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Water damage contained at elementary school

Officials called off school again Monday (Jan. 8) for two reasons: the weather and water damage at Central Elementary, said Superintendent Chuck Winkler.

“We’re literally cleaning up as we speak,” Winkler said Monday afternoon. “All our maintenance staff and Service Pro, an outside cleaning company, are working on it.”

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County sales tax revenue up from last year

Fluvanna’s sales tax revenue is up slightly from last year, according to a report released Thursday (Dec. 28) by the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The report analyzed data from January through September 2017 and compared it to data from the first three quarters of 2016.

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WillpowerHave you ever wondered what makes the difference between whether or not we are successful with our goals? Kelly McGonigal’s book, The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why it Matters and What You Can Do to Get More of It, offers valuable insights into the science and practice of willpower that you might find not only interesting, but helpful as well.

It turns out willpower isn’t something you either have or don’t have. It’s more like a muscle you can train and strengthen and it’s rooted in our brain. Our brain actually changes depending on what we focus on, what we practice and what we think. As health psychologist Rick Hanson said, “Neurons that fire together – wire together.” If you ask your brain to practice worrying, for example, it will get better at worrying. Ask your brain to practice impulse control and your impulse control will improve.

It’s also helpful to understand the different ways our brain can work in general. McGonigal explained that “we have one brain and two modes”: fight-flight-freeze mode, and pause-and-plan mode. When the most primitive part of our brain, the amygdala, is dominant, our internal alarm system is activated and stress hormones are released. This is fight-flight-freeze mode and relies on very primitive, automatic, unconscious instincts.

The amygdala, or lizard brain, as it is often called, actually hijacks our brain and draws blood flow away from our pre-frontal cortex and affects all systems within our body. In many ways it makes sense why the amygdala might temporarily take over all our body’s systems to ensure we do whatever we need to survive in the moment. However, if we remain stuck in lizard brain mode after the threat has passed, we won’t be accessing our wisest and most skilled self. Many people experience fight-flight-freeze mode activation for non-life threatening emergencies and this has become a habitual way the brain responds to day-to-day annoyances or frustrations. This can be changed with practice, however. In extreme cases involving post-traumatic stress disorder, support from a professional trained in trauma work is highly recommended.

The second mode of our brain, pause-and-plan, lies in our pre-frontal cortex. When this part of our brain is most dominant, we are the best version of ourselves and have the best impulse control, focus, concentration, emotional regulation and memory. This is the part of our brain that helps us remember and be guided by our most important intention even in the midst of conflicting drives or pressures. Add a comment

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Between substantial upgrades to emergency systems, a few noteworthy crimes, and the changing of the guard in some of Fluvanna’s top positions, the county had a busy 2017. Here’s a look at the big news story for each month in the year.


January

January

Final suspect arrested in burglary, shooting that shut down county

The Fluvanna County Sheriff’s Office announced in January that they arrested the fourth and last person wanted in the Nov. 18, 2016, shooting and burglary at a private garage on Lake Monticello Road that shut down Fluvanna County.

The accused are Gary N. Blowe, Jr., 31, of Virginia Beach; Dante Givens, 35, of Charlottesville; John Morton Abbitt, 36, of Virginia Beach; and Thomas A. Jackson, 36, of Charlottesville.

The unnamed property owner was transported to the University of Virginia Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.
All four suspects have been held at Central Virginia Regional Jail since their arrests over a year ago. They have not yet had their day in court.
The armed standoff resulted in the schools implementing a modified lockdown. Children remained at school for their parents to retrieve or rode home in buses that arrived well after dark.

Each of the four suspects was indicted by grand juries last summer on multiple felonies, ranging from malicious wounding to conspiracy to commit robbery.


FebruaryFebruary

Linda Lenherr, Fluvanna treasurer, released on bond

A judge released Linda Lenherr, Fluvanna County treasurer, on a $500 personal recognizance bond in February in connection with a charge of using confidential information for economic gain.

A jury found Lenherr not guilty at her August trial.

According to court records that stated the prosecution’s case against her, Lenherr cost the county $33,240 by waiving taxes, penalties and interest in an April 2015 sale of two properties to MCL Construction, Inc., a company owned by her son Michael Lenherr.

Lenherr testified that she had given her son the same service she would give to any Fluvanna taxpayer.

If Lenherr had been convicted of the first class misdemeanor, she would have faced up to one year in jail and up to a $2,500 fine.


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Missing man found dead

A Troy man who was last seen Dec. 30, 2017, has been found dead, according to a press release from the Fluvanna County Sheriff’s Office.

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