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PanelWay back in October 1788, Fluvanna County became part of the first case of gerrymandering in U.S. history when Patrick Henry led a movement to draw the lines of what would become the 5th District in such a way as to keep his political enemy, James Madison, out of office.

The effort failed, but the principle of creating voting districts that favor one political party is alive and well 229 years later. 

Last week, about two dozen Fluvannians assembled at the Historic Courthouse in Palmyra for a day-long look at the issue of redistricting.

Organized by artist Lindsay Nolting and author and historian Mac Griswold, with the assistance of the non-partisan advocacy group OneVirginia2021, the conference brought together activists, politicians, and academics who talked about everything from the moral and ethical aspects of the practice down to the nitty-gritty of algorithms that make gerrymandering so effective and so often damaging.

Most states look at redrawing voting districts in the year following the decennial census, ostensibly to readjust political representation based on whether the population has increased or decreased over the previous 10 years.
The problem is that the politicians themselves draw the lines, and the party in power of a state’s legislature at the time of redistricting controls much of the process. The incentive to draw the map to favor their own party, or “gerrymander,” is strong. Add a comment

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Bank robbery suspect in custody

A suspect in the robbery of the Union Bank & Trust in Palmyra is in custody, Capt. David Wells of the Fluvanna County Sheriff’s Office announced in a press release at about 4 p.m. on Thursday (Oct. 12).

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Cheryl ElliottI blame my brother. He was the one who proclaimed: “May 2016 be a year of adventure and blessing!” I had no choice but to respond with “challenge accepted,” and treat last year’s unexpected breast cancer diagnosis as both adventure and blessing.

For me, his proclamation became: “May this breast cancer adventure bring unusual and exciting experiences, bursting with God’s favor, protection and well-being!” Although he also said I was going through a lot of trouble just for a boob job! Brothers!

As it turns out, my breast cancer journey – in which I experienced the whole gamut:  chemotherapy and its ugly side effects, breast surgery, immune system collapse, and reconstruction – has brought both adventure (and some misadventure) and blessing. I’m told I’ve handled the diagnosis and treatment a little differently than most women, and I pray that sharing my journey will bring hope and encouragement. Here are a few ponderings from my cancer adventure.

Facing fears

A breast cancer diagnosis unleashes a storm of fears. Fear of the unknown: Did I cause this? What’s going to happen to me?  Fear of pain: Will it hurt? Fear of losing control. Fear of dying and fear of a life unlived. Information is often the antidote for fear because I am most afraid of what I don’t know. If I’m going to buy a refrigerator, I have to learn everything I can about refrigerators before making a final choice. The same is true when dealing with a diagnosis. Make decisions based on the information available and advice of doctors. Sorry, but “Doctor Google” should not be a trusted advisor.
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Suspect sought in bank robbery

The Fluvanna County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in identifying a suspect after the Union Bank & Trust at 5980 Thomas Jefferson Parkway was robbed at approximately 4:01 p.m. on Tuesday (Oct. 10).

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Gov. McAulliffe and supportersClose to 500 people gathered on the lawn behind the Pleasant Grove House on a cool, sunny fall Saturday (Sept. 30) to support Democratic candidates for the upcoming Nov. 7 election.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) and other Virginia politicians urged the crowd to cast votes for local and statewide Democrats. Local candidates used the opportunity to ask for the crowd’s support.

Attendees at the Justice Jamboree and Crab Fest cracked fresh crabs, munched corn on the cob, and cheered as speaker after speaker drove home the pro-Democrat message.

“Virginia is the first state that gets to have an election in the Trump era,” said former Congressman Tom Perriello (D), who carried Fluvanna but lost the state in the June 13 governor primary. “Donald Trump’s election was a seismic step backwards for the ideas of justice and liberty for all.” Touching on the Aug. 12 neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, he said, “We have an opportunity… We need to send a very strong signal on Nov. 7 that this is not Virginia.”

Justin Fairfax (D), candidate for lieutenant governor, said his running mate and gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam (D) released a program called G3 that could benefit Fluvanna residents. G3, which stands for get skilled, get a job and give back, would allow students to obtain two free years of community college.

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