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Sheriff Bobby Hughes on his horse. Photos courtesy of John HughesThe Fluvanna County Sheriff’s Department is on a different kind of manhunt. Sheriff Eric Hess hopes, with the help of the Fluvanna Historical Society and Fluvanna’s citizens, to add to what is known about the men who served as law enforcement officers in Fluvanna’s past.
“The sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer of the county,” said Hess. “Even though throughout history things have changed, that is a unique position designated to every county, and I am interested in learning more about the sheriffs of the past. It will be interesting to see how it evolved from being an appointed to being an elected position.”
Surprisingly, no list of Fluvanna’s sheriffs and deputies seems to exist. Early sheriffs were appointed, and later elected for terms of two, three and finally four years. This irregularity complicates the research. Using information from the archives at the Fluvanna Historical Society, and court documents from the Fluvanna County Clerk’s Office, a partial list has been made. Research continues at the historical society, but both the society and the sheriff are also asking for help from the public.
The historical society is interested not only in completing the list of sheriffs and deputy sheriffs, but also hoping to collect personal stories of interest about sheriffs of the past, and to see any documents, photographs, or artifacts that local citizens may have relating to local law enforcement.
“I do like history,” said Hess. “To have a progression of who the sheriffs were since the founding of Fluvanna County - I thought that would be a part of history that should be documented. The names of these men are family names, people who have living descendants here in the county.”
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The two lawsuits that helped propel the James River water project toward approval will be dropped.
“We got what we wanted,” said Mike Lockaby, Louisa County attorney for the James River water project. “A judge hasn’t entered an order yet, but I think we can all safely say that the lawsuits are over.”
On Dec. 30 Louisa County and its supervisors filed suit against Fluvanna County and its supervisors for $40 million based upon Fluvanna’s Dec. 2 denial of permits for the James River water project. On Dec. 31 Louisa County and its supervisors were joined by the Louisa County Water Authority and James River Water Authority in a second suit chiefly concerned with whether Fluvanna should have required the permits in the first place.
On Jan. 20 Supervisor Tony O’Brien confirmed the widespread assumption that the lawsuits were what prompted supervisors to bring the permits back for a second vote that night. They passed unanimously Chairman Mike Sheridan was absent.
“To actually dismiss the case I need to discuss with my client,” said Lockaby, “but yes, we’re in the midst of going through that process. A judge hasn’t entered an order yet, but as far as Louisa’s concerned, we’re done.”
The project will pull water from the James River and pipe in northeast through Fluvanna to Louisa, then on to Zion Crossroads. Louisa has promised to have 400,000 gallons of treated water to Zion Crossroads for Fluvanna’s use by the end of 2018.
“We’re very pleased that, despite this hiccup, Louisa and Fluvanna are working together again as we have for many years,” Lockaby said.

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A dangerous stretch of road that has seen more than its share of car crashes will be studied by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) in the hopes that safety improvements can be made.
Last year there were 10 or 11 accidents on the stretch of Rt. 600 between Broken Island and Lake Monticello’s Riverside Gate, said Sheriff Eric Hess. “Around early December there was a group of five or so,” he said, including a fatality.
“Everybody’s concerned with that area,” said Hess. “There’s really not much difference between those curves and some of the other curves around the county, but there must be other contributing factors.”
So Hess brought Jamie Glass, VDOT residency program manager, along for a ride down Rt. 600 on Thursday (Jan. 28) to see if VDOT could study the area and figure out how to mitigate its danger.
“I’m sending a request to our traffic engineering section asking that they perform a safety review of the corridor between Abby Road and Rt. 618, and specifically concentrate on the series of curves where most of the accidents have taken place,” said Glass.
Glass noted that the road’s speed limit of 45 miles per hour is “already reduced.” He declined to predict what safety improvements VDOT may recommend.
“They may suggest adding extra asphalt along the roadway on both sides to give a little more of a lift to the road, or adding rumble strips,” said Hess. “Then it will come down to whether there is any money for fixing it up.”
Hess hopes to have the report by the end of February. “We’ll go forward with whatever they recommend as long as they’ve got the money,” he said. “We’ll get with the Board of Supervisors and see what we can do.”

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Matthew Cody Williamson, 28, of Fluvanna was sentenced Friday (Jan. 29) in Fluvanna Circuit Court to 39 years and six months by Circuit Court Judge Susan L. Whitlock for violating conditions of his probation on child pornography charges.
Williamson pled guilty to nine charges of possession of child pornography in Fluvanna Circuit Court in 2007 and was sentenced to 40 years with all but 6 months suspended. At the time of his first conviction, Williamson was 18 years old and a resident of Lake Monticello.
On January 28, in Federal District Court in Charlottesville, Williamson was convicted of two new child pornography charges and was sentenced to 15 years in a federal prison. These charges stemmed from internet communications with a 14-year-old Canadian boy. The boy’s mother discovered pornographic images on her son’s cell phone and called the authorities, which led to Williamson’s eventual arrest, according to court documents. Williamson had promised the child gifts in exchange for explicit images the child sent to him.
According to court documents, Williamson’s electronic devices were seized and found to contain a large amount of child pornographic material; particularly of interest to authorities were communications between Williamson, who was living in Bybee at the time, and a man who was producing child pornography by posing as a girl on the internet and enticing young men to send photographs and videos of themselves in sexually explicit poses. Williamson cooperated with authorities in their investigation of this individual, who lives out of state.
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Holed up in the Fluvanna Community Center on a sunny Saturday (Jan. 30), the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors and 12 staff members hashed out ideas for the new year.
Credit cards
Pushing county offices to accept credit cards showed up toward the top of the list. Supervisors and County Administrator Steve Nichols want residents to be able to pay online when it comes to personal property taxes, dog tags, and parks and recreation activities fees. Although the program would come at a cost to the county, Nichols said he considered it “the cost of doing business” in modern times.
Pay off debt
Though supervisors had saved cash, they deliberately financed the new E911 system at a low interest rate so that they could use their cash in other ways. Now that the general fund has a $9.4 million balance, the Board has “flexibility that you normally don’t have,” Nichols said. Supervisors considered using the funds to pay off smaller debts with higher interest rates, build county-owned towers for the E911 system, fund next year’s capital improvements plan, and pay cash for some of the Zion Crossroads water system.
“You really have to think hard this year about how you want to pay for the things you need, and make a strong decision with the best benefit over the long-term,” Nichols said.
Roundabouts
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is “hot to trot” on the roundabout planned for the intersection of Rt. 15 and Rt. 53, said Nichols. Since there is already some funding in place for that roundabout, the approval of additional funding could result in construction starting as early as this summer, said Finance Director Eric Dahl.
The roundabout proposed for the intersection of Rt. 53 and Rt. 618 is VDOT’s second priority in the district, said Bobby Popowicz, director of community development. “They’re pushing hard to get both of these projects out the door for us,” he said.
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