Week of 5/27/13
ODU forecasting team expects much growth
(The Virginian-Pilot, May 21, 2013)
ODU's forecasting team is looking for growth in employment, retail sales, housing and the port during the second quarter in Hampton Roads. The Economic Forecasting Project, in a report to be issued today, said it expects the region's civilian nonfarm employment to top 754,000 jobs in the second quarter, up 1.2 percent from the year-earlier quarter.
Among other second-quarter predictions for the region, and the percentage change from the 2012 second quarter:
Total taxable sales of $5.1 billion, up 1.8 percent.
Hotel room revenues of $204.7 million, up 1.4 percent.
General cargo of 4.52 million tons, up 3.8 percent.
Single-family housing permits worth $189.9 million, up 16.2 percent. (More)
Hampton Roads economy to see modest growth
(The Daily Press, May 21, 2013)
Hampton Roads is expected to see modest growth in retail sales, tourism, home prices and jobs during the second quarter of this year, according to Old Dominion University's economic forecasters.
While uncertainty from sequestration partly caused a 0.8 percent decline in first-quarter taxable sales compared to last year, the region saw a 6.3 percent increase in port cargo tonnage and an 8.9 percent increase in single-family housing permits in the first quarter, according to the Economic Forecasting Project's news release.
Builders are regaining confidence in the regional economy as housing inventory declines, but economic forecasters remain concerned about the proportion of distressed homes on the market, the release continued.
The ODU Economic Forecasting Project expects this growth in Hampton Roads in the second quarter this year compared to the same period last year:
Civilian nonfarm employment: 1.2 percent increase (8,944 more jobs)
Taxable sales: 1.8 percent increase
Hotel room revenue: 1.4 percent increase
General cargo tonnage: 3.8 percent increase
Value of single-family housing permits: 16.2 percent increase
(The News-Leader (Springfield, Mo.), May 20, 2013)
Tabatha Applegate, PA, has joined Mercy Clinic Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery. Applegate received her bachelor's in biology from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., and completed her master's in physician assistant studies at Missouri State University. (More)
'I just did the best I could'
(Suffolk News-Herald, May 20, 2013)
Suffolk Christian Academy's 2013 valedictorian isn't sure yet what he wants to do with his life, but he intends to find out.favorable
Wayne Conner, who learned of his result about two weeks ago, will attend Old Dominion University in the fall.
"I'm going to be attending ODU for the first year; I'm not sure for the following years," he said.
He'll study general education, he said, adding, "I'm not declaring a major until after."
Asked what he wants to do when his student days are over, he replied, "Not a clue."
"I've heard plenty of ideas about what I should do, with my performance level, but I have always been told to keep the door open," he explained. "There's no reason to shut a door that you don't have to."
Though Conner said he was expecting to be named valedictorian, his mom was still "ecstatic" about the news, he said. (More)
ODU economic forecast revised, Hampton Roads could see small job gains
(WVEC-TV, May 21, 2013)
After months of doom and gloom, there is a glimmer of hope for those in Hampton Roads affected by sequestration.
The Old Dominion University Economic Forecasting Project has revised its calculations for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2013, and it now appears the region won't be losing jobs, but instead will experience a 0.04 percent increase in jobs.
In January, ODU had predicted that Hampton Roads would lose 17,432 jobs because of sequestration, and would lose 12,225 jobs overall.
Now, ODU is predicting Hampton Roads will lose just 4,940 jobs because of sequestration, but because of other economic factors, the region will actually experience an overall gain of 267 jobs.
The changes are a result of improving conditions after Congress passed the $984 billion Continuing Resolution stop-gap federal funding measure back in March. ...
"It appears the worst fears of ours over sequestration are over," said ODU Economics Professor Vinod Argawal. "I would not say I am modestly upbeat, but what I would say still, is sequestration has a significant impact on the economy, but the negative impacts are not as severe as we originally estimated them to be in March." (More)
Conference USA will have five bowl bids this season
(The Virginian-Pilot, May 22, 2013)
It likely will be two years before Old Dominion is eligible for a football bowl game, but the addition of the Military Bowl to the games that extend bids to Conference USA is good news for the conference, and potentially good news for ODU.
The game, to be played on Dec. 27, will pit the eighth-place ACC team against an at-large team from Conference USA, officials announced this week. The Military Bowl will give Conference USA five bowl games in 2013, when the league has 14 football members.
The Military Bowl is moving from RFK Stadium in Washington to the Naval Academy's 34,000-seat Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md.
ODU begins playing C-USA football in 2014, but isn't fully bowl eligible until 2015, Under limited circumstances (for instance, if there aren't enough teams with winning records to fill all the bowl slots) ODU could be bowl eligible in 2014.
The Monarchs are eligible for the 2014 conference football championship game.
The Military Bowl is being moved because of poor attendance at RFK Stadium, which seats more than 50,000 for football. Last year's game between San Jose State of the Western Athletic Conference and Bowling Green of the Mid-American Conference drew an announced crowd of 17,835.
Attendance should be helped by the switch in conference affiliations to leagues with teams closer to the Washington area. The deal with C-USA is for one year only, but commissioner Britt Banowsky said he is attempting to negotiate a longer agreement. (More)
City celebrates 8 valedictorians at Science Museum
(Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 22, 2013)
It's always a good day to be a smart kid, but some days are better than most.
For two hours Tuesday, eight of Richmond's brightest high school seniors played well the role of being center of attention. City school, government and civic leaders feted them during the annual valedictorian brunch at the Science Museum of Virginia.
"This is one of the things I'm going to miss the most," said Superintendent Yvonne W. Brandon, who is leaving the school system at the end of the school year. "This is evidence of what we do every day. The trials and tribulations some of these kids go through - it's just heartwarming to see them here." ...
Sajada Taylor from Armstrong, who will study nursing at Old Dominion University; (More)
"Who run the world? Girls!"
(Grrrl With Boys blog, May 21, 2013)
This past weekend I presented a workshop for the Old Dominion University Community Development Corporation Conference for Girls and Young Women. This is the 5th year of the Conference and the second time I've presented a workshop for it. Last time I talked about body image and the media, something I'm very passionate about bringing awareness to.
This year I wanted to focus on bullying between girls. There has been so much in the news about fighting between girls and kids hurting themselves or others because they were bullied. I called my workshop "Girlfriends" and focused on how to be a great friend instead of "don't bully". You catch more flies with honey than vinegar, right?
I talked to two groups of girls about how to help your friend have positive body image. I encouraged them to tell their friends things that they like about them that are not related to how they look. They were really engaged and gave lots of examples of what they liked about their friends (their good attitude, their humor, they're there for them when they need them, etc...) I suggested that by focusing on the positive things not related to their appearance their friend would learn to value themselves outside of how they look. We also talked about how women and girls are portrayed in the magazines and TV and how that focus makes us feel like we aren't beautiful or good enough. Some of them didn't know about Photoshop and were pretty surprised that the models don't even look like that in real life. (More)
New women's business center opens in Richmond
(Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 23, 2013)
Ana Harvey started doing language translation work two decades ago with a simple goal.
"When my son was little, I wanted to make $5,000 to pay for his Montessori school," she said. "That was a terrible business plan, but sooner or later we got there."
After a decade as an independent contractor, she started the Syntaxis LLC translation business in Northern Virginia in 2000, growing to 75 employees working in 25 languages.
She became certified as a women-owned business through the U.S. Small Business Administration and worked as a subcontractor before winning her first prime contract with the Department of Health and Human Services.
"That's when the nightmares began, because I did not know how to run a business," she said. "I went to bed thinking, 'There has got to be a better way.' "
On Wednesday, Harvey was in downtown Richmond to officially open a path to that better way: a new SBA-backed women's business center. The area previously had a women's center, but it closed in 2012.
After putting her business on hold, Harvey has served as the SBA's assistant administrator for women's business ownership since 2009. During that time, her office has opened 15 new Women's Business Centers across the country, bringing the national total to 104, with at least one in every state. Another Women's Business Center is slated to open this year at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, said Jayne Armstrong, the Virginia district director for the SBA. (More)
Apprenticeships help students get paid to learn
(The Virginian-Pilot, May 22, 2013)
School wasn't Spencer Buckle's "thing," so he didn't stick it out to graduation at Norfolk Collegiate.
The 20-year-old, though, found a solid footing for the future. Since 2011, he has served as an apprentice with Norfolk Plumbing Inc., working 40 hours a week and going to school two nights a week to learn the ins and outs of the trade.
"The apprenticeship program is real helpful," said Buckle, who lives in Norfolk. "It's real hands-on, and you get to talk to guys in the field all day."
Buckle is among 13,000 apprentices registered with the state, according to Sharon Sykes, a spokeswoman for Virginia's Department of Labor and Industry. A fair today at Scope, featuring more than 75 employers, aims to spread the word about this often-overlooked career path. ...
Buckle, in the middle of a four-year apprenticeship, earns $12 an hour. This week, his tasks have included soldering valves in bathrooms in a residence hall at Old Dominion University. He also takes classes two nights a week at Norfolk Technical Vocational Center.
Norfolk Plumbing covers his tuition, said Jeff Hux, the company's president. "They get the book knowledge and math and reasoning behind the code that we use to do certain things," Hux said. (More)
Retired leader of foundation ready for her next challenge
(The Virginian-Pilot, May 23, 2013)
After 16 years as president and chief executive officer of Volunteer Hampton Roads, Beth Lloyd stepped down at the end of April to pursue her third career in a very eventful life.
Just what career that will be has yet to be determined, but the foundation has some big shoes to fill.
"Under her leadership, Volunteer Hampton Roads has delivered upon its mission," said board chairman Chris Graves at the Hampton Roads Volunteer Achievement Awards ceremony recently held at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott.
According to Graves, that mission includes "facilitating the success of local nonprofits, fostering corporate volunteerism and philanthropy, hosting impactful community-service events and celebrating volunteerism."
During her tenure, Lloyd, a Norfolk resident, was steeped in volunteerism. She was named to Inside Business's "Top Forty under 40" and Hampton Roads Magazine's "The A-List of 50 Very Important People." ...
You have two degrees from Old Dominion University. Does ODU today look like the school you attended? They have totally transformed the campus. This doesn't look anything like the ODU I attended. We've gone to a few of their football games. When those guys parachuted into Foreman Field with the football, I knew things had changed forever. (More)
From Oklahoma, a lesson about teachers
(Opinion, The Virginian-Pilot, May 23, 2013)
What makes for a great teacher? There are those skilled in the art of teaching who convey a love of knowledge to their students. There are teachers who, in addition, involve themselves in their students' lives beyond the classroom.
And there are the teacher-heroes of Oklahoma who risked their lives to protect their charges in one of the worst tornadoes in U.S. history.
Perhaps one of the most famous stories of teacher influence is that of Louis Germain and his elementary school student Albert Camus.
Camus lived in a desperately poor family in Algeria. He was destined by family design to work in a trade. Germain saw otherwise. He persuaded the Camus family to try for a school that would prepare him for a scholarship to a French university. And he coached the boy for his scholarship exam.
Shortly after he won the Nobel Prize in Literature, Camus publicly thanked Germain. "Without you, without the affectionate hand you extended to the small poor child that I was," he wrote Germain, "without your teaching, and your example, none of all this would have happened."
My school days also were graced by an insightful teacher, one who saw beyond the classroom. Brother Patrick, a fourth-grade teacher at an elite New York City Catholic school, saw that my precociousness as a student needed some ballast.
Maurice R. Berube, eminent scholar emeritus at Old Dominion University, is the author of 13 books on education. Email: email@example.com. (More)
Memorial Day weekend: Keep calm, and drive on
(The Virginian-Pilot, May 24, 2013)
Holiday travelers will push the capacity of some roads to their limit this weekend. When that happens, one small accident or one briefly disabled vehicle is all it will take to stop traffic for miles.
"If they block the lane for even a couple of minutes, the damage is done," said Mike Corwin, VDOT's acting regional traffic operations manager for Hampton Roads. "It can take several hours to recover from that."
In some spots, long lines of brake lights will be as predictable as the start time to the Memorial Day parades. (We're looking at you, Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel.)
AAA estimates that 919,789 people will travel 50 miles or farther by automobile this weekend in Virginia, down less than 1 percent from its 2012 figure. The travel group did not have an estimate for an average weekend of travel, but its point is this: There will be a lot of people on the highways. ...
Where two lanes become one, whether because of construction, an accident or a normal change in traffic patterns, some drivers see an opportunity. Others get upset at those who take that opportunity.
Driving to the end of a merging lane may upset some people, but doing so is a more efficient use of the available lanes, said Asad Khattak, director of Old Dominion University's Center for Innovative Transportation Solutions.
Problems arise when drivers who waited in the longer queue try not to let people from the merging lane in, he said. (More)
ODU, Maryland will kick off at 4 p.m. on Sept. 7
(The Virginian-Pilot, May 24, 2013)
Old Dominion's Sept. 7 football game at Maryland will begin at 4 p.m. and will be streamed on ESPN3, ACC officials announced Thursday.
It will be ODU's first game against an ACC school and its second against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent. ODU opens the season Aug. 31 at East Carolina. A starting time for that game, which is expected to be televised, hasn't been announced.
ODU is playing as an independent next season as it transitions to FBS and Conference USA in 2014.
The starting time has been announced for just one other Monarchs game - Oct. 26 at Norfolk State, which begins at 1 p.m. (More)
controversy in the way of health care
(Letter, The Virginian-Pilot, May 23, 2013)
RE 'CRITICS ARE fighting to save 'normal' from psychiatrists' (Spotlight, May 16): I have been reading with interest the newspaper coverage of the new psychiatric manual of mental disorders, DSM-V, due out later this month. In 1994, I was involved with Western State Hospital's clinical field trials of the DSM-IV, and I provided training on the DSM-IV manual throughout Virginia.
I am writing because I am concerned that the debate over the changes might undermine confidence in mental health providers, cause confusion or dissuade some of those in need from seeking services. ...
I hope those who need mental health care will not allow the debate to get in the way of seeking help. The debates will be settled in the coming months, and consumers in Virginia and elsewhere will continue to have access to qualified experts.
Alan M. Schwitzer, Ph.D.
Professor of Counseling, Old Dominion University (More)
The Ugly Truth About Your Toothbrush
(WebMD, May 23, 2013)
Do you know what's lurking on your toothbrush?
Your toothbrush is loaded with germs, say researchers at England's University of Manchester. They've found that one uncovered toothbrush can harbor more than 100 million bacteria, including E. coli bacteria, which can cause diarrhea, and staphylococci ("staph") bacteria that cause skin infections.
But don't panic. Your mouth wasn't exactly sterile to begin with.
"The bottom line is, there [are] hundreds of microorganisms in our mouths every day," says Gayle McCombs, RDH, MS, associate professor and director of the Dental Hygiene Research Center at Old Dominion University.
That's no big deal. Problems only start when there is an unhealthy balance of bacteria in the mouth. McCombs says.
"It's important to remember that plaque -- the stuff you're removing from your teeth -- is bacteria," says dentist Kimberly Harms, DDS, consumer advisor for the American Dental Association. "So you're putting bacteria on your toothbrush every time you brush your teeth." (More)