OSU - Page 3

Fungus Spreading Through Valley Wheat

wheat1CORVALLIS, Ore. — A warning is going out to wheat farmers around Western Oregon, about a potential threat to their crops.

Researchers at Oregon State University say they have discovered a rare fungal disease is spreading through wheat fields throughout the Willamette Valley.

Scientist, Chris Mundt, says the disease is called “Sharp Eyespot,” and is infecting about half of the wheat crops in the area.

“I would estimate about a 10% yield loss in the Willamette Valley,” said Mundt.

To help prevent the situation from getting any worse, the OSU scientists issued an alert to farmers.

The disease has appeared in the Willamette Valley before, according to Mundt, but only in small amounts.

He thinks the dry conditions during spring most likely helped the fungus to spread.

OSU Discovers Possible ALS Breakthrough

Copper ATSMCorvallis, Ore. — Researchers at Oregon State University are helping create what could become a breakthrough for people suffering from Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Along with scientists in Australia and the United Kingdom, OSU researchers say they have discovered that a copper compound already used for other purposes, may also form the basis for a therapy for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

ALS is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that is caused by motor neurons in the spinal cord deteriorating and dying. Scientists say by restoring a proper balance of copper into the brain and spinal cord, it can stabilize mutations in the spinal cord. The therapy researchers are working on, delivers copper selectively into the cells in the spinal cord that need it.

“It’s really exciting to be able to offer hope,” said Joseph Beckman, an OSU researcher. “Typically there are 5,000 people diagnosed a year, but it’s a devastating disease and that’s why you hear about it so much. And almost everyone I know, knows someone who has a friend or a father who has died from the disease.”

Researchers have been testing the therapy on mice, and have already observed an increase in the lifespan of the affected mice by 26%.

The study, which discussed the compound, copper ATSM, was recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Thousands Graduate From OSU

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EUGENE, Ore. — Thousands of people filled the stands at Reser Stadium Saturday to watch Oregon State University’s largest graduating class ever receive their diplomas.

Decked out in caps and gowns, 5900 students graduated from Oregon State University with a number of different degrees.

All of these beavers came to OSU from a variety of backgrounds. Oregonians from nearly every county in the state, students from 49 out of 50 states and even international students walked across the stage Sunday.

On this graduation day, many are excited for what’s next in their lives. “None of my parents graduated from high school so that’s even more honoring so you know ya I feel great. I feel really like I got something done. Now it’s getting a job you know,” said Baltazar Villagomez. “I’m excited to start in the next chapter of my life and just kind of move on and broaden my horizons and see where my degree takes me,” said Tyler Vezzani.

Other graduates say they’re going to miss being students at Oregon State University. “It’s bittersweet. I’ve honestly had the best time of my life here studying abroad, making friends. Just seeing my family be proud and supportive of me throughout these years, it’s just been awesome,” said Nikko Sanchez.

No matter where these alumni go after college, whether getting jobs in other states or even countries, they all had a message for some Duck fans flying overhead trying to rain on their parade. The crowd chanted “Go Beavs!” repeatedly as a plane circled overhead with a “Go Ducks!” banner.

Woman Arrested for Car Theft

6-4 Merideth KachelCorvallis, Ore. – Corvallis Police arrested a woman they say stole a car from the Oregon State University campus area early Wednesday morning.

The owner of the 1999 Jaguar had reportedly left his car unlocked and in his driveway on SW 15th Street in Corvallis.

Police say 35-year-old Merideth Kachel of Albany stole the car just after midnight Wednesday.

“The man saw the crime being committed,” said Capt. Dave Henslee with the Corvallis Police Department. “He saw his car driving by and called 911,” said Capt. Henslee.

Police say when officers spotted the car, Kachel got out of the Jaguar and ran to Central Park, where she was stopped. That’s when they say she admitted to stealing the car and told police she was just trying to get home.

Police say this is a good reminder to always keep your car doors locked.

Partnership to Help Create Startups

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EUGENE, Ore. — Governor John Kitzhaber stopped in Eugene Wednesday to sign a declaration of cooperation that could help boost our local economy. The Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network is expected to create tech start-ups here in the Willamette Valley and keep these companies in the local area. Something business leaders say is a win-win for everyone involved.

While raindrops fell outside of the Eugene Chamber of Commerce, local and state leaders were inside celebrating a different kind of rain. “I think the rain that we’re here to celebrate today is the kind of rain that we need a lot more of here in the state of Oregon. By bringing entrepreneurs and their ideas together with the resources necessary to turn those ideas into companies this community endeavor is going to make a lasting contribution,” said Gov. John Kitzhaber.

This collaboration between the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, the cities of Eugene and Corvallis, as well as the Chamber of Commerce will give entrepreneurs the resources they need to be successful.  “When they come into the accelerator and after they’re through the accelerator they have to go somewhere. We want those companies to stay in our community. So the innovation network is working with our community to build all of the resources that they need to get companies to stay here in the Southern Willamette Valley,” said Joe Maruschak, chief startup officer Eugene RAIN.

This network is expected to bring money back into the local economy. “Provided an important vehicle for planning, sharing of best practices and resources and communicating our shared commitment to a vibrant regional economy,” said Corvallis Mayor Julie Manning.

Something these research universities are excited to be a part of.  “Produce lots of innovation, lots of creative ideas, bring lots of research to our area. Lots of extramural research dollars to our area and this project is going to help animate those dollars to create jobs, companies, ideas, evermore for the state,” said University of Oregon President Michael Gottfredson.

Not only will RAIN plant a seed for the economy in the Willamette Valley to grow, but it will also help students take the next step in their future careers. “When I head the word sprouts I was thinking of our students, so there’s a lot going on here besides building companies,” said Ron Adams, OSU Vice President of Research.

The accelerator will open at the Eugene Chamber of Commerce in about a month. Once open, entrepreneurs will take a three month class where they’ll connect with all the resources needed to build a successful company.

OSU Pitcher Arrested

BEN WETZLER MUG SHOT 1CORVALLIS, Ore. — The star pitcher of the Beavers baseball team, Ben Wetzler, was arrested early Saturday morning.

He’s since been released. Corvallis police arrested the 22-year-old Oregon State University Senior on charges of criminal mischief in the second degree and criminal trespassing in the first degree.

He’s scheduled to appear in court on June 9 at 1 p.m.

Source: Robinson Fired by Oregon State

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CORVALLIS, Ore. — Sports Illustrated reported Monday morning that Oregon State fired head coach Craig Robinson Sunday night.

Robinson has more than three years remaining on his contract and the university is expected to owe him more than $4 million.

Robinson’s six year tenure ends with a 93-104 record and no NCAA tournament appearances.

KEZI 9 News is working to confirm the reports.

OSU ROTC Ceremony

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CORVALLIS, Ore. – Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets at Oregon State University had their annual joint review ceremony on Friday, and U-S Representative Peter DeFazio spoke at the event to honor them.

“It’s a 95-year tradition,” said Cadet William Anderson, the Cadet Battalion Commander for the Army Unit. “Cadets have been on this campus for 142 years. And 95 years ago, they started this tradition as a way of displaying what cadets were on campus and their strength.”

Representative Peter DeFazio, (D) – Oregon, says the event serves as an important time to honor and to celebrate the next generation of officers in the military.

“The joint review was considered 100 years ago a way of determining essentially the readiness of the troops,” DeFazio said. “Obviously it’s a totally different world now. There are whole new skill sets – extraordinary skill sets – that are required of our military. So it has deep meaning and historic roots. And it’s a way of honoring tradition. The military has a lot of great traditions. And for me to speak was a way to honor the cadets.”

Cadets say the annual event allows them to showcase who they are.

“This is my fourth year,” Anderson said. “And every year I just look forward to it as a way of showing off to the campus and showing who we are and what we come to do. I’m graduating this year, and I’m in charge of the entire event. I’m the commander of troops and so it’s a big event for me. This is probably my biggest event of all of college.”

DeFazio expressed his appreciation for the cadets in his speech.

“I want to thank all the cadets for having volunteered to serve in the military,” he said. “And I want to thank their family and friends for supporting that decision.”

In his speech, DeFazio mentioned how he did not vote to support the war in Iraq. However, he continues to voice his support for those who serve the country.

“It’s the public policy makers who are responsible for these mistakes, and those are the ones who should be held accountable,” DeFazio said. “The military should always be honored for its sacrifice.”

He says the ceremony is a way to respect the men and women who volunteer to be part of the military.

“When I was commissioned into the military it was a very different time,” he said. “The country was bitterly divided over Vietnam. Now we have an all-volunteer military; I appreciate that fact. We want to encourage and pay due respect to men and women who volunteer to put their lives on the line for the future of our country.”

Part of Friday’s ceremony included a joint review ceremony, when the formation passed in front of a stage in front this year’s reviewing officer, Oregon’s Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Daniel Hokanson.

“Thank you again for your service,” DeFazio said at the end of his speech. “Congratulations.”

OSU Pays $101K in Settlement

The Liberty newspaperCORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is paying $101,000 in settlement costs after an independent student newspaper accused the University for violating First Amendment rights.

The Liberty, a newspaper that is no longer in circulation, says OSU threw away its distribution bins in 2009.

“This was a classic case of censorship,” said David Hacker, Senior Legal Counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, who is representing the newspaper in the case. “The problem is that Oregon State University didn’t do this to any of the other newspapers on campus.”

Hacker says the newspaper was concerned about its ability to express itself on campus, and that OSU was taking away its freedom of speech.

“The matter really isn’t about freedom of speech,” said Steve Clark, Vice President of University Relations and Marketing at OSU. “Really our policies are about public safety. Not about freedom of speech.”

Clark says Facilities Maintenance staff moved the newspapers without authorization from the University.

“The maintenance staff believed that they were located in places that they should not be, so they acted to remove them,” he said.

The University says it now has policies about working with students to place publications around campus.

“That’s not how you treat things,” Clark said. “We admit that that was done incorrectly. But it again, really had nothing to do about content. Universities are all about freedom of speech. But even in a public space you have to regulate, for safety reasons and right of ways, where things like newspaper distribution boxes should be placed.”

But Hacker argues that The Liberty was working with OSU, and the University never contacted the newspaper when staff threw the papers out.

The OSU Students Alliance Group, a student organization that published the paper, filed a lawsuit against the University in 2009. Hacker says though the lower court dismissed the case, the group appealed it in the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. He says the court ruled in favor of the newspaper, and though OSU tried to take the case the US Supreme Court, the high court denied it, leaving the 9th Circuit Court ruling intact.

“It was a tremendous decision that upheld the students’ rights to speak freely on campus,” Hacker said. “It’s a great victory for student speech not only for The Liberty, but really for all students at Oregon State University and students across the country.”

On Wednesday the case was formally dismissed after the two sides came to a settlement agreement in January. OSU has agreed to pay $101,000: $1,000 to William Rogers, the former executive director of the newspaper; and $100,000 for attorney fees.

OSU to charge up to $550 annually to park in prime lots

Oregon State University has unveiled a draft parking and transportation plan that will double the cost of parking permits for some faculty, staff and students.

Steve Clark, OSU’s vice president for marketing and university relations briefed the Gazette-Times editorial board on the proposal Tuesday.

Parking permits currently cost the same — $267 annually for faculty and staff and $195 for students — no matter where you park.

The new plan would charge far more, perhaps $550 annually, for permits in the congested northern part of campus and far less, perhaps as low as $50 or $100, for spots at Reser Stadium and other underutilized lots.

The university has set up a series of outreach meetings, both on and off campus (see information box) and also will make a presentation at the March 17 Corvallis City Council meeting.

A university task force is scheduled to make a recommendation March 20. which will be followed by further community outreach and a final decision April 14.

All changes would be rolled out in September, with a goal of coordinating implementation with the city, which is working on its own parking plan.

OSU has approximately 7,000 parking spaces, but only 75 percent of them are used each day. Lots in the campus core are full 90 to 100 percent of the time, while there are hundreds of empty spaces daily at the Reser lot.

“We want to do our best to encourage people to park on campus,” Clark said. “We’re hoping for more certainty and choices and to make it easier to get around campus and reduce the impact on the neighborhoods.”

Clark stressed the importance of the city and university working in tandem on the city’s parking challenges.

“If the city does not complete its work on expanding residential parking districts (OSU’s efforts) will have a limited effect,” he said.

OSU’s plan also includes increased use of the OSU shuttle and other transit improvements as well as encouraging faculty, staff and students to bike, walk and car pool.

“We know that parking on campus is frustrating for our students and staff, and as parking spills out into surrounding neighborhoods it affects both commuter traffic and neighborhood livability,” Clark said.

“OSU is working closely with the city of Corvallis as well as our neighbors to find solutions.”

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