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Captain Charles G. Snead stands in the front row, third from right in the reunion photo. Photo courtesy of the Fluvanna Historical Society(Part 1 of 2)

On April 9, 1865 General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse and the Civil War ended. The date will end the observance of the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War. Fluvanna County native Minnie Lee McGehee has written a narrative weaving memories (both oral and written) of the Civil War in Fluvanna which she has accumulated during her years of research into the county’s history.

THE YANKEES ARE COMING!
In the spring of 1865 Union Major General Philip H. Sheridan dispatched the First Michigan Cavalry “to strike the Rivanna River near Fluvanna Court House to destroy all public property.”
Most picture the Union troops who destroyed the bridge and mill at Palmyra as foot soldiers. But no, the Cavalry approached from the north, for the sharp ears of the boys in the Center Hill School at Bybee first announced that they heard the hooves of horses thundering down the dirt road, far away, but coming!
Cavalry! Yankee Cavalry! Edgar Loving was 82 years old when he enjoyed telling how his teacher, Shandy Holland, wisely dismissed classes to allow the students to watch the Yankee men on their horses pass by. It took them two hours to pass, wrote Mr. Loving: riding, riding to destroy the mill and covered bridge at Palmyra!
General Thomas C. Devin, Commander of the Union Army’s First Cavalry Division, reported that his troops destroyed the covered bridge at Palmyra. However, Confederate Captain Philip B. Hiden of Company A, 13th Virginia Regiment, said he and his company were ordered to cover General Robert E. Lee’s westward retreat by burning all bridges and sinking all boats, and that one of the bridges he burned was the one at Palmyra.

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In a rare unanimous vote Fluvanna County supervisors agreed Wednesday night (March 18) to advertise a budget of $68.3 million for fiscal year 2016 (FY16).
“Is this a Fluvanna Board?” joked County Administrator Steve Nichols after the vote. Supervisors almost never agree unanimously on budgets or tax rates.
The advertised budget works with a real estate tax rate of 89.9 cents, a personal property tax rate of $4.35, and a machinery and tools tax of $2.00, all per $100 valuation. These tax rates will apply for calendar year 2015, not FY16.
“I think the Board worked very hard,” said Supervisor Tony O’Brien after the meeting. “Mr. Ullenbruch certainly deserves credit for helping to shape how the tax rate was going to look. I know he worked diligently to try to find consensus among the Board to make this happen. So I’m really proud of the entire Board. Mr. Weaver felt uncomfortable with certain items and we were able to take Mr. Ullenbruch’s initial proposal and bring it down a little bit so that everybody could vote on this.”
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Supervisors paved the way for a Fluvanna County cost recovery program for ambulance transport by unanimously passing a cost recovery ordinance Wednesday night (March 18).
Having an ordinance in place allows the county to implement a program that will recover some of the costs associated with providing ambulance transport – a very critical yet very expensive service.
Next supervisors will need to approve a billing service firm contract. Then once they review and approve drafted policies and procedures Fluvanna’s cost recovery program will be up and running.
Cheryl Elliott, emergency services coordinator, estimated that the program will start between July and September – the first quarter of fiscal year 2016 (FY16).
In their advertised FY16 budget supervisors rely on $100,000 in revenue from cost recovery, which gives them an impetus to launch the program as soon as possible.
Only one person spoke at the public hearing for establishing the ordinance. Lake Monticello resident Lyle Plitt, who said he has been an emergency medical technician in Fluvanna for eight years, urged the Board to think twice before implementing a cost recovery program.
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Photo by  Tricia JohnsonColumbia’s days as a town are numbered.
Voters in a special election held Tuesday, March 17, in the town of Columbia decided by an 18 to 1 vote for disincorporation, making the historic river town just another part of the county of Fluvanna. There are 34 registered voters in Columbia.
But officials say nothing much will change.
“I would be hard pressed to find anything that will change for the residents of Columbia because of this disincorporation or disestablishment, other than their taxes will go down,” said Fluvanna County Administrator Steve Nichols.
The Town had already suspended billing the town property tax, pending the outcome of the special election. Property owners will continue not to be billed a specific town tax, leaving only the Fluvanna County property tax we’ve always paid,” said Kerry Murphy-Hammond. “We will now be entitled to the full county services previously unavailable to us as an incorporated town, such as Planning and Zoning,” said Kerry Murphy-Hammond.
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Fluvanna County High School junior Oliver Dubon. Photo by Tricia Johnson“I wouldn’t want to hear Beethoven without beautiful bass, the cellos, the tuba. It’s very important. Hip-hop has thunderous bass. And so does Beethoven. If you don’t have the bass, it’s like being amputated. It’s like you have no legs.” – Lou Reed.
Fluvanna County High School junior Oliver Dubon provides that thunderous bass to the school band on his tuba – and he just won a spot in All State Band, as well – a high honor reserved for very few young musicians across the Commonwealth.
Competition for a place in All State Band is fierce. First students must be recommended to audition in district competitions by their band or orchestra director; those that place in the top percentages in district competitions go on to audition for All State Band.
All State auditions are noisy, frenetic, joyful and stressful events that take place in the late winter each year. Student musicians, teachers, judges, and competition organizers, along with parents and chaperones, gather together for a day. Students warm up at the same time on different instruments playing different pieces; a cacophony of noise, at times overwhelming, fills the building. In another part of the building, in separate classrooms, nervous students play scales, an etude (or musical study) and sight-read a piece composed just for this competition for two judges they cannot see. Students may not speak or do anything that might reveal their age or gender to the judges in these blind auditions. For those auditioning, it is a strange and nerve-wracking process.
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