SSV Future Programs

Posted June 27th, 2011 by Bruce Saunders
Categories: Future

The public is welcome to our meetings. The October meeting will be at The Center at Belvedere. Normally meetings take place at Westminster Canterbury of the Blue Ridge, the Rotunda Room, 250 Pantops Mountain Road, Charlottesville, Virginia. They are on the second Wednesday of the month from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. There is no charge, although we suggest you join our group that has been in existence for 25 years. The membership dues are only $20 for a year and can be paid online on the ‘Join SSV’ page. Your dues will help us continue to deliver top quality presentations. If you have questions, please email Click the tab above to see samples of our newsletter.

Future Program:

Wednesday, October 11 at 1:30 p.m.
Candidate Forum:  Albemarle Board of Supervisors

Note that this meeting will be at The Center at Belvedere.


Past Programs

Past programs are arranged in inverse chronological order.  Speaker bios and links to videos and podcasts are given, with a program summary written by SSV board member Bonnie Brewer.

Candidate Forum:  Albemarle County School Board

Posted September 19th, 2023 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

At the September meeting of the SSV, we welcomed Albemarle County School Board candidates for the White Hall and At Large district races. Joining us were White Hall incumbent Rebecca Berlin and At Large candidate Allison Spillman.  Their opponents declined our invitation.

Rebecca Berlin & Allison Spillman

Quit a few topics were discussed after opening remarks: high school specialty programs such as STEM or medical, career and technical education options for ACPS students, mental/emotional support, reading intervention, and universal pre-K. Executive functions and science-based reading were offered as ways to address leaning loss during COVID.

Collective bargaining for teachers and bus drivers was endorsed. Teacher pay was discussed, as Albemarle ranks 25 of 51 in the country, while DC ranks 4th and Maryland ranked 8th. Cell phones in schools was a hot topic, as was school safety.

The websites of these candidates can be accessed to learn more about them and their positions.

Rebecca Berlin:

Allison Spillman:

Public Safety – How Safe is Our Community?

Posted August 15th, 2023 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

At our August meeting, Local Police Chiefs Tim Longo from UVA, Sean Reeves of Albemarle County, and Michael Kochis of Charlottesville discussed how the improved collaboration among the three jurisdictions is beneficial to public safety. The increase in violent crime is not only a national issue but one that has to be dealt with locally. In addressing the need for people to feel safe, the number of new police officers retained and hired has been increasing with financial support from governments. The three chiefs agree that strong community engagement is essential to building trust. In addressing the recent homicides, it was pointed out that these have not been random attacks but are with individuals who have been known to each other often through gangs or domestic relationships. Samples of audience questions included: What laws could reduce crime? Prohibiting the sale of ghost guns online was recommended. How effective are gun buyback programs? They have not been very successful but can be used as part of an overall strategy. Would you recommend carrying a gun or mace? That is a personal choice, but with an emphasis on being responsible gun ownership practices, knowing how to use your weapon and how to protect yourself if the weapon is taken from you.

A podcast of the entire program can be heard at Charlottesville Community EngagementIn addition, NBC 29 news and CBS 19 news articles on this event can be accessed at these links.


Senate District 11 Candidate Forum

Posted June 19th, 2023 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

Your SSV partnered with The Center at Belevedere and the League of Women Voters Charlottesville Area to host the June 14 Candidate Forum for the VA Senate District 11 democratic primary election. The Auditorium at The Center was packed… as was the parking lot.  Both ran out of space!


Dan Schutte, News Director and Anchor for CBS19, Newsplex, smoothly moderated the Forum.  Candidates Senator Deeds and Delegate Hudson provided opening and closing remarks, with audience questions in between.  Topics ranged from gun control to tenure in the Senate to mental health to economists to a woman’s right to choose.

Strong differences were heard on the topic of continuing part-time legislators versus professional legislators, as well as the value of Senate tenure.

The primary election is June 20th.  The audience was applauded for attending….and urged to vote!!

If you are subscribed to The Daily Progress, their article on this event can be accessed here.



General Assembly Update 2023

Posted May 16th, 2023 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

The May SSV program was was our annual General Assembly update and there was standing room only.  SSV Board member Bob Beard moderated the program, noting that all four VA delegates and both VA senators representing Charlottesville and Albemarle County were invited.  Delegate Hudson and Senator Deeds participated.

Delegate Sally Hudson serves Charlottesville and Albemarle in the Virginia House. As a member of the Health and Finance committees, she is an active advocate for quality health care and essential school funding in Virginia. When she is not serving in Richmond, Sally is an Assistant Professor at UVA, where she teaches economics and statistics in the School of Public Policy.


Senator Creigh Deeds currently represents Albemarle (part), Alleghany, Bath, Highland, Nelson, Rockbridge, Buena Vista, Charlottesville, Covington and Lexington. He presides as the Co-Chair of the Judiciary Committee and serves on the Finance and Appropriations, Commerce and Labor, Rules, and Privileges and Elections Committees. Senator Deeds also serves as Chair of the Capital Outlay Subcommittee, Chair of the Behavioral Health Commission, and Chair of the Joint Commission on Administrative Rules. Creigh lives in Charlottesville with his wife Siobhan and three rescue pups Mila, Dilly, and SallyMae. He is the proud father of four children and four beautiful grandchildren.

Program Summary

Senator Deeds and Delegate Hudson both shared frustration with the budget process as the Republican-majority House and Democrat-majority Senate are not in agreement over how to address the Governor’s request for $1 billion in tax cuts and expenditure reductions.  $1 billion is also earmarked for higher education, community behavioral health, and k-12 education including raising teacher salaries above the national average for the first time!

Senator Deeds highlighted the staffing shortages in mental health hospitals and community mental health services.  Delegate Hudson voiced concerns about the progress of the clean economy programs, noting that Dominion Energy holds much influence over many legislators with 40 lobbyists and millions of dollars in campaign donations received by VA General Assembly members and candidates.

Many other topics were covered, and several questions were shared.  Both emphasized how important this November election is for Virginia due to redistricting, ALL 140 seats (100 Delegates and 40 Senators) are up for election.

What is Happening with Local Voting

Posted April 20th, 2023 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

Jim Nix, of the Charlottesville Electoral Board, and Dr. Clara Belle Wheeler, of the Albemarle County Electoral Board, joined the April SSV meeting to provide information on voting processes, changes, locations and updates as we prepare for primary and general elections in 2023.

Jim Nix, Board Secretary, Charlottesville Electoral Board

Jim Nix has been a Virginia resident since 1970. He retired in May 2007 from a career with the Defense Department as a mechanical engineer and intelligence analyst. Free of the Hatch Act after 40 years of federal employment he immediately began volunteering for local Democratic candidates and joined the Charlottesville Democratic Committee. He worked as a full-time volunteer for most of 2008 in the Obama campaign and remained active in Organizing for America during the first Obama term returning to volunteer in the re-election campaign in 2012. Jim served four years as co-chair of the Charlottesville Democratic Committee; after leaving that position at the beginning of 2014 he was appointed to the Charlottesville Electoral Board where he continues to serve as board secretary. For the past three years he has been active in the legislative committee of the Virginia Electoral Board Association.

Clara Belle Wheeler, Vice Chair, Albemarle County Electoral Board

Clara Belle Wheeler, MD, is an Albemarle County resident and developer, as well as a doctor specializing in hand and orthopedic surgery.  She earned her medical degree from VCU.  Dr. Wheeler serves on the Albemarle County Electoral Board and has served on the Commonwealth of Virginia State Board of Elections   She is active in politics and identifies herself as a Republican.  Dr. Wheeler is also a member of the SSV Board of Directors, having been elected to serve the remaining term of Norman Dill, upon his resignation.   Dr. Wheeler will represent Albemarle County in this program presentation.

Program Summary

The Democratic Primary will be held on June 20th for Democratic candidates only, although ANY registered Virginia voter may vote. City Council currently has 6 candidates vying for three positions; the 54th VA Delegate seat has 3 candidates vying for one seat; and the 11th VA Senate seat has 2 candidates vying for one seat.

Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and School Board seats in the Rio, Scottsville and White Hall Districts are up for election. In addition, the Albemarle County School Board At-Large seat is up for election.

Again, this year, there is “no excuse” early voting…which is both absentee and in-person voting.  ID rules are the same as before with no photo ID required.  Absentee voting rules are the same.  Same-day registration and voting is the same.  She noted that the process of paper ballots, optical scanning and digital poll books remains.  The bipartisan process is upheld and taken with great responsibility — meaning that election integrity follows the law.

Due to a number of changes in voting precincts in the City, be sure to check your voting location on your registration card, or visit

Due to changes in Magisterial Districts and precinct boundaries required by redistricting, Albemarle residents can determine where to vote here

Voting takes place from 6 am to 7 pm on Tuesday, June 20th and Tuesday, November 8th.

The ENTIRE General Assembly, all Delegates and all Senators, are up for election! Note that the VA Senate district #11 is a new district for ALL of Charlottesville and Albemarle County.  The ENTIRE City of Charlottesville and the “urban ring” of Albemarle County are a new VA Delegate District #54.  The rest of Albemarle County (68%), part of Fluvanna, part of Nelson and part of Louisa Counties is the new VA Delegate District #55.

The four resignations in the Buckingham County registrar’s office, including the registar Lindsey Taylor, were discussed.  The NBC news article on this topic can be accessed here.

Pandemics and our Future

Posted March 19th, 2023 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

The lessons we learned from the Covid pandemic and how can we prepare for future ones.

Dr. Gray Heppner, Managing Partner and Chief Medical Officer, Crozet BioPharma Partners

Dr. Heppner is a vaccinologist and board-certified infectious disease physician with 29 years of research and development experience, including clinical trial design and execution in the US and overseas. His expertise includes preclinical, first-in-human, and field trials of new drug products in tropical medicine and biodefense.

Program Summary

Dr Heppner reviewed the national and international response to COVID-19, noting that we learned a lot about preparedness. He recommends the ability to create a new vaccine in 60 days…which could be possible if we have a more robust process of vaccine discovery and creation.  He also noted that better worldwide information sharing on viruses is required. Dr Heppner stated that he believes that vaccines and international information sharing are the answer to addressing a future pandemic; the discovery/production process is the key.  In addition, communication sharing like the National Biodefense Strategy and Implementation Plan for Countering Biological Threats, Enhancing Pandemic Preparedness, and Achieving Global Health Security is necessary. Click here to a White House announcement of this new Plan.

Domestic Threat to Democracy

Posted February 15th, 2023 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

Denver Riggleman spoke about the disinformation and conspiricy theories that are pervading the public, and the damage that they do.  A large percentage of the public believe this information and some extremest are acting in a destructive way.  There was a good Q&A session, and the meeting was moderated by SSV Board Member Peyton Williams.

Mr Riggleman was a member of Congress from the Fifth District of Virginia elected in 2018, and an Air Force intelligence officer and National Security Agency consultant for over 20 years. He is the only Republican member of Congress to speak out against QAnon on the House floor. He co-authored a report entitled, “THE QANON CONSPIRACY:Destroying Families, Dividing Communities, Undermining Democracy” which was published by the Network Contagion Research Institute prior to the January 6, 2021 insurrection.

In August of 2021, he was appointed as a senior staffer to the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack on the US Capitol. His mission was to collect, analyze and make sense of the text and other electronic signals among participants in the attack. He left this position in April of 2022.

Denver Riggleman and Peyton Williams

Mr. Riggleman also spoke about the attack on the U.S. Capital and other threats to democracy. He coauthored The Breach, an account of the attack and the information that was gathered by his team. A good summary of this book can be found on  The SSV session was covered by NBC29 News, and this is a link to the video.

The Evolving World of Name and Image in College Althletics

Posted January 14th, 2023 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

Student-athletes can profit off their Name, Image and Likeness for the first time in the history of college athletics. How did it evolved as the law of college athletics? What is the role of Cavalier Futures and it’s relationship to UVA Athletics? How does NIL benefit athletes….and UVA? This was discussed by Lo Davis at the January 2023 meeting. The program was moderated by SSV President Sue Friedman.

Lo Davis is executive director of Cav Futures, the NIL collective at UVA. Prior to that he served 12 years in the role of associate director for the Virginia Athletics Foundation (VAF).  During his time at VAF, Mr. Davis raised millions of dollars in support of Virginia Athletics.  While at VAF, Mr. Davis supported several individual programs, including baseball, football, lacrosse, track and field and women’s basketball.  He also served on several committees within the Advancement Community at UVA, including creating and acting as co-chair for the now annual Advancement Community Excellence Awards.

Before his return to Charlottesville, Mr. Davis worked for nine years as vice president of Catch 84 Inc., the marketing arm for former UVA football standout and Detroit Lions All-Pro Wide Receiver, Herman Moore, and other professional athletes in Detroit. In this capacity, he served as business manager, handled appearances, marketing events and contract negotiations.

Mr. Davis graduated from UVA in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts in Rhetoric and Communications. While a student at the University, he was a member of the baseball team for two years and participated in JV basketball. His early professional career focused primarily in sales, marketing and client services. He was owner and operator of Five Star Industrial and Business Supply in Charlottesville from 2003 to 2009.

Mr. Davis is blessed to have been married for 17 years to his beautiful wife Sandra and has two children, Eric and Nia.  A sports enthusiast, Mr. Davis spends his time on the sports fields with his children and is an avid golfer.

Program Summary

The NIL collective at UVA was formed to provide guidance, support and financial assistance to UVA student athletes. It follows the rules, regulations and policies adopted by the NCAA, state and federal laws. It is not a program that is part of UVA, UVA athletics or VAF even as it serves UVA athletes. Universities cannot pay their athletes to play. As Mr. Davis stated, “NIL puts on the table what has been going on for years at universities under the table.” The collective focuses on providing the students with a comprehensive platform to promote education, long term professional development and career opportunities. The financial earnings of most athletes is in the range of $10 to 40,000. Not the millions that have been written about. NIL only began in July 2021 and is still a work in progress. You can learn more by clicking here.

The Community, City and County Welcoming  Refugees to Charlottesville

Posted December 15th, 2022 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

The State has refugee programs to help in resettlement. How are the City, County and nonprofits working to implement them? How are The City, County and non-profits  preparing for the next influx of refugees?  We don’t necessarily know where they will come from, but they will come.  How is, or can, the community at large helping or might help?  These topics were discussed at the meeting.

The panel was moderated by Sue Friedman and the distinuished panelist are:

Harriet Kuhr is the executive director of the International Rescue Committee in Charlottesville and Richmond.  She joined the IRC in 2004, first working with the IRC in Atlanta before taking her current position in 2010.  A graduate of the University of Virginia, her previous professional experience includes more than 20 years working in the field of international cultural exchange.

Kari Anderson Miller founded International Neighbors in 2015. Kari has been a local educator for 17 years. During that time, she gained valuable insight into the lives of refugee students and their families, who had been resettled to Charlottesville from 31 countries.


Sue Moffett has served as director of Charlottesville Social Services since May 2021 and has more than 30 year’s experience in public social services, including various roles in Alexandria City, Albemarle County and Charlottesville Departments of Social Services.


Sam Spencer is the Self-Sufficiency program manager with Albemarle County Department of Social Services. He has been employed with Albemarle County Social Services since 2014. Sam currently oversees mandated and nonmandated employment service programs with Albemarle County. Under the umbrella of Self-Sufficiency also resides childcare subsidy services, Virginia Career Works satellite office and Albemarle Career Center.

 Program Summary

The panel discussed the successes and challenges of refugees and the programs attempting to meet the shared goal of refugees become self-sufficient members of their communities. NBC29 news coverage of the program can be viewed at

How Healthy Is Local Media in Central Virginia?

Posted November 13th, 2022 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

How do we get our news today?  Are we really so divided as a country as some politicians and pundits suggest?  How are stories covered (or not) in the face of media consolidation?   And just how healthy is journalism in Central Virginia?

Giles Morris, executive director of Charlottesville Tomorrow, Jim Spencer, editorial page editor for The Daily Progress, and Joe Thomas, morning host and program director of Monticello Media, were panelists for the SSV November program.  Dan Schutte of CBS 19 had a family emergency and was unable to attend.   Bob Beard who is a former news anchor with CBS 19 in Charlottesville and a longtime reporter in Washington, D.C., including CNN, NBC and Reuters, was moderator.

Giles Morris, Jim Spencer, Bob Beard and Joe Thomas at the forum

These speakers were all passionate about their profession and trying to find the truth in the current media environment. Charlottesville Tomorrow is a non-profit electronic presentation funded by grants and donations whose primary goal is to present information to the community from a pure journalistic perspective. Jim Spencer focused on the challenges of corporate ownership and employing adequate reporters to cover our area. He currently has a staff of three. Wondering who writes the Progress editorials? He does. Joe Thomas explained the News Talk show title by saying first they present the News, and then the Talk portion is devoted to analyzing it. He also made a plea for community members to support advertisers of local media. The program highlighted common issues all media are dealing with today and how they try to provide local citizens with accurate information from which individuals may make informed decisions.


Bob Beard, SSV board member, moderated the program. Bob has over 30 years of experience in broadcast journalism at markets throughout the U.S. He is a former news anchor with CBS 19 in Charlottesville and a longtime reporter in Washington, D.C., including CNN, NBC and Reuters. Bob has degrees from Vanderbilt and Georgetown. Bob and his wife, Ellen, live in Ivy, where they raised twin sons. They are new “empty nesters.”

 Giles Morris is the executive director of Charlottesville Tomorrow. He has worked as a school teacher, community organizer, and a nonprofit program manager. He started working as a full-time journalist in 2007 as the general assignment reporter for the Rhinelander Daily News in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Giles served as editor-in-chief of C-VILLE Weekly and later as vice president for marketing and communications at James Madison’s Montpelier, where he was instrumental in the rollout of the award-winning, descendant-driven slavery exhibition, “The Mere Distinction of Colour.” He holds an M.Div. degree from Harvard Divinity School and his journalism and digital storytelling projects have been recognized by INN, LION, AAN, the North Carolina Press Association, and the Virginia Press Association.

 Dan Schutte is the news director of CBS-19 and anchors CBS19 News at 5 and FOX Virginia News at 10. He started at CBS19 in June of 2006. He met his wife Alison here, and they now have a little girl named Abby. Abby keeps the family on their toes. She loves swimming and the family dog Ripley. Ripley joined the family from the CASPCA in 2015. Dan comes to the area from Northern Minnesota, where he was an anchor for WDIO-TV in Duluth. Prior to that, he was a reporter and anchor in Eureka, California. During his career, he has covered several national stories and won awards for his work. Dan is originally from the Minneapolis area. He graduated from American University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in broadcast journalism. He was also a member of the Division I wrestling team there.

 Jim Spencer is the editorial page editor for the Daily Progress and appears weekly on Beyond the Headlines, a weekly news analysis segment on CBS19 in Charlottesville. A Virginia native, Jim has been a journalist since 1974. He began his career at the weekly Virginia Gazette in Williamsburg doing everything from writing news, feature and sports stories to writing theater reviews, sports columns and unsigned editorials. He moved to the Norfolk Virginian Pilot moving from sports writer, to news reporter to feature writer. The Chicago Tribune hired him to write features and he returned home to the Virginia Peninsula to write a metro column for the Daily Press after the Tribune Company bought the paper. He moved to the Denver Post to write a metro column and then to the Minneapolis Star Tribune where he served for 10 years as a Washington correspondent.

Joe Thomas is a Program Director and Talk Host at Monticello Media based in Charlottesville. Previously, Joe was a Co-Founder, Operations at The Afternoon Constitutional and also held positions at Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center, Forever Media, Delmarva Broadcasting, iHeartMedia, and Audacy, broadcast and Internet radio platform.