Week of 4/28/14
Why Yom HaShoah matters
(Opinion, The Virginian-Pilot, April 20, 2014)
By Annette Finley-Croswhite
My teeth chattered in the bitter cold as I stared hard into the eyes of my students. I wanted to convey to them not just the history of this place where we stood, but also a lesson in human responsibility. They had to understand that, because of this journey we had taken together, we were now morally responsible for bearing witness to the horrors of the past.
The place we stood in the ash and snow that day was the death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest extermination camp created by the Nazi regime and the site of destruction of nearly 1.3 million Jews in addition to 200,000 Poles, Gypsies, Roma, Sinti, political prisoners and homosexuals.
In spring 2013 I took 11 Old Dominion University students on a Study Abroad trip called Paris/Auschwitz to explore the history of the French Holocaust or Shoah and the 75,721 Jews deported from France almost exclusively to Auschwitz.
In Paris, we met two Holocaust survivors. Jacques Altmann, 88, held onto me while he recounted his story. Once finished, he let go of my arm and rolled up his sleeve to reveal his numerical tattoo. In that one extraordinary moment, I understood this survivor had purposefully transmitted to us a moral responsibility. He explained he had few years to live, but we could tell his story after he was gone. Never in my two decades of university instruction have I felt such purpose generated in my students.
In Holocaust history, scholars frequently discuss perpetrators, bystanders and victims, categories that were both fluid and ambiguous. Even so, contemplating the role of the bystander is indispensable because by emboldening perpetrators, bystanders made the Holocaust possible. ...
Annette Finley-Croswhite is a professor of history at Old Dominion University. (More)
Norfolk children with disabilities compete in Little Feet Meet
(The Virginian-Pilot, April 28, 2014)
Old Dominion University football player Connor Mewbourne estimated he had been tackled about 50 times that day and he expected about 50 more.
Fortunately for Mewbourne, the hits were coming from Norfolk elementary school students participating in the Little Feet Meet at Foreman Field on April 22.
The event, in its fifth year, is an endeavor between the university, Norfolk Public Schools and the Special Olympics.
Elementary students with disabilities bowled, tossed bean bags, made their way through obstacle courses and more. For each station they tried, the young students got a sticker on their "passport."
About 200 children were guided by ODU Parks, Recreation and Tourism Studies majors, and each station was manned by college therapeutic recreation students. ODU professor Betsy Kennedy said the meet is "real world" training for her students and teaches them how to run an event.
Junior Jessica Beach was in charge of "around the world" where children rolled a 4-foot ball around to different bases.
"Can I get a high-five?" Beach asked as students reached home base with the massive ball.
"I love being able to have the opportunity to help people out," she said. (More)
Old Dominion researchers eye mason bees for duty
(Houston Chronicle, April 26, 2014)
The brand-new posthole digger made barely a dent in the ground outside the strawberry patch.
Necessity being the mother of substitution, Lisa Horth abandoned the tool and instead used a hatchet to whack a hole in the turf deep enough to plant the wooden post of a bee house.
The assistant professor of biology at Old Dominion University abandoned the hatchet for a moment, too, when a small, blue-black insect flew past to hover in front of another house, freshly planted a few feet away.
"Oh, oh, ohh! That was a mason bee!" Horth exclaimed.
So far, so good.
Mason bees resemble flies. They live alone. Only females sting, and it's mild.
Plus, they're native to America.
They're not much like honeybees, the quintessential bee-looking bee, which live in colonies and sting.
Honeybees are European, imported to Virginia in the early 1600s by English colonists who wanted a familiar insect to pollinate crops. Since then, they have spread across the country, making themselves indispensable to the agriculture industry. Trucking honeybee hives from state to state has become big business.
But in the early 2000s, honeybee colonies started to vanish. Overnight, an active hive could empty out - abandoned, apparently - with few or no dead bees around. Beekeepers found themselves losing up to 90 percent of their colonies for no apparent reason. The problem has been named Colony Collapse Disorder, and although various culprits have been suspected - neonicotinoid pesticides, mites, viruses - no cause has yet been determined. (More)
SHERI COLBERG-OCHS: Researching (and Experiencing) How Exercise Improves Diabetes
(Today's Dietitian, April 22, 2014)
Sheri R. Colberg-Ochs, PhD, may not be a household name to all dietitians, but she's a standout in the diabetes community, having spent the past two-plus decades researching the specifics of just how exercise affects (and aids) diabetes management.
Having type 1 diabetes herself, Colberg-Ochs knew from a young age that diet and physical activity offer significant benefits for people with diabetes because she experienced those benefits firsthand. "I found that I gravitated toward eating lower glycemic index foods naturally when I was a kid-and did not have a blood glucose meter-because eating foods that spiked my blood glucose rapidly made me feel sluggish," she says. "I also found that being active always made me feel better physically and more in control of my diabetes when I was young, and it still does now."
Colberg-Ochs took that experience and added to it a wealth of education, with degrees from Stanford University; the University of California, Davis; and the University of California, Berkeley, all of which she's used in her research endeavors.
(She's currently investigating how the Wii Fit Balance board may help patients with type 2 diabetes.) ...
Her postdoctoral research position was at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and she's been teaching the tenets of nutrition and exercise physiology to underclassmen at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, for the past 17 years. In addition, many days she can be found at nearby Eastern Virginia Medical School, where she's an adjunct professor of internal medicine.
Much of what she's gleaned from her research findings, she's passed along to readers through 10 books, including Exercise and Diabetes: A Clinician's Guide to Prescribing Physical Activity, which she wrote for the American Diabetes Association last year, and The Diabetes Breakthrough, which she coauthored with a doctor from the Joslin Diabetes Center this year.
Newport News Shipbuilding's Apprentice School Teams With ODU to Offer Bachelor's Degree Program
(Money, April 23, 2014)
Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE:HII) announced today that apprentices at Newport News Shipbuilding will now have the opportunity to earn a bachelor of science degree while completing a marine engineer apprenticeship, thanks to a partnership between The Apprentice School and Old Dominion University.
The new program allows apprentices to earn a mechanical or electrical engineering degree from ODU while gaining related on-the-job engineering experience in manufacturing, construction, maintenance and overhaul of some of the most complex ships in the world.
"This is not just a degree program," said Everett Jordan, The Apprentice School's director of education. "This program aligns academics with real-life, on-the-job utilization of skills in a 550-acre laboratory. Our relationship with Old Dominion University has helped to make it happen, and this program puts us on solid footing to continue attracting the best and the brightest to Newport News Shipbuilding."
A photo accompanying this release is available at: http://newsroom.huntingtoningalls.com/ImageLibrary/detail.aspx?MediaDetailsID=866.
Instruction will be delivered by faculty at The Apprentice School and ODU. Students selected annually to participate in the program will complete their apprenticeship and engineering degree in five to eight years. Graduates will complete the program as engineers at the shipyard and be paid starting salaries of up to $60,000.
Oktay Baysal, dean of ODU's Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology, said the partnership aligns well with the goals ODU has as an engineering school.
"ODU Engineering has long held the philosophy of extending its impact, both by partnering with industry leaders as well as by taking education to those who desire it, a practice that balances access and success," Baysal said. "Through these commitments, ODU Engineering has widened its presence throughout the Peninsula of Hampton Roads and farther beyond. More than 1,000 Newport News Shipbuilding personnel call ODU their alma mater, a true testament to the decades-lasting, secure relationship between ODU and Newport News Shipbuilding." (More)
For Va. Beach company, cleaning ponds a sparkling success
(The Virginian-Pilot, April 27, 2014)
After Kevin Tucker left college with a business degree, he worked at his family's landscaping company. It was all about plants and soil. Then one day a client asked him to clean a pond. From that experience, a new multimillion-dollar niche business evolved.
Tucker turned what he learned on that first job into what eventually became SOLitude Lake Management, a Beach-based company with customers from New Jersey to North Carolina.
All of them have an enemy they depend upon Tucker to subdue.
It's algae - stagnant green mats of it that can quickly cover a pond and turn it ugly and smelly. ...
Ellison graduated from Old Dominion University with a degree in biology. He has seen ponds in deplorable conditions, smelly and completely covered with algae and weeds. "Like a layer of carpet you could walk across," he said.
SOLitude solves problems like that. In recent years, the company has minimized its use of herbicides, taking advantage of advancements that have made products more effective in low doses, Tucker said.
Educating clients has become an important part of SOLitude's customer service. The company teaches clients things they can do to prevent algae, including planting vegetative buffers to filter nutrients. (More)
Apprentice School, ODU create partnership
(Inside Business, April 25, 2014)
Old Dominion University and Newport News Shipbuilding have ties dating back to the 1960s, and the 1,000-plus ODU grads at that company are the largest contingency of alumni from any one school.
Last week, those ties just got closer after the region's largest university and the state's largest industrial employer announced a partnership that would streamline workers' paths to a bachelor's degree.
"This is not just a degree program," Everett Jordan, director of education at Newport News Shipbuilding's Apprentice School, said in a statement.
"This program aligns academics with real-life, on-the-job utilization of skills in a 550-acre laboratory."
The primary partners are the apprentice school and ODU's Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology.
Founded in 1919, the apprentice school takes about 250 current and prospective employees annually and offers four- to eight-year tuition-free apprenticeships.
Apprentices work a regular 40-hour week and are paid for all work, the company said, including time spent in academic classes. (More)
Shakespeare's influence on Virginia
(The Virginian-Pilot, April 26, 2014)
For some, his plays seem to last forever. For others, his influence should last for eternity.
This week marks the 450th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare. Records show the poet was christened April 26, 1564, leading scholars to believe he was actually born April 23.
Celebrations are being held around the world. But few places in America owe as much to the influence of Shakespeare as Virginia.
Not only are many city names - like Norfolk, Hampton and Newport News - drawn from Shakespeare's England, but there is a chance some of our earliest settlers were sold on the colony by the Bard himself.
Shakespeare's chief patron, Henry Wriothesley, was an investor in the Virginia Company of London, according to the Encyclopedia Virginia. The poet dedicated a pair of narrative poems to Wriothesley, the earl of Southampton, who is thought to be the fair youth mentioned in several sonnets. ...
Old Dominion University English professor Imtiaz Habib said the Virginia Company engaged Shakespeare and his several well-known contemporaries to promote and encourage new settlements.
The sales pitch may sound familiar to urban dwellers: leave the crowded, plague- ridden London for virgin lands.
They left out a few details, Habib said: "the swamp, the mosquitoes, the hardship." (More)
Wheeler offers stock to raise $15M to $17.5M
(Inside Business, April 25, 2014)
Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust Inc., a Virginia Beach-based REIT that went public in fall 2012, is looking to raise $15 million, expandable to $17.5 million, through a stock offering to grow its commercial real estate portfolio.
This is the fifth offering since the company's initial public offering on Nov. 19, 2012. According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the firm stated it was looking to issue 600,000 shares of preferred stock and warrants to purchase 720,000 shares of common stock and use $6.6 million of the proceeds to acquire three mid-Atlantic shopping centers.
The rest is planned for future acquisitions and general working capital, the company said in the filing. The stock sale is expected to close this week.
"We are a growth company that has growth needs," CEO Jon Wheeler said in a phone interview. "And we will be continuing to buy real estate in our existing footprint, which is in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Southwest. And this current offering will support just that." ...
Mark Lane, an Old Dominion University associate professor who studies REITs, said REITs typically borrow money for property acquisitions before engaging in a stock offering. The reason, he said, is interest rates on loans are near historic lows and issuing new shares may dilute the value of existing shares.
Lane said he wasn't familiar with the specifics of Wheeler Inc.'s offering, but said, "It could be that they borrowed as much as they can with the equity they have, so now they have to raise more equity." (More)
(Letter, The Virginian-Pilot, April 26, 2014)
Re 'A talk with a younger self' (Hans-Peter Plag Sunday Forum column, April 20): Plag's column is an excellent summary of the climate-change situation, the facts and our options.
Plag sums it up so well when he writes that we are living at the crossroads for our civilization; what we do, what our groups do, matters. For this reason, I'm sharing the column with my church's green team and my contacts.
I appreciate The Pilot's coverage of climate change and am heartened that Old Dominion University and members of the larger Hampton Roads community are addressing the issues.
Plag considers the question of his 20-year-old self. Why weren't heads of state and the general population listening 20 years ago? United Nations conferences on climate change have been held since 1992. The United States never agreed to the Kyoto protocol, which was adopted in 1997 and now has elapsed. The information has been known; we just haven't embraced it.
Monica Lewis, Richmond (More)
ODU waits to set tuition with state budget in limbo
(The Virginian Pilot, April 25, 2014)
Virginia's state budget stalemate has prompted Old Dominion University to delay a decision on next year's tuition rates.
If it had followed the normal schedule, ODU's governing Board of Visitors would have adopted a budget and set tuition rates for the 2014-15 academic year at its meeting Thursday.
But the board decided to wait, hoping to get more clarity on the level of state funding the university will receive.
That's unclear now because the General Assembly, deadlocked over whether to expand Medicaid, has been unable to agree on a state budget. (More)
Virginia International Tattoo participants come from the U.S., other countries
(The Daily Press, April 24, 2014)
Each year, the Virginia International Tattoo brings together more than 800 performers from the United States and other countries. Here's a look at some of the 2014 participants:
Scottish Dance Theatre of Virginia - The company of young performers based in Virginia Beach appears at every tattoo.
The Reel Thing Irish Dance and Rhythm of Ireland Irish Dancers - The Reel Thing and Rhythm of Ireland dancers of Virginia Beach and Yorktown perform traditional Irish dance styles.
Governor's School for the Arts Dance Department - This magnet school for arts students is based on downtown Norfolk.
Granby High School Navy Junior ROTC - Nationally ranked for excellence, this high school unit carries the NATO flags in the tattoo.
Hampton Roads Police Color Guards - Units from Newport News, Norfolk and Chesapeake make up this color guard.
Headquarters Supreme Allied Command Transformation Multi-National Ceremonial Detail - Comprised of active-duty non-commissioned officers, this unit represents the 28 European nations in the NATO Alliance,
Old Dominion University Drumline and Flag Corps - This ensemble is made up of 160 members affiliated with ODU's Monarch Band. (More)
Layne talks project priorities
(Suffolk News-Herald, April 24, 2014)
The state secretary of transportation addressed a joint meeting of the Hampton Roads and Peninsula Chambers of Commerce at Old Dominion University's Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center on Wednesday afternoon.
Aubrey Layne, a Hampton Roads native, covered a variety of topics ranging from a new prioritization process for statewide transportation money to issues with the Port of Virginia during the meeting with about 70 business leaders. (More)
Shipbuilding apprentices offered ODU degrees
(The Washington Post, Associated Press, Marine Link, numerous other media outlets, April 23, 2014)
Newport News Shipbuilding has signed an agreement with Old Dominion University to offer a bachelor's degree to some of its apprentices.
The company is the largest industrial employer in Virginia and the only one in the world to build aircraft carriers for the U.S. Navy. (More)
Newport News Shipbuilding apprentices can now earn a bachelor's degree at ODU
(The Daily Press w/ Video, April 23, 2014)
Students seeking an apprenticeship with Newport News Shipbuilding can now also earn a bachelor's degree in electrical or mechanical engineering thanks to a new partnership with Old Dominion University.
The program formally kicked off Wednesday morning with the signing of a memorandum during a ceremony at the Apprentice School in downtown Newport News.
"Today marks another milestone in the 94-year legacy of the Apprentice School," Everett Jordan, the school's director of education said to about 50 attendees. "I can think of no better partner (than ODU)." (More)
ODU, Apprentice School to offer new degree option
(The Virginian Pilot, Find Law, Marine Link, April 23, 2014)
Old Dominion University and Newport News Shipbuilding are teaming up in a new bachelor's degree in engineering option for students at the shipyard's nearly century-old Apprentice School.
Today, top officials from both institutions will sign a memorandum of understanding at the school's new downtown complex, formalizing a new marine-engineering apprenticeship that leads to a bachelor's of science degree in mechanical or electrical engineering from ODU.
"What we're trying to do is balance access and success," said Oktay Baysal, dean of ODU's Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology. (More)
Special needs kids get active at Norfolk event
(The Virginian Pilot, Find Law, April 23, 2014)
Karla Mihok paced the sidelines of Old Dominion University's Foreman Field, cheering on her daughter.
Katharine, 8, wasn't wearing cleats, or a uniform, for that matter.
She has a rare chromosome disorder that affects her intellectual development and physical movement. She wears ankle braces, but they didn't stop her from participating in track and field events Tuesday with about 200 other children.
Some children sprinted across the field. Others used wheelchairs.
The fifth annual Little Feet Meet drew dozens of parents and volunteers to cheer for elementary-age children with various disabilities as they tackled physical education activities. The event, sponsored by Special Olympics Virginia, Norfolk Public Schools and ODU, offered specialized equipment for young students who have participated in customized physical education classes. (More)
Does staging really raise a home's price?
(Yahoo Finance, April 20, 2014)
Nearly all real estate agents give sellers this advice: Stage your property before showing it to buyers. While that advice is a truism in the real estate business, an academic study says that staging:
Might not be as important as many Realtors think.
Likely doesn't raise the home's sale price.
Study used virtual tours on computers
The study surveyed 820 homebuyers, walking them through a series of six virtual tours of a single home. Each tour focused on either wall color or furnishings, which are two of the most popular staging elements, according to study co-author Michael Seiler, professor of real estate and finance at the College of William and Mary. ...
The study is titled, "The Impact of Staging Conditions on Residential Real Estate Demand." Its co-authors are Mark Lane, associate professor in the finance department at Old Dominion University, and Vicky Seiler, researcher at Johns Hopkins University. (More)
Trainee crimebuster who'll spend year learning tricks of trade at the FBI
(The Belfast (UK) Telegraph, April 21, 2014)
Stephanie Gibson, from Banbridge, is one step closer to fulfilling her dream of being a criminal profiler as she is set to work shadow the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) after landing a one-year university placement in the United States.
It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the hardworking and talented 25-year-old. She is the only student from the UK to gain a place at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, starting this summer.
The second year criminology and social anthropology student at the University of Essex in Colchester will be able to shadow the teams at the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS), as well as being in close proximity to the National Security Agency (NSA) and other crime agencies.
"In order to secure this opportunity, I had to adhere to a number of stipulations, as well as writing a personal statement and getting recommendations from my lecturers," Stephanie said.
"There was only one placement available to students in the UK and I was fortunate enough to have been offered it." (More)
"Fugitive dust" from Norfolk coal cars stirs health fears
(The Virginian-Pilot, April 20, 2014)
Cathy Henry wondered about the black stuff. It coated the hands and feet of her 19-month-old twin girls when they played on the balcony of her West Ghent duplex.
Environmental activists going door to door recently told her what it was: coal dust.
Henry, 30, and her Navy pilot husband, who moved to Norfolk in October, were outraged.
"You try to raise your kids right - buy the organic stuff, try to keep them healthy - and then there's this," she said.
Residents and environmentalists say the coal dust blows in from the Lamberts Point coal terminal on the Elizabeth River and off uncovered Norfolk Southern rail cars that bring coal there from the mountains of Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia. ...
A recent forum on coal dust at Old Dominion University sponsored by the Sierra Club and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network drew about 100 people. Residents and environmentalists plan to ask Norfolk Southern officials to meet with them to talk about what could be done to limit the dust.
A Norfolk Southern spokesman said he didn't know whether the company would agree to a meeting.
"It's not just an aesthetic problem," said Glen Besa, director of the Virginia Sierra Club. "It's a health problem." (More)
ODU helps develop evacuation model for disasters
(Richmond Times-Dispatch/The Virginian-Pilot, April 22, 2014)
It took nine hours to get most of the people to the interstate across the river when the zombies closed in on Charleston, West Virginia
If a major road had been rendered impassable (as has been known to happen in such attacks), the authorities could have jumped on a computer (in a locked room), run a new evacuation scenario (in minutes, thankfully) and seen where best to redirect vehicles (thanks to researchers from Hampton Roads).
The zombie takeover in West Virginia is among the more whimsical of the hundreds of what-ifs that have been run by people across the country on a web-based evacuation model that was developed in part by Old Dominion University.
Plagues of undead aside, the online tool, called the Real Time Evacuation Planning Model, allows emergency managers and government planners to run countless hypotheticals on locations in the United States to see how long it would take to get people out. It can be tailored to show large-scale evacuations caused by a natural disaster or terrorist attack, or scaled-down to look at potential bottlenecks for crowds leaving the county fair or an air show. (More)
Smigiel known for independence on Norfolk council
(The Virginian-Pilot, April 22, 2014)
Political observers didn't give Tommy Smigiel much of a chance four years ago.
But he defeated longtime Norfolk City Councilman Randy Wright by a slim margin in 2010 and has carved out a reputation as an independent voice who sometimes is a minority of one.
In May, Smigiel faces his first election as an incumbent, squaring off against former School Board member Jim Driggers for the Ward 5 seat, which represents most of Ocean View and other northern parts of the city.
"I think I've brought balance to the City Council," Smigiel said. "I think I'm not afraid to ask questions." ...
Aren't they aware Beach officials, in the late 1990s, turned down Morris' proposed maglev route near the Oceanfront and declined to give any public money to that venture?
Or that, a decade ago, the top maglev scientist for the Federal Railroad Administration, John Harding, said Morris "exaggerates what he's accomplished."
Better yet, haven't they traveled past Old Dominion University in the last decade and a half? Morris' speculative maglev project that began in 1999 left ODU with a 3,200-foot elevated track, lots of concrete pillars and a huge embarrassment. ...
So I'm dumbfounded the Beach would give Morris the time of day. Yet some officials seem mesmerized by his latest pitch. (More)