Jan 092019

Kate Acuff speaking at The Center in Charlottesville.

Albemarle Schools are ranked #3 in the state but continue to have significant disparities in achievement and discipline. Although Albemarle County had a very successful school referendum two years ago (with 75% voter approval) and the last of those projects will be completed in a few months, Albemarle Schools are still working to catch up with our capital needs after the last recession and a decade of under funding capital during which 1000+ students were added to the rolls. Topics discussed include the legality of regulating symbols and hateful words on clothes in schools and Albemarle Tech, an innovative learning environment for our high school students

Kate Acuff was elected to the Albemarle County Public School Board in November, 2013, as the representative from the Jack Jouett Magisterial District. Ms. Acuff, who is a health policy consultant, serves on the Board of the University of Virginia Physicians Group, on the Board of Mental Health America-Charlottesville/Albemarle and on the Steering Committee of the Community Mental Health and Wellness Coalition. She previously was a consultant to the Virginia Supreme Court’s Commission on Mental Health Law Reform, an adjunct assistant professor in Emory University’s School of Public Health and a vice president of policy and education with the National Public Health and Hospitals Institute.

Ms. Acuff is a strong advocate for providing safe and healthy learning environments in schools. Among her priorities is to support collaborative programs among students, parents, school staff and other members of the community to continue the division’s progress in its bullying prevention programs. Ms. Acuff also believes that access by students to pre-K instruction should be expanded to reduce the opportunity gap among children in Albemarle County.

A native of the Midwest, Ms. Acuff is a graduate of the University of Tulsa. She received her Master’s in Microbiology & Immunology from the University of Colorado and her Ph.D. and a M.P.H. in Public Health and Public Policy and Management from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She also earned a J.D. from Georgetown University.

Ms. Acuff spoke at the Wednesday January 9, 2018 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held at The Center in Charlottesville. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by SSV president Rich DeMong.

Nov 142018

Terry Cooper speaking at The Center in Charlottesville

Senior Statesmen Vice President and Program Chair, Terry Cooper, talked about several trends in politics that have gone largely unnoticed.

Mr Cooper was a long-time Republican political consultant specializing in issues and opposition research. Terry’s current business is political analysis. He is a native of Charlottesville and a graduate of Episcopal High School, Princeton University and the University of Virginia School of Law.

Notes from Mr. Cooper’s presentation can be viewed here.

Mr. Cooper spoke at the Wednesday November 14, 2018 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held at the Senior Center in Charlottesville. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by SSV president Rich DeMong.

Oct 102018

Richard DeMong

Can we count on Social Security? Did Baby Boomers save enough?  What about Gen X and the Millennials? What is the future of 401(k)s, IRAs, mRAs? Will retirees have sufficient funds for health care and nursing home care? Are there any solutions other than working until you drop? Find out the answers to these and many more questions in this interesting podcast.

Rich DeMong is the University of Virginia’s Virginia Bankers Association Professor Emeritus after teaching investments and corporate finance at the McIntire School of Commerce for 37 years. He has a PhD from the University of Colorado, an MBA from William & Mary, and a BA in Political Science from California State University at Long Beach. He has authored or coauthored many research papers, books and monographs on investment and finance topics.

In addition to having retired from UVa, Rich retired from the United States Air Force as a colonel. He flew C-130s in Viet Nam and was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross and many other medals and ribbons.

Rich has a CFA charter and has taught investment, 401(k), and retirement seminars in the U.S., Switzerland, Germany, Japan, Thailand, Kazakhstan, and the U.K.

Rich is the president of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia and is on the board of The Center, Charlottesville Committee on Foreign Relations, Innisfree, and the University of Virginia Physicians

Mr. DeMong spoke at the Wednesday October 10, 2018 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held at the Senior Center in Charlottesville. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by SSV board member Bob McGrath.

Sep 122018

George Yin

The 2017 federal tax law changes were controversial from the beginning. The bill was essentially written in secret, without the benefit of public hearings, and opponents, though they hadn’t seen even a draft, lambasted the bill as a giveaway to “the rich” that would massively increase the deficit and the national debt.


George Yin, an expert on federal tax law, presented a balanced assessment of the bill’s likely consequences on individuals, on businesses and on the economy. His analysis includes both a lay explanation of tax-law arcana such as “the Byrd rule” and an even-handed, practical critique of the assessments of the bill by its supporters and its opponents.

Professor Yin was formerly chief of staff to Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation (known colloquially as “Joint Tax”), a nonpartisan body that helps draft tax legislation, analyzes it and prepares official revenue estimates concerning its effects. Prior to that he was tax counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan, the University of Florida, and the George Washington University Law School.


Mr. Yin spoke at the Wednesday September 12, 2018 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held at the Senior Center in Charlottesville. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by SSV board member Bob McGrath.

Aug 082018

Leslie Cockburn (D) speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville. The program was moderated by Preston Bryant.

The 5th Congressional District candidates forum is a biennial SSV event. Both major-party nominees, Democrat Leslie Cockburn and Republican Denver Riggleman, were invited to discuss their views. Mr. Riggleman declined the invitation.

Leslie Cockburn (D), is a graduate of Yale, and has had a 35-year career in journalism, including as a producer for CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” a correspondent for PBS’ “Frontline,” a Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton and a writer and author. She has won two Emmys, two George Polk Awards, two Columbia duPont Journalism awards and the Robert F. Kennedy Award. She has covered many of the major developments of our time, from the financial meltdown to the rise of radical jihadists.

Why nobody thought of this forum to ask a question to the candidate – where can I buy ativan online overnight?
She has served for many years on the boards of the Piedmont Environmental Council and the conservationist Krebser Fund and has been active in her opposition to the Dominion pipelines and uranium mining.

Leslie and her husband Andrew, Washington Editor of Harper’s Magazine, reside on a farm in Rappahannock County. They have two daughters, a son and four grandchildren.

Our moderator, Preston Bryant is a senior vice president at McGuireWoods Consulting, where he works in the firm’s infrastructure and economic development group. His experience lies in water, wastewater, and energy generation projects, and he advises clients on project site selection and regulatory affairs.

In 2009, President Obama appointed Preston to chair the National Capital Planning Commission, the central planning agency for all federal lands and buildings in Washington, DC, suburban Maryland, and Northern Virginia. At NCPC, he presides over a staff of some 45 planners, architects, engineers and other professionals.

The event took place at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

The candidates spoke at the Wednesday August 8, 2018 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held at the Senior Center in Charlottesville. Following the presentation questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by McGuireWoods Consulting Senior Vice President Preston Bryant.

Jun 132018

Some of the most contentious and significant issues facing the United States today involve immigration. It’s not just, or even primarily, about the “dreamers” (undocumented people who were brought here as minors). The issues involve more basic questions, such as what the level of overall (legal and illegal) immigration should be and what categories of immigrants should be preferred and the national-security and economic implications of various immigration policies.

Farrell and O’Brien speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

In this podcast, Cathleen Farrell of the National Immigration Forum and Matt O’Brien of the Federation for American Immigration Reform speak to the issues facing immigration policy makers today.

The National Immigration Forum is a network of faith, law enforcement, business and veterans that seeks to help new arrivals attain the opportunities, skills and status to reach their fullest potential. The Forum advocates for policies that keep us secure, respect the rule of law, help grow our economy and are compassionate.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform works for immigration policies that include better border management, lower levels of overall immigration (about 300,000 per year as opposed to the current more than a million) and a greater focus on highly skilled immigrants.


Cathleen Farrell is The National Immigration Forum’s Director of Communications. Cathleen has more than 30 years’ experience in advocacy and strategic communications. She is a native of Canada and a graduate of Montreal’s McGill University.
Matt O’Brien is responsible for managing The Federation for American Immigration Reform’s research activities. He has an extensive background in immigration, including with the federal government. He holds a law degree from the University of Maine and a master’s in National Security Affairs from the Institute of World Politics.


Farrell and O’Brien spoke at the Wednesday June 13, 2018 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held at the Senior Center in Charlottesville. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by SSV board member Terry Cooper.

May 092018

The 2018 Session was very different from other recent Sessions. Topics include the impact of the 2016 Presidential election of Donald Trump on the 2017 legislative elections, in which Democrats came within a hair’s breadth of capturing control of the House of Delegates, and on the 2018 General Assembly Session. Also discussed are the 2018 federal elections, the 2019 General Assembly Session and the 2019 legislative elections.

In this podcast you will learn about issues that came before the 2018 General Assembly including: Medicaid expansion and the proposed work requirement for able-bodied Medicaid recipients; the proposed hospital tax to help pay for Virginia’s share of the cost of expanding Medicaid; efforts to reform the redistricting process and end gerrymandering; bills to protect the integrity of our elections; measures to make the criminal-justice system fairer; and, locally, legislation affecting the City-County Revenue-Sharing Agreement and the relocation of the County’s courthouses.

Senator Creigh Deeds and Delegate David Toscano speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.


Senator Creigh Deeds (D) represents the 25th Senate District which includes the cities of Buena Vista, Charlottesville, Covington and Lexington, and the counties of Albemarle (part), Alleghany, Bath, Highland, Nelson and Rockbridge.
Delegate David Toscano (D) represents the 57th House of Delegates District which includes Charlottesville and part of Albemarle County.

The delegates at the Wednesday May 9, 2018 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held at the Senior Center in Charlottesville. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by SSV board member Terry Cooper.

May 032018

What does candy-making have in common with decoy-carving? What does hot-rod car building have to do with baking baklava? All of those activities, and dozens of others, are considered to be aspects of Virginia culture as curated by the Virginia Folklife Program.

This weekend at Highland, Virginia Humanities will put on a show that celebrates all of these activities and more. Producer James Walsh recently spoke with the person behind the festivities.

Apr 112018

Focused Ultrasound is an early-stage, non-invasive therapeutic technology that could transform the treatment of many medical disorders by serving as an alternative to surgery and radiation.

Jessica Foley and Nora Seilheimer speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.


Unfortunately, taking a new therapeutic medical device from concept to standard of care is an extremely slow, complicated and inefficient process. The Focused Ultrasound Foundation is working to provide patients with the focused ultrasound option in the shortest time possible. It has become a model of how donor funding can be used to bridge the gap between laboratory research and widespread patient treatment. In this podcast you will learn about some of their early success stories.

Jessica Foley is a veteran of the ultrasound field and guides the strategy, development and implementation of the Foundation’s scientific and research programs. She holds a B.S.E. from Duke University and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington.
Nora Seilheimer is a graduate of the University of Richmond and is engaged in development work for the foundation.


The event took place at the Wednesday April 11, 2018 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held at the Senior Center in Charlottesville. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. SSV vice president Terry Cooper moderated.

Mar 142018

Pat Nolan speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

When violent-crime rates spiked in the 1980s and early 1990s, the response of most states and the federal government was to toughen criminal laws by abolishing parole, legislating lengthy mandatory minimum sentences, reducing “good-time” credits that shortened sentences for inmates who obeyed prison rules, making prison life even more miserable and building more prisons.

The incidence of crime dropped dramatically and rates are now back to where they were before the spike, there are differing views about why this has happened, but the social and economic costs of those lock-’em-up-and-throw-away-the-key laws were enormous. What’s more, the offenders weren’t being diverted from a life of crime.

“Criminal justice reform” is the umbrella term for a wide variety of proposals that attempt to reverse erroneous convictions and also get offenders out of the criminal justice system and into a law-abiding, productive citizenship.

Pat Nolan is a nationally recognized leader in this movement. Pat is the director of the American Conservative Union Foundation’s Center for Criminal Justice Reform and a leader in the Right on Crime project, a movement of conservative leaders who advocate for criminal justice reform. Before that Pat served 15 years in the California State Assembly, the lower house of the California legislature. For four of those years he was the Assembly’s Republican Leader.

Pat has personal experience with the criminal justice system. He was prosecuted for a campaign contribution he accepted that turned out to be part of an FBI “sting.” He pled guilty to one count of racketeering and served 29 months in federal custody.

Pat will describe how some states have been finding ways simultaneously to reduce prison populations, shrink recidivism and lower costs and discuss proposed federal and Virginia legislation with similar goals.

Pat holds bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Southern California. He and his wife Gail reside in Leesburg.


The event took place at the Wednesday March 14, 2018 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held at the Senior Center in Charlottesville. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. SSV board member Bob McGrath moderated.

Feb 142018

Representatives of the Charlottesville Area Alliance discuss the mission and vision of the Alliance, to be the most age-friendly community in the country.

The panel speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

Representing the Alliance are:

Marta Keane has been the CEO of JABA since April 2013. JABA works to help people age in community, by providing a Continuum of Caring for the Continuum of Living.  Her entire career has been on helping seniors achieve the highest quality of life, in the place of their choice.  She believes in creating a community that honors and respects the gifts that seniors have to offer.
Brad Sheffield serves as the executive at JAUNT Inc.  He has been working in the transit industry for 16 years, in both public and private transit planning roles. From January 2014 to December 2017, Brad served on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors representing the Rio Magisterial District. He is passionate about helping communities foster the traditional characteristics that make places great to work, raise a family, and retire.
Sunshine Mathon is the executive director of Piedmont Housing Alliance. Sunshine has lead the development of over 1,200 healthy, efficient homes in Texas and Virginia, including some of the highest ever LEED for Homes communities. He is a nationally-recognized leader in the deep green affordable housing sector. Sunshine holds a Masters in Architecture from the University of Texas
Rebecca Schmidt is the population health manager for the Thomas Jefferson Health District serving the City of Charlottesville and the five surrounding counties. Over the past 15 years, she has worked in health policy, program development, implementation and evaluation for nongovernmental agencies and for local, state, federal and international government.  She holds a B.A. from Boston University and an M.P.A. in Public Administration from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Peter Thompson has served as executive director of the Senior Center Inc. since 1999.  The Senior Center positively impacts the community by creating opportunities for healthy aging through over 100 programs and scores of partnerships.  Peter received his B.A. from UVa and his MPA from Virginia Commonwealth University.  Recent community service includes serving on the Board of Directors of the OLLI at UVa, Chamber of Commerce, and the Center for Nonprofit Excellence.


The event took place at the Wednesday February 14, 2018 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held at the Senior Center in Charlottesville. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. SSV President Rich DeMong moderated.

Jan 162018

This is our sixth and final episode in this series of radio plays from Charlottesville’s top playwrights and the talented actors at Live Arts Radio. Each play was written by members of Charlottesville’s Playwright’s Lab.

This episode takes you into the most terrifying and chaotic hellhole known to man: the airport. A simple flight delay spins out of control and upends the life of a young couple, revealing long-hidden secrets and buried resentments.

Turbulence is the work of the following talented men and women:

Jenny Mead (Playwright) is an award-winning playwright whose work has been produced at various theaters in Virginia, New York, California, Connecticut, Minnesota, and Mexico (forthcoming). A former Hollywood executive, journalist and English teacher, Jenny lives in Charlottesville where she is mother to a basset hound and writes business ethics case studies at the University of Virginia.
Alex Citron (Director, Co-Founder) has been tinkering with the theater arts for nearly fifty years. He is a playwright, director, designer and occasionally, an actor.  He was a founder of Play On, and served as its Executive Director.  Turbulence marks his first experience with radio drama.
Nathan Anderith (James, Co-Founder) is signing off here at Live Arts Radio. Once upon a time this project was just a dream and a whim, and now we’ve made six great episodes of radio excellence. Thanks so much for listening, everyone. Now I’m off to Africa, where I will have a whole new continent of people to annoy.
Sean Michael McCord (Airport Announcer, Co-Founder) is a Charlottesville-based playwright, producer, director, and occasional actor. Once upon a time, he was radioactive. He is currently an MFA Playwright at the Hollins Playwrights’ Lab in Roanoke.
Julie Stavitski (Elizabeth) is a frequent reader for the Live Arts Playwrights’ Lab and loves playing a small part in the development of new works. She was most recently seen in A Christmas Story: The Musical and The Addams Family at Four County Players.
Cory Capron (Music Composer) has written three full-length plays and several shorts, directed and co-directed several shows, and worked in props, sound, costume and creature design. He is a founding member of Gorilla Theater Productions, where he has worked as house composer on many productions. Outside the theater, Cory is a short story author, a singer-songwriter, and occasionally an experimental filmmaker.

The Live Arts Playwrights’ Lab is a free forum for writers of every experience level, in which they share, read, hear, and discuss their work in a community of fellow playwrights. The Lab is dedicated to developing the work of local writers in a fun, creative, supportive setting; and includes opportunities for public staged readings and full productions. The Lab meets on the first and third Monday of each month (except July and August). Whether you’ve been writing for years or are just getting started, there’s a place for you in the Lab! Visit Live Arts The Foundry for more information.

Post production work for Turbulence was done by Dan Gould at the Charlottesville Podcasting Network.