Fluvanna Review

Local EatsMembers of the county business community, government, and a bunch of hungry Fluvannans turned out on Thursday (Aug. 24) to celebrate the official opening of Local Eats on Joshua Lane in Palmyra.

Owner Amy Myers said she got the idea for the micro-restaurant and grocery after visiting The Store in Staunton last February. Opened in 2012 by John and Stella Matheny, the farm-to-table cafe/grocery has become a popular spot for Staunton foodies, and Myers soon found herself asking the Mathenys about the nuts and bolts of their business.

“Finally I decided, why not do it?” said Myers. “Sink or swim.”

Working with the support of the Fluvanna business development community and the Small Business Development Center, she got underway earlier this year in the space formerly occupied by the Christian Outreach Thrift Shop. Add a comment

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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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Jeffrey BlandJeffrey Bland is one of those people whom one might call a modern day Renaissance man. As an architectural designer and draftsman, Bland looks around in his environment for ideas on style and improvement. For example, he didn’t buy bamboo brushes to do his Sumi-e Japanese ink painting, he crafted his own bamboo brushes using deer and elk hair. He pursues his curiosity.

Born in Queens, N.Y., Bland showed design talent at an early age and in high school, his art teacher influenced him with her encouragement.

“She pushed me to draw objects and subjects I was uncomfortable with or felt I couldn’t do,” he said. “I have always had an interest in art and that led me into architecture.”

He received an associate’s degree in architectural design and engineering theory and ended up working for a mechanical, architectural, consulting and engineering firm as a mechanical designer and draftsman.

“After school there were positions open in the architectural and mechanical disciplines. The salary for the mechanical position was paying more than the architectural position so being young and single I went the mechanical route, but always maintained my love for art and would draw, paint and sculpt as a hobby,” he said.

As a mechanical designer he became part of the design team for new work and renovations of HVAC systems for commercial and federal buildings, including the United Nations building and World Trade Center in New York, the patent and trademark office complex in Alexandria, the Forensic Medical Center of Maryland, air traffic control towers, and renovation of the Pentagon.

He said the most challenging part of what he does is finding resources to help him figure out something he wants to do but has no idea where to begin. Add a comment

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altWith a new round of Aqua Virginia rate hikes on the horizon, the Lake Monticello Owners’ Association (LMOA) is moving fast to minimize the impact on area residents.

Within 24 hours of learning about Aqua’s proposed 7.4 percent rate increase, the LMOA Board of Directors voted to form an ad hoc committee to organize the community’s response. Board President Rich Barringer will serve as liaison to the committee. Former Board member Mike Harrison will serve as committee chair. 

About 15 members of the community met with Harrison at Fairway Clubhouse Thursday night (Sept. 14) to learn more about the plan of attack and decide if they wanted to join the committee.

“The chances of us eliminating the rate increase is exactly zero, but we can probably reduce it,” Harrison said.

Aqua’s rate case brings back the water and wastewater infrastructure service charge (WWISC), which was denied by the State Corporation Committee (SCC) in 2015. The additional charge, which could be as high as 10 percent of the average customer bill, would be used to fund capital improvements. Harrison said he believes the community can fight the implementation of WWISC.

Harrison outlined the series of steps the committee will have to take between now and May 2018.

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Percentage of Fluvanna school-aged children not in public school lower than national average

One School Board candidate intimated students are leaving Fluvanna County Public Schools (FCPS) in droves.

Is that true?

Like most things, there are no simple answers.  Multiple factors go into a parent’s choice to homeschool or send a child to private school.

Six Fluvanna families agreed to tell their stories of why they don’t send their children to public schools. While each story is unique, most had two things in common: a dissatisfaction with their public school experience and a desire for more control over what their child learned and how it was taught.

Here are some facts:

FCPS are one of only 22 Virginia districts fully accredited four years in a row.

The FCPS on-time, overall graduation rate in 2017 was 97.4 percent, placing it fourth out of 132 districts. FCPS students categorized as disadvantaged graduated at 98.7 percent; black students graduated at 100 percent.
There are 169 Fluvanna school-aged students going to five private schools in Fluvanna: Fork Union Military Academy (FUMA), Effort Christian School, Open Door Christian School, The Light Academy and Saint Nicholas Learning Center.

There are 228 students who are homeschooled and 55 who have a religious exemption from attending public school.

All told, there are 452 school-aged children in Fluvanna who are either homeschooled or attend a private school in Fluvanna.

Nationally in 2016, 10 percent of school-aged children attended private schools and 3.4 percent were homeschooled – totaling 13.4 percent of children who don’t attend public schools. That’s according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Add a comment

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