Fluvanna Review

Sage Garden owners Roberta and John Mann and their golden retriever Tara.The proposal. It’s one of those family stories their now grown children have heard countless times. John and Roberta attended the same high school in New Jersey, but never met until they ran into each other in Colorado several years later. They started dating and discovered how much they had in common. When John felt it was time to pop the big question, Roberta had a question for him.

“Yes, but only if we live on a farm,” she replied. “I’m going back East to be closer to my family, and I’m going to buy a farm. Are you on board?”

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The Fluvanna Historical Society archives collection. Photo by Tricia Johnson“Mama,” the letter begins, “I suppose you will have heard before this reaches you of the fight we had yesterday at Greenbrier River.” The letter was written by a Confederate soldier – Fluvanna doctor Richard C. Bowles - in 1861. In the letter, Bowles described the details of the battle, asked after family and community members, and sent information about other members of his unit, the Virginia 44th. The battle was part of Lee’s campaign at Cheat Mountain in what is now West Virginia.
This fragile, faded letter, the most recent accession to the Fluvanna Historical Society, is just one of the history-rich treasures to be found in the archives collection.
The archives collection of the Fluvanna Historical Society is kept in “Maggie’s House,” built in 1854, in Palmyra’s Court Square. The archives room is part of an addition built onto Maggie’s House in the early 1900s.
“The Archive room” said Historical Society Executive Director Judith Mickelson, “was originally used in the early 1900s as the Palmyra Post Office, hence the exterior door and the little porch, as a separate entrance.” One entire wall of the archive room is lined with shelves, which hold archival boxes filled with ephemera – paper items like letters, meeting minutes, and photographs. All in all there are over 100 boxes of carefully maintained papers pertinent to the history of Fluvanna County.
Mickelson describes the collection as “impressive” and calls the archives the society’s “most prized asset.”
These archives are open to the public, and the society’s archive volunteers will assist visitors to Maggie’s House with any research they wish to do. Volunteers also handle research requests that come in by mail or email, or telephone. Requests come from all over the country – sometimes from outside of the country – and are sent in by genealogists, amateur historians, doctoral students, and writers.
“The service we provide to the public is well-known and well-respected,” said Mickelson. “Researchers of family history, descendants of early Fluvanna families, other historical societies and curious history lovers are able to utilize the collection to help further their inquiries.”
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Kelly Williams owns the Painted Horse Ranch.The Painted Horse Ranch Bed and Breakfast isn’t all things to all people, but it could be exactly what you need.

Kelly and Mike Williams own the Painted Horse Ranch just east of the Hardware River on Rt. 6. They call it home and so do about a dozen horses the couple train. Kelly envisioned having a place on their peaceful ranch for people who come to have their horses trained could stay and relax.

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Lake candidatesLake Monticello Owners Association members will vote for two new board members on June 30. Running for the two seats are Dick Cummings, Page Gifford and Charles Harrelson. The election will fill vacancies created by the expiration of the second three-year term of Don Fickes and the vacant term created by the resignation of Benita Ellen in January.

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Fluvanna County schools could be at the forefront of a “Make to Learn” revolution in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education across the nation, thanks to a $3 million “Investing in Innovation” grant awarded to Charlottesville City, Albemarle County, and Fluvanna County schools jointly.
“Fluvanna County Public Schools joined forces with Albemarle County and Charlottesville City Schools to develop a $3 million ‘Investing in Innovation’ (or ‘i3’) grant from the U.S. Department of Education,” according to a press release from Albemarle County schools. “The purpose of this grant is to develop more experiences for students in Grades 6 through 8 in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Fluvanna will begin implementation of the program in Grade 8 beginning second semester of the 2015-16 school year with plans in future years to expand to the lower grade levels.” The consortium was one of three public school applicants in the nation to receive the grant, for which there were 450 applicants.
Funds or in-kind donations will be added to the $3 million over three years as matching grants in the amount of $450,000.
The University of Virginia and the Smithsonian Institute also play a role in this program as technical advisors. Funds will be used to purchase advanced 3D printers, computers, or laser cutters, and for professional development to teach educators instructional methods using this new model.
“Those grants were extremely competitive,” said Fluvanna School Superintendent Gena Keller. “We worked together very closely with Albemarle County schools and Charlottesville city schools – we had teams of people working together to make this grant happen for our students.” She added that she thought this grant application garnered interest because it included an unusual mix of urban, suburban, and rural students who would be impacted by the funding. “We brought three school systems together with a single focus, but with very different students,” said Keller.
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