Blowe found guilty in 2016 shootout

Following a two-day trial in Fluvanna County Circuit Court, Gary N. Blowe was found guilty of multiple felony charges stemming from the November 2016 shooting off Lake Monticello Road that left one man seriously injured and caused chaos around the county. 

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Troxell pleads not guilty in bank robbery

Judge hears “puzzling” case

Jeffrey W. Troxell, Jr., entered a plea of not guilty to a single count of robbery during his arraignment in Fluvanna County Circuit Court Friday (Jan. 5). 

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AmbulanceThe majority of drivers are aware of emergency vehicles winding their way through traffic because the sound and lights signal a matter of life and death. But some drivers are oblivious to the rules of the road when it comes to emergency vehicles.

Dr. Saami Shaibani, a teacher at Fluvanna’s Abrams Academy, physics professor and an expert in traffic safety in England and the U.S., has written numerous papers on trauma and injury and wants to raise awareness around emergency vehicle traffic safety. On his way to work or traveling around the county, he observed drivers not yielding when emergency vehicles were trying to get through traffic.

He gave an example of cars stopped at an intersection with a stoplight and an ambulance with flashing lights trying to maneuver through traffic. Surprisingly, not enough drivers were aware enough to yield right of way.

“The ambulance is behind another vehicle that is waiting at the light and does not move off to the side, and the ambulance has to go into the wrong lane to get through,” he said. “The ambulance will stop at the light to make sure everything is clear but I’ve seen drivers run through the intersection oblivious to the ambulance.”

Shaibani added that what often happens on these narrow winding roads is that the ambulance will get stuck behind a vehicle that cannot pull over. If the driver of that vehicle had waited, rather than getting ahead of the ambulance at the intersection, the ambulance would arrive at its destination faster.

The concern for the ambulance driver is that if a vehicle driver ignores the signals the ambulance driver is giving to get through the intersection safely and quickly, and if a crash does occur due to the vehicle driver not giving right of way, this delays the ambulance and ties up traffic, perhaps delaying other emergency vehicles from getting through as well. If that ambulance has to get to a cardiac victim, for example, time is essential and wasting it could be fatal.

Though most of the statistical data involving crashes and fatalities with emergency vehicles in Virginia and in most states throughout the U.S. is low, there is always one too many. Such crashes can be avoided. Shaibani’s goal is to educate the public, reducing any chance of it ever happening in Fluvanna and elsewhere.In Virginia, like most states, the law is explicit when it comes to emergency vehicles and right of way for yielding in traffic. While most drivers may pay attention and yield, Shaibani said he has seen too many instances in which they do not. Add a comment


Christopher WhiteThe Fork Union Volunteer Fire Department voted Christopher White, 27, its newest fire chief.

White, who has volunteered with the department for more than nine years, said he’s happy to have the responsibility, but he’s not sure it’s worth a story.
White is uncomfortable tooting his own horn.

A surgical technician at University of Virginia Medical Center, White is the first black person to hold the title of chief in the Fluvanna Volunteer Fire Department. The position came open when Frankie Hackett stepped down.

As a black woman, Fluvanna County Supervisor Mozell Booker has broken a few boundaries herself. The most recent was when she was voted to serve as the chair of the Board of Supervisors.

Booker said she’s known White’s family for years.

“He’s just a fine young man and comes from a wonderful family,” she said. ”He was raised by a single mom. He was an usher at our church. He’s a typical, all-American young man.”

Mike Brent is the chief over the entire Fluvanna County Volunteer Fire Department.

“He’s a good man. I think the guys and girls follow him. He’s well respected and he has the training and credentials to be the chief,” Brent said, offering his thoughts on why White’s peers elected him.

Brent said the position of chief comes with no pay or perks. “There’s no pay, just more responsibility,” he said.

More than 150 firefighters volunteer in Fluvanna, which includes Palmyra, Fork Union, Kents Store and Lake Monticello. Brent said Lake Monticello has its own charter, but operationally he includes them in the numbers.

“We could always use more” volunteers, he said. “As is typical of a volunteer department, people are in and out.”

Brent said his organization is polling the volunteers to see what incentives they could be offered that would help attract and keep members.

Right now, the only incentive offered is that the county pays the personal property tax of the vehicle the volunteer uses to drive to and from the station or fire.

“We’re looking down the road – looking at financial stipends or educational opportunities,” Brent said.

But right now, he’s happy White stepped up and agreed to serve in Fork Union’s top spot.

The Fluvanna Review asked White about his role as Fork Union chief. Add a comment


Full moonThe Tennessee Wraith Chasers (TWC) were in Gordonsville once again in December, inviting more than 50 of the followers of their cable television series Haunted Towns to join them at the Exchange Hotel Civil War Medical Museum for a paranormal investigation.

Despite a cold, snowy night, fans from all corners of Virginia converged on the former hotel and Civil War receiving hospital to join the four men as they spent nearly six hours in that building, its grounds and the former Virginia Central Railroad freight depot nearby, listening, watching and waiting for hints of what might still stir within those walls.

It wasn’t the first time the four men, three from Tennessee and one from New Jersey, have been in Gordonsville to drink in its history and sometimes tumultuous and tragic past.

And it won’t be the last.

If there was ever a town with a fertile environment for some bumps in the night, Gordonsville may rank near the top of the list, with the hotel and freight station area its epicenter.

For the duration of the Civil War the hotel served as a hospital for sick and wounded soldiers. The wounded and dying from nearby battlefields such as Cedar Mountain, Chancellorsville, Trevilian Station, Mine Run, Brandy Station, and the Wilderness were brought by the trainloads. Although it was primarily a Confederate facility, the hospital treated the wounded from both sides. Twenty-six Union soldiers died there.

By the end of the war, some 70,000 soldiers were treated there, and hundreds died there. It is a place that witnessed unimaginable pain, suffering and death, not just from battle wounds, but also from disease that was rampant in the ranks.

It is just the place for the four chasers of spirits, Chris Smith, Brannon Smith, Doogie MacDougal and Mike Goncalves, to bring their listening devices and their experience in paranormal activity to bear. Add a comment