Monthly Archives: December 2014

Science and Technology: An App for Idaho Wildflowers

A recently released app is another example of how science and new technologies are being used together to create educational experiences for users.

If Idaho wildflowers are your thing, then you might be interested in the new app from High Country Apps. With a few swipes of your finger, detailed information– photos, descriptions, characteristics– on more than 800 Idaho wildflower species becomes available.

The Stillinger Herbarium at the University of Idaho, the herbarium at the University of Washington’s Burke Museum, and the Ray J. Davis Herbarium at Idaho State University have all partnered with the company High Country Apps to produce the ‘Idaho Wildflowers’ app for iOS, Android and Kindle.

Once downloaded, the app works without an internet connection.


(Screen shot courtesy High Country Apps)

“‘Idaho Wildflowers’ provides access to information on the breadth of Idaho’s flowers all in one place for the first time,” Dave Tank, a U-Idaho associate professor of biology and director of the Stillinger Herbarium, said in a press release.

“Idaho has a unique flora,” Tank said. “We have influences from the Pacific Northwest in north Idaho, with a maritime climate and deep, dark forests. In the mountains of central Idaho and the southeast we have all the influences from the Rocky Mountains. In the inter-mountain region we have influences from the Great Basin.

“For amateur and professional botanists, it’s always been a struggle. The ‘Idaho Wildflowers’ app provides access to information covering the whole state,” Tank said in the release.

The information in the app was compiled by the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria, which brings together 32 herbaria from around the region. The app uses multi-media platforms, including photos, range maps, and text (such as plant descriptions).

High Country Apps specializes in “creating mobile apps for outdoor enthusiasts,” according to its web site. The company had previously marketed apps for ‘Oregon Wildflowers” and “Washington Wildflowers.” “Montana Grasses” is a recent creation, as well.

The ‘Oregon Wildflowers’ app, which came out earlier this year, has information on almost 1,000 wildflowers and plants found in Oregon and nearby parts of Washington, California, and Idaho.

Copyright 2014 Idaho Public Radio

Posted December 26, 2014


University Presidents Look to 2015

In year end messages, the presidents of both universities on the Palouse, the University of Idaho and Washington State University, spoke of institutional accomplishments and looked toward the future.

University of Idaho Chuck Staben, in his “The Friday Letter” column on December 19th, spoke of the university’s 125h anniversary, which was celebrated in 2014, and said, “We can build off that positive energy. We will grow our university’s impact: Our students will go on to become leaders, our research will continue to change our world, and our outreach will help our state’s communities improve. We will build on our proven success.”


(Dr. Chuck Staben became 18th president of the University of Idaho in 2014. Photo courtesy UI.)

Staben said there is pride in the university’s achievements over its 125 year history, and optimism about the future.

Eight miles away from Moscow in Pullman, WSU President Elson Floyd called 2014 a “year of initiative and growth” for the university.


(Elson Floyd has been president of Washington State University since 2007. Photo courtesy WSU.)

In his “Perspectives” column on December 18th, Floyd said  “significant progress” was made on several fronts and that WSU “launched one of the largest initiatives in our university’s history.”

Floyd pointed to the university’s record enrollment, its outreach and extension programs, and its growing branch campuses as examples of the university’s important role in Washington.

The large new initiative is the proposal for a separately accredited public medical school at WSU Spokane. Floyd said, “The need for more primary care physicians throughout the majority of Washington is critical and well documented. As the state’s land-grant research university, we align our resources to make a positive difference where it is most needed, and this initiative clearly falls within that mandate.”

Washington State University celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2015.

Copyright 2014 Idaho Public Radio

Posted December 24, 2014


Idaho is Top 10 State in Population Growth: Census Bureau

Idaho is 9th on the list of the 10 fastest growing states between July 1, 2013 and July 1, 2014, according to U.S. Census Bureau state population estimates released today.

Idaho’s population grew 1.34%, the Census Bureau says. An estimated 1,634,464 people live in Idaho.

Oregon grew 1.1%, and Washington 1.3%. Washington is 7th on the list of the 10 states with the largest numeric increase; it gained 87,788 people.

Florida passed New York to become the nation’s third most populous state. Florida’s population grew by 293,000 over this period, reaching 19.9 million. Florida added an average of 803 new residents each day between July 1, 2013 and July 1, 2014. The population of New York increased by 51,000 to 19.7 million.

Florida Passes New York in State Population

(Graphic courtesy U.S. Census Bureau)

The Census Bureau says California remained the nation’s most populous state in 2014, with 38.8 million residents, followed by Texas, at 27.0 million. Georgia saw its population surpass 10 million for the first time.

North Dakota was the nation’s fastest-growing state over the last year. Its population increased 2.2 percent, followed by the 1.7 percent growth in Nevada and Texas. Each of the 10 fastest-growing states, including Idaho, was in the South or West with the exception of North Dakota.

Six states lost population between July 1, 2013, and July 1, 2014: Illinois, West Virginia, Connecticut, New Mexico, Alaska, and Vermont.

The population of the United States as a whole increased by 2.4 million to 318.9 million.

Copyright 2014 Idaho Public Radio

Posted December 23, 2014


@VandalsHoops Falls to Northern Kentucky, 81- 68

The Idaho men’s basketball team closed out the non- conference portion of its schedule with an 81-68 loss to Northern Kentucky University Monday in Highland Heights, Kentucky.

Mike Scott led the Vandals with 25 points, while Connor Hill added 14 and Sekou Wiggs 12, but it wasn’t enough to hold off NKU, which also defeated Idaho earlier this season, 79- 74 in Moscow.

“We just didn’t make our shots tonight and allowed them too many extra possessions on the other end,” Idaho coach Don Verlin said in a press release. “I really think it was all about offense tonight. We had a number of good looks and didn’t make them. We didn’t finish the ball around the basket strong enough or tough enough.”


(Action during Monday’s game at the Bank of Kentucky Center. Photo courtesy NKU Athletics)

Bira Seck had nine rebounds for Idaho as the Vandals controlled the boards, 43-38.

Anthony Monaco had a career-best 17 point scoring night and Taylor Persons (pictured) had 23 to lead NKU scoring. Tyler White added 12 and the bench contributed 43 of NKU’s 81 points, including 10 from Jalen Billups.

“Offensively, we did a great job moving the basketball and staying balanced inside and outside, we had a number of guys step up and make big plays,” NKU coach Dave Bezoid said in a press release.

Idaho shot 34.8% on 23 of 66 shooting and connected on only 20.8 % (five of 24) from 3-point range. The Norse shot 43.8% from the field and 35.3% (12 of 34) from beyond the arc.

“They made 12  three point shots – that’s way too many,” Verlin said. “Give them credit. They played very well.”

With the loss, Idaho falls to 5-6 on the season. The Vandals open Big Sky Conference play on January 1st against Idaho State. The Bengals are 3-8 overall on the season heading into a game Tuesday, Dec. 23rd, at Utah Valley.

The New Year’s Day game is at the Cowan Spectrum and starts at 7:00 p.m. PT.

Copyright 2014 Idaho Public Radio

Posted December 22, 2014


@VandalsWBB Defeats @LCWarriors in Moscow, 74- 48

On the day Stacey Barr was presented with a ball to commemorate the fact she’s become the program’s all-time leader in three point field goals, the Idaho Vandals came out firing from long range on Saturday, hitting eight three-point field goals in the first half.

That pretty much told the tale of the game Saturday between the University of Idaho and Lewis- Clark State College women’s basketball teams. The Vandals defeated the Warriors 74- 48 before 632 fans at the Cowan Spectrum in Moscow.

IMG_4095 (2)

(Stacey Barr and Idaho coach Jon Newlee. Photo courtesy Idaho Vandals Twitter feed)

The LC Warriors missed their first nine shots before getting a layup with 14:24 left in the opening half. Idaho led 15-2. By the time LCSC made another basket, Idaho was up by 21. Six different Idaho players hit three point field goals in the first 20 minutes.

Idaho coach Jon Newlee attributed the fast Idaho start to a good week of practice. “I really thought we would come out focused and ready to play tonight,” he said after the game. “We wanted to get out and attack right from the start. We wanted to assert ourselves defensively as well.”

11 different Vandals scored in the game, including 42 points coming off the bench, and the Vandals had 10 three-pointers in the game. Geraldine McCorkell led all scorers with 18 points.

“Geri has all the potential in the world,” Idaho’s Christina Salvatore said after the game. “Sometimes she sells herself short. Lately she has been playing great. She’s great inside, she is a great shooter, a great rebounder and a great passer. She does all those things really well. She is awesome to play with.”

Karlee Wilson had 11 points for Idaho. The LC Warriors were led by Caelyn Orlandi’s 12 points and Tanis Fuller’s 11 points.

Idaho’s total of 58 rebounds was the team’s second best total of the season, led by Brook Reilly’s 14.

Idaho is now 6-5 overall on the season and is off until the team opens Big Sky play on New Year’s Day on the road against Idaho State.

Copyright 2014 Idaho Public Radio

Posted December 21, 2014


Idaho Agriculture Hurt by Port Slowdowns, Idaho Ag Department Says

As the contract stalemate between west coast dockworkers and their employers continues, the impacts are being felt far inland, in Idaho, according to Idaho agriculture and industry officials.

Business and export industry officials say the longshore union has slowed down operations at ports, creating the backlog, but the union says it is not at fault.

“Exports are an essential part of Idaho’s economy,” Celia Gould, the director of the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, said in a press release Friday. “This disruption is a serious problem.”

Contracts talks between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) have been ongoing since May; the contract expired July 1st.

The ILWU has about 42,000 members in 60 local unions in Alaska, Washington, California, Oregon, and Hawaii. The PMA says its principal business is to “negotiate and administer maritime labor agreements” with the ILWU, including the contract covering about 13,600 workers at 29 ports along the West Coast.

The Idaho Department of Agriculture said Friday the problems at West Coast ports include congestion, slowdowns and terminal closures. The Ag Department says these issues are contributing to product delays, lack of available equipment, increased costs and lost sales.

The ILWU, in a statement issued November 10th, said it “is not responsible for the ongoing congestion crisis at West Coast ports,” and said the causes of congestion include:

Chassis shortage and dislocation;
Rail service delays, including a shortage of rail cars nationwide;
The exodus of truck drivers who cannot make a living wage;
Long truck turn times;
Record retail import volumes (increases of 5.3 percent over 2013);
Larger vessels discharging massive amounts of cargo;
Container terminals pushed to storage capacities; and
The peak shipping season (i.e., the August through October pre-holiday surge).

The PMA said on December 17th that the two sides “remain far apart on several issues, and the union slowdowns continue to disrupt the movement of cargo through the ports.”

Seven members of Congress, including Mike Simpson of Idaho and Cathy McMorris-Rodgers of Washington, sent a letter on November 12th to both the ILWU and the PMA, urging a swift resolution to the contract talks.

In the statement issued Friday, the Idaho Department of Agriculture said the dispute is hurting the state’s agriculture industry directly because “any product that is exported from the West Coast, especially containerized cargo, is impacted. This includes beef, fresh potatoes, apples and pears, cheese and dairy products, hay, and processed foods including French fries.“

David Doeringsfeld, General Manager of the Port of Lewiston, said Idaho’s agricultural and timber exporters have been impacted. “At this point, pea and lentil shippers are finding it extremely difficult to get containers out of Pacific Northwest ports.”

“We have seen a significant negative impact to our business with a reduction of almost 70% of our export volume costing us millions of dollars,” Brad McDowell of the Agri Beef Company said.

Frank Muir, the President and CEO of the Idaho Potato Commission, said, “The slowdowns at the ports are wreaking havoc on previously signed contracts and price negotiations with new and current clients. Container loads have been ordered and paid for, but are not reaching their destinations on time.

“Shippers aren’t quoting new shipments because the cost of transportation is increasing on a daily basis and there is no assurance they can get a truck within a week or then find container space on a ship within a calculable time frame. The port issues could cause us to lose customers, in particular in Asia, to competition from Europe or Australia,” Muir said.

Copyright 2014 Idaho Public Radio

Posted December 21, 2014


Vandal Victory Puts Verlin on Top of All-Time Win Column

With his team’s 86-39 win over Walla Walla University Thursday night, Idaho coach Don Verlin became the all-time leader in wins by an Idaho men’s basketball coach. It was his 102nd win as Vandal head coach.

“It means a lot,” Verlin said after the game. “When you think back seven years ago when I can here, I never dreamed we’d get to this point.”


(Idaho coach Don Verlin at the post-game press conference Thursday. Screen grab from Vandal Athletics video)

In achieving the milestone, Verlin passed Dave MacMillan (101- 36), who coached from 1920- 1927 and Charles Finley (101- 92), who ran the program from 1947- 1954. Don Monson was 100- 41 as coach from 1978- 1983, and took Idaho to the NCAA Tournament twice and the NIT once.

In Verlin’s years, critics have pointed to the program’s struggles to win at the WAC Tournament and its struggles to defeat rivals such as Washington State and Boise State, but Verlin inherited a program in bad shape in 2008– Idaho had won only 12 games the previous three seasons.

Three times Verlin’s teams have played in the College Insider post-season tournament (2009, 2011, and 2012), and this past season Idaho played in the WAC Championship game and this season did, in fact, defeat Washington State.

“It’s an interesting dynamic here,” Verlin said. “When these kids come here, from where ever, they’re my family, too. They spend a lot of time at my house.

“I have to thank all the players that came here. We’ve had a lot of good players come here since I’ve been here and their families for letting them come to Idaho.

“I also have a great family. My wife has put up with the goods and the bads for a long period of time. She’s a rock.

“Then Rob Spear. Rob Spear hired me seven years ago. I don’t think either one of us thought or imagined that this would happen. He’s been real supportive all the way through.”

This season, Idaho is now 5-5 overall with a couple of close losses on the road.

In the win over Walla Walla, Idaho had five players in double figures. led by Connor Hill with 19. Sekou Wiggs had 13, Chad Sherwood and Arkadiy Mkrtychyan had 12 each, and Victor Sanders had 10.

Idaho plays Northern Kentucky on the road on Monday, December 22nd. Then, it’s on to Big Sky Conference play.

“Hopefully we can finish this season off the right way by bringing home a Big Sky championship,” Verlin said.

Copyright 2014 Idaho Public Radio

Posted December 19, 2014