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flooding 2Tremendous amounts of rain fell on Fluvanna over the weekend, causing flooding across the county. A Palmyra weather station monitored by Weather Underground recorded that a total of 4.09 inches of rain fell from Saturday (Feb. 10) at 12:01 a.m. to Monday (Feb. 12) at 9 a.m.altflooding

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Thomas MatthewsHistory repeated itself when the Fork Union fire department elected Christopher White as chief in December.

The problem? Few knew it. Even White was unaware that he was not the first African American fire chief.

But Kents Store’s Teresa Matthews Baskfield and Linda Brown, who are black, knew their father, Thomas Matthews, headed up the local fire department for years.

As secretary for Kents Store fire department, their mother Eva Matthews kept meeting minutes in her graceful script.

Current Kents Store Chief Andrew Pullen uncovered books of meeting minutes from April 1967 when the department first started. He’s working with the director of the Fluvanna Historical Society to preserve the records.

The information was news to Mozell Booker, Fluvanna County supervisor representing Fork Union.

All met recently at the fire department to talk about the history and Thomas Matthews’ role in it.

“The important and delightful thing is this [the report of White becoming Fork Union’s fire chief] uncovered past history,” Booker said. “The present often helps us uncover the past.”

White, who couldn’t make the get-together because of work commitments, said shortly after the Jan. 11 Fluvanna Review article came out about him, he heard he wasn’t the first black fire chief in Fluvanna.

“Please pass on that I’m sorry if I took anything away from their family,” White wrote in a text message.

Meeting minutes from March 30, 1973, show members voted Thomas Matthews captain.

Pullen said the captain and modern-day chief role are essentially the same.

Baskfield has vivid memories of her father responding to calls to duty.

“I remember the red fire phone being on the wall in the house by the back door,” she said. “It would go off and we’d all go help him get ready so he could get out as quickly as possible. It was like he was in the army.”

Matthews served as an Army firefighter during World War II and saw action in Japan, Baskfield said.
She doesn’t remember how long her dad served as chief in the Kents Store department, but she knows it was for years. “It was until he couldn’t get up in the truck,” she said. Add a comment


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Fluvanna County residents have some of the highest annual Social Security payments in Virginia, according to the financial planning website SmartAsset.com.

According to their calculations, annual Social Security payments average $20,602 in Fluvanna.

Goochland County residents topped the list at $21,868. For Virginia as a whole, average annual payments for Social Security recipients were $17,674.

The Social Security Administration said around 5,850 Fluvanna residents received benefits in 2016, the most recent year for which county-level data was available. That works out to about 22 percent of the county’s population.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s living wage calculator indicates that the required annual income for Fluvanna residents is about $20,946 after taxes.

All this means – at least in theory – that Fluvanna County is a cost-effective place to live for those on fixed incomes.

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Final guilty pleas entered in 2016 shootout

Dante J. Givens pleaded guilty in Fluvanna County Circuit Court on Thursday (Feb. 1) to one count each of attempted malicious wounding, conspiracy to commit larceny of a firearm, and attempted larceny of a firearm. 

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County pursues strategic zoning for Zion Crossroads

Rezoning land for economic development in the Zion Crossroads area may soon get a little easier.

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