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Washington State Magazine

Fred Kamaka (left) with his brother Sam Kamaka Jr. Photo Tommy Shih
Spring 2017

Sweet strumming

Leaning back against a wall mounted with a variety of ukuleles, Fred Kamaka begins the story of his family’s 100-year-old ukulele business for a tour group at the factory in Honolulu.

“To be cool in the ’20s, you needed to have a coonskin cap and a uke in hand,” he says, “So my father started making ukuleles.”

A spry 91-year-old, Fred sprinkles the history with dry jokes, and periodically pulls down one of the ukuleles to musically punctuate a point.

His father, professional musician Samuel Kamaka Sr., traveled to New York and Europe and learned the luthier’s art before he returned to Hawai‘i and began … » More …

Spring 2017

Waste not

Someone forgot about the fruit salad. When the refrigerator door opens, the sickly sweet aroma delivers a potent reminder. All the rotting apples, pears, and bananas in the bowl will need to be thrown out, and hopefully composted. It may seem insignificant, but that fruit salad represents a piece of the 40 percent of food wasted in the United States, about 20 pounds per person each month.

In recent years, food waste in this country and many other places around the world has grown not only in volume, but also in the collective consciousness. The numbers are staggering. Americans throw away an estimated $165 billion … » More …

First Words
Winter 2016

Renewal

When the leaves disappear from the hardwoods and the last fruits of fall shrivel away in the cold, I’m tempted to call the winter a despondent time. Yet, when it seems like all color has drained away under the snow, a second, more hopeful thought occurs that winter quietly renews the plants. Irish poet and novelist Edna O’Brien summed it up nicely: “In a way Winter is the real Spring—the time when the inner things happen, the resurgence of nature.”

So, too, do our communities face their winters, times when they struggle in the face of economic uncertainty. Like the towns around Grays Harbor, dependent … » More …

Talk Back
Winter 2016

Talkback for Winter 2016

 

Spirit of ’25

The reference in William Stimson’s article (Fall 2016) on the 1925 rally for the Cougar football team to students as forerunners of “The Greatest Generation” struck a chord. As a history department T.A., I researched the 1938 student strike for Dr. George Frykman. Issues may seem trivial to postmodern eyes (Dean Fertig’s proscription of blankets on picnics is one example), but students’ experience in campus mobilization was not. What started as pique over parietal rules became an experience in leadership. Indeed, some student organizers became war heroes within the decade. I remember that Lt. Col. Jerry Sage responded to my … » More …

Winter 2016

Ice control of a different color

As snowstorms gather in the Cascades, highway safety crews traditionally turn to salt and chemical deicers to clear the roads. The corrosive arsenal keeps traffic moving but is damaging to both vehicles and the environment. Now, thanks to the culinary genius of a Washington State University engineer, deicers are getting a green makeover with a distinctive local flavor.

Apple, grape, and cherry skins—waste products from Washington’s fruit and wine industries—are being reborn as sustainable ice melt in an effort to reduce the amount of salt used for snow and ice control.

The transformation is taking place in a basement laboratory where associate professor of civil … » 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

When Jermiha marched home

Military homecoming is usually a time of immense joy and relief, but for many veterans the weeks that follow are daunting. Each month in Washington state alone, 1,000 service members transition from active duty to civilian life—moving from a structured, often traumatic environment into the looser routines of home. Along the way come unexpected challenges, especially when returning to college or entering the job market.

Jermiha White ’16 served eight and a half years as an Army cavalry scout on the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan. As a combat veteran, White began experiencing anxiety when he enrolled as a student at Washington State University … » More …