Farmville the Magazine - Summer 2018

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Summer 2018 Vol. 3, No. 4 FREE

Farmville Downtown

A Partnership that works

Coming to life

Mural transforms library

Helping Farmville hit the high notes Meet Dr. Christopher Swanson Longwood Professor of Music and Summer Garden Opera Vice President and Music Director

IN THE COMMUNITY • All in a Day’s Music. Swanson, a 15-year member of the Longwood faculty, teaches a variety of music classes and directs vocal ensembles. He also teaches private voice lessons, which are open to members of the community. “There are so many life lessons in singing that can be applied to so many parts of life. I love discovering those things with my students every day.” • Raising the Rafters. As music director at Johns Memorial Episcopal Church in Farmville, Swanson enjoys his work with the choir, which is a mixture of community members and college students. • Another Year, Another Opera. This year’s Summer Garden Opera production was The Barber of Seville. To find out what’s in store for next year, keep an eye on


“Longwood has given me tremendous opportunities as a musician. Giving back to the community is my way of saying thank you.”

Photos by Ted Hodges

OPERA FOR THE PEOPLE: It isn’t often that nationally known opera singers converge on a small town to stage a full opera—but it happens every year in Farmville when the community comes together around a performance on par with any big city. Now in its ninth year, the Summer Garden Opera—founded by Christopher Swanson and local attorney Harlan Horton—brings professional opera singers from all over the country to Farmville to perform a full opera in an outdoor venue. Each year this highly anticipated event, popular with music fans of all ages, gives everyone in the region the chance to experience this magnificent art form “up close and personal,” with no big-city road trip required. | 434.395.2496

CITIZEN LEADERS: Longwood People Contributing to a Great Community





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Feature Over the past decade Farmville Downtown Partnership (FDP) has been on a mission — to create an inviting, exciting environment in which to live, shop, play and operate a business. “A lot of downtowns have these elements but don’t have people willing to engage and make it all happen,” says Ilsa Loeser, president of the FDP Board of Directors. During the 2016 Vice Presidential Debate at Longwood University, FDP was front and center, decking the town in red, white and blue. Television viewers across America saw Farmville as a town with a heart for its downtown district. It’s hard to miss the message on banners all along Main Street: “Farmville Downtown: the beat of the heartland.” On the cover: John Burton offered an Uncle Sam welcome during the 2016 debate.

Publisher — Betty Ramsey Designer — Troy Cooper

Editorial Marge Swayne


Emily Hollingsworth Titus Mohler

Advertising Director — Jackie Newman Debbie Evans Rachel Fielding

Contributors: Jay Wilkerson, Jimmy Hurt, Dr. Robert Wade Cover photo by Marge Swayne On the web: To subscribe, contact Farmville the Magazine P.O. Box 307 Farmville, VA 23901 (434) 392-4151 Farmville the Magazine is published eight times annually by Farmville Newsmedia LLC. Copies are available free at businesses throughout the Heart of Virginia. For convenient mail delivery of each issue, cost is $30 per year.

Coming to life


A Look into the Past


Also... Publisher’s Notebook Events Serving it Up From the Ground Up Where Am I?

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Artist in Residence Party Pix Town and Gown Why I Love Farmville

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Farmville the Magazine

Publisher’s Notebook

Recipes for success J

ust as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes partnerships to create a successful and thriving business community. The Farmville Downtown Partnership is a prime example of getting it right. Private business owners, large and small, coming together, working alongside and most importantly — with local government to create a perfect recipe for success. Turn to Page 18 as Marge Swayne takes you through the history and making of this great partnership. Each edition of Farmville the Magazine, we feature a new recipe in “Serving it Up.” Betty Ramsey, We always get lots of positive feedback Publisher about the recipes, but I have a feeling this one is going to the top of the list for many of you. Jennifer Fraley’s Berry Pecan Scones are an adaptation of her mothers’ basic scone recipe. These delectable scones are filled with sweetened cranberries, dried tart cherries, golden raisins, currants and pecans. Let me just say — wow! Time to put on your apron, pull out your baking utensils and turn to Page 9 for a

recipe your family and friends will be sure to rave over. This is a recipe you are going to use over and over again. There are many more stories within these pages, and we hope you will enjoy them. We welcome your ideas and invite you to share with us what you would like to hear more about by sending us a note at P.O. Box 307, Farmville, VA 23901, giving us a call at (434) 392-4151 or sending me an email at We publish Farmville the Magazine March, April, May, summer, September, October, November and December. We invite you to pick up a copy of the latest issue as there is sure to be someone you know featured inside — a neighbor, family member, a friend or perhaps even you! If you want Farmville the Magazine delivered to your home or office, we offer subscriptions for $30 per year, just enough to cover the postage. To subscribe call us at (434) 392-4151. Thanks for reading, and we look forward to seeing you in September. Betty Ramsey is publisher of Farmville the Magazine. Her email address is



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Summer fun Camp out. Consider a night under the stars this summer. Overnight camping for a small fee is available right here in our backyard at Twin Lakes State Park. Cabins are available for rent, or bring a tent, camper or RV and stay. For more information visit the park’s website at twin-lakes#cabins_camping. High Bridge Trail State Park

The site of two Civil War battles during Lee’s Retreat, this park is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Virginia Landmark. A former rail bed, the trail covers 31 miles and is mostly flat, level and wide. The trail is open to nonmotorized vehicles. Enjoy hiking, biking and even horseback riding. Perched 125 feet above the Appomattox River is High Bridge itself. At more than 2,400 feet long, it’s the longest recreational bridge in Virginia, and the views are spectacular. For more information about the park, events and directions, visit

Live at Riverside

A free summer concert series at Riverside Park is hosted by the Farmville Jaycees, with live music, games and entertainment for the whole family. The summer music lineup is as follows: Aug. 3 — Moosetrap Sept. 7 — Soul Expressions The Longwood Center for the Visual Arts (LCVA)

The LCVA believes “there should be no barriers to exploration of the visual arts.” The museum is open to the public, with free admission to it and its programs. The art museum of Longwood University is a 20,000-square-foot exhibition center which features two rotating galleries and an additional gallery dedicated to a permanent exhibition of African art, part of the Ziegler and Brumfield Collections of African Art. Located at 129 N. Main St. in downtown Farmville, the center is open Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. For more information visit

Summer events include: Aug. 17, 5-8 p.m. — Opening Reception: A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America R. R. Moton Museum

Located at 900 Griffin Blvd. in Farmville, the former Robert Russa Moton High School is now a National Historical Landmark. The student birthplace of America’s Civil Rights Revolution, the museum is open for visitors from noon-4 p.m., Monday-Saturday, and by appointment. For more information about the museum, visit Stars Under the Stars

In its 21st season, Stars Under the Stars at Crute Stage in downtown Farmville is fun for the whole family. Bring a chair or a blanket to spread out, sit back and enjoy. Popcorn, candy and drinks are available for purchase. Aug. 10 — “Tombstone”

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Jennifer Fraley presents her Berry Pecan Scones, a creation of hers that stemmed from her mother’s basic scone recipe.

Serving it Up

‘Something tasty to be had’ Story and photos by Titus Mohler


ennifer Fraley’s colleagues at Longwood University would undoubtedly list a variety of reasons why working with her is a treat. One of those reasons, however, doesn’t relate to her responsibilities as associate dean for conduct and integrity but rather her ability to actually make delectable, baked treats. “I know I bring something in to work at least once a week,” she said. “So, there’s always some sort of baked good in my office, and people know that. People will stop by my office because there’s always something tasty to be had.” Fraley noted she can’t remember when she hasn’t been baking. “I sort of grew up in the kitchen, baking with my mom all the time,” she said. “... We were a Navy family, so I lived all over the place. Kitchens, food, those sorts of things — that was kind of a real comfort for us …” Jennifer said that as she was growing up, her mother, Judith Fraley, was always feeding people. “She taught me how to bake, and it’s something that I’ve always enjoyed,” Jennifer said. “I’ve always enjoyed sort of creating things …” She added that baking has a science to it that is intriguing to her. The plethora of places she and her family lived when she was growing up included Guam, Sicily, Japan, Iceland, North Carolina and a couple of different locations in Washington state. This moving has had an influence on what she bakes. “It did broaden the recipe stash of things,” she said. “As we would go to different places, we would learn kind of what the local traditions and things were, so that has sort of informed my baking as well as my mom’s.” When it comes to Fraley’s baking creativity, her Berry Pecan Scones stand as a shining example. “The basic scone recipe was my mom’s,” Fraley said. “And so then when I started doing it on my own, I liked to add the different things and see how it would turn out. So instead of just plain scones, I sort of tweaked that recipe and made it berry pecan, and the spices are different and that sort of thing. Once I got the hang of making scones from her, I then kind of made that recipe my own.”

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BERRY PECAN SCONES Ingredients 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 1/3 cup sugar 3/4 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 cup butter, cold (diced) 1/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries 1/4 cup dried tart cherries, chopped 1/4 cup golden raisins 1/4 cup dried currants 1/2 cup pecans, chopped 2 eggs, large 2 teaspoons vanilla 1/3 cup milk, plus 2 teaspoons milk, divided 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Fraley’s Berry Pecan Scones begin to take shape as she works her way through the steps in her recipe.

Instructions Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and baking powder until combined. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Stir in the fruit and nuts. In separate bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla, 1/3 cup of milk and heavy whipping cream. Add liquid to dry ingredients, and stir until moistened. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Shape and divide into two discs approximately 3/4 inch thick. Brush the discs with the reserved milk. Using a knife, cut the discs into six wedges each. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and lightly dust with flour. Transfer the two discs to the baking sheet, separating the wedges by 1/2 inch on all sides. Place the scones in the freezer and let rest for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. **Alternatively, a scone pan may be used. If using a scone pan, turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into one disc approximately 1 inch thick. Brush with reserved milk, and cut into eight wedges. Place wedges in scone pan, and continue with instructions.




VISIT Fuqua School admits students of any race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to the students at the school.


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From the Ground Up


BackyarD Story and photos by Jay Wilkerson


here are few sights in the garden as pleasant as a butterfly gliding on the breeze. Its exquisite beauty and delicate charm elicits childlike wonder in many of us. Planting a butterfly garden serves the dual purpose of welcoming our colorful friends while adding a splash of color to our homes. But how do we invite them to spend more time in our

backyard? The first thing to consider is site selection. You want to choose an area with suitable soil and at least half a day of strong sunlight. This ensures your flowers bloom continuously and the butterflies can see the brightly colored blooms in your garden. Make sure the chosen area has a water source nearby because most

plants will need regular watering in the heat of the summer, especially the first season. Plant selection is where you can really have some fun. Your garden should not only provide food for your winged guests but also enhance the beauty of your home. It is much easier to care for a garden when it is aesthetically pleasing and a joy to tend rather than

A group of Tiger Swallowtails are observed “puddling.�

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Above, Jay Wilkerson is the Town of Farmville Horticulturist. At right, Tiger Swallowtail, the state butterfly of Virginia, is a visitor that can add immense beauty to a garden.


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At left, Black Swallowtail caterpillars feed on parsley leaves. At right, providing a beautiful contrast in color is the Great Spangled Fritillary as it consumes verbena nectar.

a chore. The best butterfly gardens contain a mixture of blooming annuals and perennials. There are so many varieties of plants available that it can be a bit overwhelming at times, so when in doubt choose the colors that appeal to you, and the butterflies will be grateful for your offerings. Perennials come back year after year and should be the foundation of your habitat. A few of the best perennials for butterflies are coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), Brazilian verbena (Verbena bonariensis), black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia sp.), Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum), tickseed (Coreopsis sp.) and milkweed (Asclepias sp.). Milkweed is unique because it provides nectar for many species of

adult butterflies as well as food for Monarch caterpillars. Two species that are commonly available at local garden centers are A. tuberosa and A. incarnata. Annuals will need to be planted each spring and will supply your garden with a continuous food source. While some perennials can cycle in and out of bloom, annuals bloom all season, providing nectar through summer and into the fall. Some excellent annual flowers to consider are zinnias, cosmos, lantana, ageratum and pentas. Plants in the carrot family such as parsley, dill and fennel provide an enticing food source for black swallowtail larvae. Caterpillars are normally unwelcome in the garden, but exceptions can be made in this case.

Be sure to take into account the mature growth of all of your plant selections. Layer taller plants toward the back or center of your garden while keeping shorter varieties near the front and edges. Add other elements to the environment such as large rocks for basking in the sun and a tray of damp sand or mud for groups of butterflies to drink and collect minerals. Gardening can afford us with some of life’s most simple treasures. Picking the first ripe tomato, cutting a perfect rose or seeing a new butterfly are some of the most cherished rewards for the dedicated gardener. Whether you plant a sprawling oasis or a single milkweed, the neighboring butterflies will be delighted.

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LAST ISSUE’S WINNER Congratulations to Dan Boggs of Farmville who correctly identified the May edition of “Where am I” as the dock at the Sandy River Reservoir.

Where Am I? The Heart of Virginia offers beautiful scenery and architecture throughout downtown Farmville. “Where Am I?” offers residents a chance to identify one of our hidden gems across town. If you think you know where this photo was taken, email your answer to WhereAmI@FarmvilletheMag. com. We’ll draw one lucky name from among the correct answers for an annual subscription to Farmville the Magazine.

While times have changed and the ways we serve our customers have evolved, our fundamental commitment to serving you and your family through quality, local banking services endures. Thank you for 100 years. We look forward to serving you today. And tomorrow.


14 Farmville the Magazine This print pairs a green backdrop contrasting with trees and the moon in the foreground.

Artist in Residence

Serving the art of today and tomorrow

Story and photos by Titus Mohler


otter. Printmaker. Teacher of artists young and old. The titles that JJ Eisfelder, of Farmville, now bears have been in the making since she was young. Even then, she had examples and opportunities presented to her. “My aunt was an artist, so growing up, I always knew that was a possibility, I think,” Eisfelder said of being an artist. “And I also grew up in Kansas City and was exposed to a lot of different art classes as a kid, so I just kind of always knew that was what I wanted to do and also was blessed enough to go to a high school that had a really good art program.” Shawnee Mission East High School, in Prairie Village, Kansas, is where she was introduced to pottery. “Then continued that, thinking I was going to do pottery in college but just stumbled across a printmaking intro class and really, really liked it,” she said. “So I ended up going in that direction as well.” She majored in printmaking at the University of Montana and minored in ceramics. “I don’t know why I particularly majored in printmaking as opposed to pottery,” Eisfelder said. “... It’s kind of

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JJ Eisfelder is accompanied in this photo by a trio of her pieces, including the two on the wall, that showcase her abilities as both a potter and a printmaker. just a weird thing, but the pottery classes were always very full and very popular, so they were maybe a little harder to get into. So I ended up doing quite a bit of summer school clay classes in college, and printmaking has so many different styles — collagraph, woodcut, lithography, all these different styles — that I just fell into taking a lot of different classes. So I don’t even know if it was as much of a conscious decision as to just how it played out.” She noted that after taking all of those different types of printmaking, “I found the kind that I particularly like to do, which is the woodcut and the collagraph.” Eisfelder explained that with printmaking, an artist is always starting with what is called a plate, which is a piece of linoleum or wood, or in collagraph, anything can be used. “But you’re building up the surface,” she said. “So you could glue real leaves onto a piece of cardboard and print it, and that would be considered a collagraph.” She said she employs a lot of modeling paste and then draws textures into it. Different fabrics like burlap make a nice print, and artists layer up the plate using different textures that they would then print onto paper. So collagraph “comes from the word ‘collage,’” Eisfelder said, “so you’re just kind of using any and all materials that will make some sort of a print.” As a potter, Eisfelder does both wheel throwing and handbuilding. “What really got me interested in pottery more than anything was the woodfiring classes that I got to take when I was in college,” she said. “But then


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Works of JJ Eisfelder are on sale at Mainly Clay, including these pieces that are on display near the front door. over the course of the next 15 years or so, I did end up going more toward handbuilding, and that’s what I taught at Mainly Clay as well.” Mainly Clay is a business in Farmville that offers pottery classes and supplies and also sells works of art, including prints and pottery made by Eisfelder. A scan of her work reveals an emphasis on nature that she said is both organic and conscious. “Personally, I like being out in nature,” she said. “When I was in college, I was taking a lot of hikes, just spending a lot of time outside, so I think that just influenced me naturally, but I’ve also always been drawn more to landscapes in other people’s artwork, so I think it was also a conscious decision as well.” A significant part of Eisfelder’s life now is being a teacher of art. Mainly Clay offers classes for adults, and she taught pottery there until

December when her son was born. Then a few months ago, she began teaching pottery classes for children out of her house. The classes are known as Farmville Clay for Kids and are open to a variety of ages. “The youngest I’ve had is 3, and so far the oldest I’ve had is 10,” she said. “But I’m open. It’s a new idea for me, so I’m kind of seeing where the interest lies in that.” She noted her 5-year-old son, Estes, helps her work through some of the projects and participates in some of the classes as well. “I started doing some classes at his preschool, as well, for the last two years, so that also kind of helped to develop this idea,” she said. Farmville Clay for Kids affords children in the area a similar opportunity to the one Eisfelder had when she was young. “When I was growing up,” she said, “I took classes from a woman out of her house, and she

did a variety of different arts; we would have a project we would do each week. So that’s always been in the back of my mind is having that sort of option. But then having kids myself definitely made that seem like a good idea for me.” Though she has a strong focus on teaching, her desire to create art remains strong, and she has some clear goals moving forward. “I would like to get back into having some shows of my prints, in particular,” she said. “So when j fergeson gallery was open downtown, I also worked for him, and I think I had three or even four shows over the course of the 10 years that he was open. So I would like to get another group of prints together for a show, whether that will be maybe upstairs at Mainly Clay, and then I would also like to get back into doing some art shows like the Heart of Virginia or there was a couple that I used to do in Richmond, and that was printmaking and pottery.”

A Hearing Loss is Much More Noticeable Than a Hearing Aid!

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The Shoppes At College Park 1419 S. Main St. Farmville, VA 23901

434-414-1006 © 2018 Starkey. All Rights Reserved. 5/18 237385879

Eisfelder’s interest in both nature and landscapes is on display in this print.

ATTENTION! Farmville Businesses Don’t miss out on a great Market area.

Summer 2016 Vol. 1, No. 1 FREE

High Bridge Flippen leads hike into history

A proud heritage Dowd keeps the family land alive

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18 Farmville the Magazine Farmville displays many partnerships that contribute to a thriving downtown. Here a welcome arch over Main Street, sponsored by the Town of Farmville, shares pole space with Farmville Downtown Partnership’s street banners.

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Partnership delivers Story and photos by Marge Swayne


t’s Friday morning in Farmville, and out-of-town shoppers are strolling the sidewalks. Today’s not a holiday, but Uncle Sam, aka John Burton, is on Main Street waving at passersby. A few smile and wave back, but no one seems surprised to see Uncle Sam strolling downtown. This is Farmville — a flag waving, mom’s apple pie kind of town. Burton, finishing up a two-and-a-half year tenure as Farmville Downtown Partnership (FDP) program director, purchased his Uncle Sam outfit for the 2016 Vice Presidential Debate held at Longwood University. In preparation for the national spotlight, FDP held an All-American Downtown Celebration that year and decorated Main Street with patriotic banners and red, white and blue bunting. Uncle Sam fit right in. Debate excitement came and went, but the momentum, Burton

believes, continues. “Farmville’s been experiencing a renaissance,” he says. “There’s a kind of magic here that seems to attract people and keep them here.” Part of that magic is a strong downtown association like Farmville Downtown Partnership, organized in 2010 by a group of interested downtown business owners. “Those business owners went to the Farmville Town Council who saw the vision as well,” Burton says. The program director is FDP’s only paid position; others on the FDP board serve as volunteers to fulfill FDP’s mission: “to cultivate the resources of our community to create a vibrant historic commercial district through activities that invite, build and enrich our people, places and future.” In 2012 Farmville Downtown was officially launched as one of


20 Farmville the Magazine Prince Edward County Middle School art students take part in the Student Mural Project, a winning proposal in FDP’s 2017 SOUP event.

Virginia’s newest Main Street® cities. FDP is also a part of the National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “That started in 1980 when people became alarmed by all the businesses that were closing in commercial downtown districts,” Burton adds. “Today it’s the shopping malls that are dying out — people want to experience shopping in a traditional downtown.” Helping downtown merchants provide such an experience is the FDP director’s job.

“FDP has a good relationship with the Chamber, Farmville Town Council and Prince Edward Board of Supervisors,” Burton notes. In 2017, FDP reported 83 businesses in Farmville’s downtown, 734 employees downtown, 79 residents living downtown, and seven new downtown businesses. Today Burton is checking in with Discount Fabrics on the north end of Main Street. In between customers, owners Jeannie Morley and Heather Shorter discuss business. “Are you planning any more live videos in the

store?” Morley asks. “The videos we did for the holidays worked well,” Burton replies. “A summer video sounds like a good idea.” Next Burton stops at Red Door 104, Farmville’s Art Gallery and Learning Center, to pick up copies of the Farmville Coloring Book that owner Audrey Sullivan has on display. “The coloring book came out of FDP’s SOUP (Supporting Outstanding Urban Projects) event,” Burton explains. “Audrey did six of the sketches in the book.”

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Farmville’s SOUP event, now in its third year, awards grants to three proposals that are designed to benefit the community. Past SOUP events resulted in 11 bicycle parking hoops for parking downtown, 11 sets of Bistro tables and chairs on Main Street, a reading cart, the Community Herb Garden, the Student Mural Project and the Farmville Coloring Book. “The SOUP event is my favorite,” Ilsa Loeser says. Loeser is currently serving as president of FDP’s Board of Directors. “We just had our third event with 180 people attending,” she adds. “The ideas all come from the community, are chosen by the community and are done by the community.” Loeser cited a recent FDP project that used a feasibility study from the Department of Housing and Community Development to facilitate a downtown relocation for Barnes & Noble from Mid-Town Square to a vacant Main Street bank building. “That’s had a huge impact,” Loeser adds. Maintaining Farmville’s historic character is also important to FDP; last year they expanded the town’s historic footprint to include four

Sprucing up the town was an all-hands effort prior to the 2016 Vice Presidential Debate at Longwood University. Farmville Downtown Partnership sponsored this mural at the corner of Main and Third Streets.


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Downtown business owners, from left, Heather Shorter and Jeannie Morley of Discount Fabrics, discuss business with John Burton.

Farmville Downtown Partnership sponsored the “Two-College Town” mural at the corner of Main and Third streets that was completed before the 2016 Vice Presidential Debate. The mural continues to welcome visitors to Farmville’s downtown district.

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churches, Hotel Weyanoke and the Farmville Train Station. Another successful FDP project has been the High Bridge Half-Marathon & 5K that’s attracted over 1,200 participants from more than 24 states over the past six years. “Anyone who says there’s nothing going on in Farmville isn’t looking very hard,” Burton contends. Every weekend there’s something to do in Farmville. Loeser sees a combination of factors behind the success of Farmville’s downtown. “We’re blessed to have Green Front, a business that took the tobacco warehouses and shoe factory that were no longer used for their original purposes and made them into an asset,” she says. “We’re blessed to have High Bridge Trail State Park running through our

In 2014 Farmville Downtown Partnership commissioned Monty Montgomery, a 1998 Longwood University graduate, to create the “Warehouse Triptych Mural” next to Farmville Farmers Market on North Street.

Pictured at a recent FDP Board of Directors meeting are, from left, front row, Kirstin Huber, Eboni Lee, Jenn Kinne, Jennifer Cox; second row, Ilsa Loeser, John Burton, Louise Waller, Sheri McGuire, Kaitlyn Kayton; back row, Tom Robinson, Charles White and Perry Carrington. Not pictured are Brandon Clark, Den Cralle and Gerry Spates.


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downtown,” she continues. “We’re also blessed to have a town and a town manager that see the importance of streetscapes and keeping our flowers and trees downtown. We’re blessed to have Longwood University working to integrate its students with our downtown.” “A lot of downtowns have the same elements for success, but they don’t have people controlling those elements who are eager and willing to engage and make it all happen,” she concludes. FDP sees people in partnership as the basis for a thriving downtown. There’s little doubt that Farmville’s downtown is alive and well. Farmville Downtown Partnership is proud to be a part of making it happen.

Above, the Community Herb Garden, an idea Dan Mossler proposed during an FDP SOUP event, is a popular spot for those who enjoy garden-fresh herbs. At right, Ilsa Loeser, current president of the FDP Board of Directors, is proud of Farmville’s downtown.

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Coming to life Mural transforms library

Story by Emily Hollingsworth


hen people enter the Barbara Rose Johns Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library, California-based artist Monty Montgomery said they won’t be able to see the mountaintops that line the ceiling of his mural right away. As they get closer to the center of the library, the purple mountains capped with white become more pronounced. The mountains lower into a lake, reposed and tranquil. Then comes trees, in multiple shades of green. This nature scene encircles a door, the entrance to the library’s children’s section. There’s a circular opening to the left of the main entrance. Montgomery painted the area around the circle to look like jagged, geometric rocks, the yawning mouth of a cave that beckons the curious to go inside. It’s a scene that’s peaceful, that promises

adventure, that has enough whimsy to jar people from complacent or passive viewing. When Montgomery sees it, he catches a glimpse of home. ‘PULL DIFFERENT FEELINGS’

Montgomery painted the mural in less than two weeks, setting up shop before the library opened for the day, and staying after it closed at night. During the day, people could sit at couches adjacent to the mural and watch the progress while reading a book or enjoying a quiet conversation with friends. Montgomery spent lunches with Library Director Rick Ewing and Terri Ewing, his wife, on the library patio overlooking Wilck’s Lake. He made time to explore the community and catch up with friends in between painting.

He even took time off to attend the Heart of Virginia festival. Montgomery has an extensive history here, and what some could consider the birth of his art style. He attended Longwood University from 1994-1998, majoring in graphic design. He has since returned to his alma mater and painted murals in the university’s Dorrill dining hall and Bedford Hall. Those visiting the farmer’s market and driving through Second Street can see the 100-foot geometric triptych mural he has painted on the brick wall adjacent to the market. He’s also an active participant at the Virginia Children’s Book Festival, where he designs a mural with an illustrator based on one of the books featured. Kids then get to

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Monty Montgomery stares at the mural he completed at the Barbara Rose Johns Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library. The wall serves as the entrance to the children’s section.


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Above, pictured are, from left, Rick Ewing, Central Virginia Regional Library director, Monty Montgomery and Dianne Montgomery. At right, artist Monty Montgomery holds the shades of aqua greens and blues that will serve as the color of the lake in his mural at the Barbara Rose Johns Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library. Montgomery’s art challenges viewers’ expectations with eyepopping color.

paint the mural. Montgomery grew up in nearby Louisa, where he considers his mom, a retired teacher, his first mentor in art. When Montgomery works on projects in Virginia, his parents are often right beside him to help. His mother, Dianne, came to the library for a few days and helped paint the rock cave. He and his father recently installed a mural at Prince Edward County Middle School. He joked that starting on the mural, while minutes away from his alma mater, felt in many ways like he had returned to school. “It’s like I’m back at Longwood during class,” Montgomery said. Randall Edmonson, a retired art professor at Longwood, remembered the class that fueled Montgomery’s style. He remembers because he taught the class. Edmonson said he had Montgomery for what he remembers as a sophomore-level painting class. He said skills students learned included using tape and acrylic paint to make a geometric abstract art. “He has, of course, put his own spin on it and everything, but that’s where he was first introduced to it,” Edmonson said, who remembers Montgomery’s visible excitement when he learned the concept. It was that exact concept that Montgomery used to paint the mural at the library. “It’s nice to have that direct correlation back to something that he learned in school, and that he used that and expanded on it and has made his living off of it,” Edmonson said. “It’s great.” He said he and Montgomery have kept in touch, often when Montgomery would visit his family in Louisa. Edmonson expressed pride in Montgomery’s work, noting that his work has appeared everywhere from hotels in San Diego to country singer Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee. THE RIGHT MOMENT

Montgomery likes to create moments, to blend something realistic with something fantastic. In keeping with that model, he uses simple materials. He used a pencil to outline the scene on the library wall. He used a ruler and levels to measure it. He used string and tape to make sure the lines were sharp and did not overlap with paint on other parts of the mural. The exception to this minimalist approach, Montgomery said, was the mechanical lift he used to reach the top of the wall. The mural is called Moment 44. It’s a series Montgomery paints on nature scenes. He first conceptualized how the mural at the Farmville library would look from his studio in San Diego. Traveling across the coast, and seeing the wall in person, made him more certain that he chose the right moment.

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Monty Montgomery, an artist based in California, smiles by his handiwork: a full-wall mural, stretching from ceiling to floor, that will serve as the entrance to the children’s section at the Barbara Rose Johns Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library. Montgomery said the scenes are based from places he has glimpsed while traveling. But he doesn’t just paint what he sees. “It doesn’t look exactly like the pond that’s right outside,” Montgomery said, referencing Wilck’s Lake. “The pond and the lake out here is beautiful, but I want the pond and the lake in the mural to be tranquil with bright blue colors and just more like a childlike, a trip ... that you can journey into.” He said he had people who weren’t quite sure about the message or method of the mural. “People were a little curious at first, they were just kind of not really understanding what I was trying to do with all of that,” Montgomery said. He said he sees the process of creating the mural as almost serendipitous. For everything that could go wrong in the process, he realized the mural was where it needed to be. “There was a lot of math involved in those trees, and the lines, and the perspective of the clouds, and to be very honest sometimes all of that doesn’t work out,” Montgomery said about the mural. “You can try to do it, and do your best, and you’re just not happy with it. I’m just really

happy for everyone that, the depth felt so nice to me, the colors felt nice, and it just felt like a nice day in the mountains in Virginia. I wanted to keep it simple, but make it very enjoyable, and I hope everyone feels that, in the end, that’s how it turned out.” ‘A MORE BEAUTIFUL PLACE’

Montgomery and Ewing met at just the right time. Ewing said when the Barbara Rose Johns library opened its new building in 2010, the budget was tight. Once things settled down, the organization looked for ways to incorporate art into the library. Ewing spoke about an idea—in some states a law—where 1 percent of a designated budget for a public building would be used for art. For example, if a building cost $1 million, $10,000 of the funds would go to displaying art. He said the library’s opportunity to fund an art project came from a local library board that dissolved. The board members allowed Ewing and the library to use the funds for an art project. A bonus, he said, was that the project did not use

any tax dollars. As Ewing considered last summer who would paint the mural that would replace the current design of the children’s room entrance, he realized he knew exactly the person for the project. After last year’s Virginia Book Festival, when representatives with the festival met for a reception, Ewing went to look for Montgomery. He said he didn’t know what he looked like, and asked several people to point Montgomery out. Ewing and Montgomery finally met, and Montgomery was happy to take on the mural. “I have worked with artists before, and I’ve purchased art for libraries before, but I’ve never worked directly with a commissioned piece that was going to be installed in the library. Luckily, Monty knows what he’s doing, and was helpful. He really wanted to do this, and he was really helpful teaching me and we worked together really well collaboratively,” Ewing said. Ewing said Montgomery told him it was one of his favorite pieces to paint. “I felt really good about introducing art into the library and giving art to the community, to anyone who comes into the library,” Ewing said.


30 Farmville the Magazine Ewing said he plans to install additional art both inside the library and on the library grounds. “If all public buildings spent 1 percent on art, then we’d live in a more beautiful place,” Ewing said. SUPPOSED TO BE

Montgomery returned to the library shortly after finishing mural to celebrate a ribbon cutting with members of the community May 18. He said he was touched by the community’s response. “As I was speaking and seeing everybody look at it and hang out, I really, honestly felt that people got it,” Montgomery said. “They were able to look into it and to feel like they were in the mountains and to feel like they could climb through the trees and climb through the cave.” A defining moment for Montgomery and Ewing took place shortly before the mural was finished. They made a discovery neither of them had prepared for. It was still relatively early in the morning when they saw rays from the sun, entering from the eastern windows of the library, shine directly on the sun on the mural. He said the discovery still gives him goosebumps. “That says it,” Montgomery said. “It was just one of those moments where it was so, supposed to be.” “It just really came together in a way I had never imagined,” Montgomery said.

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Pictured is the complete mural, top to bottom, created by Monty Montgomery that serves as the entrance to the Barbara Rose Johns Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library’s children’s section.


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Partnership holds reception Members of Farmville Downtown Partnership (FDP), a revitalization project for downtown Farmville, held a reception May 16 at Virginia Tasting Cellar to thank sponsors and offer updates on existing and upcoming projects from the partnership. During the reception, participants enjoyed wines and brews from Hunting Creek Vineyards and Third Street Brewing and took part in a trivia activity. PHOTOS BY Emily Hollingsworth

Eboni Lee and Jay Stafford

David Hart and Tom Robinson

Matthew Agnor, Summer Houpt, Hunter and Llewellyn Watson

Den Cralle and Brian Vincent

Dickie Cralle and Judy Forlines

Navona Hart, Jen Cox, Maureen Walls-McKay, Jennifer Kinne and Anne Tyler Paulek

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Mark Kernohan and Charles White

Megan Martin

Eboni Lee and Ilsa Loeser

David Whitus and Gary Elder

Perry Carrington

Joy Stump, Kerry Mossler and Kerby Moore


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Tru Hilton opens in town Members of the community celebrated the grand opening of the Tru Hilton Hotel at 1913 S. Main St. April 24 Following a ribbon cutting at the main doors, participants enjoyed catering from The Fishin’ Pig, a chance to tour the hotel and rooms, win door prizes and dance to music provided by DJ Baddog based in Jetersville. PHOTOS BY Emily Hollingsworth

Farmville Hotel Partners and Kalyan Hospitality Representatives Hitesh Patel, Raj Patel and Nick Patel

Anne Tyler Paulek, Sherri Marken and Lisa Elsaesser

Justine Young and Navona Hart

Lisa Trubiano, Julie Towner and Nikki Cain

Anne Tyler Paulek, Joy Stump, Finn Hennessey, Danielle Hennessey, Jennifer Kinne and Brandon Hennessey

Chaurl Patel, Tracie Akins and Rita Patel

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Demetrius Mitchell, Cheryl Tooner, Jeff Baldwin and Nikki Venable

Kip Olson and Lisa Tharpe

Stan Cheyne, Joy Stump, Lisa Cheyne and Andy Stump

Hotel General Manager Donato Nosce with the Farmville Fire Department


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SHRINER’S CATFISH FESTIVAL The 31st Annual Virginia Catfish Festival was held at the Farmville Sports Arena this year. The event was catered by Nixon Catering and Bluegrass music was provided by County Proud. Proceeds from the fundraiser benefit Shriners Hospital for Children. PHOTOS BY Betty Ramsey

Herbert White and Ashley Riddick

Robert Llewellyn, Irving Arnold Sr. and Irving Arnold Jr.

Donna McDilda and Devin McDilda

Mary Janet Arnold, Brenda Conner and William Arnold

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Ann Williams and Rose Williams

Barbara and Norman Harver

Danny and Carrie Trent

Madison Howard, Mallory Martin and Te’a Howerton

James McCoy, Alex Werth, Colin Werth, Greg Giurice and Vernon Leeds


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2018 PATRIOT DAY CELEBRATION The Patriot Day Celebration took place on a beautiful, though windy April 29 in Cumberland County, drawing a crowd to witness a brief program, eat good food and enjoy fun activities at the Cumberland Courthouse. PHOTOS BY TITUS MOHLER

Beverly Lucas Hill, James Ross, Michael Ross and Christine Ross

Alexandra Morris, Cristin Morris and Shirley Comer

Tiffany Langhorne, Jamiya Smith, Traleyah Jackson and Laura Rose

Addison Meinhard and Lundy Morgan

Wanda Hughes and Taylor Hughes

In front, Ahliyah Jackson, Ahlannah Jackson; in back, Samantha Vanhoose, Ava Pond, Samantha Pond and Butch Pond

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Thomas Morris, Rylynn Morris and Kayla Ferguson

Noah Long, Pat Newsome and Lunden Long

Samara Long, Ashley Long and Mia Long

Jason Long, Ashley Long and Justin Long

Anthony Beery, Allison Beery, Jefferson Beery, Logan Beery and Megan Beery


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Festival packs town The Heart of Virginia Festival turned 40 this year, having first been officially celebrated in 1978. The festival on May 5 swept in with a bang, celebrating its milestone by packing vendors selling food and handmade items along Main Street and High Street. The daylong event included the Outdoor Arts Festival along High Street, where painters and ceramic artists among others showcased

Damon Sims, Javin Ford, Louis Gould, Markus Seward and Kahare Sutton

Jacob Jamerson, Amie Dews, Asim Brooks and Aunna Steward

Emma Silver and Beverly Fontenot

Aminah McGee, left, Najah Begum and Shahara Hziz

Lynette Wright and Debbie Luna

Cornell Shaw and Henry Brown

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their work on High Street; a 10K run and 5K walk that began near Hampden-Sydney College and ended at the field on First Avenue and live music performances throughout the day, including bands in front of the Prince Edward County Courthouse and on Crute Stage. The day ended on a more leisurely note, with live music, food vendors and wide open spaces at Riverside Park. PHOTOS BY Emily Hollingsworth


Rob Westcott, Katheryn Jefferson and Krystal Tucker

Katie Bobb, Macy Brock, Jason Bobb, Rebecca Cobb and Logan Bobb

Alicia Davison, Gloria Lockett and Carolyn Early

Bruce Cabbins and Matthew Tobias

J.E. Seay-Allen, D.P. Foley and Daylan Corlentz

Jaden Capati, left, stands with Tiffany Capati, Porter Reed, Roman Capati, Kyley Capati and Leah Reed


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FARMVILLE REC DEPARTMENT SUMMER DAY CAMP The second of eight Farmville Recreation Department Summer Day Camps this summer was Survivor Camp. It ran June 11-14 and gave more than 30 young people the opportunity to take part in a variety of outdoor activities, including a scavenger hunt, canoeing, fishing and more. PHOTOS BY TITUS MOHLER

Joshua Shoulders, Gracie Loser-Beares and Clay Austin

Nina Davis, Jordan Cooke and Nia Davis

Top, Addison Tobias; bottom, Christian Adams

Mark Smith, Malcolm Tillerson and Logan Tobias

Anthony Rucci, Andy Kingsley and Austin Deitrich

Uriah Coleman, Elijah Coleman and Leyla Hester

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Casen Smith and Will Mayhew

Jason Cooke, Trevor Toney, Josh Simon and Jake Simon

Ryan Jackson and Chris Bolt

Nixie Davis and Anna Cyrus

Jack Epps, Chris Bolt and Josh Epps


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2018 LCVA COMMUNITY ACHIEVEMENT IN THE ARTS AWARDS A larger crowd than anticipated gathered April 28 to see the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts (LCVA) recognize those in the Heart of Virginia and beyond who have enriched lives in southside Virginia through their contributions to the arts. It was all part of the 2018 LCVA Community Achievement in the Arts Awards. Photos by TITUS MOHLER

Carol Warren, Dale Whitehead and JoAnn Eppes

Navona Hart and Henrietta Mergen

Lucia Butler, Martha Butler, Audrey Butler and Lee Butler

Linda Sauve and Dudley Sauve

Brent Roberts, Ashley Shukrallah and Michael Mergen

Grace Rust, Heather Lettner-Rust, Connor Stimpert, Harry Rust, Kim Lettner and Lisa Tharpe

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Naomi Tsigaridas, Alec Hosterman and Audrey Sullivan

Brandyn Johnson and Romeo Short

Tammy Tipton-Nay, Joan Tipton and James Nay

Lauren Irby and Leigh Lunsford

Juan Guevara and Cori Riggott-O’Leary

Jeanne Strunk, Sue Robinson and Tom Robinson


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A Look into the Past

Lee, Grant pay visits to Farmville Story by Jimmy Hurt


t is an established historical fact that on April 9, 1865, near the town of Appomattox Court House, Virginia, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia to Union General Ulysses S. Grant. The locals in Farmville have enjoyed for years telling the story of General Lee’s overnight stay in town and General Grant’s visit the following night, both sleeping in the same room, in the same bed. Not all historians agree with this amusing story. The

embellished story may not be totally correct. Records indicate the armies where engaged in The Battle of Sailor’s Creek on April 6, 1865. Shortly after midnight, Lee and his troops crossed the Appomattox River at High Bridge into Cumberland County. At sunrise on April 7, 1865, General Lee was in Cumberland County. There General Lee took a brief rest and headed into Farmville as the sun rose on April 7, 1865. General Lee was in the retreat mode, and General Grant was close

behind him. It is reported that General Lee went into The Randolph House, a local hotel on North Main Street, entered a room and rested only a short while on a big Italian sofa. He then was escorted by a guide over to Beech Street where he visited the Jackson-White Home. There he meet with the Whites and held his last conference as the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia with his Secretary of War, his

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Pictured is The Randolph House in the Town of Farmville, a hotel where Gen. Robert E. Lee was believed to have rested and Gen. Ulysses S. Grant was believed to have slept. Quartermaster General, and Commissary General. Then General Lee visited, a few blocks away, Farmville Mayor Thackston’s office and warned him of the pending arrival of General Grant’s army. Lee suggested the women and children evacuate town. General Lee also left Farmville and had made his way into Buckingham County by April 8, 1865. He was alarmed to hear when he arrived that General Grant had already arrived in Farmville, indicating he was close behind him. General Grant and his troops had arrived near Farmville on the afternoon of April 7,1865. Upon his arrival, Grant entered The Randolph House and there, in a room, he slept in a Florentine bed and on one of the bedroom tables penned his first letter to General Lee. General Grant held his Council of War meeting on the front porch of The Randolph House overlooking his troops on Main Street. During the meeting, a Confederate cannonball was fired upon The Randolph House wall resulting in minor damage to the wall. General Grant and his troops left Farmville on April 8,1865, and traveled through Buckingham,

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A historical marker at the intersection of North Main Street and Second Street pays tribute to the Randolph House, where Ulysses S. Grant reportedly visited days before Lee’s surrender in Appomattox April 1865. later arriving in Appomattox. Grant continued exchanging letters, by carriers, with General Lee that would result in the surrender in Appomattox the following day, April 9,1865. The Randolph House collapsed and was removed from its historic Main Street location in 1964. Only a small monument remains. Mr. Richard Booker, owner of the hotel during the Civil War period kept and preserved the furniture from the hotel room of General Grant. His descendants passed the furniture down through the family for several generations. Grant’s bedroom furniture, including Grant’s bed, is now displayed by The Longwood Alumnae House in Farmville. It was presented to Longwood College by the Booker descendants, Harriet Booker Lamb, class of ‘28, and her brother Elliott Booker, Jr. The Longwood Alumnae House has a website, http://, which features the bedroom suite at the local bed and breakfast on High Street here in Farmville.

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Farmville, we’re covering things big and small

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Town and Gown

‘A vital part of our community’ Dr. Robert Wade with Centra Southside Medical Center has lived in the Heart of Virginia for 20 years, experiencing the two-college town through his education at Hampden-Sydney College and operating a primary care practice on Third Street. Wade will soon be the medical director of University health care with Potomac Healthcare Solutions at Longwood University. In his own words, Wade describes living and serving the community that served him while in college and beyond: uring my college years at Hampden-Sydney and after an inpatient experience at Southside Community Hospital my freshman year, I knew I wanted to live and work in this community after medical school. I finished my residency in 1998 in Blackstone and started working at Charlotte Primary Care in Charlotte Court House. In 2008, the opportunity came up for me to help open a primary care practice for Southside Community Hospital on Farmville’s Third Street. That practice has grown over the past 10 years and moved to the Centra Southside Medical Center three years ago. I love the inclusive spirit of Farmville. There are people from all walks of life and backgrounds here, and many bring their time and talents to making Farmville a great place to live and raise a family. We are a resourceful community and create the things that we want to see here. Whether that be community theater, an art festival, community opera, food bank, or the several service organizations that do so much to assist our citizens or fundraising for local charities, the spirit of volunteerism is alive and well. At Longwood, I will work for Potomac Healthcare Solutions as the medical director of university. In that role, I will be working with the current staff to build on the great work they have been doing to promote wellness and health among the Longwood student population. Over the past year, the center was expanded to provide acute care to faculty and staff as well. Renovations and expansion to the current space will take place over this summer. Regarding Longwood and Farmville community interactions, I think the recent Vice Presidential De-


bate brought out the best in the community. So many Dr. Robert Wade serves as the throughout the town and university did their part to medical director of university health care with Potomac Healthcare host an excellent event. The hard work the university, Solutions at Longwood University. Town Council and staff and citizen leaders have done over the years to build relationships, open lines of communication and work together made this effort possible. In addition, the ongoing programs and events across the campus bring members of the community to campus and make Longwood and her students a vital part of our community.

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Why I Love Farmville

Dayton Puckett Q: How long have you called Farmville “home” and why did you choose to start a business here?

A: I was born in Blacksburg, but my parents moved here when I was 1, so my whole life. When I knew I wanted to work in the funeral business, we moved to Louisville for school, but other than that, I’ve always been here. We built the funeral home in 2005 and opened in June 2006. If I had not wanted a business of my own, we would have stayed in Louisville. We loved it there, we had it all, but as an aspiring business owner, I knew I needed to be back in the community with my own people. Q: What inspired you to go into the funeral business?

A: More of the same — small-town life. One summer my mother was doing Vacation Bible School and asked Charles Shorter to borrow some tents. When he brought the tents by, he asked Mom what was keeping me busy. I was working for my dad but not much else, so I went to work for him. Q: What is your favorite way to spend a weekend here in town?

A: Sometimes it can be hard to find time, but if I get the opportunity, I enjoy hanging out with my wife and three kids, just doing normal things. We go out to dinner and catch a movie. It’s simple, really, but that’s what we like. Q: Tell us about your favorite Farmville memory.

A: There are so many different things to remember about Farmville, especially since it has changed so much over the years. It is hard to come up with a favorite, but I would have to say that it would involve the Farmville Christmas Parade. My father had a second-story office in town where the police station is now, and we could always have the best view of the parade without having to worry about the crowds.

Q: How would you describe the Farmville Community to someone who has never been here?

A: It is a wonderful little town to have a life and raise a family. You look at the news and see the things going on in big cities, and we don’t have those worries. It is a peaceful place, and we will stay right here.






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