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County slashes charge to food pantry

Fluvanna County has slashed the amount it plans to charge the food pantry for its land lease from $600 to $180 per year, the Board of Supervisors learned Wednesday (Aug. 2).

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Football team ramps up for season

The Flying Flucos football team was already in serious practice mode in late July preparing for the 2017 season. Head Coach Steve Szarmach had his 38 varsity players working out in the morning on July 27-28. Luckily, although it was muggy, the temperature was tolerable. Brutally high temperatures are a real risk when the football season opens in the summer, as is the case here in Central Virginia.

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Inmates died of natural causes

The deaths of two inmates at Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women (FCCW) in Troy have been ruled as “natural” by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond.

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Maddie Jamison jumps in the poolJuly is the hottest month of the year for Central Virginia, and that’s rarely been more true than this July.

In the first 21 days of the month, Fluvanna County weather stations recorded daytime highs in the 90s on 19 days, and you have to go all the way back to July 9 to find a day that was merely in the upper 80s.

The average temperature for this time of year is around 86 degrees.

Combined with high humidity threatening to push the heat index as high as 109 degrees, it’s no surprise that Cheryl Elliott, Fluvanna County emergency management coordinator, issued a press release on Friday warning residents to beware of the potentially dangerous temperatures and recommending that people in need of cooling head to the Fluvanna County Library or, for Lake Monticello residents, the Fairway Clubhouse. Add a comment

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Sluicing in streamThere’s a saying among the members of the Central Virginia Gold Prospectors: “If you want gold, buy it; if you want to have fun, prospect.” That philosophy is evident if you happen to attend one of the club’s monthly digs in Buckingham County. Hanging out with these guys is like reverting back to your childhood; that of playing in streams, digging, and hopefully, finding treasures.

On every third Saturday of the month since 1998, the club members have descended upon Buckingham County. They come from all over – Roanoke, Suffolk, Fredericksburg, Amherst, Powhatan, Midlothian, and as far away as Pennsylvania. One member, Jim Windle, decided to purchase a home in Buckingham after coming to the county for over 30 years. “My wife teaches at Longwood University,” said Windle. “She got tired of the weekend drives, so we moved here.”

Buckingham has a history of being an area that has some of the purest gold in the country. And that gold can be found, if you know where to look and how to prospect. 

In order to establish claims with Buckingham landowners, the club had to research historical archives and use word of mouth. “Buckingham was the largest producer of gold in the country before the Civil War,” said John Schlaback, club president, who hails from Waynesboro. “There were a large number of gold mines in the county.” Names such as Morrow Mine, Seay Mine, Booker Mine, and Bondurant Mine are part of Buckingham’s goldmining history.

The California Gold Rush enticed many prospectors to leave the Buckingham mines and head west. The Civil War also pulled the miners away, causing the mines to be abandoned. Many of the mines were also burned during the war. It has only been in the past 30 years that these mines have been rediscovered and explored.

“We have land rights to come to Buckingham and prospect,” said Lynne Shaw, club treasurer.  “We pay a lease to use private property. It’s sort of like hunting rights. Hunters take away game; we take away gold.” 

The club’s website has a large amount of information on the history of gold in Virginia. The site notes that Thomas Jefferson made one of the first references to gold in 1782, when he described finding a gold-bearing rock, weighing four pounds, north of the Rappahannock River. Buckingham County’s Booker Mine was opened in 1835 and the Bondurant in 1836, during a time that was known at the golden age, or the first gold rush.

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