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Byers, O'BrienThe only contested race for the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors unfolds in the Rivanna District, where challenger Darrell Byers (R) is taking on incumbent Supervisor Tony O’Brien (I) for a four-year term to represent Lake Monticello.

Supervisors Mike Sheridan (Columbia) and Don Weaver (Cunningham) are running uncontested.

The Fluvanna Review asked the candidates the following questions.

Tell us about yourself: your education, work experience and family life.
Darrell Byers: I am the son of Mary and Donald Byers. My mom was the associate pastor at First Baptist Church in Covesville, Va., and my dad is now retired from the Albemarle County Police Department (ACPD) where he was a detective. I am a graduate of the National Criminal Justice Command College. Being a servant leader was instilled in me from a very early age. I have been serving the community for 18 years as a law enforcement professional. Also, over the years I have volunteered for numerous community activities mostly focused on shop with a cop, mentor with Y.E.S. (Youth Empowered for Success) and I performed fundraising for the Special Olympics. I currently serve as a police captain for the ACPD. My wife, Lisa, and I have lived in the Rivanna District for 15 years.

Tony O’Brien: I grew up overseas and moved to the U.S. just prior to starting high school. I have lived in Virginia since. I graduated from the University of Virginia (U.Va). I started my IT services firm, Helix, 20 years ago and I employ 12 people. I have not looked back since.

My wife and I moved to Lake Monticello 17 years ago with a toddler in hand, now a Fluco graduate who is a first-year student at U.Va. My full integration into the vibrancy of the community began five years ago, when the chaos over the potential mothballing of the new high school and the deep budget cuts proposed led to a public hearing with over 600 attendees. As our daughter, Bella, was about to enter the new school, after having spent many of her years at the elementary and middle school being taught in trailers, I attended the hearing. There I saw 70 residents speak passionately about the impact of the cuts on the schools and on other county services and nonprofits the county had traditionally supported. Despite the outrage the Board proceeded with an eight-cent cut below the advertised rate.

I began studying and advocating for the county to set forth a true commitment to a long-term water solution. Elections were around the corner and when Joe Chesser decided not to run, I reached out to him and asked for his advice and support for my candidacy. 

What qualifies you to be a supervisor?

O’Brien: I believe that leadership is the art of listening and finding long-term solutions, backed by commitment, drive, creativity, and educating oneself on challenges and potential solutions while building consensus.
Political leadership also means being willing to make the tough calls, and to do what is right and not what gets you elected or re-elected. If you cannot keep your promises, you are doing a disservice to your constituents. I have worked hard to follow this path throughout my career, and especially over the past four years as I recognize the responsibility the voters have entrusted upon me.

Byers: I have 18 years as a leader in the public sector. I am a local government employee and police officer. I have worked my way from the ground up to a senior level, where I now serve as the Blue Ridge district commander. I am well versed in the issues of staffing, scheduling, budgeting and working within the constraints of the budgets handed to our department from our local leadership.

In my role as captain, I currently oversee roughly a third of the patrol operations within the ACPD. My leadership skill set, coupled with the ability to build consensus among people by finding common ground and working for the greater good, and the earnest desire to affect change, qualifies me to be a supervisor.

Name one program, service or budget for which you will pursue increased funding, and tell us why.
Byers: Of course I would work with the sheriff’s department, the School Board and fire and rescue to make sure we are allocating the proper amount of funds for their needs. We must ensure that resources are going to the classrooms and that we are delivering effective law enforcement to all citizens of the county. We must certainly ensure that the funds that have been allocated are being used effectively, so that we can reduce taxes and attract more business ventures to the county. Obviously, we need to look at all the needs of the county and ensure that those needs are being met. I would also work with the private sector to see if we can create incentives to revitalize some areas of the county and ensure that these areas have the appropriate resources to meet the needs of all of the citizens. I’m concerned about Columbia and I would like to see a more comprehensive economic plan for growing the economic base in that area so that it contributes to the overall success of our county’s economic goals.

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MapResidents of Fluvanna County will head to the polls Tuesday (Nov. 7) to select local and statewide leaders for the next two to four years.

Voters from all five of Fluvanna’s precincts will vote for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.

Term limits prevent Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) from running for re-election. Vying for his four-year spot in the governor’s mansion are current Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D), Ed Gillespie (R), and Libertarian Cliff Hyra.

Running for lieutenant governor are Jill Vogel (R) and Justin Fairfax (D), while current Attorney General Mark Herring (D) and John Adams (R) vie for the attorney general spot. Lieutenant governors and attorney generals also serve four-year terms.

There are no referendums or constitutional amendments on the ballot this year.

But the five voting districts in Fluvanna face distinctly different races when it comes to local elections. Several spots on the Board of Supervisors and School Board are up for grabs.

Rivanna District
The Rivanna District encompasses much, but not all, of Lake Monticello. The district is entirely composed of Lake Monticello homes.
Current Rivanna Supervisor Tony O’Brien (I) faces a challenge from Darrell Byers (R).

Current Rivanna School Board representative, Chair Carol Tracy Carr, has chosen not to run for re-election. Vying for her spot are Tyler Pieron (I) and Shirley Stewart (I).

Rivanna belongs to the 58th District for Virginia representation. Current Delegate Rob Bell (R) faces a challenge from Kellen Squire (D). Delegates serve two-year terms.

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Cross countryThe Jefferson District held its year-end District meet Wednesday (Oct. 25) at Pleasant Grove, the Flying Flucos’ home course. In an incredibly close finish, the Fluco girls came out as the District champions, besting perennial powerhouse Western Albemarle High by a single point at 48-47. The result emphasizes how important it is in a team running event for all runners to perform to the best of their ability.

The finishing positions of each of the team’s top five runners are added to determine a team’s score.  For the Flucos Emily Smeds finished second, Saige Haney was fifth, Emily Beckman came in 11th, Hattie Lintecum was 12th and Kristen Cabrera was 17th. If any one of these athletes had been beaten by a Western Albemarle runner who finished behind her, the Flucos would not have claimed the title. In fact, Lintecum was one and a half second faster than a runner from Western Albemarle. If their 12th and 13th positions had been reversed the Flucos would have finished second.

By finishing in the top 15, Smeds, Haney, Beckman and Lintecom all made All-District. On the boys’ side, Jack Rice finished 11th and gained All-District honors.

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Fluco Cheer PyramidThe Fluvanna County gym was packed with spectators Thursday (Oct. 26) when the Fluco competition cheer squad hosted the 2017 Region 3C Cheer Competition.
Every team had an enthusiastic following, even though some of the competing schools are not nearby. Teams came to Fluvanna from the Fluco home district, the Jefferson District, and from the Valley District and the Seminole District of the Lynchburg area.

Seven squads competed, including the Broadway High Gobblers, the Brookville High Bees, the Fort Defiance Indians, the Monticello High Mustangs, the Rustburg High Devils and the Spotswood High Trailblazers. The Flucos qualified for the Region 3C competition by finishing a strong third in the Jefferson District competition which was held Oct. 18 at Powhatan High School.

All seven squads competed in the initial round, performing their individualized routines with typical high energy. There is no set number of competitors. The squads varied in number from 10 to 17. Most of the competing athletes were female, but one squad had two males competing and another had one.

The competition format called for four of the seven teams to move on to a second round of performances that would determine the Region champion. The judges evaluated each squad and rated its performance on five components. Fluco Coach Julia Hogue explained that squads are rated on pyramid, dance, tumbling cheer and stunt. Add a comment


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Tyler Pieron, Shirley StewartThe Rivanna District seat on the Fluvanna County School Board came up for grabs when current Board member Carol Carr decided not to run for re-election.

In order to give readers a comprehensive look at the two candidates, Tyler Pieron and Shirley Stewart, the Fluvanna Review asked them to answer the same questions asked last week of Columbia District candidates Andrew Pullen and Linda Staiger.

Voters in the Rivanna District will choose between Stewart and Pieron Nov. 7.

Tell us about yourself: where you grew up, your education, family and how long you’ve lived in Fluvanna.
Pieron: While I have always called Virginia home, my parents worked for the State Department, so we lived around the world, spending time in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. I spent my early years in various elementary schools both in Virginia when my parents were assigned to Washington, D.C., and the rest at American schools sponsored by the Embassy in places like Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

I attended high school at Mills Godwin in Henrico and then served in the military, where I earned a B.S. in information systems management from the University of Maryland University College. I later earned a Master’s in cybersecurity policy and am currently working on a Ph.D. in information assurance after receiving a scholarship and sabbatical from the director of national intelligence.
My wife, Claire, and I have three children and have always loved the area, so when I retired from the Army after getting hurt in Iraq, we chose a home near Zion Crossroads and later moved to Lake Monticello to be closer to her mother. We have been part of the Lake community for over a decade, with our children attending pre-school here along with taking part in sports and other activities.

Stewart: Born and raised in Rhode Island, I moved north after high school and received my bachelor’s degree and elementary teaching certification from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vt. After three years of teaching in a multi-age classroom in Randolph, Vt., I earned a Master’s in Education from Harvard University, and returned to Randolph as a teacher and principal in rural schools, where I remained for over 30 years.

My husband, Alan, is a retired teacher and coach, and together we moved to Fluvanna in 2011. Our children attended the public schools where Alan and I worked, and have successful careers in Pittsburgh, New York City, and San Francisco. My mother, Fran Sadler, resides with us.

What three words best describe you?
Stewart: Collaborative, dedicated and perceptive.
Pieron: Compassionate, motivated and determined.

Before your candidacy, how many School Board meetings did you attend?
Pieron: I have been following School Board activities ever since I helped my good friend Brian Phillips, who I served with as a special agent with the Army Criminal Investigation Command, was elected to the Rivanna District seat in 2009. Prior to running, I met with or talked to several of the current School Board members to identify what they believed were the primary issues and what they proposed to solve them.

Stewart: None, although I planned with the past superintendent and School Board chair for two different yearly education sessions for the Fluvanna Leadership Development Program. Add a comment