with a solid wooden racquet, like a paddleball racquet. Add a comment

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To the casual observer driving through Fluvanna’s historic yet shabby little river community of Columbia, it may not appear that much is being done to improve conditions there. Fluvanna County Administrator Steve Nichols says just the opposite is true; progress is being made – it just can’t see be seen yet

“We are just in the preliminary phases of the process,” Nichols said, referring to the county’s plans to use grant money from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to purchase blighted properties in the flood zone and tear them down. The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC) has worked with the county to obtain the grant and is assisting with the administration of it. Add a comment

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