Week of 11/9/12
Sea Level Rise Accelerating For US East Coast
(Yahoo News, November 8, 2012)
This summer the North Carolina Senate passed a bill banning researchers from reporting predicted increases in the rate of sea level rise. But the ocean, unbound by legislation, is rising anyway - and in North Carolina this rise is accelerating, researchers reported here yesterday (Nov. 6) at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America.
On the coast of North Carolina and at other so-called "hotspots" along the U.S. East Coast, sea levels are rising about three times more quickly on average than they are globally, researchers reported during a session devoted to sea level rise.
That's the fastest rise in the world.
"What we're seeing here is unique," said Asbury Sallenger, an oceanographer at the U.S. Geological Survey in St. Petersburg, Fla.
And this rise is accelerating, said Tal Ezer, a researcher at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va.
His colleague, Larry Atkinson, said computer models suggest that if this acceleration continues at the same pace, the rise along the East Coast - from North Carolina to Massachusetts - could be 5.3 feet (1.6 meters) by 2100. (More)
Some Virginia voters say long lines prove it's time for a change
(WVEC-TV, November 6, 2012)
Many voters say change is needed to avoid the long lines and sometimes hours-long wait at polling places.
Throughout Election Day Tuesday and again on Wednesday, posts on social media sites asked the same questions - why weren't there more voting machines, would having more polling places and better-informed workers reduce the wait?
Some people wrote they stood in line five hours, some just gave up and left without voting; still others wrote they waited less than half an hour.
"The line was wrapped around where I went to vote. We need more machines," said Gayle Barnes Roberts.
Dr. Jesse Richman, an associate professor in Department of Political Science and Geography at Old Dominion University, states registrars were not prepared for the large turnout.
It'll take more money to add extra machines, polls and workers.
State elections officials say overall, turnout for this presidential race was down 2.6 percent from 2008. He says hopefully we can learn from the problems that occurred this year to prevent them in the future (More)
Could the NBA really come to the Beach?
(Video, WTKR-TV, November 8, 2012)
There are new rumors about the NBA coming to Virginia Beach!
We're hearing officials may be talking to specific teams. We took action to find out more
(ODU President Emeritus James V. Koch was interviewed for this story) (More)
Army ROTC steadily grows on college campuses, including Virginia Tech
(The Washington Post, November 6, 2012)
The number of college students in the Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps has grown 50 percent since the 2005-06 school year, with the Army outpacing its goals for minting new officers as it sees a surge of patriotism at schools across the country.
The Army is in the waning stages of war and has largely stopped growing, yet its ROTC program is reaching near-historic highs for enrollment. Partly the result of increased scholarship and recruitment efforts of years ago, the Army has been welcoming the new officer candidates and funneling them into active duty and the Reserves and National Guard. College campuses, some of which spurned ROTC for years, now are embracing the military programs, as students look for leadership opportunities, financial help and the chance for service. ...
At Old Dominion University, Army ROTC leaders credit their more than 200 percent growth over six years to school administrators who provided more funds for scholarships and staff and cultivated a campus culture that values and supports the ROTC, said Lt. Col. Brian Kerns, who oversees Army ROTC.
Over the past decade, ROTC leaders have made an effort to better communicate with their host colleges, Kerns said. And, in turn, the academics have come to see the ROTC as a program that can help recruit and retain students as well as push them to attend classes and keep up with their studies and graduate on time.
"My experience in Iraq helps me here on campus. Not in combat, but in understanding different cultures," said Kerns, who was named "employee of the month" by ODU's president. "As Army officers, we have to be open-minded about the campus culture." (More)
Economist: Cut defense reliance
(Suffolk News-Herald, November 7, 2012)
An Old Dominion University economist on Wednesday warned against over-dependency on defense spending, lack of investment in regional infrastructure and overbuilding of hotels during a Suffolk Foundation event.
Dr. James V. Koch, professor of economics and president emeritus at ODU, presented his annual "State of the Region Report" with a focus on Suffolk for the free event hosted by the Suffolk Foundation.
"Suffolk's done pretty well this century," Koch said. "The economy has hurt, and JFCOM made a difference, but not quite as much as some people thought it would."
The region needs to be cautious of the effects of upcoming defense cuts and possible aircraft carrier moves, Koch said.
Upcoming sequestration - automatic spending cuts that will be triggered Jan. 1 if an agreement is not reached - could have a devastating effect on the region, Koch said. About 45 percent of the region's economy is connected to defense, he said.
"If they can't reach a budget deal in Washington, those are huge cuts," he said. "We would feel that immediately and overwhelmingly in Hampton Roads."
Koch added, though, that he believes a deal will be reached.
"I'm confident they are going to reach some kind of an agreement," Koch said. (More)
Va. Beach quietly pursuing NBA team for arena
(The Virginian-Pilot, November 8, 2012)
The proposal to build a $350 million arena near the Virginia Beach Oceanfront to attract an NBA team is moving forward with behind-the-scenes meetings. Mayor Will Sessoms said he plans to update the City Council on Tuesday.
A representative of an NBA team eyeing a move to Virginia Beach has had meetings in Richmond with Gov. Bob McDonnell and the city, according to Warren Harris, the city's director of economic development. ...
A second study on the economic impact of the arena on the city is scheduled to be presented to the City Council on Tuesday. The council ordered it to check numbers in a study done by Old Dominion University economics professor James Koch. Koch's study said that starting in 2015, the arena would host 200 events a year with 1.3 million attendees. It said the arena would create 1,230 jobs while generating $98 million in revenue in 2015, including $66 million in Virginia Beach. (More)
APM's Case for Port Privatization
(Bacon's Rebellion, November 1, 2012)
It's easy to get crane envy when you're in the port business. The bigger and more modern the crane, the faster it can unload cargo containers from ships at dock. The hoists are huge, they're painted bright colors and they are highly visible. But there's more to creating a quick turn-around time in a port than installing the latest, greatest cranes. It is just as critical to sort the containers inside the terminal in order to load them expeditiously, whether onto trucks, trains or ships.
That's a task at which APM Terminals excels. The patented processes that make APM's Portsmouth facility hyper-efficient are invisible to the untrained eye - the container yard, where containers are stacked four and five high, looks much like that of any other port. What sets the yard apart is the way in which the computer-guided gantries re-stack the RFID-tagged containers so that the first to be loaded is the first to be accessed. (More)
BEDCo names new executive director
(North Texas eNews, November 7, 2012)
In a unanimous decision, the board of directors of Bonham Economic Development Corporation (BEDCo) selected Stephen j. Fillipowicz to fill the position of BEDCo Executive Director.
Final details of the contract will need to be approved by the City of Bonham and Mr. Fillipowicz, but he is expected to be on the job December 1.
When BEDCo president Emily Porter was asked what stood out the most about Fillipowicz, one word was on the tip of her tongue.
"Experience," relied Ms. Porter. "Lots of experience." ...
From 1980 through 1990, Fillipowicz served in the U.S. Army, where he achieved the rank of captain.
Fillipowicz received his bachelor's degree from Texas A&M-University in 1980 and earned a master's degree in public administration from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia in 1994. (More)
Field to Fryer to Fuel
(Domestic Fuel, November 7, 2012)
Here is a new twist on an old idea: rather than simply recycling used cooking oil into biodiesel, a new initiative will locally grow canola, press the seeds into oil, deliver to local restaurants, pick up the used oil, and then repurpose it into biodiesel. The pilot project, known as Field to Fryer to Fuel (F3) received a $130,000 grant from the Biofuels Center of North Carolina from AdvantageWest to help the state develop a clean energy industry. ...
The resulting 7,000 gallons of food-grade oil will be provided to restaurants for use in cooking during the summer of 2013. The post-cooking "waste oil" will then be returned to Blue Ridge Biofuels for the production of around 5,000 gallons of biodiesel that will be sold to local consumers to operate their biodiesel ready vehicles.
Project partners include: Asheville-based Algaenan Energy Corporation (AEC), Blue Ridge Biofuels, Land-of-Sky Regional Council, and Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., which is providing laboratory services for the pilot. Other partners contributing expertise or other resources include Appalachian State University, Biltmore, Blue Ridge Food Ventures, and the N.C. State Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center. (More)
Norfolk, Va., Puts Flooding Survival Plan To The Test
(National Public Radio, November 6, 2012)
Superstorm Sandy got officials in New York and New Jersey talking about how to prevent flooding in a time of global warming and sea level rise.
But the place on the East Coast that's most vulnerable to flooding is several hundred miles south, around Norfolk, Va. - and Norfolk has already spent many years studying how to survive the rising waters.
Scientists say what Norfolk has learned is especially important in light of new research showing that the coastline from North Carolina to Boston will experience even more sea level rise than other areas. ...
Larry Atkinson, an oceanographer at Old Dominion University, likes to show visitors the massive sea wall that usually keeps water out of Norfolk's downtown.
"That's it," he says, standing on a platform just outside the sea wall. "There's piles of rock about, what, 10, 20 feet high, and it runs into a concrete wall."
The sea wall was high enough when it was built several decades ago, but Atkinson says it may not be anymore. ...
People in Norfolk are aware of the growing flood risk, but aren't necessarily doing anything about it, says Poornima Madhavan, who is in the psychology department at Old Dominion University and has done surveys of how people are responding.
For example, the proportion of people who said they had flood insurance was "a completely underwhelming 1 percent of the population," Madhavan says. ...
(Jenifer Alonzo, assistant professor of communication and theatre arts, was also featured in the story) (More)
Line forms quickly outside Norfolk elementary school
(The Virginian-Pilot, November 6, 2012)
The crowd to vote formed just before first light Tuesday at Larchmont Elementary School in Norfolk.
By the time Nell King, campaign volunteer for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, arrived at 5:30 a.m. there were about a dozen voters in line. By 6:15, there was more than 150 people waiting to vote, a group that included both people on their way to work and college students before class.
India Johnson and William Wright, both 18, shivered in the morning cold as they waited in line. The Old Dominion University freshman stayed up all night awaiting their chance to vote.
"How can you sleep when you're this excited," Johnson said. "This is too important."
So far this morning, poll workers say they have not had any problems with confusion over the new voter ID law.
The General Assembly this year passed a stricter law that requires residents bring one of nine accepted forms of identification to the polls. Despite such a big change during a particularly contentious election cycle, most officials said they expect few problems with the new law. (More)
Community Viewpoint: The Choice That Confronts Virginians
(Opinion, Lynchburg News & Advance, November 5, 2012)
Editor's note: Gov. Bob McDonnell, R, submitted this commentary to The News & Advance on the occasion of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's visit to Lynchburg today.
As battleground-state voters who could well decide the presidency and control of the U.S. Senate, Virginians have had a front-row seat to history this fall. In a few hours, however, the campaign will be over. And we will begin living with the choice we have made.\
If we have chosen Mitt Romney and George Allen, I believe opportunities for Virginians will be greater, because our leaders will be focused on creating jobs, reinvigorating the private sector, unleashing our abundant energy resources and getting us out of this massive debt. ...
Offshore Energy Jobs: A 2005 study led by James Koch at Old Dominion University found that energy development off Virginia's coast would generate 2,578 new jobs and $7.8 billion in capital investment. It would result in a $271 million infusion of revenue for state and local governments to spend on priorities like education and transportation.
Virginians broadly favor development of all our energy resources. The General Assembly has already approved offshore development at my request. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has continually said "No" to these good paying jobs and unilaterally blocked offshore energy development in Virginia. (More)
Making Rocket Fuel on Mars (1978)
(Wired Behind Apollo Blog, November 3, 2012)
In the late 1970s, through the initiative of its director, Bruce Murray, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) studied a range of possible Mars missions, including Mars Sample Return (MSR). Murray and others at the Pasadena, California-based lab were aware that funds for new Mars missions would be hard to come by; the U.S. economy was under strain and NASA, JPL's main customer, was devoting most of its resources to developing the Space Shuttle. In addition, equivocal data from the astrobiology experiments on the twin Vikings, the first successful Mars landers, had damped public enthusiasm for the Red Planet. Would-be Mars explorers reasoned that, if an MSR mission would stand a chance of acceptance, then they would need to find technologies and techniques that could dramatically trim its anticipated cost.
In July-August 1978, two years after the Vikings landed and looked for life on Mars, three engineers at JPL - Robert Ash, a visiting faculty fellow from Old Dominion University in Virginia, and JPL staffers William Dowler and Giulio Varsi - reported on a small study they had conducted of one such cost-saving technology: specifically, making MSR Earth-return rocket propellants from martian resources. Using Earth-return propellants made on Mars would reduce the MSR spacecraft's mass at launch from Earth, permitting it to be launched on a small, relatively cheap launch vehicle. (More)
Happy birthday, Ted. Constant Center is 10 years old
(The Virginian-Pilot, November 5, 2012)
To think, some of us figured they were just building a basketball gym.
Old Dominion's Ted Constant Convocation Center, which turns 10 this fall, always aspired to be more. Not many could have predicted a decade ago, however, just how synonymous "The Ted" would become with entertainment in Hampton Roads, with a university's physical transformation, and with a basketball program's success.
The Ted's turnstiles have clicked over 4 million times. The building has been ranked as one of the top 10 of its size in the world, based on ticket sales. It has brought people to ODU who might never have set foot on campus otherwise - whether for a concert by a musical icon such as Elton John or Stevie Wonder, or just for a high school graduation. It's the anchor of the University Village that fulfilled a sort of campus Manifest Destiny to cross Hampton Boulevard.
Why has it worked? Much of its success is in the design details, the macro decisions such as how many seats to have (8,600) and the micro decisions on everything from the design of the loading docks (which are a roadie's dream) to the fine print on the contract with Global Spectrum, the company that runs the place for ODU.
For the men's basketball team, success has been the best marketing plan. The ODU men have won 81 percent of their games at the Ted, including 101-13 (88.5 percent) over seven seasons from 2004 to 2011. ODU led its league in attendance four of the past five years and has sold out 25 times. (More)
Symposium: Get inside the buyer's mind
(The Virginian-Pilot, November 3, 2012)
When it's time to list your house for sale, neutral paint and strategic staging are the best ways to give it an edge in the market, right?.
Or is it, vacant house and neutral paint?
Or could it be a staged house with bold paint?
Realtors, decorators, home buyers and sellers have argued over this issue for decades. Now there are some answers, thanks to Michael J. Seiler, director for the Institute for Behavior and Experimental Real Estate with the College of Business and Public Administration at Old Dominion University.
"We want to provide information that people can use in their business or lives today," Seiler said. "There has been a debate about these things for years. Hopefully, this will be able to settle some of these questions."
Seiler helped design a national study that tested a random sample of potential buyers' preferences when it comes to things like wall color and furnishings. He'll present the findings during the 2012 Hampton Roads Residential Market Review and Real Estate Research Symposium Nov. 14 at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. (More)
Officials worry that referendum would curb powers
(The Virginian-Pilot, November 4, 2012)
The view from inside the Midtown Albano Cleaners tells the story of a once-struggling part of town, and the city's efforts to turn it around.
Bars on the windows are reminders of a rough period not long past, when many storefronts sat empty. Drugs were common and break-ins frequent.
The view through those windows today, however, is of a bustling shopping area, with a Wal-Mart Supercenter, an International House of Pancakes and a Rally's restaurant.
"People used to say, 'Midtown? I'm not going over there,' " said Melva Conyers, Albano's store manager for the past 12 years. "Look at it now. It's safe, and busy. No one's scared to come here." ...
Norfolk took about 50 of his apartments in its redevelopment of the area. The experience, Waldo said, left him and other landowners unhappy with the process, which he said inevitably ends with landowners getting less money than their property is worth.
"Eminent domain, by its very nature, does not make you whole," he said. "Plus, it just goes against the American tradition of your home being your castle."
Waldo has handled more than 1,000 eminent domain cases, including a high-profile case involving NRHA's attempt to take Central Radio Co. Inc., a defense contractor that works in high-end electronics.
The company, which employs about 100 people, has been around for nearly 80 years, 50 in its current location on West 39th Street in Norfolk.
NRHA has contracted with an Old Dominion University real estate foundation to take the company's land as part of an expansion project that has already claimed about 180 buildings. (More)
VPA spurns ODU study of economic impact
(The Virginian-Pilot, November 3, 2012)
A new economic-impact study of the Port of Virginia won't happen anytime soon.\
Weeks ago, Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton told The Pilot editorial board that a new study was in the works, overseen by Old Dominion University economist James Koch, as the state weighs whether to privatize the port.
But the work never really got to first base, Koch said recently.
Turns out the Virginia Port Authority doesn't like the methodology used by Koch and fellow ODU economists. It says the ODU model generates more conservative numbers that don't offer fair comparisons to competing ports such as Savannah, Ga., and Charleston, S.C.
The authority raised the same issue with ODU five years ago - leading ODU to quit a study midstream. Port executives then turned to the College of William and Mary, which in January 2008 released the study still in use, though it's based on fiscal year 2006 data.
Rodney Oliver, the authority's interim executive director, said last week that he's open to an updated study - but only by William and Mary, not ODU.
Koch said he's used the methodology the Port Authority doesn't like in dozens of economic-impact studies over the years. "It is widely accepted," he said. (More)