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ODU in the News

Week of 2/25/13

ODU class warns students about credit card use
(The Virginian-Pilot, February 23, 2013)

It seemed like a wise financial move at the time.
Two year ago, Gelila Mengesha, then 18, came upon a way to save money buying a $1,500 laptop. She got a credit card, paid $800 for the computer and used the $700 credit maximum on the card to cover the rest.
She had a part-time job, but she gave it up to focus on her studies at Old Dominion University in Norfolk. She couldn't make the minimum monthly payments. The interest rate went up. Her father in Northern Virginia chipped in. But the credit-card balance didn't seem to go down.
"I wish I never got it," admitted Mengesha, now a junior majoring in human services.
She offered her tale of woe at a recent class of Monarch Millionaire, a five-week noncredit financial literacy program attended by about 200 ODU students this semester.
Monarch Millionaire, launched in the fall, covers such topics as banking and paying for college. "If Americans had the basic skills we're teaching in this class, we would not have gone through this recession," said Robert Romm, a senior biology major who is among the student instructors.
The session Thursday night focused on credit cards and credit. "Don't charge anything you can't pay for now," counseled the lead instructor, Nicole Knox, who is co-owner of MNK Unlimited Inc., a Portsmouth contractor, and also is studying accounting at ODU. (More)

ODU envisions transportation center
(Inside Business, February 22, 2012)

Old Dominion University's Business Gateway Center wants to be the first in the mid-Atlantic to open an office that would be dedicated solely to matching women- and minority-owned businesses with lucrative U.S. Department of Transportation contracts.
The center has submitted plans to the department and the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization to secure a grant worth up to $140,000 per year that would be used to open the office, which would be called the Small Business Transportation Resource Center, said Jerry Robertson, associate vice president and executive director of the Gateway center.
This would be the first such center in the mid-Atlantic and would work with companies in Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and West Virginia.
Women- and minority-owned small businesses face challenges that their larger counterparts don't when it comes to obtaining transportation department contracts for various work, whether it's laying asphalt or installing lights, Robertson said.
"They don't necessarily have the bonding they need," he said. "They don't have the recourses to do the financials. There could be a lot of reasons that they are a little bit challenging to get in to the transportation arena. So the Department of Transportation set up these resource centers to help them get themselves qualified."
Companies that actively recruit disadvantaged business enterprises are "smiled upon with it comes the U.S. Department of Transportation," he said. (More)

Military families cooling to home ownership
(Stars and Stripes/The Virginian-Pilot, February 24, 2012)

Josue Fernandez thought his nightmare was coming to an end.
The senior chief petty officer faced 600 miles of interstate as he pulled out of Jacksonville, Fla., in early December. His destination: a home in Suffolk he had been trying to sell since the Navy transferred him from Hampton Roads in 2008.
The task ahead was not pleasant - he needed to mow his neglected yard before the city put a lien on his property - but he had a reason to be optimistic.
After years of reducing the price on his home and watching deals with prospective buyers fall through, Fernandez's real estate agent lined up new buyers and set a closing date for mid-December. ...
But Fernandez and his peers in the military - many of whom are ordered to move to a new city every few years - have been hit especially hard. Some argue that their misfortune has contributed to the sluggishness of the housing market's recovery in Hampton Roads, which depends on its robust military population.
Members of the military have fled the homebuying markets in the Tidewater area, elsewhere in Virginia and across the United States, and the trend has shown no signs of reversing, according to data gathered from the Navy and the U.S. Census Bureau.
The same is not true for the general population; more Americans and Virginians still own their homes rather than rent.
Vinod Agarwal, professor of economics and director of the Economic Forecasting Project at Old Dominion University, said military members have "rationally" decided to rent in the past several years, rather than buy a home that might be difficult to sell without taking a loss when they have to relocate.
Now that the local real estate market is showing signs of a recovery - the median sale price of existing homes climbed 2.7 percent in 2012 after declining steadily since 2008 - Agarwal expects members of the military to begin feeling comfortable buying homes again this year. But there's still plenty of uncertainty in the market because across-the-board defense cuts scheduled to begin in March threaten to sucker-punch the economy.
Nearly half of the Hampton Roads economy is driven by military spending, studies have shown. So the flight from homeownership among members of the military has taken a toll on the real estate market.
Less demand for homes puts downward pressure on prices, Agarwal said. (More)

Los Angeles-Class Attack Submarine USS Boise Holds Change of Command Ceremony
(Naval Today, February 25, 2013)

Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Boise (SSN 764) held a change of command ceremony, aboard Naval Station Norfolk, Feb. 22.
Cmdr. Scott S. Luers relieved Cmdr. Brian L. Sittlow as commanding officer. ...
Luers is a native of Westminster, Md. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ocean Engineering from the U. S. Naval Academy in 1995, and a Masters in Engineering Management from Old Dominion University in 2007. His last duty station was at Commander, Submarine Squadron Eleven in San Diego.
"All have heard today what the crew already knows - Boise is a ship that isn't afraid to take on challenging missions and then excels at executing them," said Luers. "I cannot thank Cmdr. Sittlow enough for his leadership over the past three years, and for being extremely generous and open during our turnover. You will be an inspiration to your Sailors and myself for time immemorial. (More)

Identity theft spurs entrepreneur to create commercial-sized shredders for kiosks
(Tacoma Eagle-Tribune (Wash.), February 24, 2012)

Stephen Hershman was serving on the USS Kentucky submarine in 2003 when his identity was stolen, compromising his top-secret security clearance.
Forced out of his communications job, he spent several months straightening out his credit rating. His identity had been stolen by someone who took his utility bills from his trash, and used them to open a post office box.
That's when Hershman thought of starting a service that provides customers access to an industrial-strength shredder that destroys documents on the spot. Hershman started a do-it-yourself shredding company, The Shred Stop. ...
Hershman was a systems-engineering major at the U.S. Naval Academy, so he was confident he could design a shredder's hardware, but he needed someone to handle the software behind the machine. He proposed his idea to friend Keith Rettig, who studied software design at Old Dominion University in Virginia. Rettig was in. (More)

Wallace new executive director at Vision Network
(Delaware Online, February 23, 2012)

The Vision Network of Delaware, a Wilmington nonprofit, will have a new executive director at the helm Monday.
Dana Diesel Wallace replaces Mark Murphy, who left to become the state Secretary of Education. She was most recently working at a North Carolina organization that advocated a public­-private education innovation.
Diesel Wallace has worked in educa­tion for more than 20 years as a teacher, principal, administrator and superinten­dent, according to the Vision Network. She has a bachelor's degree in educa­tion from Old Dominion University, a master's in educational leadership from Harvard University, and an education doctorate from Teachers College at Columbia University. (More)

'This thing was never supposed to happen'
(Inside Business, February 22, 2012)

The sector that helped Hampton Roads weather the greatest recession in decades is on track to deal a substantial blow to this coastal Virginia economy, local experts and business leaders said.
Federal spending accounts for about 47 percent of gross regional product, according to some estimates, and if the deep federal cuts known as sequestration take place Friday, thousands of jobs could be shed, among other things.
"We've estimated here that the impact could be as large as 42,000 jobs," said Gary Wagner, who's with the Old Dominion University Economic Forecasting Team. "If full sequestration were to occur, most of the job losses would hit the region in 2013 and 2014. They would not occur over the next 10 years."
Sequestration is a budget provision that would trigger $1.2 trillion in federal cuts over the next 10 years, half of which will come in defense spending. It's a part of the 2011 Budget Control Act and was intended to be the last-resort, "Draconian" resolution if legislators failed to agree on a comparable deficit-reduction plan.
"This thing was never supposed to happen," said Craig Quigley, executive director of the Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance. "Well, here we are."
In addition to job losses, Wagner said full sequestration would cause the gross regional product to slip 5 percent, or about $4.2 billion. Others close to the matter said irreversible damage may result for federal contractors, their subcontractors and their suppliers. (More)

Alfred B. Rollins Jr.
(Obituary, The Virginian-Pilot, February 24, 2012)

Dr. Alfred Brooks Rollins Jr., born May 28, 1921 in Presque Isle, Maine to Clarissa (Jack) and Alfred B. Rollins Sr. died February 20 in Norfolk, Va. at the age of 91. He was a cherished husband to Helen Jones since 1981. He was father of three wonderful children: John D. Rollins of Cheshire, Connecticut, (Debbie), James S. Rollins of Portsmouth, New Hampshire (Cynthia Van Zandt) and Nancy J. Rowell of Highgate, Vermont (Willard). Grandsons Daniel Rollins (Allison Burr), Andrew Rollins (Lauren) and Scott Rollins (Caitlin) and two granddaughters Hannah Van Zandt Rollins, and Elizabeth Rowell (Andrew Porwitzky) and a great-grandchild, Xavier. His sister, Marjorie Myer (Robert) resides in Florence, Ky. He was predeceased by his first wife, Ernestine McMullen in 1972 and his second wife, Faith Kenyon Prior in 1979. ...
Al began his lifetime of teaching as an Instructor at New Paltz State Teachers College in 1948, and was a full professor when he left in 1963. During that busy time, he and his first wife, Ernestine, built a home (with their own hands) for themselves and their growing family, and Al wrote several books including the seminal work, Roosevelt and Howe.
In 1963, he moved as a Professor to the State University of New York at Binghamton, and moved his New Paltz house a mile down the road when threatened by eminent domain. He became Chair of the History Department and continued to publish articles, and the book, Woodrow Wilson and the New America. In 1967, he moved to the University of Vermont as a Professor and soon became Dean of Arts and Sciences then Vice President for Academic Affairs.
In 1976 he arrived at Old Dominion University as Professor of History and University President and led the university until 1985. He was proud of expanding graduate programs, fostering integration, and most of all expanding women's sports and starting a "writing exam," which students had to pass to get their diplomas. He left the Presidency in 1985 and returned to teaching history at ODU until he retired in 1991. (More)

Surveys show rural Virginia lags in seat belt usage
(Richmond Times-Dispatch/The Associated Press, February 25, 2013)

Motorists and passengers in rural Virginia are less likely to wear seat belts than those in other parts of the state, statewide surveys show.
They also are more at risk of dying in traffic accidents, according to analysis of state data by The Roanoke Times.
Eight people who were not wearing seat belts were killed in traffic accidents in Floyd County from 2007 to 2012, along with three who wore seat belts. In Alleghany County, 10 people died unbelted and seven died belted. Bedford County saw 32 unbelted traffic deaths and 28 belted fatalities, the newspaper reported.
Since Jan. 1, three people who were not wearing seat belts have died in the Roanoke area.
Statewide, 1,677 people died unbelted during the five-year period.
Surveys show that in 2011, 76 percent of travelers used seat belts in the largely rural section of Virginia west and north of Richmond, compared to 82 percent statewide. Seat belt usage was lower among people in pickups in rural Virginia, about 60 percent.
The national seat belt use rate was 84 percent.
"I find that it is unacceptable that people are dying because they don't buckle up," said John Saunders, director of Virginia's Highway Safety Office.
Seat belt rates for drivers and passengers in rural areas are five to 10 percentage points lower than people in urban areas, said Bryan Porter, an associate professor of psychology at Old Dominion University who conducts the state's annual seat belt use survey and helps plan and evaluate road safety programs.
Urban areas also have safety assets that are lacking in rural areas, such as wide, lighted streets, controlled intersections, and median barriers that reduce crossover wrecks. (More)

Study of world's richest marine area shows size matters
(Arab News/Agence France-Presse, February 23, 2013)

A new study of Asia's Coral Triangle, which contains nearly 30 percent of the world's reefs, shows that when it comes to ensuring a rich and diverse range of species, size matters. "The study suggests that marine protected areas should be as large and diverse as possible," Peter Etnoyer, a marine biologist at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), said in a statement.
Etnoyer, who co-authored the study published by open access peer-reviewed scientific journal PLoS ONE, stressed that providing more protected marine space made it possible to "include more species, more habitats, and more genetic diversity to offer species the best chance of adapting to sea temperature and other environmental changes."
The Coral Triangle covers a triangular area stretching across the Philippines, eastern Sabah, eastern Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
It's sheer size has made it a treasure trove of marine life - it contains more than 3,000 species of fish and is often referred to as the "Amazon of the seas".
The fact that its size, according to Thursday's study, is also what will help it adapt to change is important, since previous reports have shown that more than 85 percent of the reefs there are considered to be threatened by human activities like coastal development, pollution and overfishing.
For the study, scientists at NOAA, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Old Dominion University in Virginia and the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies had "analyzed over 10,000 maps of marine species," said Jonnell Sanciango, the head author of the study and a researcher at Old Dominion.
They had "found that habitat, calculated as coastline length, was the best predictor of species richness, followed by the variety of habitats and sea surface temperature," she added. Their research led them to suggest stretching the borders of the Coral Triangle further to also include Brunei, Singapore and peninsular Malaysia, "to ensure that these areas are included in the management and conservation of the region." (More)

Former ODU president Alfred Rollins dies at 91
(The Virginian-Pilot, February 22, 2013)

Old Dominion University's third president, Alfred B. Rollins Jr., died Wednesday night. He was 91.
A history professor and preacher's son, Rollins left the University of Vermont, where he was vice president, in 1976 to become president at Old Dominion. He led ODU until 1985.
Rollins has been credited with increasing graduate degree programs and private and state funding, fostering integration and encouraging women's programs.
In an interview on ODU's website, Rollins said he was proudest of expanding women's basketball and starting an "exit writing exam," which students had to pass to get their diplomas. The exam has since been discontinued.
In a statement, ODU President John Broderick called Rollins "one of our university's great leaders."
"I will remember him - a fellow Connecticut native - as a kind and decent man who always had time for people," Broderick said.
Rollins' survivors include his wife, Helen, a photographer. (More)

Alfred B. Rollins Jr., former Old Dominion University president, dies at 91
(The Washington Post, February 21, 2013)

Former Old Dominion University President Alfred B. Rollins Jr. has died. He was 91.
Old Dominion says on its website that Rollins died Wednesday in Norfolk. He was the school's third president.
During Rollins' tenure from 1976 to 1985, Old Dominion made the transition from a regional college to a major research university.
The university also increased the number of doctoral programs from two to 11 and established a counseling center, women's center, writing center and multicultural center.
Before students earn a degree, they must pass a writing requirement that Rollins established.
Old Dominion President John R. Broderick says Rollins was a man of vision, intelligence and soft-spoken strength. (More)

The enemy within
(The Economist, February 20, 2012)

"HOW can Congress go on a recess with the country in the shape it's in?" asks a constituent of Bobby Scott, a Democratic congressman for the Hampton Roads region of Virginia, to applause and cries of "Amen!" The angry voter is referring to the "sequester", an unpopular slate of cuts to the federal budget due to take effect on March 1st unless Congress intervenes. The cuts, as Mr. Scott explains, were intended to be so painful that lawmakers would feel obliged to come up with some sort of substitute. But Congress's current break ends just four days before the deadline, with no alternative in sight.
When Congress first adopted the sequester, in August 2011, the intention was to spur a deal to reduce the deficit. Hence the big and indiscriminate cuts it threatened if no deal were reached, of $1.1 trillion over the next decade, including $85 billion this year, to be divided equally between the military and civilian portions of the budget. The biggest items in the budget-Social Security (the federal pension scheme), Medicaid (government-funded health care for the poor) and, for the most part, Medicare (the federal health-care scheme for the old)-are exempted, as are military pay and services for veterans. So the remaining elements of the defence budget must shrink by a whopping 8% this year, and non-military programmes by about 5%. ...
The effects of all this on the economy of Hampton Roads will be grim, says Vinod Agarwal, a professor of economics at Old Dominion University. Half the local economy is tied to military spending. What helped buoy the region through the recession now looks likely to pull it under. Mr Agarwal predicts that local output will fall by over 3% this year, and some 30,000 jobs will be lost, if the sequester goes ahead. This week the local division of BAE Systems, a defence contractor, gave a formal 60-day notice of a possible 1,600 lay-offs.
For Virginia as a whole, the consequences will be equally grim. Bob McDonnell, the governor, fears the sequester could pitch the state into recession. A study last year by a local university predicted that some 165,000 jobs would be lost over two years-almost 5% of the state's total. Around the country as a whole, guesses the Congressional Budget Office, as many as 1.4m jobs would disappear. (More)

Study of world's richest marine area shows size matters
(The Bangkok Post, February 22, 2013)

A new study of Asia's Coral Triangle, which contains nearly 30 percent of the world's reefs, shows that when it comes to ensuring a rich and diverse range of species, size matters.
The study suggests that marine protected areas should be as large and diverse as possible," Peter Etnoyer, a marine biologist at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), said in a statement Thursday.
Etnoyer, who co-authored the study published by open access peer-reviewed scientific journal PLoS ONE, stressed that providing more protected marine space made it possible to "include more species, more habitats, and more genetic diversity to offer species the best chance of adapting to sea temperature and other environmental changes."
The Coral Triangle covers a triangular area stretching across the Philippines, eastern Sabah, eastern Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
It's sheer size has made it a treasure trove of marine life -- it contains nearly 30 percent of the world's reefs and more than 3,000 species of fish and is often referred to as the "Amazon of the seas".
|The fact that its size, according to Thursday's study, is also what will help it adapt to change is important, since previous reports have shown that more than 85 percent of the reefs there are considered to be threatened by human activities like coastal development, pollution and overfishing.
For the study, scientists at NOAA, the International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN), Old Dominion University in Virginia and the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies had "analysed over 10,000 maps of marine species," said Jonnell Sanciango, the head author of the study and a researcher at Old Dominion.
They had "found that habitat, calculated as coastline length, was the best predictor of species richness, followed by the variety of habitats and sea surface temperature," she added. (More)

Virginia's Aerial Photographer at Aerophoto America Captured the Best of Hampton Roads in 2013 Calendar
(Broadway World, February 21, 2013)

The New Year is in full force and some would say that 2013 is the year to do more, give more, and make changes for the good. This may be very well true for Virginia Aerial Photographer Ron Brown who captured the best of all of Hampton Roads in a 2013 calendar for the locals. His aerial photography business has been a proud server to Hampton Roads since 2005.
What's so special about this calendar? Not only are the locals raving about having aerial images of their favorite locations but Aerophoto America is also going to send all their proceeds received from the calendars to a therapeutic riding program dedicated to children of special needs called Equi-kids.
Aerophoto America's team goals for 2013 involve more efforts to support the local community and charities in the year 2013. "We want to start the year off right," stated Aerophoto America 's ground photographer Shaleen Wallace. "The best way to begin the year is to take the focus off of what we want and direct that energy to what we can do for others".
These are not just your average every day photographs either! Locals that have lived in Hampton Roads for decades are thrilled to see a bird's eye prospective of their favorite spots in the area. Some of the highlight areas include Inlet Fitness, the Oceanfront Boardwalk, ODU football game and more. (More)

Ex-Sacramento Monarch Ticha Penicheiro adds citizenship to All-Star status
(The Sacramento Bee, February 21, 2013)

She bounced into our hearts, and now, she's here to stay.
Patricia Nunes "Ticha" Penicheiro, the retired Sacramento Monarchs All-Star basketball player, was one of 1,200 people sworn in as U.S. citizens Wednesday morning at the Sacramento Convention Center.
Trading her uniform for high heels and black pants, Penicheiro, who stands 5 foot 11 inches tall, smiled as she took the Oath of Allegiance.
"Today's a very special day for me because I became a U.S. citizen," she told the crowd.
Born in Figueira da Foz, Portugal - a coastal town north of Lisbon - Penicheiro, 38, started playing basketball in her teens. At age 19, she was awarded a scholarship to play at Old Dominion University in Virginia. (More)

Through pain, tears: victory for Lady Monarchs
(The Virginian-Pilot, February 18, 2013)

The pain is as incurable as the disease that caused it.
There is a vacant spot on Old Dominion's bench, and a sharp desire to play in honor of that empty seat - while wishing this day had never come.
There are tears as a picture of Sara Jones, who died of cancer Friday at age 40, appears on the jumbo screen overhead. They come from seniors Mairi Buchan and Jackie Cook, who knew Jones for as long as she was at ODU, and from freshman Galaisha Goodhope, who despite her newness to the program was touched by Jones' determination.
Stacy Himes, who helped ODU reach the NCAA title game in 1997, remembers meeting Jones through a friend, and how Jones spent an hour telling Himes all about being a firefighter and encouraged the then-assistant coach at ODU - who was tired of coaching - to give it a shot.
"I printed out my application for the fire department the very next day," Himes said.
Tia Lewis, who graduated last year, chokes up when remembering Jones. The former volunteer coach accompanied Lewis to the WNBA combine. She let Lewis stay with her at a moment's notice. She was a mentor and a friend, as much away from the court as on it.
The ODU alum plans to get a tattoo this week. It will have a pink bow, Jones' birthday, and the day she died: 2/15/13. She might include a phrase Jones used every time they parted ways.
"See you later, pretty girl!" (More)

The price Hampton Roads will pay
(Opinion, The Virginian-Pilot, February 15, 2012)

Chances are your life was touched when Ford closed the Norfolk truck assembly plant in 2007. More than 2,500 people ended up out of work, leaving thousands of businesses with customers who couldn't afford their goods or services.
Now imagine 10 or 15 Ford plants closing.
That's what's coming in a few weeks if Congress and the White House can't get their acts together. By almost every account, they can't. More accurately, they won't.
The ordinarily ebullient Rep. Scott Rigell sounded positively dispirited.
"Sadly and with a good deal of frustration," he said last week, "... We are transitioning to a general climate that [sequestration] will happen to some degree and for some period of time." ...
Jim Koch, an economist at Old Dominion University, estimated at the time that the Ford plant closing was big enough to trim the local economic output by about a third of a percentage point.
My own simple multiplication says that losing 40,000 jobs means the economic effect will be 16 times as deep. One of every 20 working folks would lose their jobs. Two parents in every classroom. One house on every block.
Even allowing for the inaccuracy of forecasting, this much is clear: The hit to the local economy would be devastating. Enough to spin us into a recession or local depression. (More)

Hundreds gather to remember ODU coach
(WAVY-TV, February 18, 2013)

Family, friends and former colleagues gathered Monday to remember former Lady Monarchs volunteer assistant head coach Sara Jones, who last week lost a 12-year breast cancer fight.
"I'll remember her by always bringing the energy, always having a smile on her face, always shaving a positive outlook on life. If she was suffering you never knew it. She was the most powerful, strongest person I ever met," Lady Monarchs senior guard Jackie Cook said.
Jones, 40, served as head coach Karen Barefoot's volunteer assistant for the past two seasons and was described as "an incredible motivator" for the Lady Monarchs.
"The world lost a good one. God gained a champion. For us today it's a celebration of her legacy and it will continue on but she was a special person, an inspiration and I'm just so proud to be part of her journey," Barefoot said. (More)

Former Obama adviser to give Black History talk
(The Virginian-Pilot, February 18, 2013)

To some, the name Van Jones evokes heated anger.
Jones served as a green jobs adviser to President Barack Obama in 2009. He resigned after less than six months amid controversy over his past.
Since then, Jones has advocated for various economic, environmental and civil rights causes, also serving as a contributor for CNN.
On Tuesday, Jones will give the keynote address for Old Dominion University's Black History Month. He will speak at 6:30 p.m. in the North Cafeteria of the Webb Center. The event is free and open to the public, though seating is limited.
Dr. Ellen Neufeldt, ODU's vice president of student engagement and enrollment services, acknowledged Jones has raised controversy in the past. But she said he was picked after a poll of students, faculty and staff.
"Bringing in different people with different views or ideas is part of what a university is about," Neufeldt said.
Among the things that got Jones into trouble was a 2009 speech in which he used a profanity to describe Republicans. His name also appeared on a 2004 petition that sought an investigation into whether the Bush administration allowed the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks to happen.
Jones also has gained praise for co-founding social justice organizations, and he has received environmental and human rights awards.
Jones will address both civil rights and environmental issues Tuesday, Neufeldt said.
"One of the great things about universities is they are a marketplace of ideas," she said. "We can all learn from that." (More)