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ODU in the News

Week of 2/3/14

Bill Blount
(The Virginian-Pilot, Feb. 3, 2014)

Many of his boating clients are famous, but don't ask their names.
When my family moved to Virginia Beach, when I was a kid, the second home we lived in was in Cape Henry Shores, on a canal.
At a very young age, I was exposed to boating.
I had my first jon boat , a little skiff, when I was 12. Within two years, we had bought a 21-foot center-console boat. So I essentially grew up on the water.
You can't get a driver's license until you're 16, but as a 14-year-old I could hop in my boat and drive to my friend's house. So it was kind of my mode of transportation back then.
It was a big influence. That's how I kind of got into fishing and outdoor boating activities.
After graduating from ODU, I spent the first eight years of my work life at Controls Corp. of America, a manufacturer of precision-gas controls in Virginia Beach.
The experience that I gained there was a springboard to a niche opportunity that my father pointed me and my brother, Doug, toward in the late '90s. (More)

CVS buys Bank of America branch as bank plans for further reductions
(Inside Business, Jan. 31, 2014)

CVS is knocking down the former Bank of America branch near Old Dominion University in Norfolk and building a new pharmacy in its place.
The Woonsocket, R.I.-based company has submitted applications to Norfolk's planning department for special exceptions to operate a 24-hour pharmacy with a drive-through and sell alcohol for off-premise consumption on the property at 3717 Hampton Blvd.
Building plans call for the ground floor to be 12,223 square feet and a mezzanine level to be 1,682 square feet. CVS has hired The Rebkee Co., a Richmond-based commercial real estate company, to be the store's developer.
A public hearing will be held at the next planning commission meeting on Feb. 27.
CVS purchased the property for $2.1 million in December, according to city records. The building, built in 1970, and the 1.14 acres it sits on, was last assessed in July for $1.2 million.
Bank of America closed the 5,882-square-foot branch to customers in September in a nationwide corporate downsize. The company said increased use of mobile and online banking were driving the closures with fewer transactions taking place at physical branches. (More)

Major changes coming; what happens to ODU, NSU?
(The Virginian-Pilot, Jan. 31, 2014)

When the 800 or so presidents and athletic directors of Division I schools met this month in San Diego at the NCAA convention, it was apparent that seismic changes were coming to college athletics.
They'll likely have immense consequences for both Old Dominion and Norfolk State.
ODU announced just 20 months ago that it would begin playing this season in the Football Bowl Subdivision - the highest classification in the NCAA. Norfolk State plays a tier lower, in the Football Championship Subdivision with schools like William & Mary and James Madison.
Both Norfolk schools could see their budgets stretched by expected changes in the coming months.
College football's five most powerful conferences have begun separating themselves from the NCAA's smaller schools and plan to begin providing benefits to athletes - a cost many schools can't afford.
Most smaller schools have long been reluctant to give the major conferences the power to govern themselves and have consistently voted down proposals that would allow the bigger schools to spend more on their athletes.
The power struggle led commissioners of some major conferences to threaten to leave the NCAA, a move that would drastically change the NCAA basketball tournament, among other things.
But the threats seemed to get the attention of the NCAA members. In a straw poll taken in San Diego, 58 percent of the attendees favored allowing the most powerful football conferences to have more power to set rules for themselves.
A proposal to provide the ACC, Southeastern Conference, Big 12, Pac-12 and Big Ten more power will be presented to the NCAA Board of Governors during its April meeting. (More)

ODU Writes a Book
(The Mace & Crown, Feb. 2, 2014)

Technology and the Humanities will come together for a project they believe is the first of its kind. Over a 24-hour period, starting at 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 11, anyone on campus, or with an ODU email address, can join in the process of writing the book: "You are (w)here: how knowledge is related to virtual and physical space."
Contributions to the joint-authorship "multimodal, digital text" as the website describes it, can take any form - scholarly research-based writing, personal reflections, photo essays or audio recordings.
A "flash mob" of co-authors will be physically located in the Learning Commons, but others will be able to contribute virtually to the project - anyone with an odu.edu email address.
Project co-leader George Fowler, associate university librarian for information resources and technology, got the idea for the book after attending a workshop on digital humanities. It inspired him to come up with a way to get the ODU Libraries involved in the digital humanities.
"It is an opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and administrators to create an academic product as equals," said Fowler. "It is a historic event, never attempted at another higher-education institution in the U.S. It showcases the resources available to students and faculty at ODU. It can be a culmination of the mission of higher education - the addition of knowledge to interest and motivation to create synthesized knowledge as part of a larger system."
"This experiment will have unexpected results, though I am hoping for a hive of activity in the Learning Commons as well as pockets of activity elsewhere throughout ODU and individual participation from everywhere," Fowler said. (More)

Year-Round Arctic Ice Cooled Earth Earlier Than Thought
(Yahoo News Canada, Jan. 28, 2014)

The Arctic Ocean had an icy head start on Antarctica as the Earth cooled down after an extreme warm spell about 55 million years ago, a new study finds. For decades, scientists have thought that Antarctica froze before the Arctic Ocean saw its first perennial sea ice, which is ice that lasts through the summer. Antarctica started icing over about 34 million years ago, according to geologic evidence left behind by glaciers. Until now, evidence for perennial sea ice in the Arctic was just 18 million years old.
But a sediment core drilled from the Arctic seafloor - the first-ever Arctic core for the international ocean drilling program - now rewrites that race to refrigerate the poles. The Arctic Ocean was frozen through summer by 36.7 million years ago, according to a study published yesterday (Jan. 26) in the journal Nature Geoscience. And with year-round ice reflecting the sun and chilling the ocean, the Arctic may have cooled the planet, the authors suggest.
"This tells us the Arctic Ocean may have played a major role in causing climate to change," said Dennis Darby, a geological oceanographer at Old Dominion University in Virginia and lead study author. "The perennial ice in the Arctic cools everything. The Arctic Ocean is our global air conditioner for the whole Earth." [10 Things You Need to Know About Arctic Sea Ice]
Darby and his colleagues tracked ancient Arctic sea ice with small grains of an iron mineral called magnetite. Too big and heavy to be carried by wind or ocean currents, the researchers think. Rather, the magnetite fragments were caught in ice that formed near the coastline and then carried by the ice out to sea, freed by melting and dropped to the seafloor. Magnetite contains unique geochemical tracers that can be linked to rocks onshore, and Darby has spent two decades compiling a database of nearly 40,000 samples of Arctic magnetite sources. (More)

As Congress Does Little To Address Wage Erosion, States Are Moving With Their Own Minimum Wage Legislation
(International Business Times, Jan. 29, 2014)

As Washington seems incapable of figuring out how to ensure working Americans are paid a minimum wage that can keep up with the economy's perpetually rising costs of living, especially for health care, many states have taken initiatives to try to offset the failures of federal lawmakers.
U.S. President Barack Obama said during his State of the Union address on Tuesday, as he did last year, that he intends to make raising the federal minimum wage a priority. But Obama went a step further this time, saying he would, by executive order, require federal contractors to pay their employees at least $10.10 an hour. ...
Virginia - State Del. Joe Morrissey, a Democrat, introduced this month HB32 that would increase the minimum hourly wage from $7.25 to $8.50 per hour by July. But the state legislature is dominated by Republicans and "it's extremely unlikely for the minimum-wage bill to reach the floor," Jesse Richman, director of Old Dominion University's Political Science Research Center, told the Virginian Pilot earlier this month. (More)

Norfolk couple is at center of gay marriage legal fight
(The Virginian-Pilot, Jan. 30, 2014)

On one hand, Tim Bostic and Tony London seem quite ordinary in their aspirations: They love each other and want to get married.
On the other hand, the repercussions of their quest could be extraordinary.
It has already stoked the culture war in this purple state to a white-hot level. Now it has the potential of making Virginia the first state in the South where people of the same gender can legally marry - perhaps even resulting in a landmark court ruling sanctioning gay marriage across the nation.
Sometime soon in a Norfolk federal courtroom, boosted by a dramatic reversal of course by the state attorney general, a nationally known legal team will argue on behalf of Bostic, London and two other plaintiffs that Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage violates their rights to due process and equal protection guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
The court hearing had been scheduled for today but was postponed because of the snow.
Bostic, 48, and London, 55, live in Norfolk's Meadowbrook section and have been together 25 years. Bostic is an assistant professor of English at Old Dominion University; London is a Navy veteran and real estate agent.
They met at a country and western dance club in San Diego that was offering line-dancing lessons. (More)

Perennial Ice First Developed 44 Million Years Ago
(Softpedia, Jan. 28, 2014)

According to the conclusions of a new study published in the latest issue of the top scientific journal Nature Geoscience, it would appear that perennial (or multi-year) ices in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions first started developing around 44 million years ago, not 18 million years ago, as first thought.
This important investigation was led by expert Dennis A. Darby, who holds an appointment as an Earth sciences professor with the Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Old Dominion University, in Norfolk, Virginia.
The conclusions of his research - which pushes back the data of first perennial ice formation by more than 26 million years - are based on a newly-developed ice-aging technique. The approach is centered on studying iron oxide grains that have become trapped in multi-year Arctic ices, PhysOrg reports.
The investigator argues in his paper that iron oxides could have developed at their current locations only if they were surrounded by massive ice fields throughout the year. Currently, the Arctic experiences periods of ice recession (summer and autumn) and progression (winter and spring). (More)

The Six Counties Where Elections Fail the Most
(Next City, Jan. 28, 2014)

When it comes to election administration, one consistency is that there is no consistency in how jurisdictions and counties around the nation handle voting. A new report from the Center for American Progress Action Fund examines this labyrinth of ballot access regulation, combing through more than 3,000 county election administration systems to profile the best and worst practices.
Looking at variables such as voter turnout and registration rates, provisional ballots cast and rejected, and absentee ballot rejection rates, CAP shows not only that our voting system is broken - that's not news - but where it's broken the most. Turns out, many of those counties with the most failed processes are those with major urban zones.
One thing the report doesn't attempt to answer is why voting is broken where it's broken. My own thoughts are that race determines this as much as place, as I wrote this month at Demos. Of course, urbanized counties experience more breakdowns due to their larger populations: More people, more problems. But if election officials are adequately prepared - meaning they have enough staff and resources for managing the system - those problems should be alleviated. Indeed, there are urban-centered counties where this has happened. ...
Norfolk, Va. In 2012, Virginia was also one of the few states that permanently banned former felons from voting. Though former governor Bob McDonnell eased the ban before his last day in office, and though his successor Terry McAuliffe may ease it even more, the existing legacy is that there are 10 counties with double-digit rates of voters purged from rolls, fueled in part by the felony disenfranchisement. In Norfolk, close to 15 percent of voters were purged in 2012.
Those issues aside, Norfolk not only had some of the highest provisional ballots cast and rejected, but also some of the worst rates for voter registration and turnout. The presence of three major universities - Norfolk State (a historically black university), Old Dominion and Virginia Wesleyan - makes it sound like there may be quite a few college students disenfranchised in addition to those with felonies. (More)

Warner: State must move quickly to land drone windfall
(The Virginian-Pilot, Jan. 25, 2014)

If Virginia - and more specifically Hampton Roads - wants to be a player in the lucrative development of drones for nonmilitary use, its leaders have to move fast, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner said Friday.
Warner, who made a personal fortune as an early investor in cellphones, predicted that experimentation with drones "could be the beginnings of an industry every bit as large as the telecommunications explosion 30 years ago."
The state won a key victory in December when the Federal Aviation Administration selected a Virginia Tech proposal to develop test sites for unmanned aerial vehicles. The new Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership also includes New Jersey's Rutgers University and the University of Maryland.
However, the FAA also chose five other test site proposals based in New York, North Dakota, Nevada, Texas and Alaska.
Suggesting that the competition will be fierce, Warner told more than two dozen people representing aviation firms, the military, universities and state and local government in an Old Dominion University conference room that there's little time to waste.
"We need to recognize this is a chance for Virginia to be at the cutting edge of a huge new industry," Warner said. "It's not only about where these vehicles are going to fly, but it's also going to be about where they are designed and built." (More)

Virginia begins to map out future with drones
(The Daily Press, Jan. 25, 2014)

Last month, Virginia leaders rejoiced when they were selected to help blaze the trail for drones into commercial air space, an industry with vast untapped potential.
On Friday, the hard work began as 20-plus leaders from science, business, the military and politics sat around a table at Old Dominion University and mapped out what should happen next.
Leading the discussion was Sen. Mark R. Warner, a former venture capitalist who said the emerging commercial drone industry reminded him of a crazy idea he believed in 30 years ago - that people could carry around portable telephones. Warner built his wealth in the early days of the cell phone industry, and he said commercial drones might be the next big thing.
At times, Virginia's senior senator sounded more like a high-tech entrepreneur, advising the group to "get out fast and make some impressions" and promote the idea of "a working business group that's got some dough behind it."
Many questions remain unanswered, and Friday's brainstorming meeting was not intended to answer every one. But the group agreed to meet again in a couple of weeks, and its members represent some of the biggest tech names in Hampton Roads and Virginia: NASA-Langley, NASA-Wallops, Lockheed Martin, the U.S. Navy, private drone companies and Virginia Tech.
Virginia and New Jersey were partners on the proposal, which came from Virginia Tech and the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership. Maryland is also envisioned to be part of the group. It was one of six sites around the U.S. announced by federal officials Dec. 30 to begin incorporating all manner of unmanned aerial systems into commercial air space for jobs as diverse as spraying crops, inspecting pipelines and finding lost children. (More)

State, local leaders discuss commercial use of drones
(WAVY-TV, Jan. 24, 2014)

State and local leaders gathered at Old Dominion University Friday afternoon to discuss drones and the economic potential they have for commercial use.
Virginia is one of six states selected by the Federal Aviation Administration to develop test sites for drones. That site is at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, but leaders say Hampton Roads could play a role.
With the proper training, Dr. John Langford says anyone can fly a drone. He showed WAVY.com one developed at his northern Virginia company, Aurora Flight Sciences.
"It's a small unmanned aircraft. It has a series of computers in it that can receive signals from the Global Positioning Network in your smartphone, actually, and it can essentially fly itself," he said.
Senator Mark Warner called local and state leaders together at ODU for a roundtable discussion. He told WAVY.com earlier that the public needs more assurance and education about this new technology.
"One, in terms of safety of these systems, and, two, when most folks her the word 'drone' they think of something that flies in Afghanistan and Pakistan," Warner said. "They think of the military use and not the commercial applications." (More)

Leaders hope local drone development brings thousands of jobs
(Video, WVEC-TV, Jan. 24, 2014)

WVEC-TV reporter Karen Hopkins attended Friday's roundtable meeting at Old Dominion University hosted by Sen. Mark Warner, about Unmanned Aviation Systems.

12 faculty members honored
(The Virginian-Pilot, Jan. 24, 2014)

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia will honor 12 faculty members next month for their work.
Winners of the 2014 Outstanding Faculty Award are:
Louise Billaud, associate professor of music, New River Community College;
David Cifu, professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, Virginia Commonwealth University;
Amy Clark, associate professor of English, University of Virginia's College at Wise;
Linda Columbus, associate professor of chemistry, University of Virginia;
Wu-chun Feng, professor of computer science, Virginia Tech;
Quentin Kidd, professor of political science, Christopher Newport University;
Michael Lane, associate professor of chemistry, Emory & Henry College;
Allison Orr Larsen, associate professor of law, College of William and Mary;
Jeffrey McClurken, professor of American studies, University of Mary Washington;
William Petri Jr., professor of infectious diseases, University of Virginia;
Raina Robeva, professor of mathematics, Sweet Briar College; and
Carolyn Morcom Rutledge, associate professor of nursing, Old Dominion University.
The awards, presented by SCHEV and Dominion Resources, will be given Feb. 20 at The Jefferson Hotel. Recipients will receive a $5,000 check underwritten by the Dominion Foundation. (More)

Tunnel tolls lead to lifestyle changes for some
(The Virginian-Pilot, Jan. 27, 2014)

Love, come Saturday, will be a little costlier for Rose Lauver.
She drives from Suffolk to see her boyfriend in Norfolk about three times a month. That takes her through the Midtown Tunnel, which beginning in five days will be tolled, as will the nearby Downtown Tunnel.
Lauver, 70, will have little recourse but to pay, and while that thought angers her - "I think it sucks," she said - she has used it to get a laugh out of her man.
"I told him on the phone a while ago, 'You better pay me for coming through this tunnel,' " she said. ...
Conner DuRose plans to change universities. Kyle Ranallo quit a job he liked in Chesapeake. A law firm in Portsmouth will shell out $13,000 to reimburse employees to keep them from leaving, and that's for only the first year of tolls. ...
Similarly, DuRose, a freshman at Old Dominion University who commutes from Portsmouth, said the tolls were "not the biggest reason but most definitely a factor" in his likely decision to attend a different school next year.
He scheduled his spring semester at ODU with the tolls at the top of his mind. He tried to cluster his courses so he wouldn't have large gaps between them, and took one fewer class as a result. ...
In the long run, the experience of tolls elsewhere suggests the fees here could contribute to a 3 to 5 percent decline over a decade in the value of commercial properties and homes that are closely tied to the tunnels, said ODU economist James Koch.
His research concluded that Portsmouth will bear a disproportionate burden compared with the rest of Hampton Roads, but even there, he predicted, the tolls will have a "spotty and mixed kind of effect." (More)

Self-taught artists craft compelling visions
(The Daily Press, Jan. 25, 2014)

Give a few minutes to the newest show at the Baron and Ellin Gordon Self-Taught Art Gallery and you'll soon see why this Williamsburg couple spent years chasing down some of the country's best if often unknown folk artists.
Vivid visions and imagination drive the wild, often idiosyncratic works of all three people showcased in this compelling Old Dominion University exhibit, enabling them to overcome and even exploit their lack of academic training through creations that rival the accomplishments of formally educated contemporary talents.
Just take a look at the collection of home-spun sculptures concocted by the late Derek Webster, who habitually turned to gnarled roots, scrap lumber, cast-off shoes and clothing and every kind of bottle cap or crushed can he could find to fabricate a world of strange and bewilderingly animated figures. ...
What makes you look and then keep looking is a dynamic presence that won't let you go - even after you figure out that all that mystery and magic is rooted in an obsessive bent to improvise and embellish.
"When you study them carefully, you discover pretty quickly that he's working with almost anything he can find - so it's just encrusted," gallery curator Ramona Austin says.
"A lot of his figures look [like] they revealed themselves while he was working." (More)