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The number of drunk driving arrests in Fluvanna County has been declining since 2013. Arrests of people driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) have dropped by 44 percent – from 87 in 2013 to 46 in 2015.

Sheriff Eric Hess attributes a decline in the number of drunk driving arrests to three things.  “Public service announcements are a great educational tool – I am thinking of those put out by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) and other organizations. I hope people are becoming more aware,” said Hess.

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Lee Ware, Scott Leake, Kevin Reynolds and Rob Bell at elected officials’ breakfast. County and state leaders gathered Tuesday morning (Sept. 20) at the library for an elected officials’ breakfast to discuss issues facing Fluvanna that require state attention.

County leaders raised the subjects of the state budget crisis, school funding, broadband access, financial incentives for first responders, insufficient numbers of deputies, and development at Zion Crossroads.

Representing the state were Del. Rob Bell, who represents part of Fluvanna in Virginia’s 58th District; Del. Lee Ware, who represents the other part of Fluvanna in Virginia’s 65th District; Kevin Reynolds, chief of staff for Sen. Tom Garrett, who represents all of Fluvanna in Virginia’s 22nd District; and Scott Leake, from the Charlottesville office of U.S. Rep. Robert Hurt, who represents all of Fluvanna in the 5th Congressional District.

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Carol OwenAfter 26 years at the Fluvanna County Library, Carol Owen is retiring at the end of this month. She has been a familiar part of the library team for many years, working in many locations and under five directors, and has seen many changes. She admitted that she has enjoyed all of it. Most who have known Owen know someone who is quiet, accommodating, and serves others with a smile. Add a comment

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Dogwood serves community for 16 years

The Dogwood Restaurant is continuing its long tradition of helping members of the community.

This summer after attacks on police officers across the country, Mike Hartling, co-owner with Dana Strang, decided to provide lunch and dinner for police officers. Close to 30 deputies and state troopers took advantage of the offer, he said.

The Dogwood also supports several Fluvanna organizations, Hartling said, such as the new Fluvanna High School fishing team and local swim teams. The restaurant provides discounted breakfast buffets for veterans the last Saturday of each month and gives 20 percent of sales the second Monday each month to such nonprofits as Caring for Creatures, Peaceful Passings and the Fluvanna SPCA.

The Dogwood is also an avid financial supporter of Fluvanna High School athletics, said Strang, and provided lunches to teachers at Carysbrook Elementary for teacher appreciation.

On Oct. 15 the Dogwood will hold its annual “Battle of the Bands.” Up to five different bands will play throughout the day. Proceeds will benefit the Fluvanna food bank.

According to a 2007 article in Bloomberg Businessweek three out of five restaurants close in the first five years. But Hartling said one way the Dogwood has avoided being one of those statistics is by remembering who’s in charge.

“Part of the success is recognizing who the boss is – and it’s not me; it’s the customers,” he said. “Focus on that and everything else falls into place.”

Hartling and Strang are from Charlottesville and both have years of experience working in the Ruby Tuesday chain.  Neither liked the impersonal corporate structure. When they decided to open their own eatery, they were determined it to be a part of the community in which they lived. Both moved to Lake Monticello in 1998.

They employ 32 locals. Hartling said the average length of stay for an employee is five years, though Strang added that some employees have been with the Dogwood for almost as long as the restaurant has been in business.

When it comes to the menu, Hartling said it changes about every two years and is based largely on what customers want.

“We have up to five specials for both lunch and dinner every day,” Hartling said. “Often that’s where we’ll introduce new things. When people really like something, we’ll add it to the [regular] menu. Customers dictate the menu.”

That’s how Hartling decided to add a new tap system to deliver 12 draft beers. It’s becoming more popular for people to want specialty beers, and to sample different kinds, rather than drink four or five servings of their favorite.

“We realize the focus is not so much on the amount but the quality of the beer,” Hartling said.

Employee Julie Freda said she likes the new tap system. “We used to have big kegs sitting here,” she said. “There is so much more room [for us to operate] now.”

Hartling said the Dogwood has become a part of the Fluvanna community.

“It’s not just food, it’s family – a family of people who work together,” said Hartling. “We take care of each other. We take care of the community. The community takes care of us. It’s like coming into our house. We know people on a first name basis. It’s what we love about the business.”

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Gasoline spillGov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency in Virginia on Friday (Sept. 16) in response to a possible gasoline shortage that may sweep the state.

A gasoline leak was reported on Sept. 9 from the Colonial Gas Pipeline in Shelby County, Alabama – the same pipeline that runs through eastern Fluvanna. The pipeline was shut off within four hours.

The halt of the transport of millions of gallons of gasoline each day through the pipeline system is anticipated to cause a fuel crisis, including a possible gasoline shortage in parts of the southeast.

Four other governors have joined McAuliffe in issuing states of emergency in order to temporarily loosen some of their regulations in an attempt to mitigate the shortage.
McAuliffe’s order lifts restrictions on the distances and number of hours that can be driven by gasoline tanker trucks in an attempt to compensate for some of the loss of gasoline normally transported by pipeline.

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