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ODU Regional Studies Institute Releases 12th Annual State of the Region Report

Old Dominion University's 12th annual State of the Region report, released on Tuesday, Oct. 4, examines a wide array of Hampton Roads issues, ranging from the state of the economy to transportation needs.

Published by ODU's Regional Studies Institute, the report also assesses the regional markets for large-complex apartment housing, takes an in-depth look at the plight of African American men in Hampton Roads and surveys the array of K-12 private education offerings on the Peninsula.

In addition, the 150-page publication revisits the region's four major television stations to review the frequency of violent crime reporting on their evening newscasts. Finally, the report examines the economic impact the dredging of the Cape Charles Harbor will have if that site is used to produce concrete for new bridges and tunnels and wind turbines, and goes behind the scenes and studios at WHRO to consider its evolution and future as it celebrates its 50th anniversary.

James V. Koch, Board of Visitors Professor of Economics and President Emeritus, serves as editor of the State of the Region report, which received financial support from Old Dominion and a number of local organizations and individuals. Koch notes that the report does not constitute an official viewpoint of the university.

"The State of the Region reports maintain the goal of stimulating thought and discussion that ultimately will make Hampton Roads an even better place to live," he said. "We are proud of our region's many successes, but realize it is possible to improve our performance. In order to do so, we must have accurate information about 'where we are' and a sound understanding of the policy options available to us."

The 2011 report is divided into eight parts. Among its findings are:

Putt, Putting Along: Our Regional Economy: We're doing better than the nation, but seem to be stuck in neutral. The port, regional tourism and residential housing have yet to regain the ground they lost during the recession and the outlook for defense spending is uncertain.

Apartment Housing in Hampton Roads: Vacancy rates have fallen as home ownership rates have declined. Monthly rents are among the highest in the southeast region of the country. These conditions may lead to an upsurge in apartment construction.

A Simple Guide to Transportation Needs and Planning in Hampton Roads: What transportation needs do we have, how are they prioritized, and is there any hope that the region and the commonwealth will have sufficient revenue available to address them?

The Economic Plight of African American Men in Hampton Roads: The worldwide recession significantly worsened the economic condition of African American men. There are multiple reasons why this was so and credible solutions often are controversial.

WHRO Marks Its 50th Anniversary: Virginia's first educational, noncommercial television station has become a multimedia leader. Like most major media, however, WHRO lives in a rapidly evolving environment that could challenge its existence.

The Concrete Connection: Economic Growth for Virginia's Eastern Shore? The economic impact of dredging the Cape Charles Harbor exceeds $3.2 billion if it results in that site being used to produce concrete for new bridges, tunnels and wind turbines.

K-12 Independent Education on Virginia's Peninsula: Thirty-five private (independent) K-12 schools exist on the Peninsula. Because commonwealth regulation of their activities is minimal, there is great variation in their goals, operations and transparency.

If It Bleeds, Does It Still Lead? Local Television Evening News in Hampton Roads: The evening news broadcasts of the four major stations in the region continue to feature frequent reporting of violent crimes, especially by members of minority groups. WAVY featured the most crime coverage and WVEC the least.

The 2011 State of the Region report, as well as the reports from 2000 through 2010, can be found on the Web at www.jamesvkoch.com and www.odu.edu/forecasting. Single paper copies may be purchased for $25 atwww.jamesvkoch.com.

This article was posted on: October 6, 2011

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