Week of 11/16/12
Governor McDonnell and Co-Chairs Launch Food Drive to Benefit Virginia Food Banks
(Virginia.gov, November 15, 2012)
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and university presidents Ed Ayers, Ángel Cabrera, John Broderick and Teresa Sullivan today marked the official launch of the Governor's Holiday Hoops Classic Food Drive to benefit Virginia food banks. The four university presidents from the schools competing in this year's Holiday Hoops Classic enthusiastically agreed to join Governor McDonnell to co-chair the food drive. The non-profit Federation of Virginia Food Banks is the official Cause of the Classic, and together with co-chairs, encourages citizens and fans to support their favorite university by supporting their local food bank.
During the holidays, Virginians regularly take time to lend some help to those who are less fortunate and in need. As part of that Virginia tradition, Governor McDonnell chose to partner with the Federation of Virginia Food Banks to support a state and regional food drive to benefit those in need.
"The 2012 Governor's Holiday Hoops Classic will be one of many fun and exciting events for Virginians this holiday season. Unfortunately, not every Virginian is able to fully enjoy this time of the year because of concerns about how they will feed their families," Governor McDonnell said. "That's why I'm pleased to have the university presidents join me as-co-chairs of the Cause of the Classic. The Federation of Virginia Food Banks is a vitally important organization that helps people in need put food on their tables. I encourage you to participate in this food drive and support your local food banks that provide critical assistance in every corner of Virginia for our most needy families. This is a great opportunity for Virginians to support their favorite team by supporting this important cause." ...
"The Old Dominion University community has a proud history of community engagement, volunteerism, and service to others. So we are honored and excited to be a part of Governor McDonnell's Holiday Hoops Classic," said President John R. Broderick. "Students, faculty, staff and friends of Old Dominion are geared up for the friendly rivalry with our higher education colleagues, but more importantly for the good cause toward which we'll all be working." (More)
The destruction of a small business
(Opinion, The Virginian-Pilot, November 16, 2012)
Norfolk's voters made clear last week what they think of government being able to condemn property for private enterprise or economic development.
By a 2-1 margin, they said government should not have that power. Voters in all but four of the city's 49 precincts - and nearly three-quarters of voters in the commonwealth - agreed to amend Virginia's constitution to limit the use of eminent domain.
Such a lopsided vote ought to tell public officials how seriously Virginians take their property rights. An arm of the government should not be able to force a longtime business to move simply because there's a plan for a more upscale shop or apartments or a restaurant.
In a little more than six weeks, that kind of overreach will be unconstitutional. Governments will be able to seize private property only when it is being taken for a public use, for a utility or to remove a public nuisance. Property owners will have to be fairly compensated for the loss of their property and profits.
Unfortunately, the constitutional amendment won't help Howard Everton, whose 71-year-old plastics fabrication business on Killam Avenue is being forced out.
Everton's company, Norva Plastics, is the kind of small business that all politicians, from members of city councils to the president, say anchors America. It employs 17 people. It manufactures sinks and faucets and other equipment for hospitals. It pays $13,000 a year in city taxes.
Its only sin is that it doesn't fit Old Dominion University's vision for the property, first mapped out 14 years ago as part of a mixed-use development called University Village. (More)
Wellesley prof wins poetry award; ODU writer a finalist
(The Virginian-Pilot, November 15, 2012)
David Ferry, a poet and professor emeritus at Wellesley College, won the 2012 National Book Award for poetry for his collection, "Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations."
Tim Seibles, a Norfolk poet and an associate professor at Old Dominion University, was a finalist in the category for his collection, "Fast Animal."
The awards were announced at a ceremony Wednesday night in New York.
The honor is one of the nation's highest for literature. While winners received $10,000 and finalists were awarded $1,000, the aim of the award is increased exposure.
Seibles' book, published by Etruscan Press in February, threads a narrative of memories from his teenage years, and plays on the complexities of race and uncertainty in the early 1970s.
Seibles, 57, is a former fellow from the National Endowment for the Arts and regularly teaches at conferences and workshops on the East Coast. He joined the faculty at Old Dominion in 1995.
As part of the two-day awards extravaganza, Seibles read from "Fast Animal" to a sold-out crowd Tuesday night in New York.
The poem "Ode to My Hands" begins, "Five-legged pocket spiders, knuckled/starfish, grabbers of forks, why/ do I forget that you love me."
The three other finalists in the poetry category were Cynthia Huntington for "Heavenly Bodies," Alan Shapiro for "Night of the Republic," and Susan Wheeler for "Meme." (More)
For retired ODU coach, people count, not numbers
(The Virginian-Pilot, November 15, 2012)
Beth Anders is a coach with few peers, a mentor who played a role in the advancement of field hockey from her days as a high school player in Norristown, Pa., to her final day of coaching last weekend.
As an athlete, Anders was named to national teams for basketball and field hockey. She even won an intercollegiate squash championship in 1970.
She was an Olympian, both as a player and coach.
As ODU's head coach, Anders guided the Lady Monarchs to the NCAA tournament in each of her 30 years. She was the first Division I field hockey coach to reach 500 victories (she's 561-136-7). Her teams won a record nine national field hockey titles - advancing to the Final Four 17 seasons and earning three runner-up finishes.
Anders also was a teacher, writing three books on the game. She held seminars, clinics and summer camps.
Throughout her career, she said the most important thing was the people. (More)
Home sales pick up in Hampton Roads
(The Virginia-Pilot, November 15, 2012)
The number and median price of existing homes sold in South Hampton Roads continued an upward trend in October, while the number of active listings in the region dropped from the same month a year ago, according to a report released Wednesday.
October marked the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year increases in the median price of existing homes sold in South Hampton Roads, and the fourth month of year-over-year increases in the number sold, according to the report from the Real Estate Information Network, a Virginia Beach-based multiple-listing service.
The latest figures from REIN paint a picture of a local residential real estate market that continues to improve, said Vinod Agarwal, professor of economics and director of the Economic Forecasting Project at Old Dominion University.
REIN's report shows 991 existing homes sold last month in South Hampton Roads, up 14.4 percent from October 2011.
The median price of existing homes sold last month was $190,000, which is 5 percent higher than a year ago.
"We believe the housing market appears to be recovering," Agarwal said. However, there is an "alarmingly high rate" of distressed sales, which include homes that are bank-owned or whose owners owe more on their mortgages than the properties sell for. (More)
ODU educator in running for major literary prize
(The Virginian-Pilot, November 14, 2012)
For years, Tim Seibles has scratched revisions to his poetry in Norfolk coffeehouses - his 6-foot-3 frame hunched over tables too small, his oversized headphones canceling out the too-loud world around him.
Tonight, Seibles' work goes before its broadest audience.
In an ornate Wall Street ballroom, with a red carpet and a meet-and-greet with celebrities, Seibles will cap a two-day appearance at the National Book Awards, where he has inserted himself into the conversation about the nation's great poets.
Seibles is a finalist in the poetry category for his collection "Fast Animal." The National Book Award winners will be announced tonight, but the honor - one of the nation's highest for literature - has put him in prestigious company. A committee of judges previously recognized such poets as Allen Ginsberg, Theodore Roethke and William Carlos Williams.
Winners receive $10,000, and finalists are awarded $1,000, but the greater prize is often the increased exposure.
"Tim Seibles is one of America's foremost poets, and this is his best book yet," said Phil Brady, executive director of Etruscan Press, which published "Fast Animal." "The story of what happened to Tim Seibles is what really happened to all of us in the turmoil of the 1970s and 1980s."
Seibles himself sees the award as a rare spell in the spotlight, as well as an opportunity to help make poetry more accessible and ease it from the dominion of cryptic high school English teachers.
"I don't want my poems to be labeled as scholarly. I'm not trying to impress people," he said. "I want poetry to be something the average person thinks about and says, 'Man, I want to read a poem.' "
Seibles grew up dreaming of a career as a wide receiver. Fast, 215 pounds and with giant hands, he made the football team at Southern Methodist University.
But after a spring game in which he barely played following a freshman season, he put away his pads for good.
He enrolled in a creative-writing seminar and focused his energy toward poetry.
He replaced the repetition of hundreds of thousands of catches on Philadelphia's streets with the solitary repetition of writing, editing and revising.
In 1990, he was named a fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts. Five years later, he joined the faculty at Old Dominion University. He is a regular instructor at creative-writing conferences and workshops along the East Coast.
"You're lucky if you get one teacher like Tim in your education," said Dana Heller, the chairwoman of ODU's English department. "He transforms students into masters of their own narrative." (More)
New study on impact of arena in Va. Beach is released
(The Virginian-Pilot, November 14, 2012)
The studies are now all in, and city officials say they know this much: Hampton Roads is ready for big-time sports. What they don't know is how much that might cost. And what they won't confirm is what team they are trying to attract as they work on a deal to build a $350 million arena at the Oceanfront.
The latest report on what the arena would do for the economy, released at Tuesday's City Council meeting, found it would generate more economic impact than an earlier study predicted.
"The more we learn, the more we find we do have a city, a region and a commonwealth to support a professional sports team," Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms said.
Sessoms confirmed he's met with a representative of a sports team and said the team has a "great interest" in coming to Virginia Beach. He did not name the team.
"They have not provided a number for what it will take to make them come here," he said. ...
The study presented Tuesday, done by Texas-based Conventions, Sports & Leisure International, showed the annual revenue for southeastern Virginia generated by an arena would be $152 million, including $92 million in Virginia Beach. It would create 1,900 jobs and $8.9 million in city tax revenue.
The $40,000 study was ordered by the City Council to double-check the first arena study done by Old Dominion University economics professor James Koch. That study, based on data provided to Koch by a company working with city officials on the proposal, said an arena, starting in 2015, would generate $98 million in revenue for the region, including $66 million in Virginia Beach, and create 1,230 jobs. (More)
Chris Christie and Why Politicians Can't Tell the Truth
(The Huffington Post, November 12, 2012)
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is a decent man and represents the people of New Jersey well. He has improved the state in several ways and was a budding star in the Republican Party. He gave a resounding speech at the Republican National Convention that energized the support of the GOP. Gov. Christie made young and old Republicans excited about their future and the possibility of a Republican president in the White House. He fervently supported Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in his bid for the presidency. He bashed President Barack Obama on several valid points during the lead up to the election. Gov. Christie challenged Obama's jobs record, ObamaCare and the state of the economy. He pretty much stated that Obama was unfit for the job in every capacity -- that is until Hurricane Sandy came.
Hurricane Sandy not only destroyed countless homes and caused billions of dollars in damage, it destroyed the political career of one Governor Chris Christie. When Hurricane Sandy beat down on New Jersey and New York many people were left without power, food and water. Help was needed to get people from stranded homes and supplies were necessary on an extremely large scale. Gov. Chris Christie coordinated the rescue and support of millions beautifully. President Barack Obama who came in and provided the people of New Jersey with whatever they needed expedited this process. He was able to cut through the red tape and bureaucracy to help people in their dire time of need. Gov. Chris Christie is a decent man and knows where credit is due so he thanked President Obama for his help and broadcasted those feelings on national television. In this crisis Chris Christie did the right thing and didn't think about political affiliations and said Barack Obama the man, not the Democrat helped the people of New Jersey. Too bad the GOP contingent believes that political affiliations never rest, even in crisis. ...
(Ronnie Cameron, a member of the Cleveland Browns, played defensive end for the ODU Monarchs) (More)
Space debris collisions could rise due to CO2 buildup: study
(The Vancouver Province, November 12, 2012)
More satellites and orbiting debris could collide in the upper atmosphere because a buildup of carbon dioxide (CO) has reduced the "drag effect" which can eventually send some space junk back down to Earth, a study shows.
Over the past eight years, CO concentrations in the upper atmosphere have risen from burning fossil fuels that have warmed the Earth's surface and caused temperatures to increase, the study in the journal Nature Geoscience said.
This can result in a cooler, less dense atmosphere above a 90-km altitude, the study said, adding that this "will reduce atmospheric drag on satellites and may have adverse consequences for the orbital debris environment that is already unstable".
Less drag, or friction, in the upper atmosphere means space debris such as redundant satellites and defunct rocket bodies will stay at a certain altitude for longer, increasing the risk of collisions.
Global temperatures are now about 0.8 degree C above pre-industrial times.
Two degrees is viewed as a threshold to dangerous change, including more powerful storms like Sandy that struck the United States this month, more heat waves, droughts and rising sea levels.
The scientists, from the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, Old Dominion University in Virginia, University of Waterloo in Ontario and the University of York in Britain, used satellite data to study changes in CO concentrations at a 101-km altitude between 2004 and 2012 and found that CO rose significantly over that time.(More)
The Fiscal Cliff Is a Good Thing
(The Virginian-Pilot, November 11, 2012)
By Howard Richman, Raymond Richman, and Jesse Richman
The entire discussion of the "fiscal cliff" has things a bit backward. People talk of "going off" the fiscal cliff -- and the natural image is of the disaster that awaits one who tumbles from the edge of a precipice. Instead, perhaps we should say "running into" the fiscal cliff -- the cliff being a force that stops a tumble.
The term "fiscal cliff" refers to the combination of two major policy changes due to go into effect in January 2013: ...
The authors maintain a blog at www.idealtaxes.com and co-authored the 2008 book Trading Away Our Future. Dr. Howard Richman teaches economics online. Dr. Jesse Richman is associate professor of political science at Old Dominion University. Dr. Raymond Richman received his economics doctorate at the U. of Chicago from Milton Friedman. (More)
Space collisions could rise due to more CO2 - study
(Reuters, November 12, 2012)
More satellites and orbiting debris could collide in the upper atmosphere because a buildup of carbon dioxide (CO2) has reduced the "drag effect" which can eventually send some space junk back down to Earth, a study shows.
Over the past eight years CO2 concentrations in the upper atmosphere have risen from burning fossil fuels that have warmed the Earth's surface and caused temperatures to increase, the study in the journal Nature Geoscience said.
This can result in a cooler, less dense atmosphere above a 90-km (55-mile) altitude, the study said, adding that this "will reduce atmospheric drag on satellites and may have adverse consequences for the orbital debris environment that is already unstable". ...
The scientists, from the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, Old Dominion University in Virginia, University of Waterloo in Ontario and the University of York in Britain, used satellite data to study changes in CO2 concentrations at a 101-km altitude between 2004 and 2012 and found that CO2 rose significantly over that time. (More)
Amid cloudy future, many businesses stockpiling cash
(The Virginian-Pilot, November 12, 2012)
Gary Barlow would like to spend $80,000 to $100,000 upgrading the fuel dispensers at his family's truck stop in Chesapeake.
But rather than stash away cash for a major investment in Frank's Trucking Center, Barlow said, he's spent the past couple of years saving for a rainy day.
"We're really trying to save all our money just to make sure we get by day-to-day first," Barlow said. "I'm not really sure what's going to happen next year."
Since the economy tanked in 2008, businesses have been saving money in record sums, and capital expenditures have not yet returned to the pre-recession level of 2007, according to records from the Federal Reserve.
Local business owners and economists say a fog of economic and political uncertainty hanging over Hampton Roads and the rest of the nation has driven big and small businesses alike to save rather than invest.
"These are dollars that could be used to hire employees, to purchase new equipment, to expand, and right now, they're sitting on the sidelines," said Jim Koch, a professor of economics and former president of Old Dominion University.
The impact of that hesitancy on the nation's economic recovery is clear, Koch said: "It's slowing it down." (More)
An unforgotten war that never ends
(The Virginian-Pilot, November 11, 2012)
Before he talks about the young Marine who died on top of him in a foxhole in Korea, Sgt. Floyd Newkirk recalls the one time his unit got real brewed coffee and doughnuts so fresh from the fryer that they left oil rings on their leather gloves.
A few years ago, Newkirk met a man selling Korean War paraphernalia, including a pair of old leather gloves. He flipped them over.
Sure enough, there was a little half-circle oil stain on each palm. One sniff took Newkirk right back to the frozen Korean roadside where tired troops got a taste of home.
Once Newkirk unlocked the memories of Korea he'd kept inside for so long, pieces of the past kept showing up. ...
Locally, Korean community members participate in the annual veterans reunion, preparing Korean food and giving a children's traditional dance performance. Lea Lee, an ODU education professor and president of the Tidewater Korean Association, says it's a chance to say thank you.
"Korea went from nothing to what it is because of the veterans," Lee said. "Korea developed into a modern nation of success. I attribute it to the veterans and their death-facing sacrifice. (More)
Military letters serve as art aboard The Tide
(The Virginian-Pilot, November 11, 2012)
Starting this weekend, light-rail passengers will have something to read besides what's in their backpacks and totes. Real letters between military service members and their families will be displayed for about two months on the trains and in eight shelter stations as part of an art project.
"The Tide That Brings Us Home" consists of 33 printed cards tucked in slots usually slated for advertising on The Tide. Instead of selling jeans, the letters, photos, maps and drawings offer a moving glimpse into the personal lives of local military families over two centuries.
Norfolk artist Cheryl White wanted the piece, conceived this spring, to premiere either on Veterans Day or Memorial Day. However, she said, "this isn't a memorial project."
The Norfolk Public Art Program put out a call to artists in early spring, requesting ideas for temporary public art projects. White's $4,000 project was commissioned and will remain on display through Jan. 3. She teaches art history at Old Dominion University and is curatorial coordinator at the Chrysler Museum of Art.
"The letters are really lovely," said Karen Rudd, who heads the city's Cultural Affairs and who proofread each letter. "As you read them, there's such a sense of longing for Norfolk." (More)