Week of 11/25/13
Ex-president of ODU profiles Caterpillar in new book
(The Virginian-Pilot, November 25, 2013)
For his new book, former Old Dominion University President James Koch sought a company that embodied the best in business. He found it in his native Illinois - Caterpillar Inc., which makes construction and mining equipment.
Co-written with a former student, Craig Bouchard, "The Caterpillar Way" was until recently No. 8 on the New York Times business best-seller list.
Caterpillar inched back from $1 million-a-day losses in the early 1980s in part by penetrating the world's markets, said Koch, an economist. Caterpillar, based in Peoria, sells most of its equipment overseas - a rarity, Koch said, for a U.S. manufacturer.
It "plays hardball in terms of labor relations," he said last week. "Whether or not you admire that," Koch said, that stance made Caterpillar among the first companies to win concessions from the United Auto Workers union.
The company also takes a long-term view on financial results, gives managers wide leeway to run their divisions and embraces its Midwestern roots, he said.
Caterpillar is facing a rough time this year. A week ago, it announced the closing of its Pulaski, Va., plant, which employs 240 people. Koch praised the company for "willing to go in and cut costs immediately," including reducing executive salaries. (More)
Genealogy | History is in Va. Beach professor's blood
(The Virginian-Pilot, Nov. 22, 2013)
He's found at least 12 kings of England.
And two rulers of France.
Several names on the piece of paper are connected to this nation's founding fathers, and the chart practically bleeds with Virginia blue bloods.
Here and there, the names written in cursive are well-known murderers and some of history's hellions.
And no one could have been more surprised by all of this than David Neff, a Virginia Beach history professor who saw that the names were connected to him.
He learned this while tinkering in his home office, when he looked behind a door and spied a rolled-up paper, leaning there like a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. ...
History to Neff is like air, water and Oreo cookies to other people; studying it has always been one of the 52-year-old's basic necessities - likely because his past has always been part of his present.
Neff lives near one of the area's iconic landmarks, the Cavalier Hotel, which happened to have been designed by his grandfather, Clarence A. Neff. The younger Neff went to school at Old Dominion University, where his grandfather also drew up plans for Foreman Field and nearby Maury High School. (More)
JFK's local visits seared in memories
(The Virginian-Pilot, Nov. 24, 2013)
The U.S. senator flew into a small Norfolk municipal airport on his campaign plane known as "The Caroline."
He climbed into a red convertible and rode down Little Creek Road, onto Newport Avenue.
The reaction at the athletic field behind Granby High School was consistent and loud: "Jack!"
Days before the 1960 presidential election, then-Democratic nominee John F. Kennedy created a frenzy at his campaign rally.
The newspaper figured 12,000 packed the school's playing field. Perhaps a few thousand more lined the route from the airport to the rally. Kennedy, tanned and youthful, soaked in the admiration.
His speech was boilerplate and brief. The memories are vivid and long. ...
Arn Salasky was 13 when he walked over to the rally, early, with his Polaroid camera and a friend. They squeezed to the front of the crowd, a few yards from the podium.
"The guy, the era," Salasky said, "it was like a rock star."
Salasky was inspired. He studied political science at Old Dominion University and became a life-long Democrat. (More)
Medal of Honor recipient speaks at Old Dominion University
(Peninsula Warrior, November 22, 2013)
Medal of Honor recipient Sal Giunta, former U.S. Army staff sergeant, spoke about his military experiences at Old Dominion University in Norfolk Nov. 14.
Giunta was the first living Service member to receive the nation's highest military honor since the Vietnam War, and is currently one of only 13 recipients to receive the medal for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Giunta was invited speak as part of ODU's President's Lecture Series, a program aimed to bring speakers to the university's campus to share knowledge, experiences and accomplishments. Past speakers have included scientists, writers, educators, historians and other prominent figures in a variety of fields.
Giunta shared his story, from his enlistment to his Medal of Honor ceremony and memories spent with his brothers in arms.
"I am nobody special," Giunta prefaced with his well-known humility. "I just did what every person in the military would do; what is in their job description." (More)
Hampton Roads historian remembers JFK 50 years later
(Video, WVEC-TV, Nov. 22, 2013)
(Professor Emeritus William Whitehurst was interviewed by WVEC-TV's Mike Gooding for an anniversary story on the shooting of John F. Kennedy). (More)
ODU hosts student veterans conference
(WAVY-TV, November 21, 2013)
For the first time ever, Old Dominion University is hosting a statewide conference for student veterans.
The event called "Stairway to Success" will be held at the Ted Convocation Center on Friday.
Organizers say student veterans will learn from some very prominent names in service. Speakers include the Virginia Secretary of Veterans Affairs & Homeland and a former NAVY Seal.
If you are interested in going, registration for the conference starts at 8 a.m. and the event runs until 2 p.m.
For more info, click here. (More)
Next state roads chief has ties to Hampton Roads
(The Virginian-Pilot, Nov. 22, 2013)
Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe is set to name Aubrey L. Layne Jr. as his pick for Virginia's next transportation secretary, a choice that would give someone well-versed in Hampton Roads' traffic and highway concerns a powerful role with the incoming administration.
Layne's selection is expected to be announced this morning at Norfolk International Terminals, according to people familiar with the process.
McAuliffe's administration on Thursday described the event as a "major personnel announcement" but declined to comment on whether Layne would be named then.
Layne, an accountant and two-term member of the Commonwealth Transportation Board, which allocates state road money, has not returned messages this week. ...
Layne, a certified public accountant with an MBA degree from Old Dominion University, was president of Great Atlantic Properties, a property-management and construction business, until he accepted an offer late last year to lead An Achievable Dream, a nonprofit, Newport News-based school program for low-income students. (More)
4 baby turtles say goodbye to aquarium, 4 arrive
(The Virginian-Pilot, Nov. 22, 2013)
Four baby sea turtles, each about the size of a tomato, have arrived at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center to be cared for by the aquatics staff.
The loggerhead turtles hatched from a relocated nest at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge on Aug. 14 and have been cared for by aquarium staff "behind the scenes" since then, according to an aquarium news release.
The babies were about the size of two AA batteries and now weigh about a pound. They will be monitored as they grow in the Sea Turtle Nursery exhibit. They also will participate in swim studies with Old Dominion University researchers.
The hatchlings took the place of four other turtles, now a year old, that will hitch a ride with the Coast Guard to the Gulf Stream. (More)
3 Va. sailors charged in connection with attempted robbery, possible hate crime
(The Virginian-Pilot, Nov. 22, 2013)
Three junior sailors and two civilian men are facing charges of assault, attempted robbery and a hate crime following an October incident at Old Dominion University, according to a campus news release.
The men are charged with attacking a student on the night of Oct. 19, holding him down and attempting to steal his wallet before leaving the scene without property.
The victim of the attack - a white male, school spokesman Jennifer Mullen Collins said - was likely targeted because of his race, investigators told WTKR-TV in Norfolk.
Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Christopher T. Osborne, 19, is assigned to the carrier Theodore Roosevelt at Norfolk. He is charged with attempted robbery, conspiracy, felony assault and battery "because of such person's race," and assault by mob, the release said.
Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Recruit Dache Lamel Livermon Jr., 20, is a Chesapeake, Va., native whose duty station was not included in personnel records provided by the Navy. He is charged with making a false statement to police. (More)
War gamer to open headquarters in Hampton
(The Daily Press, November 21, 2013)
Threat Tec, a firm that role-plays the "enemy" in live and virtual scenarios for Army training and decision-making, is spending "seven figures" to open its new headquarters in Langley Research and Development Park in Hampton.
"Our job is to really keep the Army on their toes," Threat Tec founder James Crawford of York County said.
While sequestration or other federal spending cuts worry most government contractors, Crawford anticipates budget constraints could help create more work or opportunities for virtual training and simulations.
The 24,317-square-foot Hampton headquarters at 34 Research Drive will house simulators and give Threat Tec's staff space to study foreign countries and create battle plans for off-site tabletop war games and live training exercises with Army personnel. The team, including highly trained veterans, studies Army tactics and uses simulation software or games to develop threats as if Threat Tec staff were a particular enemy, Crawford explained. ...
About 6,000 jobs are advertised for modeling and simulation engineers across the country, with 700 of those jobs advertised in Virginia, said John Sokolowski, executive director of the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center
"The whole virtual modeling and simulation environment continues to grow, certainly, from the military standpoint," Sokolowski said. "There's clearly a demand for professionals in this area to support the work that's going on." (More)
7% of fish in Gulf waters face extinction threat
(Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) Times-Leader, Nov. 20, 2013)
Experts from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, the UAE and Iran met with experts and representatives of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) at the workshop to assess the likelihood of extinction of marine fish in the Gulf under the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria.
The primary causes of decline in the populations of fishes are overexploitation for commercial fisheries and widespread coral reef habitat degradation and modification, it was pointed out at the workshop, run by the Global Marine Species Assessment (GMSA), Qatar University (QU) and Qatar Museums Authority (QMA), with the support of the Qatar National Research Fund.
A total of 286 species were assessed, including the Hamour (Epinephelus coioides), Chanad (Scomberomorus commerson) and Hamra (Lutjanus malabaricus). ...
Improved knowledge of the conservation status of the fishes in the Gulf will not only allow us to combat the loss of biodiversity and plan for future climate change impacts in the region but will enable region-specific conservation actions to be enacted.
"Additional region-specific assessments are needed in order to understand how local pressures interact and how these threats are best mitigated through strengthened regional management initiatives," added Dr Kent Carpenter, lead principal investigator and initiator of the project from Old Dominion University and the manager of the Marine Biodiversity Unit of the IUCN Global Species Programme. (More)
Go, Benjamin, go
(Letter, The Virginian-Pilot, Nov. 21, 2013)
Re 'Thrillin' the crowd' (front page, Nov. 19): Thank you, Benjamin Goldberg and the Old Dominion University band for the musical performance at last week's football game.
I did not attend the game, but just reading about it in The Pilot provided an upbeat moment for me as well. It was truly inspiring to see the picture of Benjamin leading the band and feeling energized enough to dance.
His courage gave me a chuckle and left me with a smile. It was indeed a gift.
Dale Harrell, Chesapeake (More)
City officials are neighbors in Portsmouth
(The Virginian-Pilot, Nov. 20, 2013)
The small subdivision with million-dollar houses and a night watchman is named The Estates at River Pointe. But it could be called City Hall West.
Seven of its 34 houses are occupied by current or former city officials, including three sitting City Council members.
The clustering raises questions about whether it's healthy for a city to have three elected officials living on the same block, especially when some of those council members have been at odds lately, leading to an awkward interaction or two.
"I would say it must be a little tense on Estates" Lane, City Councilwoman Elizabeth Psimas said.
Stretching out into the Elizabeth River, the neighborhood is one of the few gated communities in Portsmouth. Ponds sit on both sides of the subdivision entrance. Large brick homes, many with matching brick mailboxes, rest on property with grass so vibrant it looks artificial. ...
The living situation on Estates Lane struck Old Dominion University professor Jesse Richman as an "extreme case" of the clustering that's possible with an at-large system.
The concentration of council members, Richman said, could lessen the chances that the City Council reflects the needs and views of all Portsmouth residents.
"The potential pitfall is that all of them are looking at the city from the perspective from living in a particular part of it," said Richman, an associate professor of political science. (More)
Volunteers create artwork using reflective bird tape at Virginia Zoo
(The Washington Post/Associated Press, November 18, 2013)
Artists are using their skills to help reduce the risk of birds flying into animal exhibit windows at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk.
Three volunteers created artwork using reflective bird tape at the zoo's tiger pool and otter-gibbon viewing areas.
The Virginia Zoo has been working with Old Dominion University to study the correlation of different patterns of bird tape to bird strikes on large windows.
The species of bird that concerns zoo officials is the yellow-rumped warbler. The bird tape will be removed at the end of the month when the birds' migration period ends. (More)
MU speaker is announced
(Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) Times-Leader, Nov. 19, 2013)
Timothy Seibles, an American poet and English and creative writing professor at Old Dominion University, will deliver the commencement address at Misericordia University's third annual winter graduation ceremony on Dec. 14 at 2 p.m. in the Anderson Sports and Health Center on campus that will also feature the first graduating class from the entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy program.
A baccalaureate Mass will precede the ceremony in the Anderson Center at 10:30 a.m.
Seibles is returning to campus after being the keynote speaker at the 22nd Annual Diversity Institute Dinner in February at which he presented a reading of his most recent collection of poems, "Fast Animal." Misericordia will present him with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at the commencement. (More)
HHS, OKMS launch new theater venture
(Mechanicsville Local/Richmond Times-Dispatch, Nov. 20, 2013)
Elise Boyd has years of experience under her belt in show business, and not just on stage.
Boyd, who most recently was managing director at the Sycamore Rouge Professional Theatre Company in Petersburg, said she aims to use her professional experience to turn the theater program at Hanover High School and Oak Knoll Middle School into more than just a drama club. ...
Boyd said she's excited to return to teaching.
A 2004 graduate of James Madison University with a degree in theater and dance, Boyd is pursuing a master's in special education from Old Dominion University.
Before taking her position with Sycamore Rouge, which closed in July, she spent six years as a middle school teacher in her native Chesterfield County.
"I get to experience their discoveries," Boyd said. "Every day, they experience something different and new. It's great to see them actually learning instead of just receiving information - those 'a-ha' moments. That's what I enjoy the most about it." (More)
Lewiston native speaker at civil rights conference
(Connection Sun Journal (Lewiston, NY), Nov. 20, 2013)
Maurice R. Berube, Eminent Scholar Emeritus from Old Dominion University in Virginia and a native of Lewiston, will be a major speaker at a civil rights conference in New York on Nov. 25.
Berube was a major player in the community control/civil rights movement in New York, writing four of his 13 books on that chapter in New York history.
He is a 1950 graduate of Lewiston High School and also St. Patrick's Catholic School. He last visited Lewiston three years ago for a high school reunion.
Among his books are "Confrontation at Ocean-Hill Brownsville," "American Presidents and Education" and "Teacher Politics."
Berube is married to former Clair Newbold with whom he co-authored two books. They have a son, John. (More)