Fluvanna Review

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 sometimes contentious meeting that ran long into the night, the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors voted Aug. 6 to approve the special use permit and zoning amendment to move forward with the Poplar Ridge development.
Poplar Ridge, which would be located off of Rt. 644 near Palmyra, would have 317 single-family housing units and a maximum of 74,000 square feet of commercial space. Supervisors Mozell Booker, Tony O’Brien and Bob Ullenbruch voted to approve the permit and zoning amendment; Mike Sheridan and Don Weaver dissented.
A petition with the signatures of more than 1,500 people opposed to the development was presented to the supervisors and 21 people spoke against it.
One of the concerns expressed was the impact the development would have on Camp Friendship.
Chuck Ackenbom, owner of Camp Friendship, the property adjacent to the proposed development, said “We offer a unique environment – a special and dear place – to children from over 93 different countries. I am afraid the camp would never be the same. Help me keep this camp a safe place for children.” Other members of his family spoke, including 11-year-old Nina Ackenbom, who said, “I have lived at this camp my whole life…I love this camp and I want to run it one day.”
Fluvanna resident Len Gardner said that Camp Friendship has an “international reputation,” and added, “Should you approve this project it will be at the expense of Camp Friendship, which has been a jewel in Fluvanna County for decades.”
Ullenbruch told Ackenbom: “When you sold the land, you gave up the right to bitch about what is done with that land.”
Robert Earl, the only citizen to speak who did not oppose the development said “landowners need to have the ability to make the highest and best use of their property,” and added that if the 1,500 people who signed the petition were concerned with how the land was going to be used, they “should have bought the property out of foreclosure in 2008 and put it into conservation.”
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Anonymous donation. Photo by Tricia JohnsonSo many Fluvanna County families are seeking food assistance that it recently led to a “very serious shortage” at the food bank at MACAA at Carysbrook, said Bertha Armstrong, the director of rural outreach.
“We served 225 households for a total of 537 individuals in the month of July,” Armstrong said “That is an increase in the services of the needs of families…We traditionally run short during the holiday time but now it is year round. It is not that people or groups are not donating food; it just takes so much food now to make it work – we are seeing an increase in demand for food.”
When the food pantry’s stock became dangerously low, Armstrong sent out a plea asking for emergency donations of food. Fluvanna responded quickly to help their neighbors in need, she said.
Citizens spread the word about the need on social media, including Facebook group pages like the Lake Monticello page and Focus on Fluvanna’s Future. Local radio personality Wendy Edwards interviewed Armstrong and discussed the food pantry’s situation on “Charlottesville Right Now” on WINA radio, and businesses including E.W. Thomas Supermarket, Salon DeShano, and Applebee’s at Pantops served as drop-off locations for donations. Both Fluvanna County Public Schools and Effort School accepted donations during their back-to-school meetings and orientations.
Rose Lemaster, local marketing manager of the Applebee’s at Pantops, said, “When news of the need arose, we knew that this was something that we were able to help with.” She said that one load of groceries has already been delivered to MACAA, and that donations are still coming in; she expects to make another delivery early this week.
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Coach Cos DiFazio meets with his swimmers.The Jefferson Swim League held its 47th championship swim meet at the Fork Union Military Academy (FUMA) pool on Friday and Saturday July 27 and 28. Cos DiFazio, coach of the Fluvanna Aquatic Sports Team (FAST), noted before the meet that this was the biggest swim meet ever held in Fluvanna County. Over 2,000 youth swimmers, representing 16 teams competed in the event. In addition, almost 600 volunteers were needed to bring an event of this size together and make it a success.

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Jaime Sajecki is the Black Bear Project leader for Virginia. Black bears, the only species of bear in Virginia, are not one would expect of a bear. Ask Jaime Sajecki, the Project Leader of the Black Bear Project for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF). She points out that many have a vision of bears similar to those we see on TV or in the movies. Many envision a terrifying 750 pounds worth of carnivorous mammal, rising up on its hind legs in an attack stance, claws poised, roaring at its potential prey. This is a closer description of the Brown or Grizzly bear. Virginia’s bears are more mischievous, a little shy and resemble Gentle Ben or the frolicsome Winnie the Pooh.

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