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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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Carolyn HerbertCarolyn Herbert’s 92-year-old mother inspired her wine jelly business. Herbert wanted to do something nice for her mother and went online to look up wine jelly recipes. Her mother, who enjoys half a glass of wine, became the tester for Herbert’s wine jelly. Then her son suggested a jelly made from beer and her friends encouraged her to go further with her products. Herbert built a business.

However, the business soon became less about the product itself, which she enjoys creating, and became more a crusade for mental illness awareness when her son had mental health issues as a result of injuries suffered in an accident. Herbert saw an opportunity to combine a growing business with helping those who are in need of jobs and who experience ongoing mental health issues.

“Did I ever think I would have a business – heavens no – I was a school administrator in special education for years,” Herbert said. What started with an idea to please her mother turned into something Herbert never dreamed of when she made her first batch of wine jelly.

The jelly-making process is tedious and has to meet certain standards before being allowed on the market.

“There are recipes out there for making wine jelly but you cannot sell them because of the alcohol content,” Herbert said. She began research and development a year ago and now is in the process of expanding her business. She has 10 flavors thus far and as ideas flow, more will come. Each has a subtle fruity flavor with a hint of wine taste. The Pear Pinot Grigio can be used in cooking or to enhance the taste of something as simple as an English muffin or cream cheese and crackers. Among the flavors are Apple Merlot, Blackberry Sauvignon, Orange Pineapple Chardonnay, and even Lager. For the winter holidays, she features specialty jellies such as Pineberry Julep and for summer Orange Mojito. Add a comment


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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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Langden MasonLangden Mason, who writes the popular column Don’t Get Me Started, brilliantly weaves into his writing the influences and experiences of growing up on a farm in rural Fluvanna.

Born in 1963, he recalled being content growing up in an age when one used a phone booth instead of a cell phone, drank from a garden hose instead of bottled water, and sat down as a family for dinner instead of microwaving meals individually. He does not dismiss the technological and medical advances over the last 50 years, but believes we’ve somehow lost a lot of the core beliefs that made us a great nation such as patriotism, trust, and the art of conversation without polarization.

He went on to say his parents instilled in him a belief that one could achieve happiness by working hard, doing the right thing, and being a good citizen without bullying and hurting others’ feelings. He believes they were right. He sees the diversity in his friendships as a path to better understanding and cites his upbringing as something that made him a good writer and a better person.

Smiling and sharing memories and witticisms, Mason is always engaged with those around him. His column and plays capture the lament of what we’ve left behind in our past.

Writing began with his parents informing him that great adventures were only a book away.

“I read a lot and my mother taught me to color within the lines, but left room to think outside the box,” he said. After tackling great literature and poetry, his favorite English teacher had his class diagram sentences to learn the structure of writing.

“I learned the importance of word placement and the need for proper grammar,” he said. “A picture is worth a thousand words, but a single sentence, when structured properly, can provide a pretty amazing picture.” Add a comment