Week of 6/10/13
Next step: Research in public health
(Editorial, The Virginian-Pilot, June 9, 2013)
For years now, Eastern Virginia Medical School and Old Dominion University have run a well-regarded joint program to confer master's degrees in public health. It's the kind of education that sets up graduates for careers in health care management and in the myriad places where medical policy and research intersect.
That's a growth industry in these early days of health care reform and attempts at cost control, so the joint venture's graduates - already in high demand - are likely to become even more so in the years ahead.
That's one of the reasons the two schools connected by Hampton Boulevard are now considering what it would take to create Virginia's first school for public health. Last week, ODU began the process of looking for a consultant to find some of those answers.
As The Pilot's Bill Sizemore reported, the two schools have operated the joint master's program since 1999. Creating a school in the discipline would be a big leap, adding a substantial research component. The school would benefit the region and the medical industry here and beyond.
As Sizemore's story pointed out, such an enterprise could house the kind of medical research that would help answer why Hampton Roads suffers from such high rates of cancers, obesity and other health maladies. More importantly, it could provide impetus to attack them.
"It's clear that population-based approaches are needed because we spend so much as a country on health care, and our outcomes aren't adequate," said Shelley Mishoe, dean of health sciences at ODU. "We're not making enough headway." (More)
ODU/EVMS program puts autistic teens in robotics lab
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 9, 2013)
The idea for the experiment popped up in the email box of an assistant professor of engineering at Old Dominion University.
A tech company asked Chung-Hao Chen whether he knew any engineering graduates who were on the high-functioning end of autism, a disorder characterized by difficulties communicating and making relationships.
Chen thought it a bit odd, but a little Internet research revealed a few companies recruiting people with autism as computer programmers and product testers because of their attention to detail.
"Because autistic people are very focused on particular things, they can keep looking and looking for a problem without getting tired," Chen said. "When we design programs, it's tedious work. They seek the detail to fix the problem. They are very focused."
Chen had been searching for a way to encourage middle and high school kids to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math, so this seemed like a perfect match.
He hooked up with Dr. Maria Urbano, who directs the Autism Spectrum Disorders Program for Older Adolescents & Young Adults at Eastern Virginia Medical School, to devise a 12-week program. High school students with and without the disorder would work alongside college engineering students to build small robots powered by computers. (More)
When Sci-Fi Crime-Prevention Tactics Aren't Actually That Far-Fetched
(The Atlantic, June 7, 2013)
Judging by the reviews, Lena Headey and Ethan Hawke's new film The Purge may be pretty forgettable. But at least one aspect of the future-set movie intrigues: the premise. Set a decade from now, The Purge takes place in a world where the United States is thriving, where unemployment is less than one percent, and crime at an all time low. To safeguard this prosperity, the government indulges its citizens in an annual purge, a 12-hour amnesty in which all criminal activity is made legal.
It's an extreme solution, but one that's perfectly in keeping with the sci-fi genre, which historically has a habit of theorizing creative ways to combat crime. After all, future-gazing films have dreamt up everything from citywide prisons to cybernetic street cops. Just how far removed from reality are these seemingly outlandish approaches to keeping society safe? I decided to find out by asking a few experts in criminology just how plausible science fiction's crime-fighting policies actually are. ...
Criminologists say: "When you look at the technologies that the government is already employing, especially here in the United States, we're very close to RoboCop," says Dawn L. Rothe, director at the International State Crime Research Consortium and associate professor in sociology and criminology at Old Dominion University. "We're now producing airborne drones that have the automated intellectual ability where they are able to pick out a terrorist and make a decision whether to kill them or not. So we're already getting to this point, and I don't see that using a RoboCop, if you will, is so far-fetched."
It's not just the idea of ED-209's patrolling the Nuke-infested streets of Detroit that's surprisingly plausible, though. The film's fascination with the involvement of the insidious OmniCorp is also prescient. "We've already started in on that trajectory," Rothe says. "Not only with the privatisation of our prisons, but also if you look at the state's use of private companies that are active not only in conflicts abroad, but even in issues of homeland security." (More)
Does America Need a Digital Bill of Rights?
(Opinion, The Wall Street Journal, June 8, 2013)
By D. E. Wittkower
Where are things right now in the National Security Agency scandal? We know about Verizon providing call data. We know about the secret Prism program that funnels data from large tech companies to the government. We know numerous major tech companies are involved. We know also that the program was reapproved by Congress recently, and has consistently taken place with judicial oversight. This is not just an Obama administration policy, but a fact of our government in all branches-and it has been since 2007. By pointing this out, I don't mean to take responsibility away from President Barack Obama, who is deserving of being singled out because during both his campaigns he talked about the need for openness in government. I mean only to indicate the scope of the issue. And the scope is massive; the range of governmental officials-elected and professional; liberal, conservative, and libertarian; judge, legislator, and executive-is as wide as can be.
Charles Shanor, writing in the New York Times, takes this broad involvement as a good sign. With so many different members of the government involved, can what's happening behind closed doors really be so bad? "I think I will take my chances," he writes, "and trust the three branches of government involved in the Verizon request to look out for my interest." Now, for myself-while it is unrealistic to think that we'll never have to trust and "take our chances" to some extent-I don't find this a terribly rousing defense. Even if you do trust the government in general, or trust this administration in particular, it's exactly this kind of consideration that the Bill of Rights was supposed to render moot. It sounds a bit too much like the argument that monarchy is fine for us because we have a good king-it may even be true, but that doesn't make it a reasonable way to run things. ...
D.E. Wittkower is a philosopher of technology at Old Dominion University, the author of The Philosopher's Book of Questions and Answers and editor of Facebook and Philosophy and iPod and Philosophy. (More)
Getting insurance along the coast is getting pricey
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 8, 2013)
You don't have to lick your finger to know which way the wind is blowing.
Look first to the skies, to the slanting rain, to the thrashing trees. Then look at your homeowners insurance policy.
Undoubtedly, your premiums are higher than they used to be. Perhaps you're no longer insured by the company you trusted for decades to help you rebuild if your home was destroyed.
In the fine print, you might notice that your hurricane deductible has crept as high as 5 percent of the value of your home - a change that could cost you thousands, perhaps even tens of thousands, of dollars before your insurer pays anything.
"The trends are reflecting the nature of the risks, which are now perceived as being greater," said William Sihler, a professor at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business. "Bigger storms are doing more damage, and people are locating in places where they're more likely to get hit." ...
Larry Atkinson, an Old Dominion University oceanography professor, said sea levels are rising at a faster rate along the mid-Atlantic coast than they are globally. Also, parts of the region are sinking.
"By about 2050, it'll be up a foot and a half from where it is now," he said.
Changes in flood insurance, a federal program that is purchased separately from homeowners policies and often required by mortgage providers in coastal areas, also are adding to the burden of consumers.
Like private insurers, the government is trying to bulk up the fund it uses to pay claims related to flood damage.
Congress passed a law that will essentially remove subsidies that have long protected homeowners and business owners. (More)
Tigers draft ODU's Ben Verlander in 14th round
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 8, 2013)
The Detroit Tigers selected Old Dominion University standout Ben Verlander in the 14th round of the Major League Baseball draft today.
Verlander, an outfielder, was the 426th overall selection. Verlander's older brother, Justin Verlander, is an All-Star pitcher for the Tigers.
Ben Verlander made first-team all-Colonial Athletic Association as a junior this season, when he hit .367 with 11 home runs and 37 RBIs. He also scored a team-high 46 runs.
Also today, the Milwaukee Brewers selected ODU pitcher Ryan Yarbrough in the 20th round, 602nd overall. Yarbrough went 4-4 with a 3.27 ERA as a junior this season.
Among the other locals taken was Great Bridge pitcher Connor Jones, who went 628th overall to the San Diego Padres. Jones has said he will go to the University of Virginia.
With the first pick of the 26th round, the Houston Astros selected Christopher Newport University junior pitcher Austin Chrismon (Menchville High School). (More)
7 ways to cut your diabetes risk
(Fox News/Women's Health, June 10, 2013)
Defend yourself against prediabetes and type 2 diabetes by sticking to these lifestyle habits, like lifting weights and getting a good night's sleep
Hit the Weights
Upping your lean muscle mass could lower your insulin resistance and drop your odds of developing prediabetes, according to a new study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Researchers found that for every 10 percent increase in muscle mass, people's prediabetes risk fell by 12 percent.
Build three days of resistance training into your weekly fitness plan, Sheri Colberg-Ochs, a professor of exercise science at Old Dominion University, said. And aim for at least two and a half hours a week of glucose-burning cardio activity such as running, cycling or swimming. (More)
Outgoing leader leaves legacy of inspiration
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 7, 2013)
After 16 years as president and chief executive officer of Volunteer Hampton Roads, Beth Lloyd stepped down at the end of April to pursue her third career in a very eventful life.
Just what career that will be has yet to be determined, but the foundation has some big shoes to fill. ...
During her tenure, Lloyd, a Portsmouth native, was steeped in volunteerism. She was named to Inside Business's "Top Forty under 40" and Hampton Roads Magazine's "The A-List of 50 Very Important People."...
Full Name: Elizabeth Bennett Lloyd
Education: Bachelor of Science in criminal justice and master's in administration from Old Dominion University
Hobbies: Gardening, painting and walking
You've lived in all five cities on the Southside. What are some of your favorite places in Hampton Roads?
I have so many. There's Harbour View in Suffolk where my grandfather's farm was. I love the Hermitage Gardens and the Botanical Garden in Norfolk. I learned to water ski near the locks in Great Bridge. A stroll through the antique stores on old High Street in Portsmouth is lots of fun. And miles and miles of beautiful ocean to enjoy in Virginia Beach. (More)
Former bank VP Hounslow speaks out after fraud trial
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 7, 2013)
Simon Hounslow recalled the moment two weeks ago today as he stood before a federal court jury awaiting his fate.
Standing next to him, his co-defendant and onetime boss at Bank of the Commonwealth, Edward J. Woodard Jr., was hearing the repeated refrain of "guilty," 11 times in all.
"Obviously, when they read the verdict for Ed Woodard, it certainly caused me a huge amount of concern. Those two or three or four minutes were probably the longest two or three or four minutes in my life waiting for them to announce their verdict on me," Hounslow said Thursday in his first interview since the trial ended.
The courtroom clerk read Hounslow's verdict next. "Not guilty," she said, nine times in a row. He was the only one of five defendants acquitted in the massive bank fraud conspiracy that ultimately led to the failure of the Norfolk-based bank in 2011. ...
Hounslow moved to America from Middlesex, England, when he was 16, settling in the Bayview section of Norfolk with his mother and stepfather. He attended Ryan Academy and Old Dominion University, graduating in 1987 with a degree in finance.
Within two years, Woodard hired him at the downtown headquarters of Bank of the Commonwealth. He was to be a branch manager, but the bank needed immediate help in the commercial lending area. He stayed there 22 years. (More)
ODU, EVMS may form a joint school of public health
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 5, 2013)
Old Dominion University and Eastern Virginia Medical School plan to study a potential partnership to create Virginia's first school of public health.
ODU issued a request for proposals this week seeking a consultant to conduct the study, funded by a $125,000 appropriation approved by the General Assembly in February.
ODU and EVMS have operated a joint master's degree program in public health since 1999. The study will include an assessment of that program and other health-related courses and programs offered by the two Norfolk schools that could be incorporated into the proposed new school.
The study will also assess the projected demand for graduates with degrees in public health, including the expected impact of changes dictated by the federal Affordable Care Act.
The field of public health focuses on protecting and improving the health of entire communities through education, promotion of healthy lifestyles and research on disease and injury prevention.
There are no schools of public health in Virginia. The nearest ones are at the University of North Carolina, George Washington University, the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, West Virginia University and East Tennessee State University.
Creating a school would be a big leap beyond the existing joint master's degree program, leaders at ODU and EVMS said. (More)
Report on ODU expansion is delayed a few months
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 6, 2013)
A report that will recommend how Old Dominion's campus should grow over the next 15 years - including how to expand Foreman Field - will be released in August, two months later than expected.
When ODU hired the firm of Perkins+Will last fall to help officials revamp the master plan, officials had expected to make results public by June 1. However, David F. Harnage, the school's chief operating officer, said some of the issues ODU officials ran into were more difficult to solve than they anticipated.
The plan is expected to chart ODU's future expansion and will include recommendations for how to reorganize the campus, including evaluations of parking, where to build student housing and how to group academic programs together.
"When you start examining the campus and identifying all of the issues that are there and then start trying to find alternative solutions that eventually meld into a well-functioning campus, sometimes those issues become complicated and you have to spend a lot of time really working on what that solution is," Harnage said.
"In this case, trying to organize the campus so that functionally things have a relationship with each other is what we've had to spend most of the time on." (More)
Primary race for Va. House seat turns ugly
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 6, 2013)
The race to represent a chunk of central Virginia Beach in the House of Delegates deteriorated this week into mudslinging involving two of the three Republican hopefuls for the November ballot.
The disparaging of candidates Gary Byler and Scott Taylor started weeks ago but tapered off before getting ugly again in the days leading up to Tuesday's primary election. The third candidate, Jeremy Waters, has stayed out of the fray.
The three are vying for the Republican nomination for the 85th District seat in the House of Delegates. Republican Del. Bob Tata is stepping down after 30 years, providing an opportunity for change in the district, which stretches from Mount Trashmore to Tallwood.
The chance brought forward Byler, an attorney and longtime GOP activist; Taylor, an entrepreneur, Fox News pundit and former Navy Seal; and Waters, a Regent University administrator and former Marine.
Tuesday's winner will face Democrat Bill Dale in the November election. ...
It's common for primary elections to revolve around personal issues because the candidates are similar ideologically, said Jesse Richman, an associate political science professor at Old Dominion University. "This race is on the extreme end," he wrote in an email.
The venom could harm the party and its eventual candidate, Richman said. "There is some potential for Democrats to win this seat, particularly if Republicans nominate a weak (or weakened) candidate." (More)
Thousands of civilian DOD employees get furlough notices
(WVEC-TV, June 5, 2013)
Tens of thousands of civilian Department of Defense employees in Hampton Roads have begun receiving warning letters about impending furloughs.
The letters advise employees that up to eleven sequester-related forced days off could begin July 8 and last through the end of the current fiscal year on Sept. 30.
For as many as 30,000 people, it will mean two unpaid days off per pay period.
Among them is Penny McDaniel, who works in the administrative office of Commander Navy Region Mid-Atlantic in Norfolk.
"It's very disappointing," she said. "We do our job, do it to the best of my ability, and then kind of get punished for it. I guess, I wish there was a different way they could go about it."
McDaniel has already canceled cable TV at home, and says the furloughs will mean less eating out and no family vacation this year.
ODU economics professor Vinod Agarwal tells 13News the furloughs, while not as bad as initially feared, will still have a big impact on the Hampton Roads economy.
Agarwal estimates that 30,000 furloughs for 11 days will translate into a loss of $135 million to the gross regional product and will cause 750 spin-off civilian jobs to be eliminated. (More)
A Roundup of Saturday's Hack for Change
(Alt Daily, June 4, 2013)
The National Day of Civic Hacking in Hampton Roads took place June 1, 2013 at Hatch.
After hearing about the event the week prior, I chose to participate and lend my talents as a designer. I showed up a bit after 9AM and shortly thereafter, things got started. After opening with an inspirational presentation, introductions, and delicious coffee, more than 15 civic hackers were ready to get to work.
Graphic design students from Old Dominion University helped lead the discussion on the visual identity of the Norfolk Arts District. Armed with wonderful sketches and great ideas, the civic hackers combined to push the movement a little further. We looked at over 30 logos, and with the help of Hannah Serrano, we dwindled it down to a 3 strong logos by the end of the day.
Advancements in the web design took place as well, as ODU student Trisha Tobias showed off her mock ups and Josh Fischer from ArtSmith Media helped create interactive wireframes.
"I wasn't too worried about progress", said Stanley Zheng, organizer of the event. "Days like National Day of Civic Hacking are to start something and meeting the right people to continue." (More)
Norfolk school board member won't seek another term
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 5, 2013)
Stephen Tonelson, the most senior member of the School Board, will not seek another term, Mayor Paul Fraim announced Monday evening.
"Dr. Tonelson doesn't want to be reappointed for a number of reasons," Fraim said at a meeting for Norfolk GAINS, a school advocacy group.
Tonelson, 63, said Tuesday he had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis more than a decade ago. More recently, however, he became worried he wouldn't have the energy to do a "complete job" preparing for board meetings. The decision was difficult, he said, and one that had nothing to do with politics or the state of the schools.
A professor of early childhood and special education at Old Dominion University, Tonelson was appointed to the board in 2006. He served as chair in 2009-10.
Tonelson was a loyal advocate for teachers and students, said Thomas Calhoun, president of the Norfolk Federation of Teachers.
"All he cared about was the success of the students in this system and the staff that makes that happen," Calhoun said. "I've seen many 6-to-1 votes where he was the one, where he stood alone fighting for staff and students." (More)
New principals named
(Suffolk News-Herald, June 4, 2013)
The Suffolk School Board has appointed six new administrators, including new principals at Lakeland and King's Fork high schools and at Booker T. Washington Elementary School.
At Lakeland, Douglas D. Wagoner will take over as principal from Thomas Whitley, who accepted a principal's position at Chesapeake's Western Branch High School.
Wagoner, an assistant principal at Lakeland for the past 10 years, said he learned of his new role while attending his mother's 89th birthday party.
"I got to share that news with her - it was an exciting time," he said.
At King's Fork, current Smithfield High School principal Stenette Byrd III will replace Suzanne Rice, who in turn is replacing Director of Human Resources Leigh Bennett, who is retiring from the head office position. ...
David C. Reitz, currently an assistant principal at Nansemond River High School, was named the new principal at Booker T. Washington Elementary School. He taught at Northern Shores Elementary School in 2011-2012 after serving the Virginia Beach and Portsmouth school districts.
Reitz has a bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburg, a master's from Old Dominion University, and a doctorate from Virginia Tech. ...
Byrd, who has also served as principal in three other Isle of Wight County public schools, began teaching at Hampton's Jefferson Davis Middle School in 1997. He has a bachelor's degree from Norfolk State University, a master's from Old Dominion University, and a doctorate from the College of William & Mary. (More)
ODU gets big win in recruiting with transfer from WVU
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 2, 2013)
Old Dominion won a major recruiting battle on Sunday when Jennie Simms, a 6-foot forward who was rated one of the nation's best high school players a year ago, said she will transfer from West Virginia.
Simms was rated a four-star recruit and the nation's 88th-best player by ESPN as a senior at Riverdale Baptist High in Upper Marlboro, Md.
She left the Mountaineers after eight games, but remained enrolled through the spring semester. She will enroll at ODU this fall, she said, and will be eligible in 2014-15.
After being given a release by West Virginia in December, Simms said she was contacted by more than a dozen schools, including several from the Big East and ACC - conferences Old Dominion rarely outrecruits. She narrowed her choices to Georgia Tech and ODU.
Simms said she quickly established a close relationship with ODU coach Karen Barefoot.
"I felt like I could trust coach Barefoot," she said. "I really liked her. When I visited Old Dominion, I felt like I was at home. I felt comfortable there."
Simms is the second transfer who will be eligible for Old Dominion in 2014. Annika Holopainen, a 6-2 center from the University of Portland, said earlier this spring she will also enroll. A native of Helsinki, Finland, Holopainen averaged 9.6 points and 3.3 rebounds at Portland, where she made the All-West Coast Conference freshman team. (More)
Fatal Va. Beach fire sparked by cigarette, fireworks
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 4, 2013)
A fire sparked by a cigarette and fireworks early Monday killed a 34-year-old man and seriously injured a woman.
Neighbors said they called 911 shortly before 3 a.m. after they heard popping sounds and saw a fire burning toward the back of a house in the 1000 block of Kinderly Lane in Charlestowne Lakes South.
By the time firefighters arrived, flames were shooting from the roof, and neighbors were trying to get into the house. Inside, neighbors heard a woman screaming, firefighters said.
Within minutes, firefighters forced their way in and found the woman unconscious on the first floor. They resuscitated her. She was later listed in critical condition at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, said Battalion Chief Amy Valdez, a spokeswoman for the Fire Department. Her name was not released.
Erik Stephen Ervin, a computer technician and 2007 information systems graduate of Old Dominion University, was pronounced dead at the scene after he was found on the second floor. (More)