Fluvanna Review

Candidates Page Gifford, Dick Cummings and Charles Harrelson stood at the meeting where election results were announced. Charles Harrelson and Dick Cummings were elected as directors of the Lake Monticello Owners’ Association, the LMOA announced Saturday (June 30).

The LMOA oversees the huge Lake Monticello subdivision in Fluvanna County.

Harrelson, a retired businessman, garnered 811 votes. Cummings, a retired CPA, got 810 votes. Page Gifford, a freelance writer and community volunteer, received 430 votes.

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Leslie, Christy and George Cushnie enjoy their new tasting room. Photo by O.T. Holen.Fluvanna’s only winery is growing more than grapes.

Thistle Gate owners George and Leslie Cushnie have opened a tasting room, though the official grand opening is scheduled for early October.

 

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Lake Monticello Owners’ Association (LMOA) has taken a position in opposition to the application by Aqua Virginia to increase its water and sewer rates. In November 2011, Aqua Virginia filed with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) for a statewide increase averaging 9.9%. The increase for Lake Monticello residents would be more than 13% for water and more than 11% for sewer. The application comes just months after Aqua Virginia attempted to impose ownership of grinder pumps onto homeowners. Aqua Virginia‘s last rate increase was approved in October 2010.

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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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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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