Interim Washington State University President Dan Bernardo talked about the university’s ‘next steps’ in his State of the University address Tuesday. Idaho Public Radio’s Glenn Mosley reports. (:59 )
It’s an important stage in the university’s history– that’s what interim Washington State University President Dan Bernardo told an audience in Pullman Tuesday:
Dan Bernardo: “When we look at this year, 2015, there’s no doubt that this will be looked upon as one of the most transformational years in WSU’s long and storied history.”
Bernardo cited the university’s successful capital campaign and increased enrollment as among the many accomplishments in the year, and he cited the death of President Elson Floyd as a tragedy the university had to overcome.
Bernardo says he’s visited with hundreds of interested parties in the last four months to talk about WSU. He says the university’s message is being well-received
Bernardo says moving forward the university will be guided by its strategic plan and its emphasis on a trans-formative student experience and leading in research.
Lewis Clark State College President Tony Fernandez says the college’s graduation rate is “not very encouraging,” but the college is looking at it. Idaho Public Radio’s Glenn Mosley reports. (1:15 )
In the spring of 2015 LCSC set an all-time record with 753 graduates and 844 degrees awarded. This fall, the number of new students entering the college straight from high school is up 4.1%.
However, there is one number LC President Tony Fernandez described to the State Board of Education last week as “not very encouraging.” The college pursues a graduation benchmark of 35%, but the current rate is 27%.
A student entering a four year degree program and finishing within six years is counted as a graduate.
Part of the challenge, Fernandez told the Board, is the number of part-time students at LCSC:
Tony Fernandez: “Our part-time students– that is, students taking less than full-time credits– has increased nearly twenty percent, where our full-time students have gone down about six percent. If that occurs, then the length to graduation is going to increase.”
Nearly 40% of the students at LC are part-time, and many of the students at the college are working. LC officials say what shouldn’t be overlooked is that the college’s completion rate is higher than its graduation rate.
The Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) has shared some numbers from the 2015 fire season.
IDL and two timber protective associations say they’ve put out close to 300 fires that burned have 75,000 acres.
The price tag for the fires is almost $80 million – about $60 million of which Idaho taxpayers will pay.
IDL says nearly half the fires fought were human caused.
The total number of fires on state lands was 89% of the 20-year average, while the number of acres burned was large – 594% of the 20-year average.
14 IDL fires required the use of 27 incident management teams.
The largest, most expensive fires were the Clearwater Complex fires that destroyed 48 homes and 70 other buildings near Kamiah in August. Those fires cost more than $25 million to suppress and burned more than 68,000 acres.
(Smoke over the Clearwater River, courtesy inciweb)
A total of 63 residences and 79 other structures were lost this year in fires fought by the State of Idaho.
Approximately 740,000 acres burned across the state, nearly 80 percent owned and managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.
Approximately 28,000 acres of endowment lands managed by IDL burned. Of that, 7,000 acres of endowment timber land burned. 15 planned fire salvage sales will produce 88 million board feet of timber and 5,500 acres of regenerated forests into the future.
American society is at a crossroads in terms of facing a wide array of environmental challenges, says a new report from the National Science Foundation. Idaho Public Radio’s Glenn Mosley reports. (1:05 )
Whether it’s West Coast fisheries affected by El Niño, nutrients in watersheds in the Midwest, or a myriad of other challenges facing the country, the report, from the National Science Foundation’s Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education, says we’re all looking increasingly to science for answers.
The report says we’re in a time when human society and technology are increasing the pace and rate of environmental change in ways for which no precedent exists. There are significant potential consequences, the report says. Human systems are becoming dominant forces in ecosystems and the environment.
The report also says the long held notion that environmental protection and economic prosperity are are at odds is outdated– it says environment and development go hand-in-hand with making a nation strong and prosperous.
October 15th was the day of the Great Idaho Shakeout– the earthquake preparedness drill. Idaho Public Radio’s Glenn Mosley reports. (:58 )
It’s isn’t that the organizers of the Great Idaho Shakeout believe that adults will necessarily take the time to practice jumping under tables. But:
Bill Phillips: “You know, you really need to prepare for disasters to be fully effective in working your way through them.”
Bill Phillips is with the Idaho Geological Survey at the University of Idaho. He takes the Great Idaho Shakeout as an opportunity to educate others because earthquakes can happen anywhere, at anytime. The Geological Survey says all parts of Idaho have potential earthquake hazards.
What should you do in an earthquake? Tips include: Stay indoors if you’re there. If you’re outdoors, get into the open. What shouldn’t you do? Don’t run outside, don’t get out of bed, don’t ride an elevator, and don’t light a match.
The largest historical earthquake in Idaho was a magnitude 6.9 quake at Borah Peak on October 28, 1983.
It’s been a difficult fire season in north Idaho this year, and now in some areas the smoke and fire are lingering well into October. Idaho Public Radio’s Glenn Mosley reports. (: 55 )
Those who track such information give a very direct response when asked about the 2015 fire season:
Penny Morgan: “it’s been a big year, in terms of the amount of area that’s burned.”
Penny Morgan of the University of Idaho is one of the many observers taking note of the severity of 2015 fire season, a difficult one for many. Across the country, more than 11 million acres have burned, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
Here in north Idaho alone, fire managers say firefighters have successfully extinguished nearly 300 wildfires so far this year, but they say about a dozen remain because of this year’s extreme conditions, the numbers of simultaneous fires, and firefighter shortages across the west.
Fire managers say that the smoke and fire lingering into October in parts of north Idaho are a testament to the extreme nature of this year’s season.
Public television has been around in Idaho for fifty years, since KUID-TV was put on the air by the University of Idaho in 1965. PBS President Paula Kerger was on hand for the birthday party in Moscow on October 9th to talk about Idaho Public Television’s past, present, and future. Here is Idaho Public Radio’s Alyssa Charlston with more. (1:30 )
Paula Kerger believes part of what has made Idaho Public Television’s programming so successful is that it tells the stories of the community:
Paula Kerger: “Stories that are authentic, that entertain, but also inspire and educate. Stories that really capture who we are as a community and as a country. Stories that help open people’s minds and hearts and that’s what’s always been a part of what public broadcasting has represented.”
PBS prides itself on serving the interest and advancement of the American people, Kerger says, which is why PBS is constantly working on ways to reach children through TV programming and new applications on tablets and computers. These programs focus on math literacy and behavioral management.
Concern about too much screen-time and a lack of human interaction for toddlers is not something to ignore, but Kerger said like most things a balance is required. The content PBS now provides through technology with apps and TV programs can be rich with education and are much more accessible and convenient than ever.
Paula Kerger: “What technology enables is in all these new distribution platforms is the opportunity for these people to connect with that content on their own terms.”
The cause of service continues to be PBS’ mission, and Kerger believes new platforms to reach audiences will only create more promise for the future of PBS and Idaho Public Television.