Oct 082014
 

Geoffrey Skelley speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville Wednesday.

November is quickly approaching and control of Congress is up for grabs. What will be the state of play in the U.S. Senate and House as well as gubernatorial races? The real drama in this cycle will be the battle for control of the Senate, where Republicans need to win a net gain of six seats to win a majority in Congress’ upper chamber.

Geoffrey Skelley joined the staff of the Center for Politics in November 2011. Working as a political analyst, Skelley is the associate editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, the Center’s weekly political newsletter. He also serves as the center’s media relations coordinator, helping manage its communications.

A native of Harrisonburg, VA, Skelley received an M.A. in Political Science (with a focus on the European Union) from James Madison University in 2011, and is a graduate of the University of Virginia, receiving a B.A. in History in 2009.

Mr. Skelley spoke at the Wednesday, October 8, 2014 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 Robert McGrath.

Sep 102014
 

Dalhia Lithwick speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

Dahlia Lithwick recaps the highlights of the last Supreme Court term and gives a brief preview of the term to come.

Dahlia Lithwick is a senior editor at Slate Magazine, and in that capacity, writes the “Supreme Court Dispatches” and “Jurisprudence” columns. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Harper’s, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and Commentary, among other places. She won a 2013 National Magazine Award for her columns on the Affordable Care Act. She has been twice awarded an Online Journalism Award for her legal commentary and was the first online journalist invited to be on the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press. Ms. Lithwick has testified before Congress about access to justice in the era of the Roberts Court. She has appeared on CNN, ABC, The Colbert Report, and is a frequent guest on The Rachel Maddow Show. Ms. Lithwick earned her BA from Yale University and her JD degree from Stanford. She is currently working on a book about the four women justices of the United States Supreme Court.

Ms. Lithwick spoke at the Wednesday, September 10, 2014 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 Grace Zisk.

Aug 142014
 

Andrew Wyndham speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

Andrew Wyndham is the director of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities Media Programs and creator and executive producer of the national weekly public radio program, BackStory with the American History Guys. He also executive produces With Good Reason—a public radio program that features teachers and scholars from Virginia’s public colleges and universities. In this podcast, he talks about the role of the humanities in society.

The coordinating administrator and fund-raiser for BackStory, Mr. Wyndham is responsible for hiring and for personnel and programming oversight and evaluation; proposal writing in support of the project; distribution and promotion; and communication with media consultants, press, and cooperating organizations and agencies. He works to guide the development of the program, with an eye to broad issues of mission and accessibility. With a national consultant, he coordinates BackStory’s promotion to stations, and he works with staff to support the development of digital strategies. He also manages BackStory’s live programming and other special events.

Andrew developed and served as project director for the 2003 Re-Imagining Ireland international conference and festival, which featured more than 130 scholars, journalists, politicians, artists, and citizen activists from Ireland. This program, which was opened by then-President Mary McAleese of Ireland, won the 2004 Helen and Martin Schwartz Prize, awarded by the Federation of State Humanities Councils. Andrew also executive-produced and directed the nationally and internationally broadcast, one-hour Re- Imagining Ireland video documentary and edited Re-Imagining Ireland, a collection of essays published in 2006 by the University of Virginia Press.

Mr. Wyndham also conceived and organized the 1996 international conference and festival, Irish Film: A Mirror Up to Culture, which was opened by Ireland’s Minister for Arts and Culture, Michael D. Higgins (now President of Ireland) and featured 40 Irish filmmakers, writers, and scholars. For fourteen years, he coordinated the Southern Humanities Media Fund, which supported outstanding documentary films and radio programs on the Southern U.S. He earned a B.A. degree with honors at Washington and Lee University and an M.A. in English from the University of Virginia, where he also pursued doctoral studies.

Born in England of Polish-Irish parents, he lived in Ireland from the age of five, coming to the U.S. and Virginia when he was thirteen.

Mr. Wyndham spoke at the Wednesday, August 13, 2014 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 Vice President John McCauley.

Jun 142014
 

The work of Congress has largely ground to a halt. It seems to be unable to address the problems and opportunities we face in a meaningful way. That same gridlock seems to be invading our state legislature more and more. Leigh Middleditch and Terry Cooper are part of a group that’s trying to do something about that. OneVirginia2021: Virginians for Fair Redistricting, is a nonpartisan group that believes that a major cause of our legislative gridlock is partisan gerrymandering, the drawing of legislative districts’ lines for the purpose of partisan advantage.

OneVirginia2021 is seeking to amend Virginia’s Constitution to take that power away from the legislators and delegate it to an independent, nonpartisan commission of Virginia non-politicians who will have to draw the district maps in strict compliance with common sense, nonpartisan standards — like respect for city, county and voting precinct boundaries, compactness and contiguity.

Leigh Middleditch (Left) and Terry Cooper speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

 

Terry Cooper

Terry Cooper does political research, principally opposition research for Republican candidates. He is a graduate of Episcopal High School, Princeton University and the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was research editor of the Virginia Law Review, a member of the National Moot Court Team and elected to the Order of the Coif, the law-school equivalent of Phi Beta Kappa. He practiced law with the Wall Street firm Sullivan & Cromwell and held executive positions with three Fortune 500 companies before founding his firm, Terry Cooper Political Research, in 1982. Terry has taught opposition research at the Republican National Committee’s Campaign Management Colleges, at American University’s Campaign Management Institute, at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management, at the University of Florida and at training programs sponsored by the state Republican parties of Virginia, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Washington State.

Leigh Middleditch

Leigh Middleditch is a vice president with McGuireWoods Consulting where his practice is now concentrated in the nongovernmental and exempt organizations fields. Leigh has previously served on the Board of Visitors and as the legal adviser to UVa and was a founder of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership. He also held the position of university lecturer in the Law and Darden Graduate Business Schools and is co-author of Virginia Civil Procedure. Leigh has been chair of the University’s Health Services Foundation; Virginia Health Care Foundation; Charlottesville-Albemarle Chamber of Commerce; Virginia Chamber of Commerce; Senior Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association, and a member of the ABA Board of Governors. He has also served as a director of the United States Chamber of Commerce; trustee of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation (Monticello); and University of Virginia Law Association. He currently is on the Board of the Montpelier Foundation; the U.Va. White Burkett Miller Council and Foundation for the Study of the Presidency; and is a Trustee of the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation. Leigh served on active duty with the United States Navy from 1951-1954 and retired as a Captain USNR.

Middleditch and Cooper spoke at the Wednesday, June 11, 2014 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 Bob McGrath.

May 292014
 

Beth Parnicza speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

On April 17, 2014, Beth Parnicza presented the fifth and final lecture in our Thursday series entitled The Civil War Through Different Lenses (2014).

How does a culture view its past and how does it present itself through a museum forum? How do we understand a society through its museum exhibits? This and many other questions on how we perceive the American Civil War are answered in this interesting podcast.

Beth Parnicza is an historian with the National Parks Service at the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park where she supervises the Chancellorsville Battlefield Center and manages volunteers and social media. A 2011 graduate of West Virginia University, her research interests focus largely on the human element of the Civil War, particularly in understanding the steps taken by individuals toward a harder kind of war and their motivations to do so.

The lecture series was organized by award-winning historian and Charlottesville-based author, lecturer, and cartographer Rick Britton in conjunction with the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

Click here to listen to all five parts of this series for 2014.

May 222014
 

Ron Coddington speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

On April 10, 2014, Ron Coddington presented the forth lecture in our five part CPN Thursday series entitled The Civil War Through Different Lenses (2014).

Images of African Americans who fought in the American Civil War are very rare. In this podcast, Mr. Coddington talks about some of those men whose portraits he documented in his book African American Faces of the Civil War: An Album.

Ron Coddington is the assistant manager at Chronicle of Higher Education whose work has appeared in USA Today, the Atlanta Journal Constitution and the San Hose Mercury News. Mr. Coddington is a contributing writer to the New York Times disunion series, and writes a monthly column for The Civil War News.

In addition to African American Faces of the Civil War: An Album, Mr. Coddington has written two other books, Faces of the Confederacy: An Album of Southern Soldiers and Their Stories, and Faces of the Civil War: An Album of Union Soldiers and Their Stories.

The lecture series was organized by award-winning historian and Charlottesville-based author, lecturer, and cartographer Rick Britton in conjunction with the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

Click here to listen to all five parts of this series for 2014.

May 152014
 

Rick Britton speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

On April 3, 2014, Rick Britton presented the third lecture in our five part CPN Thursday series entitled The Civil War Through Different Lenses (2014).

It has been said that the Civil War was the last of the Napoleonic Wars and the first truly modern war. Although much of the technology used in the American Civil War had been previously invented, it was the first war to see the widespread use of such technology.

In this podcast Mr. Britton explains how balloons and submarines were used in the war. Rick also talks about The Turtle and The Alligator and gives an account of one idea that went terribly wrong, Torpedo Mules.

Portions of Mr. Britton’s lecture were based on the book Arms and Equipment of the Civil War by Jack Coggins. Click here to view the illustrations used in this podcast.

Rick Britton is a historian of the Old Dominion who specializes in 18th- and 19th-century Virginia history. Two of his main areas of expertise are the American Civil War and the life and times of our third president, Thomas Jefferson. Along with his writing, Rick conducts tours of Civil War battlefields, teaches classes on the history of central Virginia, organizes history programming for the Senior Center in Charlottesville, and illustrates maps for history books, and lectures all across Virginia on a wide range of topics. With over 200 published articles and essays under his belt, he’s the author of Albemarle & Charlottesville: An Illustrated History and Jefferson: A Monticello Sampler for which he was awarded a medal for non-fiction at New York City’s Book Expo, the nation’s largest book convention.

The lecture was presented by Rick Britton as a part of this series held in conjunction with the Senior Center in Charlottesville. Click here to listen to all five parts of this series for 2014.

May 142014
 

Senator Creigh Deeds (D) and Delegate David Toscano (D) provided their perspectives on the issues that came before the 2014 Virginia legislature. Senator Bryce Reeves (R) and Delegates Rob Bell (R) and Steve Landes (R) were invited but responded they had scheduling conflicts. Delegate Matt Fariss (R) was also invited but had not responded at press time.

Senator Creigh Deeds (D) (left) and Delegate David Toscano (D) speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville Wednesday.


Senator Creigh Deeds

Senator Creigh Deeds (D) represents the 25th Senate District, which includes the counties of Alleghany, Albemarle (part), Bath, Highland, Nelson, and Rockbridge, and the cities of Buena Vista, Charlottesville, Covington, and Lexington. He serves on five Senate standing committees: Transportation (Chair); Finance; General Laws and Technology; Privileges and Elections; and Rules. He was first elected to the House of Delegates in 1991, winning reelection five consecutive times before leaving the House to fill the seat of the late Senator Emily Couric in a special election in 2001. He was the Democratic nominee for state Attorney General in 2005, losing that race by the closest margin in Virginia history and was the Democratic nominee for Governor in 2009.

Delegate David Toscano

Delegate David Toscano (D) represents the 57th District (Charlottesville and part of Albemarle County) in the House of Delegates and, since 2011, has served as House Democratic Leader. He is a member of the Courts of Justice; Transportation; and Rules committees. He is also a member of the Disability Commission and has served on the special Joint Subcommittee to Study Land Use Tools in the Commonwealth and the Joint Committee to study Math, Science, and Engineering. He is a member of the Manufacturing Development Commission, the Virginia Adopts Statewide Steering Committee, the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program Committee, and the Board of Directors of the New College Institute. He is also a member of the United Way Board.


Deeds and Toscano spoke at the Wednesday, May 14, 2014 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 Bob McGrath.

May 082014
 

Susan Wiesner speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

On March 20, 2014, Susan Wiesner presented the second lecture in a new five part CPN Thursday series entitled The Civil War Through Different Lenses (2014).

In Western cultures social dance has been an important component in defining  society and class structure since the Renaissance. According to Wiesner, strict rules applied to both male and female dancers of the time, although following the commencement of the Civil War soldiers were permitted to bring their swords into the ballroom. For some soldiers, dance was a form of therapy.

In this podcast, Wiesner talks about the popular dances of the time including the well known Virginia Reel and their place in the context of the Civil War.

Susan Wiesner obtained her undergraduate degree at Goucher College in Kentucky, and her Masters and PhD in England. She is a former dance and drama instructor at the University of Virginia. She now has a studio at the McGuffey Art Center and does research on the intersection of language and movement.

The lecture series was organized by award-winning historian and Charlottesville-based author, lecturer, and cartographer Rick Britton in conjunction with the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

Click here to listen to all five parts of this series for 2014.

May 012014
 

Shannon Moeck speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

On March 13, 2014, Shannon Moeck presented the first lecture in a new five part CPN Thursday series entitled The Civil War Through Different Lenses (2014).

Of the 151 men of the Pelican Rifles of Louisiana that left their community to serve in the Civil War, 119 did not return. Of the 32 soldiers who survived, 31 were wounded, meaning that only a single young man came back physically unharmed. Companies raised from a single community often resulted in the loss of an entire generation of young men.

Shannon Moeck is a park ranger at Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park. After attending the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, and spending a decade there as a music promoter and a retail manager, she moved back to the Shenandoah Valley where she attended Lord Fairfax Community College in Middletown VA. Her passion for history was re-ignited when she took a world civilization history class. Ms. Moeck joined the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove staff as a seasonal hire during the park’s inaugural season as an interpreter in 2010 and completed her dual degrees in the spring of 2013. She is now a full time permanent ranger on the team. Currently Ms. Moeck’s responsibilities include interpretation, volunteer management, web site management, social media co-ordination, and is assisting in the development of the park.

The lecture series was organized by award-winning historian and Charlottesville-based author, lecturer, and cartographer Rick Britton in conjunction with the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

Click here to listen to all five parts of this series for 2014.

Apr 112014
 

Jessie Cole speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

Ninety-nine percent of injured or orphaned wildlife are due to human actions. What measures should you take when you discover injured or orphaned wildlife? Noted Scottish-American naturalist John Muir wrote, “When we tug at a single thing in nature, we find it attached to the rest of the world.”

Since its inception in 2004, the Rockfish Wildlife Sanctuary has treated almost 3,000 wild animals, representing 60 species of native birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. It has educated local audiences throughout Central Virginia about the habitats and needs of our native wildlife and provided information on what to do when an injured or orphaned animal is found and who to contact for help.

In this podcast, wildlife rehabilitators Jesse Cole and Nathou Attinger talk about some of the organizations past and future projects.

Jessie Cole

Jessie Cole grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia, around animals and nature her whole life. Her wonderful parents, who are animal lovers themselves, instilled in her a passion for helping all kinds of wild and domestic animals. That, coupled with her love of nature, led her to Rockfish Wildlife Sanctuary (RWS). Jessie has been working at RWS rehabilitating wildlife, training interns and volunteers, and working on public outreach since 2008. She attended The Covenant School after which she continued her education at Christopher Newport University, where she earned a BS in Biology with a minor in Anthropology. When she graduated in 2008, she returned to Charlottesville where she met Nathou Attinger, founder of RWS, and began her apprenticeship under her guidance to earn her wildlife rehabilitator’s license, which took two years to acquire. Jessie says of RWS, “Every day is a reward to be able to help Virginia’s wildlife, and I could not imagine spending my time on earth any other way. I am so lucky to be a part of such a wonderful organization.”

Nathou Attinger

Nathou Attinger was born in France, and moved to the United States at age 3. Nonhuman animals always fascinated her, and as soon as her family moved to a house with a yard, she started taking care of them. Dogs, cats, turtles, pigeons, raccoons, anything that seems to need her help is scooped up and taken care of in her bedroom. She got her BA in French Literature at UVA, got married and had a daughter. In 1982 she started the Elementary Montessori School of Charlottesville (Mountain Montessori) for her daughter while she was working as the administration head of the Emergency Room at UVA Hospital. Her love of the outdoors won out, however, and she attended Piedmont Virginia Community College at night to learn about landscaping. She then started her own landscaping company. While landscaping, she also attained her wildlife rehabilitator’s license and began to start working with wildlife. She would take baby animals with her while she was landscaping to make sure they could be fed during the day. Finally, in 2004, the Rockfish Wildlife Sanctuary was born, and has been growing ever since.

Cole and Attinger spoke at the Wednesday, April 9, 2014 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 Jim Peterson.

Mar 152014
 

Dr. Frank Friedman speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

In this podcast, Dr. Frank Friedman discusses Piedmont Virginia Community College, its mission, enrollment, curriculum, student outcomes, facilities and funding.

Frank Friedman serves as president of Piedmont Virginia Community College. As president, he provides leadership and management for an institution of 5,500 students, full-time faculty and staff, and a budget of over $24 million. Dr. Friedman has served as a faculty member and an administrator in community colleges since 1977.

Prior to becoming president of PVCC in 1999, he served as executive vice president of Austin Community College in Texas. He has experience as a chief academic officer, chief student services officer, director of institutional research and planning, and as a faculty member in psychology and education. Dr. Friedman has a doctorate in educational psychology and a master’s degree in experimental psychology from Purdue University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Muhlenberg College.

Dr. Friedman has served on national higher education advisory commissions with the American Association of Community Colleges and The College Board. He served six years as a commissioner of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and served three years as the elected Virginia representative to the 13-member Executive Council of the Commission. Among his accomplishments are being named a Phi Beta Kappa scholar, recognition by Who’s Who in American Education and Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, and receiving the Community Service Award by the Virginia Piedmont Technology Council in 2005.

In Charlottesville, Dr. Friedman is on the Board of Directors of the Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development, the Thomas Jefferson Area United Way, the Jefferson School Foundation and the Entrepreneurial Village, and serves as first vice-president of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce. His wife, Sue, is President of the Alzheimer’s Association of Central and Western Virginia. They have one son, Alex, a 2009 graduate of the University of Virginia.

Mr. Friedman spoke at the Wednesday, March12, 2014 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 Past President Sue Liberman.