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Pleasant Grove meadow saplings are planted in protective tubes. Photo by Tricia JohnsonMany of the bush-hogged fields of Pleasant Grove Park will soon be replaced by the wild natural beauty of meadows.
Fluvanna County Parks and Recreation Director Jason Smith has been working with Walter Hussy of Rivanna Master Naturalists; Will Shaw of the Department of Public Works; and representatives from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, John Thompson of the Cooperative Extension Service; and the Department of Forestry to develop a plan that lets nature take its course.
“We have a perfect opportunity at Pleasant Grove – the gem of Fluvanna County – to put this region’s natural history on display,” said Smith. “We are trying to perfect what nature gave to us.” Nature trails will wind through the meadows and the forests of Pleasant Grove, giving visitors a chance to experience different habitats and perhaps encounter wildlife.
Part of the plan included planting borders of wildlife-friendly trees in hedgerows around the meadows. All of the hedgerows will connect back to existing forest, giving wildlife an avenue to travel through and around the meadows. These trees were purchased with a $2,250 grant from the Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District, which was sought and won by the Office of Public Works under Will Shaw. “The grants supplied us some native trees and shrubs that are both food and covering species bordering hedgerows,” said Shaw. Because of the grant, and the willingness of non-profits and other agencies to work together, Fluvanna County has not had to contribute money to the program. In fact, the county may end up saving money, since the fields will no longer need to be maintained.
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John Anderson looks at debris from his house fire. Photos by Tricia JohnsonA fire Dec. 15 destroyed the home of John Anderson of 97 Deer Lane in the Cloverdale area of Fluvanna. No one was injured
“He was cooking bacon on his electric range,” said Fluvanna Fire Chief Mike Brent, “and he went in to take a shower. When he came back out, the top of the electric range was on fire, and the curtains above the back of the range were burning. By then the kitchen was fully involved,” said Brent. “He basically had time to just get himself out.”
Brent said the Red Cross has been contacted, and added that Anderson, who lived alone, does have family in the area.
Residents said that the small wooden house was one of the oldest homes in the Cloverdale area.
Many gathered had great attachment to the home. “I have a lot of memories of this old place – I was raised here,” said Maurice Brown. “This was our family homeplace,” he added, shaking his head.

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Some Lake Monticello residents knew about the high water and sewer bills before they bought their homes. But anyone who moved to the Lake before 2005 has been in for a real surprise.
The following chart details the year Aqua Virginia made its requests for rate increases, the State Corporation Commission (SCC) case number for each rate case, the amount of additional annual revenue requested by Aqua, the amount of additional annual revenue the SCC granted to Aqua at the end of each rate increase, the rates set by the SCC, the percentage the increases represented, and the total amount of a monthly water and sewer bill for the typical Lake Monticello customer using 3,150 gallons per month.
The rate increase of 1996 was made by the Lake Monticello Service Company. The rates put into effect after that rate case were Aqua’s initial rates when it purchased the system in 2003.
Ken Schrad from the SCC provided three of the case numbers and some figures, especially those from 1996. The rest of the information was obtained from researching the SCC’s website, with the exception of the percentages, which were computed from the figures.

 

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Does Aqua Virginia have an impact on home buyers and sellers at Lake Monticello?
Three local real estate agents think so.
Aqua’s sewer treatment plant on Rt. 600 and at least one sewer lift station on Jefferson Drive near Glen Burnie Road sometimes have significant odor issues. Though Aqua is in the middle of fixing the sewer lift station and will test two new odor-mitigating technologies this winter and next summer, the smell has persisted in the Lake Monticello community for quite some time.
Does the odor affect home sales? “It depends on which direction the wind is blowing,” said Jay Hurdle of RE/MAX Realty Specialists, “plus time of year and other factors.” Years ago Hurdle was the buyer representative for a property across the street from the sewer lift station near Glen Burnie Road. When his client bought the house “we didn’t notice any stench coming from that pump station,” he said.
Hurdle said he discovered that his buyer wanted to turn around and sell a few years later. “That property has probably had three owners in the last 12 years or so,” he said.
Now Hurdle always tells his clients about the areas where the odor is most prevalent. “I don’t have to tell them, but I do,” he said, “because I’m working for them.”
Hurdle referenced an “obvious” difference between the rebounding of property values in Charlottesville and Albemarle and those in Lake Monticello. “Our properties are not appreciating quite as robustly as Charlottesville and Albemarle,” he said, “and I really think part of that has to do with the exorbitant water rates.
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Local entrepreneur Chrisy Bossie. Photo by Tricia JohnsonLocal entrepreneur Chrisy Bossie is gaining a national reputation for her social media marketing prowess.
Bossie, the brains behind “Earthegy”, an online jewelry shop based in Kents Store, has recently been featured in an article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), is included in “Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies” by Jan Zimmerman, and will appear as a case study in the next edition of “Social Media Marketing for Dummies” by the same author.
The attention she gained after the November 27 WSJ article was “intimidating” according to Bossie, who added that her email account was soon flooded with messages from business people looking for help with their own Facebook accounts.
“I also got a huge influx of orders on that day,” Bossie said. “It was a great time for the article to come out because it was Black Friday,” she added with a laugh, “and I got swamped with orders which was good.”
Bossie is concerned, though, that the article made it appear as if she is unhappy that Facebook has changed the reach of business Facebook pages, making it necessary for businesses to pay to promote their posts. “I am not unhappy with Facebook at all – I will continue to spend money with them because it works for me and my business,” she said.
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