James Madison’s Montpelier Unveiled

Courtesy of the Montpelier Foundation

Two years ago, James Madison’s Montpelier was partially demolished in the first step of major renovations to restore the house to the way it was back in Madison’s day. The Montpelier Foundation hopes the reconstruction will allow visitors to the Orange County estate to learn more about James Madison, who is often called the father of the U.S. Constitution.
On a sunny day in late April, the new/old exterior of the mansion was formally unveiled in ceremonies presided over by Senator John Warner and Representative Eric Cantor. Both men paid tribute to Madison’s role in the creation of the United States of America. In this report, you’ll hear excerpts from both men’s speeches. You’ll also hear from Mark Wenger, the project’s architectural historian. Ambient music in the piece comes from the Shenandoah University chorus, who were on hand to sing the national anthem.

U.Va and the Peace Corps

John F. Kennedy signed the Peace Corps into existence by executive order on March 1, 1961. Since then, the University of Virginia has sent over 800 volunteers to all corners of the globe. Since 2000, over 400 U.Va graduates have gone overseas to honor and sustain Kennedy’s vision of an agency that works for world peace through coexistence and understanding. Last week, U.Va celebrated its special role in the Peace Corps in a day-long series of conversations and musical performances.

We spoke with three volunteers about what they learned. Charlottesville resident Bob Vernon served in Venezuela in the 1970’s. Curry School graduate Sara Johnston served in Namibia and the Gambia from 1998 through the end of 2000. Matt Hural is the current on-Grounds recruiter for the Peace Corps. Their remarks are book-ended by comments by deputy director Jody Olsen in this 27-minute podcast.

Update: The Hook features the stories of several U.Va graduates who served in the Peace Corps in its July 27 edition.

Monticello: Preserving America’s Historic Plants

One of the great things about podcasting here in Charlottesville is the wide variety of podcasts available. Monticello has also gotten in the game, and has sponsored Sean Tubbs to produce a series of reports about various aspects of our most celebrated tourist attraction, Jefferson’s mountain-top home. Most recently Sean visited the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants, a unique program designed to preserve our nation’s heritage plants.

Political Blogging in Virginia

Blogging is fast becoming an important way for many Virginians to get detailed news and opinion about politics in the Commonwealth. Visit the Virginia Progressive, or the Commonwealth Conservative, and you’ll come across thoughts from across the political spectrum, from both the site’s authors and the reading public.

But the websites have raised many questions about the ethics of blogging: For instance, is a blogger who advocates the election of a certain candidate really producing a political advertisement? Well, on Saturday, August 27, 2005, the Sorensen Institute on Political Leadership at the University of Virginia convened the state’s bloggers together for the first ever Summit on Blogging and Democracy in the Commonwealth. Sean Tubbs attended as a reporter for Virginia public radio stations and the Charlottesville Podcasting Network.

This report from the Summit is 23 minutes and 39 seconds long. In order to help you navigate through this file, we provide this rundown of the various people who were interviewed for this report:

00:00 – 01:00 Introduction
01:00 – 03:10 Former Delegate Barnie Day, Bacon’s Rebellion
03:10 – 04:10 Kenton Ngo, 750 Volts
04:10 – 8:30 Chris Piper with the State Board of Elections
08:30 – 10:45 Jay Hughes
10:45 – 14:45 Frosty Landon, Virginia Coalition for Open Government
14:45 – 18:52 Claire Guthrie Gastanaga, Change Servant
18:52 – 19:19 Kenton Ngo, 750 Volts
19:20 – 20:41 Chris Piper with the State Board of Elections
20:41 – 22:35 Sean O’Brien with the Sorensen Institute
22:35 – 23:38 Conclusion

Feature: Explaining Sufi Music

The Charlottesville Podcasting Network is proud to debut a new series of feature reports on the cultural and spiritual life of the South Asian community in Central Virginia. Our reporter Deepak Singh has worked for the BBC, and currently calls Charlottesville home. Deepak will be producing regular stories, and we will eventually have a dedicated podcast for the South Asian community.

This introductory piece gives us some insight into the nature of Sufi music.

PUBLIC HEARING pilot program

This 27 minute documentary pilot is an experiment in raw reporting from the February 17 meeting of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The idea for the show is to send one producer or reporter into a public hearing where a controversial issue is up for discussion. The producer talks with the people who attend, and these interviews are not reduced to soundbites, making for a much longer story, but one that better represents the complexities of the issues at hand.

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For background: Dominion Power currently has no official plans before the NRC to build the reactors, but have filed for an early site permit to clear the first hurdles should they decide to proceed. Opponents of nuclear energy say the process is rigged in favor of nuclear power, which they claim is dangerous and financially reckless.

Please comment and let us know what you think about the sound quality and the public affairs quality of the report.