Week of 6/9/14
Two-year pilot study on rising waters begins
(Inside Business, June 6, 2014)
Climate change is no longer up for debate. The water is rising and federal, state and local leaders have two years to study its adverse impacts and figure out how to mitigate future damage.
The clock started ticking last Tuesday with Tech Surge: Technical Support for Coastal Resiliency. The two-day conference at Old Dominion University was a kickoff to a pilot study being done in Hampton Roads at the request of the White House.
While individual weather events cannot always be attributed to climate change, White House representative Eric Letvin pointed to the third National Climate Assessment, released in May, which found that extreme weather events are being influenced in magnitude or frequency by changes in climate.
The study, he said, found an increase in prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures, a greater number of heavy downpours and an increase in the intensity and duration of hurricanes.
"The president has requested $1 billion from the fiscal year 2015 budget be invested in research to better understand the impacts of climate change, help communities prepare and fund breakthrough technologies," Letvin, the National Security Council's director for hazards, mitigation and risk reduction policy, told a group of about 100 people.
In addition to giving the green light for a pilot study in Hampton Roads, the White House is working to update the Federal Risk Management Standard and create a website through which the public can access federal government data on climate change - www.climate.data.gov.
"Climate change is no longer a future threat," said Vice Adm. Kevin Slates, director and chief of Naval Operations Energy and Environmental Readiness division. "Efforts for resiliency need to take place." (More)
Portsmouth group about more than children's services
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 8, 2014)
As the name implies, Children's Harbor is a refuge for children. What began as the Norfolk Day Nursery in 1911 has grown into a multi-site, multi-city organization with the needs of children and their families as its primary mission.
Four centers in Portsmouth, Norfolk, Chesapeake and Suffolk, with the Olde Towne center as its main site, provide traditional day care, before- and after-school service, training for home day care providers and financial reimbursement to those providers.
The centers offer a safe, nurturing, child-focused environment for preschoolers that allows them to learn effectively while gaining independence. In-home day care providers can get free training through the nonprofit. Licensed providers and those willing to register with the state can be reimbursed for the cost of food offered in their day care as well. ...
Cecelia Tucker was the Anchor Award recipient. As Old Dominion University's director of community relations, Tucker has advocated for minority and African American communities at the school. She has been a liaison, board member and officer for numerous organizations and has held three state appointments by Gov. John Dalton and Gov. Charles Robb. (More)
2 deals may buck trend in public-private partnerships
(Inside Business, June 6, 2014)
In February, Virginia Beach City Council members approved a deal with a private group to have a $50 million baseball stadium and complex built in the Princess Anne Commons area of town. That same month a group of firms led by The ESG Cos. submitted a proposal to build a $200 million arena in the city.
Both projects are considered public-private partnerships, agreements that allow municipalities and private groups to achieve common development goals at a reduced cost for both parties versus completing the projects alone.
But the baseball deal and the arena proposal, which is still in negotiation, are not typical public-private partnerships. Unlike others, these two projects don't involve the city taking on debt or contributing cash to finance them, prompting a discussion among observers and experts about the reasons for and staying power of these kinds of arrangements. ...
Mark Lane, associate professor of finance at Old Dominion University, said some of these zero-public-financing proposals may be the result of the economic climate.
Cities, for the most part, are cash-strapped after real estate tax revenues plummeted in the wake of the housing meltdown, he said. Economic development project wishes are scrutinized more and often put on hold.
Investors, on the other hand, are having a tough time squeezing yields in today's economy, Lane said, so some are "chasing yields" in alternative investments. Developers and business groups may try to bridge the gap between the two parties.
"If the interest rates were 10 percent, you wouldn't see 80 percent of these deals," he said. "They wouldn't be there because the numbers wouldn't work. You wouldn't be able to pay the 10 percent loan back and give investors a return on the project." ...
Whether the no-public-financing partnerships are a trend or a rare circumstance remains to be seen. But experts including ODU's John Morris said cities certainly appear to be getting savvier.
Morris, a public administration professor who's been studying these partnerships for 25 years, said curriculum on the subject at universities is becoming more prevalent, which may help enhance the sophistication of eventual public sector workers about these partnerships.
"If you look overall," he said, "you see a growing awareness about what public-private partnerships can do and that the public sector is becoming more aware and savvier about how to deal and make a deal that's better for citizens and better for government." (More)
Who is the real Lt. Daniel Kaffee? A debate still rages
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 9, 2014)
As a group, they were young and had little trial experience to handle the charges.
They came from offices in Norfolk and Washington, D.C., to the barren outpost of Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.
Thrown together to represent 10 Marines accused of attempted murder, the attorneys found themselves dealing with a hazing gone wrong that could land their clients in federal prison for decades.
It was an exciting challenge, but the three lawyers who took clients to trial had no way of knowing the case would become famous and be adapted to Broadway and film.
"A Few Good Men" dramatically changed the professional lives of the three young lawyers.
Don Marcari built a private practice and reputation in Virginia and North Carolina on his role in the case.
David Iglesias called it the turning point in a career that took him to the White House and an appointed federal post.
Christopher Johnson continued to fight tough courtroom battles, carving out a niche as a federal prosecutor and private litigator. ...
Johnson practices law in Southern California, near Hollywood, where he's a founding partner in a firm that specializes in bringing civil actions against trademark and copyright violators. Johnson, who graduated from Norfolk's Old Dominion University in 1979, still visits his parents in Virginia Beach. (More)
Startup: Bringing home the boudin
(Inside Business, June 6, 2014)
Get togethers at Colleen Kovach's and Jeantelle Duhon's Norfolk home always include lots of great food and drinks. And while the menu may vary depending on the occasion, boudin almost always is a featured item.
Boudin, pronounced BOO-dahn, for those not familiar with it, is a unique and popular Cajun specialty of southern Louisiana. It looks like a sausage link, but actually is a mixture of cooked rice, meat, onions, bell peppers and plenty of seasoning, all stuffed into a sausage casing. There are lots of variations of boudin, but the most common type is pork. Other meats often used are alligator, crawfish, shrimp and liver.
"When I describe it to people, I tell them it's basically dirty rice in a casing," said Duhon, a fifth-generation Cajun and native of Lafayette, La., who has been a boudin fanatic all her life. "I like to think of it as Cajun sushi."
Kovach, who grew up in New Jersey, had never heard of boudin until Duhon introduced it to her. The couple met while attending Old Dominion University. They later moved to southeast Texas - another boudin hotspot - when Kovach was stationed there with the Coast Guard. Kovach fell in love with it and found herself craving it while pregnant with daughter Katie.
After Duhon and Kovach moved back to Hampton Roads, they started purchasing their favorite treat online from various Louisiana retailers and had it shipped to their Norfolk home.
"We would get it mostly for parties and holidays," Kovach said. "The crazy thing was that it's a cheap food to produce, but it's expensive to ship." (More)
EPA: Carbon Emission Rules Could Grow Investments
(NBC29TV/The Associated Press, June 5, 2014)
The head of the Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday that new rules to curb carbon emissions could help grow communities' economies by investing in technologies that work for them.
The Obama administration unveiled a plan this week to force a 30 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions by the year 2030 from 2005 levels. It has drawn some criticism, including from states that depend on coal to fuel their economies.
The EPA is giving customized targets to each state, then leaving it up to those states to develop plans to meet their targets. Some states will be allowed to emit more and others less, leading to an overall, nationwide reduction of 30 percent.
Power plants are America's largest source of greenhouse gases, accounting for 38 percent of annual emissions. Plants have already reduced carbon emissions nearly 13 percent since 2005, meaning they are about halfway to meeting the administration's goal.
"What this does is send a long-term signal that renewals are important and efficiencies are important," said EPA administrator Gina McCarthy. "And those investments not only must be made, but those investments are great for the local economies, they're great for job growth, they are great for continuing to allow growth in our economy in a way that will allow us to be sustainable moving forward."
McCarthy made the comments during a conference on coastal resiliency at Old Dominion University in Norfolk. Norfolk is one of the nation's communities that is most vulnerable to sea level rise, and McCarthy said carbon emissions need to be cut to keep climate change from escalating.
"We can grow businesses, we can grow jobs, we can grow our economy and that's really what this conference is about," McCarthy said. "Frankly, that's what the EPA's proposal to reduce carbon pollution across every state is all about. It's about allowing every state to find a path that works for them that will move us toward a 21st century energy supply and demand system and that will also grow their economies moving forward." (More)
April 4, 1928-May 28, 2014: Remembering Maya Angelou The People's Poet
(New Journal and Guide, June 5, 2014)
Maya Angelou often recalled the time, as a child when she was raped by her mother's boyfriend, a man she always called "Freeman."
She told her brother, who told the rest of their family. Freeman was found guilty but was jailed for only one day. Four days later, Freeman was found murdered; some have speculated perhaps by her uncles.
Angelou became mute for almost five years, believing, "I thought, my voice killed him; I killed that man because I told his name. And then I thought I would never speak again, because my voice would kill anyone."
Dr. Angelou regained her voice and used it to express her view of the world through poetry and stage craft, the imagery of movies she directed and performed in and as a civil rights activist.
Angelou's voice fell silent permanently on May 28 at her home in Winston Salem, North Carolina. She was 86
Since then, the world has been paying tribute to her life and work. ...
Dr. Charles Wilson is the Dean of the College of Arts and Letters, and Professor of English at ODU. In 1989, he had just arrived in Virginia and met Angelou at Radford University where she was a guest speaker. He kept pace with her career and attended the events she highlighted in Norfolk.
"She could speak elegant literary language and convey it so the lay people could understand it," said Dr. Wilson. "She was an academic street poet because when she spoke, she included all people. Even as a host, she did not allow any negativity among her guests who disrespected the other. She understood and respected respect ... for all people." (More)
Government Regulation's Role In The Mortgage Market
(The Street, June 5, 2014)
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. (More)
Siemens Invests More Than $1 Billion in Software Grants for Virginia Schools to Educate and Train Workers for Manufacturing Industry
(Money, June 5, 2014)
Today from the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM), an applied research center that provides production-ready manufacturing solutions, Siemens announced more than one billion dollars of in-kind software grants for manufacturing programs at community colleges and universities in Virginia. Students will now have access to the same Siemens product lifecycle management (PLM) software used throughout the global manufacturing industry to design, develop and manufacture some of the world's most sophisticated products in a variety of industries, including automotive, aerospace, consumer products, medical devices, machinery, shipbuilding, apparel and high-tech electronics.
See video from Siemens Corporation here: http://inr.synapticdigital.com/siemens/softwarerevolution/virginia
The series of in-kind grants was established as a result of an industry need for skilled workers and is designed to support the state's largest industrial employer, Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, and other companies with local ties such as Rolls-Royce. The grants are part of ongoing workforce development collaboration among community colleges, universities and organizations like CCAM, the Virginia Manufacturers Association and the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SHVEC) - an organization that provides workforce training to the rural population. ...
Old Dominion University - $746M: An academic member of CCAM, the grant will help ODU further expand the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) workforce training programming that provides direct benefits to the regional maritime industry, especially Newport News Shipbuilding and the U.S. Department of Defense. The software will be integrated into existing undergraduate and graduate curriculum and help develop a PLM center of excellence with a focus on marine engineering. (More)
CIT Announces Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF) FY2014 Spring Solicitation Awards
(Money, June 5, 2014)
The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) announced today 38 Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF) awards totaling nearly $3 million for the purpose of funding targeted areas of research with commercial promise. Twenty-seven organizations from academia and industry in the Commonwealth received this commercialization support, which is aligned with the Commonwealth Research and Technology (R&T) Strategic Roadmap.
The CRCF program is a state fund designed to advance, in Virginia, targeted areas of research with potential for economic growth. During this round, applications were invited under six programs: Commercialization, Eminent Researcher Recruitment, Facilities Enhancement, Matching Funds, SBIR Matching Funds, and STTR Matching Funds.
Pete Jobse, CIT President and CEO, said, "These awards continue the CRCF mission to advance crucial research and commercialization projects that foster innovation and new economic development opportunities across Virginia." ...
Matching Funds Program ...
Old Dominion University Research Foundation (Norfolk), Advanced Single Axis Solar Tracking System for Enhanced Energy Generation, Dr. Michael Seek, $25,000. (More)
ODU professor suggests additional flood gates as one solution to tidal flooding
(WVEC-TV, June 4, 2014)
Planners from all over the country met in Norfolk Wednesday to figure out a solution to tidal flooding.
The region stands as one of the most vulnerable areas in the country to sea-level rise. Experts at Old Dominion University estimate that by 2050 the sea level will rise by 18 inches.
"What we had before in flooding is just going to be getting a worse," said Larry Atkinson, a professor of oceanography.
Atkinson says a potential remedy will be the installation of flood gates across the region, similar to the one installed near Nauticus in Norfolk.
"Our city's welfare and future depends on it," said Larchmont resident Mary Hennelly.
Atkinson says flood gates are just one defense against a problem that will need multiple solutions.
The next step for planners is to develop a pilot project. (More)
Siemens to donate $2.3 billion in software to seven Virginia schools
(Inside Business, June 4, 2014)
Old Dominion University has received a software gift valued at $746 million from Siemens Corp., the university announced Wednesday morning, one of several in-kind gifts announced by government and business officials outside of Petersburg Wednesday.
The company's Siemens PLM Software division is contributing more than $2.3 billion worth of software to seven Virginia universities and community colleges, including Thomas Nelson Community College and ECPI University's Virginia Beach Campus here locally.
The software is known as PLM - product lifecycle management - software, and it was developed by the global tech giant to manage every phase of a product's lifecycle.
"We are tremendously appreciative of this grant from Siemens PLM Software, which represents state-of-practice software for managing every aspect of product information from its development, design, manufacturing, to its support and maintenance," said Oktay Baysal, dean of ODU's Batten College.
The series of in-kind grants was established as a result of an industry need for skilled workers, Siemens said in a news release, and was designed to support firms like Newport News Shipbuilding and other firms with local ties such as Rolls Royce. Once implemented at the schools, students will have access to the same software that is used to develop some of the most sophisticated products in industries including automotive, aerospace, consumer products, medical devices, machinery, shipbuilding, apparel and high-tech electronics. (More)
ODU, ECPI among schools to get Siemens grant
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 5, 2014)
Three Hampton Roads colleges are among seven Virginia schools that will have access to the entire suite of software that engineering and technology giant Siemens Corp. has produced for itself and tens of thousands of companies around the world.
Eric Spiegel, CEO of Siemens Corp. USA, was in Richmond on Wednesday for the announcement. He was joined by Gov. Terry McAuliffe and a host of other Virginia leaders.
Siemens said it is making the software available to students so it can create a pipeline of trained professionals for itself and for the 77,000 companies that use its technology - including Hampton Roads manufacturers such as Newport News Shipbuilding, the state's largest industrial employer, Rolls-Royce and Canon.
In Hampton Roads, Siemens accepted the grant applications of Old Dominion and ECPI universities and Thomas Nelson Community College.
As many as 10 million manufacturing jobs are unfilled around the world, said Bill Boswell, Siemens' senior director of partner strategy for the software. Of those, an estimated 3 million are in the United States.
"It's not that there are not enough people - it's that they don't have the skills they need," he said. (More)
Siemens provides $955 million in software licenses to Thomas Nelson Community College
(The Daily Press, June 4, 2014)
Siemens, a global electrical engineering and electronics company, is giving Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton access to its design and product life cycle management software in a workforce grant estimated to be worth $954.7 million.
Siemens is giving nearly $2 billion worth of in-kind software to seven colleges and universities in Virginia as part of its ongoing academic partnership program. The announcement came during a manufacturing workforce conference at the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing south of Richmond on Wednesday. Old Dominion University is slated to receive $746 million worth of the software licensing and ECPI University $130.3 million in in-kind software.
"Here in Virginia, where shipbuilding is core to the state's economy, it's important we equip students with the tools that will help them build the world's most complex ships for the U.S. Navy, such as the Gerald R. Ford class of aircraft carriers," Siemens PLM Software President and CEO Chuck Grindstaff said in a statement. (More)
Paul J. Homsher
(Obituary, The Virginian-Pilot, June 5, 2014)
Paul John Homsher, 83, passed away on May 25, 2014, due to multisystem organ failure related to pancreatic cancer and sepsis.
Born on May 17, 1931, in Philadephia, PA, Paul was predeceased by his parents, Paul John Homsher, Sr. and Helen Rabaugh Homsher. Also preceding him in death are his sister Marian Necker and brothers-in-law Roy Necker, and George Burrows, nephew George Burrows, Jr. (2014), son-in-law C. Michael McCannon (2011) and daughter-in-law Eileen Coyne Homsher (2012).
Paul received his BS in Chemistry and Physics from Penn State Univ. in 1953 and M.S. in Botany in 1959. After a year's study at UCLA, he returned to Penn State and received his Ph. D. in Genetics in 1967. He joined the Old Dominion University Faculty in 1962 where he taught biology, genetics, and cytogenetics before becoming Associate Dean and Dean of the College of Sciences.
He retired as Professor Emeritus in 1995. His major field of research was in acarology and the control of tick-borne diseases. Additionally, he served as the Senior Investigator, U.S. Naval Medical Unit #3, Cairo, Egypt. After retirement he continued as Field Reader for several programs of the U.S. Dept. of Education and remained active in his professional organizations. He was also a committed member of the Friends of the Old Dominion University Libraries. (More)
Hampton Roads targeted for national sea level project
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 4, 2014)
Hampton Roads will be the site of a national pilot project to figure out how different levels of government, the private sector and academia can work together to combat the effects of sea level rise and climate change.
The two-year initiative, supported by the White House, was unveiled Tuesday at a conference at Old Dominion University on preparing for rising water and flooding.
To aid the effort, ODU President John Broderick also announced the creation of a university institute to research solutions.
A combination of rising seas and sinking land makes Hampton Roads one of the nation's most vulnerable regions to flooding and storms.
ODU professor Hans-Peter Plag, director of the Mitigation and Adaptation Research Institute, called Hampton Roads - with its port, military installations and coastal communities - a "natural laboratory" for studying the issue.
Details remain to be worked out, but the main idea is to form a task force that would include representatives from all levels of government, universities and businesses that would work together on issues related to sea level rise.
Eric Letvin, the National Security Council's director of hazard mitigation and risk reduction policy, said the White House is enthusiastic about this "whole of government" approach.
The announcement did not include funding for any work.
Task force members will be appointed, and a charter will be developed in the next year as the group works on long-term strategic and policy recommendations for sea level rise and major storm surges, said Ray Toll, ODU's liaison to the Navy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (More)
Siemens donating $2B in software to 7 Va. colleges
(Richmond Times-Dispatch, June 4, 2014)
One of the world's largest engineering and electronics companies is donating more than $2 billion worth of its computer software to seven Virginia universities and community colleges to help train students for high-tech, manufacturing-related careers.
Siemens Corp. is expected to announce the donation today during a meeting of business and government officials in Prince George County. That event will focus on the future of advanced manufacturing in Virginia.
The company is donating its own product lifecycle management - or PLM - software, which Siemens and the company's clients use to design, develop and manufacture products in industries including automotive, aerospace, consumer products, medical devices, electronics, shipbuilding and apparel. ...
Old Dominion University: $746 million for further expansion of ODU and the Virginia Community College System's workforce training programs to benefit the maritime industry, especially Huntington Ingalls Industries and the U.S. Department of Defense. (More)
Old Dominion student album available for sale online
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 3, 2014)
An album written and produced by students and faculty at Old Dominion University is available for download.
Work began on the project, now titled "Eye of the Storm," in December. "The Monarchy," a student organization for students seeking Music Production degrees, met and decided to make the album to support ODU Relay for Life. They were considering the name "Big Blue Mix," but have since switched to their student organization name.
Students began writing songs during their winter break and recording started in the new studio a few weeks later.
The album offers 28 tracks costs $9.99. The net proceeds from the album sales will go to Relay for Life. (More)
McAuliffe announces university board appointees
(Inside Business, June 3, 2014)
Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced his first round of board appointments to Virginia's colleges and universities Monday, naming some prominent figures to local schools and further reconfiguring the board of Norfolk State University.
McAuliffe named 59 people to the boards of the commonwealth's 14 four-year institutions, including 12 holdovers first appointed by other governors. The new terms are effective Jul. 1. Some of the more well-known picks include Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms for Old Dominion University and former Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who will serve at James Madison University.
"I'm very excited about it," said Sessoms, who's also President and CEO of Towne Financial Services Group. "Old Dominion has a lot of opportunity to do some really neat things within the region and the commonwealth and I look forward to being part of it."
One of the four new appointees to ODU's board is ESPN SportsCenter anchor Jay Harris, who graduated from the school in 1987.
Gov. McAuliffe added three new faces to the board of Norfolk State University, following the three that former Gov. Bob McDonnell installed last September. That means nearly half of the 13 board members will have served less than a year on the board starting this July. (More)
McAuliffe names 7 members to NSU, ODU boards
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 3, 2014)
Gov. Terry McAuliffe appointed seven new members Monday to the governing boards of Norfolk's two state universities. ...
Appointed to the Old Dominion University Board of Visitors were:
- Carlton Bennett of Virginia Beach, a partner in the law firm Bennett and Zydron. He contributed $22,556 to McAuliffe's 2013 campaign.
- Jay Harris of Bristol, Conn., an anchor at "SportsCenter" on ESPN.
- Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms, president and CEO of Towne Financial Services Group. A Republican, Sessoms endorsed Democrat McAuliffe for governor.
- Lisa Smith, a community volunteer from Norfolk. She is the wife of Maurice Jones, McAuliffe's secretary of commerce and trade and a former publisher of The Virginian-Pilot.
The outgoing rector of the ODU board, Fred Whyte of Virginia Beach, was reappointed to a new term. He is president of Stihl Inc.
Dr. L.D. Britt, a Suffolk physician and a professor at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, was named to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors. (More)
List of McAuliffe's appointees to college boards
(Richmond Times-Dispatch, June 3, 2014)
Gov. Terry McAuliffe made the following four-year appointments to the governing boards of Virginia's public colleges and universities (asterisks denote reappointment): ...
Old Dominion University
Carlton Bennett of Virginia Beach, law partner with Bennett and Zydron PC
Jay Harris of Bristol, Conn., ESPN SportsCenter anchor
William D. Sessoms Jr. of Virginia Beach, president/CEO of Towne Financial Services Group and mayor of Virginia Beach
Lisa Smith of Norfolk, community volunteer
Fred J. Whyte* of Virginia Beach, president of Stihl Inc. (current rector) (More)