Jun 082016
 

Meredith Richards speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

Across the nation, people are demanding more passenger rail service. Virginia is a national leader in funding rail infrastructure and Amtrak services. Six state-supported Amtrak trains connect Virginia to the Northeast Corridor. These are among the most profitable routes in the nation.

Charlottesville is one of Virginia’s strongest passenger rail markets in terms of ridership. It has direct, daily trains north to Washington, New York and Boston and south to Charlotte, Atlanta and New Orleans, with east-west service to Chicago three days a week. Future expansions of Charlottesville Amtrak service will require major upgrades to the Charlottesville station.

Passenger rail service is improving, but freight rail is a different story. The unprecedented recent decline in demand for coal is having a dramatic effect upon America’s Class I Railroads, which are responding with a policy of retrenchment. This raises questions about the future of rail in Virginia and creates significant public policy challenges for the Commonwealth.

Meredith Richards is a former Charlottesville City Councilor (1996-2004) and vice mayor who has specialized in transportation public policy during her public career. She served three terms as president of Virginians for High Speed Rail and currently serves as its co-chair. Meredith is also president of the Virginia Rail Policy Institute. She formerly served as a member of Governor Mark Warner’s Commission on Rail Enhancement for the 21st Century and was president of the Virginia Transit Association from 1998-2000. While in elective office, Meredith served on regional and statewide boards, including the Charlottesville-Albemarle MPO, the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, the Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development, Virginia First Cities Coalition and the Virginia Municipal League.

Meredith founded and is chairman of CvilleRail, a nonprofit that promotes enhanced passenger rail for Central Virginia, and she established the Piedmont Rail Coalition, a consortium of local governments, economic development authorities, organizations, businesses and citizens throughout Virginia’s US 29 corridor who work together to bring more frequent and accessible passenger rail to the region.

Meredith holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Illinois and is a former faculty member of the University of Virginia and the University of Louisville.

Ms. Richards spoke at the Wednesday June 8, 2016 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 Rich DeMong.

Editor’s Note: Following this podcast the speaker advised us that Charlottesville is the largest ridership station in Virginia on the Crescent train, not that Charlottesville has the largest ridership of any station on the entire Crescent route which is incorrect.

May 112016
 

From left to right, Creigh Deeds, Steve Landes and David Toscano speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

Area legislators report on the 2016 Session of the Virginia General Assembly. This was a session that included some inter-party cooperation but also the most vetoes in almost 20 years, and a post-session executive order that has spurred calls for a special session and led to a more adversarial relationship between Democratic Governor McAuliffe and the Republican General Assembly majority than perhaps ever before.

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 Steve Landes (R) represents the 25th House of Delegates District which includes portions of Albemarle, Augusta, and Rockingham Counties.

Delegate David Toscano (D) represents the 57th House of Delegates District which includes Charlottesville and part of Albemarle County.

The three spoke at the Wednesday May 11, 2016 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.

Apr 282016
 

Travis McDonald speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

On March 31, 2016, Travis McDonald presented the fourth and final part of our Thursday series entitled Jefferson’s Legacies.

Travis McDonald is an architectural historian who has directed the restoration of Thomas Jefferson’s villa retreat Poplar Forest since 1989. The restoration has been acknowledged as one of the most authentic such projects in the United States. Mr. McDonald has written and lectured extensively on Jefferson, Poplar Forest and early Virginia architecture. He formally worked for the chief historical architect of the National Park Service for the Colonial Williamsburg foundation and has directed museum restorations in Virginia for more than thirty years. Travis received his graduate degree in architectural history from the University of Virginia School of Architecture. In 2011, he was awarded the highest award, The Architecture Medal for Virginia Service by the Virginia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects for his work on Poplar Forest.

Mr. McDonald serves on many historic preservation advisory boards including that for Thomas Jefferson’s buildings at the University of Virginia.

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 four parts of this series.

Apr 212016
 

Rick Britton speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

On March 10, 2016, Rick Britton presented the third lecture in our four part CPN Thursday series entitled Jefferson’s Legacies.

The story of the founding of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation is full of many odd twists and turns. Following his death, the Jefferson estate fell into the hands of private owners. In this podcast, you will learn how the United States third president’s home, Monticello, came to be a public place in honor of its most famous resident.

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, 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. His newest book, Virginia Vignettes (Vol. 1) – Famous Characters & Events in Central Virginia History, is the first of a new series featuring some of the men and women who figure large in 18th- and 19th-century American history.

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

Apr 142016
 

Beth Sawyer speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

On March 3, 2016, Beth Sawyer presented the second lecture in a our four part CPN Thursday series entitled Jefferson’s Legacies.

In this podcast you will learn about more than just the famous Jefferson home at Monticello. Jefferson’s time “on the mountain” left a rich archaeological legacy which is still being investigated today.

Beth Sawyer is an archaeological analyst at Monticello and works in the archaeology lab processing artifacts and performing analysis as well as working with public programs. A graduate of William and Mary University, she volunteered with the Fairfield Foundation in Tidewater, and interned with Montpelier before joining the Monticello team. For the past ten years she has been engaged with every aspect of the archaeology department including field work, artifact processing, museum exhibits, public archaeology programs and the current mountain top restoration project. Her varied research interests include plantation archaeology and ceramic analysis, but she most enjoys sharing her findings and engaging with the public.

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 four parts of this series.

Apr 132016
 

Ashley Deeks and Frederick Hitz speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

The FISA Court (or Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court) was established by act of Congress in 1978 to oversee requests for surveillance warrants involving suspected foreign spies within the United States by federal law-enforcement and intelligence agencies, principally the FBI and the National Security Agency.

Senior Fellows at the Law School’s Center for National Security Law, Ashley Deeks and Fred Hitz discuss the FISA Court and its pros and cons.

Ashley Deeks is an associate professor at the University of Virginia Law School. Prior to joining the Law School’s faculty she was the assistant legal adviser for political-military affairs in the Legal Adviser’s Office at the Department of State where, among many other duties, she advised on intelligence issues. She has also served as a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Ms. Deeks is a cum laude graduate of Williams College and an honors graduate of the University of Chicago Law School.

Frederick P. Hitz is an adjunct professor at the Law School and the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. For more than 30 years, while ostensibly being a lawyer in a buttoned-down private practice, he served in various capacities at the Central Intelligence Agency, both in line positions such as deputy director for Europe in the Directorate of Operations and in staff positions like Inspector General. He has written extensively on espionage and intelligence issues. His publications include “The Great Game: the Myth and Reality of Espionage” and “Why Spy? Espionage in an Era of Uncertainty.”  Mr. Hitz is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School.

Deeks and Hitz spoke at the Wednesday April 13, 2016 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.

Apr 072016
 

Peggy Cornett speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

On February 18, 2016, Peggy Cornett presented the first lecture in a new four part CPN Thursday series entitled Jefferson’s Legacies.

Third president of the United States Thomas Jefferson had many interests including a love of botany. Monticello Curator of Plants Peggy Cornett talks about Jefferson’s interest in botany the effects of which can still be seen today.

Peggy Cornett has worked at Monticello since 1983. Shebegan as an associate director of gardens and grounds and from 1992 to 2009 she served as director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants. Before Ms. Cornett assumed her current position, Curator of Plants, she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in English and botany and a master’s degree in public garden administration from the Longwood Graduate program at the University of Delaware.

Ms. Cornett has lectured widely on garden history topics throughout the United States as well as at the American Museum in Bath England, and for the Bermuda Rose society in Hamilton Bermuda. Peggy writes articles for gardening magazines, professional journals, including the American Public Garden Association, and she wrote, produced and edited Twinleaf, the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants annual journal and catalog. Since 1990 she has edited and produced Magnolia, the quarterly publication of the Southern Garden History Society.

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 four parts of this series.

Mar 092016
 

Peter van der Linde speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

After 14 years at sea as a Merchant Marine Captain, in 1986 Peter van der Linde returned to Charlottesville and spent the next 30 years building homes. After creating a roll-off container rental business to supplement his own hauling needs as a contractor, he began to take a closer look at what was being thrown away. He knew he could do better than letting good building material go into a landfill. After much research van der Linde Recycling was born with the installation of the largest construction and demolition (C&D) separator that had been installed up to that time. The 70,000 sq. ft. C&D processing facility opened its doors in December of 2008, concurrent with the economic meltdown. Construction waste stopped. The timing couldn’t have been worse.

For those first several months, Pete scrambled to bring in sufficient material to keep the operation going. Almost immediately, he began the construction of another facility to receive co-mingled recyclables and Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) as an additional source of supply to meet his company’s needs. He also went into concrete crushing and wood grinding creating two new products: gravel and mulch. The diversification helped them while the C&D waste stream began to recover.

A year later, in Nov. 2009, the MSW facility opened. With ongoing awareness on the part of surrounding businesses and communities looking for a safe and reliable place to recycle their C&D and MSW, van der Linde was able to continue without interruption. Today they have a 50-50 intake of material, half C&D and half MSW. Right now they are averaging about 800 tons per day, 400 tons of each.

Never satisfied, Peter decided to invest an additional 6 million dollars into expanding the capabilities of the MSW facility. This included developing proprietary processes, adding additional mechanization to the sorting process and installing additional balers to increase our product marketability. He was recently a featured cover story in WHEN magazine because of the innovations he is making toward recycling.

Mr. van der Linde and van der Linde Recycling senior manager Andy Johnson spoke at the Wednesday March 9, 2016 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 Bob McGrath.

Feb 102016
 

Dr. Ann Macheras speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

Richmond Federal Reserve Bank Vice President Ann Battle Macheras discusses the Charlottesville economy, the national economy and monetary policy. Dr. Macheras oversees Regional Research and Economic Education at the Richmond Bank’s Research Department. In addition, her research interests include regional industry specialization and determinants of growth at the regional level.

The Regional Research group provides analysis and research on regional economic conditions in the Fifth Federal Reserve District, which includes North and South Carolina, Virginia, most of West Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. The Economic Education group works with teachers, students, and the general public to share knowledge and enhance understanding about the economy and the role of the Fed.

Dr. Macheras joined the Richmond Bank as vice president of the Research Department in February 2009. Prior to joining the Federal Reserve Bank, she served as senior economist for the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, and also held positions in banking, consulting, and academics. She currently serves on the Joint Advisory Board of Economists for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Dr. Macheras completed her Ph.D. in economics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Dr. Macheras spoke at the Wednesday February 10, 2016 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 Nancy Hunt.

Jan 132016
 

Richard Shannon speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

In this podcast, Richard Shannon, MD talks about the importance of quality in health care, the Be Safe program at the University of Virginia and its impact on patients and health care professionals as well as his thoughts on how health care quality can be improved.

Richard P. Shannon, MD is the executive vice president for health affairs at the University of Virginia. He is responsible for aligning the key components of the UVa Health System to achieve the goal of becoming a top-decile academic medical center.

Prior to joining the UVa Health System, Dr. Shannon served as the Frank Wister Thomas Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at the Univ. of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. Prior to his appointment at the Univ. of Pennsylvania, Dr. Shannon served as chair of the Department of Medicine at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.

Dr. Shannon received his BA from Princeton, and MD from the Univ. of Connecticut School of Medicine. He did his training in internal medicine at Beth Israel Hospital, his cardiovascular training at Massachusetts General Hospital. He was a professor of Medicine at Harvard and Drexel. Both Harvard and Drexel have honored him with numerous teaching awards. Dr. Shannon’s investigative interests are in the area of myocardial metabolism and heart failure, specifically the role of energetics in the progression of heart failure. Dr. Shannon’s lab was the first to discover the beneficial CV actions of incretins which formed the basis for Ventrigen, LLC, a company designed to develop incretins for the use in treating heart failure.

Dr. Shannon’s pioneering work in patient safety is chronicled in the chapter – “First, Do No Harm,” Charles Kenney’s book, The Best Practice: How the New Quality Movement is Transforming Medicine. Dr. Shannon’s innovative work also has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, on CNN and CNBC news segments and ABC’s “20/20,” and the PBS report entitled “Remaking American Medicine.”

Dr. Shannon is an elected member of several honorary organizations, editorial boards, and boards of directors including the following: American Board of Internal Medicine, Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and UVa’s Physicians Group.

Dr. Shannon spoke at the Wednesday January 13, 2016 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 Rich DeMong.

Dec 092015
 

Jesse Rutledge

Jesse Rutledge talked about how Virginia and other states select their state-court judges and the advantages and disadvantages of each method. In this podcast, you will learn how many states let the people pick their judges through popular elections and what the US Supreme Court had to say about freedom of speech when judges must also be “candidates” like other politicians.

Is there a way to get the politics out of how judges are chosen?

Jesse Rutledge is vice president for external affairs at the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) in Williamsburg, Virginia. At NCSC he oversees the organization’s communications, marketing, information services, associations, conferences, and private development efforts. Prior to joining NCSC, he served as deputy director at the Justice at Stake Campaign in Washington, D.C. where his work focused on documenting special interest threats to the courts and developing public education campaigns to combat those threats. His commentary has appeared in state and national media, including the Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, Roll Call, and on National Public Radio and BBC Radio. He holds a B.A. and M.A. in political science.

Mr. Rutledge spoke at the Wednesday December 9, 2015 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.

Nov 132015
 

Dahlia Lithwick speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

In this podcast, Slate Magazine senior editor Dahlia Lithwick recaps highlights from the Supreme Court’s last term, previews the new term, and talks about current big themes.

Dahlia Lithwick is a senior editor at Slate Magzine, 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.

Lithwick 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 University. She is currently working on a book about the four women justices of the United States Supreme Court.

Ms. Lithwick spoke at the Friday November 13, 2015 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.