Fluvanna Review

Fire escapeThe smart actions of a Lake Monticello woman during a Feb. 7 house fire likely saved her life and that of her daughter, said Fire Chief Richie Constantino of the Lake Monticello Volunteer Fire Department (LMVFD).

In the middle of the night, Freddie Simpson awakened to heavy smoke in the second-floor bedroom of her Jefferson Drive home, according to a public post she made on her Facebook page.

“I felt the door and it was hot,” she wrote. “I remembered the movie Backdraft and did not open it.”

The decision not to open the door may have meant the difference between life and death, said Constantino. He praised Simpson for having the presence of mind to check the heat of the door. Had she opened it, he said, superheated gases and smoke might have incapacitated Simpson and her daughter before they could make their escape. Add a comment

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Susan Beattie  and her husband, Troy Weidenheimer.Those who rub shoulders with Susan Beattie of Palmyra in the Fluvanna Leadership Development Program usually have no idea she used to work with the greatest names in folk music.

Beattie, who refers to herself as “homely” at that time in her life, may have seemed like a wallflower, but she had one of the best seats in the world as secretary for a New York City attorney’s office that functioned as a talent booking agency.

After growing up in Union, Mo., Beattie was awed by New York. “Imagine how I wandered around!” she said.

Her job at Len Rosenfeld’s place, as it was known, was to help with arranging recording contracts and booking.

“The biggest name in the office was a blues singer named Josh White,” said Beattie. White filed the first civil rights act suit in the state of Maryland against public accommodations because somebody refused to serve him in a bar, Beattie said. “He won and we went back there and had a drink!”

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Coal ash ponds at Dominion Virginia Power’s Bremo Power Plant are leaking contaminants into the environment, according to a report from scientists at Duke University.

The study, conducted in the summer and fall of 2015 by scientists at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke and funded by the Southern Environmental Law Center, showed that 21 facilities in five different states are leaching coal ash contaminants.  In Fluvanna, the team tested water from a creek above the power plant and then below the plant, where the creek joined the James River. Water from the James River itself was tested as well.

 

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The public’s right to know was a topic of spirited conversation at a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) training session on Thursday morning (April 6).

About 20 county workers gathered at the high school to learn from Maria Everett, executive director of the Virginia FOIA Council. Many of them are responsible for responding to freedom of information requests from Fluvanna residents.

Everett, who called herself “head FOIA geek,” led a lively interactive session that satisfied FOIA training requirements for her listeners and sparked some interesting discussion.

Throughout the session, Everett called on her listeners to see themselves not just as county workers but also as private citizens, such as parents investigating concerning information regarding their children’s schools. Having that perspective makes a difference when thinking about FOIA, she said.

County workers are a key face of government, Everett said. She joked that her listeners would go home and put on “jeans that ought to have been thrown away years ago and ratty t-shirts.” But, she said, “When you woke up this morning and donned the uniform, you became the government.”

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Jane DittmarJane Dittmar, Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, spoke at the Fifth Sunday service at Thessalonia Baptist Church in Fork Union on Sunday (July 31).

Dittmar is running against Tom Garrett, a Republican, for the seat currently held by 5th District Congressman Robert Hurt, who will retire at the end of the year. The 5th District, which includes all of Fluvanna County, stretches from Fauquier County to the North Carolina border.

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