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Larry and Sharon StraussLake Monticello resident Larry Strauss has been counseling people for over 40 years and spoke about his experiences, from 9/11 to the recent event in Charlottesville, and how these events have shaped society.

“In natural or man-made disasters there are different stages survivors go through and stress is the normal reaction of course, but the commonality is loss, displacement, feelings of futility and fear of the future,” he said. “Mostly my job is to listen and help them with resources. I have an appreciation for what they’ve been through.”

Strauss recalled growing up in Brooklyn and later working in the area where the Twin Towers went down.

“When I was a kid I used to make deliveries around that area,” he said. “I was startled for the first 24 hours after it happened.”

Strauss’ own past may have been an influence on helping others through trying times. His family, Russian immigrants, fled Eastern Europe in the late 1900s, beginning a new life in America, but the new life came with its own share of difficulties. In 1918 his grandfather was killed in a robbery. In 1921 his mother came over from Europe and the ship she was on sank. “She was never able to board a boat or a ship after that experience,” he said.

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Jane SmithLet’s admit it, when students know that they have a substitute teacher, they assume they have a day off.  That would not be the case for a very special substitute teacher named Jane Smith.

Smith may be the oldest active substitute teacher in Virginia. Subbing for Buckingham County Public Schools for almost 20 years, Smith, at the age of 86, reports to the school division’s classrooms on a fairly consistent basis; she’s a regular at Buckingham Middle School.

Why would an 86-year-old go into the classroom when she could be doing most anything else? Because of her love for children and the joy of teaching.
Originally from Page County, Smith attended Radford University (nee College). Because her husband was a forester, the family moved to a number of locations in Virginia. While living in Charlotte County, Smith taught at Randolph Henry High School – she recalls teaching Gene Dixon, Jr. and Patrick Henry’s great-great grandson – where she also ran the debate team. “Those were wonderful years,” said Smith.

Sadly, those wonderful years ended when Smith and her husband had to deal with the death of their college-aged son at the hands of a drunk driver. “That destroyed our marriage,” said Smith. “My husband was angry and could not get over our son’s death.”

Smith, now a single woman, entered Union Seminary in Richmond to earn a master’s in religious education. “Those four years in Richmond were enriching,” she said. “I went into very depressed areas of the city to assist in feeding the poor. I found out what life was really about. It allowed my life to broaden and see across cultural and economic lines.” Add a comment

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cheeringThe Fluco girls’ basketball team under long-term Coach Chad White went to the Conference semi-finals last season. Chaniyah Brown, who was the senior team leader last season, has graduated, but White’s squad last year was extremely young with a number of freshman standouts and he has a host of strong returnees. Navaeh Ivory returns at guard. She was a first team All-Conference selection as a freshman last year.

Jemika Johnson is a senior who will man the post for the Flucos. She was an All-Conference honorable mention last year. Two athletes who made major contributions last season as freshman are speedy guard Jules Shepherd and rangy forward Mya Wright. They are both expected to start. The fifth starter was also a freshman last season. Kyla Scott had some strong games in her freshman year and will contribute again from the wing. Accordingly, it looks like White will have a very young and promising line-up with one senior and four sophomores starting. He also will have two freshmen contributing: Destini Monroe and Caitlyn Broderick.

The Fluco girls will continue to play their usual pressing and harassing defense that is intended to create a host of turnovers that lead to easy fast break baskets. White’s teams are always entertaining to watch as the action is always fast paced.

Fluco boys’ basketball Coach Jason Davis will have a very young team this year with six sophomores and one freshman on the roster. However, he will have some veterans in the starting line-up. The two highest scorers from last year’s squad return as seniors. A.J. Gregory, who swings between guard and forward, was a Conference honorable mention last year and he and DaShon Carter, who will be the shooting guard, will be counted on again to lead the Flucos on offense.

Two sophomores who will be in the starting line-up are Emory Davis, who played well on the JV squad last year and will handle the point guard position, and Walt Stribling, who will be the team’s center, or in more current terminology, the team’s post player. Stribling was a standout lineman on the football team and he will bring some size and rebounding to the Flucos forecourt. The fifth starter for the Flucos will probably be senior Caden Koslowski or junior Andrew Pace, both of whom logged serious playing time last season for varsity. Add a comment

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Percentage of Fluvanna school-aged children not in public school lower than national average

One School Board candidate intimated students are leaving Fluvanna County Public Schools (FCPS) in droves.

Is that true?

Like most things, there are no simple answers.  Multiple factors go into a parent’s choice to homeschool or send a child to private school.

Six Fluvanna families agreed to tell their stories of why they don’t send their children to public schools. While each story is unique, most had two things in common: a dissatisfaction with their public school experience and a desire for more control over what their child learned and how it was taught.

Here are some facts:

FCPS are one of only 22 Virginia districts fully accredited four years in a row.

The FCPS on-time, overall graduation rate in 2017 was 97.4 percent, placing it fourth out of 132 districts. FCPS students categorized as disadvantaged graduated at 98.7 percent; black students graduated at 100 percent.
There are 169 Fluvanna school-aged students going to five private schools in Fluvanna: Fork Union Military Academy (FUMA), Effort Christian School, Open Door Christian School, The Light Academy and Saint Nicholas Learning Center.

There are 228 students who are homeschooled and 55 who have a religious exemption from attending public school.

All told, there are 452 school-aged children in Fluvanna who are either homeschooled or attend a private school in Fluvanna.

Nationally in 2016, 10 percent of school-aged children attended private schools and 3.4 percent were homeschooled – totaling 13.4 percent of children who don’t attend public schools. That’s according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Add a comment

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Now that the dust has settled over the Nov. 7 election, political junkies can enjoy poring over data reflecting how Fluvanna County voted.

The best approximation of voter turnout in Fluvanna is probably the governor’s race, which generated the most votes cast county-wide. About 51 percent of the county’s nearly 18,000 registered voters chose to cast a ballot for governor.

Joyce Pace, Fluvanna registrar, said that voter turnout in 2015, the last non-presidential election year, was 29 percent. In general, however, this year’s turnout was fairly typical for a non-presidential election with several local races.

Fluvanna voted Republican in all five non-local races: governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, 58th District delegate and 65th District delegate. Statewide, Democrats prevailed in the first three races, but Fluvanna’s two incumbent Republican delegates retained their seats.

State races
Fluvanna went for Ed Gillespie, Republican candidate for governor, by 52.7 percent. Democrat Ralph Northam, who took the race statewide with 53.9 percent of the vote, won only 46.3 percent of Fluvanna voters. Libertarian candidate Cliff Hyra earned less than 1 percent of Fluvanna’s vote.

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