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Brian Charles Clark

Dan Maher
Spring 2017

Dan Maher ’78

Everywhere you go on the Palouse, there’s Dan Maher ’78. He’s playing at the Co-op in Moscow, the farmers’ markets in Pullman and Moscow, on Terrell Mall on the WSU campus—if there’s acoustic live music, Dan Maher, his guitar, and his guide dog can’t be far.

But, says Maher, the music scene is nothing like what it once was. “When I was a student here in the early ’70s there was a guitar every 30 feet. Everybody played guitar! We used to go to the basement of the K-House and jam every night.”

 

Even if you’ve never seen Maher play live, you may have … » More …

From the top
Spring 2017

From the top

It’s sunrise somewhere on the Appalachian Trail. Ruth Boden is sitting on top of a mountain, playing her cello as she gazes out at a sea of trees. A hiker approaches. “So that’s what I’ve been hearing for the past six miles!” he calls out to her, grinning from ear to ear.

Boden is the cello professor at Washington State University and the founder of Music Outside Four Walls. She is challenging the received wisdom that classical music is played in tuxedos in concert halls with whisper-quiet audiences who’ve paid big bucks for a seat. So she backpacks, with cello, and gives impromptu … » More …

Spring 2017

Leeks

All Ray de Vries asks is that we enjoy leeks three times a day. The Skagit Valley farmer known as the Leek King is not being selfish, though. He’ll also tell you how to grow leeks so you can eat them all year round—and that everyone in the Pacific Northwest should grow them. “We’ve got the perfect climate,” he says.

The de Vries family got into leeks after Ray’s dad, Ralph, retired from dairy farming and planted a large produce garden. Ralph went to Seattle’s Produce Row and asked sellers what they needed. “We need leeks! As big as you can grow ’em!”

So that’s … » More …

Winter 2016

Main Street, USA

Standing on the beach at Smokiam Park, I dip my hand in the lake. The water is soft, slippery, almost squishy feeling. It’s full of sodium carbonate—washing soda. It’s a tiny lake, and on its southern beach is Soap Lake, a town experiencing a little renaissance.

 
Locals credit Washington State University’s Rural Communities Design Initiative for assisting their town of 1,500 in the eastern Washington scablands with improvement efforts. Soap Lake declined from fame and modest prosperity to a near ghost town but has recently rediscovered its pulse.

“Smokiam” is a Tsincayuse word that means “healing waters,” so maybe the sense of … » More …

Winter 2016

Saving citrus from a sour end

An invader is sweeping like fire through the citrus groves of Florida. The Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus bacterium causes citrus greening, a disease that block trees’ nutrient and water channels and prevents fruit from ripening.

“It’s like choking the tree from the inside out,” says David Gang, a Washington State University molecular biologist and biochemist who is collaborating with a large, multi-institution, interdisciplinary team to combat the disease. If left unaddressed, the entire U.S. citrus industry could be wiped out and, as Florida Senator Bill Nelson said a few years ago, “We’ll end up paying $5 for an orange—and it’ll have to be one imported from … » More …

Winter 2016

Wood Takes Wing

The most complex chemistry lab on the planet is growing in your neighborhood. There might be a tree in your own backyard, cranking out chemicals as it converts sunlight to food, wards off pests, and circulates water and nutrients through it roots, branches, and leaves.

So diverse is the chemical compendium produced by trees that we get aspirin (willow bark is a natural source of salicylic acid and has been used to treat pain since ancient times), the ink Leonardo used in his notebooks (from leaf galls produced by wasp larvae), and natural antibacterials (the fiber in cedar chips is used to make hospital gowns).

» More …

Winter 2016

Breaking through

Paul Henning ’98 didn’t set out to be a professional musician. “I swore up and down I wasn’t going to be a music major or study music—but then, look what I did!” he says.

He moved to Los Angeles where he made a lot of phone calls looking for work as a session player, orchestrator, or proofreader of musical scores—and ended up working with John Williams on the music for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Over the course of 60 years, John Williams has scored over 100 films and taken home five Oscars. All his scores, Henning says, start with Williams at the piano … » More …

Winter 2016

Prevention of cruelty to animals

A teenaged Marvin Mackie ’63 DVM was working all summer on the family farm at the end of the rail line in Buhl, Idaho, wondering what to do with his life.

“One day I saw a cloud of dust coming down the gravel road. It was the veterinarian and he was going to go save an animal. And the light came on.” Off Mackie went, first to the University of Idaho for his undergraduate degree, and then next door to Washington State University for his doctorate of veterinary medicine.

Mackie ended up in southern California, where he loved the weather and found lots of work. … » More …

Retreat from a Rising Sea: Hard Choices in an Age of Climate Change cover
Winter 2016

Retreat from a Rising Sea

Retreat from a Rising Sea: Hard Choices in an Age of Climate Change cover

Hard Choices in an Age of Climate Change

Orrin H. Pilkey ’57, Linda Pilkey-Jarvis, and Keith C. Pilkey

Columbia University Press: 2016

 

Our planet’s rapidly changing climate will make the bursting of the real estate bubble look like a picnic on a sunny spring day. Upside-down equity and underwater mortgages don’t begin to describe the scope of what rising sea levels … » More …

We Gotta Get out of this place
Fall 2016

We Gotta Get Out of this Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War

We Gotta Get out of this place

Doug Bradley ’74 and Craig Werner

University of Massachusetts Press: 2015

Music is embodied, a word that means it grabs you by the guts until you do something: dance, weep, make love … something. Music is visceral in another way, too: We connect the dots of our personal histories based on the tunes we were listening to at the time.

For a veteran, that might be more than she … » More …