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altWith a new round of Aqua Virginia rate hikes on the horizon, the Lake Monticello Owners’ Association (LMOA) is moving fast to minimize the impact on area residents.

Within 24 hours of learning about Aqua’s proposed 7.4 percent rate increase, the LMOA Board of Directors voted to form an ad hoc committee to organize the community’s response. Board President Rich Barringer will serve as liaison to the committee. Former Board member Mike Harrison will serve as committee chair. 

About 15 members of the community met with Harrison at Fairway Clubhouse Thursday night (Sept. 14) to learn more about the plan of attack and decide if they wanted to join the committee.

“The chances of us eliminating the rate increase is exactly zero, but we can probably reduce it,” Harrison said.

Aqua’s rate case brings back the water and wastewater infrastructure service charge (WWISC), which was denied by the State Corporation Committee (SCC) in 2015. The additional charge, which could be as high as 10 percent of the average customer bill, would be used to fund capital improvements. Harrison said he believes the community can fight the implementation of WWISC.

Harrison outlined the series of steps the committee will have to take between now and May 2018.

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Alden BigelowOne day local author Alden Bigelow wrote a short story that dealt with animal cruelty and animal rights. Eventually it developed into his current novel, The Great American Mammal Jamboree.

“It just evolved into a novel as my characters and their thoughts grew larger and larger in my mind,” he said. The book is written from the perspective of animals, both wild and domesticated. Most of the book is told through the point of view of a springer spaniel named Jessie. Jessie is chosen partly because of his affinity and ability to bond with humans on a different level than most wild animals.

“My favorite character was Jessie, because he is a great narrator and a good dog and a close personal friend of mine,” said Bigelow.
The animals come together for a jamboree and, though some express their disenchantment with humans and their cruelty and misunderstanding of animals, Jessie cautions them that they need to be open to promoting peaceful, friendly compromise.

“This is about animals learning to work together in order to teach and persuade” humans, Bigelow said.

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Fluvanna schools earn full accreditation four years in a row
Bus request sparks debate

Fluvanna County Public Schools are fully accredited for the fourth year in a row.

That makes the school system one of only 22 in the state that can make the same claim, Superintendent Chuck Winkler told the School Board at its meeting Wednesday (Sept. 13).

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Community gathers to honor Rigsby, remember 9/11

County first responders, officials, and citizens gathered at the Community 9/11 Memorial on Slice Road Monday night (Sept. 11), both to mark the 16th anniversary of the attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., and to honor former Lake Monticello firefighter Dakota Rigsby.

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Carolyn Liberto approached the medical staff at Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women (FCCW) complaining of chest pains on July 21. The 70 year old had a history of hypertension and congestive heart failure, but the medical staff allegedly told her that her vitals were normal and to return to her cell. During the night, she began to have trouble breathing. She died hours later.

Four days later, 38-year-old Deanna Niece complained of chest pain and shortness of breath so severe she fell to the ground. As with Liberto, she was not referred for evaluation. That night, she went into convulsions and began to vomit blood. An inmate said she “died on the floor” just three weeks shy of release. The coroner ruled cause of death as pulmonary embolism.

Details of the July deaths were among multiple allegations of medical mismanagement included in a 48-page contempt motion filed in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville on Wednesday (Sept. 6).

Lawyers for a group of prisoners say the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) has failed to meet the requirements laid out in a 2016 settlement agreement to improve care at FCCW. That settlement came after years of complaints and a class-action suit arguing that the prison’s medical services were so substandard that they potentially violated prisoners’ Eighth Amendment protection from cruel and unusual punishment.

FCCW “was built with an eye towards having the best medical care, and if this is the best medical care, I’d hate to see what it’s like in all the other prisons,” said Brenda Casteñada, an attorney with the Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville.

Instead, the medical facility has become mired in what the contempt filing calls “an institutional culture of indifference,” with inadequate staffing and a lack of leadership at the top translating into substandard care for the prison’s 1,200 inmates. Add a comment

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