Fluvanna Review

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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Plaguing some subdivisions around Fluvanna County is a pesky little problem that sometimes pops up when it snows then lays dormant for the rest of the year – but if left unchecked could blow up into a nightmare for the homeowners who live there.
The problem is this: No one will claim responsibility for the roads.
So when it snows, no one plows – as in the case of Needham Village, a nine-house subdivision off of Rt. 618 (Lake Monticello Road). Residents drive over the snow or remain inside their houses, waiting for it to melt. The slick road is seen by some residents as a nuisance – maybe even a tremendous nuisance – but, after all, one that only pops up two or three times a year.
Or parents drive their children all the way to where their subdivision hits the main road, as in the case of Taylor Ridge off Rt. 53, because school buses usually can’t drive on private roads. It’s an inconvenience – maybe even a terrible inconvenience – but it becomes routine.
But what happens when the roads start falling apart? When the potholes proliferate and the cracks in the asphalt branch like lightning bolts till chunks of the road break under the weight of the cars driving over it? Who pays for the road then?
It could be the homeowners.
How did this happen?
During the boom in the early 2000s developers flocked to create subdivisions – many right here in Fluvanna – and the thought of what could happen if they were left unfinished typically didn’t arise, said Steve Tugwell, senior planner for Fluvanna County, “because people were finishing them.”

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Lewis Field. Photo by Christina Dimeo GusemanFamily and friends of Fluvanna’s missing woman, Janet Renee Field, gathered in front of Subway near Lake Monticello on Saturday afternoon (March 7) to keep her in the forefront of people’s minds as her case passes the eight-month mark.
Kenny Jarels of Help Save the Next Girl, the organization that put on this event for Renee Field and for missing Albemarle woman Bonnie Santiago, emphasized that the two women haven’t gotten as much media attention as their younger counterparts. “Morgan Harrington and Hannah Graham have been found,” he said. “We want these cases to get attention too. We want to keep them fresh in people’s minds. We want to get some closure for these families.”
Shaking loose a memory or dislodging a piece of helpful information from local folks’ minds is the primary goal of these events. Perhaps someone saw something suspicious around the time Renee Field disappeared but hasn’t quite connected the dots, Jarels has said. Also, reminding people about her case keeps them looking for her – or for anything suspicious.
Renee Field, who was 49 at the time of her disappearance, was last seen at her Scottsville-area home July 2 by her husband, Lewis Field. In the early morning on July 4 her burgundy Subaru Forester was found at the park and ride commuter lot at Zion Crossroads. While her purse, keys, and cell phone were still in the car, her driver’s license, credit cards, and cash were missing.
Lewis Field said that there is no new information in his wife’s case. “I went through with tidying the house,” he said, “seeing if anything struck me, but nothing popped – nothing unusual.”

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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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In a historic decision, Fluvanna County supervisors voted Wednesday afternoon (March 4) to develop a Zion Crossroads water and sewer system.
Based on recommendations from RK&K Engineers’ preliminary engineering report, the roughly $8 million system will provide Fluvanna’s Zion Crossroads area with about 75,000 gallons per day of water through an agreement with the Department of Corrections (DOC). It will also pay for sewer force mains, or collection pipes.
The system will run from the DOC’s facility on Rt. 250 to the corner of Rt. 250 and Rt. 15 at Zion Crossroads, then shortly down Rt. 15.
The 3-2 vote (Supervisors Don Weaver and Bob Ullenbruch dissenting) authorized county staff to proceed with the design of the system at a cost of about $300,000.
Weaver objected to the significant expense. “We’re talking about two water systems,” he said, referring to the DOC plan and the upcoming decisions surrounding the James River Water Authority (JRWA). “So where are we going to quit on all this? Where’s the study on the return we’re going to get on this water system?… How long is it going to be before we break even? Is this the way you go into a business? I certainly wouldn’t go into a business this way.”
“If we want to get out of increasing tax rates we’re going to have to make an adjustment,” Supervisor Tony O’Brien countered. “I’m strongly of the opinion that DOC is not a sufficient quantity of water and the time and opportunity for the county to partner and act for bringing in James River water is now… It’s going to cost money for 20 years.”

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