Future Programs

Posted June 27th, 2011 by Bruce Saunders
Categories: Future, Programs

The public is welcome to our meetings that take place at the Senior Center on the second Wednesday of the month from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. The Senior Center is located at 1180 Pepsi Place in Charlottesville — www.seniorcenterinc.org.

Wednesday, April 8: area legislators provide a General Assembly Legislative Report

Wednesday, May 13: Kat Imhoff, president of James Madison’s Montpelier will speak

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Past Programs

Past programs are arranged in inverse chronological order.  Speaker bios and links to podcasts are given, with a program summary written by SSV Board member Jim Peterson.

Albemarle County: Growth vs. No Growth

Posted March 14th, 2015 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

Tim Hulbert and Tom Olivier presented very different positions in a panel discussion on Population Growth vs. No Growth — What’s Best for Albemarle County and Charlottesville. Listen as they discuss the likely consequences of their positions on the physical environment, taxpayers, local businesses and job seekers. The program was moderated by CEO and Managing Partner of the bridge ltd, Grant Tate. SSV President Bob McGrath introduced the program. It took place on March 11,2015 at the Senior Center on Pepsi Place.

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Grant Tate, Tom Olivier and Tim Hulbert Speaking at the Senior Center

Tim Hulbert has been president and CEO of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce since March 2001. The Charlottesville Regional Chamber has more than 1,100 members and affiliates that together employ more than 45,000 people in the Greater Charlottesville region. Their estimated annual payrolls exceed $1.75 billion. Tim is a native of upstate New York and a graduate of Manhattan College. Prior to coming to the Charlottesville Regional Chamber, he held a similar position with the Rensselaer County, New York Regional Chamber of Commerce. He also held a variety of positions in New York state government, including in the transportation field.

Tom Olivier currently is president of Advocates for a Sustainable Albemarle Population (ASAP). He grew up in New Orleans and moved to Albemarle County in 1981. Tom holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Tulane University and a Ph.D. in biological anthropology from Duke University. Tom has done genetics research on mammalian populations in Africa, Australia and the Caribbean. He is a member of Albemarle County’s Natural Heritage Committee and past chair of the Piedmont Group of the Sierra Club. Tom and his wife, Wren, now raise sheep on their farm in Albemarle County, Virginia.

Aging in Community – Action 2020: Celebration and Looking Ahead

Posted February 14th, 2015 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

Over ten years have passed since the groundbreaking 2020 Plan: Aging in Community was finalized. Action 2020 is an initiative to create a challenging, but doable, 5-year action plan to achieve the goals of the 2020 Plan. Ms. Billie Campbell spoke at the Wednesday, February 11, 2015 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The program was moderated by SSV Past President Sue Liberman. Listen to the podcast.

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Billie Campbell is the senior program manager for theThomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC) and executive director of TJPDC Corporation, TJPDC’s companion nonprofit. She has been with the TJPDC since 1999, when she changed careers from structural engineering. She has a wide-ranging role at the TJPDC, managing a variety of projects, heading TJPDC’s housing program, and carrying out management and administrative functions for the regional agency. She has been actively involved in efforts to make our region age-friendly. She has been a leader in the Livable for a Lifetime (L4L) initiative since its inception in 2006 to promote amenities for ease, comfort and hospitality in homes and communities, and is a member of the Chamber’s Aging in Place Business Round Table. She holds a Master of Public Administration from George Mason University.

 Program Summary

Over ten years have passed since the groundbreaking 2020 Plan: Aging in Community was finalized. Action 2020 is an initiative to create a challenging, but doable, 5-year action plan (2015 to 2020) to achieve the goals of the 2020 plan. The plan was created between 2000 and 2003.  JABA was the leader of that effort and involved over 500 people and 85 organizations.  This was one of the few communities in the country to develop a plan on aging that early.  The plan is 97 pages in length and is a guide for this community to be age friendly.  The earlier plan called on promoting “universal design application” which is a home and community design method where you design objects that are easy to use for the widest number of people regardless of their ability without real adjustment or adaptation.  Subsequently, the term “universal” design has been mistakenly interpreted to mean “specialized” design and so we have changed our terminology to better convey a concept that makes things easier for everybody:  we talk about amenities for ease, comfort and things that are for hospitality.  At the end of the presentation, Ms. Campbell took questions and also solicited ideas and suggestions of things we might want to include in the plan about things you know about.

Bridging the Gap: Listening to People You Don’t Want to Hear

Posted February 1st, 2015 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

Dr. Grant TateThis session was focused on learning how to identify and overcome the gaps between different points of view in public and private discourse. It was facilitated by Dr. Grant Tate, CEO/Managing Partner of the bridge ltd, a Charlottesville consulting company that helps leaders make difficult decisions. He is the founder of three small companies and was co-founder of the New Mexico Technical Innovation Center and the Connecticut Venture Center, organizations formed to help formulate and grow entrepreneurial companies. Before starting the bridge ltd, Grant was an executive at IBM where he led a software development lab, introduced new products and managed reorganization of a hi-tech division.

Dr. Tate spoke at the Wednesday, January 14, 2015 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The program was moderated by SSV Board Member Terry Cooper. A podcast of the session follows.

Program Summary

Grant Tate was introduced by SSV board member Terry Cooper who likened Mr. Tate’s organizational interventions to one who tunes up an automobile.  But sometimes more than just a tune-up is required. Mr. Tate began by observing that if the car hardly runs, then he gets involved in “turnaround,” which is what we have to do with the people and the organization to really turn this into an organization.

One of the things that has struck him over the years on conflict resolution is how sparsely held are the skills of debate—people get mad and they’ll run away.  Don’t turn your back.  What can we do as individuals to help bridge the gap.  Take the risk to trust the other people, and ask everyone in the group to take that risk and then you can begin to build trust in the organization.   We all have our individual filters that will affect how we hear and see things and how we respond.

First there is a stimulus—something we hear or see.  Next is our own interpretation.  Then an emotional response followed by a behavioral choice leading to actions and finally consequences.  Slow down and test your assumptions.  One filter is attitude—habits of thought.  Prejudice is an example of a fast response.  One way to change the attitude is to change the messages.  Persons are imbued with the attitude that they “can’t do it” due to the messages they hear throughout their lives.    Education, training and how you communicate across different groups has a profound effect.  One of the things he does in working to build organizations is to try to look at the person’s background.

Vladimir Putin and the Crisis in Ukraine: Policy and Personality

Posted November 16th, 2014 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

Prof. Allen Lynch

According to Prof. Allen Lynch, the ongoing crisis in Ukraine is the byproduct of two vectors of policy that predate Vladimir Putin’s rise to power in the Kremlin: (A) The desire of Moscow’s ruling elites that Russia be the dominant power throughout the territories of the former Soviet Union; and (B) NATO expansion. But Putin’s policy toward Ukraine not only reflects these political tendencies but also lessons that he learned during his family and professional socialization. These are: (C) Vacuums of power will always be filled; fill them yourself before others do, and (D) But in the process, be wary of over-extension, a lesson that Putin derives from his mastery of Judo, in which sport he attained advanced black belt status.

Prof. Lynch spoke at the Wednesday, November 12, 2014 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The program was moderated by SSV President Robert McGrath. Listen to the podcast to hear the details.

Allen Lynch, is the current professor of international relations and Russian studies at the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics at the University of Virginia, and was director of research at UVa’s Center for International Studies (2010-2012) and was director of the University’s Center for Russian and East European Studies (1993-2008), raising $1.5 million for graduate fellowships in Russian and East European Studies.

Prof. Lynch has a PhD in Political Science from Columbia University (1984) and a BA in History from the State University of New York Stony Brook (1977) where he was also the All-American kicker/punter in 1975 in the 80-team National Club Sports Association.

He has held positions at the Harriman Institute for Advanced Study of the Soviet Union, Institute for East-West Security Studies (New York City), Feris Foundation of America, and is currently co-treasurer for the Friends of the Graduate Institute in Geneva, Switzerland. He is a Visiting Professor at the Free University of Berlin, East China Normal University (Shanghai), the Graduate School for Social Science (Paris), and the Radio Free Europe Research Institute (Munich). He is also a Visiting Scholar at the Russian Research Center, Harvard University, University of Lyon, France, and the Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, Switzerland (2014).

Mr Lynch’s publications include Vladimir Putin and Russian Statecraft, translated into Chinese; How Russia is Not Ruled; Does Russia Have a Democratic Future?; Europe from the Balkans to the Urals co-authored with Reneo Lukic; The Cold War Is Over Again; The Soviet Study of International Relations. He has also published in The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and various journals in North America, Europe, Russia and China.

He has received the Marshall D. Shulman Award for Best Book by the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies and Teaching Awards from the University of Virginia and the American Political Science Association.

Prof. Lynch has consulted for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, the FBI Academy, the U.S. Air Force’s Special Service School, the U.S. On-Site Inspection Agency, the U.S. Army’s National Grounds Intelligence Center, and the Kettering Foundation.

He speaks Russian, French and Italian and reads in German, Serbo-Croatian, and Spanish. He is married to the former Tullia Maffei. They have one son, Thomas, who is now working in Washington, D.C.

Program Summary

Professor Lynch’s presentation summarized the key events that have led to the present moment in this crisis in the Ukraine; a crisis which is also a crisis of Russian-American and Russian-European relations. He also posed the questions, Why is the Ukraine so important to Russia; and secondly, How did we get
here.

He advanced a thesis which is basically this: the current crisis that we have been experiencing since last November (2013) is the byproduct of two forces that have been building ever since the middle of the 1990’s–long before Putin came to power in Moscow and Bill Clinton was still the U. S. president. The first has to do with NATO expansion: the progressive extension of NATO eastward to include almost every former Soviet satellite ally in east central Europe and the three Baltic states. The second also predates Putin: the clear determination of Russia’s leaders that Russia should be the dominant international power on the territories of the former Soviet Union. In the Ukraine, these two vectors have come into a conflict that cannot very easily be resolved. Professor Lynch traced events going all the way back to 988 AD and then jumping forward to 2008 and finally into the present.

What’s the Outlook for the 2014 Midterm Elections?

Posted October 14th, 2014 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

Mr. Geoffrey SkelleyNovember 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. Mr. Geoffrey Skelley spoke at the Wednesday, October 8, 2014 SSV meeting, which was moderated by SSV President Robert McGrath. A podcast of his remarks can be found here.

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.

Program Summary

Geoffrey Skelley presented an overview of the state of play—the environment this election will be taking place in—and a review of the races, particularly the Senate where most of the drama is in this election cycle. Although Mr. Skelly is often asked what the most important issue is in this election, there really isn’t one thing that overhangs: foreign policy, the Middle East, immigration, the healthcare law, the economy. So at the end of the day, the most important aspect of this election is President Obama. The president’s party rarely does well in midterm elections, and this is compounded by Obama’s approval falling into the low 40s.

There are 36 Senate seats up, 21 held by Democrats and 15 by Republicans. Republicans should do well because of the geography (more rural) and the Democrats hold the majority of the seats presenting a lot of opportunity for the Republicans to win the six seats or more that they need to win a majority. There are seven states that Mitt Romney won that have Democratic incumbents who are up this cycle (Alaska, Montana, South Dakota, Arkansas, Louisiana, West Virginia and North Carolina).

There are nine toss-up races with seven incumbent Democrats and two Republicans. The outcomes of three of these races may not be known on election night—Alaska because of the time zone and its sparse, spread out population; Louisiana because nine candidates running which may end up requiring a run-off election on December 6; and Georgia where a majority is required and if it is not attained, a run-off election would be held on January 6, which is three days after Congress is supposed to convene!

At the moment, Mr. Skelly projects that the Republicans would gain between five and eight seats in the Senate. Five would be insufficient for the Republicans to gain a majority leaving a 50/50 tie with the Democrats maintaining control given Vice President Biden’s vote.

Update on the Supreme Court

Posted September 13th, 2014 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

Dahlia LithwickDahlia Lithwick recaps the highlights of the last Supreme Court term and gives a brief preview of the term to come.  The program was moderated by SSV board member Grace Zisk.  Interesting questions and answers follow her talk.  Listen to her lively presentation on the podcast.

Ms. 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 anOnline 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.

Program Summary

Dahlia Lithwick summarized the major legal decisions from the court’s 2013 term and predicted what cases the court might take on in 2014. Virginia’s ban on gay marriage could make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court next year. Quoting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Lithwick said the “court can’t duck the issue for gay marriage anymore.” She said she doesn’t know which case will come up to the nation’s highest court in the 2014 term — which is slated to begin in October — but one will, and Virginia is “one of the best candidates.”

Lithwick used three trends to describe the current court: Incrementalism; faux-nanimity — a term she coined; and a divide on “identity politics.” The first, she said, addresses the small steps the court took that could have large impacts. “This was a year where they could have done a lot and they did a little in a lot of areas of the law,” she said. “But they certainly teed up the next case or the case after that for doing a lot.” For example, in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the court decided that closely held for-profit corporations didn’t have to provide contraceptives to their employees under the Affordable Care Act, if it violated their religious beliefs. While the decision was meant to be narrow, Ginsburg warned that “you have no idea what you’ve just let loose,” Lithwick said.

When the court meets again next month, one of the first cases it will hear is Holt v. Hobbs, which addresses whether making prisoners cut their beards violates their religious freedom. The case is considered to be a continuation of the issues addressed in the Hobby Lobby case.

She did encourage conversation about whether justices should serve life sentences, given that people live longer and are appointed younger now than when the Constitution was written. Lithwick said it’s inappropriate that some liberals are asking Ginsburg to step down while President Barack Obama is still in office so he can appoint a liberal justice. Charlottesville resident Mary Kathryn Hassett said this was the most interesting argument Lithwick made. “This longevity was not foreseen by the founders, that is sort of a problem, but I don’t think she’s too old,” Hassett said.

Although citizens don’t get to directly engage with the court, Lithwick said Americans need to be more aware of what is happening there. “I do think there is, in good and bad ways, the idea that once you put on that black robe and you take up residence in front of that red curtain, you’re magic,” she said. “We have the most mystified, miracular court; it’s quite amazing in a democracy. I think that you have to understand that these are people too, that confirmations matter, that we need to really care, either way, because it’s a hugely consequential thing that doesn’t happen by people with magic, but through constitutional democratic processes that we control.”

The Daily Progress has a more detailed summary of Ms. Lithwick’s presentation.  Click here to read it.

The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities

Posted August 17th, 2014 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

Andrew Wyndham

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.

 

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.

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.

Program Summary

Roger Mudd, broadcast journalist and PBS board member, once asked Andrew, “We’re all about the humanities, right? What is a humanity, anyway?”  Andrew used this question to begin his talk about the nature of the humanities.  The word humanity has to do with an implied contract that we all share that is based on an implicit or assumed trust as we move forward together in life.  Without a shared sense that we can both be trusted, we really couldn’t get on with anything.

What is our responsibility to humanity?  His doctrine is (and he emphasized it was not the official doctrine of the VFH!) when you go a little bit beyond the contract of our humanity and add in the complex experiences that everybody brings and are inevitable, then questions about our humanity in relation to each other can become really puzzling, even confusing and very complex.  We use stories to explore questions about our humanity and give us perspectives on possible answers.  So in answer to Roger Mudd, humanities are the various ways we formally express our sense of and explore our humanity.

No summary can do justice to the intricate interplay of the concepts he explored, but you can listen to the entire presentation above, provided by the Charlottesville Podcasting Network.

Can Virginians Pass a Constitutional Amendment Ending Partisan Gerrymandering?

Posted June 17th, 2014 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

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.

Background and details of this effort were presented by Terry Cooper and Leigh Middleditch, and moderated by SSV President Bob McGrath.  Listen to the podcast here.

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

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

Terry CooperTerry 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 MiddleditchLeigh 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.

Program Summary

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 nonpoliticians 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. 

Mr. Middleditch began by stating that every 10 years after the decennial census is conducted, the party in power in the state gets to draw the lines of the districts both for the state elections and for Congress. The natural tendency is for those in power to draw the lines to protect incumbents. From time-to-time in Virginia there have been efforts in the legislature to change the power structure and to go to an independent commission to draw the lines. For example, Creigh Deeds had this as a plank in his platform and has introduced bills for a number of years. It is evident now that a constitutional amendment will be needed, and that requires an identical bill passed in two general assemblies with an election in between the two. It will be an uphill battle. OneVirginia2021 will start with a grassroots effort and plans to have 1,000 people signed up as supporters within a year and will raise $500,000 (42 percent of that goal has already been raised) and eventually it will cost $3 million to run an effective campaign.

Mr. Cooper said that he would focus on the why and how of redistricting reform. A common complaint he hears is that our politics, especially at the national level, are too polarized–that elected officials are less concerned with solving our problems and seizing our opportunities than they are about scoring political points at the expense of the other party. He went on to describe the definition and constitutionality of gerrymandering and how it is handled today, and also the measures that four states have enacted to forbid gerrymandering and that have been seminal in their thinking as to the type of constitutional amendment we want. Mr. Cooper’s remarks were packed with data and information. It is a good cause to support.

Report on the 2014 General Assembly

Posted May 16th, 2014 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

Senator Creigh Deeds (D) and Delegate David Toscano (D) provided their perspectives on the issues that came before the 2014 Virginia legislature at our May 14, 2014 meeting. 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 did not responded. The program was moderated by SSV President Bob McGrath. Listen to the discussion by podcast.

Senator Creigh DeedsSenator 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 ToscanoDelegate David Toscano (D) represents the 57th District in the House of Delegates (Charlottesville and part of Albemarle County) 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.

Program Summary

Senator Creigh Deeds and Delegate David Toscano provided their perspectives on the issues that came before the 2014 legislature.  Judy Wyatt, Delegate Landes’ legislative director, attended in his absence.  Both Senator Deeds and Delegate Toscano emphasized that service in the General Assembly is a part-time job with full-time responsibilities, and the members have to work for a living, and so sometimes there are things they can’t attend because of other responsibilities and the need to pay their bills, and so some of the legislators who aren’t here, can’t be here.

Senator Deeds noted that the legislative session is still in session. The regular session ended the second Saturday in March, but they are required to pass a two-year budget and if the budget is not in place by July 1, we will be in absolutely unchartered water. Senator Deeds has been there for 23 sessions and as Virginians, he said we can be very proud of the legislative process, and what happens here happened first – in 1619. But the process has become more partisan. Yet by working together, two major things were accomplished. The front-end crisis intervention piece of mental health treatment was addressed and will continue over the next four years to develop a model of mental health treatment. The second major accomplishment was to craft legislation to reduce the number of SOL tests and set up an educational accountability council to figure out how to replace the SOLs. The hang up is over the budget and Medicaid expansion. There are 400,000 people in Virginia that would qualify for Medicaid expansion and Virginians are paying for it already. The question is, do we bring those dollars back to Virginia—5 million dollars a day. There is bipartisan agreement in the Senate to move forward.

Delegate Toscano has participated in the SSV legislative report program every year since 2006 when he was elected to the General Assembly, and that year the legislature went up to June 30 before they passed a budget, and the delay was largely due to debates over transportation funding. He cited a few victories in the current session, including the SOL and mental health reforms, and a little bit of a budget reform bill that passed in the aftermath of the scandal involving Governor McDonnell. In terms of where we are right now, the Senate has refused to take up the House budget, and the House has refused to take up the Senate budget. So much has to do with the politics on the ground. The Republicans are scared to death of being primaried by folks from the Tea Party ilk who, if a Republican votes for anything that smacks of supporting Barrack Obama, is going to get primaried. But in the end, Delegate Toscano believes that most of his colleagues realize you can’t kick away 5.2 million dollars a day. You’ve got to find a way to get our money back. There are hundreds of millions of dollars at stake for UVa.

Rockfish Wildlife Sanctuary

Posted April 14th, 2014 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

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.”

Jessie ColeSince 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.

Wildlife rehabilitators Jesse Cole and Nathou Attinger spoke at our Wednesday, April 9, 2014 meeting. The program was moderated by SSV board member Jim Peterson. In the podcast,  Jesse (pictured here) and Nathou talk about some of the organizations past and future projects. Their slide show can be downloaded here, which will add much to the appreciation of their talk.

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 AttingerNathou 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.

Program Summary

Jessie Cole, wildlife rehabilitator with the Rockfish Wildlife Sanctuary (RWS), assisted by a screech owl and an opossum, described the services available for injured and orphaned wildlife. Also participating in the presentation were RWS board members Nathou Attinger and Jim Peterson.

The sanctuary was founded in 2004 by Nathou Attinger to provide care for injured and orphaned wildlife while they are being prepared for release back into the wild. The sanctuary is staffed by licensed rehabilitators, student interns, and trained volunteers. Over 600 animals received services in 2013.

In addition to direct care for birds, mammals, and reptiles, RWS educates people about the needs and habitats of wildlife and their impact on the environment. Urban development is increasingly encroaching on wildlife habitat, and as a result, more and more of Virginia’s native animals are in need of the care RWS provides.
Persons caring for wildlife must be licensed by both the state and federal government or be under the direct supervision of a licensed rehabilitator.

Since its inception, the sanctuary has been housed at a private residence. For the past several years efforts have been underway to secure a permanent home for the program, and recently 20 acres in Nelson County were purchased. After the necessary zoning, engineering and building requirements were addressed, construction began in December. The board raised $350,000 between April of last year and the present to cover the costs of site work and construction. Completion is expected in June.