Jaclyn Phillips ’10 spent her first two days in Nicaragua twenty feet in the air, atop a scaffolding she helped build.
In a remote village as part of a volunteer team, Phillips was helping build a 115-foot suspension footbridge across the El LimónRiver, which floods during the rainy season from June through November. “The village is very remote,” says Phillips. “The villagers have to cross two rivers to get to school, health care, and jobs. Farmers need to cross them to sell their crops.”
Whether high in the air stringing crossbeams or sleeping in a tent in a schoolyard, Phillips relished her two weeks there, … » More …
A slight breeze comes from the north, but it’s not enough to stir the sun-faded windsock above the tarmac near Mann Lake in Lewiston, Idaho. The sudden and unexpected gusts of wind, however, do. It’s a brisk 48 degrees, but of more concern is the smeared cloud taking up the southwestern horizon, out of place among its more defined, cumulus neighbors mottling the blue canvas above.
“We have about ten minutes,” says Chris Chaney, who earned a doctorate in mechanical engineering from WSU this year. “We’re going to have to time this right. This is probably one of the most dangerous flights we’ve done.”
For decades the fifty acres at the bend of the Spokane River just east of downtown was a forgotten freight yard, a pocket of blight. Originally an industrial complex dotted with warehouses and laced with train tracks, the city made it a dumping ground for incinerator waste.
By the 1980s, Spokane was also in the weeds. The mining and timber industries that had built the city and sustained it for more than a century were collapsing. Commodity agriculture, the third leg of the city’s economic stool, wasn’t much better.
“This was having a terrible impact on our economy,” says Dave Clack, former chairman of Old … » More …
In the early 1910s the town of Pullman saw its first automobiles, the city’s women were being instructed on how to exercise their new state-approved right to vote, and the Northern Pacific Railway had a busy depot along the South Fork of the Palouse River.
It was time to improve the precarious dirt roads from downtown to the Washington State campus.
A century later, a group of architecture students tackled a project to get those early paved roads formally recognized as a vital and worthy piece of history, not just for the community, but for the state’s University as well.
It looked like a picture-perfect launch. The researchers had boarded buses from the launch site and were riding back to their hotel when they learned the news: The rocket carrying their satellite had failed to reach orbit. Instead, the … » More …
One of the green, rolling hills in the Palouse isn’t quite like the others.
Aside from a PVC pipe sticking out of its ridge, it looks—and smells—no different than any other mound. But instead of having a loamy center riddled with earthworms, it’s made of garbage. Tens of thousands of tons of it, though no one really knows how much.
The trash was collected throughout Whitman County over about 30 years until 1993, when the county sealed the landfill, built a transfer station next to it, and began shipping garbage elsewhere. Since then, four to six 18-wheelers leave the transfer station just north of Pullman … » More …
Mike Leach walks into the new Cougar Football Complex towering between the west end zone of Martin Stadium and Rogers Practice Field for a final tour in May before the program moves in. Looking up, the head coach says, “Where did you get the four-story football player?”
The tour’s leader, WSU Athletic Director Bill Moos ’73, laughs. A huge image of a Cougar football player stretches from the bottom of the open staircase to the top level of the new building. The figure will be even more visible when it’s lit up at night, he says.
It’s a grand entrance for the newest athletic building, … » More …
On a Saturday afternoon last March, Matt Carroll got a curious Facebook message from the stepdaughter of his best friend, Tom Durnell. There had been a landslide near Tom’s home. His wife, Debbie, was at work. They couldn’t get in touch with Tom.
“At first it didn’t sound that ominous,” says Carroll, a professor in Washington State University’s School of the Environment, “like maybe the cell tower went out or something.”
Still, Carroll raised his wife from an afternoon nap and told her something was going on at Tom and Debbie’s.
Flu season was just a few months away, and in the summer of 2009, outbreaks of the H1N1 virus known as “swine flu” were popping up around the world. It was a novel virus, so rare that humans had yet to start developing immunity to it. A similar scenario was in place for the Spanish flu of 1918, an H1N1 outbreak more deadly than the Black Death bubonic plague.
By late August, as the first wave of students returned to Washington State University’s Pullman campus, the World Health Organization had seen the virus in scores of countries, … » More …
Maybe you’re wondering how to build a wooden hoop silo; perhaps you’re curious about canning meat or making wine at home; how about pruning a pear tree?
There’s a state college bulletin that says just how to do it.
Since 1892, our land-grant school has been advising Washingtonians on topics ranging from canning jams to breeding cattle. Thousands of paper bulletins have carried the expertise of faculty and extension agents to the far corners of our state. They tackled everything imaginable: talking to your teen, creating a budget for your farm, or figuring annual losses from ground squirrels. The earliest editions delivered essential information to … » More …