Letters to the Editor

Pullen not qualified
Fluvanna School Board candidate Andrew Pullen stopped by our house the other day to drop off a bit of campaign literature. He handed us a glossy card featuring a full-color photo of himself with his wife and daughter. The back was filled with text outlining Pullen’s qualifications. There weren’t many.

The first fact the card told us about the candidate is that he “… graduated a proud Fluco in 2004.” Funny thing, though. This campaign card said nothing about where Pullen’s daughter goes to school.

The main thing that caught my eye, however, was the text on the back. It included this sentence: “Each element of STEM effects every aspect of our lives.” Effects? Do we want a person who would write or approve that sentence leading our public system of education? It seems to me that a School Board candidate ought to stand as an educational role model and exhibit basic language skills. His carelessness with English may affect the ways in which Fluvanna children learn to speak, write and think.

Dennis Holder
Kents Store

Staiger gets things done
As a former colleague of Dr. Linda Staiger, I write to offer my enthusiastic support for her candidacy as a member of the Fluvanna School Board.

I spent many years working with Dr. Staiger in our orthopaedic clinic. We shared many patients, and I never heard a complaint about her care. She is a keen student of human nature, and took excellent care of her many grateful patients. She takes her work very seriously, and was often the only person willing to see patients on the same day that they called for an appointment. She gets things done! All of us who worked with her appreciated her thoughtful care of difficult problems.

After a very successful career, Linda has left medical practice and has spent some time nurturing her artistic skills. I know that she is ready for a new challenge, and I think that the School Board will be an excellent use of her caring intellect and interpersonal skills. I think that the Fluvanna voters have a chance to elect a real, quality person to this important position.
David M. Kahler, MD
University of Virginia

Stevens is hardest-working candidate
This Sunday afternoon, there was a knock on my door, and when I answered it there stood a smiling man neatly dressed in a white shirt and tie holding two Francis Stevens for Delegate campaign signs. It was the candidate himself, having driven all the way from Midlothian to Kents Store to deliver them after my online request. In our 30 years living in the 65th District, we have never once received the first piece of literature, news, mailing update or announcement of town hall from the incumbent, Lee Ware, from 1998 onward, nor from our previous delegate, Whatshisname.

It is definitely time for a change when a politician serving at the people’s pleasure for almost 20 years does not bother to keep them informed – or ask – about what issues are of importance.  Obviously, Francis Stevens cares. He shows it by having worked 12 years as a Virginia capitol police officer, by serving on the Fair Housing Board after being appointed by Gov. McDonnell, by attending St. Gabriel Catholic Church, by working to help other minority Asian Americans, by emphasizing the environment, healthcare, economic development and social justice as part of his platform. And by knocking on doors and meeting his hopefully soon-to-be constituents.

Vote Stevens Nov. 7!

Shirley Lavin
Kents Store

Pullen has been involved in county
Mr. Moss’s letter published last week is exactly why my family is supporting Andrew Pullen for School Board. The letter suggests that Mr. Pullen has “little to recommend him for the position” and that he has not been working to understand our school system. These statements couldn’t be further from the truth and are consistent with the last three letters attacking Mr. Pullen with falsities. 

There are several fundamental differences between the two candidates, but the one that stands out to my family is the fact that unlike his opponent, Mr. Pullen didn’t just start contributing to our community or attending meetings after he declared his candidacy. His community service along with having a daughter in our school system is what motivated him to run for School Board. Long before ever running for office, Mr. Pullen was coaching Little League baseball with me, teaching fire prevention in our schools, tutoring teenagers, attending School Board and Board of Supervisors meetings and many other contributions to our community. 

It’s true that Mr. Pullen did not attend an elite university and he does not have a Ph.D., but he continues to prove that the most educated person in the room is not always the smartest. As a Fluvanna graduate, he has found success in public safety and is an example of the importance of the Career and Technical Education programs that he promises to support. 

Contrary to Mr. Moss’s suggestions, Mr. Pullen can in fact claim that he has been taking this job seriously, but chooses not to use pictures with teachers or administrators for personal gain. Mr. Pullen is focused on policy, not politics and his campaign is a reflection of his personality – rather than boast about personal accomplishments, he finds fulfillment in humility and service to others. 

We have two sons in the school system and are enthusiastically supporting Andrew Pullen to represent the Columbia District on the School Board!

Matt Dickerson
Kents Store

Mammograms save lives
After reading Cheryl Elliott’s article, “Breast cancer diagnosis lands woman in hot water” last week, I felt the need to write.

I had my annual mammogram on Aug. 27 and it saved my life – please get yours done. Like Cheryl, I also have had dense breast issues all my adult life and had a lumpectomy when I was 20 which led to yearly mammograms for 38 years. I too have been called back many times for “abnormal” results. This was different. To complicate things I also happen to live with several autoimmune diseases. My battered and broken body has surpassed the limits I thought it had. I am one of the lucky ones. Early stage one, found during a routine mammogram, followed by more tests, six biopsies, many, many doctor appointments and finally two back-to-back surgeries (one due to a hematoma that developed) all within seven weeks. I learned that I had two tumors: one was the size of a quarter, the other was the size of a nickel, and a third area of concern was nothing.

I have followed doctors’ orders and am healing and back to work. I must credit the University of Virginia (U.Va.) imaging center and the U.Va. Breast Cancer Care Center for my wonderful care. Also my primary care physician, my rheumatologist, my dermatologist, my oncologist, labs and my entire team. I have been the receiver of a wonderful community of family and friends who have prayed and cried with me and for me, took care of me, and love me. I am surprised that when I look at myself in a mirror naked I am not horrified at all. I will carry my scar happily the rest of my life and be at peace with my choice. No chemotherapy, no radiation, no reconstruction. Five years of hormone therapy. But the best news ever…no risk of passing breast cancer to my daughter. Schedule your mammogram today.

Lynn Stayton-Eurell
Lake Monticello

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