From the very beginning of this website, audio recordings of speeches and panel discussions have been a hallmark. There are hours and hours of recordings from the Senior Statesmen of Virginia.
There’s been a pause in those recordings but starting now I’m hopeful I’ll be able to bring you the audio of future events which touch on all manner of topics about our community.
On August 9, 2023, the Senior Statesmen of Virginia gathered at Westminster Canterbury on Pantops to ask: How Safe is Our Community?
They invited the police chiefs of the three area jurisdictions to answer that question and other matters related to public safety. In attendance were:
Tim Longo, Associate Vice President and Chief of Police at the University of Virginia
Sean Reeves, Chief of the Albemarle County Police Departmen
Michael Kochis, Chief of the Charlottesville Police Department
The program was moderated by Bob Beard of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia.
Timeline for the audio:
02:00 – Chief Tim Longo speaks first
06:00 – Chief Sean Reeves speaks second
12:30 – Chief Mike Kochis speaks third
18:45 – First question: Can the uptick in crime be attributed to schools being closed in the early days of the COVID pandemic?
23:30 – Second question: What laws would you deploy to reduce guns on the street?
29:15 – Third question: Would Albemarle County follow Charlottesville’s example and create a gun buy-back program?
33:00 – Fourth question: What should I do to protect myself when I am traveling to unsafe areas?
39:00 – Fifth question: Question about landlords of large residential developments requesting police refrain from patroling certain places
46:00 – Sixth question: Is it harder to be a police officer today than before cellphones? l
52:00 – Seventh question: Do any of the police department hers allow ride-alongs?
52:30 – Eighth question: How can the public support the police department and the mental health of officers?
56:30 – Ninth question: Do you ever get involved in computer scams?
58:15 – Tenth question: How can we help you do your job?
On Zoom: Elizabeth Beasley (left), Putnam Ivey de Cortez and Bob Beard (moderator)
Elizabeth Beasley and Putnam Ivey de Cortez spoke at the February 2022 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia.
Elizabeth Beasley is from the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion where she is director of community partnerships. In addition she is a member of the President’s Council on University-Community Partnerships and co-chair of its Public Health Work Group. She began her presentation answering the question, “What is the difference between “equal” and “equity.” Equal implies that there is a one size fits all resolution to an issue. Equity is an intentional way of equalizing responses according to the needs of the recipients. The goal of the President’s Council is to build partnerships with the community such as using local vendors, improving public health and public housing. Practicing good neighbor ethics, pursuing actions with mutual benefits and building authentic partnerships are ways of achieving equity between The University of Virginia and the local community.
Putnam Ivey de Cortez from Albemarle County’s Office of Equity and Inclusion coordinates programs for the county government. The mission statement of this program is to improve the well being and quality of life for all community members. In order to accomplish this goal, understanding the issue more thoroughly is essential so, the speaker presented several demographic studies. For example, factors affecting health were found to be 20% clinical care, 30% health behaviors, 40% socioeconomic factors and 10% physical environment. These statistics provide the foundation for determining the work the staff is trained to do. Currently the county is revising their comprehensive plan and soliciting a broad selection of its citizens to give their input.
The two spoke at the Wednesday February 9, 2022 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held at The Center in Charlottesville and simulcast on Zoom. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by SSV Board Member Bob Beard.
Ngiste Abebe (left) and Peyton Williams (moderator)
Ngiste Abebe, vice president of Columbia Care, a leading cannabis company, spoke at the January 2022 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia.
Ms. Abebe focused her presentation on the legalized/decriminalized use of marijuana in Virginia. Currently marijuana’s primary use is for pain, anxiety and insomnia when prescribed by a certified practitioner. Registration at the Board of Pharmacy is necessary for individuals or medical personnel to prescribe the drug. The nearest available resource to Charlottesville is Salem, Virginia. Legal adult recreational use is now up to one ounce and four individual cannabis per adult in Virginia.
Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level.
Ms. Abebe spoke at the Wednesday January 12, 2022 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held at The Center in Charlottesville and simulcast on Zoom. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by SSV Vice President Peyton Williams.
Peter presented an overview of CAA whose mission is to lead the advancement of an age friendly community which is good for everyone. CAA has been accepted as a partner in the WHO/AARP age-friendly network, which gives the group access to a global network of advisors and groups working toward similar goals. There are eight standards for successful communities including outdoor space, transportation, housing, social inclusion and health services.
George Worthington spoke on age and dementia friendly perspective working together and including a dementia friendly aspect to its plans such as dementia friends’ initiative to keep individuals involved in the community. He also presented information of the CAA’s social participation action plan to increase participation and education to foster the understanding of aging and dementia and CAA’s housing efforts.
Kim Volker provided information on CAA’s new alliance: citizen advocates to increase the engagement of citizens in legislative priorities identified by CAA. The final topic was the CAA goals for transportation such as bus stop improvements.
The three spoke at the Wednesday December 8, 2021 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held at The Center in Charlottesville and simulcast on Zoom. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was introduced by SSV President Jeff Gould and moderated by Vice President Sue Friedman.
William Shobe, professor at the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, spoke on the energy transition initiative that Virginia reduce electricity carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 and the pathways to reach this goal cost effectively. He discussed not only the opportunities to accomplish this, but also the roadblocks to getting there. Professor Shobe spoke at the November meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia.
In this podcast Shobe points out that in 2006 Virginia reached the peak of carbon emissions and there has now been a considerable drop off. The reason behind this decline is the decrease in coal use and the increase in natural gas. After years of minimal usage of renewable energy sources, there is now a growing interest in hydro, solar and wind energy production. Since 2010 the importation of electricity into Virginia has decreased reducing carbon emissions. Since 2016 solar production has become increasingly popular. Currently the cheapest new resource to build is solar. According to Shobe, in 2021 Virginia has produced the same amount of energy from solar as coal,
Professor Shobe is hopeful that costs will come down in some energy sectors and new technologies will be available to make products more affordable. In the end, he feels with advance planning and cooperation a zero-carbon emission goal may be accomplished.
Professor Shobe spoke at the Wednesday November 10, 2021 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held at The Center in Charlottesville and simulcast on Zoom. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was introduced by SSV President Jeff Gould and moderated by SSV Past President Bob McGrath.
From left to right: Bob Beard (Moderator), Matt Fariss, Philip Andrew Hamilton, Sally Hudson, Benjamine Moses, Louis V. Scicli
Incumbent Sally L. Hudson (D) and challenger Philip Andrew Hamilton (R) are seeking election to the 57th House District. Incumbent Matt Fariss (R) and challengers Benjamine A. Moses (D) and Louis V. Scicli (I), are seeking election to the 59th House District. All five candidates spoke at this Senior Statesmen of Virginia Candidates Forum. Topics include: improved broadband access for Virginia, more money for education and health care workers and COVID vaccination mandates.
The candidates spoke at the Wednesday October 13, 2021 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held at The Center in Charlottesville and simulcast on Zoom. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was introduced by SSV President Jeff Gould and moderated by SSV member and former news anchor for CBS19 Bob Beard .
Jennifer Kitchen (left), Sara Ratcliffe, and Bob Beard
State legislature Democratic Challengers Jennifer Kitchen (D-25th) and Sara Ratcliffe (D-58th) spoke at the monthly meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. Incumbents Chris Runion (R-25th) and Rob Bell (R-58th) declined to attend. Topics include: The under representation of Virginia’s rural areas and the importance of installing broadband internet connectivity across the commonwealth. Also, repealing the right to work law.
The candidates spoke at the Wednesday August 11, 2021 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held at The Center in Charlottesville and simulcast on Zoom. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was introduced by SSV President Jeff Gould and moderated by SSV member and former news anchor for CBS19 Bob Beard.
Top row Jeff Gould (left) and Norman Dill. Bottom row Evan Feinman.
Evan Feinman, Governor Northam’s Chief Broadband Internet Advisor, joins the Senior Statesmen of Virginia to talk about broadband and internet access in Virginia. In 2018 Governor Northam set a 10-year goal to reach universal broadband coverage to all Virginians for social and economic reasons.
The Broadband Committee recommends policy changes to promote broadband development and created the Commonwealth Connect Coalition, a group of 125 organizations which is fully committed to the concept and funding for universal broadband coverage.
Mr. Feinman spoke at the Wednesday June 9, 2021 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held on Zoom. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was introduced by SSV President Jeff Gould and moderated by SSV board member Norman Dill.
Senator Creigh Deeds (top left), Delegate Chris Runion, Sue Friedman (moderator), Delegate Rob Bell (bottom left), Delegate Sally Hudson. Not pictured: Matt Fariss
The Senior Statesmen of Virginia presented their annual recap of the recently concluded session of the Virginia State General Assembly with reports from local legislators Senator Creigh Deeds and Delegates Rob Bell, Matt Fariss, Sally Hudson and Chris Runion. Topics included: Criminal justice reform, broadband access, the pros and cons of Zoom including changing role of lobbyists, the death penalty, redistricting, and passenger rail.
The legislators spoke at the Wednesday May 12, 2021 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held on Zoom. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by SSV Vice President Sue Friedman.
Rebecca Kendall (left), Lisa Beitz and Jeff Gould speaking via Zoom.
Lisa Beitz and Rebecca Kendall spoke at the April 14th meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia about behavioral health treatment services in the time of COVID.
Rebecca Kendall is the director of the Community Mental Health and Wellness Coalition which collaborates with providers through planning, advocacy and delivery of effective services to promote behavioral health and wellness. She shared that all their services have been affected by COVID. Problems include effects of social isolation, food insecurity, unemployment and school closings. Some of the consequences have been increased alcohol consumption, increases in requests for services and overdoses seen in ERs. On the positive side the increase in Zoom telehealth services, where available, has been very fruitful. Two new services have been developed: Warmline, to help people who are stressed and to connect them to local care and a free service for essential workers.
Lisa Beitz is the executive director of the Region Ten Community Services Board which is required by law to be available 24/7 to assess people for involuntary hospitalization and case management assessment for individuals with developmental disabilities and mental health disorders as funds allow. Region Ten serves the City of Charlottesville and the Counties of Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene and Nelson, and is involved in over 40 programs and has more than 550 staff. Local trends exacerbated by COVID include lack of psychiatric hospital beds and closing of resources that keep individuals safe in the community leading to more hospitalizations.
The two spoke at the Wednesday April 14, 2021 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held on Zoom. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by SSV President Jeff Gould.
Alyson Ball spoke at the March 2021 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia about the basics of United States Immigration policy. Ms. Ball began with a brief history of US immigration from a time when all immigrants were accepted and it was easy to become a citizen, to the 14th amendment following the Civil War where being born “on soil” eventually leading, to citizenship to the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act.
According to Ball, there are currently about one million individuals seeking a pathway to United States citizenship. Of that group, three-fourths are family based, 140,000 are employment based and 130,000 are humanitarian. Other topics covered include: Detention centers and the Biden government’s recent role in reversing some of former President Trump’s immigration policies.
Ms. Ball spoke at the Wednesday March 10, 2021 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held on Zoom. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by SSV board member Peyton Williams.
K. Craig Kent, M.D., Executive Vice President for Health Affairs at the University of Virginia, talks about UVA Health and challenges during COVID and the future. UVA Health has four sections: the medical school, nursing school, physician organization and hospitals including three hospitals in Northern Virginia. It employs 14,000 people with a yearly revenue of $3 billion. One goal of the organization is to transition from single doctor care to care provided by a whole team. This new philosophy will be the focus of a new strategic plan being developed in the summer of 2021. COVID information and questions from the audience filled the remainder of the meeting. UVA early on developed a COVID test with a six-hour turnaround time to diagnose the disease. They built 84 negative pressure rooms to provide care for very ill COVID patients to decrease mortality.
Concerning the administration of the vaccine, Dr. Kent said that the Virginia Department of Health controls the supply distribution. Currently UVA has a location at the former Big Lots and has a capacity to deliver 3,000 shots per day. The supply has been 3,500 shots per week. Dr. Kent stressed that the recommendations for COVID and supply of vaccine are moving targets and change as more information becomes available. For those who have had the vaccine, the current plan is to “stay the course” with masking, social distancing and personal hygiene.
Dr Kent spoke at the Wednesday February 10, 2021 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held on Zoom. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by SSV Past President Rich DeMong.