Week of 3/17/14
ODU's Broderick to take part in Knight Commission meeting
(The Virginian-Pilot, March 15, 2014)
Old Dominion president John Broderick has been invited to take part in a meeting of the Knight Commission on Monday in Miami, Fla., when the influential group will discuss some of the most controversial issues facing college athletics.
The Knight Foundation, a private group that has been lobbying for the reform of college athletics for 2 ½ decades, hopes to exert influence on what appears likely to be major changes coming to the structure of the NCAA in the next few years.
It's a prestigious invitation for Broderick, who will take part in a series of discussions, along with the 18 Knight Commission members and half a dozen panelists.
Among current Knight Commission members are former Maryland and professional basketball star, Harvard Law School graduate and television analyst Len Elmore, Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman and William English Kirwan, president of the University of Maryland.
North Carolina president Tom Ross and Todd Turner, former athletic director at Washington, North Carolina State and Vanderbilt, were invited to participate along with Broderick. (More)
Multifamily bright spot in local CRE market
(Inside Business, March 14, 2014)
The outlook for 2014 is optimistic for those in Hampton Roads real estate as the multifamily, retail, industrial and office markets continued to recover locally last year.
According to the report for Old Dominion University's 19th Annual Hampton Roads Real Estate Market Review and Forecast, apartment construction hit a record high with 3,632 units under way as of October. The area also saw record levels of demand with 2,500 units absorbed.
The report was the topic for an event Thursday afternoon at the Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk.
Though the multifamily market experienced the biggest boom, industry experts are expecting occupancy rates to dip slightly in 2014, the report said.
"I think the trend is your friend," said Dwight Dunton III, president of Bonaventure Realty Group. "The question is, can you have too much of a good thing in a good location? In the short-term that's what everyone needs to be cautious about."
Competition for renters is to be expected, which bodes well for consumers. If supply outpaces demand, Dunton said landlords will start offering concessions and Class B tenants could find themselves moving into Class A properties. The average rental rate in Hampton Roads last year was $952 with one-bedroom units averaging $850 a month and two-bedroom units averaging $959 a month. (More)
Samuel F. Coppage
(Obituary, The Virginian-Pilot, March 16, 2014)
Samuel F. Coppage, Jr., passed away on March 9, 2014 at age 65 after a short illness. He was predeceased by his father, Dr. Samuel F. Coppage, Sr., a prominent Norfolk dentist and a community and civil rights leader, his mother Constance Jordan Coppage, his aunt, Dr. Mildred Jordan, and his much beloved "granny," Mrs. Hattie Blue Jordan. Sam was a very devoted son and nephew, caring for his mother and aunt lovingly for many years until their passing in recent years at ages 106 and 101.
Professionally, Dr. Coppage was a professor of information technology at the College of Business and Public Administration of Old Dominion University. Prior to joining the Old Dominion faculty in 1983, he worked at Bell Labs and as a private information systems consultant in New York City. Samuel earned his BS in Mathematics at Virginia State University, and a Master's of Science and Ph.D. in Computer Science and Mathematics from the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University.
Samuel Coppage was proud of the contributions he made to the quality of the educational experience of his students at Old Dominion as both a teacher and a mentor. One of his doctoral students wrote: "Dr. Coppage was my PhD advisor.... As a Jamaican student, he counseled me on the ways of American culture, steered me clear of pitfalls in university life, guided my dissertation committee formation and topic and the start of my dissertation writing... What really affected me was how he would introduce me to anyone he was talking to, always proud of me as one of his PhD students. He made sure that by the time I walked away, they knew something good about me." In many ways Dr. Coppage was also the conscience of the College and University on curricular matters, ever mindful of the consequences of actions. (More)
Biographer mines despair of a family - his own
(The Virginian-Pilot, March 16, 2014)
In the opening chapter of "Anna Karenina," Tolstoy famously wrote, "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
In the modern era, the memoir of the unhappy family has come into its own. Think, for example, of Rick Bragg's "The Prince of Frogtown" or any another modern remembrance of times past in which the writer basically says, "Look what a squalid rats-nest I crawled out of, growing up surrounded by drunks, addicts, rubes, nitwits, and neurotics, among whom I was nothing special. But look at me now!"
Now in "The Splendid Things We Planned," Blake Bailey looks back on his life with a mixture of bitterness, sardonic rage and (in the end) sorrow and protestations of love. A professor of creative writing at Old Dominion University who is working on a biography of Philip Roth, and an astute, diligent biographer of John Cheever, Charles Jackson and Richard Yates - three men who were severely troubled by alcoholism and the lonely rage that accompanies it - he has now written a memoir of a family that struggled with alcohol, verbal abuse and drugs. As such, it is a work that is as heartfelt and honest as it is largely bereft of hope. (More)
Region's sales data? Nothing to write home about
(The Virginian-Pilot, March 15, 2014)
The housing market is beginning to look more like a drag than a boost to Hampton Roads' economy in 2014.
February home sales across the region came in below the levels of 2013, according to a report Friday from the Real Estate Information Network, the local multiple listing service. January sales totals also trailed year-earlier levels.
Across the region from Virginia Beach to Williamsburg, about 1,300 homes were sold in February, the listing service said. That was down about 2 percent from February 2013.
The February numbers did indicate a pickup in sales activity from January. Only 1,145 homes sold across the region in January, down 15 percent from the year before.
Prices in February continued to be weak, with a median sale of $181,600, down 3.9 percent from $189,000 the year before.
Vinod Agarwal, director of the Economic Forecasting Project at Old Dominion University, cautioned against reading too many trouble signs in the numbers. He said distressed sales - either foreclosures or short sales, which are those made for prices below what is owed - continue to undermine the market. Distressed sales accounted for nearly 31 percent of transactions in February. That was down from about 34 percent a year earlier, but a healthy ratio is under 10 percent, he said.
"The number has been going down, but they're not going down fast enough," Agarwal said. (More)
A knack for making Lilliputian-sized pottery
(The Virginian-Pilot, March 17, 2014)
When Eileen Davis Vernon learned that her husband wanted her to decorate stoneware so tiny it would fit in the palm of her hands, she balked.
"You have to be kidding," Eileen said.
Sid Vernon, a master potter, wasn't fazed. He nurtured what turned out to be his wife's God-given talent to draw miniature designs on Lilliputian-sized pottery. He offered tips, do's and don'ts. She slowly mastered the art.
Eventually, Eileen took over every detail of Vernon Pottery, the business the two started in the mid-1980s, when Sid's health began to deteriorate.
But, this grand love story, built around miniature proportions, started long before that - all on a college girl's whim. ...
Sid also helped Eileen's father with the family business, Davis Grain, and took art classes at Old Dominion University. He decided neither was his cup of tea.
Eileen was working as a librarian at her alma mater, the Friends School off Laskin Road in Virginia Beach, which offered pottery classes taken by a handful of students. The school wanted a full-fledged program.
Sid was hired, and he set out to raise funds to buy needed equipment. He made ceramic birdhouses and sold them for $10 a pop until one student's father signed a check big enough to get the program off the ground. (More)
Watch it, toothbrush can harm!
(Punch (Nigeria), March 17, 2014)
An advertiser of toothbrush covers once complained about the way people store their toothbrushes after each use. He noted that while people would store their soaps in dry soap cases so that they don't get soggy, the same thing couldn't be said about the treatment we give our toothbrushes.
His major grouse is that after each use, we simply toss our toothbrushes into a container usually hung in the bathrooms or near the bathroom entrance. The ostensible reason for this is that we want to make them accessible once we are prepared to take our bath, which is almost always accompanied with tooth brushing. ...
With this information on your finger tips, you may want to relocate your toothbrush to safer parts of the home.
Indeed, Associate Professor and Director of the Dental Hygiene Research Centre at Old Dominion University, Gayle McCombs, counsels, "You don't store your plates and glasses by the toilet, so why would you want to place your toothbrush there? It's just common sense to store your toothbrush as far away from the toilet as possible." (More)
Norfolk-based USS Truxtun arrives in Black Sea
(Video, WVEC-TV, March 6, 2014)
Guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun arrived in Bulgaria for a port visit.
Truxtun's stay in the Black Sea will allow the ship to host an exercise planning conference with NATO allies March 15.
"We are certainly excited to participate in every joint exercise we are afforded," said Cmdr. Andrew Biehn, Truxtun's commanding officer. "We train for months at home and every opportunity we get to hone these skills with our allies is incredibly valuable." ...
(Story includes an interview with Austin Jersild, associate professor of history at Old Dominion University.) (More)
Hampton Roads to get more retail in 2014, but empty big box a problem
(The Daily Press, March 14, 2014)
Grocery store expansions and new small strip centers are driving Hampton Roads' retail real estate growth as more national chains are looking to move in. The bad news? The region needs to figure out what to do with all those big box spaces going empty.
"We have a tremendous amount of activity in this market. We are extremely busy on the retail side," David Machupa, vice president with commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, told attendees of the Thursday release of the 19th annual Hampton Roads real estate market report by Old Dominion University's E.V. Williams Center for Real Estate and Economic Development.
Kroger opened its first Marketplace store in Virginia Beach in July and two more stores are under construction. Harris Teeter opened at Wards Corner in Norfolk and five Walmart Neighborhood Market stores and another Harris Teeter are under construction in the region, he explained. Simon Property Group, which owns the Williamsburg Premium Outlets, is also pitching another outlet mall at the Lake Wright Golf Course property in Norfolk.
The report tallied 54 million square feet of retail space in 422 properties - about a third on the Peninsula - as of last year. While the local retail market has stabilized, Machupa said that the region is seeing more chains or established franchise owners move in because the mom and pop stores and restaurants can't get the financing needed to start up. Rental rates are also increasing slightly as demand for limited quality properties increase. The report, based on surveys, doesn't include downtown storefronts. (More)
Homebuilders have some competition
(The Virginian-Pilot, March 13, 2014)
Luxury apartments have prompted homebuilders to develop smaller upscale houses, said Van Rose, president of Rose & Womble Realty Co.'s new homes division.
The apartment market boomed last year because of demand from young professionals and empty-nesters. But Rose said surveys show the younger crowd wants to own a home at some point. He spoke at Thursday's Hampton Roads Real Estate Market Review and Forecast, which is produced by ODU's Center for Real Estate and Economic Development.
Dwight Dunton, founder and president of Bonaventure Realty Group LLC, said young professionals who are saddled with debt and have a hard time finding a job will keep the apartment market on top for years to come. (More)
Computer Model Predicts Vastly Different Ecosystem In Antarctica's Ross Sea In Coming Century
(Eurasia Review, March 11, 2014)
The Ross Sea, a major, biologically productive Antarctic ecosystem, "clearly will be extensively modified by future climate change" in the coming decades as rising temperatures and changing wind patterns create longer periods of ice-free open water, affecting the life cycles of both predators and prey, according to a paper published by researchers funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
To make their predictions, the researchers used information drawn from the Regional Ocean Modeling System, a computer model of sea-ice, ocean, atmosphere and ice-shelf interactions.
While conceding that "predicting future changes in ecosystems is challenging," the researchers note in a paper published in Geophysical Research Letters, the changes predicted by the computer model have the potential to create "significant but unpredictable impacts on the ocean's most pristine ecosystem." ...
A team of four researchers from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) at the College of William and Mary and the Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., jointly authored the paper.
Walker O. Smith, Jr., a professor at VIMS and the lead author of the study, said: "The model suggests that the substantial changes in the physical setting of the Ross Sea will induce severe changes in the present food web, changes that are driven by global climate change. Without a doubt the Ross Sea 100 years from now will be a completely different system than we know today." (More)
Study questions using social media to evaluate job candidates
(HR.com, March 13, 2014)
Employers are increasing turning to platforms like Facebook to assess job applicants. However, recent research suggests that Human Resources should be cautious about using information found on social media to assess candidates in the hiring process.
A new study conducted by researchers at Florida State University, Old Dominion University, Clemson University, and Accenture found no correlation between recruiter evaluations of applicants' Facebook information and job performance or turnover.
Also, the study found that recruiters' Facebook ratings tend to be higher for females than for males, and in several instances were higher for white individuals than for black or Hispanic individuals-which could lead to claims of discrimination. (More)
One-On-One: Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky President Wil James
(The Lane Report, March 12, 2014)
In 2010, Wil James became the seventh president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky Inc. Since beginning his career with Toyota in 1987, supervising a team of 20 people, James has served in multiple leadership roles within Toyota's network of manufacturing operations across the U.S., including senior vice president of Toyota's vehicle plant in Indiana from 2008 to 2010 and prior to that, president of the automaker's Long Beach, Calif., subsidiary plant, which produces vehicle parts.
From 2003 to 2006, James served as vice president of manufacturing at Toyota Kentucky, after having been promoted multiple times following his career start nearly two decades earlier. He is involved in numerous community organizations and currently serves as chair-elect of the board of directors for the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. A native of Virginia, James earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering technology from Old Dominion University.
Maintaining the work ethic and ingenuity of a skilled workforce
Ed Lane: How long has Toyota Motor Manufacturing operated in Georgetown, how many employees work at the Georgetown plant and how many vehicles were manufactured in Georgetown in 2013?
Wil James: TMMK incorporated in 1986. I was hired in 1987. Our first vehicle came off the line in May of 1988. The number of employees varies a little depending upon the volume of sales, which determines the speed of our line and the number of people. In general, employment averages about 8,000 at TMMK. Last year was a pretty good year; our team built 504,000 vehicles. One of the additional nuances of the auto industry is that a plant will typically build either vehicles or engines. We build both on site here. Last year TMMK probably built around 650,000 engines. (More)
Edward D. Hewitt, Sun editor
(The Baltimore Sun, March 11, 2014)
Edward D. Hewitt, a longtime Evening Sun and Baltimore Sun editor who was an inveterate runner and hiker, died Sunday of an apparent heart attack as he was about to ascend Mount Rogers in Independence, Va. The longtime Parkville resident was 70.
"Ed was my first features editor and I thought he was a newspaperman through and through. He loved the vibe of the newsroom, language, working with reporters and putting out the newspaper," said Kevin Cowherd, a retired Baltimore Sun sports columnist who earlier had been a features reporter.
"He was a judicious editor and didn't have to mess with your copy. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with him when he was my editor," said Mr. Cowherd. "He was kind, positive and always willing to help. He was the epitome of a true friend."
"No. 1, he was an excellent journalist and for a big chunk of his time was the newspaper's ombudsman and reader's representative," said William K. Marimow, former editor of The Baltimore Sun who is now the editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer. ...
The son of Ernest Edward Hewitt, an Air Force mechanic, and Frances Deal Hewitt, an educator, Edward Deal Hewitt was born and raised in Portsmouth, Va.
After graduating in 1961 from Granby High School in Norfolk, Va., Mr. Hewitt attended Old Dominion University, also in Norfolk.
While attending college, Mr. Hewitt worked as a newspaper stringer for The Virginian-Pilot covering prep sports. (More)
Computer hackers - the good kind - descend on W&M
(The Daily Press, March 11, 2014)
The College of William and Mary is gearing up to host hackers, but it won't be that kind of computer hacking.
It's true the word "hack" hasn't always had a positive connotation. Recently its meaning has shifted from trying to breach or break a system to trying to create something new and different in the world of computing. It's the latter meaning that defines the spirit of TribeHacks, the first-ever hackathon planned later this month.
So far, the event has attracted around 190 students who plan to spend 24 hours in Swem Library building computer applications or software completely from scratch and based on their own ideas. According to TribeHacks organizer and W&M junior Joe Soultanis, just under half of the participants are peers from the college. The rest will come from around the region - the University of Virginia, Duke, University of North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Old Dominion, James Madison - and from as far away as Columbia, Harvard, Maryland, and Michigan.
Soultanis, a self-described "total tech nerd" who has taken part in hackathons elsewhere, called the significance of the experience "indescribable." (More)
Tests show local drinking water safe in wake of coal ash spill
(WVEC-TV, March 10, 2014)
There are no signs that toxic elements likely released by the thousands of tons of coal ash that spilled into the Dan River last month have made its way to a lake where Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Chesapeake draw drinking water.
Lake Gaston, located roughly 100 miles west of Norfolk on the North Carolina/Virginia line, is downstream from the Dan River. Virginia Beach has a pumping station at Lake Gaston, which pumps water from the lake that is also used by the cities of Norfolk and Chesapeake.
The site of the massive coal ash spill--at a Duke Energy coal-fired power plant along the Dan River near Danville--is roughly 100 miles upstream of Lake Gaston.
The proximity was enough to pique the curiosity of Dr. Greg Cutter, a professor at Old Dominion University who specializes in testing water for trace metals.
Cutter's expertise and sophisticated lab equipment has been called on all over the world, including in the wake of the world's largest coal ash spill in Kingston, TN in 2008.
Although it's highly unlikely any coal ash will actually make its way to Lake Gaston, Cutter explained, there is a good chance that arsenic and selenium contained in the coal ash will mix in the water and flow down to the lake.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency has limits in place for both elements in the drinking water to protect humans but, Cutter explained, both elements--especially selenium--can be more harmful to fish and other wildlife at the lake.
"It gets into the food chain: the plants will take it up, the fish eat the plants, etcetera," Cutter explained. (More)
Exclusive! Ticking Time Bomb Paula Deen Boozing & Binge Eating
(The National Inquirer, March 10, 2014)
PAULA DEEN is a diabetic time bomb!
That's the opinion of an insider and experts as the 67-year-old southern cook, reeling from the destruction of her food empire and the pressures of launching a comeback, has been engaging in dangerous behaviors - boozing, binge eating, and stuffing herself with greasy, artery-clogging foods.
The 5-foot-5 "queen of butter" has packed on 40 pounds, and her weight continues to soar, threatening to trigger deadly complications from her Type 2 diabetes, warn the source and an expert.
"This woman is playing Russian roulette with her life!" declared Dr. Sheri Colberg-Ochs, professor of exercise science at Old Dominion University and author of "The 7 Step Diabetes Fitness Plan."
By not sticking to a proper diabetic eating plan, the former Food Network star is risking kidney and heart failure, stroke, nerve damage, loss of limbs - and even death, according to Dr. Colberg-Ochs, who has not treated Deen. (More)
Farewell, Johnny "Jackrabbit" Brown
(WAVY-TV, March 8, 2014)
"I can hardly wait for that whistle to blow."
Those words were from a man of 90, but reflect the excitement of a child. That's how Johnny "Jackrabbit" Brown viewed the return of football to Old Dominion University in 2009. That's when I interviewed the gridiron warrior, who once scampered over defenders in the dusty, cotton leather era of 1930′s open-faced football.
Brown passed away at the age of 94 this past weekend.
It's now that his Emmy Award-winning appearance in my series "Monarch's Madness" comes to mind. The series spotlighted the comeback of a program that faded with the Great Depression only to return as the most successful start-up college program ever after a near 70-year hiatus.
Brown was a crusty combination of grit and humility, who, on the day we talked on the bleachers at Foreman Field, seemed most happy with a football in hand. He couldn't resist demonstrating the classic stiff-arm Heisman Trophy pose, using my head on which to rest his hand, as he, in his words, "danced away" from defenders.
ODU, in the late 1930′s, was actually the Norfolk branch of the College of William & Mary, and Brown wore gold and green as he scampered through those fields before sparse crowds. My favorite line he used to describe himself: "tramp athlete."
"We were walk-ons," he said. "We didn't have to pass anything. They had us in here so we would not compete with our fathers for jobs. It was the Depression" (More)
ABC investigating bar near ODU student's homicide
(The Virginian-Pilot, March 11, 2014)
The Edge, a bar near where an Old Dominion University student was killed last month, is under investigation by the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, an agency spokeswoman said Monday.
Public safety "is always a concern for Virginia ABC, and we are investigating to determine if any violations occurred at The Edge," ABC spokeswoman Carol Mawyer said.
"If we establish that there were violations, then the appropriate regulatory action will be taken against the licensee."
Paul Johnson, a sophomore math major from Richmond, died Feb. 23 after receiving a blow to the head less than a block from the bar near campus.
David William Grimm Jr., 21, was charged with second-degree murder. Christopher Chase Johnson, who isn't related to the victim, was charged with misdemeanor assault. One of Grimm's friends testified in a court hearing Friday that Christopher Johnson left The Edge after being thrown out.
Grimm's lawyer, Andrew Sacks, told the judge that Christopher Johnson became involved in a fight outside the bar and that his client was trying to pull him away. When others started throwing punches, Grimm threw one to defend himself, Sacks said. (More)