Fluvanna Review

altIt could hardly have been closer. On Tuesday (Aug. 29) the Fluco volleyball team edged the Barons from Bluestone High in Mecklenburg County by a final score of 3-1. The scores of each game were 25-22, 25-21, 19-25 and 28-26. In other words, over four games the Flucos scored 97 points and the Barons scored 94.

The Flucos had a number of top performers. Senior Abby Sherman was outstanding at the net with 11 kill shots. Joining her with an impressive performance up front was junior Christina Walker who had seven kills and five blocks. Katie Morris was the strongest server for the Flucos, recording five aces. Candice Shaheen, the libero for the Flucos, was in Coach Christi Harlowe-Garrett’s words “amazing” on defense.  In fact, Shaheen set a new school record for digs in a single match. Her 50 digs allowed setters Delaney Reed and Lindsey Ward to put the ball up high for Sherman and Walker. Harlowe-Garrett said she was very pleased with the play of these setters.

It immediately became clear that the two teams were evenly matched. As the game progressed, neither team could get much of an advantage. In fact, at no point in the game did either team lead by more than three points. Add a comment

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Michael WestmorelandMichael Westmoreland first discovered ventriloquism at 10 years old when he received an Emmett Kelly puppet and ventriloquism instructions for Christmas. Jay Johnson from Soap, a television show, inspired Westmoreland to become a ventriloquist. Like many ventriloquists, his goal is to entertain and make people laugh.

Ventriloquism evokes images of Edgar Bergen, Charlie McCarthy and Paul Winchell with Knuckle Head, Jerry and buxom blond Tessie.

“Don Knotts and Johnny Carson had been ventriloquists,” Westmoreland said. “Actually Edgar Bergen was not that good and was often moving his lips when Charlie was talking. But then he was on the radio so no one really knew.”

Westmoreland admired Paul Winchell, who revolutionized ventriloquism. He and his contemporaries agree that learning ventriloquism is a fraction of the skill – learning to be funny and entertaining is key.

Considered a late 18th century and early 19th century stagecraft, ventriloquism gained popularity in Vaudeville. Ventriloquism is the act of “throwing one’s voice,” and is less of a trick and more of an actor’s art. Changing voice, switching character and acting along with the figure are seen nowadays as more of an art form than a quirky novelty.

Decades later, ventriloquists like Jeff Dunham and Terry Fator are keeping ventriloquism energized and novel. Many, including Westmoreland, have added singing. His figure, Scotty, loves to sing and does it quite well. But the magic comes in staging a performance. Add a comment

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Don’t get me wrong. I value education. I plead with my children to do their homework, to think about their future, and to deal with short-term pain (homework) for the sake of long-term gain (happiness through a successful life).

But sometimes I question the lengths to which our school systems go to make this happen.

When do kids get to be kids? Must they spend their childhood in a perpetual state of overscheduled goal-oriented activities? Experts warn us against this, but frankly, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to cut out of the schedule, especially when particular homework assignments come home. 

I am divorced so my kids split their time between my house and their father’s. Because of our work schedules and the fact that I am no longer a stay-at-home mom, the kids now spend most of their afternoons at day care after school. Monday is the only day that they can count on coming home on the school bus and being little kids the way they used to be.

So is it any wonder that, given their affinity for gluing themselves mindlessly to screen time, I let them use Monday afternoons to set out on their bicycles and explore the neighborhood with the children who live nearby? I could, of course, tell them that homework comes first, but by the time they’re done with their assignments their friends will be inside for dinner – and the one afternoon my children have in the week to whittle sticks with friends and throw rocks into the woods will be lost.

I don’t want to teach them that homework – and by extension, school – robs them of their one afternoon to play outside as normal kids. They need to value the education that school provides. But they also need to value time in the woods after school with friends, unencumbered by adult responsibilities.

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Alden BigelowOne day local author Alden Bigelow wrote a short story that dealt with animal cruelty and animal rights. Eventually it developed into his current novel, The Great American Mammal Jamboree.

“It just evolved into a novel as my characters and their thoughts grew larger and larger in my mind,” he said. The book is written from the perspective of animals, both wild and domesticated. Most of the book is told through the point of view of a springer spaniel named Jessie. Jessie is chosen partly because of his affinity and ability to bond with humans on a different level than most wild animals.

“My favorite character was Jessie, because he is a great narrator and a good dog and a close personal friend of mine,” said Bigelow.
The animals come together for a jamboree and, though some express their disenchantment with humans and their cruelty and misunderstanding of animals, Jessie cautions them that they need to be open to promoting peaceful, friendly compromise.

“This is about animals learning to work together in order to teach and persuade” humans, Bigelow said.

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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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