Week of 6/2/14
In Norfolk, evidence of climate change is in the streets at high tide
(The Washington Post, May 31, 2014)
At high tide on the small inlet next to Norfolk's most prestigious art museum, the water lapped at the very top of the concrete sea wall that has held it back for 100 years. It seeped up through storm drains, puddled on the promenade and spread, half a foot deep, across the street, where a sign read, "Road Closed."
The sun was shining, but all around the inlet people were bracing for more serious flooding. The Chrysler Museum of Art had just completed a $24 million renovation that emptied the basement, now accessible only by ladder, and lifted the heating and air-conditioning systems to the top floor. A local accounting firm stood behind a homemade barricade of stanchions and detachable flaps rigged to keep the water out. And the congregation of the Unitarian Church of Norfolk was looking to evacuate. ...
On May 6, the Obama administration released the third National Climate Assessment, and President Obama proclaimed climate change no longer a theory; its effects, he said, are already here. This came as no surprise in Norfolk, where normal tides have risen 11 / 2 feet over the past century and the sea is rising faster than anywhere else on the East Coast. ...
Larry Atkinson, an oceanographer who is co-director of the Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative at Old Dominion University, said when the mayor was asked about the report, he waved away the question. "He says, 'I can't think about five feet. What do you want me to do, move the whole city?' "
It's not just Norfolk, Atkinson said. Much of the Eastern Shore would be underwater; Baltimore and Washington would be in trouble, too. "At five feet," he said, "the Mall's flooded."
Driving around town, Atkinson and his colleague Michelle Covi recently pointed out dozens of places where water regularly fills the streets, keeping people from work. "By 2040, this will be flooded every high tide," Atkinson said as he drove north on Hampton Boulevard. "That means the main road to the Navy base will be impassable two to three hours a day." (More)
Tough and loved, ODU's Gil Yochum stepping down
(Inside Business, May 30, 2014)
For the 30-plus years he's taught economics, Gil Yochum has had the toughness to manage classes of more than 300 and the popularity to draw the most favorable pupil reviews, colleagues said.
In the four years he's been interim dean and dean at Old Dominion University's College of Business and Public Administration, he spearheaded the restructuring of its MBA program and, among other things, led it through an arduous re-accreditation process.
After 39 years at the college, the lively 67-year-old is retiring July 1. A lot has changed since the new doctoral graduate arrived at ODU at age 28, but Yochum has always aimed to do one thing no matter what the decade or role: Instill confidence in students.
"In the end, when a student finishes this university," he said, "that student needs to believe that they can compete with anybody."
Yochum is stepping down at a pivotal point in the college's history. Last August, ODU alumnus Mark Strome announced he was contributing $10 million to help nurture entrepreneurship at the university, a figure that has since grown to $11 million and has attracted other donations. The business school is at that center of that gift.
The dean's seat will be filled by Yochum's colleague and friend Vinod Agarwal, who was selected as interim dean until the school completes its national search for a permanent replacement. ODU Provost Carol Simpson said in an email that the intent is for the new dean to be an external replacement. Still, Yochum was an interim dean who became dean in 2011 after a national search.
"He left the place in a much better situation than when he took it over from almost every angle I can think of," said Agarwal, who's been with ODU since 1981. "I think he'll be viewed as one of the best deans the college has had." (More)
Strategies to keep bloodsuckers at bay
(The Virginian-Pilot, May 31, 2014)
I swatted a buzzing mosquito the other day that followed me into the car. I came home with two ticks after a visit in the country. And I got chased by deer flies in the park.
The season's really here when everything we love and hate about summer collides in the middle of having a good time.
I hate it most when insects in my yard make me feel like a prisoner in my house. At the same time, I also hate using insecticides. What kills mosquitoes and other bad insects often kills the good bugs, too.
So it was really interesting to learn a little about natural tick control the other day at Portsmouth's Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve's Watershed Weekend. Students from Old Dominion University, who are studying ticks and tick-borne diseases, had an exhibit there. Later, I found out more from Holly Gaff, associate professor of biological sciences at Old Dominion. ...
Some species of ticks like shade, high humidity and leaf litter. Others like grassy areas where they can lurk and wait for you to pass by, Gaff said.
"While ticks may seen invincible, they are actually quite susceptible to dehydration," she added. (More)
ODU College of Business Dean Yochum to retire, Agarwal named interim dean
(The Daily Press, June 2, 2014)
Gil Yochum is retiring July 1 as dean of Old Dominion University's College of Business and Public Administration after nearly 40-year career at ODU.
Yochum, who joined ODU in 1975, plans to stay in touch, including with research project collaboration. He said one of the highlights of his career has been interacting with more than 10,000 students during his time as an instructor, according to a news release.
Vinod Agarwal, economics professor and director of ODU's Economic Forecasting Project, was appointed interim dean for the next year while ODU conducts a nationwide search for Yochum's replacement.
Agarwal, who joined ODU in 1981 and serves as chairman of the Department of Economics, will continue to do the economic forecasts. He also helped create the Taste of India event now in its eighth year. (More)
How Town Center wooed Anthropologie to Va. Beach
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 1, 2014)
Gerald Divaris first fell for Anthropologie in 1998 when he visited one of its New York stores with his daughter, then a college student.
At the time, Town Center in Virginia Beach was just a plan - with another two years before a shovel would hit the ground. Yet Divaris knew that he wanted Anthropologie, and he wanted it badly.
An avid shopper by trade and hobby, he admired the retailer's uniqueness, the way its personality changes to reflect its environments, its flair for distinctive merchandise. "There are accessories. There are home goods. There are eclectic frames," he said. "There's always something you can find that would be of interest."
Divaris is chairman and CEO of Divaris Real Estate, which helped found Town Center and handles its leasing and management. Anthropologie was a perfect match for the development that Divaris and city officials envisioned - an open-air environment of shops not found elsewhere in the suburban landscape. ...
Anthropologie has a unique style, with airy and funky stores designed to complement the relaxed-yet-elegant bohemian clothing, accessories and home decor. It sells many of its own lines - Leifsdottir, Maeve, Pilcro and Cartonnier - as well as those of chic but less exposed designers.
"Town Center's really been in need of some good-name retailers," said Karen Eagle, who has taught fashion merchandising at Old Dominion University in Norfolk and The Art Institute of Virginia Beach and ran her own bridal and dress shop for 17 years. In 2011, she took a class to New York to meet with manufacturers and retailers and included a stop at Anthropologie to study its innovative window displays.
The chain targets women ages 30 to 45 but lures all types of sophisticated shoppers, Eagle said. "I know women in their 40s who love this store. You find little plates for your kitchen and buy a sweater." (More)
Nashville arena CEO says Beach arena needs major tenant to succeed
(Inside Business, May 30, 2014)
If an arena in Virginia Beach ever comes to pass, its success may hinge on its ability to draw a major tenant, an industry executive told a Hampton Roads audience last week.
Jeff Cogen, CEO of the National Hockey League's Nashville Predators and Nashville's Bridgestone Arena, said having a professional sports team can double the value of various revenue streams.
"We have 70 suites. Our suites are $150,000 on average to lease," Cogan said about the annual price. "Well, you get all the great events we do at Bridgestone Arena and you get 50 hockey games. I'm telling you that without those 50 hockey games those suites would be worth half - $75,000."
Cogan, a Newport News native and Old Dominion University alumnus, spoke to about 85 people at a Norfolk event held by the Business and Legal Society of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. Ken Young, president of the Norfolk Tides and Norfolk Admirals, joined him in a conversation largely about a proposal for a $200 million Virginia Beach arena.
Virginia Beach-based United States Management is the group behind that proposal, which does not involve any municipal debt. City Council voted last week to pursue negotiations with USM. Company officials said they can open an 18,000-seat venue - with 30 suites at $35,000 annually - in late 2016. (More)
ODU's stadium plan stuck in neutral
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 1, 2014)
Whenever Old Dominion football coach Bobby Wilder speaks in public, he saves a few minutes at the end of his presentation for questions. Recently, when he spoke to the Norfolk Sports Club, the first question he got was one he's been asked frequently in recent months.
"Coach, what's the status of ODU's proposed new stadium?"
For the time being, there is no easy answer.
ODU's stadium proposal has been in a holding pattern since early March, when the General Assembly - in an impasse over whether to expand Medicaid - adjourned without adopting a budget.
ODU has asked permission from the General Assembly to spend $1.5 million to hire a consultant to help develop a plan for the new stadium. And even though the money will come from athletics and not taxpayers, the state won't allow ODU to move forward until a new budget is adopted. ...
The stadium is contingent on several other projects occurring first, including the construction of more student housing.
Dave Harnage, ODU's Chief Operating Officer, said for now there is no timetable and there won't be one until consultants have nearly completed their work. There are too many unknowns to accurately predict when a new stadium will open, how large it will be or what amenities it will contain, he said.
"At this point, all we've done is say we believe the university will need a new stadium," he said. "Now, we have to do all of the hard work to define what that means." (More)
ODU focuses on workforce development
(Inside Business, May 23, 2014)
Old Dominion University's new College of Continuing Education and Professional Development, which has been running in first gear since about February, is about to shift into high gear now that a dean has been named.
ODU officials announced last week that James M. Shaeffer Sr., associate vice provost for outreach programs at James Madison University, will lead the new college. He will join former ODU Business Gateway interim-director Clair Dorsey, who was named executive director of the college in April. Dorsey will report to Shaeffer. The two have been charged with establishing an enterprise envisioned as Hampton Roads' primary source for advanced workforce development.
"Employers are looking for competencies, not necessarily the degree," said ODU Provost Carol Simpson about graduate degrees. "So certainly when somebody's been working for five, 10 years or longer, they're not going to want to come to the university to do a full degree."
The college was created to serve as a central resource for the school's various certificate programs, both for-credit and noncredit. This should result in reduced redundancies, Simpson said, and a better promotion of offerings to groups including returning military veterans.
The school was also established to create new certificate programs based on the requests of employers and industry. Shaeffer will spearhead that market-research-based effort, and some ideas so far include certificates for maritime supply-chain logistics and big data.
"We want to give them what they need," Simpson said, "not what we think they need."
Dorsey, who oversaw some of the non-credit certificates at the Business Gateway, will now be invovled in all of the university's certificate programs, which she estimated at approximately 20.
She said the new college will offer accelerated options that previously didn't exist.
"When people are looking to improve their credentials, they may not want to wait 2 1/2 years," she said. "That promotion may be gone in a year." (More)
Government regulation's role in the mortgage market
(HSH.com, May 29, 2014)
Interview with Mark Lane, associate professor of real estate and finance at Old Dominion University
Fannie, Freddie, FHA, VA, HAMP and HARP are just a few examples of the government's influence on the current mortgage market. Add in the Federal Reserve's efforts to keep mortgage rates low and you have a mortgage market that is currently dominated by government influence.
But is the U.S. mortgage market over-regulated or even perhaps under-regulated, and how do these regulations affect the cost and availability of mortgage loans? Does government influence make mortgages more expensive or harder for consumers to get?
To find out, we asked Mark A. Lane, Ph.D., associate professor of real estate and finance at Old Dominion University, to offer his thoughts on the role of government regulation in the residential mortgage market.
Q: Is the mortgage market is over-regulated or is it under-regulated? How do these regulations affect the cost and availability of mortgage loans?
A: First, let me say that some level of regulation in the housing market is useful. However, it is important to strike a balance so that the amount of regulation doesn't place an unnecessary burden on the industry or distort market prices.
A consistent challenge here is that lenders are typically much more financially sophisticated than borrowers. For most people, purchasing a single-family home is one of the largest purchases they will make during their lifetimes and, because they do it very infrequently, they are unlikely to become experts in this area.
Why government regulation is necessary
Since the average consumer is not as financially sophisticated as their lender, they will have a harder time understanding everything in the very large stack of documents that accompanies the typical mortgage. So this opens borrowers up to the possibility of being taken advantage of in a transaction.
A lender taking advantage of a borrower is often referred to as "predatory lending." The situation was so bad in the past that Congress enacted the "Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA)" in 1994 to combat some of the worst abuses. (More)
Rice, Marshall among 8 ODU games to be televised
(The Virginian-Pilot, May 29, 2014)
Four Old Dominion football games, including the school's first Conference USA game ever - at defending league champion Rice on Sept. 20 - will be televised by Fox Sports, conference officials announced Thursday.
In all, at least eight of ODU's 12 games will be televised and the number could grow to 10. As many as three could be broadcast nationally on Fox Sports 1.
Last season, during ODU's transition into the Football Bowl Subdivision, six games were televised - the most in the team's five-year history.
ODU's conference home opener against Middle Tennessee State was moved to Friday, Sept. 26, this spring to accommodate a Fox Sports 1 national broadcast. The 8 p.m. game will be ODU's first on a Friday night.
The Rice game, a home game against likely preseason C-USA favorite Marshall on Oct. 4 and the team's final home game on Nov. 22 against Louisiana Tech will be broadcast on various Fox networks.
Rice and Marshall will be broadcast either on Fox Sports 1 or on Fox's regional networks. The regional networks are available on some cable/satellite providers in Hampton Roads but not with Cox Communications, the area's largest cable TV outlet. However, last season the company was able to negotiate with Fox to have some ODU football and basketball games televised on Cox in Hampton Roads.
The Louisiana Tech game will be broadcast on Fox College Sports and will begin at 1 p.m.
Coach Bobby Wilder said the fact that ODU sold out all 35 games played at Foreman Field helped the school land a high-profile TV presence in its first year in the league.
"We're brand new to Conference USA," he said. "It's our first year as an FBS program. And yet three of the four games of ours that will be broadcast on Fox are home games. (More)
Charles the lion dog fathers pride of puppies
(The Virginian-Pilot, May 30, 2014)
What do you call a litter of labradoodle puppies born to a "lion dog"?
Cub puppies? Puppy cubs? Cuppies?
The litter - or puppy pride - was born to Charles the Monarch and Samantha, a pair of labradoodles owned by the family of Daniel Painter in Norfolk.
Charles gained national notoriety early last year because his fur is shaved to make him resemble a small lion. The Old Dominion University mascot, to be exact.
Seven males and four females were born Wednesday in Chesapeake over the course of a little more than nine hours, said Renee Norman, a family friend who oversaw the births. One puppy was stillborn and could not be revived.
"She is the lioness, very protective," Norman said of Samantha. "She's an excellent mother."
Mamma and cubs - er, puppies - are fine. (More)
Maya Angelou | An Appreciation
(The Virginian-Pilot, May 29, 2014)
Maya Angelou, the renowned poet who died Wednesday at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C., didn't believe in modesty. She called it a "learned affectation."
In her work, Angelou celebrated herself as the "phenomenal woman," but her style was welcoming enough to invite others to come in and lay their burdens down. ...
Often rendered in almost melodic, blues-suffused language, there was nothing demur or apologetic about the work of Angelou.
"What I loved about Maya Angelou, Dr. Maya Angelou, was her courage to write and speak about difficult subjects: sexual abuse, racism, gender discrimination, the hardships of poverty," said Tim Seibles, award-winning Norfolk poet and associate professor of English at Old Dominion University. "She approached such subjects without flinching and with a directness and honesty that obliged anyone who encountered her writings to feel more deeply and think more carefully about the vast array of challenges that people face in this life." (More)
Super Fan Patrick Yarber is coming to ODU this fall
(The Virginian-Pilot, May 29, 2014)
Patrick Yarber, perhaps the most traveled fan in college football history, said he will attend Old Dominion's home game with Middle Tennessee State on Friday, Sept. 26.
Foreman Field will be the 126th Football Bowl Subdivision venue that Yarber has visited.
Last year, Yarber became the first fan known to have seen games at all 125 FBS stadiums when he watched ODU defeat Idaho at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow, Idaho. He was featured on ESPN's SportsCenter shortly before kickoff of the ODU-Idaho game.
He was also in Greenville, N.C. last season when ODU lost at East Carolina.
ODU becomes an FBS school this season and plays its first season in Conference USA.
A Nashville, Tenn., resident, Yarber is legally blind. Retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration have claimed most of his vision in recent years. But he's not yet fully blind and said he will continue to travel to sporting events until he can no longer see. ...
His love of college football began when he attended a game at Vanderbilt to watch a high school friend play. He said he'll also be at Vanderbilt on Nov. 1 when ODU visits the Commodores.
"I'll be pulling for ODU," he said. "I'll leave all of my black and gold at home. I met so many nice people from ODU in Idaho." (More)
For ODU, a long bus trip never felt so good
(The Virginian-Pilot, May 29, 2014)
Old Dominion's baseball players had the campus virtually to themselves Wednesday morning during a light workout before boarding a bus bound for Columbia, S.C., site of the program's first NCAA tournament game since 2000.
A third seed, Chris Finwood's team will play second-seeded Maryland on Friday in a regional game on South Carolina's campus.
"Fourteen years is a long time not to go to the tournament," Finwood mused under a hot sun at the Bud Metheny Baseball Complex.
Three years after he was brought in to resuscitate a program that had lost touch with its winning traditions, Finwood has ODU ahead of schedule. Asked if back in February he thought the Monarchs would be playing big games after Memorial Day, he said, "Obviously, nobody else did. We were picked to finish 10th in the league."
Everybody knows college baseball doesn't attract the same broad interest among students - and fans in general - as football and basketball do. But whatever transpires in South Carolina, ODU's surprising success as a fledgling Conference USA team is something worth celebrating on campus. Or would be if school wasn't out for the summer.
"You finish when no one's around," Finwood said of his sport's unusual rhythms that take teams from the frozen fields of February to 90-degree days of late spring. "It's just the way it is." (More)
Richmond Region Tourism Appoints Matt Robinette to Director of Convention and Sports Services
(International Meetings Review, May 28, 2014)
Richmond Region Tourism has appointed Matt Robinette to the role of director of convention and sports services. In this newly-developed position, Robinette will be responsible for managing the services provided to convention, meetings and sports event clients. He comes to Richmond Region Tourism from the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau where he served as sports sales manager.
In this new role, Robinette will supervise two convention services managers as well as volunteers to address the needs of client events. He will serve as a liaison between meeting planners, hotels, vendors and regional partners, and will develop strategic plans for servicing future events.
Robinette's background includes 15 years of experience overseeing various types of events. Prior to his work as sports sales manager for the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, he worked as an event supervisor for the City of Virginia Beach. In 2012, he was awarded the VA Beach CVB's National Tourism Week Customer Service Award. Robinette is a graduate of Old Dominion University where he earned a Bachelor's degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies. (More)
Forum on Lamberts Point coal dust is tonight
(The Virginian-Pilot, May 29, 2014)
A second forum for residents to air concerns about coal dust that they say blows off the Lamberts Point coal terminal is scheduled for tonight.
Some people living near the facility and environmentalists have complained that the dust could cause health problems.
The forum, organized by the local Sierra Club chapter, will be at 7 p.m. at W.H. Taylor Elementary School in West Ghent. About 100 people attended the first meeting in April at Old Dominion University.
A spokesman for the Norfolk Southern railroad company, which owns the coal terminal, said company officials will not be at the forum but have invited residents to a private meeting next month to discuss coal dust with company CEO and President Charles "Wick" Moorman.
"We'll go, and see what they have to say, and present our concerns," resident and Sierra Club member Joe Cook said. (More)
Overcoming the inertia of higher education
(Opinion, Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 23, 2014)
BY JAMES V. KOCH
Despite a recovery in taxpayer funding, this spring has witnessed another round of tuition increases at Virginia's colleges and universities - and those increases once again have been considerably in excess of the increase in the Consumer Price Index.
For some time, I've tracked the annual growth of household incomes in Virginia versus annual increases in tuition at our publicly assisted institutions. Tuition increases have been growing much more rapidly than median household income in the commonwealth, and it's increasingly difficult to avoid concluding that the growing gap between the two is unsustainable. For example, between FY 2008 and FY 2014, when median household incomes were hardly growing at all, tuition at Virginia's public institutions of higher education rose 31.6 percent, after inflation (The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2014).
This has placed students and their families in a financial bind and predictably has led to dramatic increases in student debt - almost $500 million since 2008, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. It's no surprise that this has resulted in a sharp increase in student debt defaults. The bank says that huge student debt now constitutes a major drag on the economy; indebted graduates with diminished job prospects can't pay rent, buy cars or houses or even television sets.
I am a former college president and therefore understand internal university politics that make saying "no" to earnestly presented funding requests from faculty and administrators a very difficult task. Even so, caving and saying "yes" to tuition increases that clearly exceed both growth in household incomes and the Consumer Price Index diminishes the very purpose and integrity of publicly funded higher education. It closes higher education doors and impoverishes students and their families. For the first time in many years, we've experienced declining enrollment in U.S. public higher education. Students have begun to send us a message.
James V. Koch is a member of the Board of Visitors, professor of economics and president emeritus of Old Dominion University. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. (More)
Yorktown Riverwalk Landing loses two businesses, could add 'grab-and-go' Carrot Tree
(The Daily Press, May 27, 2014)
Two Riverwalk Landing businesses have shuttered in as many months.
Claire Murray Lifestyles, a linen and home goods store, closed earlier this month. Its owner owes nearly $13,000 in back rent, late fees and damages.
Last month, following long delays and opening for only a short stint, Kero Asian Grill closed.
But there is a silver - or should we say green and orange - lining. The York County Economic Development Authority agreed at a meeting Tuesday to enter into negotiations with Carrot Tree owner Glenn Helseth for a miniature version of the popular restaurant that closed its Yorktown location in December. ...
According to a 2014 Hampton Roads Market Survey by the E.V. Williams Center for Real Estate and Economic Development at Old Dominion University, the average vacancy rate for retail centers on the Virginia Peninsula in 2013 was 11.5 percent.
Riverwalk Landing, which opened in 2005, has about 20,000 square feet of commercial space, most of which is occupied by Riverwalk Restaurant and Water Street Grille. The vacancies of Kero and Claire Murray total only about 10.5 percent of that. (More)
Southside college president named
(Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 27, 2014)
Alfred A. Roberts has been named the next president of Southside Virginia Community College.
Roberts, currently provost of SVCC's Christanna Campus in Alberta, will succeed John Cavan, the longest-serving president for the Virginia Community College System.
Cavan has been SVCC president since 1983, overseeing the Southside college's growth from 3,242 students to 8,249.
Roberts, who has worked for SVCC in different positions since 1995, received his doctorate from Old Dominion University, his master's from Virginia State University and his bachelor's from Michigan State University. (More)
ODU wrestlers making the grade on and off the mat
(WTKR-TV, May 20, 2014)
When we think athletics and academics, we think about Harvard, Brown , Stanford, Old Dominion, Princeton. And yes, we did say Old Dominion.
The Monarch Wrestling Team is second in the nation in GPA behind the Crimson of Harvard according to the NCAA. That's thanks to wrestlers like Tristan Warner and Matt Tourdot.
The rising seniors work harder off the mat than they do on. In fact, Tristan was honored with the Elite 89 Award this year. It's the Heisman Trophy of academics. He is the top student athlete in the country in his sport.
"You go to ODU, people say it's not that prestigious of a school, blah blah blah. All you guys just take easy classes, but I think we live in an excuse-making society, and I think people will just try to downgrade our accomplishments and that just adds more fuel to the fire. We want to work harder," says Tristan.
Tristan is a double major and currently holds a 3.97 GPA. What does he think about the stereotype that jocks skate by?
"I put a lot of effort outside of the classroom into my studying. It is kind of funny because when you go into classes a lot, teachers always and students see you are a wrestler and they think like you said you're a dumb jock. They read my papers and they don't believe I wrote it. They think somebody wrote it for me. I have had that a lot. I am just trying to change the stereotype," says Tristan. (More)