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( 4 Votes )

When I wrote my homework column, called “Dear school system: Let my son be a child” (Sept. 21 issue), I had no idea that my deep-rooted questions regarding the impact of public school life on childhood would resonant so profoundly with my neighbors.

The column rocketed to the top of the Fluvanna Review’s Facebook statistics, eventually becoming the highest-performing post in the paper’s history. The overwhelming response was even more notable because the post was an opinion column, not a shocking news story. Clearly I had struck a chord.

But I also had no idea when I wrote my column that anyone would think I was impugning the teacher who assigned the homework in question. In fact, I went out of my way to ensure that I did not. I mentioned multiple times my own experience as a teacher, made sure I spoke about school systems as a whole rather than teachers, and included the following paragraph at the end of the column. It bears repeating.

As a former teacher, I am keenly aware of the pressure dynamic in education. School Boards and superintendents bear down on principals and teachers. But they, in turn, can be held hostage to state and federal regulations that can tie desperately-needed money to test results. Though there is much to celebrate in public school systems, there is much that needs to change.

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( 0 Votes )

In the end, 90 minutes just wasn’t enough.

At the Fluvanna library on Thursday (Sept. 28), local elected officials met with Delegates Lee Ware (65th District), Rob Bell (58th District), State Senator Mark Peake and a representative from Fifth District Congressman Tom Garrett’s office to talk about their hopes and dreams for the coming year.

With only 15 minutes to go, the group was still discussing the third of five items on their agenda.

It was a loaded agenda, made even heavier by what seemed like great ideas that just kept popping up – like partnering with Virginia Tech to do educational farming at Pleasant Grove.
Board of Supervisors Chair Mike Sheridan (Columbia) presided over the meeting that included the following agenda items:

  • Public school funding;
  • Local law enforcement: search warrants and applications for concealed hand gun permits;
  • Department of Education and Children’s Services Act funding; and
  • Zion Crossroads economic development opportunities and partnerships.

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( 0 Votes )

Linda Bethke paintingThis year, the annual People’s Choice Award Show, sponsored by the Fluvanna Art Association (FAA), was full of surprises. It featured a variety of artists and an eclectic mix of mediums. Unlike the annual show judged by a professional, the public chooses the three best in each category.

Also, School Board member Carol Carr stopped by the show and reception to accept a check for $500. Of that total $250 will go to the Fluvanna County High School art department and $250 will support the Fluvanna Middle School art department. The proceeds came from the recent art tag sale held in July. Carr also had a look around and talked with artists.

As art itself evolves, so do the methods and tools contemporary artists use. No longer is art in its purest form the norm. The subjects were wide and varied, from abstracts to landscapes, collage, still life photography, illustrations, wood carvings and unfinished work. It was a difficult choice for many. Add a comment

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( 1 Vote )

Cheryl ElliottEleanor Roosevelt said, “A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” My hot water was an unexpected breast cancer diagnosis last year.

Tepid waters
I finally went to see my lady doctor for all those annual exams that I had conveniently avoided for a couple of years. The blood work showed high cholesterol, which I attributed to stress, and I promptly resolved to live a healthier lifestyle and exchange my chocolate meals for broccoli. The mammogram, however, wasn’t so easily dismissed. Because I had had false indications before – just dense tissue and shadows – I wasn’t concerned about going back for additional tests. However, the 1.5-centimeter mass was easy to spot on the monitor. The radiologist coming in to chat was my second clue that all was not well.

Two biopsies were promptly scheduled to check the mass and another area with calcifications. Because I freaked out about being strapped tightly in the mammogram machine, they used ultrasound to biopsy the mass. They would wait to test the calcifications. After the procedure, I felt overwhelmed, exhausted, numb, disoriented. What was I facing? Was it just another false alarm? Would it be cancer this time?

After the traumatization of the biopsy, I just wanted to go home. To do so, I needed to drive an hour across Afton Mountain back to Fluvanna. Should I go home or to my sister’s house north of Harrisonburg? I decided that I didn’t want to be alone. I believe that decision was God’s way of protecting me. If I had turned south on I-81, I probably would not have survived the trip. The biopsy procedure turned out not to be routine.

Simmering waters

About an hour after the procedure, I started feeling a lump in the back of my throat, like something was stuck that I couldn’t wash down. Stress, I told myself, and had another drink of water. I felt very tired, but again thought it was due to the morning’s stress. My face started swelling, making it feel as though my mouth was filled with marbles. I started having difficulty breathing. While my sister searched for missing car keys to take me to the hospital, I managed to reach the car. Suddenly overheated, I attempted to get out of the car when my vision and hearing started tunneling. I collapsed onto the gravel driveway, crying, “Please help me, I can’t breathe.” No, something definitely wasn’t right. Add a comment

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( 0 Votes )

LogoThe Flying Fluco football team got off to a slow start in the first and third quarters Friday (Sept. 29) and as a result the Fighting Hornets from Orange County were able to put up a 47-21 victory.

The Flucos played a solid offensive game, led by junior running back Daori Green and senior quarterback Ethan Graves. Green scored two touchdowns. His first touchdown in the second quarter came on a 38-yard burst straight up the middle. He broke clear of the first line of defense and simply outran everyone for the touchdown. In the fourth quarter, Green took a hand-off from Graves on an off tackle play from the four-yard line and went into the end zone untouched.

Late in the game with the Flucos in come-from-behind mode, Graves opened up the passing game and moved the Flucos on two fourth-quarter touchdown drives. The first ended with Graves scoring on a keeper from the five-yard line. The second touchdown drive ended with Green’s four-yard run.
After the game, Fluco Coach Steve Szarmach noted that the Fluco offensive line did a good job opening holes for Green and running backs Trevor O’Dell and Drew Hamshar. Quarterbacks Colby Martin and Graves also gained some serious yards on running plays. Szarmach made note of offensive linemen Dahris Tinsley, Jamal Jones, Walter Stribling (only a sophomore), James Easter, Justin Lamb and Matthew Waller as the blockers who opened holes for the running backs.
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