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John HalpinJohn Halpin was the last person to realize what everyone around him already knew: He was an addict.

Now a substance abuse counselor living with his wife and children at Lake Monticello, 30-odd years ago Halpin was living in a friend’s basement in his native southern New Jersey. The drinking and drug use that had once been “a lot of fun” had turned into something destructive.

Halpin grew up in an environment where drug and alcohol abuse was common and where alcohol, in particular, was always around. “It would have been unusual if I didn’t drink,” he said.

Like many who develop substance abuse problems, he didn’t recognize that his need to keep using was not a matter of choice but rather a physical dependence that became harder and harder to rationalize away.

“I wasn’t really working,” he said of those days. “My family had written me off.” He was facing multiple DUIs and drug possession charges. To top it off, he crashed his car and went through the windshield, causing injuries to his face and eyes that required several rounds of plastic surgery to repair. “Not just emotionally and not just spiritually, but physically...I was in pretty bad shape,” he said. Add a comment

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Office spaceBy summertime an empty storefront in Jefferson Centre on Turkeysag Trail will open as office spaces for Fluvanna’s growing population of solopreneurs and home-based workers.

Martin Broan, manager of Jefferson Centre Self Storage, said the new flexible office spaces could suit several types of businesses.

“If you’re a lawyer or accountant working out of your home office, but you don’t want people coming to your house, or having to get them through the gate,” then the temporary office space could be a perfect solution, Broan said.

The front office, with its big storefront windows, might work well for “holistic medicine or maybe massage,” he said. “You could even run a used car lot here,” he said, noting the inside offices and ample parking area outside. Add a comment

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Emery Davis (4) fights for ballThe Flying Fluco boys’ soccer coach Earl Gibson had a senior-laden team in 2016. A number of talented starters have moved on, so Gibson is fielding a young and somewhat inexperienced team this season. Unfortunately, the Flucos’ first game was against a Spotsylvania High Knights team that Gibson described as “strong and experienced.” The Flucos were shut out, losing 0-5.

In the opening game of the season, on March 17, the Flucos played competitively in the first half. Spotsylvania went up 1-0 after nine minutes of play as a rebound was fired into an empty net after Fluco freshman goalie Bryce Cognetti deflected a hard shot. The play for the rest of the half was mostly even. The play moved up and down the field, as both teams had some offensive chances but were unable to score.

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The call to care for the emergency placement of a siblings group in our Lake Monticello home very quickly turned into a community-wide welcome thanks to the power of love and social media.

My husband, Robert, our adult daughter, Manna, and I met the threesome of small children on a late Thursday night. We decided we were ready and would somehow be able to open our home to them and to the opportunity to serve as God would have us do.

We had prepared to be a foster family, having gone through training, background checks, a home study, and extended workshops. Our guest room was rigged with a gorgeous full-sized bed and all the basic amenities any school-age child could need. But these weren’t school-aged children, we had very little in terms of basic necessities, and they were coming to stay with us on Monday.

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Rob BrowningWalking through various areas of Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, one is struck by the artwork and the varying levels of the artists’ work. The art ranges from surrealism to realism to whimsical to abstract. Among the artists is Lake Monticello resident Rob Browning.

Successful artists are often very reflective, searching for life’s answers through their work. Browning embodies these traits, including being shy, gentle and gifted. Like other artists, he becomes energized when talking about his work or the work of others.

“I don’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t interested in art,” said Browning. “I don’t know where my interest came from. There weren’t many artists in my family or artists I knew in the area.”

Browning grew up in Fluvanna and is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond with a degree in communications art and design, and has won numerous awards for his work. He started out in advertising doing illustrations.

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