Archive for the 'Programs' Category

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.

Domestic Threat to Democracy

Wednesday, February 15th, 2023

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

Saturday, January 14th, 2023

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

Thursday, December 15th, 2022

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?

Sunday, November 13th, 2022

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.

Candidate Forum – Virginia 5th Congressional District

Monday, October 17th, 2022

Congressman Bob Good (R) and challenger Josh Throneburg (D) were invited to participate in a candidate forum to share their positions on issues of concern to citizens in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District. Regrettably, Congressman Good declined the invitation.

Democratic candidate Josh Throneburg is the father of two young children and an ordained minister who now owns Nooks & Crannies Cleaning, a small, eco-friendly cleaning company. After college, Josh moved to South Korea where he met his wife of almost 20 years, Minhee. Moving back to the US, Josh attended seminary and then became lead minister of Highrock Church in Brookline, MA.

Included in Josh’s priorities is to address the existential threat posed by climate change, and he proposes policy change that would put thousands of Virginians to work creating and manufacturing cutting-edge green energy technology, rebuilding our infrastructure, and helping redress air and water pollution. As part of a multi-racial family, Josh is a passionate advocate for racial justice.

Candidate Forum

Virginia 5th Congressional District

Josh Throneburg speaks to residents

by Alexia Williams, CBS19 NEWS

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) — Democrat Congressional nominee Josh Throneburg campaigned in Charlottesville on Wednesday as part of his bid to represent the Fifth Congressional District of Virginia.

Throneburg, while speaking at a Senior Statesmen of Virginia event, referred to his background as a small business owner, father and minister.

His most important topics on the campaign trail are climate change and racial inequality.

“Addressing the issue of a warming planet, and trying to curb some of those negative effects of that, that’s a big one for me. Dealing with issues around race and sexism, because I’m the father of, you know, younger women and women of color. And so, we need to make sure that they have absolute access to all of the same opportunities, and the same fairness, and justice in our system,” Throneburg said. “We are building something in our country, even in the sense of our democracy, that is providing a firm foundation for the future.” Throneburg claims this is the main reason he’s running.

Republican incumbent Bob Good declined the invitation to participate in the event.

See the CBS coverage at:

Future of Housing and Benefits for Seniors

Friday, September 16th, 2022

The Charlottesville Area Alliance Housing Team is excited to start educating the public on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Missing Middle Housing, as well as the zoning implications that go with it.  Specifically, the Alliance wants to contextualize these housing concepts in terms of how they would benefit seniors to age in the community.

The panelists for the program were Ian Baxter, regional planner, Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission; Alex Ikefuna, Office of Community Solutions, City of Charlottesville; and Stacy Pethia, principal planner for housing, Albemarle County.  The program was expected to be moderated by SSV President Sue Friedman.

Program Summary

The program was moderated by SSV board member Bob Beard (far right above) who is a former news anchor with CBS 19 in Charlottesville and a longtime reporter in Washington, D.C., including CNN, NBC and Reuters. The three representatives of the area’s housing programs were extremely knowledgeable of the affordable housing dilemmas faced in our area. Each program has studied the concerns and have goals for the future. Sources of future funding will be from public, private and nonprofit organizations. Knowing the need of those who require services and encouraging citizens to participate in the process is essential. Other concerns expressed were the desire for real time metrics, public outreach, and creating a sustainable infrastructure. An abundance of statics was available such as 40 percent of Albemarle County residents spend more than the goal of 30 percent of their income on housing. The City of Charlottesville has a goal of spending $10 million per year on affordable housing. They met this goal in 2021.

Elections in the Future – Ranked Choice Voting?

Sunday, August 14th, 2022

Delegate Sally Hudson (D), 57th House District, described the many benefits of ranked choice voting and the likely hood of it becoming more available in Virginia.  She also answered questions about future elections in Virginia.

Delegate Sally Hudson represents Albemarle (part) and Charlottesville, and serves on the Finance Committee and the Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee. In 2019, she became the first woman to serve Charlottesville in the Virginia State House. In her first term, she delivered high-impact legislation to address some of the most pressing challenges we face, from unemployment and evictions to essential health care coverage. As a labor economist, Sally has invested her career in securing the resources and opportunities that every family needs to thrive.

Sally is president of Ranked Choice Virginia and the force behind the bill passed by the Virginia General Assembly.

Sally is an Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia, where she teaches statistics in the School of Public Policy. Sally studied economics and math at Stanford University and earned her PhD as a National Science Foundation fellow at MIT.

Grant Brownrigg, Senior Statesmen of Virginia Secretary, shown with Delegate Sally Hudson, moderated the meeting.

To understand Ranked Choice Voting and its advantages, read Bob Gibson’s article in The Daily Progress.

Initiatives to Mitigate Local Climate Change

Monday, June 13th, 2022

What does climate change mean to YOU and to our community? An introduction to climate change action at the local level was presented. Hear how the City of Charlottesville, Albemarle County and UVa are working together with the local climate collaborative to address climate change issues. And learn YOUR role.  The meeting was moderated by Sue Friedman, Senior Statesmen president.

Program Summary

Click here to see the PowerPoint slides that the speakers used.

Click here to see a video of the event.

Our past programs on climate issues have focused on state and regional efforts while this program focused on local programs and initiatives. Gabe Daley, climate protection manager for Albemarle County; Susan Elliot, climate protection manager for the City of Charlottesville; Andrea Ruedy Trimble, sustainability director for the University of Virginia; and Susan Kruse, executive director of the Community Climate Collaborative were the presenters. The goal of all these groups is to decrease greenhouse admission by 2050 and developing an environment that does nothing to increase emissions.

Collecting accurate data is a shared goal of the groups. Greenhouse Emission Inventory is used by both the city and county. Since Virginia is a Dillon Rule state, policy models need to be consistent with state regulations and cannot be locally determined. In our area 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation and 40 percent from buildings. Since three-quarters of transportation emissions come from a single driver in a car, improving the options to reduce this is necessary. Better public transportation, sidewalks, bike lanes, landscaping to provide shade are being developed to encourage leaving the car at home. The city, county and UVa are all looking at electric buses and “greenfleet“ programs. At UVa, infrastructure initiatives include geothermal wells, increased use of sustainable building products and solar panels. Paying for these improvements is an ongoing concern. Grants and federal funds help and UVa has several hundred thousand feet of roof space which can be rented for solar panels. Each presenter concluded with website links and encouraged the audience to get involved by educating themselves and volunteering. UVa has information available on social media, websites, newsletters, and reports. City has information at (or/notify me – for news flashes). The county’s activities are at (or /stewardship) and the C3 website is