Fluvanna Review

Robert MacKinnon  Photo by Tricia JohnsonIn May of 2010, the Civil War-era barn at Heartmoor Farm in Kents Store burned to the ground, and the Hale-MacKinnon family faced a decision: pack up and leave, or stay, and change their plans for the future. Fortunately for Fluvanna, they chose to stay.
Robert MacKinnon calls it “a real turning point.” The barn was not only used as a traditional barn, but it also contained his workshop and all of his tools. “It was devastating and at the same time it was really cleansing,” MacKinnon said. “There was a building behind the barn that was basically a storage building, and it was filled with the kind of stuff that you tote around with yourself all of your life – stuff that you cannot bring yourself to throw away.” That building, too, was destroyed, with all of its contents, but the Hale-MacKinnons saw that loss as a chance for a new beginning. “It was getting rid of all of that that gave us an opportunity to look at what we wanted to do – so we both quit our jobs.” Now, he had a chance to follow his passion - adolescent education, using the Montessori method.
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Susan and Tony Wooton in front of their home.  Photos by Tricia JohnsonWhile most people are busy planning their holiday menu, Susan Wooton had to choose whether to get her prescriptions filled or buy enough groceries to last the month. She cannot do both, partly because of recent cuts to the food stamp program, now called SNAP.
Wooton is among nearly 2,000 Fluvanna residents who are SNAP participants, all of whom had their SNAP benefits cut on November 1. “They cut our benefits $19 a month – we are down to $127 a month for food,” Wooton said. Her husband was disabled by a back injury and cannot return to his work as a horse trainer; Wooton herself was recently diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. They rely on his disability check and their SNAP benefits to provide for them, and the money simply isn’t enough according to Wooton.

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Jerry Patchen, chairman of the electoral board.The Fluvanna County Electoral Board met Thursday (Dec. 5) at the old courthouse in Palmyra to hear testimony from voters, candidates, and campaign workers about election-related problems. “The idea here is to get to the bottom of some of the irregularities that took place during the last election cycle and to see what we can do to improve it, correct it, or dismiss it if it is not found to be valid,” said Jerry Patchen, chairman of the electoral board.
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Wednesday’s (Dec. 4) meeting of the Board of Supervisors had quite an unusual start. Before even the first item on the agenda, supervisors launched into a two-hour conversation about the surprise Aqua deal. Supervisor Bob Ullenbruch kicked it off by asking the Board to reverse its decision.
Earlier, at the Board’s Nov. 20 meeting, Supervisors Joe Chesser, Mozell Booker and Shaun Kenney startled the public by voting to accept, with a few minor changes, an agreement with Aqua Virginia to provide up to 500,000 gallons per day (GPD) of water to the Zion Crossroads area.
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Photo by Tricia JohnsonAsk the average fifth grader what his favorite part of the school day is and he is likely to answer “recess”. Kerry Murphy-Hammond and Stacie Jakubec Fraser are working to make sure that Fluvanna Middle School fifth graders have a place to play.
“At the beginning of the school year,” Murphy-Hammond said, “many parents of fifth graders voiced concern that their children may not have recess. Now we are hoping those same parents will volunteer with us to raise funds to repurpose the old tennis courts – to turn them into a place for our children to play.”
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