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Persimmon tree playersPersimmon Tree Players (PTP) is getting ready for a new season of shows. The future looks bright for a theater group that has been in existence for over 20 years.

The saying in some theater circles is “creativity is contagious,” and it is challenging, magical, imaginative and fun. However, turnover in community theater often arises due to time constraints and other commitments of those who participate.

“There is a tremendous satisfaction in being part of creating an enjoyable experience for my neighbors. I enjoy the company of my theater community, whether I am building a set or playing a role on stage,” said longtime PTP veteran George Gaige.

Gaige said he would like to see PTP include specialty shows such as musicals, children’s theater and variety or talent events. Gaige’s enthusiasm and energy is evident when speaking about theater and he puts that same energy into his performances and set designs. When President Warren Johnson left in February after 13 years, Beth Sherk took over, and Gaige has been supportive of building the group and keeping it moving forward. Add a comment

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waterFor the fifth time in 13 years, Aqua Virginia has started the process of raising water and sewer rates for its customers in Fluvanna.

Aqua’s biggest customer in Virginia is the Lake Monticello system, which serves Lake Monticello and Sycamore Square. Aqua also provides water service to Columbia, Palmyra, and Stagecoach Hills. All told, the company provides service to 4,648 locations in Fluvanna. Lake Monticello and Sycamore Square account for 4,550.

Aqua plans to file its rate case with the State Corporation Commission (SCC) on or around Aug. 1, said Gretchen Toner, spokesperson for Aqua America.

Aqua has not released any specifics on how high it wants to raise water and sewer rates, and the rate case filing was not available at press time. John Aulbach, president of Aqua Virginia, will discuss details of the rate case with the Fluvanna Review after the paperwork is filed, Toner said.

Because one rate increase was phased in over two years, Aqua customers have actually seen their water and sewer rates increase six times since the company purchased the system in 2003.

The average water and sewer bill at Lake Monticello is $118 – an amount that has more than tripled since the average customer paid $38 a month in the years before and immediately after Aqua bought the system. Add a comment

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Changes may help division run “smoother and leaner”

Even though Chuck Winkler has served in the role of superintendent since Jan. 1, he officially assumed the job on July 1. As he ushers in the new school year, Winkler announced changes in the School Board Office staff.

Perhaps the biggest change is in the top administrative structure.

Winkler eliminated the positions of assistant superintendent, director of finance and director of student services.

Brenda Gilliam’s title and role has changed. Gilliam was the director of curriculum and instruction. She is now the executive director for instruction and finance.

Don Stribling is now the executive director of student services, operations and human resources, Winkler said.

“As I began my new role, I worked with the administrative team to determine how to best structure the School Board Office staff to best serve the school division,” Winkler said. “I’m looking forward to working closely with and leading the dedicated, caring staff to continue to make a quality difference for the children of Fluvanna.” Add a comment

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Chuck WinklerSuperintendent Chuck Winkler was forthright with the Fluvanna County School Board at the Board’s seminar Wednesday morning (July 26).

“We are failing our students in special education,” Winkler said. “We are fully accredited. We should be proud of that. Are we fully staffed in special education? As far as the regulations are concerned, yes. As far as the needs of our students? No.“

Brenda Gilliam, executive director of instruction and finance, showed the Board preliminary Standards of Learning (SOL) results that show all Fluvanna schools will be fully accredited.

However, when it came to federal monitoring of the SOLs, in which students are broken down into groups by race, disabilities, economic disadvantage and English as a second language, the picture isn’t as rosy.

Consistently throughout grade levels, disadvantaged and disabled students don’t hit federal benchmarks. Add a comment

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Meredith Locascio and Lauren ReedWhile students don’t start school until Aug. 9, 30 new teachers and instructional assistants came to the middle school Thursday (July 27) to get a head start.

Superintendent Chuck Winkler greeted them, as did School Board Chair Carol Carr and Board member Perrie Johnson.

The group spent the day getting acquainted with each other, the administrative staff and building principals.

Here is a snapshot of most of the new teachers:

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