Week of 6/24/13
How ILM Corp. kept document management relevant
(The Washington Post, June 21, 2013)
Jason Cohen still works at the same company he got his start at in 1992, immediately after graduating from Old Dominion University in Norfolk. Today, he's the president of ILM Corp., a document management and data processing firm based in Fredericksburg.
"It's the only job I've ever had," Cohen said.
Cohen was involved in the business before he even started working there. His parents founded the company in Florida in 1976 - an offshoot of a data entry firm they'd started in the 1960s - and brought it to Fredericksburg in 1978.
He bought the company from his parents in 2001 when it was struggling, and he turned the business around.
The company is doing well enough now that Cohen was named the Small Business Administration Small Business Person of the Year for Virginia.
Currently about 80 percent of ILM's business is done through federal contracting - federal clients include the Department of Health and Human Services, the Agency for International Development, and the Patent and Trademark Office. The company scans, processes and digitizes documents for offices dealing with heavy paperwork.
Cohen remembers when ILM processed documents for The Washington Post - one of its first clients. "We'd go up [to The Post] at 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning, pick up the paper and key it into an electronic format every day." (More)
What is a fair tax?
(Opinion, The Virginian-Pilot, June 23, 2013)
By William Cunningham
Many argue that our $16 trillion federal debt was caused by two unfunded wars, the bailout of a corrupt and poorly managed banking system, avoiding a depression and general government overspending. However, unfair changes made to the tax code starting around 1980 must be examined to help explain our current economic woes.
The chief criterion of a fair tax is the effect it has on the taxpayer. Does it treat people fairly, is it equitable, and how does it affect taxpayers' economic capacity?
If you tax someone who makes $10 million a year at the same rate as someone who makes $30,000 a year, say, at 30 percent, are you treating them fairly? One individual pays $3 million in taxes - the equivalent of 10 feet on his 85-foot yacht or the value of his vacation home - and still has $7 million to spend. The other individual pays $9,000 in taxes, leaving $21,000 and forcing him to forgo medical care or his children's tuition or possibly his mortgage.
To get around this inequity, our forefathers set up a progressive tax system where high-income taxpayers pay a higher percentage of their wages in taxes.
Until the 1980s, the United States used "equal sacrifice" for determining a fair tax system. This has been based on the idea that for taxes it is much less sacrifice to deprive a high-income person of a wine cellar than to deprive a lower-income person of milk for her infant. With the flat tax, the middle- and lower-income taxpayer feels a significant amount of pain before the wealthy taxpayer feels even the slightest bit. This is why a progressive tax system has always been a major component of the American dream - all Americans participate in the prosperity of this great nation.
William Cunningham, eminent scholar emeritus at Old Dominion University, taught educational administration courses there and coordinated a Navy master's program for training officers. (More)
One-day football camps have become a win-win deal
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 23, 2013)
As foreboding clouds hung overhead, a line of eager football prospects lined up outside Old Dominion's Foreman Field.
As each registered for the Monarchs' one-day camp earlier this month, quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator Ron Whitcomb went down the line, shaking hands and glancing skyward to see if the rain would hold off - as if it mattered.
"Rain or shine," he said. "Here's a fact: Half our games are played in rain."
On this day, with 100 campers in attendance, maybe 25 of them legitimate prospects, they'd luck out. The rain that pounded the area the previous night held off.
As Whitcomb gathered the players at midfield, he left them with one message: "Let's work. Let's work. Let's work."
And with that, the campers dispersed for 3-1/2 hours of drills, instruction and evaluation, all part of a camp scene being replayed on just about every campus across the country this summer.
The camps have become a vital element on the recruiting calendar, a time when coaches can get a first-hand look at prospective recruits and players can expose themselves to different staffs with relative ease and minimal cost.
"I think it's mutually beneficial for everyone involved," said Bryan Stinespring, Virginia Tech's tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator.
Whereas team and multi-day camps are more involved - and tough to schedule around 7-on-7 events and college assessment tests, which many Norfolk-area high schoolers were taking the day of ODU's first camp - the one-day camps are quick-hitting affairs. (More)
Education dean challenges report's low grades for W&M teacher preparation
(The Daily Press, June 21, 2013)
U.S. colleges of education are an "industry of mediocrity" that churns out teachers ill-prepared to work in elementary and high-school classrooms, according to a report by a nonprofit advocacy group that represents the first comprehensive review of such programs.
The study, by the National Council on Teacher Quality, which has long promoted overhauling U.S. teacher preparation, assigned ratings of up to four stars to 1,200 programs at 608 institutions that collectively account for 72% of the graduates of all such programs in the nation.
On a 4-point scale, the elementary education program rated a 1. The secondary education program got 2.5 points.
The elementary program was on par with that of Old Dominion University. W&M's secondary program was ranked as on par with programs from George Mason, Christopher Newport, James Madison and Old Dominion.
Virginia McLaughlin, dean of W&M's School of Education, sent a letter in advance of the report pointing out shortcomings.
"It is challenging... to extract meaningful implications for action from this (National Council on Teacher Quality) report," she wrote, adding that it "has glaring flaws in the design of its study and huge gaps in the conclusions drawn about individual programs and the profession as a whole. (More)
Civilians key to Huntington's police force
(Shepherdstown (W.Va.) Chronicle, June 23, 2013)
It's fairly easy to spot Scott Lemley and Kohson Perkins in the hallways of the Huntington Police Department.
They don't wear police uniforms, they don't have badges and they certainly don't carry guns. Yet, officers look to them for advice and help with crime patterns or resolving a computer problem.
Lemley, 32, and Perkins, 27, are civilian employees who have become the brain trust for the Police Department's technology based initiatives.
Lemley is a criminal intelligence analyst who uses GIS mapping and reported crimes to analyze trends in neighborhoods and determine when and where a perpetrator might strike next. He's also in charge of the Police Department's website and disseminates information from the anonymous tipline, social media and interagency bulletins to the appropriate bureaus.
Perkins is the IT coordinator. If it falls in the realm of technology, he's behind the installation, management and maintenance of it.
Both were hired with federal grant funding - Perkins about four years ago and Lemley two-and-a-half - and were told that their positions may only be temporary. They have proven to be such assets that their positions are now part of the Police Department's annual budget.
Perkins has played a critical role in the Police Department's 19 wireless surveillance cameras at Harris Riverfront Park and in Fairfield West. He also monitors GPS tracking systems in the department's fleet of vehicles and is almost finished transforming the Police Department into a paperless agency. The last step of that process, electronically filing crime and incident reports, is expected to go live this week.
Lemley came to the department after completing his master's degree in international studies at Old Dominion University. Analytics and statistics classes were a large part of his postgraduate work. (More)
Emergency call boxes not so common at ODU
(The Virginian-Pilot June 22, 2013)
Large swaths of Old Dominion University lack emergency call boxes, which some experts say are key to campus safety because they can connect victims with police quickly and help prevent crime.
Old Dominion has 83 call boxes - including 62 in parking garages alone - on its 251-acre campus. Urban campuses of similar size have far more.
Virginia Commonwealth University, for example, has about 350 call boxes on 143 acres; the University of Pennsylvania, 459 on 302 acres; and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 138 on 210 acres.
Emergency phones aren't used much - at ODU and elsewhere - but they are important, campus safety experts said, because they can deter criminals and help students and faculty feel safe while they're on campus. Newer models also can broadcast alerts and hold surveillance cameras.
On ODU's campus, emergency phones are primarily clustered around dorms and inside parking garages. While campus police Chief Rhonda Harris said she didn't decide where they were placed, she said those areas would be her first priorities, calling it "a pretty good strategy."
But, she added, she would expect them to be elsewhere on campus, too.
"I would think they're near the athletics fields," said Harris, who came to ODU a little more than a year ago. "I would think they're in the academic quad. I would think they're in the residence halls areas. I would think they would be on pathways that might be isolated." (More)
Event aims to inform adults about going back to school
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 21, 2013)
A resource fair for adults interested in continuing their education will be held Saturday at Scope.
The event, called Investing in Yourself Through Higher Education, will run from 9 a.m. to noon and feature more than a dozen local colleges, universities, and career and technical schools. Admissions representatives and financial aid experts will be available to answer questions. There will also be several workshops on issues such as starting a second career and obtaining a GED.
Councilwoman Angelia Williams, who is pursuing her bachelor's degree, is working with the city to sponsor the event. More than 300 people are expected to attend.
"A lot of adults are intimidated or they don't know where to start," Williams said. "We just wanted to create an environment where they could get the information they needed and at least take the first step."
Williams, a business administration major, expects to graduate in December from Old Dominion University. (More)
Lions: Enough standup, it's time for wisecracking backup QB DeMarco to stand apart
(The Vancouver Province, June 21, 2013)
Travis Lulay was ready for the inevitable, yet still couldn't suppress a huge grin.
The quarterback of the B.C. Lions knew he'd be asked how he and the CFL team are operating so far without the daily antics of his lighthearted backup, Mike Reilly, who'll make his first start behind centre for the Edmonton Eskimos (7 p.m., Team 1040) at B.C. Place Stadium after his off-season trade.
It was no trouble at all, as Lulay would explain, because in his new protégé, Thomas DeMarco, it's as if Reilly never left.
"When it's business, it's all business with Mike. He is one of the biggest jokers I've ever been around," Lulay said. "I hate to say it, but Thomas is just like him."
A year after a game where he had everything on the line in the Lions' final pre-season contest, DeMarco is assured a roster spot as a backup and holder on placements, easily sharing any award for most improved player in camp with fellow sophomore Jabar Westerman. The goal tonight: It's pre-season - don't get hurt.
It's a remarkable climb for a quarterback who was told way more than once that, at 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds, he was too small to play the position, whose toughness was even being questioned last year when coach Mike Benevides made DeMarco unexpectedly kick a field goal in the pouring rain at camp.
DeMarco starred at Old Dominion University, yet was given the ultimate sign of disrespect when the only thing he did at his pro day after last season was hold a clipboard. He went to six tryout camps, including one with Edmonton, and decided the Lions were going to be his last stop. (More)
Wanted: Untold stories
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 20, 2013)
Stories of courage, pain and humor bubble to the surface of Virginia's integration history, but archivist Sonia Yaco knows the water is deep.
Old Dominion University's special collections librarian and university archivist said the slow rise of first-hand accounts tells its own story.
"When I first began, I was stunned at how little information on desegregation was available to researchers and the public," said Yaco, who started ODU's Desegregation of Virginia Education (DOVE) project in 2008. "No one was collecting this history, and, tellingly, no one was demanding that it be done." On Saturday, Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum will host "Share our Stories." The event aims to augment the DOVE project collection and encourage locals to give voice to the past.
Virginia Beach museum educator Shirin Spencer said organizers want to accomplish several ends with the program.
"We're very excited to be partnering with DOVE project, so they can reach people for their collection," she said. "And we're also collecting stories and artifacts for the PACTS/UKHS museum."
DOVE project collects oral histories, papers and photographs from students, parents and educators in Virginia schools and colleges from the mid-1940s to mid-1980s. It solicits recollections across ethnicities, with an emphasis on African American history.
"Many have experienced it, but they haven't shared it with anyone," Yaco said. "There was no outlet for their pain. Their silence is common and seems to say, 'Mama told me to go; I went; end of story.' " (More)
ODU student program wins regional award
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 20, 2013)
An Old Dominion University program drawing on the business knowledge of students has been cited by a regional academic group.
The Southern Association of College and University Business Officers selected ODU's Monarch Project as its grand finalist in a best-practices competition.
The Monarch Project employs Old Dominion students to help the university's finance office. One of their programs, Monarch Millionaire, has provided financial-literacy classes to students.
"The students in our program are passionate about what they do, and it shows through programs like Monarch Millionaire," Bill Edmunds, acting administrative operations officer at ODU's Office of Finance, said in a statement. (More)
Workshop being held to discuss extending light rail to Naval Station Norfolk
(WTKR-TV, June 19, 2013)
You can take action tonight on ways to extend the Tide to Naval Station Norfolk.
Hampton Roads Transit is looking at extending light rail to unlock the gridlock to the region's largest employer.
HRT is hosting a public workshop tonight so you can give your three cents on how the Tide should flow in and out of the Navy base.
Different options have been to lay tracks along I-64 or Hampton Blvd. to also create stops at ODU.
If you would like to give your three cents about this issue, just head to the Hilton Hotel on Military Highway. (More)
Students urge Congress to stop hike
(WAVY-TV, June 18, 2013)
Student leaders from Virginia schools are specifically asking two congressmen to stop the student loan rate from going up.
Terrell Kingwood, a Senior at Old Dominion University joined James Lewis with the Virginia Young Democrats as well as others from George Mason University on a conference call explaining why they want Congressman Scott Rigell and Congressmen Frank Wolf to act.
Student loan rates are set to double on July 1, with rates going from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.
In May, Rigell voted to support the Smarter Solutions for Students Act , which moves all new student loans to a market-based interest rate. Wolf did not vote.
Using Congressional Budget Office projections, the GOP plan would translate to a five percent interest rate on Stafford loans in 2014, but the rate would climb to 7.7 percent for loans in 2023.
Stafford loan rates would be capped at 8.5 percent, while loans for parents and graduate students would have a 10.5 percent ceiling under the GOP plan. (More)
Puzzling over the Sequester
(The Virginian Pilot) Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Op Ed by Chuck Keating
The headlines are ominous. Sequestration and its arbitrary, across-the-board cuts to the federal government threaten to harm our economy, compromise our national security and tear at the fabric of what unites us. And all because competing government factions in Washington can't seem to agree on even a partial solution.
Even if an agreement is reached on this latest impasse, there will be another standoff soon after, with both sides accusing the other of bargaining in bad faith or kicking the can down the road. There appears to be no end.
It's not just in the federal government - we face seemingly unsolvable problems across all sectors, from the rising cost of health care to finding a balance between economics and the environment. And we seem to be stuck in addressing them, making little or no progress.
Like starting a jigsaw puzzle, we know what the picture we desire looks like from the box cover, but we are having trouble fitting the pieces together. Unfortunately, our puzzle is about five miles across and has hundreds of thousands of pieces, and we are wandering around trying to piece it together.
This ground-level approach is akin to Einstein's warning: "We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them."
In this case, a sequester is installed, with spending cuts that seemingly everyone agrees are undesirable. We have smart people, advanced technologies and abundance not seen in human history. Yet we cannot get a grasp on many of our most vexing problems. We have to ask ourselves why. What do these issues have in common that hinder our attempts to resolve them?
Maybe the path forward requires new thinking. Why not repair what is broken by taking a different view, as Einstein suggested?
One such method of thinking involves the "systems" view being developed at the National Centers for System of Systems Engineering at Old Dominion University. This view focuses on understanding what is broken in the underlying system. These "broken systems" produce the undesirable actions, like the sequester, that continue to haunt us. (More)
Cox Cable wants to air 4 ODU football games this fall
(The Virginian Pilot) Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Cox Communications officials say they hope to air at least four Old Dominion football games this fall, including two home games that the cable provider would produce with its facilities.
The dominant provider of cable TV in South Hampton Roads, Cox is negotiating with Conference USA and Fox College Sports to broadcast games on Aug. 31 at East Carolina and at home on Nov. 16 against UNC Charlotte.
Fox College Sports plans to televise both games regionally as part its Conference USA TV package, but the network isn't carried by Cox. (More)
The Thin Line Between Whistleblowing and Snitching
(WSJ Blogs) Mon., June 17, 2013
By D.E. Wittkower
A leaker or whistleblower, in any circumstances, adopts a very precarious moral stance. By taking private information public, she violates the trust given to her as an insider. That it is only by virtue of her trusted position that she is able to do harm makes the harm all the more troubling. There is also something unavoidably arrogant about the act-the leaker or whistleblower does not merely refuse to comply, but takes on a position of judgment. The term "whistleblower" itself gives us a good image in which to see this: it is as if a football player on the field not only does not follow directions, but takes the position of the umpire, calling foul against his own team. (More)