Week of 3/24/14
Colleges struggle with turning veterans into graduates
(The Virginian-Pilot, March 22, 2014)
Two combat tours in Iraq and 20 years in the Marines made Ray Garcia a different kind of college student. ...
Five years after the Post-9/11 GI Bill began, giving recent veterans and service members greater benefits for higher education, more than a million have tapped into the program. There is no precise data about how well veterans fare. But studies suggest that large numbers are not making it to graduation.
Trying to ease the transition, both TCC and Old Dominion University in Norfolk have put in place services specifically for veterans. At TCC, military and veterans centers link veterans to services and to each other. ODU is creating a similar one-stop shop for vets.
Both colleges are also educating their staffs and faculties on disabilities that some veterans shoulder, including signs of trauma or crisis, and exploring ways to draw veterans - particularly combat veterans - out of anonymity.
Earlier this year, ODU held a faculty seminar on post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, stressing the need to keep calm when a student exhibits the kind of agitation associated with those problems. ...
Michael Thompson looks slightly restless during an evening graduate class on public administration at ODU.
He shifts in his seat, stretching his neck, first to one side, then the other.
It's not antsiness, however, that keeps Thompson in motion. The former Navy riverine was injured - first in training, then during operations in Iraq. He jammed his neck, shattered his upper arm, damaged his wrist and compressed discs in his back. He deployed to Iraq with a metal plate in his arm and injured both his shoulders. ...
In his graduate class, five of the 20 students are either in the military or are veterans. This evening, they're discussing organizational structures and the cultures that develop in them. Take the Marines, Professor Bill Leavitt prods. ...
Veterans can also get frustrated when classmates offer opinions about things they haven't seen, says Kathleen Levingston, director of ODU's Military Connection Center and an instructor in the Department of Counseling and Human Services.
"What I try to stress with them is, instead of getting angry or frustrated, that's a teachable moment," she says. "You have experience you could share if you decided to." (More)
Maglev rail isn't the way
(Editorial, The Virginian-Pilot, March 18, 2014)
Saving $700 million by using new technology is understandably alluring to a city facing a $1 billion bill to build a light rail system to the Oceanfront.
But members of the Virginia Beach City Council appear so enamored of the possibilities for a solar-powered magnetic-levitation train - An extension to the Navy base! Another to Greenbrier! - that they're losing sight of reality.
Two other companies propose extending Norfolk's electric-powered light rail line to Rosemont Road. The mayor has said state money is available to help with the costs.
If Virginia Beach pursues the system proposed by American Maglev Technology Inc. - the same company that promised in 1999 to deliver a maglev transportation system at Old Dominion University by late 2002 - it shows a gullibility uncharacteristic of the commonwealth's most populous city.
Under the proposal AMT president Tony Morris submitted, his company - at no cost to the city - would build a pilot system, with a train propelled inches above the tracks using electrified magnets.
The project would run between the former Dome site and the Convention Center, or even farther west if federal safety approval - which the technology doesn't have - requires it. (More)
Ports Jockey for Post-Panamax "Pole Position"
(Hellenic Shipping News, March 24, 2014)
The old saying goes: "location, location, location." For the Panama Canal, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, location is not the issue. Perhaps the saying should be revised to "money, timing, and even more money."
One of the world's greatest engineering and construction feats, the Panama Canal, opened for business in 1914. Today an estimated 5 to 6 percent of world cargo volume traverses the 50-mile waterway. One hundred years later, one of the world's largest construction projects - a $5.25 billion expansion project at the same location - is nearing completion, but cost overruns to the tune of $1.6 billion have added a new and somewhat complicated dimension to the story.
The expansion project, which today is about 75 percent complete, will double the canal's capacity with a third traffic lane and a more environmentally friendly set of locks, as well as the widening and deepening of new and existing channels so that it will easily accommodate most of the world's largest containerships, which carry 12,000 to 13,000 twenty-foot-equivalent units, or TEUs. ...
Virginia: The Port of Virginia at Hampton Roads has a strategic position and infrastructure, including inland rail connections, which makes it perhaps the most "canal-ready" of East Coast ports. Channel depth is already at 50 feet at Hampton Roads, and there are plans to go to 55 feet at Norfolk. It has room for terminal expansion and is served by the Norfolk Southern and CSX railroads with no bridge or tunnel impediments that exist at other major ports. Hampton Roads has the potential to have inland trade connections far toward the West, according to Sara E. Russell, a maritime trade scholar at Old Dominion University. The port handled a record 2.2 million TEUs last year, its highest total since 2007. Rail cargo comprised 34 percent of the port's total container traffic, and the port added two new services, the G6 CEC Suez service and the Zim ZCP Asia-Panama Canal service. Its intermodal volume also increased due to growth on Norfolk Southern's Heartland Corridor. (More)
Newport News Shipbuilding Receives Regional Economic Impact Award
(Yahoo Finance/Newport News Shipbuilding, March 22, 2014)
Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced today that its Newport News Shipbuilding division received the Economics Club of Hampton Roads' Economic Impact Award. The annual award, which recognizes the shipyard's annual economic impact of more than $5.5 billion, was presented Friday to Newport News Shipbuilding President Matt Mulherin at a luncheon held at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott.
"We are fortunate to live in, work in and contribute toward the Hampton Roads region, one of Virginia's strongest and most robust economies," Mulherin said. "We take our role as the commonwealth's largest industrial employer very seriously, and we appreciate the recognition this award affords us."
The Economics Club of Hampton Roads is an organization for business and government executives and community leaders who share an interest in the practical implications of economic principles, trends and events. It was established in 1991 as a community service by Old Dominion University's former president, James V. Koch, and is administered by the dean of the College of Business and Public Administration under the supervision of an elected board. (More)
Lobster authority offers tips for catching in season's final week
(The Miami Herald, March 17, 2014)
Broward County lobster-catching guru Jim "Chiefy" Mathie and two companions caught a total of 12 lobsters in a day of scuba diving in waters 45 to 55 feet deep off Hillsboro Inlet last week. The divers released two of the largest because they were females with eggs, and the 10 they kept were scattered all along the second reef in low-relief areas.
"We're picking up onesies and twosies - no big clusters of them," said Mathie, a retired division chief with the Deerfield Beach Fire Department. "A couple weeks ago, we got our limit. You can see it's thinning out. It's slowing down." ...
Even for experts, catching lobster by snare or net and tickler stick is not as easy today as in the heydays of the late 1990s. Since 2000, annual commercial landings - considered a good gauge of plenitude - have fallen from the 5-million-to-7-million-pound range to about the 3-million-to-5 1/2-million-pound range.
Tom Matthews, an associate research scientist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in Marathon, says a lobster virus first detected in 2000 is a prime suspect in the loss of up to one-third of juvenile bugs over the past 13 years. Scientists from Virginia's Old Dominion University and the University of Florida are trying to get a handle on it, but where it came from and how it spreads remain a mystery. The virus is not harmful to people. (More)
Change the region's name again? Panelists split.
(The Virginian-Pilot, March 18, 2014)
A panel last week said the "Cool Factor" to attract young professionals to the region depends at least a bit on its name. But they weren't crazy about Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms' recent suggestion that we dump "Hampton Roads" in favor of "Coastal Virginia."
" 'Coastal Virginia' does not tell you anything about where we are," said Drew Ungvarsky, CEO and creative director of Grow, a multimedia marketing agency in downtown Norfolk. Just as "Coastal California" wouldn't tell you anything about a particular region of that state.
"It's not a good idea," agreed Jennifer Eichert, owner of Mermaid Winery in Norfolk. "There are still people that say 'Tidewater.' It would be a "big nightmare," she said, to change to yet another name.
But a few panelists advocated just that. Their suggestion: Something like "Virginia Beach-Norfolk Metro Area."
"Like it or not, we have two major cities, and then we have smaller cities," said Alonzo Brandon, vice president for university advancement at Old Dominion University. "No one knows where Hampton Roads is. No one knows where Tidewater is." (More)
At Work With | Maggie Birmingham, owner of Experience Olives and Grapes Fusti Bar, Chesapeake
(The Virginian-Pilot, March 23, 2014)
As told to Pilot business editor Dave Mayfield
I'm originally from McAllen, Texas. I joined the Navy and I served for one term. I wanted to be in the dental field, but went in as a radioman. I worked on a tugboat, in the office. I met my husband, Rob, in the Navy. He was a deep-sea diver.
After I got out of the Navy, I decided to go to Old Dominion University, and I graduated with a bachelor's in dental hygiene. I practiced for almost 15 years and when my husband retired in 2011, we traveled to Italy.
That's where I really fell in love with olive oil. I'd used it all the time because I always thought it was good. But their olive oil, it was different from what I was used to.
We stayed at a place where we learned how to make pasta. We were there at the end of November, so they had just pressed their olive oil from these groves of trees that were just beautiful. Their olive oil was delicious. And they don't drizzle, like we do here. They splash. When I looked at my meal, it was, "Oh, my goodness! That's a lot of olive oil."
Maybe a year and a half or so later, I went to the Greek Festival in Norfolk, and there were two gentlemen there selling olive oil from their town in Greece. And I was like, "Wow, it would be really cool to just go all over the place and sell it."
A week or so later I was down in North Carolina and there was a little place similar to what I have here now. And I came home and I said to my husband, "I know what I'm going to do. I'm going to change careers." (More)
Report: Anti-piracy a market opportunity for Hampton Roads companies
(The Daily Press, March 20, 2014)
If the U.S. military shifts its focus to the Pacific, Hampton Roads could use its defense-related manufacturing base to enter new commercial markets like underwater drones, naval and port secruity and meeting an increased demand for anti-piracy efforts. That's according to a report released by Old Dominion University and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.
And it's with these new markets that small and mid-sized companies have a chance to snatch up some business as powerhouses like Huntington Ingalls concentrate on larger contracts. The ODU report identified 35 small or medium-sized firms in Hampton Roads that could produce maritime defense products for export.
Virginia firms could also help in repurposing offline military ships for foreign buyers or in retrofitting cargo ships and fishing trawlers for better security. The ODU report identified BAE Systems shipyard in Norfolk as a potential player in this market with the ability to produce patrol boats.
Other products or services could be sensors and detection systems, cyberwarfare, supporting information technology, maintenance and research and development. (More)
(Style Weekly, March 17, 2014)
While Virginia's largest electricity utility enjoyed smooth sailing in the halls of the General Assembly, renewable-energy advocates struggled to get a foothold this session.
Dominion Virginia Power - which relies overwhelmingly on fossil-fuel and nuclear power generation - easily achieved its top priority in the 2014 session: legislative permission to write off some $400 million it's spent planning a nuclear plant that may never be built.
In contrast, advocates of renewable energy failed to achieve their top legislative objective: an incentive program aimed at encouraging installation of solar, wind and other such systems.
The differing fates of the two electric-power initiatives provide a telling glimpse of the political-power dynamics in Richmond.
The renewable-energy measure started on an ambitious note. In its original form, it would have authorized up to $100 million a year in tax credits for installing systems that derive energy from sunlight, wind, falling water, biomass, waste, landfill gas, wave motion, tides or geothermal power. ...
David Botkins, a Dominion spokesman, counters that the utility is undertaking several renewable-energy initiatives. He cites a planned series of large-scale rooftop solar installations, the first one on the campus of Old Dominion University; a proposal to build two test wind turbines off the Virginia Beach Oceanfront; and the conversion of three coal-consuming generating plants to use biomass material.
"We are in the mix in renewables in a big way," Botkins says. (More)
A childhood in New Zealand and imagination combine for unique food
(The Martinsville Bulletin, March 18, 2014)
Jennifer Lavinder of Ridgeway draws from a background that combines both New Zealand and American traditions as she creates her meals.
The 34-year-old spent the first half of her life in New Zealand. Her father, Michael Bender, was a missionary there until the family moved to Martinsville when Lavinder was 17 years old.
In Martinsville, her father was the pastor at Druid Hills Baptist Church for a few years before he moved to Michigan. Her uncle, Dennis Bender, owned a bookstore in Martinsville.
She married Matthew Lavinder less than a year after her father left. The newlyweds moved to the beach, where she worked and her husband studied at Old Dominion University.
When it was time to raise a family, the couple moved back to Martinsville. She stayed home with the children, Grace, now 9, and Logan, 7, until she started classes in 2009. She is slated for May graduation from the nursing program at Patrick Henry Community College. Her husband is a programmer for Data Management Inc. in Stoneville.
Much of the food in New Zealand is similar to American food, Lavinder said: "A standard plate has meat, vegetables and potato."
New Zealand is part of the British Commonwealth, she added, so the food also is similar to British cooking. Fish and chips are popular there. People eat with a fork and knife in each hand, as opposed to just holding a fork as in America. (More)
A satellite campus
(Suffolk News-Herald, March 18, 2014)
(A profile of the ODU Tri-Cities Center) (More)
Walk | Looking for men to wear heels for women
(The Virginian-Pilot, March 17, 2014)
Today, at noon, members of the Old Dominion University men's basketball team will don a pair of high heels and walk around Kaufman Mall, the green space in front of Webb University Center.
They didn't lose a bet. Instead, they volunteered to participate in the school's Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event, hosted by the ODU Women's Center.
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is an international men's march to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence, according to www.walkamileinhershoes.org. Men walk one mile in a pair of women's high-heeled shoes. It's about awareness and funding programs, such as rape crisis services - like those provided by the YWCA of South Hampton Roads and The Center for Sexual Assault Survivors in Newport News.
Word is, ODU president John Broderick will speak at today's walk. No word on whether or not he will wear heels. (Probably not.) Either way, hopefully, someone will take pictures of the event and share them on Twitter with the hashtag #walkamileinhershoes... or something like that.
ODU's walk is actually a walk up (Sorry!) to two general public Walk a Mile in Her Shoes events. (More)
The Editor Speaks: When is a whistleblower a snitch?
(Opinion, Cayman Islands News, March 18, 2014)
I have already done an Editorial on "The persecution of whistleblowers" see iNews Cayman November 14 2013 at: http://www.ieyenews.com/wordpress/the-editor-speaks-the-persecution-of-whistleblowers/
In that Editorial I stated: "Here in Cayman we don't have too many Whistleblowers but we do have our activists who also face persecution.....".
Almost prophetically I said, "Anyone whistleblowing on his employer who sees fraud, mismanagement must be a very brave man or woman. Especially, if the organization is large and well known. If it's a government, you are in big trouble."
Even further I said, "The whistleblowers I am afraid will become a figment very soon. Gone are the days they were hailed as heroes.
"They are traitors every one." ...
D.E. Wittkower, a philosopher at Old Dominion university put it well in an article he wrote in Speakeasy when he said:
"....while the violation of trust involved in whistleblowing makes it deeply questionable, that trust has a flip side: the fact that only trusted members of organizations have access to certain information puts them not only in a relationship of special trust with their organization, but also into a relationship of special trust with the rest of society. The entrusted organization member has a responsibility to the organization to keep the private information private, but she has a responsibility to the public as well, as one of a very small number of members of the public who has access to this information. ..." (More)
Ideas flow on how to make Hampton Roads cooler
(Bloomberg Businessweek/The Virginian-Pilot, March 19, 2014)
What'll it take to elevate Hampton Roads' "cool factor?"
More free cultural events. Bike lanes and paths. A deeper network of public transportation.
At a seminar Tuesday, panelists pitched ideas on how to attract young professionals and voiced prognoses ranging from bleak to upbeat.
Alonzo Brandon, vice president for university advancement at Old Dominion University, said he recently polled younger employees about their future whereabouts. "Most of them thought the region was nice," Brandon said, "but they had no plans to live here more than five years."
He'd probably feel the same if he were their age, Brandon said. "We have all the ingredients for the cake, but we don't have the wherewithal to put it all together." (More)
Women of distinction
(The Virginian-Pilot, March 19, 2014)
"I'm Every Woman" blasted through the speakers at the Waterside Marriott last week as a parade of women strutted into the crowded ballroom.
Each of those women had been previously honored with the YWCA's annual "Women of Distinction" award. And they fist-pumped, danced and applauded along with the audience in support of this year's crop of honorees, 11 women from disparate fields. ...
The list of past honorees highlights generations of women leaders and activists in our region: former Virginia Beach Mayor Meyera Oberndorf; child abuse activist Betty Wade Coyle; state Sen. Yvonne Miller; the 1997 Old Dominion University Women's basketball team, coaches and staff.
The awards lunch falls during women's history month; I didn't even know it was women's history month until midway through my salad. Shame on me. (More)
Va higher ed council holding Tuesday meeting
(The Washington Post, March 18, 2014)
The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia is set to meet in Norfolk to discuss the statewide strategic plan for higher education and consider new degree programs.
The council is scheduled to hold its regular business meeting on Tuesday at Old Dominion University.
Officials are set to hear a presentation regarding the textbook-free degree program at Tidewater Community College.
It also will consider a proposal from George Mason University for a master's degree program in computer game design.
Longwood University is seeking program approval for an education master's degree program in librarianship. (More)
Worker financial literacy is an asset
(Yahoo Finance, March 18, 2014)
We all want more productive employees. Getting more out of the people you already have is obviously far more cost-effective than hiring to pick up the slack. The question is how to squeeze blood from that proverbial rock.
One logical approach would be to analyze the main causes of workplace distraction for employees and then determine how to eliminate those distractions and ultimately get more done.
Studies have shown stress to be one of the leading causes of workplace distraction, forcing roughly people to miss work and costing businesses as much as billions of dollars in lost productivity each year.
Even when employees are present in body, they aren't always operating at full capacity. Sleep deprivation, for example, robs us of billions in productivity a year, according to Harvard Medical School.
You, therefore, have to wonder: What are the leading causes of stress? ...
The magnitude of this issue shouldn't really be a surprise, considering how financially tumultuous recent years have been - as well as how shockingly poor financial literacy has become - but it is certainly worth addressing.
"From an organization's perspective, it certainly makes sense to have a financially literate workforce," said Ryan Klinger, professor of management at Old Dominion University.
"Employees dealing with issues related to mismanaged finances are more likely to withdraw from their work ... Even worse, these same employees who find themselves in a financial hole may also be the least equipped to climb out of it." (More)
Fla. International will be ODU's homecoming opponent
(The Virginian-Pilot, March 17, 2014)
Florida International will be Old Dominion's homecoming opponent when the Panthers come to Foreman Field on Nov. 8, officials announced this afternoon.
That's late in the season for homecoming, but Conference USA left ODU with few choices.
ODU officials didn't want to play homecoming early in the season, when the Monarchs host Hampton University (Aug. 30) and Eastern Michigan (Sept. 13).
A Sept. 26 home game against Middle Tennessee is being played on Friday night, which is not conducive for homecoming.
Marshall comes to Foreman Field on Saturday, Oct. 4, but the Thundering Herd will claim the full allotment of 1,000 tickets ODU must set aside for visiting teams. ODU likes to reserve as many of those tickets as possible on homecoming for alumni.
ODU doesn't play at home again until 35 days later against FIU on Nov. 8. FIU, which was 1-11 last season, figures to bring few fans from Miami.
ODU is playing its first season in the Football Bowl Subdivision and its first season in Conference USA. ODU is eligible for the C-USA title, and under certain circumstances, for a bowl bid. season. (More)