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ODU in the News

Week of 6/16/14

ODU renames biz school for Strome family
(Inside Business, June 13, 2014)

Old Dominion University's business school has a new name: the Strome College of Business.
ODU's board of visitors was expected to approve the name change at its June 12 meeting, according to several senior school officials, and also name the school's new entrepreneurial center the Strome Entrepreneurial Center. Inside Business went to print before the meeting.
The new monikers are in honor of 1978 ODU alumnus Mark Strome, whose Strome Family Foundation recently donated $11 million to the school to establish a multi-pronged approach to nurturing entrepreneurship throughout the university.
Strome is chief investment officer for the Strome Group and Strome Investment Management LP, based in Santa Monica, Calif.
In a statement through the university, ODU President John Broderick said the gift will "inspire a whole new generation of entrepreneurs and innovators by creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem at the university. These future entrepreneurs will create great economic and social value in Hampton Roads and beyond."
The college, which has about 100 faculty members and another 150 to 200 full-time and part-time employees, was previously known as the College of Business and Public Administration.
While the business school is at the center of the gift, officials said the goal is to reach all disciplines to aid those potential entrepreneurs who major in something other than business.
The gift entails curriculum changes, a speaker series, statewide business plan competitions and more, officials said. (More)

ODU won't require SAT or ACT for the next two years
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 13, 2014)

For students who suffer from test anxiety, Old Dominion University has good news.
A pilot project being launched this fall will offer students with a strong academic record in high school a path to acceptance at ODU without ever taking a standardized admission test.
Applicants with a GPA of 3.3 or higher will not be required to take the SAT or the ACT - the tests that have served as a gatekeeper in college admissions for decades.
In admissions lingo, ODU is going "test-optional" - for at least two years.
It's part of a national trend. More than 800 colleges and universities now admit substantial numbers of applicants without SAT or ACT scores, according to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, an advocacy group.
ODU's pilot program is intended to widen the university's applicant pool, said Ellen Neufeldt, vice president for student engagement and enrollment services.
"We want to have the best level playing field for all our students," she said. "We want to make sure they are successful."
Standardized test scores are not as strong a predictor of success in college as high school GPAs, she said.
Moreover, test scores tend to correlate with family income, she said. Students from more well-to-do families, whose parents typically went to college, are more likely to take test preparatory classes and to take the tests multiple times, increasing their chances of a higher score.
By casting a broader net, the test-optional policy might increase the diversity of ODU's student body, Neufeldt said. (More)

Navy, others still struggle with ditching Windows XP
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 15, 2014)

For years, Microsoft warned users of its popular XP operating system to start looking for another way to run their computers.
XP's days were numbered, the software giant said.
But on April 8 when the company officially stopped distributing routine updates and security patches for XP, at least one in four of the world's desktop computers were still relying on the operating system.
And not just any computers. Some of America's biggest companies hadn't yet completed the switch. Neither had the U.S. military, including the Navy. ...
Bigger companies with information technology departments, help desks and deeper pockets have had an edge in dealing with the XP situation, said Warren Marcelino, desktop support manager at Old Dominion University, which has moved all but a trace of its computers - less than 1 percent - to Windows 7. ...
The patches are code vulnerability updates, fixes that mend weaknesses found in operating systems that if not repaired could, over time, allow hackers to exploit them, said Rizwan Bhutta, an IT official at ODU.
The problem, he said, is that all of the Microsoft operating systems, even the newer ones, have some common code among them.
As vulnerabilities are found in the newer systems, Microsoft will identify them and release patches to fix them.
The concern is that hackers will be able to "reverse engineer" and try to exploit unprotected XP machines based on the patches sent out to fix the newer systems, Bhutta said.
"There's a very high chance that they will succeed in doing that," he said. "So that is the biggest concern everybody has." (More)

UPDATE Private sector must grow, official says Hampton Roads echoes state's dependence on federal dollar, secretary of commerce warns
(Inside Business, June 13, 2014)

For years there's been talk about diversifying the local economy, which is heavily dependent on federal spending.
But it's not just the federal government, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones said at a recent appearance. It's also local government, he said, and he noted that 15 of the top 20 employers in Hampton Roads are either public agencies or private firms that primarily serve the public sector.
"That should make all of us in this room very, very nervous," Jones said. "The public sector is not growing. It's stagnating or downsizing."
Jones spoke last week at an event hosted by the E.V. Williams Center of Real Estate and Economic Development at Old Dominion University in a discussion that touched on the sluggish public sector, luring companies to the state and the possible need for six-year high schools.
Jones also said the state is expected to make the biggest economic development announcement in 20 years in the coming weeks. It's in the manufacturing industry and isn't in Hampton Roads, he said, but he was mum on further details.
In five months as secretary, Jones said he's become familiar with the reasons Virginia is consistently named among the top states for business by national media outlets. But he's also become aware of weaknesses in the state's economy.
This month the U.S. economy is expected to recoup the amount of jobs it lost in the recession, but Virginia is about 122,000 jobs below its pre-recession mark. The reason, he said, is that the growth is happening in parts of the country that are less dependent on the public sector.
"It's just like in business, right? Slow periods highlight your flaws," he said. "The fact that the rest of the country is experiencing growth that we're not in Virginia is a reflection of the underlying foundation of the Virginia economy." (More)

A week of shockers promises change in Virginia politics
(The Daily Press/Pharmacy Choice, June 15, 2014)

The rest of the country might be wondering what's gotten into stately old Virginia but voters' rejection of one of the most powerful men in Congress and the flap over what looked like an inside deal to swing control of the state Senate speak to trends that have been building here for quite a while.
They are trends of skepticism about elected officials' actions, attitudes and ethics and of angrily ideological infighting that are likely to flavor Virginia politics for some time to come.
The resignation of state Sen. Phillip Puckett, D-Russell, last Sunday as Republican political leaders talked of their intention to name him to a lucrative post on the state's tobacco commission, followed by college professor Dave Brat's completely unexpected landslide victory over Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Henrico, three days later, sent shock waves across the nation.
The first, because it appeared to be a deal to clear the way for a vote killing Medicaid expansion, a linchpin of President Barack Obama's effort to reform American health care. The second, because what had seemed to be a faltering tea party movement flexed its muscles to knock off a conservative bane of Obama's whose constituents apparently felt he wasn't bane enough.
"The notion of Virginia as a kind of staid, establishment-friendly kind of place, where there was a kind of code of conduct and a willingness to give a lot of deference to those who are in power has eroded pretty significantly," said John McGlennon, a political scientist at the College of William and Mary.
"If there is an overarching theme, it is a rising populism on the right and left that distrusts leaders and political elites," said Old Dominion University political scientist Jesse Richman.
"Brat won by claiming Cantor was an out-of-touch servant of big business, with immigration policy as one of his main exhibits. Puckett was unable to take the post he had planned to because of public outcry," Richman added.
"This anti-elite populism was a common theme across the Occupy movement and the tea party, and it remains a very potent force in American politics," he said. (More)

Portsmouth pastor keeps the faith with 55-year ministry
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 15, 2014)

The lyrics of an old Christian tune "Find Us Faithful" speak of family, perseverance and fidelity. It is a favorite at Court Street Baptist Church. It's also a fitting tribute to its beloved pastor Wilbur Kersey, who, in keeping with the song's theme, is celebrating his 55th year at the Olde Towne church.
Kersey reported to Court Street in 1959, with his bride Katharine and baby daughter Barbara in tow. The couple met in their hometown of Winchester, where the young Kersey excelled in both sports and academics. ...
Under Kersey's direction, Court Street Academy was built in 1966. By that time, David and Marc had joined the family. The school initially began with one kindergarten and one preschool class under Katharine's direction.
Today the school offers preschool through eighth-grade classes. Kersey is the principal. Two of his children have attended the academy. Grandson Ben Steinhauer just graduated. Katharine, known as Kitty, chairs Old Dominion University's early childhood development program and serves as consultant at the school. (More)

Diabetes in athletes
(The Lancet, June, 2014)

Diabetes is not necessarily as debilitating to a sportsperson's career as some people might think. With proper management, any sport is possible. Talha Khan Burki reports.
When Gary Hall Junior was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1999, the doctors told him his days of competitive swimming were over. Hall had other ideas: he picked up four medals at the 2000 Olympics to add to his four from the previous games. Type 2 diabetes could not keep Neil Hunter from rowing across the Atlantic or crossing the polar ice cap. And English cricket fans in the 1990s could be forgiven for wishing that if diabetes was not going to stop Wasim Akram, it could at least slow him down.
All this should dispel any lingering notion that diabetes need necessarily derail a sporting career. But whether it is more a burden than an inconvenience or vice versa varies from athlete to athlete and sport to sport. "For longer-distance events, blood glucose levels usually decrease because the intensity is lower than it is for sprint-type activities or high-intensity intervals", explains Sheri Colberg-Ochs, a professor of exercise medicine at Old Dominion University (Norfolk, VA, USA). "Many people with type 1 diabetes train for and compete successfully in endurance events". For those involved in pursuits, which mandate brief and explosive bursts of energy, the issues are different. "Their intensity causes a large release of glucose-raising hormones that can cause blood glucose levels to rise from the activity", Colberg-Ochs told The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. She recalls Hall telling her how he would enter the water for the 50 m freestyle with blood glucose levels around 100 mg/dL. "After his event, 21 seconds of all-out sprinting, it would be over 300 mg/dL", she said. (More)

Thomas Nelson gets the most - a third of nearly $3 billion - in manufacturing software grants
(Inside Business, June 13, 2014)

Siemens Corp. executives are not shy about telling why they've donated nearly $3 billion worth of manufacturing-related software to various academic institutions in recent months.
They want to close the manufacturing skills gap as workers head for retirement. And they want to bridge the image gap, officials said, by showing young workers just how attractive a career in 21st century manufacturing can be.
So far this year the global engineering and electronics giant visited Ohio, Michigan, Massachusetts and Virginia and donated $2.98 billion in software grants to 15 schools. Roughly a third of that donation figure went to one institution nestled on Virginia's Peninsula: Thomas Nelson Community College.
Seven Virginia academic institutions were software grant recipients, and the announcement came June 4 at the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing outside of Richmond.
Besides TNCC, the two other Hampton Roads recipients were Old Dominion University at $746 million and ECPI University at $130.3 million. (More)

[Mer]made in Norfolk | The Mermaid Factory
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 14, 2014)

It was one of those typical sendups you're used to seeing on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," but this one had a local twist.
Show host Stephen Colbert - on the recurring segment "Better Know a District" - was poking fun at Norfolk's mascot while offering a look at Virginia's 3rd Congressional District.
Colbert held up a mermaid he had fashioned by duct-taping a Barbie-doll head and torso to a real-life herring tail.
"I couldn't find a good one at the store," he said, referring to a smaller version of the 130 or so mermaid statues that dot Norfolk's landscape.
All sight gags aside, Colbert's people didn't look hard enough when they put together the eight-minute segment.
Had they visited the Mermaid Factory in Ghent, they could have painted their own 12- or 18-inch model. Here, it's all mermaids, all the time.
"When we opened, we didn't know what to expect," said Elaine Luria, who co-owns the business with her husband, Robert Blondin. ...
Blondin and Luria hammered out a licensing agreement with the city of Norfolk, which calls for quarterly donations to charities that deal with children and the arts.
They opened the gallery of gals on Oct. 5 on 21st Street. For the Old Dominion University graduates, both with master's degrees in engineering management, the Mermaid Factory is their first business venture.
And, according to both, it's gone swimmingly. They've sold about 3,000 statues. (More)

For 50 years, Norfolk club has impacted members' lives
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 15, 2014)

They just wanted a place to hang out and swim.
In 1964, seven Norfolk men got together and decided to pool their resources to create a local swim hole. They each put up $2,000 and secured a loan for $84,000 to complete the project.
"That was at a time when the average cost of a house was $15,000, so that was a lot of money," said G. Conoly Phillips, 82, one of the club's founders and a former city councilman. "We were each on the hook for $12,000 and we had no idea how it would turn out."
Fifty years later, the Mallory Country Club, located at Mallory Court and Weyanoke Street, is more than a pool - it's a meeting place, a weekend outing, a summer tradition for the families who are members.
The club will celebrate its half-century birthday Saturday with a special evening of music, dinner and "merriment" that is open to the public. The party will commemorate a venue that has left indelible memories in the minds and hearts of those who spent their childhood summers there swimming, coaching and playing. ...
Jack Ankerson, former executive director of the Hampton Roads Sports Commission and public address announcer for the Old Dominion University Monarchs and Norfolk Tides, joined the Mallory in 1975 and served as its president for eight years. (More)

ODU increases tuition, fees for new year
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 13, 2014)

After delaying the decision for months because of a state budget stalemate, Old Dominion University will raise tuition and fees by about 5 percent for in-state undergrads next year.
The bill for those students in the 2014-15 academic year, not including room and board, will be $8,989, an increase of $430.
Out-of-state undergraduate students will pay an additional $940 in tuition and fees, an increase of almost 4 percent. The total: $25,160, up from $24,220.
The tuition hike was approved by ODU's governing Board of Visitors on Thursday, the same day lawmakers in Richmond attempted to pass a state budget before the end of the fiscal year.
The board delayed the decision to set tuition rates in April, hoping for more information on how much state money ODU would receive.
Lawmakers are attempting to cut spending in order to close a $1.6 billion hole in the state budget.
ODU President John Broderick said expected cuts will take some new resources off the table and said the reductions left him "disappointed, annoyed and frustrated."
"The news was a bit sobering," he said. "But we have to regroup."
David Harnage, chief operating officer at ODU, said without a tuition increase, key parts of the university community would be put at risk. He called it a "modest increase."
In-state graduate students' tuition will rise $610, and out-of-state graduate students will pay $994 more next year. (More)

ODU business school gets new name; local business leaders pledge support for entrepreneurial programs
(The Daily Press, June 13, 2014)

On Thursday, Old Dominion University's Board of Visitors unanimously approved changing the name of the business school to the Strome College of Business in recognition of an $11 million donation by Mark and Tammy Strome. That donation is fueling programs to create a "university-wide entrepreneurial ecosystem" across disciplines and majors.
The Strome Family Foundation money is leading to the development of the new Strome Entrepreneurial Center to open in the fall, according to a news release. The Strome College of Business is incorporating entrepreneurship throughout its curriculum and is creating a completely online Master of Business Administration program.
Mark Strome, an ODU civil engineering alum, is chief investment officer for the Strome Group and Strome Investment Management, L.P., based in Santa Monica, Calif.
Through the entrepreneurial center, students from any academic discipline can enroll in entrepreneurship courses. Plans also call for a statewide student entrepreneurial competition and a series of national business speakers.
Other local business leaders are also stepping up to help:
Nancy Grden, general manager of Genomind and founder of Avenir LLC, will help students in their commercializations plans;
Alumnus Drew Ungvarsky, founder of multimedia design studio Grow Interactive, has pledged to support student entrepreneurial clubs; and
Alumna Marsha Hudgins, CEO of Hudgins Contracting Co., is funding a women entrepreneurs speaker series. (More)

ODU business school named for couple
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 13, 2014)

Old Dominion University's business school has been named in honor of a couple who gave $11 million to ODU last year.
The Strome College of Business and the Strome Entrepreneurial Center are in recognition of California couple Mark and Tammy Strome. Mark Strome, a 1978 ODU engineering graduate, is chief investment officer for the Strome Group and Strome Investment Management of Santa Monica, Calif.
Entrepreneurship is being given a higher profile in the curriculum of the business school, whose interim dean for the next year will be Vinod Agarwal, professor of economics and director of ODU's Economic Forecasting Project. The current dean, Gil Yochum, plans to retire July 1. (More)

ODU renames business school
(WVEC-TV, June 12, 2014)

Old Dominion University's Board of Visitors formally approved the change of name of its business school to the Strome College of Business and its new entrepreneurial center to the Strome Entrepreneurial Center, in recognition of an $11 million donation by Mark and Tammy Strome to the university in support of a new, multipronged program to nurture business entrepreneurs.
Mark Strome, a 1978 ODU graduate in civil engineering, is chief investment officer for the Strome Group and Strome Investment Management, L.P., based in Santa Monica, Calif.
The Strome Family Foundation, administered by Mark and Tammy Strome, invested in the creation of a university-wide entrepreneurial ecosystem, covering academics, student entrepreneurs and economic development.
Old Dominion University President John R. Broderick said the Strome Family Foundation gift will "inspire a whole new generation of entrepreneurs and innovators by creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem at the university. These future entrepreneurs will create great economic and social value in Hampton Roads and beyond. "
The name change to the Strome College of Business was approved unanimously by the Board of Visitors at its spring meeting Thursday, June 12. (More)

Filer: From professor to candidate
(Opinion, The Virginian-Pilot, June 13, 2014)

By Larry Filer
Dave Brat, an economics professor from Randolph-Macon College, has scored the upset of the century.
Brat's defeat of House Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia's 7th District is the talk of the nation. His campaign paints this as a victory over the establishment. The national press claims it's a win for the tea party.
It will be interesting to see if Brat, given his background as an economist, can remain a darling of the conservative movement as the campaign unfolds.
If there is one thing I have learned in my 15 years as an economist, it's that political ideology and economics don't mix.
Sometimes good economic policy sounds like it is coming from the Republican platform and other times it seems very Democratic. When I teach my course on macroeconomic policy to the MBA students at Old Dominion University, I start the class by asking them to guess my political persuasion after the class ends. I almost always end up with an even split between guesses that I'm a Republican and assumptions that I'm a Democrat. I don't seem to get many guesses that I am in the tea party.
So, while Brat has been labeled a darling of the tea party, it's less clear that he actually is. His campaign site makes it hard to tell what he believes on specific issues. ...
Larry Filer is an associate professor of economics at Old Dominion University.
(More)

TRAFFIC STUDY: Advanced traffic modeling tool brings detail to big picture in Virginia Beach
(Roads and Bridges, June 12, 2014)

New system takes actual timing patterns from 371 traffic signals, simulates individual drivers
The city of Virginia Beach, Va., has completed work on an advanced traffic-prediction computer model that can analyze the movement of individual vehicles and even predict the effect of traffic signals on congestion.
Known as the Beach model, the new tool was developed by city engineers and the Center for Innovative Transportation Solutions at Old Dominion University. It covers all primary and secondary roads across Virginia Beach; unlike other large-scale traffic models, however, Beach takes data from 371 traffic signals city-wide, to simulate the same timing patterns experienced by real drivers.
In total, Beach takes data from almost 500 locations across Virginia Beach. Historic accident trends are also incorporated into all traffic simulations. It can even take viewers through a 3D model of the city from the perspective of an individual driver.
The tool will face its first major test in the near future with an analysis revolving around the controversial proposed Southeastern Parkway and Greenbelt. The city has been trying to build the 21-mile connector between Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, Va., for several decades but the project has been killed repeatedly due to environmental concerns. For the analysis, Beach will run 45 tests-with each being repeated 100 times or more-to see what traffic in the area will be like in 2034 if the highway is not built. (More)

TEDx conference coming to the Ted in Norfolk
(The Daily Press, June 12, 2014)

After more than three years of planning, a regional daylong TEDx event called "Relevant Progress" is coming to Hampton Roads on June 20, organizers say.
"I hope the folks walk away inspired by what they see in the region, and they can start a conversation about what it would really take to build and strengthen the region," said event curator Michael Savage.
On June 20, TEDxHamptonRoads plans to feature 16 speakers of various disciplines at the Ted Constant Convocation Center at Old Dominion University in Norfolk with the goal of both showcasing regional talent and identifying ways to grow Hampton Roads in relevant, meaningful ways, Savage said. The event is independently organized with a license from TED, which started in 1984 as a West Coast tech, entertainment and design (TED) conference and is now owned by the nonprofit Sapling Foundation. (More)

Woman starts adoption agency to better help children
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 12, 2014)

Fourteen years into her child-welfare career, Linda Michie found herself at a crossroads.
She'd held a variety of jobs - from child-abuse investigator to trainer and supervisor of volunteers who follow children through the court system - and wasn't sure of her next move. She also couldn't shake what she had faced each day: hearing children's descriptions of abuse, seeing them taken from their families, and then watching them linger in foster care.
Michie longed to put families together instead of watching them fall apart. After years of working in a system she described as taxed, she'd come to believe it could work better with collaboration from private organizations.
So Michie decided to start her own adoption agency. ...
Michie didn't realize the effect her childhood had on her career choice until recently. Instead, she equated it to experience she had as a student at Old Dominion University's Social Science Research Center. While working on a program with underprivileged children, she started asking questions about child welfare. She received a master's degree in urban studies from the school in 2002.
After she made the decision to start her own agency, Michie filled out paperwork and formed a business plan at night after her day job. She thinks of Wishing Well as "everything I have to offer all in one place." (More)

Va. Beach finishes model to predict traffic effects
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 11, 2014)

The city has taken a leap forward in its ability to predict the impact of road projects on its traffic network with the completion of a computer model that its developers say is almost unrivaled in the country in scope and precision.
First up for the new tool is another look at the Southeastern Parkway and Greenbelt, a 21-mile highway the city has wanted to build for decades, only to be blocked repeatedly by environmental concerns.
The work is the product of a partnership between the city and Old Dominion University's Center for Innovative Transportation Solutions, which opened in 2012 at Town Center. Mike Robinson, the center's director, told the City Council in a presentation Tuesday that he's aware of only four other U.S. cities with such a comprehensive, detailed model of their roads.
Many large-scale traffic models can't depict the movement of individual cars, replicate the daily ebb and flow of traffic or show how signals contribute to congestion.
The Beach model zooms in much closer with a so-called "microscopic" look at all primary and secondary roads in the city, complete with 371 traffic signals programmed to reflect the same timing patterns that real drivers encounter. Vehicle counts from nearly 500 locations and historic accident trends are incorporated into the model.
One simulation that was played for council members showed tiny yellow vehicles lining up and moving through an intersection at Independence Boulevard. Robinson then showed off a three-dimensional feature with a video in which the perspective swooped down from over The Westin and into a vehicle as it looped through Town Center on tree-lined streets. (More)

Op-ed Manifesto: Norfolk as the Poster Child for Sustainability
(Editorial, Alt Daily, June 10, 2014)

Bypass the problematic question of what are the (man-made or natural) causes of Norfolk's obvious flooding and begin with the undeniable fact that recurring flooding is already impacting our life in the region now.
The question remains, as writer Jesse Scaccia posted, "Forget the Navy, culture, Waterside, light rail, arts districts, whatever: Norfolk will be known as the first American city to gracefully handle our new environmental reality, or as the first city America full-scale punted on, sacrificing it to the sea as greater efforts are made to save places like New York, Baltimore, and Washington DC." My first response is thank you, Jesse, for being willing to start a conversation about the elephant in the room. Then comes the important question, "How do you eat an elephant?" And the answer is: one bite at a time.
Norfolk may gracefully handle our new environmental reality by choosing to become the poster child of a sustainable city. The biggest bites into the problem will be installing floodgates and berms and relocating streets where necessary. To do this massive infrastructure and all available resources will be needed, including using Navy "boots on the ground" right here in civil defense of the largest US naval base in the country. All available mind power will also be tackling the question of what other big and small bites into the problem may be made, including the ODU Climate Change & Sea Level Rise Initiative. According to ODU President John Broderick, this initiative "will bring the university and the region's foremost experts together to find solutions to the challenges facing our region and other regions globally." We will also build a light rail system (raised and elevated if necessary!) and a regional transit system to get more people out of cars and into eco-friendly rapid transit. (More)

Sea Level Rise Challenges Norfolk, Virginia
(Journal of Light Construction, June 10, 2014)

Two-thirds of the globe is covered by ocean. If you live in low-lying Norfolk, Virginia, that fact is easy to believe, because increasingly, parts of your town are beginning to be awash in salt water as well.
The Washington Post has this report (see: "In Norfolk, evidence of climate change is in the streets at high tide," by Lori Montgomery). "On May 6, the Obama administration released the third National Climate Assessment, and President Obama proclaimed climate change no longer a theory; its effects, he said, are already here," writes the Post. "This came as no surprise in Norfolk, where normal tides have risen 1 1/2 feet over the past century and the sea is rising faster than anywhere else on the East Coast."
"Options for dealing with the water are limited, and expensive," the Post writes. Flood walls and levees are one possibility-one that city planning official Ron Williams, Jr., wishes had already been given more thought. Norfolk's recently completed, $318 million, light rail system, for example, could have been elevated on a berm to serve as a dike, he notes; instead, the system itself is likely to flood in a major hurricane storm surge.
From historic churches to U.S. Navy facilities, major investments face an uncertain future as sea levels along this stretch of coastline rise. In addition to being in the Atlantic "hot spot" where sea level rise will likely be greater than the global average, the Norfolk area is also experiencing land subsidence. That means that if other parts of the nation see a 3-foot sea level rise by 2100-considered a mid-range guesstimate-Norfolk could see five or six feet, according to a Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) report last year.
Local leaders have a hard time coming to terms with numbers like that. Writes the Post: "Larry Atkinson, an oceanographer who is co-director of the Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative at Old Dominion University, said when the mayor was asked about the report, he waved away the question. "He says, 'I can't think about five feet. What do you want me to do, move the whole city?'" (More)

How Coal Industry Jobs Coexist With Rising Sea Levels In Virginia
(KBPS/National Public Radio, June 10, 2014)

Skip Stiles stands on the edge of a small inlet known as the Hague, near downtown Norfolk, Virginia. The Chrysler Museum of Art is nearby, as are dozens of stately homes, all threatened by the water.
"We've got...[a] lot of old buildings around here: this apartment building, that church over there, been around since the turn of the last century," says Stiles, the executive director of Wetlands Watch, a Virginia-based environmental group. "You can sort of mark where the storms have come over the years and you can see the progress of these storms as they come farther and farther up onto these buildings."
Climate change may be an abstract concept to many people but in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, it's very real: Sea levels are rising, and the area is increasingly subject to flooding. At the same time, Virginia is a coal-producing state, and the nation's largest coal shipping port is in the region. ...
Such problems are repeated throughout the region, says Larry Atkinson, co-director of the Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative at Old Dominion University.
"When there's a higher high tide and there's a heavy rain storm, there's just no place for water to go, so there's been a lot of storm water management, a lot of roads being raised," Atkinson says. "Downtown Norfolk, there's a big sea wall with tide gates to protect the downtown financial district."
Not all of Hampton Roads' flooding problems can be blamed on climate change: Atkinson says the region is also slowly sinking, making the low-lying areas that much more vulnerable to flooding. (More)

Secy. Jones: 'We have to grow the private sector'
(Inside Business, June 8, 2014)

For years there's been talk about diversifying the local economy, which is heavily dependent on federal spending.
But it's not just the federal government, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones said at a recent appearance. It's also local government, he said, and he noted that 15 of the top 20 employers in Hampton Roads are either public agencies or private firms that primarily serve the public sector.
"That should make all of us in this room very, very nervous," Jones said. "The public sector is not growing. It's stagnating or downsizing."
Jones spoke at a Monday event hosted by the E.V. Williams Center of Real Estate and Economic Development at Old Dominion University in a discussion that touched on the sluggish public sector, luring companies to the state and the possible need for six-year high schools.
Jones also said the state is expected to make the biggest economic development announcement in 20 years in the coming weeks. It's in the manufacturing industry and isn't in Hampton Roads, he said, but he was mum on further details.
In five months as secretary, Jones said he's become familiar with the reasons Virginia is consistently named among the top states for business by national media outlets. But he's also become aware of weaknesses in the state's economy.
This month the U.S. economy is expected to recoup the amount of jobs it lost in the recession, but Virginia is about 122,000 jobs below its pre-recession mark. The reason, he said, is that the growth is happening in parts of the country that are less dependent on the public sector. (More)