Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Uncategorized

Winter 2003

Pacific Northwest sagebrush steppe

Though it is the most widespread of plant ecosystems in eastern Washington, covering 24,000 square miles, the sagebrush-steppe is probably the least understood, and therefore the least appreciated, especially among gardeners. By nature, gardeners like to make things grow, and by the looks of things, not much grows in that desert-like region, except sagebrush. But the sagebrush-steppe region is home to some of most adaptive and intriguing plants on earth, and gardeners can learn much here to apply to eco-friendly rock gardens and xeriscapes.

The region is most strongly defined by its dryness. Lying entirely east of the Cascade Mountains, it receives only eight to12 … » More …

Winter 2003

Matt Potter puts positive spin on Cougar soccer

Matt Potter is a disciple of the school of positive thinking. His life’s philosophy and his approach to coaching are interwoven. Teaching and soccer are his passion. “In combining the two, we can learn a lot about life,” says the Mere, England, native. “Really, it’s about becoming the best we can be individually and as a team.”

That is what he seeks for himself and for the women who comprise the Washington State University soccer team. He was promoted from assistant to head coach in June, succeeding Dan Tobias, who moved on to the University of Arizona. Two days before WSU was to make its … » More …

Winter 2003

Blackouts: How often do we want them?

Living in a subdivision where the power lines are strung on poles in our back alleys, we have had more than our usual share of power outages this summer. This has been blamed on the rapid expansion of the neighborhood squirrel population because of the loud pop of the short-circuit that preceded every incident. On August 14, my wife wondered aloud how big the squirrel must have been to have popped everything from Detroit to New York City.

The blame game for the massive outage is just starting. We’ll hear about the operators who didn’t open circuit breakers in time, the engineers who didn’t design … » More …

Winter 2003

Low prices bog down cranberry growers

In the not-so-old days, circa the mid-1990s, a small farmer along Washington’s southern coastline could rake enough cranberries—and money—from just 10 acres of bogs to send the kids to college and maybe have enough cash left to spend Christmas in Hawaii.

Since the late 1990s, however, some cranberry farmers have been bogged down in another shade of red: debt.

“Now,” says Kim Patten, Washington State University Extension’s cranberry specialist based on the Long Beach Peninsula, “both husband and wife better be working outside jobs and having the kids go to college on their own—and never have a day off.”

An expanding supply of cranberries outran … » More …

Winter 2003

New Deal at the library

The Works Progress Administration (WPA), established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 as part of his New Deal reforms, was designed to put Americans back to work at a time when the country was suffering massive unemployment from the Great Depression. Now the results of one WPA program can be found on Washington State University’s Web site.

Historians working for the WPA in the 1930s and 1940s clipped and archived more than 300,000 newspaper articles dealing with issues and events in the Pacific Northwest from the 1890s to 1940. But it was the inspiration of Ingrid Mifflin, system librarian with the WSU Libraries, … » More …

Winter 2003

Tim Pavish new head of WSU Alumni Relations

Tim Pavish has been named executive director of Washington State University Alumni Relations and the Alumni Association. The 1980 graduate of WSU’s Edward R. Murrow School of Communication was selected from 50 applicants in a national search. He began his new job September 8, succeeding Keith Lincoln, who is retiring.

“Tim has been a tremendous friend of our university over the years. We have greatly appreciated his loyalty, his hard work, and his wise counsel. He is an ideal choice to continue the job of building the association and meeting the needs of our alumni,” says WSU president V. Lane Rawlins.

Before accepting the WSU … » More …

Winter 2003

A magnet for entertainment: Beasley celebrates 30th anniversary

As Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum marks its 30th anniversary this year, there’s been much to appreciate about the multi-purpose building. It has a great sound system and sightlines. The entertainment is big time and varied—Broadway shows (Jesus Christ Superstar, 1988) to Cougar basketball games and crafts and job fairs. One wonders how the University managed before the $8 million facility opened for commencement in 1973.

Capacity is 12,000, or 4,700 in a mini-arena configuration, and 2,500 in the theatre at the coliseum’s west end. Basketball made its debut in Beasley in 1973, and George Raveling’s 1982-83 Cougars (23-7) went undefeated in the coliseum.

Comedians, including … » More …

Winter 2003

All for one, one for all

In the president’s conference room I have placed a Smithsonian Institution poster showing a group of about a dozen meerkats. For many years I have been fascinated by these small mammals, about the size of prairie dogs, that survive in the harsh conditions of the Kalahari Desert. I first learned of them in an article in the Smithsonian magazine in the early 1980s. Since that time there have been a number of studies, magazine articles, and at least three television specials on these small members of the mongoose family. They have been the subjects of extensive study, not just because they are small, cute, and … » More …

Winter 2003

What is this drug, and what does it do?

On a typical day, a dozen pharmacists, physicians, and other health care practitioners will call the Drug Information Center (DIC) in Spokane for some help.

“The questions run from easy ones we can answer right away to ones where three days from now we still don’t have an answer,” says Danial E. Baker, DIC director and a pharmacy professor at WSU Spokane.

The center, which was started in 1973 and is primarily funded by grants and contracts, also serves as a teaching laboratory for up to four pharmacy students at a time. Students in their final year of pharmacy school spend six weeks … » More …

Winter 2003

A new method for measuring heart risk

Almost 500,000 people in the U.S. die each year from coronary artery disease, the most common type of heart disease. Half of those people didn’t even know they were at risk or had any symptoms of the condition, according to the American Heart Association.

This could change, however, with the adoption of more accurate ways to identify who has the disease, instead of relying on less consistent risk factors like cholesterol levels.

During the past 10 years, more than 1,000 Washington State residents have participated in the Spokane Heart Study, which might do just that—change the way coronary artery disease is identified. Every two years, … » More …