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CandidatesThe Columbia District seat on the Fluvanna County School Board is up for grabs in the upcoming Nov. 7 election. Andrew Pullen and Linda Staiger are competing for the seat being vacated by Camilla Washington.

Pullen will appear on the ballot. Staiger’s candidacy was originally certified but Registrar Joyce Pace later discovered that Staiger had filed an incorrect financial form. Staiger then submitted the correct form but the State Board of Elections denied her appeal. She is running a write-in campaign.

In an effort to get to know the candidates, the Fluvanna Review asked the following questions.

Tell us about yourself: where you grew up, your education, your family and how long you’ve lived in Fluvanna.

Pullen: I grew up in Fluvanna and graduated from Fluvanna County High School in 2004. I have been a career fireman for 12 years. My wife Sarah and I live in Kents Store with our daughter Emmalyn. 

Staiger: My father was a Navy pilot so when I was little we moved around. When he retired, we finally settled down in beautiful Fluvanna. I was just starting high school and eventually graduated   from high school at Carysbrook. I went on to Virginia Tech for two years; then I worked and later went to the University of Virginia, where I paid my way and graduated cum laude. After I finished medical school at Eastern Virginia Medical School on loans and scholarships, I did training to become an orthopedic surgeon at the University of California in San Francisco. I moved back to Virginia in the mid ’90s to help my family. I practiced surgery in Farmville and then at the University of Virginia. I live on land from my family farm near the village of Palmyra.

What three words best describe you?  

Staiger: Compassionate, determined and problem solver.

Pullen: Passionate, determined and empathetic.

Before your candidacy, how many School Board meetings did you attend? 

Pullen: I’m not sure how many to be exact. I’ve been attending School Board and Board of Supervisors meetings for many years.

Staiger: None. Add a comment

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PanelWay back in October 1788, Fluvanna County became part of the first case of gerrymandering in U.S. history when Patrick Henry led a movement to draw the lines of what would become the 5th District in such a way as to keep his political enemy, James Madison, out of office.

The effort failed, but the principle of creating voting districts that favor one political party is alive and well 229 years later. 

Last week, about two dozen Fluvannians assembled at the Historic Courthouse in Palmyra for a day-long look at the issue of redistricting.

Organized by artist Lindsay Nolting and author and historian Mac Griswold, with the assistance of the non-partisan advocacy group OneVirginia2021, the conference brought together activists, politicians, and academics who talked about everything from the moral and ethical aspects of the practice down to the nitty-gritty of algorithms that make gerrymandering so effective and so often damaging.

Most states look at redrawing voting districts in the year following the decennial census, ostensibly to readjust political representation based on whether the population has increased or decreased over the previous 10 years.
The problem is that the politicians themselves draw the lines, and the party in power of a state’s legislature at the time of redistricting controls much of the process. The incentive to draw the map to favor their own party, or “gerrymander,” is strong. Add a comment

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The Fluco girls’ cross country team made a very strong showing on Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Albemarle Invitational. A total of 29 teams ran in the girls’ varsity event. The Flucos finished in fourth place. The Flucos were led by freshman Emily Smeds who finished in fourth place overall. She completed the course in a very impressive time of 19:09.

Also turning in excellent times for the Fluco girls were Saige Haney, Emily Beckman and Hattie Lintecum, who all finished in under 21 minutes. The other varsity runners for the Flucos were Kristen Cabrera, Brianna Parker and Anja Vernatter. This was the last regularly scheduled event of the Fluco season. The District meet is scheduled for Oct. 25, while the Regional meet will be held Nov. 1.

Girls’ Coach Rose Brogan said that in their Oct. 6 meet at Pocahantas State Park, the girls’ team finished in second place and that Smeds set a school record in the 5K, running the cross country distance of approximately three miles in under 19 minutes.

The future looks especially promising for the Fluco girls, based on the performance of the JV team and the middle school team at the Albemarle Invitational. The JV team was sixth out of 17 teams at the Invitational. Maryann

Chittenden led the way for the JV team with a 19th place finish. The middle school team finished first, with five runners in the top 15. Ellie Kennedy finished second for the middle schoolers.

Coach Tom Casto said that the Fluco boys’ varsity squad did not compete at the Albemarle Invitational. However, the Fluvanna middle school boys’ team turned in a stellar performance, taking second place. The team had five runners finish in the top 25. James White led the way, finishing second. Casto said that virtually every middle school runner had a season best time in the two-mile middle school event.

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Basketball TeamFor the second time in the last three years, the Fluvanna County girls’ middle school basketball team has completed its fall season with an undefeated 8-0 record. Coach Keith Brown said that although there is no formal league for the middle school teams, the girls match up with the usual Fluvanna opponents. This fall season the girls had their two closest games against the Louisa County middle schoolers, winning by five points and by two.

The sixth, seventh and eighth grade girls played a basic 2-3 zone on defense when they fell back, but Brown said that a full court 2-2-1 press was often utilized and it generated much of the team’s offense, creating turnovers that led to easy baskets.

Brown said that he had a 15-player squad this fall with Alana Carter-Johnston and Aniah Webb leading the team in scoring and 6-foot-tall Khamara Steppe as the top rebounder.

The Fluco varsity girls’ basketball Coach Chad White had a host of freshmen contributing on his team this past winter, so it looks like he may continue to have some top prospects in the pipeline.

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VolleyballIn a high school volleyball match, a team must win three games to prevail. Most matches end 3-0 or 3-1. It is unusual for teams to be so evenly matched that a fifth and deciding game is required. On Tuesday (Oct. 3) the Fluco volleyball team fought hard against a tough opponent to force a fifth game, but ultimately lost 3-2 to Albemarle.

The Patriots from Albemarle won games two and three relatively easily. However, the Flying Flucos did not fade away. In the first game of the match, the Patriots led 24-18 with the serve and seemingly had game one locked up. However, Albemarle lost the point on its serve making the score 24-19. Evynne Stafford took over serve for the Flucos and they ran off five points in a row to tie the score at 24-24. Christina Walker had two impressive kill shots at the net in this five-point run. Albemarle finally broke serve to go ahead 25-24.  Fluco Coach Christi Harlowe-Garrett called timeout.

After the timeout, another Walker kill shot tied the score. Walker took the serve and fired an ace to give the Flucos a one-point lead. Albemarle scored on Walker’s second serve and it was tied again. Albemarle’s serve was into the net and the Flucos were up by one again. Delaney Reed took over serve for Fluvanna and fired an ace for a 28-26 win. It was an impressive comeback win for the Flucos in game one.In game two, after 23 points, the Flucos trailed by only one at 11-12, but Albemarle followed with a four-point run and a five-point run. The Flucos trailed 14-21 when Albemarle ran off another four points in a row to win game two 25-14. Albemarle ended the game with an impressive 13-3 advantage in the final 16 points. Add a comment

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