Fluvanna Review

James Edward Fennell was arrested in connection with the shooting of his brother Saturday afternoon (April 9) at their home in the 1300 block of Bells Farm Lane near Cunningham, according to the Fluvanna County Sheriff’s Office.
James Fennell, 32, was charged with malicious wounding, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, shooting in an occupied dwelling, and reckless handling of a firearm, according to a sheriff’s office press release.
He is being held without bond at the Central Virginia Regional Jail in Orange.
The victim, Daniel Fennell, 34, was airlifted to the University of Virginia Medical Center after being shot at close range. Though he was initially in critical condition with life-threatening injuries, his condition was upgraded to stable the next morning.
The motive for the shooting is unclear, said Lt. David Wells of the sheriff’s office. “I don’t know what triggered the event,” he said. “There was obviously some sort of altercation. Once the victim gets a few days to recoup I’m going to talk to him. Hopefully that will shed a little light on what happened.”

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A unanimous fiscal year 2017 (FY17) budget vote seems unlikely, given that members of the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors staked out passionate yet opposite opinions on the tax rate Wednesday afternoon (April 6).
A landmark event, last year’s unanimous budget vote came from weeks of work sessions and intentional consensus building among supervisors. But though supervisors have had numerous budget discussions for FY17, their deeply-rooted beliefs seem unlikely to distill into a compromise path forward by April 20, which is when the Board intends to make its final decision.
“You can’t continue increasing the tax rates every year. You just cannot continue to do that,” said Supervisor Don Weaver when County Administrator Steve Nichols said that county staff recommends setting the FY17 real property tax rate at 91.4 cents or 92 cents per $100 valuation. The current tax rate is 89.9 cents.
“I really think that we should stay at 89.9 [cents] this year,” said Supervisor Trish Eager. “I think it’s a bad precedent for the public to see that taxes go up every year. There’s no ending.”
Supervisor Mozell Booker disagreed. “I will not support 89.9 [cents],” she said. “We can’t start cutting services for a few pennies.”
Chairman Mike Sheridan did not express an opinion on the tax rate. Supervisor Tony O’Brien was absent.

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Fluvanna Art Assoication members (front) Page Gifford, Maria Carter,Deborah Nixon, Gayle Bielanski (back) Loli Stams, Izzy Hickey, Mickey Meyer and Carolyn Brown.It was a long time in coming, but a small group of members from the Fluvanna Art Association finally spread their wings and traveled over to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. Member Gayle Bielanski, arranged for a private tour of a couple of exhibits the members were interested in, including the late 19th century and 20th century American art. The members looked in awe at the opulence reflected in the period of the late 19th century. Pam, their guide for the tour, explained this was commonplace for wealthy individuals to display their wealth openly. Pam skillfully combined elements of these periods, to complete an interesting art history as the members toured the American wing.

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Sheriff Eric Hess has good news for folks who want to stay safe during exchanges with people they don’t know.
Safe exchange zones are popping up throughout the county, Hess said, and he wants to bring one to Fluvanna County.
The monitored spot would provide folks with a safe place to meet a stranger to exchange money and goods after an online sale, for example. It would also be a safe, public place for a custody swap.
Hess hopes to take a couple of the parking spaces by the sheriff’s office and install cameras so that 911 dispatchers can keep an eye on the safe exchange zone. But since the dispatchers can’t watch the zone all the time, the video feed would be recorded. That way anything that happens in the safe exchange zone would be caught on camera.
Since the video cameras in the sheriff’s office are original to the building, which was constructed in 2003, Hess hopes to create the safe exchange zone in July in conjunction with an upgrade of all cameras in the office.
“Lots of people would be able to benefit from this,” said Hess. “Anybody can use it for anything, such as a court-ordered situation where you have to meet someone somewhere. It will be very public.”
Eventually Hess said he hopes to set up more safe exchange zones around the county, perhaps starting at Food Lion.

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Robert Lee Hourihan. File photoMissing for five years
The Fluvanna County Sheriff’s Department is again seeking help in finding Robert Lee Hourihan, who has been missing for five years.
“It is with regret that I send this plea, but April 8 marks five years since Robert Lee Hourihan disappeared,” said Lt. David Wells. “The sheriff’s office is still searching for that missing piece of the puzzle that may help bring closure for the Hourihan family and again is seeking help from the public.”
Hourihan was last seen around 8 a.m. on April 8, 2011, at E.W. Thomas Grocery Store in Palmyra. Hourihan was last seen wearing blue work pants and a grey work shirt with brown boots driving his wife’s 2004 white Chevy Cavalier with Virginia personalized tag of “TARAMAE,” according to a press release.
It was initially believed that Hourihan was travelling to work in Richmond that morning, but the investigation has revealed that may not have been the case. Hourihan was never seen again. Hourihan’s vehicle was later discovered abandoned in a Target Store parking lot in La Plata, Maryland on May 28, 2011. Even though five years have passed, those involved in this case still believe that there are persons out there with critical information in regards to this case, according to the press release. The case is still being investigated as a suspicious disappearance.
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