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Dunbar students Nearly 60 years after it closed, class was back in session at the Dunbar Rosenwald School, if just for a day. A team of engineers from Northrup Grumman in Charlottesville were on hand to introduce a group of about 20 local kids to the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and the fun of a career devoted to making cool things.

The event was organized by Carmen Smith, a 28-year veteran of Northrup Grumman’s engineering department and the force behind the revitalization of the Dunbar School. Along with her husband, Stanley, she’s spent the better part of three years bringing the building back to life.

Dunbar is one of six Rosenwald schools in Fluvanna County. Julius Rosenwald, co-owner of Sears, Roebuck & Company, established the philanthropic Rosenwald Fund in 1917 “for the wellbeing of mankind.” In an unusual move for the era, he included African Americans in his vision of wellbeing. Beginning in the 1920s, the fund contributed over $4 million in matching funds to spur the construction of around 5,000 schoolhouses, most of them in the segregated South.

Fluvanna’s Dunbar, Hollywood, West Bottom, Douglas, Shiloh, and Fork Church were all built between 1923-1934 at a cost of  $14,300 (equivalent to approximately $200,000 in modern terms), with the expenses split between the Rosenwald Fund, the county, and the local African American community. Some of the schools have gone by more than one name.

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Dakota Rigsby may be getting a post office named in his honor.

Less than a month after Rigsby, 19, died in an accident aboard the USS Fitzgerald off the coast of Japan, Representative Tom Garrett (R-5th District) has introduced House Resolution 3183 to designate “the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 13683 James Madison Highway in Palmyra, Va., as the ‘U.S. Navy Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby Post Office.’”

There are more than 31,000 post offices in the United States and the vast majority of them are unnamed. Bills to dedicate them in honor of notable local residents have mushroomed in recent years. According the Congressional Research Service, at least 20 percent of all public laws passed by Congress are naming bills. 

The process, while simple, can take several months to complete. Garrett’s bill has already been referred to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Once approved by the committee, it will be sent to the House for a simple voice or roll call vote before heading to the Senate, where it will likely pass by unanimous consent.

The local post office will later dedicate a small place somewhere in the lobby saying the building had been named after Rigsby by an act of Congress.

Garrett has also submitted a bill to name a post office on the University of Virginia (U.Va.) campus in honor of Captain Humayun Khan, the U.Va. alumnus who was killed in Iraq in 2004. The congressman’s office said in a press release that both the Rigsby and Khan families approved the bills.

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Day campThe Fluvanna County Parks and Recreation Department has a number of summer camp programs. The Equus Springs Farm Day Camp is one of them. Two week-long camps are offered for anyone from age 8 to adults. The first camp was held in June and the second will be held July 24-28. July 21 is the last day to register. These are full-day camps that run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Drop-off is allowed as early as 7:30 a.m. and pick-up is allowed until 4:30 p.m. Equus Springs Farm is located on Ruritan Lake Road in the Scottsville area of Fluvanna. Heather Antonacci, who owns the farm, is the instructor.

The idea of the camp is to give the participants somewhat of a full immersion experience in what is involved in running a working horse farm. The parks and recreation brochure says, “Participants will be actively involved in the daily routine of running a horse farm; learning by doing and getting dirty.” This statement is in bold lettering in the brochure, so they want people to know that the farm day camp is not just an academic endeavor. The program is designed to show participants what it is really like to own and care for a horse. Add a comment

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Susan LangSalvador Dali once said “Drawing is the honesty of art; it’s either good or its bad.” For some artists, particularly loose painters used to impressionism, drawing is a dreary necessity. For others it is an art form that is so intense they lose themselves in it. Artist Susan Lang, known for her rich and vibrant oil paintings, had her illustrations featured in Leadership Lessons from Great World Leaders, a book written by her husband, Professor Frederick Lang.

For someone used to painting, predominantly in oils – which is the most forgiving of the paint mediums – she used only graphite to create her illustrations of 10 of the most influential leaders of past centuries, including Alexander the Great, Elizabeth I, Winston Churchill, Catherine the Great and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Lang, who had never taken on a project like this before, discussed what she learned. She began with reference photos, paintings and sculptures. It took her over a month to render approximately 16 drawings to choose her final illustrations. She began mixing charcoal and graphite but ended up only using graphite.

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Church/stateSeparation of church and state – a concern often reserved for state or federal government – hit home Wednesday (July 5) in a complicated discussion over relocating Fluvanna’s food pantry.

Fluvanna Christian Service Society (FCSS) learned at a Board of Supervisors meeting that Fluvanna County will begin charging FCSS rent for the land on which its buildings sit behind the Carysbrook complex.

Though the rent, about $600 per year, is small compared to typical rent charges, FCSS member Susan Hughes said the bill will create a hardship for the donation-dependent organization.

Hughes said she feels that the county is penalizing her organization for its religious affiliation. Add a comment

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