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While the largest search in Virginia’s history turned up the apparent remains of missing UVA student Hannah Graham, Fluvanna authorities are still investigating their own missing person cases – the disappearances of Renee Field and Robert Lee Hourihan.
Field has been missing for over three months. Hourihan has been missing for over three years.
Fluvanna Review reporter Christina Dimeo Guseman interviewed Renee Field’s husband Lewis, and Hourihan’s wife, Tara, who are still trying to understand what happened to their spouses.

Renee Field missing for three months
Renee and Lewis Field met at their best friends’ wedding 27 years ago. “She knew the bride and I knew the groom, so we met at their rehearsal,” Lewis Field recalled. He was a groomsman and she was a bridesmaid. One year later they were married.
And 26 years later Renee Field vanished from their Scottsville-area home.
Her husband was the last to see her on July 2. In the early hours of July 4, her car was discovered in the park and ride commuter lot at Zion Crossroads, with her keys, purse, and cell phone still there but her cash, credit cards, and license missing. And now three months later there is still no trace of her.
“I’m still thinking that [she’ll come back],” Lewis Field told the Fluvanna Review, “but I realize at this point that I’m probably one of the few, just because it’s gone so long. Most folks are trying to say that it probably isn’t as likely as it may have been two months ago. I guess I don’t really dwell on that aspect of it and just go with the premise that she’ll be back here at some point and then we can figure out what the hell happened.”
Before they married, Renee Field graduated from James Madison University in 1987 with her nursing degree. Three years earlier, Lewis Field had graduated with an engineering degree from Widener College, now Widener University, in Pennsylvania. He entered the Army and was active duty for “half a dozen years” at Fort Bragg. He and Renee Field married while he was stationed there.
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Sgt. Frank Lopez demonstrated the new security system at the middle school.  Photo by Tricia JohnsonStudents in Fluvanna elementary and middle schools are safer now thanks to a new secure entry system.
Frank Leech, director of student services for Fluvanna County schools, described the new process. “It includes a buzzer system where the doors are locked and visitors buzz the main office. It has a camera and the secretary can then see them and identify them and release the door for them to come into the building.”
People wanting to enter the schools must now have a photo ID with them and must present it before they will be allowed into the building. “Parents are requested to have a photo ID ready when they come to the schools.” Leech said that a driver’s license or photo work ID are acceptable forms of identification.
He added that the buzzers are just the first part of an ongoing plan to ensure Fluvanna students are kept out of harm’s way. “We are also looking at doing some restructuring within the entrances of the schools as well, so anyone entering the schools will be funneled into the main office.”
Fluvanna Middle School Principal Brad Stang was pleased to see the new security system put into place, and said he gave the new system “A thumbs up right away,” when he heard they were going to be installed. “I come from a district that had the same system in place,” said Stang. “It is one more layer of security for our students.”
When asked what parents thought of the new procedures, Stang said “Offhand, I haven’t heard any negative feedback here or at any other school I have ever been at – I never heard anything negative,” he said.
Kate and Rob Urry, whose son William is a kindergartener at West Central Primary, appreciate the new security. “I like the idea of a record of who is entering the building,” said Kate Urry. “At West Central Primary, you were supposed to go into the main office and sign in, but some people were not aware of that or were only stepping into the first room in the hallway and skipped that step.” She added that the new check-in process doesn’t seem as if it will take any more time than signing in did in the past.
“I have worked for companies with far more advanced security measures,” said Rob Urry, “to protect things far less important than our children.”
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The Fluvanna County school system couldn’t close out fiscal year 2014 without another $98,000 in supplemental funding from the Board of Supervisors.
Superintendent Gena Keller asked the Board Wednesday night (Oct. 15) to cover the shortage, explaining that the need is partially based on the school system’s switch from a cash basis of accounting to an accrual basis, which is the method the county’s finance department uses. Another reason for the shortage is a reduction in state funding due to Fluvanna’s drop in average daily membership (ADM) – a formula used by the state to determine the amount of money a school system will receive for the year.
After the meeting Keller explained that ultimately losses in revenue, especially in federal money, caused the school system to come up short. The situation could have been much worse, she said – more to the tune of $600,000 – if her staff hadn’t kept an eye on federal and state funding and realized it was likely to be less than anticipated.
“It’s not really a savings, but actually we didn’t spend $500,000 that we were authorized to spend,” Keller said, citing cuts in supplies, professional development, and delayed personnel replacements. “I’m not proud of these [cuts] but we had to cut back.”
Official counts show 69 fewer students enrolled in Fluvanna County Public Schools this year as compared to last year, said School Director of Finance Ed Breslauer.
“We didn’t have this [ADM funding] problem before when we were growing,” Chairperson Mozell Booker noted, “but now that we’re levelling off and these students are leaving…it’s harder.”
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 Technology teacher Amee Cantagallo, instructing students Caleb Beckley, Addison Parr, Ahmad Woodson, Nathan Lehman, Jake Henderson and Joshua Shiner. Photo courtesy of The Light AcademyA new, private Christian school for children in kindergarten through eighth grade has opened its doors in Fluvanna County.
The Light Academy, located in Centre Court next to the Dogwood Restaurant, currently has 17 students enrolled in its hands-on curriculum.
Joyce Parr, the school’s founder and principal, called the school’s instruction “project-based,” noting that “students feel better when they are up and moving around.”
There’s a place for paper and pencil, she said, “but we want to use strategies for all the learning modalities – visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.” So students who learn best by seeing, hearing, or touching will all have lessons tailored to their needs.
In addition to regular academics, the school offers art, music, French, technology, and weekly swimming sessions at Health Nutz Fitness and Aquatic Center.
The Light Academy is also a homeschool cooperative for children in kindergarten through 12th grade. “We believe in sharing our resources with homeschool parents,” Parr said, “so we offer for them to participate in our enrichment classes. A lot of them drive to town, so we’re just trying to bring some activities out here.”
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In order to promote all the positives about life in Fluvanna, members of the community have joined with county officials in launching a Market Fluvanna campaign. As a part of this effort, several leaders of non-profit organizations and people-oriented services agreed to answer questions about their county.
Bertha Armstrong, Director of Rural Outreach for MACAA
What is MACAA?

Authorized by the Economic Opportunity Act of 1965, Monticello Area Community Action Agency’s (MACAA) goal is to improve people’s lives by helping them become self-reliant. MACAA achieves this through a variety of programs and skill-development initiatives that serve families and individuals in poverty.
What positives do you see in Fluvanna through your work with MACAA?
Families are able to restore their hopes and spirits by being able to get some relief in crisis situations. We have many resources to offer families. Our resources include rural outreach, which does crisis intervention; Head Start, which promotes early childhood development; Steps to Success, which teaches families financial management; Project Discovery, which promotes academic achievement; Hope House, which provides housing for the homeless or families in danger of homelessness; the emergency food pantry; and thrift shop.
What troubles you about Fluvanna?
Though Fluvanna is a wonderful place to live, I do not feel we have enough economic growth in the county. When our children graduate from high school they have to leave the county for employment. I feel that there is not enough local recreational entertainment for our families. Some of our children or adults never have the opportunity to do things like roller skating or just walking the mall in town. Transportation to local games or to the library is also an issue. But I do feel that the leaders of this county look at the possibility of county growth.
Emily Daidone, Manager of Community Centers and Home Delivered Meal Programs for JABA
What is JABA?

The Jefferson Area Board for Aging (JABA) is committed to promoting, establishing and preserving sustainable communities for healthy aging. We offer a continuum of caring through the provision of programs and services that meet individuals where they are and guide all through the journey of aging with a focus on person-centered care.
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