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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The toxicology report has confirmed that the mysterious death of Brandon Chad Bruce in a July 3 car fire was indeed accidental.
Bruce’s cause of death was carbon monoxide and smoke inhalation, Fluvanna County Sheriff Eric Hess said.
Though Bruce had “a little bit” of alcohol in his system, Hess said, it was below DUI-level. He may have had a drink or two that evening, Hess continued, but “nothing that would impair him.”
At 1 a.m. on July 3 firefighters found Bruce’s remains in the driver’s seat of a blazing 1995 Lexus parked behind his home on Rising Sun Road.
Fluvanna investigators determined that just after midnight Bruce, 34, drove home from a neighbor’s house in his grandmother’s car. But in the course of navigating the winding road in the dark, two of his wheels ran off the side, causing him to bang up the bottom of his car on a culvert. Though he was able to drive the car home – only 350 yards away – there was significant damage to the wiring, the exhaust system, and the fuel lines.
It’s possible that something in the car began to smolder before Bruce even made it home, investigators believe. But Bruce, unaware of the danger he was in, remained in the idling car, which was slowly filling with carbon monoxide causing him to lose consciousness just before the smoldering damage sparked into an intense fire.
“It was a tragic accident,” Hess said.

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Ag teacher Russell Jennings. Photo by Tricia JohnsonTucked away behind the high school is a large, hoop-style greenhouse where Fluvanna’s seasoned agriculture teacher is planting seeds of inspiration in his students’ lives.
Russell Jennings certainly looks the part. Wearing denim and an impressive beard, this fast talking, energetic man moves through the greenhouse with surprising grace. “Right now we’ve got just a few things growing,” he said, gesturing towards flats filled with the ruffled leaves of lettuce and upright basil plants. The “winter room” – about a third the length of the full greenhouse – is partitioned off with plastic sheeting to save on heating costs through the winter.
Oddly enough, this largely rural community, with its rich history of farming, went almost 20 years without an agriculture program in its schools. Fluvanna’s agricultural community, led by the Farm Bureau, worked with Fluvanna schools to reintroduce agriculture courses into the curriculum. Fluvanna High School now offers four agriculture classes; since this is the second year the program has been in place, only the first two courses are currently being taught. The school system scored a coup when they persuaded Jennings, a Virginia Tech graduate with a degree in agriculture education and 15 years of experience teaching agriculture in Central Virginia, to come head their new agriculture program in 2013.
“Our local Farm Bureau has advocated for putting Ag back into our schools since I came to Fluvanna in 2010,” said Superintendent Gena Keller. “Our School Board agreed that it was a priority. Ag is one of many courses that offers our students an opportunity to participate in meaningful instruction and provides footing for lifelong skills - even a career. Our agriculture classes are hands-on,” Keller added, “and bring a level of student engagement that we seek to provide in all classes! I am really pleased with our progress thus far and Mr. Jennings is a wonderful addition to our schools and community.”
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