NEWS STORIES


After work on Cavalier deal, Virginia Beach official asked developers about work for son

VIRGINIA BEACH – After estimating a public incentives package for a developer’s winning bid to purchase the Cavalier Hotel, a high-ranking city employee sent a congratulatory email with a question for the firm’s chief investment officer.

“Would you mind if I give my son, Colin Frankenfield, your contact information?” Barry Frankenfield, the city’s strategic growth area director, wrote to GoldKey | PHR Hotels & Resorts’ Chief Investment Officer Robert Howard on July 24, 2013. “He is an associate at Alliance Partners in Chevy Chase, Maryland. I know you may not be interested in their services but he has an interest in the Old Cavalier and the Virginia Beach (sic) and he would like to tell you what his firm does. Either way no pressure. Thanks.”

Howard replied 18 minutes later: “Yes, please provide, thanks.”

“Ok thanks,” Frankenfield answered.

Click for more.


Swan song:
After 35 years, conductor begins final season

     David Kunkel leaned forward and pressed his left index finger on his lips.

     “Shhhhhhhhh,” he told the Symphonicity’s wind section. It faded out.

     In his right hand, Kunkel hoisted a baton. Without hesitation, the double basses surged and flooded the Sandler Center with low tones that reverberated in the empty 1,200-seat theater.

     Something was wrong.

     The conductor dropped both hands. More than 30 musicians froze in place.

     Silence.

     The conductor set down the baton and pulled out a handkerchief to wipe sweat from his brow before speaking.

     Violinists began annotating their sheet music as he addressed them. They had to get it right – right now.

     It was Thursday night, which meant there were three days and one rehearsal left before the 97-member orchestra would kick off Kunkel’s 35th and final season in charge of Symphonicity. It will be his swan song, he had said earlier, and he knew how to perfect it. He knew this from experience; he has conducted the orchestra through more than 300 performances and more than 3,000 hours of rehearsal, according to Symphonicity Executive Director Wendy Thomas.

     Kunkel made final tempo adjustments and decided his musicians did not need a break.

     “Alright, we’re going to go on,” said the only conductor the symphony has ever had.

Click for more.


Virginia Beach has half a million followers on this social media site (and it’s not Facebook or Twitter)

Every day half a million people sign into their social media accounts and see posts like this touting something in Virginia Beach:

“WOULD YOU LIKE TO WINE AND DINE WHILE GOLFING? DO YOU HAVE LITTLE GOLF EXPERIENCE AND ARE TOO SHY TO PLAY IN FRONT OF PEOPLE THAT YOU DON’T KNOW?

The audience isn’t in Hampton Roads.

“ARE TRADITIONAL GOLF SCORING TERMS TOO DIFFICULT FOR YOU TO UNDERSTAND? NEWLY-OPENED TOPGOLF WILL COMPLETELY FULFILL YOUR “DREAM GOLF” EXPERIENCE.

Or Richmond. Or Northern Virginia.

“FOOD AND DRINKS WILL BE DELIVERED RIGHT TO YOUR TABLE, SCORES WILL BE SENT DIRECTLY TO YOUR BAY SCREEN, AND YOU CAN EVEN ENJOY ALL KINDS OF GAMES ON BIG SCREENS!

Not even Ohio.

“INVITE YOUR FRIENDS NOW FOR A “GOLF PARTY.” ADDRESS: 5444 GREENWHICH ROAD (VIRGINIA BEACH, VA).

Those views, the city hopes, are coming from the other side of the world, in a land of 1.4 billion people, millions of whom have money to burn on American trips.

The posts began almost two years ago. Each highlights a Virginia Beach businesses, amenity or attraction on the Chinese microblogging website Weibo.

Click for more.


State rebuffs request to help finance Oceanfront Hyatt that is already under construction

VIRGINIA BEACH — Construction of a Hyatt hotel at the Oceanfront has been underway for months, even as the developer of the $80 million project awaited government approval for future tax rebates to close a $23 million funding gap.

Now, as the half-built hotel nears 10 stories and workers continue to build, the state has said it will not approve the project for the incentive program, according to Mayor Will Sessoms and acting City Manager Doug Smith.

Click for more.


tourism officials say mayor threatened their jobs

      Radcliff-Fort Knox Tourism & Convention Commission members say the mayor has threatened to replace them if they do not cooperate with his goals. It’s a charge he denies.
      The accusations come after Mayor Mike Weaver asked the commission to contribute $25,000 toward the salary of a not-yet-hired city events coordinator — a position the city council is unlikely to approve without external funding.
     “He made it very clear (to the commission at recent meetings) that he can put people on and he can take people off,” said Kelly Barron, commission executive director, later adding, “I’ve been here for 19 years and never experienced anything like this.”
     She added Weaver’s comments were directly related to his publicly stated desire to obtain money from the commission for an events coordinator.

Click for more.


Yates reflects on long career in politics

         Don Yates has been on more than half of Radcliff’s city councils in its 58-year history. And while he’s left the chambers, his name hasn’t.
         Yates, 69, left the council this week after a long career of serving the city, which didn’t exist when he was born.
         Since winning his first election in 1979, Yates has butted heads with city officials, crafted citizens’ smiles, served with four mayors and voted on more ordinances than he can count, he says.
        “It’s been a long haul,” Yates said after his final council meeting on Dec. 17, 2014. “A really long haul, but it’s been one that I’ve always enjoyed.”

Click for more.


Dogs, more than drugs, offer therapy on post

       Sometimes man’s best friend also is man’s best medicine.
       At least when licking “invisible wounds,” according to Maureen O’Brien, an occupational therapist at Ireland Army Community Hospital at Fort Knox.
      During the past three years, she’s treated more than 60 soldiers — both active and retired — with an 8-10 week dog-therapy course she says works quicker and lasts longer than any drug regimen.
     “At the beginning of the course, soldiers come in and they keep to themselves or won’t make eye contact,” O’Brien said. “But by the end, they are coming in early and smiling right at you.”
    That is the case for Sean O’Shea, who medically retired after his fourth tour of duty ended in 2010.
     Now, he is among the 20 percent of Iraq veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, according to a numbers kept by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Click for more.

By Jill Pickett, The News-Enterprise  Sean O'Shea, a medically retired Army veteran, works on the behavior, stand, with therapy dog Keegan, during a canine assisted therapy session Thursday on Fort Knox. The program is a joint effort by Ireland Army Community Hospital and the Fort Knox office of the American Red Cross. The program serves active duty military and retirees working through Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or a traumatic brain injury.

By Jill Pickett, The News-Enterprise
Sean O'Shea, a medically retired Army veteran, works on the behavior, stand, with therapy dog Keegan, during a canine assisted therapy session Thursday on Fort Knox. The program is a joint effort by Ireland Army Community Hospital and the Fort Knox office of the American Red Cross. The program serves active duty military and retirees working through Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or a traumatic brain injury.


Smoking issues plague Kentucky, India

         Melody Jones got hooked on smoking at 16, in the mid-1970s. The 52-year-old school secretary in the U.S. state of Kentucky quit three times — each time she was pregnant — but always relapsed.
         Eight-thousand miles away in Kolkata, India, Prateek Singh began smoking at 11 years old, after stealing one of his sister’s cigarettes. Now 12, he’s been smoking without his family’s knowledge for the past year.
         Singh’s attitude about smoking is the same as Jones’ was when she was young: While he knows it causes cancer, he doesn’t believe it will affect him for many years to come.
        But in the United States, evidence of smoking’s deadly consequences has piled up for decades, and its prevalence in pop culture has slowly vaporized. In India, meanwhile, smoking remains a growing problem, particularly among the young — stoked by continuing advertising and sales pushes targeting youth.

Click for more.


On Guard: A look at the man who overlooks
“front door to the university” of Kentucky

Kentucky Kernel photo: Ed Dailey points a truck toward its destination at gate no. 1 in Lexington Ky., on Friday December 06, 2013. Photo by Judah Taylor | Staff

         Traffic gathers around 7:30 a.m., and now his watch begins.
         Ed Dailey, 60, is the parking control attendant who guards UK’s main entrance on South Limestone Street. On his watch not anybody — not President Eli Capilouto or a commuting groundhog — can pass through his gate without consent.
       “He’s the front door to the university,” said Amy Hisel, the president’s liaison to the Board of Trustees, when Dailey stopped her this past Friday before letting her park. “We don’t know what we’d do without him.”

Click for more.