Fluvanna Review

Fluvanna County’s Teacher of the Year Theresa Scruggs surrounded by her students. Photo by Tricia JohnsonTheresa Scruggs has been named Fluvanna County’s Teacher of the Year.
Scruggs, who teaches 6th grade language arts at Fluvanna Middle School, is a graduate of Longwood College and the University of Virginia, and has worked for the school system for 20 years, including 11 years as a teacher.
One of the reasons that Scruggs was chosen for this honor is her commitment to continuing education. “She always wants to improve her craft,” said Fluvanna Middle School Principal Brad Stang. “She is very involved with the entire language arts department and professional development, and what she learns, she shares,” he added.
Scruggs serves as a member of the leadership team and the Positive Behavior Supports Committee at Fluvanna Middle School. She also has taken on the role of collaborative team member, the only 6th grade language arts general education teacher to work with all collaborative classes along with her special education teaching partner.
Scruggs, who calls the award “very humbling,” is focused on what she can do for her students. “I always want to find better ways to do it,” Scruggs said of her passion for continuing education. “It is not hard to teach the kids who have everything they need, but it is so hard to figure out how to help the kids who need the help the most,” she explained. “I want to do it better for them.”
Teaching reading can be hard, according to Scruggs. “I’m not teaching them knowledge, I am teaching them how to do something that is so nebulous. Readers are thinkers,” she asserted, “and that is what I want for them. I want them to come away from this class with something that can never be taken away from them.”
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Photo courtesy of Steven M. Nichols, county administrator, Fluvanna CountyFour dilapidated properties on St James Street in Columbia may be purchased and razed soon. Funds from a $150,000 FEMA grant, awarded to the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC), will be added to $40,000 from the Commonwealth of Virginia and $10,000 from Fluvanna County for this purpose.
“These funds will protect vulnerable homes by reducing or even eliminating the effects of repeated flooding,” wrote State Coordinator Dr. Jeff Stern in a press release from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. “We partner with each locality to protect lives and property through these grants.”
All work must be completed by September 15, 2017, according to a notice on the TJPDC website.
Of the four buildings involved, only one is taxed as a structure, indicating that the other three have been assigned no value by tax assessors, according to Fluvanna County Administrator Steve Nichols.
Public records indicate the Richard Harry family currently owns all of the impacted properties.
All four buildings are in a federally designated flood plain. As such, any substantial renovations or new structures added to the properties would have to meet federal flood plain requirements. The cost of meeting those requirements can be prohibitive.
“I’m not positive that the landowner is going to sell, and I am not positive they are going to sell for the price that we can offer - which is fair market value,” said Nichols. “The landowner cannot rebuild those properties without meeting federal flood plain standards which is catastrophically expensive,” he added.
Nichols described the properties as “eyesores, health hazards, and firetraps,” and added that the vacant buildings could prove particularly attractive to children, who might be unaware of the dangers posed by compromised structures, and might be tempted to explore them.
Fluvanna County Sheriff Eric Hess agreed. “They are an attractive nuisance for kids,” said Hess, referring to the four derelict properties. “If I were a property owner, I wouldn’t want the liability,” he said. “It is no different than owning a swimming pool – you can’t just leave a house abandoned where any child can have access to it.”
When asked if he believed that tearing down the four uninhabited buildings and creating green space would have an effect on crime in Columbia, Hess hesitated. “Until some other issues are dealt with in Columbia – it will help but it is not going to fix the problems,” Hess replied. “The problems lie in some of the people who live there - but mostly in the people who come to visit the people who live there. It is the intersection of three counties,” he explained, “and you get a lot of people who don’t want to drive all the way to Charlottesville or they don’t want to drive all the way to Short Pump; there aren’t many places to go for some people, so they go to Columbia to hang out.”
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State Sen. Tom Garrett. Photo courtesy of Tom GarrettState Sen. Tom Garrett (R-Buckingham), 44, newly-chosen Republican candidate for the House of Representatives, shared his vision for the 5th district with the Fluvanna Review.
If elected on Nov. 8, Garrett will work to “increase opportunity and preserve freedom” for residents of the 5th district, which includes Fluvanna County.
“The 5th district is very concerned with jobs and economic opportunity,” said Garrett. “Some of the district is taking it on the chin – they lost textile, furniture, and tobacco industry – those were really the job creators. If we can roll back some of the oppressive regulatory burden coming out of Washington we can re-establish jobs in the area. And that has to be on the radar of anyone running in the 5th district.”
Garrett said he sees “harsh” regulations as largely responsible for stifling industry in the area. “We now have an Environmental Protection Agency that’s trying to regulate navigable waterways that are as small as an intermittent stream or a puddle,” he said. “That’s got small property owners unable to develop their land. We’ve got an endangered species act that puts the wellbeing of insects and mice ahead of the wellbeing of working families. We have an emissions regulatory scheme that’s destroyed the coal industry and has forced us to be dependent on hostile powers abroad, when we could be producing energy right here in the U.S.”
One of Garrett’s ideas for creating jobs is to construct a bypass for Rt. 29 in Charlottesville. “Right now every time you buy up or down Rt. 29 it costs more money because trucks have to sit at a dozen-plus stoplights to stop by Target and Walmart,” he said.
A bypass would pass savings on to the consumers, Garrett said. “Not only is it time, it’s fuel,” he said. “Stoplights cost money, and that money comes from the consumer. There’s a bypass for Danville, for Lynchburg – why is Charlottesville different? The answer is it’s not, and it needs to be done. There’s been federal interference with that ever since President Obama’s been in the White House, and if I’m elected that’s something I’d work toward.”
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Art by Lorraine LaVistaA few months ago, artist Lorraine LaVista, spoke to the Fluvanna Art Association regarding using Sharpie markers as an alternative art medium. Many embraced the new medium. Currently, LaVista, a member of FAA, is exhibiting her work at the Fork Union Community Center.

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he displays light up to the music of  ten different Christmas favorites like Little Drummer Boy, Carole of the Bells and the theme to A Charlie Brown Christmas.About half the population of Fluvanna County lives behind the gates of Monticello. If you aren’t one of them, now is the time to phone a friend to let you in.
Inside those gates at 4 Lewis Court you’ll find perhaps the best Christmas light show in the whole county.

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