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Set-up costs, insurance prices and lack of support worry vendors. Photo by Christina Dimeo GusemanThe Fluvanna County Farmers  Market, which in its prime boasted 60 vendors each week, has dwindled down to six or so, and by the end of July may become even smaller.
What happened to the bustling market packed with local foods, crafts, and goodies? Why have only 10 percent of its vendors stuck with it?
Brenda Moore, Farmers  Market manager and craft vendor, blames liability insurance as the primary reason among several factors that the market - held from 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays from April through October at the county’s Pleasant Grove Park - has all but disappeared.
“To set up on county property the Farmers  Market has to have insurance, which is definitely understandable in case someone gets hurt at the market,” Moore said. “But the only insurance that the Farmers  Market is able to get is one that requires each vendor to have their own individual liability insurance.”
When the liability insurance requirement went into effect, Moore said, the market lost roughly two-thirds of its vendors. “I was able to get liability insurance at $300-something for one year,” she said. “But being a small vendor that takes out all of my profit.”
In fact, when the insurance policy Moore is using expires at the end of July, she’s not sure she’s going to be able to afford to continue selling her crafts.
In addition to their individual liability policies, which Moore said can range from a couple hundred dollars to as much as $600, each vendor pays $100 yearly to the Farmers  Market Association. “It’s the least expensive farmers market around that I know of,” Moore said. Out of that pool of money comes the $100 rental fee the market pays to the county for use of Pleasant Grove, then about $280 for the overall Farmers  Market insurance policy. Leftover money, if it exists, goes toward expenses like advertising.
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A Fluvanna County Circuit Court jury awarded $397,215 in damages Thursday evening (July 23) to the Lake Monticello Owners’ Assocation (LMOA) in its suit against Watershed Services, Inc.
The money is for damages and attorneys’ fees, said Catherine Neelley, LMOA general manager.
Conversely, the jury awarded Watershed Services $13,085 in its countersuit against LMOA.
LMOA’s lawsuit against Watershed Services claimed that Watershed Services failed to perform certain repairs for which it was contracted and paid.
LMOA hired Watershed Services for services including repairing the Tufton dam and sluiceway, replacing an underwater drain valve at the Tufton dam, fixing the main dam sluiceway, replacing a main dam underwater valve, and repairing filter drains at both dams.
By July 2011, the lawsuit stated, Watershed Services said its work was 95 to 99 percent completed, and was paid accordingly. But “in reliance upon the defendant’s representations, the association paid the defendant money for work which the defendant knew had not been done,” the lawsuit claimed.
In the spring of 2012, LMOA discovered that the Tufton dam valve didn’t work, the lawsuit stated. There were also problems with the filter drains at the main dam and with a sluiceway extension. “Excavation of those areas revealed that they had been installed improperly and are not functioning as designed to ensure the stability of the dam,” the lawsuit stated.
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Photo courtesy of Samuel BrownIn a move that has generated significant online buzz, the Lake Monticello Owners’ Association (LMOA) denied Louisa resident Samuel Brown, a Civil War reenactor, permission to hold a ceremony honoring Confederate soldiers at the Boston family cemetery on LMOA property, where two Confederate officers are buried.
Brown intended to hold a ceremony Friday morning (July 24) at the small cemetery near the marina when he received word from Catherine Neelley, LMOA general manager, that he was prohibited from doing so.
The situation quickly grew explosive as both sides reported threats of legal action or possible pressed charges.
Brown, who belongs to a Civil War reenactment group, has already pulled up the “old and moldy” flags by the graves of Confederate officers Reuben Beverly Boston and Fontaine Chesterfield Boston in order to clean them and present them to any surviving descendants. During the ceremony he intended to replace them with new flags. “We were going to do a simple honor guard, do a salute in our uniforms, plant the flags, have the bagpiper play a song, have the preacher preach, do a prayer, and call it a day,” he said. “It wasn’t going to last half an hour to an hour.” Brown estimated about 20 people were planning to attend.
Brown said he has been trying for years to have someone from LMOA acknowledge his requests to have the cemetery fixed up and cared for, and to have the nearby boat trailers moved back from the cemetery fence. He called the current state of the cemetery “disrespectful.”
But Neelley said she hasn’t heard a word about any requests in her three years as LMOA general manager. And when she received Brown’s request to hold the ceremony, which initially contained a 21-gun salute, she denied it. Guns may not be discharged within Lake Monticello.
Brown responded by canceling the 21-gun salute part of his request, but informed Neelley that his group would still replace the flags at the headstone, an action which he said was “protected under a federal veterans law.”
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Photo courtesy of Samuel BrownTucked away by the main dam in Lake Monticello is an old family cemetery that has fallen into disrepair.
Standing side by side with grave markers are towering weeds. One headstone has broken completely off. And boat trailers crowd up against the gate surrounding the cemetery.
In the cemetery are buried the Boston family – a family that once was prominent in this area and after whom North and South Boston Roads are said to be named – including two Confederate officers. Old faded flags adorn the spots where they lay.
Samuel Brown of Louisa and Matt Smith of Lake Monticello, two young Civil War reenactors, have been trying for several years, they said, to see if the Lake Monticello Owners’ Association (LMOA) would move the boat trailers away from the cemetery fence and maintain the area inside.
“It should be a historical landmark,” Brown said. “It belongs to the colonel and his family. It should be kept up as nicely as possible. Confederate veterans are classified as American veterans and should be treated as such.”
Reuben Beverly Boston was the last colonel in command of the 5th Virginia Cavalry, said Jim Scott, Lake Monticello resident and local historian. He was killed at the Battle of High Bridge on April 6, 1865, Scott said, though his tombstone reads April 7.
His younger brother, Fontaine Chesterfield Boston, was also a Confederate officer with the 5th Virginia Cavalry, said Scott. “The whole Boston family is in that cemetery,” he said. “Mother, father, all six children are there.”
The dilapidated state of the cemetery doesn’t sit well with Brown and Smith. “Headstones are fallen and missing,” said Brown. “You can tell from the overgrowth that no maintenance is done on it. And the boat trailers should be moved away. I feel like those are disrespectful.”
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Teens working hard at home repairs.  Photo by Tricia JohnsonOver 200 teenager volunteers from across the state spent the week in Fluvanna County working hard at home repairs to make an impact in the lives of senior homeowners.
‘Impact! Virginia – Fluvanna’ was a cooperative effort between the Baptist General Association of Virginia, Fluvanna Habitat for Humanity, the Fluvanna/Louisa Housing Foundation, Fluvanna Meals on Wheels, Effort Baptist Church, and the Central Virginia Baptist Association. Impact! Virginia is an ongoing mission project of the Baptist General Association in which teenagers leave their homes to travel across the state on week-long trips to repair the homes of those in need.
The volunteer construction work was done for seniors who could not have afforded to have the work done themselves. Most of the 12 recipients had their roofs replaced, as well as other smaller repairs performed, such as painting, siding repair, and porch and deck repair. Many of these older Fluvanna residents would soon need to leave their homes were the repairs not made. This work actually allows them to remain, safely and comfortably, in their own homes.
The teens themselves were enthusiastic about the program. Lizzie Swann of Wattsburg called Impact! Virginia an “awesome experience” and added that it was a privilege to “work hard and do the best we can to improve their lives.”
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