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ODU in the News

Week of 3/31/14

Festival at ODU highlights cultures of many, special language of one
(WVEC-TV, March 30, 2014)
The International Festival at Old Dominion University offered thousands of people the opportunity to experience the cultures of Hampton Roads through food and entertainment Sunday.
The crowd of people translates into huge volume for vendors who participate in the annual event
"Last year, we sold over 5,000 pieces of lumpia in four hours," said Lisa Mago of Jeepney Food Truck Company, referring to the Filipino version of egg/spring rolls made by the business.
With many languages represented, there was one in particular that stood out at Scratch Bakery, where Najan Bell works.
Bell is deaf, and owner Lashonda Sanford worried that could make communication get tricky.
"Like butter cream or like fondant. We wanted to shorthand those things, so me and her came up with different sign languages for things like fondant and butter cream and things like that to help us so we have our own little sign language too," Sanford told 13News Now. "She watched me. She learned. She got better, and now, she is hired as a part-time head decorator of our bakery."
This was the sixth year for the International Festival. (More)

Photos | 6th Annual International Festival at ODU
(Photos, The Virginian-Pilot, March 31, 2014)
Old Dominion University held their 6th Annual International Festival at the Ted Constant Convocation Center on Sunday, March 30, 2014. In addition to over 20 performers the event also showcased international food, merchants and educational vendors. Over 50 ODU student organizations were also in attendance. (More)

Big Blue Mix makes first album
(The Virginian-Pilot, March 29, 2014)
On a rainy Monday night, Krystal Jones waited for her turn inside the recording studio.
She rested her chin on her hand and watched as two colleagues took turns manipulating controls on the sound board.
Through the control-room window, Jones could see Thomas Oliver pounding out a beat on a djembe and then later playing air guitar as he sang vocals on "Across the Sea," a song he penned.
With each take, Bob Wright scrolled through earlier recordings on a computer to find the spot where new layers could be added. A dozen bars of different colors filled the screen, showing the weeks of work already done.
While it sounds like the inner workings of any recording studio, everyone there was on their own time. Wright, an Old Dominion University music professor, has spent two to four hours nearly every night for months with students working on what is to become the first album for Big Blue Mix.
The effort by the students and faculty, they hope, could be the beginning of something bigger.
Work began on the project in December, when everyone met and decided to make an album to support ODU Relay for Life. Students were sent on their winter break with homework: write songs for the album. (More)

GAME ON! The China connection finds private funds for arena proposal in Virginia Beach
(Inside Business, March 30, 2014)
Many competitions take place in an arena. This one's taking place over an arena, and officials at The ESG Cos. like their odds in the battle over rights to build what would be Virginia's largest indoor entertainment venue.
This Virginia Beach developer and its partners face a group led by Newport News construction giant W.M. Jordan Co. Inc., a matchup that features internationally renowned companies on both teams. Each group is looking to build a roughly $200 million, 18,000-seat arena near the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, but ESG believes its plan has a key advantage: It does not ask for one cent of taxpayer financing.
It's a point ESG officials have repeatedly emphasized, from a Feb. 17 press conference announcing their plans to a March 24 public forum. It's an attribute that has generated positive feedback from some cost-conscious city council members. Overall, it's a component that would not have been possible without ESG's relationship with Chinese companies, which will result in a $160 million Chinese bank loan should the city choose ESG's plan. ...
Shaomin Li, a management professor at Old Dominion University, said the Chinese government used to be restrictive with respect to its firms investing abroad, but that's no longer the case. In general, he said, investment return and risk is higher in China than in the U.S., "thus many Chinese investors investing in the U.S. are not looking for high returns, but for safety."
He said the relationship with ESG and the lender could be a win-win.
"The U.S. company gets the much needed capital," he said, "and the Chinese lender gets its foot in the U.S. market and hopefully will earn a profit." (More)

Stop the hitting
(Letter, The Virginian-Pilot, March 30, 2014)
Re 'No one to protect them' (front page, March 23): The persistence of the problem of child deaths should make us realize that we are looking at the problem the wrong way. We cannot contain the problem by regulating the normal practice of hitting and using violence against children.
As a community, we must support and publicize a new normal that says, 'It is never OK to hit a child.' This is the motto chosen by In Support of Children, a student organization at Old Dominion University. Ever since the 2006 torture, starvation and beating death of Nixzmary Brown in New York City, the group has held vigils to honor children killed by their supposed caretakers. The vigil supports the idea that if we don't stop the gateway behavior of hitting, we cannot stop the killing. ...
Everyone who interacts with children, from parents and social workers to educators and health professionals, should make the words 'It's never OK to hit a child' one of their tools. If we truly believe that children have a right to physical integrity and human dignity, and, if we act on those beliefs, then we have a chance to reduce the killing and abandonment of our children.
Lucien X. Lombardo, Norfolk
(Lucien Lombardo is a retired professor of criminal justice at Old Dominion University) (More)

For today's college students, accounting a rising field
(The Virginian-Pilot, March 30, 2014)
Brandon Sabetta got his first taste of business when he was 12. His father would call from work, asking Brandon to check the status of a few stocks on CNBC.
Sabetta graduated from Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake and entered Radford University, set on a career in the field but not knowing exactly what.
Then he took principles of accounting as a sophomore. "Two weeks in, I knew that was the side of the business I wanted to do," he recalled last week.
"You get to know everything about a company," Sabetta said. With enough experience and strong management skills, "you could end up running it." ...
At Dixon Hughes Goodman's office in Norfolk, accountant Maxim Urenev, who graduated from Old Dominion University in 2012, estimated he worked 68 hours one week this month and 80 the week before.
"I did 72 the week you did 80," piped in Gabby Briggs, an intern who will graduate from ODU in May.
Einhorn said: "Every year, it gets worse. The more complex it gets, the harder it is to do the things you need to do. They talk about tax simplification all the time, but they never do anything about it." ...
Accounting's appeal rests heavily on the ease of securing well-paying positions. "You've got to do something major wrong in school to not be able to find a job after you graduate," Urenev, 31, said.
A native of Russia, Urenev first majored in international business at Old Dominion. He was set to graduate in 2010 but found only sales associate jobs, which weren't to his liking. (More)

Newport News native's "Theater of War" performance prompts discussion on mental toll of military combat
(The Daily Press, March 29, 2014)
During the Vietnam War, John White of Newport News was stationed in the Philippines. He often saw planes filled with body bags unload their grisly cargo during his overnight security detail. White said the sight shook him deeply, but he hadn't spoken with his wife about it until recently.
White and dozens of other current and former military members, military spouses, students and other civilians engaged in a frank dialogue at Old Dominion University on Saturday about how war affects those who return home without visible scars.
The discussion followed a reading of the ancient Greek tragedy "Ajax," put on by Theatre of War, a group founded in 2008 by Newport News native Bryan Doerries to start discussions about the unseen costs of war.
Ajax, the titular soldier who ultimately throws himself on his sword, was performed by Reg E. Cathey, known for his television work on "The Wire" and "House of Cards." Marin Ireland, recognizable from "Homeland" and her work on Broadway, played Ajax's wife, Tecmessa. (More)

Hampton Roads Southside mayors discuss naval base, casinos and tolls
(Inside Business, March 27, 2014)
The Southside mayors all agree on one thing at least: They hate tolls.
Though former Gov. Bob McDonnell's transportation package will provide $25 billion for regional transportation projects from now to 2040, residents of Hampton Roads may see more tolls in the future.
It has long been the position of the region that tolls will need to be imposed to build a new river crossing, Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim told a crowd of about 400 people during the Southside Hampton Roads Mayors Forum on Thursday. The good news? There's a chance to keep them at reasonable rates. If the general assembly passes legislation to create a Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission, Fraim said, there will be a framework from which to create a regional tolling authority. Made up of the elected officials of each jurisdiction, two state senators, three delegates and other unspecified members of the state, he said the accountability commission's main priorities will be to push for projects that have the greatest impacts on congestion, the economy and safety. ...
Quoting the 2012 State of the Region report from James Koch, Old Dominion University's board of visitors professor of economics and president emeritus, he said "When the government is pushing to find resources to support those who do not have regular income, either higher taxes or a deterioration of services is the almost inevitable consequence. There is a physical bottom line associated with the economic plight of African American men." (More)

Empire State College inaugurates its fourth president
(The Daily Gazette (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.), March 28, 2014)
Merodie A. Hancock was formally inaugurated Thursday as the fourth president of Empire State College, the State University of New York school focused on nontraditional students.
About half the college's 20,000 students study online, while the rest attend classes at 35 learning centers across the state and overseas. The college is headquartered in Saratoga Springs.
The college's goal is to meet the academic as well as practical needs of adult students who may work, parent or be in the military, providing them with schedule flexibility and individualized study.
"We try to match students and their needs with our offerings," Hancock said in an interview prior to the ceremony held at the Saratoga Hilton. "It's a little like running 35 statewide colleges." ...
Before Central Michigan University, Hancock held teaching and administrative positions at the University of Maryland and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
She holds a doctorate in urban services and education administration from Old Dominion University in Virginia, an MBA from Claremont Graduate University in California and a bachelor's in economics from Scripps College in California. (More)

3% fish species face threat of extinction in Gulf region
(Qatar Tribune, March 27, 2014)
THE anticipated 2nd and final IUCN Regional Red List Assessment workshop run by the Global Marine Species Assessment (GMSA), Qatar University and Qatar Museums Authority, examining the relative risk of extinction of Arabian Gulf fishes has concluded making some alarming observations.
According to the findings of the workshop, three percent of fishes in the Arabian Gulf are at elevated risk of regional extinction due to overexploitation by commercial fisheries and widespread coral reef degradation and modification whereas 20 percent of species do not have enough data to enable assessment.
The conclusions highlight the critical need for research that needs to be undertaken on these species. It is to be noted the important conservation effort has been made possible through the support of the Qatar National Research Fund. ...
"A wealth of knowledge about fish from the Arabian Gulf was gained during these regional workshops, but there is still much to learn. Our hope is that when it is time to reassess these species in the future, we will be able to do so for all of the marine fishes, including the 89 species listed as Data Deficient," 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)

Generation Study Abroad, and more from the campus of ODU
(Alt Daily, March 26, 2014)
Greetings and good wishes from the editor of the Mace & Crown!
Here you will find a select few stories from Old Dominion University's student newspaper, the Mace & Crown. We are a weekly independent newspaper established as The High Hat in 1930. We publish 25 issues throughout the year.
The first story I have selected has drawn a lot of attention on campus. The Video Game Design and Development Club created its first video game called "Ride the Lion," an endless runner featuring the famous monarch lion gallivanting around campus, dodging obstacles students frequently encounter.
On a dryer, though ambitious topic, the next story regards the university's initiative to double the number of American students studying abroad by the end of the decade. ODU isn't alone, however. This is part of a broader initiative called Generation Study Abroad cultivated by the Institute of International Education for which 150 higher education institutions have committed to. (More)

Moving up the ladder
(Photo, The Virginian-Pilot, March 27, 2014)
Suffolk Clerk of Court Randy Carter, from left, Deputy Chief James N. Dickens and Battalion Chief William T. Kessinger Sr. at a promotion ceremony March 6. Dickens, with the city 15 years and a graduate of Old Dominion University, was promoted to deputy fire chief. Kessinger was promoted to battalion chief. He is a third-generation firefighter, has been with the city for 14 years and is also an ODU graduate. (More)

Women of distinction
(The Virginian-Pilot, March 26, 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.
I attended the ceremony at the invitation of a fellow mom of a kindergartener; our sons are in the same class. We see each other nearly every morning, exchanging waves and hellos as we hustle our boys into school, usually seconds ahead of getting tardy slips, sometimes seconds behind. We pass again on the way out, racing to get to work, cramming every hour of the day with tasks to be done and deadlines to meet before we speed home to our families and duties there.
Rarely do we, any of us, take time to acknowledge all that we do in a day, in a week, in a lifetime to make our families stronger and our communities better. ...
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. (More)

Professionals bristle at study claiming that home staging doesn't increase value
(The Columbus Dispatch, March 23, 2014)
A new study has ruffled the curtains of the home-staging industry.
The study concludes that staging adds appeal to a home but does nothing to increase the home's monetary value.
"While staging efforts do appear to impact potential buyers, the effect does not carry through all the way to the bottom line," concludes the study by Mark Lane of Old Dominion University, Michael Seiler of the College of William & Mary, and Vicky Seiler of Johns Hopkins University.
Not surprisingly, those in the home-staging industry took issue, even though the study has not yet been published. (The Dispatch received an advance copy upon request.)
In a blog entry about the study, the Certified Staging Professionals website referred to Mark Twain's line about "lies, damned lies and statistics."
"That's a bunch of hogwash," added Suzanne Byrd, owner of Columbus Home Staging, when told of the study's findings.
The scholars reached their conclusion by showing respondents "before" and "after" images of living rooms. "Before" images featured bold purple walls and dated furniture; "after" images showed neutral walls and more stylish furniture. (More)

Governor's School: A Space of Their Own
(Veer, March 26, 2014)
As the Tide Light Rail hums by on the street below, a group of instrumental music students are swinging their way through a version of "There Will Never Be Another You," an old jazz standard, in a soundproofed, white-walled studio on the fourth floor of the Monroe Building.
Just down the hall, a handful of theatre and film students are gathered around a 70-inch Mondopad, essentially an interactive computer tablet the size of a big-screen TV. They are verbally deconstructing an early film adaptation of Les Miserables.
On another floor of the six-story building in downtown Norfolk that now houses the Governor's School for the Arts (GSA), the smell of oil paint wafts from a studio where visual art students at easels are perfecting still-lifes of fruit in muted colors. ...
Up until this January, the students were scattered at different facilities throughout Norfolk-as they often have been since GSA began as a summer pilot program in 1985. Some were on the campus of Old Dominion University. Others were on 21st Street in Ghent. Some programs moved as many as six or seven times over the years. Some suffered through sub-par accommodations in buildings that flooded and leaked or were clearly not designed for education or the arts-an old hardware store notorious among them. (More)

Check out new, old studio
(The Virginian-Pilot, March 26, 2014)
There is a good chance you've seen the photography of Wendy Spain. Her landscapes and portraits have appeared in regional magazines, on the walls of Homearama houses and perhaps in your doctor's office.
Spain is a Chuckatuck native and continues to reside there, but she has a new, old space for her recently opened studio on Bridge Road. A little cottage of a house is hidden back from the road, adjacent to A. Dodson's. This reincarnation of a 1950s ranch house provides studio and office space with room to spare.
Photography is a relatively new medium for Spain. She worked in graphic arts after earning her bachelor's degree from Old Dominion University in 1992. The desire to be near children prompted her to pursue a teaching certificate from Christopher Newport University.
In the elementary classrooms of Suffolk Public Schools she had the best of both worlds, art and youngsters. She left the classroom for the camera when her youngest son was born eight years ago.
"While home with him I started drawing and painting again," she said. "Then I went on to photography.
"I am still looking at how things are placed; I am looking at the art in photography," Spain said as she described the transition from pencils and brushes to cameras and lenses. (More)

Adm. Greenert says Navy is not pushing for BRAC
(The Virginian-Pilot/Associated Press, March 25, 2014)
In what may provide some reassurance to coastal communities that are dependent on military spending, the Navy's top admiral says he doesn't see a great need for the Navy to go through another round of base closures.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert made the comments during a visit to Mayport Naval Station in Florida last week.
The Defense Department has requested that Congress approve a round of base closings - known as BRAC, or Base Closure and Realignment - to begin in 2017 so it can stop paying for unneeded infrastructure. While the Defense Department has not specified which bases might be targeted, Greenert said he doesn't see a lot of excess capacity in the Navy.
"Mayport will be a part of our future for as far into the future as I can see. Some people say, 'Gee whiz, are we going to BRAC?' I don't see that," Greenert said during a webcast all-hands call with sailors. ...
Members of Congress largely have been reluctant to approve a round of base closures out of fears their home states could lose bases and significantly damage local economies. In Hampton Roads, about 45 percent of the economy is dependent upon defense spending, according to Old Dominion University's 2013 state of the region report.
"I'm very satisfied with our laydown of our bases as we look around the world," Greenert told reporters after the all-hands call. "So we have Mayport, and we have Hampton Roads. We have two fine fleet concentration areas there on the East Coast, good balance there with, you know, with Connecticut with submarines. People ask me, 'Do you have the need? Do you see a great need for BRAC?' I say, 'No, I don't.' " (More)

Ask The Experts: Examining Financial Literacy in the Workplace
(WalletHub, March 24, 2014)
The issue of financial literacy, or a lack thereof, has rightfully earned a great deal of mainstream attention in the wake of the Great Recession. It seems that while we refuse to learn our lesson about the dangers of habitual overleveraging, judging from the more than $73 billion in credit card debt that we've racked up in the past two years alone, we do want to help future generations avoid repeating our mistakes.
The question is how corporate America fits into the picture. It's clear that parents and teachers have an inherent responsibility to prepare young people for the financial realities of the "real world," and most school systems are experimenting with different methods of incorporating personal finance and economics into the curriculum. But do businesses, from small organizations with just a handful of employees to Fortune 500 companies, have any business coming anywhere close to the issue?
There's a lot more riding on that question than you might think - billions of dollars actually. There are probably more potential marriages between personal and corporate finance than you might think as well. ...
Ask The Experts: Tips for Starting a Workplace Financial Literacy Program
WalletHub asked university as well as industry experts in the fields of management, marketing, human resources, and finance for tips on how to establish a personal finance employee training program. You can check out their insights on everything from program structure and content sourcing to potential corporate partners and employee engagement below. If you have additional suggestions, feel free to share them in the comments section below! ...
"The optimal program is really going to depend on the organization. Larger organizations - with larger pools of resources and greater numbers of employees in need of training - may find it beneficial to design their own financial literacy programs in-house. These programs could be customized to meet the specific needs of the employees.
Smaller organizations might look to outsource financial literacy training. For instance, several MOOCs (massive open online courses) offer courses in financial literacy that are either free or affordable enough to be subsidized by the organization. Enrollment in such courses can be rolled into new employment orientation sessions or current employees could be offered incentives for completing online courses."
- Ryan L. Klinger: Professor of Management, Old Dominion University (More)