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Vice President's position advertised in newspaper editorials

On Sunday, the Fresno Bee ran an editorial that read like extended position vacancy announcement for vice president of the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The editorial was reprinted today in the Merced Sun-Star. The editorial notes the importance of this postion: "This is a vital appointment and the UC search committee cannot settle for second best."

The writer talked to Richard Rominger, chair of the search committee, to find out how he would characterize the ideal candidate.

Summarizing Rominger's comments, the editorial said the person would play an important role in setting the UC vision for farm research, and fight for funding in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., to assure Californians get their fair share of money designated for education and research.

The Bee also sought comment from Fred Ruiz, a UC regent and chairman and chief executive of Ruiz Food Products Inc. in Dinuba. According to the editorial, Ruiz said the university needs someone who is recognized and respected in industry and agriculture as a person who gets the job done right.

The editorial also conveyed the Bee's preferences for the new vice president. It said: "We hope UC will think creatively in its search for this candidate and look for someone whose authoritative voice will make sure ag is properly represented in the university's priorities."

Posted on Tuesday, August 21, 2007 at 9:11 AM

What to drink?

In Fresno County, thousands of children returned to school today, including my own. In their brown bag lunches, they each carried a bottle of water. I'm taking the advice of UC Berkeley nutrition professor Patricia Crawford, who recently published a Q&A about sports drinks (pdf), one of the few caloric beverages that will still be for sale to kids during school hours. Crawford says children should almost always choose water to quench their thirst. HealthNewsDigest.com published a story we put out about the Q&A, but this isn't the only advice about sports drinks you'll find online.

An article this month in SportingNews.com said the Washington Huskies football team are being offered chocolate milk following workouts (along with Gatorade and water.)

According to the article, the decision to offer chocolate milk came after a study last fall from scientists at Indiana University that was published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism and was supported in part by the Dairy and Nutrition Council.

"The small study found no significant difference between using a fluid-replacement drink or chocolate milk for athletes following exercise, with dairy folks touting the nutritional benefits of drinking milk -- chocolate or otherwise," the article says.

An op-ed piece by Susan Bowerman, a registered dietitian and assistant director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, published today in the LA Times supports the milk idea saying it is "another tried-and-true recovery drink for many athletes." She continues: "it's protein- and carb-rich, with fluid, potassium and cocoa antioxidants to boot."

Bowerman also cited a small placebo-controlled study published in May in the journal Nutrition that demonstrated that an extract produced from unripe apples helped to counteract fatigue in athletes after a series of bouts on an exercise bike.

"Apples, like all fruits, are a good source of carbohydrates. But the researchers concluded that procyanidin, an antioxidant in apples, was responsible," the article says.

A boy with a sports drink.
A boy with a sports drink.

Posted on Monday, August 20, 2007 at 11:15 AM

AP turns to UC for ag labor comment

Julianna Barbassa of the Associated Press in San Francisco went to UC ANR specialist Howard Rosenberg for comment on a story about an growing need for ag employers to be sure their employees are in the U.S. legally. The story was published yesterday on Ontario's dailybulletin.com and other media outlets.

"Growers are painting a bleak picture of their industry under new federal regulations that pressure employers to fire illegal immigrants," Barbassa wrote in the story.

Rosenberg, farm labor management and policy specialist at the UC Berkeley Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, manages a Web page that tracks farm employee news, policies and laws.

He told AP that the Bush administration's pronouncement doesn't change the law, it just adds a promise of enforcement that alters the odds of the gamble farmers take whenever they hire a new worker.

It's long been illegal to hire and retain anyone not authorized to work in the United States. Farmers take their chances that documents presented by the 1.6 million farmworkers hired around the country are valid or won't be closely examined, Barbassa paraphrased Rosenberg.

"The risks (of hiring illegal immigrants) have been getting higher, and if the pronouncements that accompanied this rule bear out, then they become higher yet," Rosenberg is quoted in the article.

Howard Rosenberg
Howard Rosenberg

Posted on Friday, August 17, 2007 at 9:32 AM

Master Gardeners are keeping UCCE in the news

A number of Master Gardener programs in California provide content to local newspapers on current, local gardening issues. This time of year, with summer winding down and the fall planting season looming ahead, the Master Garderners' advice is particularly helpful.

Today's Visalia Times-Delta includes a column from UCCE Master Gardener coordinator Michele LeStrange about creating a fire-safe zone around one's countryside or foothill home.

"The home-defense zone is within 30 feet of the house. The property-reduced fuel zone lies 30 to 100 feet from the house. Larger zones are needed when your home is on a steep slope or in a windswept exposure," according to the story.

Master Gardener Kathy Stoner wrote a column for today's St. Helena Star about water conservation.

"In California, we use more water on our landscapes than we do for showers, laundry and all other uses combined. A homeowner who wants to use water more responsibly can employ myriad techniques and strategies and still have a pleasant and colorful garden," she wrote, before giving a series of water conservation suggestions.

Writer Julie Eich plugs the Master Gardeners in her story on insects for mymotherlode.com.

"We gardeners are by nature control freaks, determined to impose our will on our gardens," Eich writes. "We're always messing around; rarely content to leave nature alone, we scurry here and there, staking, weeding, spraying, watering, fertilizing."

She tells readers, "If you need help identifying the problem or the treatment, call the Master Gardener office at 209-533-9696 or visit University of California's Pest Notes: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edumegarden.html."

Joan Swenson writes in a column for the Bakersfield Californian about new Master Gardener classes to be offered in Kern County.

"The instructor is John Karlik, who will cover the science and culture of landscape and garden plants. The classes were formerly offered through Bakersfield College, but now are taught as an educational outreach for the extension service," the story says.

UCCE Master Gardeners
UCCE Master Gardeners

Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2007 at 10:35 AM

Light brown apple moth in the cross hairs

Government agencies are continuing their efforts to eradicate the light brown apple moth in California, according to media reports.

A story in today's Salinas Californian says three airplanes will spray moth pheromones for up to three nights over northern, coastal Monterey County in an effort to stop male light brown apple moths from finding mates

The Vallejo Times Herald reported yesterday that USDA has announced that it will provide $15 million to help fund the fight to rid the state of the pest.

In the meantime, the Central Valley Business News used a press release in it's Aug. 14 edition by Stephanie Klunk of the UC IPM program with "all you ever wanted to know about light brown apple moth." The story refers readers to a new brochure produced by the IPM program, "Light Brown Apple Moth in California: Quarantine, Management, and Potential Impacts," which is available free online.

Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2007 at 9:53 AM

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