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( 10 Votes )

Toys Happy FaceIn a world seemingly divided in every way, hundreds came together to spread good will Saturday (Dec. 2).

Fluvanna’s faith community continued its more than 40-year legacy of giving to the less fortunate with the Happy Face event at Central Elementary. The Fluvanna Christian Service Society coordinates toy, food, cash and coat donations from the community to provide holiday cheer to Fluvanna’s neediest residents.

More than 200 children from 100 families crowded into the auditorium to sing Christmas carols, hear the Christmas story, answer holiday trivia and wait to see if they won a new bike or video game.

Zonita Bell sat with her three children, LaTrell, Lyric and Lamark. Bell said she relocated to Fluvanna a few months ago because she inherited a house.

A single mom, Bell works part-time and said it’s hard to make ends meet. The Happy Face event helps out a lot. “It means a great deal to me. With three kids and doing it all yourself – having bills to pay and not being supported. This is a big help,” she said.

“It’s their Christmas,” she added, nodding toward her children.

Bell said she and Lyric even had their picture taken sitting on Santa’s lap.

Chrissy Blackwell is a photographer with her own business, Shuttered Dreams. She said four years ago she got a panicked call from her pastor asking if she could take pictures of children with Santa.  At the last minute, the person who had been taking them couldn’t do it.

“I’ve been doing it ever since,” said Blackwell, standing next to her 16-year-old daughter, Hannah. “We just love it. This starts our Christmas season.”
Families walk away with a printed copy of the photo.
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( 7 Votes )

Diana PickralDiana Pickral earned her degree in history from Roanoke College, though she was interested in English, but none of that mattered when her boss got one of the first PCs and together they figured out how it worked. Pickral volunteered to take on the task.

“I learned the computer from scratch and then I learned about graphics, databases and marketing. I got excited about computers,” she said. “It kept my mind alive and to keep those skills strong I applied them to my volunteer work.”

For Pickral, the ‘60s were still a struggle for women getting an education and pursuing a career other than teaching or nursing. Her father, a professor, was a shining example to Pickral of what education could do in life, and she admired that.

Pickral’s duties took her in a direction she never expected, yet enjoyed. She learned about computers and finance at a time when women didn’t have much involvement in those areas. Like her mother, Pickral was a maverick. She recalled her mother’s contributions as a volunteer.

Her mother raised funds for Rockbridge Mental Health and was conservation chair for the Garden Club of Virginia, but Pickral remembered her mother being an environmentalist before it was trendy. Her mother fought alongside others and with the Perry Foundation to stop the taking down of trees in Goshen Pass.

“For years many of us would go there to our favorite swimming hole,” she said. Her mother and the others were successful in defeating those who were bent on destroying a natural area special to those in nearby communities. To this day, Pickral still visits that area from time to time, remembering her mother sticking to her convictions and taking the time to make a difference and change lives. Add a comment


( 6 Votes )

Disaster relief2017 has been an incredible year of seven disasters, simultaneously affecting both the United States and its neighbors in Mexico and Canada.

An area resident who has been on the scene for several disasters this year is Red Cross volunteer Kay Karstaedt. At 73 she confessed that helping out with disaster relief is exhausting but has its rewards and she is not ready to stay home when her skills are called upon. Karstaedt’s message is that everyone should be willing to be a volunteer in whatever way they are able.

Karstaedt retired as a Long and Foster Realtor at Lake Anna, and before that from the USDA Forest Service. She became involved with disaster relief 12 years ago when she watched televised reports of Hurricane Katrina and its devastation. “What can I do?” she wondered. “I just felt so bad and wondered what I could do to help those people.”

A friend told her that her daughter was going to New Orleans to help with relief efforts with the Red Cross. Karstaedt went to the Red Cross office in Fredericksburg to see what was needed. They suggested that she help by counting cash donations. She did that, then said to the director, “Now what?”

The director asked her to train volunteers, who were going to be sent into the disaster areas. Karstaedt’s response was, “Give me the materials.” She studied the manual, then trained more than 500 volunteers, many from local companies. Not long thereafter, she was deployed to Lafayette, La., where she served as logistics manager for a mega shelter that housed more than 7,000 people. Add a comment


( 6 Votes )

Free throwThe Flying Flucos girls’ basketball team hosted the Little Giants from Waynesboro in their home opener Tuesday (Nov. 28). Though the girls played hard, they fell in the final minutes 54-59.

The Flucos jumped to an early lead and held it until the middle of the fourth quarter. They led by nine points at 51-42, with approximately four minutes left in the game. Unfortunately, the Flucos had free throw troubles and the Little Giants came on strong, outscoring the Flucos 17-3 in final four minutes.

Every basketball coach laments missed free throws and Fluco Coach Chad White had a lot to lament in this regard after the game. It was just one of those nights for a team that will surely do better from the line as the year progresses. It is hard to win a tightly contested game when the team goes 11-27 from the foul line for the game and 4-11 in the final period. Obviously, better free shooting could have changed the result of the Flucos opener.

The game started well for the Flucos. Senior post player Jemika Johnson opened the scoring by making two free throws. Sophomore forward Mya Wright followed with a three-point shot from the wing for a 5-0 lead. Sophomore Kyia Scott scored on a fast break and the Flucos were off to a 7-0 lead. After a time-out Waynesboro got its footing and started to get back in the game. The quarter ended with the Flucos up 12-9. Freshman guard Destini Monroe contributed a three-point basket for the Flucos.

Waynesboro outscored the Flucos 12-10 in the second quarter to cut the lead at halftime to a single point. The Flucos were led in the second quarter by sophomore guard Nevaeh Ivory who put in six of the Flucos’ 10 points.
In the third quarter, both teams opened up a bit on offense, and after scoring a total of 21 and 22 in the first two quarters, the teams combined for 31 points in the third. The Flucos scored 16 on eight two-point scores. However, they were 0-4 from the line. Ivory again led the Flucos with six points in the quarter. Johnson had four.
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( 6 Votes )

Disc golfWatch your back, pickleball, there’s a new sport in town. Disc golf has finally come to Pleasant Grove.

The first nine holes of an 18-hole course have been staked out and are ready for play. Aaron Spitzer, director of Fluvanna County parks and recreation, said the full course should be completed by spring.

Disc golf follows the basic rules of traditional golf, except instead of trying to sink a ball into a hole, players try to hit an elevated metal basket with a Frisbee or flying disc. The goal is to complete each “hole” in the fewest throws.

The course was first proposed about three years ago. Until now, local disc golfers had to go to Charlottesville or Richmond.   

Players here in Fluvanna will wind their way through the woods behind the Pleasant Grove playground, facing low-hanging branches, dense underbrush, and challenging “dog-leg” throws around bends.

The course was laid out by a professional disc golfer who blazed a path through the trees. Then Spitzer and his father went to work, clearing trees and brush and building small bridges across watery areas. Volunteers, including Eagle Scouts and students, also assisted with trail-building. Add a comment