Week of 4/7/14
$11M gift to ODU is not simple charity
(Inside Business, April 4, 2014)
Mark Strome, a 1978 Old Dominion University graduate who recently donated $11 million to the school, barely made it into ODU.
Strome grew up on a farm in upstate New York and went on to found a multimillion dollar California investment management firm in 1992. ODU was his introduction to the world, he said.
"Somebody in the admissions office took a chance on me," he said in an interview after a luncheon in Norfolk last week. "There was this whole thing where I was not going to be accepted, then they changed their mind."
For that reason, he said, he had always wanted to give back to the school. But he's very skeptical about charity, telling ODU's alumni magazine Monarch recently that it "can create dependence, be disruptive to incentives and lead to disempowerment." So he and his wife, Tammy, decided to designate their ODU gift for nurturing entrepreneurship.
"If you teach somebody how to fish, they eat for life," Strome said last week. "If you give them a fish, they starve to death the next day. That's the concept embodied in it all."
Strome is chief investment officer at Strome Group and Strome Investment Management LP. The Pacific Palisades, Calif., resident, his wife and his son Jack were guests at an invitation-only luncheon April 1 at the Town Point Club, an event meant to honor the Stromes for the donation announced last August and to share updates related to the gift, the second-largest in ODU's history.
The school's largest gift was a $32 million donation in 2003 by the late Frank Batten Sr., the founder of Landmark's predecessor.
Officials said roughly 60 people attended the luncheon, including ODU board members and community leaders such as Norfolk City Manager Marcus Jones, Norfolk attorney Vince Mastracco and Landmark Media Enterprises CEO Frank Batten Jr. Landmark is the parent company of Pilot Media Cos., which includes Inside Business. The gift will establish an entrepreneurial curriculum at the school, aspects of which will be evident in all six colleges there. It will also create an entrepreneurial center and a number of co-curricular programs such as lectures, competitions and mentorships. (More)
Action! ODU's first full-length feature film
(The Virginian-Pilot, April 7, 2014)
EXTERIOR: A country road in southeastern Virginia - NEAR DUSK.
A lone reporter drives and drives and drives, seeking but not finding the film crew that's supposed to be out here shooting a psychological thriller. This can't be the right direction. Cut!
EXTERIOR: The opposite direction on a country road in southeastern Virginia - EVEN NEARER DUSK.
The lone reporter sees a car turn into a driveway and follows it, hoping to ask for directions. Slightly alarmed homeowner says to turn left and then take a right. Left turn achieved but first right turn leads to a dead end. Backtrack. Overshoot several possible right turns. Make U-turn. Cut! ...
"The Ballerina" is a full-length feature film, the first that Old Dominion University's growing film department has attempted. It's been some four years in the making, including the time that writer/director/lead actor Stephen Pullen spent noodling over the idea.
Pullen is chairman of ODU's department of communication and theatre arts, which includes film. His interest in growing that program prompted "The Ballerina," which allows students to work alongside a professional crew on a campus soundstage and on location in Southampton County.
"This is a huge undertaking," Pullen said. "It's rarely done at universities." ...
Making the movie will give real-world experience to the 40 participating students, plus a film credit for their resumes beyond the basic "production assistant." they are working alongside cinematographer David Mallin, an assistant professor at ODU, who was lured from Virginia Tech to make a feature film, and Hieronimus, a former student of Pullen's and an adjunct professor at ODU. (More)
Jose Vargas to Speak at Old Dominion University
(Examiner.com, April 6, 2014)
Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Jose Vargas will make a speaking engagement at Old Dominion University on Tuesday April 8 at 7:30 pm (Webb Center).
Please RSVP at the "University Events" website and use JVL14.
Vargas came to international prominence in 2011 when he penned "My Life As An Undocumented Immigrant" for the New York Times Magazine. The piece was his personal narrative of living in the United States since 1993 as an "undocumented immigrant". He recounts how, after his mother brought him to the U.S. as a young boy, he found out to his surprise and horror that his Green Card was fraudulent upon a visit to the DMV. He relegated himself to living in a fear-filled world always looking over his shoulder and trying to move among the shadows.
His natural talents as a journalist were always fostered from the beginning of his arrival and over time, he began to build quite a resume - working for the The New Yorker, Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Philadelphia Daily News and San Francisco Chronicle. He even appeared on television via CNN, ABC News and PBS NewsHour. (More)
Portsmouth schools keep stashing cash after warning
(The Virginian-Pilot/FindLaw, April 6, 2014)
In a highly unusual move a little more than a year ago, a special grand jury declared that Portsmouth school officials had violated state law by holding on to tens of millions in year-end surplus dollars that should have been returned to the city.
While the violations carry no criminal punishment and all money was used for school division expenses, grand jury members urged tighter controls on school funds. Superintendent David Stuckwisch conceded some mistakes, and School Board members pledged to address the issue.
Yet six times since the financial maneuvers were first challenged by city officials, school officials have handled money -- or attempted to -- in ways that two experts on government accounting, interviewed by The Virginian-Pilot, deemed questionable or inappropriate.
The division's actions skirted state law, padded the division's budget and failed to give the public a clear idea of its financial picture -- or the opportunity to weigh in on what's done with excess taxpayer dollars, the experts said.
The money disputes have further poisoned relations between city and school leaders. The two are sparring over the last of those six cases -- $1.35 million that Stuckwisch said was set aside to pay for goods or services ordered in the previous fiscal year. The Pilot determined that's not accurate.
"If I had been called on the carpet with a grand jury report, I would be cleaning up my mess pretty quickly," said Laurie Henry, an Old Dominion University accounting professor who reviewed the financial maneuvers for The Pilot. "They're either totally ignoring the grand jury report, or they don't know what they're doing. And my guess is, it's a little bit of both."
"The city of Portsmouth, their citizens, deserve better than this," said Doug Ziegenfuss, chair of ODU's accounting department, who also reviewed the cases. "The people that are going to suffer from all this are the children, from a poor school system that can't afford these shenanigans." (More)
Dad Who Moved Daughter's Messy Room Onto Driveway and Other Parents Who Publicly Punish Have Got it all Wrong!
(Babble, April 5, 2014)
We've all seen the stories go viral: kids sporting sandwich boards proclaiming embarrassing admissions like 'I shoplift' while angry parents stand by.
Signs and sandwich boards are seemingly the most popular shaming tool for parents riding the public punishment bandwagon all the way to crappy parenthood.
You've got children forced to admit they smoke pot, sneak boys in, or this poor girl who was forced to admit that she disrespected her parents by twerking at a school dance. ...
Neighbors and strangers are one thing, but what about the child's peers? What a nightmare! Why would you do that to your kid who is likely trying so hard to fit in at school and not stand out? Not only that, but Katharine Kersey, a professor of early childhood education at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia notes, you're damaging your own relationship with your child in the process.
"Each time we [embarrass children with a punishment] we pay a price, and we drive them away from us, and we lose our ability to be a role model for them," Kersey tells Life Science. "When you disconnect from a child, he no longer wants to please you, he no longer wants to be like you. You've lost your power of influence over him...Children who are punished in these ways usually still commit the behavior, but do it behind their parents' backs." (More)
Playing 35 years of fantasy baseball
(The Virginian-Pilot, April 6, 2014)
The year was 1979. Hampton Roads was thawing out from winter, and a group of friends were gearing up for baseball season by arguing about the game they love.
As Bobby Hilling recalls, the discussion turned to who the best players were at each position. That's when the group had an epiphany.
Let's hold a "draft" where we become team owners by choosing players, they said. We'll chart their statistics over the course of the season. In October, we'll tally up who put together the best team.
Without calling it this, the local group might have started one of the country's first fantasy sports leagues. ...
Writer and editor Daniel Okrent often is credited with creating fantasy baseball in 1980. But Jim Walker, another of the founders of the local "Original" Classic Fantasy Baseball League, has copies of his draft list from a year earlier. ...
Walker grew up playing baseball, first at Newport News High School, then at Old Dominion University from 1964-66. He said he drew interest from professional teams but didn't pursue a career seriously. (More)
Following one or both tracks to Virginia Beach?
(The Virginian-Pilot, April 6, 2014)
Since proposals began landing on their desks last year, city officials have been weighing whether to extend traditional light rail into Virginia Beach or go with a magnetic levitation system, even though that technology is unproven.
Now some officials are thinking, "Why not do both?"
A new idea favored by some city staff and council members would involve extending The Tide from Newtown Road to Town Center and creating a Union Station-like transportation hub there, while also moving forward with a magnetic-levitation, or maglev, pilot project at the Oceanfront.
The hope is that, if maglev succeeded, it would eventually come to Town Center and branch out to the city's naval bases, the Norfolk airport and Chesapeake. ...
There are no public transit systems using magnetic levitation in the United States today. AMT began construction on a system at ODU in the early 2000s, but it failed to produce a working model. It now has a half-mile-long test track outside Atlanta. (More)
Anthropologist hired as ODU VP of research
(The Virginian-Pilot, April 3, 2014)
Old Dominion University has hired a new vice president for research.
Morris Foster, a medical anthropologist who has been on the faculty of the University of Oklahoma for 27 years, will assume the position July 1, ODU President John Broderick announced Wednesday.
Foster has a bachelor's degree from the University of Oklahoma and master's and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University.
He and his wife, Joan Fay Cuccio, a novelist and former newspaper editor, have three children.
ODU's former vice president for research, Mohammad Karim, left last year to become provost at the University of Massachusetts' Dartmouth campus.
Rodger Harvey, chairman of ODU's Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, has filled the position on an interim basis for 10 months. (More)
Berube: A journey with autism
(Opinion, The Virginian-Pilot, March 30, 2014)
By Maurice Berube
Johnny is 12 years old. He likes SpongeBob, the Wizard of Oz and chocolate ice cream. Mornings he brings the portable telephone from across the room to his dad in his chair. He is cheerful, likes to dance and twirl strings.
Johnny understands many things, but he can't talk. My son has autism.
Starting when he was 2, he has attended three autism programs in three states. He's learning to use an augmentative communication device, not unlike an iPad, that speaks for him when he pushes buttons. Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters offered training on the device, and now he takes it to school with him twice a week for speech therapy.
When Johnny wants to eat, he presses an icon, a picture of food appears, and a voice says, "I want to eat." When he presses an icon of a toilet, the machine says, "I have to go to the bathroom."
We hope that in time, he will be able to speak those phrases himself. Still, he has come a long way from when he was a toddler, when he was supposed to start talking but didn't.
As a 2-year-old, Johnny spoke a few words. He'd watch SpongeBob SquarePants on TV and repeat some of what he'd heard. And then his speech disappeared. He wouldn't get potty trained. He continued to make eye contact, though, and he loved to snuggle, so the disorder wasn't an easy diagnosis. Eventually, a physician with autism experience confirmed our fears. ...
Maurice R. Berube of Norfolk is eminent scholar emeritus at Old Dominion University and author of 13 scholarly books.
Va. Beach to explore stopping light rail at Town Center
(The Virginian-Pilot, March 28, 2014)
City officials want to study a new option for light rail: extending the line only to Town Center, for now.
City Manager Jim Spore asked Hampton Roads Transit in a letter Wednesday to add the Town Center option to the agency's study of three other alignments, which involve taking the line to Rosemont Road and to the Oceanfront.
The additional research is expected to add four to five months and an estimated $500,000 to a $6.6 million study that was essentially finished. ...
City officials are interested in building only to Town Center for more than cost savings. At a council meeting Tuesday, Mayor Will Sessoms talked about the Independence Boulevard site as being well suited for a spot where riders could change from light-rail cars to another transit line that could run on a different technology, such as magnetic levitation.
The maglev idea, which has been pitched by a private company, has garnered interest from some council members for its lower cost relative to traditional light rail. The technology carries baggage from a failed test track at Old Dominion University, however, and has yet to be used commercially for public transit in the United States. (More)
Dental extractions before heart surgery
(The Freeport News (Bahamas), March 30, 2014)
By Lauren Higgs
Plan on getting a tooth pulled out before going in for heart surgery? Well, it may be a good idea to wait to have that infected tooth removed, recent studies suggest.
The relationship between oral health and cardiovascular health is well known. Patients with poor oral health are at a higher risk of having bacteria in the bloodstream which can cause infections in the heart valve. That is why preventive antibiotics are prescribed to patients with certain cardiac issues before they have dental procedures which can introduce harmful bacteria into the bloodstream.
Surgeons may recommend dental care before heart valve surgery and other kinds of cardiac surgery, such as coronary artery bypass procedures and heart transplants. In fact, infected tooth extractions are commonly done ahead of some types of heart surgery to lower the chances of infection during the procedure or avoid inflammation of the inner layer of the heart after the operation.
But the combination can be dangerous. ...
Lauren Higgs, RDH graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene in 1992 from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. (More)
Athlete unionization doubtful in Virginia, other right to work states
(The Virginia Gazette, March 29, 2014)
A controversial decision that would allow Northwestern University football players to unionize is unlikely to have an impact at the College of William and Mary. Should the ruling stand, the ramifications might be felt throughout the nation at private colleges.
Earlier this week, the Chicago district of the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Northwestern's football players qualify as state employees and can unionize. While speculation suggests this is a step toward pay-to-play in college athletics, one local expert cautions the ruling is nowhere close to final.
"Commentators are excited about the potential stepping stone this case creates to one day paying NCAA athletes, but that is all it is - a potential step," Drew Larsen said in an interview Thursday. Larsen is an attorney and an adjunct professor at the College of William who specializes in sports law. "The case has no immediate impact outside scholarship football players at Northwestern, and it will certainly be appealed as many times as it can be appealed." ...
Jessica Canady, a Jamestown High graduate and a former women's basketball player at Old Dominion University, would like to see athletes unionized.
"Playing at the college level is like a job, plus we are going to school," she said. "Folks don't understand all the hard work, the sweat and some tears that we experience. We prepare day-in and day-out, missing classes and injuries that come up in the process. It's not as easy as everyone thinks."
Canady suffered two knee injuries during her career at ODU. She said she has accumulated between $1,500 and $6,500 in medical bills. (More)
Neighbors walk to send a message about crime
(WAVY-TV, March 29, 2014)
People who live in Norfolk's Lambert's Point want to send a message: "We don't like what we're seeing, and we won't tolerate it."
The neighborhood borders Old Dominion University. Since late last month, five ODU students have been the victims of crime.
On February 16, a student was shot. One week later, ODU student Paul Johnson was attacked and killed. Friday, three students were robbed at gunpoint.
The Lambert's Point Civic League held a walk Saturday morning to help get their message out. A few dozen people cheered, chanted and sang.
"We have to send the message that we're tired. Tired, and had enough," said Thomas Harris, president of the Lambert's Point Civic League. "I think ODU students are a part of the neighborhood when they move in, and they are residents, and we want them to feel that way and be a part of it." (More)