Fluvanna Review

Final foursome finished at eighteen. Photo by Duncan NixonIt turned into a tight match at the end, but Phil Mahone, who plays out of Farmington Country Club, was able to hold on to his lead and win the Faulconer by a single stroke.
Mahone shot a 72 on Saturday and a 75 on Sunday. Runner-up Brian Bassett had a 77 on Saturday, but came back strong on Sunday with a 71. Mahone was up by three strokes with two holes to play. Bassett birdied seventeen and eighteen, but Mahone calmly parred both holes to win by one. The first day of the tournament players teed off from the regular men’s tees. On Sunday they moved back to the intimidating blue tees.
This is the second year in a row that Mahone has won the Faulconer men’s open golf tournament at the Lake Monticello golf course. He was magnanimous in victory, stating that he loves to play in the Faulconer because of the pleasant atmosphere created by the numerous resident volunteers who always assist with the tournament. The Faulconer is a prestigious amateur tournament that brings in top golfers from around Virginia. It is also one of six tournaments played in the Charlottesville area that constitute the Battle Trophy series.

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A high-flying agility dog. Photo by Tricia JohnsonHounds, Great Danes, a Pomeranian, a Pyrenean Mastiff, a Saint Bernard, a variety of bully breeds, and high-flying agility dogs all attended Fluvanna’s first Fido Fest, held Saturday, May 16, at the Fluvanna Dog Park at Pleasant Grove.
The day was a success according to Claire Lowande, recreation specialist with Fluvanna County Parks and Recreation, who sponsored the event. The event drew businesses, non-profit organizations, and dog lovers from across Fluvanna County.
“I think that it is a great opportunity to showcase Fluvanna businesses and have a good time in the sun with your dog,” said Lowande. The goal of Fido Fest, she added, was to promote both local pet businesses and local non-profit animal rescues. Some of the businesses and groups represented included Caring for Creatures, the Fluvanna Dog Spot, the Fluvanna SPCA, Green Dogs Unleashed, Happy Tails, No Place Like Home Pet Services, Peaceful Passings, and Ruff Agility. “We wanted to bring the businesses and rescues to the dogs and the dogs to the businesses and rescues,” explained Lowande with a smile.
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Whether there is hope for homeowners in subdivisions with unapproved roads was an unexpected topic of conversation at the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors meeting Wednesday night (May 6).
When Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) representative Greg Banks presented VDOT’s six-year plan to the Board, Supervisor Tony O’Brien used the opportunity to question him about whether Fluvanna residents in subdivisions with unapproved roads have any recourse in their quest to have their roads adopted into the state system.
Developers of subdivisions must build their roads to state specifications and are usually required to post a bond to ensure that their roads are properly constructed and brought into the state system. But after the economic downturn many developers went bankrupt, leaving the roads in their subdivisions unfinished. The result is unapproved roads that languish unmaintained by VDOT – and without anyone to claim responsibility.
Surely this situation isn’t unique to Fluvanna, O’Brien said to Banks, and asked if the state has any programs in place for bringing unapproved roads into the system.
After confirming that this problem exists in counties across the state, Banks mentioned the rural addition program, which allows for unapproved roads to be accepted into the state system. To be eligible under that program’s “stringent” requirements, Banks said roads must have at least three homes per mile, be dedicated to public use prior to 1992, and not serve speculative parcels owned by a developer. These requirements and others eliminate most of the developments with which O’Brien was concerned, leaving homeowners in Fluvanna’s newer developments without much recourse.
Upon hearing the news, O’Brien asked, “Is there any hope for these people?”
“I know of nothing at this time myself,” replied Banks.
“The solution is simple,” said County Attorney Fred Payne. “It’s not easy but it’s simple. And that is – somebody needs to come up with the money to build the roads up to perfect standard, post the appropriate bonds, and then VDOT will take them over.”
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© istockphoto/Heidi van der WesthuizenWhose rights are more compelling – those of dog owners eager to give their beloved pets some leash-free exploration in Fluvanna County’s Pleasant Grove park or those of other park users who become nervous – or even injured – when accosted by strange dogs?
Neither, say county staff, who are deep in the process of trying to solve one of government’s most ancient conundrums – how to balance the conflicting rights and desires of two groups of people.
The issue stems from the ambiguity of the current leash rule at Pleasant Grove, which calls for dogs to remain on-leash in “high-volume areas.”
“It’s too much of a gray area,” said Jason Smith, director of parks and recreation. “Depending on who you ask you’re going to get a different definition of what the policy means.”
Lending urgency to the situation is the fact that unleashed dogs have attacked humans and other dogs at Pleasant Grove. Paul Sheridan, Fluvanna’s animal control officer, said that there have been three incidents with unleashed dogs coming after girls on the high school track team running through the park. “It’s a persistent problem,” he said. In two of the three situations a dog bit a running girl, and in the third situation a girl was almost bitten, he said.
Another time three dogs approached a man who had previously been attacked by dogs, said Sheridan. The man, nervous from past experience, reported being pinned against the woods. “The owner got there before anything happened,” Sheridan said.
Unleashed dogs can also attack other dogs. In one recent incident, an unleashed dog injured another dog badly enough that the attacked dog needed stitches and drain tubes, said Sheridan.
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Sean Marcus Lucas, 46, of Palmyra was killed in a workplace accident at Chips, Inc. at Zion Crossroads on Tuesday, May 5.
Lucas was driving a truck that was being filled with sawdust when the sawdust filled the cab of the truck; co-workers were able to dig Lucas out, but rescue workers were unable to resuscitate him.
Detective Mark Stanton of the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office said that the incident is still under investigation, but “it is just a tragic accident and nothing more than that.”
“His co-workers theorized that (Lucas) believed the hopper was empty and was beginning to back out from underneath of it when the residual sawdust that was still in the hopper broke free and dropped down into the cab of the truck, filling it,” said Stanton.
Stanton added that Lucas’s co-workers were having a hard time with his death. “He was a 30-year-plus employee,” Stanton explained, “he was very well liked by everyone and very skilled at what he did. Everyone in the plant is in disbelief that this occurred. It is hard for them to get through,” Stanton added, “because they are a very tight knit group up there. It is heartbreaking when you see something like this happen.”
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be conducting their own investigation into the accident at the sawmill that employs about 40 people in Louisa.
One of Lucas’s co-workers explained that the sawdust was being moved from the hoppers to a compressor that generates pellets – such as pelletized pine horse bedding, which is then sold. Chips, Inc. does not sell the sawdust itself.
Lucas was described by his co-worker as having a big heart; he also said Lucas was the primary caregiver for his mother, with whom he lived near Wilmington.
The owner of Chips, Inc., has not responded to messages left for him.

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