Archive for the 'Programs' Category

Aging and Ageism: They Don’t Go Together

Wednesday, February 21st, 2024

Bethanie Constant, CFRE, VP for Mission at Westminster Canterbury of the Blue Ridge (WCBR), presented a thought-provoking and informative presentation on “Aging, Ageism and Ableism—Beliefs, Myths, Research and Action”. SSV is focused on learning about current issues and how we can have a voice! This presentation fit the bill!

In addition to her WCBR position and expertise, Bethanie is in the middle of her Master of Science degree in Gerontology at Virginia Commonwealth University. The presentation reviewed the following topics:
Consciousness Raising; Finding Commonality; Looking at the Landscape; Understanding Key Terms; Dispelling Myths, Highlighting Research; Transforming Our Perspective; and Sharing Resources

–We began by participating in a discussion around four questions.
–We learned that the United States is an aging nation…77 million 65+ in 2034, 94 million in 2060!
–We reviewed implicit bias…..attitudes and stereotypes we associate with other people that exist without our conscious knowledge!!
–We learned the definition of Ageism….which impacts how we think (stereotypes), how we feel (prejudice) and how we act (discrimination) towards others or oneself based on age.   From the World Health Organization!
–We gained knowledge of terms to avoid and suggested alternatives…..from “the elderly” to “older adults”
–We learned the six myths of old age: 1) that it is a disaster; 2) that we are mindless; 3) that we are sexless; 4) that we are useless; 5) that we are powerless; and 6) that we are all alike; and so much more.

The program was moderated by SSV Board Member Sue Liberman.

Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA Update and Meet the New Executive Director

Sunday, January 14th, 2024

Libby Jones – Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA  Executive Director

SSV members and guests were welcomed to the January 2024 program meeting by Outgoing President Sue Friedman.  Newly elected officers and Board members were introduced and can be found on our ‘About Us‘ page.

Libby Jones has an impressive career spanning over a decade in animal welfare, veterinary medicine, and zoology, including pivotal leadership roles at influential organizations such as the Humane Society of Charlotte, Guilford County, and her most recent position as Chief Operations Officer at Seattle Humane, Jones brings a wealth of invaluable experience to her new role.

Libby shared an overview of CASPCA noting that the staff members are fully engaged and excited by their work.  She shared that she entered this field for the animals, and now works to support the staff who care for the animals.

Audience questions included:

With efforts to clear out the kennels, how much care is taken to be sure the pet is going to a safe and happy home so the pet is a higher priority than clearing the kennels? Response: CASPCA uses a nationally recognized program called “Adopters Welcome,” that encourages conversation between the potential adopters and the CASPCA Staff.  They want the adoption to be the right fit for both the animal and the adopter…the animal can happily fit into the adopter’s life.  

What is the process to become a CASPCA volunteer? Response: The process and application are on the CASPCA website.  There are many ways to volunteer and support CASPCA, plus not all of them involve coming to the Shelter.  For example, food and treat drives in the community are a great way to support CASPCA, and provide volunteer support.

When taking pets from other areas/shelters, does CASPCA take into consideration how few vet offices there are to take care of the pets once they are adopted in our community? Response: There is a veterinary shortage here and most everywhere in the country.  Veterinary medicine is expensive to pursue and has challenges as pet owners and the public are often critical of veterinary care.  Libby indicated that enrollment in veterinary medicine programs has decreased, as the veterinarian is often not receiving the respect they deserve from their pet owners nor community. The CASPCA is building partnerships and relationships with veterinarians, and looking to expand veterinarian care available through CASPCA, to address the growing shortage as the CASPCA does want to provide adoption opportunities to rescue groups and other shelters.  If these often young and very adoptable animals are not provided opportunities through CASPCA, they are likely to be euthanized simply for space.

Are all adopted animals microchipped? Response: “Absolutely.”

Can you provide basic facts, a snapshot, for CASPCA. Response: Libby noted that the budget is about $5 million a year.  More than 3000 animals were rehomed (returned to owner) or adopted last year.  CASPCA has 60 employees, with budget for 65.  

Libby encouraged anyone to contact her ( and visit the website for much more information on CASPCA.

Avoiding Scams

Wednesday, November 15th, 2023

SSV Board Member Sue Liberman introduced our November speaker, Doris Gelbman, and she shared a most informative presentation on “Avoiding Scams.” Attorney Gelbman practices elder law exclusively, and is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.  

 Frauds and scams are crimes, she emphasized, and should be addressed as such.  All of these crimes should be reported! 

Contact Adult Protective Services or APS: 888-832-3858. Also report to Elder Fraud Hotline: 833-372-8311 and report to the FBI: 800-677-1116. The local FBI office can be reached at 293-4283. Reporting these crimes helps authorities connect criminal activities as most of the fraud/scam crimes are part of a larger network.

 Three tips: 1) Never answer a phone caller with “yes” if asked “Hello, is this **your first name** ” Your “yes” can be recorded and used to sign you up for purchases, etc. 2) If a caller says “your grandson is in trouble,” do not say your grandson’s name.  For example, don’t say ” Oh, no, what’s happened to Michael?”  Then, the caller knows your grandson’s name. 3) Do not believe everything you read on Facebook or Google or the Internet.  It is VERY easy to paste a photo over someone else’s Facebook page .. and pretend to be that person. It is VERY easy to create a dummy link to “mayo clinic” or “nih-national institutes of health” …and then capture your computer’s address.  And gain access to your computer contents and passwords.

 Your bank…The IRS…The Courts…Medicare…Social SecurityNONE of these call people.  So a phone call pretending to be from them is trouble.

 Attorney Gelbman encouraged everyone to be skeptical and question: BEFORE you click on an attachment or link on the computer; BEFORE you ever give any information over the phone; BEFORE you share any financial information with anyone. And you can call Doris Gelbman if you have a problem!

Candidate Forum: Albemarle County Board of Supervisors

Monday, October 16th, 2023

Mike Pruitt, Scottsville candidate, running unopposed; Bea LaPisto-Kirtley, Rivanna incumbent; Ann Mallek, White Hall incumbent; and T J Fadley, Rivanna challenger, accepted the invitation to attend the SSV Albemarle County Board of Supervisors candidate forum on Wednesday October 11th at The Center at Belvedere, tri-hosted by SSV, The Center and the League of Women Voters.

SSV Board member Bob Beard moderated, inviting candidates to share an opening statement.  Candidates then responded to questions and discussed the increasing property tax burden, expanding the growth areas, development in the County, lack of media coverage on real news issues like elections, increases in police and fire staffing, and the schools.

Everyone was reminded that early voting continues, with election day on November 7th.

Candidate Biographies

Candidate Forum:  Albemarle County School Board

Tuesday, September 19th, 2023

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?

Tuesday, August 15th, 2023

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

Monday, June 19th, 2023

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

Tuesday, May 16th, 2023

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

Thursday, April 20th, 2023

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

Sunday, March 19th, 2023

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.