Week of 10/19/12
Threat of Flooding Focuses Attention on Climate Change
(Letter, The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 22, 2012)
As you pointed out in "Colleges' Response to Climate Change: Lukewarm at Best" (The Chronicle, September 10), changing weather patterns and global warming seem to be exposing institutions of higher education to new threats from drought or flooding. In fact, climate change and sea-level rise present many universities with dual challenges in resource management. How do we prioritize infrastructure projects in order to promote and protect critical operations from rising water and other calamities? And how do we want our teachers and researchers to explore climate change and its ramifications?
The 126 buildings on Old Dominion University's 251-acre campus in Norfolk, Va., lie on a flat tract between two tidal rivers, making us one of the larger research-intensive institutions in the country to be situated only a few feet above sea level. The entire southeastern Virginia waterfront, in fact, has been identified by federal officials and independent scientists as particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise. This is due not only to warming oceans and shifting currents attributed to climate change but also to land subsidence in the region.
But before institutions-as well as governments and businesses of all sizes-can decide on adaptation/mitigation strategies, we need advice from scientists, engineers, and other experts about how the threats will evolve over the century. Furthermore, taxpayer-supported institutions such as Old Dominion have a vested interest in educating the public about the problems posed by climate change and the public-policy response that is necessary. ...
John R. Broderick, President
Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Va. (More)
Leukemia could be treated with blasts of plasma
(The Daily Telegraph (U.K.), October 21, 2012)
Scientists have found that cancer cells from leukaemia sufferers are killed when they are exposed to a type of matter known as cold plasma.
These streams of ionised gas, similar to the material found inside decorative plasma balls and plasma televisions, are thought to trigger the in built self destruct mechanism in the cancerous cells while healthy cells remain unscathed.
The researchers now believe it will be possible to develop a dialysis style treatment where the blood of leukaemia is patients is passed through plasma streams to destroy the cancer cells.
Professor Mounir Laroussi, director of the laser and plasma engineering institute at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, said: "Leukaemia is the most common childhood malignancy and accounts for approximately one out of three cancers in children
"Although there is a lot of fundamental scientific work that needs to be done, but one can imagine a machine similar to the one used for dialysis where the blood undergoes treatment by low temperature plasma." (More)
Graduation rates higher for black students at SHSU
(The Huntsville (Tex.) Item, October 20, 2012)
A recent study by a national organization whose mission is to "close the gaps in opportunity and achievement" has identified Sam Houston State University as one of the top public institutions in the nation where African-American graduation rates equal or exceed the rate of white students.
The Education Trust, of Washington, D.C., has ranked SHSU seventh in a list of public universities, just behind Old Dominion University in Virginia and just ahead of SUNY at Albany in New York. SUNY College at Old Westbury was ranked first.
The study, "Advancing to Completion: Increasing degree attainment by improving graduation rates and closing gaps for African-American students," looked at six-year graduation rates for 2004 and 2010. (More)
Q&A: What's going on with privatization of the port?
(The Virginian-Pilot, October 21, 2012)
Hampton Roads may lack a major-league sports team, but there's no question it has a major-league seaport - one of the largest in the nation.
It's the top coal-exporting port in North America, in addition to being a leading container port and way station for all kinds of commodities, from paper and soybeans to furniture and rubber.
And it's now at a critical juncture.
Even a casual follower of the news knows something's up at the port. There's been talk of "selling" it, "privatizing" it, something about "unsolicited proposals" to change the way it has operated for decades. State officials are looking to settle the matter by early next year.
People with a stake in the port are familiar with the issues and know where they stand. Economists appreciate the port's impact. Old Dominion University's recent "State of the Region" report identified it, along with defense and tourism, as one of Hampton Roads' economic mainstays.
But what about everybody else? (More)
Acting Hampton police chief takes post this week
(WDBJ7/The Daily Press, October 20, 2012)
The man chosen to be Hampton's acting police chief says he will make sure the department continues to run smoothly.
"I view my role as stepping in to lead the ship on course," Acting Police Chief Thomas Townsend said. "I don't see myself as being here very long." ...
Facts on Townsend
Townsend joined the Hampton police in 1974. Before becoming chief in January 2000, he served in the uniform patrol, investigative services and administrative services. He was promoted to corporal in 1979; to sergeant in 1984; and to lieutenant in 1989.
Townsend received a bachelor's degree in political science at Christopher Newport College (now Christopher Newport University) and his master's degree in public administration from Old Dominion University. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico. (More)
Ad Watch: Republican Scott Rigell's "Anything but Jobs" commercial
(WVEC-TV, October 17, 2012)
Most of Republican Rep. Scott Rigell's television ads have been positive, but his commercial "Anything But Jobs" is especially harsh in its criticism of Democratic challenger Paul Hirschbiel.
Rigell accuses Hirschbiel of having an agenda that "raises taxes on small business and the middle class."
Hirschbiel's campaign says that is obviously not true. Independent fact checkers and at least one local college political science professor agree. ...
Old Dominion University Political Science Professor Kimberly Karnes gave a Hirschbiel ad a C. (More)
Va. health commissioner resigns over abortion issue
(The Virginian-Pilot, October 19, 2012)
Dr. Karen Remley has resigned as Virginia's health commissioner over controversial state abortion clinic regulations, explaining in a letter to colleagues that "I can no longer in good faith continue in my role."
Remley, a pediatrician with Hampton Roads ties, alerted members of the health and medical communities of her decision by email and conveyed a resignation letter to Gov. Bob McDonnell. In her letters, she expressed dismay about the legal atmosphere surrounding the development of the clinic licensing standards.
"Unfortunately, how specific sections of the Virginia Code pertaining to the development and enforcement of these regulations have been and continue to be interpreted has created an environment in which my ability to fulfill my duties is compromised and I can no longer in good faith continue in my role," she wrote in one. ...
Remley was appointed to her post by former Gov. Tim Kaine in 2008 and retained by McDonnell.
Prior to that, she was vice president of medical affairs at Sentara Leigh Hospital in Norfolk and worked as an assistant professor for a master's of public health program run by Eastern Virginia Medical School and Old Dominion University. (More)
Hunting deer? There's an app for that.
(The Virginian-Pilot, October 19, 2012)
Virginia hunters are in the woods more than two million times each year, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state game department.
Of those trips, an average of only four - or a miniscule 0.00016 percent - end in a fatality.
But Doug Pillsbury thinks even that's too many.
In an effort to help prevent those tragedies, Pillsbury has designed DeerLogic, a smartphone application that among other uses helps identify where other hunters are in the woods. ...
DeerLogic, currently available only on Droid-based phones, has been downloaded more than 100 times for $1.99 each. Pillsbury said he is working on an iPhone app.
A 39-year-old Western Branch High and Old Dominion University graduate, Pillsbury began working with software applications as a hobby. He got serious about them when he opened the software company DJP Limited last January.
He's hunted with family and friends since he was 8.
Meshing the two seemed, well, logical. (More)
Beach arena could mean more than $502 million for state
(Inside Business, October 16, 2012)
The statewide economic impact of an 18,500-seat arena with an NBA franchise in Virginia Beach would create more than $502 million a year and support 3,712 jobs, according to a study conducted by Chmura Economics & Analytics in Richmond.
The report released Tuesday after it was presented to the Virginia Beach City Council says that an NBA franchise would be comparable with other major economic development projects in the state, including the Rolls Royce manufacturing plant in Prince George County in 2008, which resulted in an annual average economic impact of more than $200 million. The estimated economic impact of the arena and team is more than double the Rolls Royce project.
If the arena opens in 2015 with an NBA franchise, from that season onward, the study says, the Virginia state government can receive $10.9 million tax revenues from team/arena operations and visitor spending, with $4.4 million in sales tax, $5.2 million in individual income tax, and $1.3 million in corporate income tax.
The study focuses on the potential impact of a professional NBA team and a new arena on the state economy. Outside the 44 NBA games -- three pre-season, and 41 regular season games, the arena can potentially host more than 150 other events per year, the study says. The economic impact is based on a conservative estimate that 85 percent of the seats would be utilized for the NBA games at the proposed 18,500-seat arena.
An earlier study, prepared by James V. Koch, Board of Visitors Professor of Economics and President Emeritus at Old Dominion University, estimated the economic impact of a new arena as more than $98 million to Hampton Roads alone. (More)
Chesapeake Educator is 2013 Virginia Teacher of the Year
(Virginia.Gov, October 15, 2012)
Kathryn B. Galford, a sixth-grade English teacher at Greenbrier Middle School in Chesapeake, was named the 2013 Virginia Teacher of the Year Friday evening in Richmond. Galford was selected from the eight Virginia 2013 Regional Teachers of the Year announced in September. She will be the Commonwealth's nominee in the Council of Chief State School Officers' National Teacher of the Year program.
"In a state blessed with so many dedicated professionals in the classroom, Kathryn Galford's recognition as 2013 Virginia Teacher of the Year is a testament to her ability and her results in inspiring our young people," said Governor Bob McDonnell. "All Virginia students will be helped in their future studies and their careers by an ability to write and communicate clearly, and I look forward to Kathryn using this platform to share her talents around Virginia and around the nation."
"Words cannot express what an unbelievable honor it is to have been chosen to represent so many outstanding teachers in Virginia," Galford said. "Over the course of my teaching career, I have been touched by so many amazing students, teachers, administrators, parents and community members. They have made me the teacher I am today, and I dedicate this incredible award to them. It is my hope that I can use this experience as an opportunity to make a difference for the children in Virginia and to shine a spotlight on the most rewarding, promising and significant career in the world - teaching."
"Teachers play an invaluable role in the development and learning of our students and the 2013 Teacher of the Year is dedicated to ensuring that each of her students is challenged, encouraged and motivated to learn," said Secretary of Education Laura Fornash. "Kathryn Galford is a shining example to her peers and her community, but most importantly to her students. She epitomizes the type of teacher the Governor wants guiding all young people across the Commonwealth. It is my hope that Kathryn will share her ideas, insights and practices with her fellow colleagues in order expand her impact on our students. I congratulate her on a well-earned award."
Galford strives to infuse her "make it relevant" philosophy to her students through an environment that allows them to discover the connection between what they learn in the classroom and how it relates to the world. She earned her bachelor's degree in middle school education and master's degree in curriculum and instruction from Old Dominion University. Galford is currently pursuing a teaching endorsement in gifted education through the University of Virginia. (More)