Friday, December 9, 2011

No regulation required (Part 2)

Lindsey Treffry | The Argonaut

Despite one of the highest motorcycle fatality rates in the nation, Idaho does not have a law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets.
Throughout the U.S. there are 20 states, including Washington D.C., that require motorcycle helmet use for all riders. Idaho is one of 30 states that does not.
Shirley Ringo, the District 6 representative for the Idaho House of Representatives and member of the Transportation and Defense committee, said it is due to the “extreme conservatism” apparent in the state.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in Washington, a state that requires motorcycle helmet use, a per capita rate of 1.1 motorcycle fatalities per 100,000 people in 2009. In comparison, Idaho reported a per capita rate of 2.4 — higher than the national average of 1.5.
“The legislatures in Washington tend to be much more progressive,” Ringo said. “Idaho is quite unique in the extreme conservatism in the people who serve in the legislature and those that elect them.”
Idaho requires people under 18 to wear a helmet while operating motorcycles and ATVs, but does not have a universal bicycle helmet law. In 1990, Washington passed a statewide motorcycle helmet law. As for bicycle helmets, requirements are up to individual cities or counties.
Spokane passed a citywide bicycle helmet law six years ago. Lynn Drake, the program manager of bicycle and pedestrian safety for the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, said the Spokane health district originally proposed the bicycle law to city council.
“The first turn around, they were told not to bring it to council,” Drake said.
She said the district then did “homework” on crash prevention, medical costs and special education costs of moving a child with a debilitating head injury through the public school district.
“They had to reassure the council that they made the correct decision,” Drake said.
Drake said the Washington Highway Safety office gave $5,000 to the district so they could provide properly fitting helmets for children who needed them. Local companies like McDonald’s gave incentives for children wearing helmets, such as free coupons for ice cream. Drake said the district assured the court would waive helmet citations if the citizen brought a helmet to court.
When the health district returned to the council with the new plan, the helmet law was created. As of today, Drake said approximately 85 percent of Washington is covered by a bicycle helmet law.
However, such incentives may not convince the Idaho legislature so easily.
Ringo co-sponsored a law requiring people under 18 to wear helmets with the help of David Langhorst, a previous senator, who works for the Idaho Tax Commission. Ringo said the bill passed the State Senate fairly easily, but it was not a sure thing in the House. She said testimony helped highlight the need for a law.
“It just happened that, just prior to bringing that to the legislature, there had been a little 2-year-old boy who lost his life, who was on an ATV with his father and they crashed and he didn’t have a helmet,” Ringo said.
Langhorst said during a camping trip the father, who was involved in the legislative testimony, had taken the little boy with him to get firewood. They were driving up a grade and while the father looked to the side of the ATV, one of the tires went off the roadway, lodged in a rock and the little boy landed headfirst on a rock that killed him.
Langhorst said although the vote wasn’t unanimous, it was easier for legislators to pass a regulation that affected minors.
“(Legislature) is responsible for (minors) in the eye of the law,” Langhorst said.
Drake said while attempting to pass the bicycle law in Spokane, a spokesman for a family whose child was struck by a car, came to testify on behalf of the helmet law. She said it is more effective anytime you have a victim that comes forward.
Drake also said in order to enact a law, citizens have to align political powers with them. She said legislation moves much faster through government if a citizen activist or a victim advocates on behalf of a proposed law.
“...Or to have a fire chief or police chief have a real strong passion and have them take a lead on it,” Drake said. “You have to cover all your bases.”
Despite arguments in favor of a helmet law, there are reasons the legislature has not voted to have an Idaho helmet law in the past.
Langhorst once owned a Harley Davidson and said he is sympathetic to the riding community that does not want an adult riding bill mandated.
“You can see better without a helmet and you can hear better without a helmet,” Langhorst said. “... I didn’t hear an emergency vehicle intersecting right ahead of me until it was late ... It makes it easy for a libertarian legislature to make an argument that finds sympathy with (motorcyclists) to not want anymore regulation.”
However, Ringo attributes the lack of a helmet law to the desire for personal rights.
“People that oppose (the helmet law) give the argument that if the person wants to take that risk, it’s his or her right to do that,” Ringo said. “That’s pretty much how they justify opposing it. Personally I think that’s a very narrow interpretation of the real situation.”
Henry Houst, a Boise personal injury attorney, said the absence of a helmet law is due to the notion of laissez-faire, a French term that is used generally in economics.
“It’s a notion about a pre-market economy and how you don’t necessarily have to regulate economics,” Houst said. “Things will take care of themselves. Let (the helmet law) alone, and it will regulate itself.”
Houst said the problem with this notion is that if a fully reasoning adult decides to go bungee jumping off Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls, smashing onto the rocks below, legislature is probably not going to stop that person.
“We’re kind of a conservative lot that likes less government than more,” Houst said.
Langhorst said the only way the law would pass is if the federal government mandated it, much the way the seat belt law works. Idaho would have the right to ignore a helmet law, but the federal government would have the power to take away millions of dollars from funds, like highway or transportation programs, if such a law is not passed, Langhorst said.
“As long as the users’ communities (motorcyclists) don’t support it, it’s going to be a real tough sell in the Idaho legislature,” Langhorst said.
Even if a law were to pass, it may not be beneficial to the community, Drake said.
“The death toll (in Washington) is going up in motorcycles,” Drake said. “We can’t seem to get that one down, but so is the number of bikes being purchased and the number of ridership being increased. The helmet laws don’t match.”
Langhorst said even though the 18-and-under law passed, there has not been much change to helmet use.
“I’ve seen people totally flouting and ignoring that law with two, three or four people on an ATV at the same time, none of them wearing helmets,” Langhorst said.
Ringo also said Idaho citizens will continue to argue that individuals have the right to take their own risks.
“I don’t have a lot of hope that we’ll be able to get such legislation through, at least not in the near future,” Ringo said. “I think the prevailing attitude is that people have a right to make that decision.”

As seen in Dec. 9 issue of The Argonaut.

Friday, December 2, 2011

No helmets required

Lindsey Treffry | The Argonaut

He was riding his motorcycle too fast. Perhaps it was inexperience. He went in to a corner in the road — a sharp turn — that caused the bike to flip. He landed face-first in a pile of rocks and came-to after he was knocked out, blood dripping from his mouth. He hit his head, broke his jaw and nose and suffered other facial injuries. He wore a helmet that day.
But 40 years later, Lane Triplett said he would never force someone to wear a helmet.
This motorcycle crash was one of three Triplett, the chairman of the Idaho Coalition for Motorcycle Safety, has had. The latter two he was not wearing a helmet, but did break numerous bones.
“The standard for ICMS is that we support the use of helmets, but we do not support the helmet law,” Triplett said. “We support freedom of choice.”
The Idaho motorcycle helmet law only requires persons under 18 to wear helmets. All low-power cycles with an engine displacement greater than 50cc, a brake horsepower greater than five, or a cycle that can attain speeds greater than 30 mph are covered by the motorcycle helmet law. Idaho has no law regulating bicycle helmet use.
“We want people to make good choices — a choice that is right for them,” Triplett said.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in 2009 that the number of motorcycle fatalities in Idaho per capita was the highest it’s been during the past decade and was double that of Washington, which requires helmet use.
In 2009, 37 motorcycle fatalities were reported in Idaho — a per capita rate of 2.4 persons per 100,000. Washington, in comparison, reported a per capita rate of 1.1 fatalities per 100,000. Idaho also ranked higher than the national average in motorcycle fatalities in 2009.
In a similar report published by Triplett, he pointed out that 18 of the Idaho fatalities were by out-of-state riders. He also found through his own research only 34 fatalities in 2009, as opposed to 37 in the NHTSA report, and 28 fatalities in 2010.
“I did a biker’s take on fatalities as opposed to a statisticians view,” Triplett said. “Most of what I’ve been looking for is how crashes happen, who’s at fault and why we die.”
He found that of 62 motorcycle fatalities, 23 riders wore helmets, two wore novelty helmets, 36 wore no helmets at all and one report was unknown.
“(The reports) rarely (include) much about helmets,” Triplett said. “What can’t be done is law enforcement can’t say a person died because of a helmet. Only an autopsy can do that.”
Mike Capshaw has seen about four motorcycle collisions in the past 10 years as a volunteer firefighter in Plummer and Worley.
Capshaw said a fellow firefighter responded to a call for a motorcycle versus deer collision. The motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet and did not survive.
“It’s hard to tell if there was head trauma that killed them or if it was other trauma,” Capshaw said.
Brenda Bolton is the Twin Falls representative for ICMS and advocates against the helmet law.
“I think it should be our choice,” Bolton said. “There are statistics that show that some helmets cause just as much injury as not wearing one.”
Bolton said younger people seem to wear helmets more, because they are required to until they turn 18.
“They get used to wearing them, and they keep on wearing them,” Bolton said. “Just like seat belts — kids are raised with seat belts. I was not raised with seat belts. It’s the first thing they do before they turn on the ignition.”
For Triplett, wearing his helmet has become a habit.
“It’s just like when you get in the car and put a seat belt on,” Triplett said. “(I think) ‘Sure it’s hot, I really don’t wanna wear this (helmet)’ but I wind up doing it anyway.”
He said he doesn’t think about the issue of helmet use when he rides, but he made the decision to wear a helmet when he became chairman of ICMS.
“I wanted to show others that even though I supported their right to choose, I still wore a helmet,” he said.
Virginia Galizia, the ombudsman for the Brain Injury Alliance of Idaho, does not keep her opinion on helmet use to herself.
“(Seven) weeks ago I saw a guy on his motorcycle and I rolled down my window,” Galizia said. “I said ‘I suffer from a brain injury. Wear a helmet. It will save your life.’ He ignored me.”
Galizia is a 13-year brain injury survivor of a car accident in New York, in which she also lost her leg.
“People don’t think it’s going to happen to them,” Galizia said. “I was an associate dean. I lost my job and now I’m disabled too.”
She said the risks are twofold when a helmet is not worn.
“You don’t survive if you get in a (motorcycle) accident, or you’ll be a vegetable,” Galizia said.
Galizia has been involved with BIAI since December 2010 and said in the past year she has met eight people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries due to motorcycle or bicycling collisions. She said she met a young motorcyclist from Pocatello who was recently in a motorcycle accident that crushed his skull. She said he has neurological as well as anger issues.
“I’m over 60 so I don’t care (that I have a brain injury), but these young people have their lives to live,” Galizia said.
Capshaw said during his time as a firefighter, his crew jokingly called motorcyclists “organ donors.”
“A lot of the time, motorcyclists say ‘If I get hit I’d rather be killed than have to live and be crippled,’” Capshaw said. “They may not be killed, and not only do they have to live maybe crippled, but they have to live mentally diminished.”
Galizia said she was lucky as a brain injury survivor, because she was able to push herself to get better due to her doctorate degree in psychology. But she said not all brain injury survivors are as lucky, and some do not have the family support or the education to learn how to cope.
Capshaw said the struggle brain injury survivors endure can be just as difficult for the family.
“If you’ve been around anyone that’s had a head injury, they’re pretty hard to recover from,” Capshaw said. “You might survive, but you won’t be the same person that you were prior to it. If you got a brain injury you aren’t going to be the person that your loved ones know.”
Galizia stressed that people can save their lives by simply purchasing a helmet for $20 to $30. However, most good quality motorcycle helmets range above $150.
Justin Crawford, a member of the ICMS Board of Directors, was the previous head of Idaho motorcycle awareness rallies. He said concerns exist for and against wearing helmets.
“Amongst a number of motorcycle enthusiasts, helmets are distracting,” Crawford said. “People complain about their neck hurting. One of the many concerns of helmets is with visual distraction or auditory impairment.”
But Crawford said ICMS does not share that opinion.
“I’m for accident prevention instead of dealing with the accident through safer crashing,” Crawford said. “If we can stop accidents from happening, we’re better off than dealing with safer crashing.”
ICMS prevention rallies, like the annual May Motorcycle Awareness Rally in conjunction with the Idaho Transportation Department, may be doing just that.
Triplett said fatalities in Idaho today are less than 50 percent of last year’s.
“All vehicle fatalities are down statewide, but none are like motorcycles,” Triplett said.
Although they cannot be sure of the cause, Triplett and Crawford said they hoped it was due to the work of ICMS. They both still think it is an individual’s right to decide whether or not to wear a helmet.
“I look at my helmet and think ‘Is this a day I need it or not?’” Triplett said. “And I just keep putting it on.” 

As seen in Dec. 2 issue of The Argonaut. 

Part two of the helmet series can be found here

Ted the Fire Breathing Idiot: UI janitor partakes in pepper-eating challenges

Lindsey Treffry | The Argonaut

Ted Barrus calls himself a “custodial engineer,” but the University of Idaho janitor has another name too — Ted the Fire Breathing Idiot.
Barrus is a pepper-eating sensation with nearly 70,000 YouTube viewers.
Barrus challenges friends and UI faculty to eat the hottest peppers sent to him from around the world, including the Naga Viper pepper, the Bhut Jolokia chili pepper — commonly called the ghost pepper — and the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T pepper. Barrus grows and eats them himself too.
“I had my friends eating them, but I was immediately addicted,” Barrus said. “I didn’t like spicy food, but (I found) it was a massive endorphin rush.”
Barrus said people compare eating such peppers to being in combat.
“To fight off the pain … it’s indescribable,” Barrus said.
Barrus’ interest in pepper-eating spurred from watching YouTube videos of Darth Naga, a world famous pepper-eater from England, who works with a company called The Chile Foundry. Barrus said the sole purpose of his pepper-eating videos is to make people laugh.
“And I’m trying to get on Tosh.0,” Barrus said.
His attempt to get on the show included dressing and talking like a hillbilly, with dark-rimmed glasses, a mullet wig and blacked-out teeth as he consumed a chocolate ghost pepper, a yellow 7-pot pepper, ghost pepper cashew brittle, a dried Scotch Bonnet, a red Trinidad Scorpion and a spoonful of Ten Minute Burn hot sauce, all followed by a stick of butter.
While the names of the peppers may not sound threatening, the heat of the peppers can be described in Scoville units. While jalapeno peppers range from 3,500 to 8,000 units and habaneros range from 100 to 350 thousand units, a Trinidad Scorpion Butch T — which holds the world record for hottest pepper — ranges from 1.1 to 1.5 million Scoville units.
When consuming peppers this hot, Barrus said his body reacts in different stages.
“It burns in different places of your mouth,” he said. “The side of your cheeks, your tongue, (your) throat. It’s like a hot piece of charcoal stuck in your throat … You start to forget about life in general because it feels like a blow torch in your throat.”
He said the burn takes a long time to build and some burns build for up to 10 minutes.
He said there is no chest burn, but 15 to 20 minutes after the pepper reaches his stomach it feels like a red, hot poker behind his belly button. From there, he said post-digestion is what he calls the “ring of sting” and often has to throw up to get rid of the pain.
“It’s still gonna hurt the next day,” Barrus said.
Barrus said these reactions in the body occur due to human capsaicin receptors.
“It’s all in your mind,” he said. “It’s just dealing with the physical pain. It’s mind over matter.”
Barrus said he has attempted to challenge UI students, but most of them “chicken out.” His sole pepper-eating companions include friends and coworkers.
Although UI Biological Sciences Research Associate, Karen Miller, has never attempted a pepper challenge, she said she tried one of Barrus’s candied chilies.
“I thought, ‘Okay, this is hot,’ so I didn’t keep it in my mouth,” Miller said. “I can’t imagine myself doing that.”
Among Barrus’s fellow pepper-eaters is another UI janitor, dubbed Naga Bob on Barrus’ YouTube channel, who has participated in numerous pepper challenges.
“We became friends through work,” Bob said. “I’d had some pretty hot food before, but not to that level. I’d had a Scotch bonnet … but I hadn’t heard of a ghost pepper.”
Bob is featured in Barrus’ channel and has consumed a Death pepper and a Trinidad Scorpion 7-Pot Brain Strain among others.
“It feels like fire ants on the tongue,” Bob said. “It’s like you put your tongue on an electric fence.”
Barrus has been consuming hot peppers for two years and said he realized although there are health benefits to eating peppers, his body’s reaction proves that this hobby should not be long-lived.
“I have good life insurance,” Barrus said.
To partake in Barrus’ challenge or to watch his pepper-eating videos, visit or email him at 

As seen in Dec. 2 issue of The Argonaut.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Promoting Paintball: Marketing students advertise local course

Lindsey Treffry | The Argonaut

As part of the University of Idaho Business 420 class — Promotional Strategy — four students have created a strategic marketing plan to promote and market Mule Shoe Paintball Park, a 10-acre course near Orofino.
“We’re trying to raise awareness and get the business above ground,” said Hayden Anderl, senior marketing major.
Anderl is one of the students working on the Mule Shoe project under the eye of professor Michael Ahlstrom. Mule Shoe was used as a project for the class in a previous semester and Anderl said Ahlstrom had asked for volunteers to take on the challenge.
“It sounded fun,” said Adriana Serna, marketing major. “It was something that was possible.”
Other Mule Shoe group members include Kari Eggert and Collette Kirby.
As part of the final third of the class, Ahlstrom assigned 10 projects to 10 separate groups. He required them to make a strategic marketing plan, analyze businesses and use promotional tools.
“Fundamentally, what we’re looking at is how the word gets out,” Ahlstrom said. “(The purpose of) promotion is to educate, inform, build awareness and persuade.”
Ahlstrom said he gives his students six promotional tools to use and choose from when approaching the business. These tools are broadcasting, public relations, personal selling, sales promotion, interactive or online and direct marketing.
Anderl and his group chose print advertising and online marketing to market Mule Shoe. The group re-made the business’ Facebook page and built a website, free of charge, through a newly made Gmail account. Anderl and Serna said they learned how to create a strategic marketing plan while featuring Mule Shoe.
“It’s easy in your head to say ‘I’m going to make flyers or a Facebook,’ but this (plan) is what you’d give to a major company.”
Anderl said marketing challenges included the distance of the park — Mule Shoe is an hour and a half away. But he said the location was also an asset because snow rarely settles in the park and the location overlooks a valley.
Ahlstrom said the project gets students “out in front of the firing squad” and pushes them to market by creating and sustaining demand both profitably and honorably.
Other projects include marketing plans for businesses like Columbia paint, Hyperspud Sports and Barber Pole Putters.
“If we do a good job at this, we should get to the point where (Mule Shoe) is 
always getting new people,” Anderl said. 

As seen in Nov. 29 issue of The Argonaut.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Living a dream

Lindsey Treffry | The Argonaut

Rachel Martin’s friend and NPR coworker was kidnapped in 2007 while covering news on the ground in Iraq. The kidnappers later called with death threats and wanted a ransom for his release.
At that time, Martin, a foreign correspondent for NPR, was assigned to cover John McCain’s visit to Camp Victory in Iraq and told her editor she would be devastated if the kidnappers killed her friend.
“I said ‘If they kill him, I’m not going to meet deadline,’” Martin said. “... My editor said, ‘Yes you will.’”
Her friend was released that day, and Martin said she learned a valuable lesson about maintaining calm amidst chaos from the experience.
Martin spoke to the University of Idaho community Tuesday about her experience broadcasting in the Middle East, including coverage of Afghanistan’s first democratic presidential election and the implementation of schools for Afghan girls.
Martin presented “Between the Lines: Five Lessons from Afghanistan, Iraq and the Home Front” to a full house in the UI College of Law courtroom.
The Idaho Falls High School graduate traveled to Afghanistan in 2003 as part of her graduate studies at Columbia University. By 2005 she was an NPR foreign correspondent in Berlin, covering issues like the London terrorist attacks and elections in Germany. Martin also worked for a short time covering White House Affairs for ABC News.
As a reporter, Martin said she wanted to educate herself about what she wanted to report on.
“I find that what makes me care — what makes listeners care — is how policies affect individuals,” she said.
Martin had the opportunity to do just that while covering policy such as the Pentagon’s ban of women from direct combat units. Martin gave the policy a face by publishing the story of Silver Star recipient Leigh Ann Hester, whose combat efforts earned her the third highest combat medal.
During her NPR coverage of the eradication of the U.S. military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, Martin featured U.S. Marine Maj. Darrel Choat, who publicly acknowledged that he was gay for the first time on NPR.
“It changed a lot of opinions and it had changed a lot of minds,” Martin said. “It mattered to find the person to tell the policy.”
Martin’s five-part speech included subtopics on her “half-full” view on life, the struggle of adjusting overseas and the truth of spoon-fed information.
“Any time I was down on my job ... she would say ‘Pinch yourself, because you’re living your dream and you don’t even know it,’” Martin said.
Martin emphasized the importance of living life to its fullest, and shared insight on how she furthered her career as she answered audience questions.
“Shaking things up — not doing the safe thing — can catapult your career,” Martin said.
Her speech was organized by Glenn Mosley, UI director of broadcasting in the School of Journalism and Mass Media, who said Martin’s speech was a great way for students to interact with an Idaho native who had national experience.
“If students do what we encourage them to do — take part in getting involved on campus, to write, edit, and critically analyze news — they’ll be as well prepared to go on and be like Rachel Martin,” Mosley said.
Her speech was sponsored by the UI School of Journalism and Mass Media, the James A. Louis McClure Center for Public Policy Research, the Martin Institute and Northwest Public Radio.
Kerry Swanson, station manager for NWPR, said the most interesting thing about Martin was her sense of adventure and how she has followed her dream.
“The sense that ‘I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m going to try it, even if I’m wrong,’” Swanson said.
While teaching journalism classes overseas, Martin said she told her students to take risks as a reporter, but ultimately decided against living in a conflict zone.
She said she had never been in the line of fire, but was 30 feet from a rocket that killed a neighboring citizen.
“But that’s the job right?” Martin said.

As seen in Nov. 4 issue of The Argonaut.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Something old, something new

Lindsey Treffry | The Argonaut

The music and sounds of Johann Sebastian Bach filled the University of Idaho Haddock Performance Hall as part of the inaugural opening to the first ever Idaho Bach Festival.
Led by UI artistic director Michael Murphy, the festival began Thursday evening and will run until Friday afternoon.
“I think the reason why I decided that I wanted to be the art director of a Bach festival is because it became apparent speaking with colleagues and the public that people are drawn to performing and hearing the music of Bach,” Murphy said. “His music is enjoyed by many, many people — no matter what culture, ideology or religion ... people enjoy his music and are captivated by his music across many, many different cultures.”
The festival on Thursday showcased students, professors and community members with an opening by the Northwest Wind Quartet as well as a closing ceremony by the Idaho Baroque consort, the Vandaleers concert choir (a top UI audition choir), and remarks by Murphy. Murphy said some performers came from as far as the San Francisco area to participate in the festival.
Maggie Rodriguez, a member of Vandaleers concert choir, sang a Bach Cantata with the choir as part of Thursday’s festival, and had a solo in another movement.
“I’d done a couple songs by (Bach) in choir and I’ve heard some of his solo music, but I wouldn’t say I knew a whole lot,” Rodriguez said. “Definitely, in rehearsal and stuff (in preparation for the festival) we’ve been talking about his particular style.”
Rodriguez said she had to be solid on her solo because a flute soloist, as well as an orchestra that played a large range of chord progressions, had accompanied her.
“Bach uses a bunch of runs, it’s a lot quicker,” Rodriguez said. “And it’s a lot lighter because it’s Baroque music.”
Friday events include solo performance as well as a performance of Bach’s “Wedding Cantata,” and three lecturers about Bach compositions.
“All of these performers (and lecturers) are doing this work and preparation free of charge,” Murphy said. “Students have limited resources as far as money, and all the concerts are free. To get the level of talent they’ll be hearing — it’s unheard of.”
Shoko Nelson, UI graduate student in piano pedagogy, will begin the Friday performances in Haddock with her six-part interpretation of Bach’s Partita No. 2, BWV 826. Although Nelson has played classical piano for approximately 23 years, she said trying out for the festival was tough.
“You really need to learn this piece very well,” Nelson said. “It’s not like a (Frederic) Chopin piece — it’s not romantic — it’s Baroque style. It’s a different voice in each movement and you need to organize those things. It’s hard.”
Nelson said she had previously played pieces by Bach, but said the festival will provide performances of pieces she had never heard. Nelson also said she was excited for professor Kay Zavislak’s lecture of “Interpreting Toccata in D Major, BWV 912, on a Harpsichord.”
Other Friday lectures include “Frozen Improvisations: Bach’s Works for Unaccompanied Instruments as Artifacts of Improvisatory Practices” by lecturer John Lutterman and “Parody Techniques in J.S. Bach’s Pfingsttag Cantatas” by lecturer Michael Porter.
Nelson said the festival should expose students to something new, and even if a piece is well-known, the performer may have a different aspect or interpretation.
“It’s good to explore something yourself, even for (those who are) not music students,” Nelson said. “You may not know about Bach or understand classical music, but that doesn’t mean necessarily you can’t listen to it or enjoy it.”
Friday performances will conclude at the First Presbyterian Church with solo performances of the organ works of Bach.
“Obviously if Bach is still around today,” Rodriguez said. “...there is something important about him.”

As seen in Oct. 28 issue of The Argonaut.

Small town atmosphere found at Bishops’ Orchard

Lindsey Treffry | rawr

Symmetrical lines of green trees stretch to the horizon. The smell of rotting apples and pears on the orchard floor is potent and sweet. The birds are chirping against a light breeze, and in the distance, there is the slightest sound of apples churning in a press.
This is the scene of Bishops’ Orchard. The orchard started in 1978, when Stephen Bishop and his wife moved to Garfield, Wash., where Bishop had deep family roots. He had experience in citrus orchards from the Peace Corps and knew at some point in his life, he wanted to own an orchard.
Bishops’ is opperated solely by family members, except for the extra help hired during harvest time.
“We devote all of our summers to working the orchard,” Bishop said.
The orchard has a south-facing slope and 18 acres of land. This summer, the apples were off schedule, blooming on May 31 compared to early May.
“I’ve never seen that before in my life,” Bishop said.
Even without Red Delicious and Rome apples this year, the weather was cooperative for the entirety of the season. The best crops included Macintosh, the primary apple of the orchard, Spartan, Empire, Golden Delicious and Liberty apples.
Along with these apples, and other breeds, Bishops’ offers cider presses for fresh apple cider.
“When we started the orchard we didn’t expect the cider to be as popular as it has,” Bishop said. “Our original plan was to grow and sell apples, and we didn’t think (cider would) be a big thing. It’s become the tail that wags it on.”
In two cider sheds, apples are washed, added to the “hopper,” chopped into a mash and then pressed. The juices are drained into a bowl, which can be poured into a gallon for $5.
“The cider is delicious,” said Paige Reid, University of Idaho American studies major and Bishops’ Orchard customer. “It’s a really fun activity to do with a group of people.”
Reid said there is usually a wait for the cider presses, but said in the meantime, her and her group generally walk around and pick apples off the trees to eat.
During the off-season, all of the equipment gets put away. Around the end of December, Bishop and his brother plan on pruning. Bishop generally tends to one or two farming machines or, like last year, builds additional cider presses.
In the early spring, pruning begins and in the last couple years, the Bishop clan has planted new trees.
Most of the trees are originals from 1978, but some non-productive trees have been replaced. The newest additions include English cider apple trees.
All of the trees are insecticide free, although that wasn’t always the case. Shortly after insecticides were eliminated, Bishop said a new bird population increased, reducing the amount of insects too, except wasps. Pheromones are used as a weapon against moth populations, otherwise known as the classic worm in the apple. These pheromones are used in place of insecticides and are safer, but pricier.
“It’s nice to have a normal environment,” Bishop said. “But it’s expensive.”
Which may be the reason Bishop employs family members.
“On busy days it can get real hectic,” Bishop said.
Busy days don’t seem to affect the staff, though.
“People who are there have always been friendly, working and using cider presses,” Reid said. “It’s not like they’re hovering over you. You definitely have independence ... But there is someone to help you if you need it.”
Bishop said he encourages people to come because it’s a great outing, especially in the Pullman and Moscow area. He said their fruit is reasonably priced, too, at 40 cents per pound.
“It’s like you’re in the country in a small town …” Bishop said. “When you’re in the middle of the orchard you can look out into the fields.”
Bishop said he often takes walks with his wife around the orchard and encourages others to do so too. Depending on weather, Bishops’ Orchard will close either Oct. 30 or Nov. 6.
“It’s not a carnival or anything like that,” Bishop said. “There’s no hay ride, dog or pony show here. It’s just an orchard.”   

As seen in the Oct. 28 issue of rawr.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

NYC to UI: Occupy Wall Street movement comes to campus

Lindsey Treffry | The Argonaut

Voices boomed over a loudspeaker outside the Idaho Commons as a crowd held up signs for economic reform.

A local branch of Occupy Wall Street, a mass protest movement against “corporate greed and corrupt politics,” gathered at the University of Idaho and students picketed from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday before marching downtown to join forces with Occupy Moscow in Friendship Square.

Sarah Sundquist, a landscape architecture major and Occupy Moscow member, helped form the Occupy UI group and handed out fliers to inform students prior to the event.

“Basically, Occupy Wall Street started by a group of people that saw that the system of government was not working as is,” Sundquist said. “(One) of the main goals is to … just make it so that corporations are not involved in politics because as it is right now, basically whoever has the most money wins elections.”

Sundquist has been meeting with the Occupy Moscow group for two weeks now. She said there seemed to be a disconnect between the campus and the rest of the Moscow community.

“A lot of people are still just unaware of what this movement is,” Sundquist said.
Another Occupy Moscow member, Raleigh Blum said during a general assembly for the Occupy Moscow group members set up a student outreach committee to get them interested in the movement. Blum said the movement is essential for economic reform.

“It’s hard to get a job right now,” Blum said. “Jobs are being outsourced and cut.”

Blum also said students are graduating with degrees, yet don’t get degree-specific jobs.

Overall, Sundquist said the movement is different for every member.
“There are some things there seems to be a consensus on …  the economy is one right now,” Sundquist said. 

Katelyn Taylor, a UI political science major, attended Occupy UI and wasn’t previously involved in Occupy events. 

“I’m scared my voice will no longer be valid no matter how hard I work,” Taylor said to Occupy UI attendees and bystanders over the microphone.

Fliers at the event also promoted “Bank Transfer Day,” which endorses the movement of funds from major banking institutions to non-profit credit unions Nov. 5 as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Taylor said Occupy UI prompted her to take money out of bank accounts in order to “stick it to the man.”

“Our ability to create situations (like Occupy Wall Street) is what our government — our democracy — should be about,” Taylor said.

A voter registration table was also set up at Occupy UI.

“Students can be involved in their democracy and we as a group have the power to do that,” Sundquist said.

Blum said Occupy Wall Street has had a hard time convincing people to join the movement. “This movement is happening in 82 countries worldwide,” Blum said.

Sundquist said a date is not set for another Occupy UI event, but students can attend Occupy Moscow pickets every day from 4 to 6:30 p.m. in Friendship Square. 

“Generally it’s just important to note that even though main stream media portrays this movement as being kind of a bunch of hippies playing on bongo drums, it’s really not,” Sundquist said. “Everyone who has been coming in our group is a full-time student or works full time … It’s a really diverse group of people. I kind of just want to encourage people to not look at the stereotypes, and think of what is important to them and how the system is working for them.”

As seen in the Oct. 21 issue of The Argonaut.

Banana squash, plums and lentils

Lindsey Treffry | rawr

With the weather dropping below 50 degrees, University of Idaho students and the Moscow community are preparing for winter — with fruits and vegetables.

The UI Cooking Basics classes are funded through Student Health and co-sponsored by Verna Bergmann, the campus dietitian, and the Wellness Program. The classes, hosted by Bergmann, feature a guest chef or instructor, and are held once a month at the Student Recreation Center.

“Generally, the focus is how to start where you’re at with what cooking equipment and facility you have,” Bergmann said.

The Oct. 13 cooking class, featuring Sandy McCurdy, an extension food safety specialist, focused on canning and drying fruits and vegetables. McCurdy, with the assistance of students enrolled in UI nutrition and science courses, prepared a lesson on how to can salsa, dry fruit leather and apple rings, and how to make dried “apple pie.”

“Students might end up with some extra apples,” McCurdy said. “You may think, ‘These would be great if I preserved them and dry them into a snack later.’”

Class attendees included a small handful of Moscow community members and UI students. The assistants helped slice and dice fresh produce that was then made into salsa and canned using a water-bath method, where glass jars are placed into an oversize kettle, that provides at least a 1 1/2 inch space of water over the jar top.

Other attendees helped slice apples into rings to dry in a dehydrator, while an assistant smoothed commercial applesauce over a tray to be dehydrated too.

Kenna Gardes, UI senior nutrition major, had never attended a Cooking Basics class before, but said she learned a lot.

“My mom just got a dehydrator so now I have some ideas,” Gardes said.
Gardes said she plans on trying the apple pie recipe on her own, and if successful, she will try to make other flavors.

“I really like cooking,” Gardes said. “I like to find new ways to make food, preserve food and new techniques.”

Samples of the recipes were set to the side of the room, surrounded by seasonal vegetables and fruit, to taste at the end of the class. Two boxes of fresh produce were also available for attendees to take home, donated by the Soil Stewards, a UI club for organic farming and sustainable community food systems.

“The effort (of leading the classes) is to talk to and teach students how to use what they’ve got and what’s seasonal — the most tasty, nutritious meals on a budget,” Bergmann said.

According to McCurdy, canning equipment is generally inexpensive, but dehydrators can be more than $100. McCurdy said dehydration can be done in the oven at home, with the door propped open, as long as the oven can reach low temperatures of 145 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bergmann said students should attend classes to enjoy, learn and get to know food in a personal way.

“It’s really empowering to students,” Bergmann said. “Students have said they had no idea they could make their own food and be creative. It’s all about wanting to take care of yourself, to eat better and with less cost.”

The next Cooking Basics class is from 4 to 5 p.m. Nov. 17 in the SRC classroom. Monir Desouky from UI campus dining will be the guest host for “Bake Your Own Bread.”

To see a full list of classes throughout the year, visit

As seen in the Oct. 21 issue of rawr.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Local, healthy, sustainable: Campus Dining serves local food as part of National Food Day

Lindsey Treffry | Argonaut

Locally-grown meats and vegetables were served to University of Idaho students Monday as part of National Food Day, a national effort to bring together students, instructors, health professionals, community members, and food providers to support healthy, local and sustainable food.

“It’s been explained as ‘Earth Day for food’ with the focus being on local and sustainable food options,” said Nathaniel Prior, the marketing manager for UI Campus Dining.

For the event, vegetables offered at J Street Cafe in the Idaho Commons and at Bob’s Place were purchased from Soil Stewards, an organic UI plant science research farm, while pot roast and sausages were purchased from Vandal Brand Meats. The UI Sustainability Center set up a table in the Commons to inform students of fair trade, pesticides, and smart food purchases, and campus dietitian Verna Bergmann was at Bob’s to talk about eating well and nutrition. Donna Mills, from Soil Stewards, provided pumpkins for a painting contest that will be judged over the weekend.

Some of the main goals for Food Day, as posted on the movement’s website, included the expansion of accessible food to alleviate hunger, the support of sustainable farms and fair conditions for food and farm workers, as well as the reduction of diet-related disease and the promotion of safe, healthy foods. Food Day also calls for protection of the environment and animals by reforming factory farms, and for the reduction of junk-food marketing to children.

“It’s a fun way to be able to showcase (campus dining sustainability efforts) and inform patrons that may not have been aware,” Prior said.

Fact sheets about campus dining sustainability efforts from 2010 to 2011 were posted around the cafe. These efforts include the eradication of food trays as well as disposable plates and silverware. Individual condiments are now offered in bulk. And, if students bring their own reusable cups, espresso drinks are discounted by 25 cents and drip coffee by 10 cents in order to reduce paper waste. Other efforts include the use of Aspretto coffee and tea at Bob’s Place, which is 100 percent USDA certified Organic, as well as the use of biodiesel in Sodexo delivery trucks.

Prior said campus dining has purchased produce from Soil Stewards in the past, but more so this year. They have also partnered with Vandal Meats in the past for concession, retail and resident dining.
Fred Hisaw, animal science major, works at Vandal Meats as part of his undergraduate research. He said Sodexo purchased pot roast as part of Food Day.

“One of the big benefits is that it just keeps that money local, so the local area producers can get that money back that they invested in the product,” Hisaw said.

According to Prior, 1.9 percent of campus food comes from Latah County, while 73.1 percent is from the Northwest region.

“We try very, very hard to try and purchase food locally,” Prior said.

Jennifer Emerson, volunteer coordinator for the UI Sustainability Center, helped set up a display for Food Day to showcase campus sustainability efforts as well as information on the local food economy.

“I think that maybe it’ll just make (students) more aware of purchases they make and what they put in their body and the economy around food,” Emerson said. “It will give them a chance to take a look at where food comes from and to appreciate it better.”

Emerson said the center also gave out information about foods with high amounts of pesticides, like apples, and information on how to make healthier choices when shopping at the grocery store.
This was the first ever Food Day at UI and around the country, but it is planned to occur annually on Oct. 24 throughout the nation.

“We definitely hope to continue it and it will catch on,” Prior said. “Food is something that is very important to all of us — to be more aware of what we’re eating and how it really impacts everything around us.”

As seen in the Oct. 25 issue of the Argonaut.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Organic grass-fed music

Lindsey Treffry | rawr

Music flows through the aisles of tofu and gluten-free breads. The espresso grinder whizzes and cashiers ring up groceries, filling empty green bags. Groups of people sit near round tables with soups and salads fresh from the deli, all facing a man with a guitar. It’s just another Tuesday night at the Moscow Co-op for the music series.

The free, live music performances are from 5 to 6:30 p.m. year-round and are led by Co-op music coordinator Chelsey Bryd Lewallen.

“It’s a good place to come relax and take a break from homework, (and) to unwind after a busy Tuesday,” Lewallen said.

Lewallen is in charge of booking all the gigs. She recruits new musicians and asks previous performers to return. She said she often goes to Bucer’s or One World Cafe to find new musicians.

“I have a big list of 50 musicians,” Lewallen said.

David Roon is one of them. The University of Idaho fish and wildlife and biology professor performed his Celtic folk-rock music on Oct. 4 at the Co-op. Roon plays guitar and sings original songs and covers.

“(The Co-op musicians) are extremely talented and there is lots of UI community,” Roon said.

Roon will be taking over Lewallen’s position, while she is on leave for the end of her pregnancy.

“We’re interested in a wide range of performers,” Roon said. “It’d be great to set students in here to do sets.”

Lewallan said interested musicians can drop off their demos to her on Tuesdays or during the week to any cashier.

“A lot of people enjoy playing,” Lewallan said. “They get a Co-op gift card and a $5 deli voucher.”
Performers can play outside, but since the recent change of weather, they have been set up in the front corner of the Co-op, near the deli.

UI microbiology and medical graduate student, Chuck Schultz, said he comes to the Co-op once in a while, but didn’t know it was Music Tuesday.

“It’s open and no one’s doing anything that music would take away from,” Schultz said.

Schultz said he comes for the food, where a slice of bread and tea costs a total of $1.85.

The remaining performances for October include Dan Faller, a contemporary country artist, and Bart Budwig who plays alternative country and blues.

As seen in the Oct. 14 issue of rawr.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

UI graduate to be contestant on 'The Biggest Loser'

Lindsey Treffry | Argonaut

Three out of 10 college students are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

This was the case for University of Idaho graduate Courtney Rainville, before she was a contestant on season 12 of “The Biggest Loser,” which premieres at 8 p.m. Tuesday on NBC.

Rainville graduated in 2009 with a degree in communications and now works as an Internet marketing specialist in Scottsdale, Ariz. She was born in Lewiston and has struggled with weight since she was a young girl.

“I’ve always been aware that I was overweight,” Rainville said.

At 270 pounds, she said there were many moments throughout her day when she couldn’t fit comfortably in clothes and couldn’t cross her legs. She said she is 24 years old and had never had a boyfriend or gone on a date. According to an NBC press release, her father had a heart attack two years ago, as did her grandfather who died. So she applied to be a contestant on “The Biggest Loser.”

“The first time I applied, I was a senior at UI and kind of had help from my sorority sisters to help make a video and put myself out there,” Rainville said. “It was more on a limb to try and see if I could get a call back, what I never thought could happen.”

Rainville said words could not describe her reaction to her call back. Although she was a fan of “The Biggest Loser,” she said she had a hard time watching the show because she was envious of the people who had a chance to lose weight. She also said for those who watch the show at home, there is a misconception that contestants are overweight and lazy, and that viewers themselves can do the same work.

“It’s harder than anyone expected — physically and mentally,” Rainville said.

Depending on the day, Rainville trained an average of six to eight hours. Trainers like Bob Harper, professional tennis player Anna Kournikova and fitness expert Dolvett Quince intimidated Rainville initially, but she was excited to meet Harper, the veteran trainer.

“I was a little celebrity guru and all giddy and nerdy about it and he was fantastic,” she said.

Jill Carmen, “The Biggest Loser” and NBC publicist, said production of the show already finished except for a shoot in October and the live finale.

Rainville gave some wisdom to those trying to lose weight.

“Push yourself with that friend,” Rainville said. “Try something you enjoy doing: riding a bike, classes, basketball, something that’s going to give you activity.”

Rainville said to also take advantage of the UI Student Recreation Center, even though she did not.

“If you think that you can’t (keep going) or you want to give up, you can go that extra mile or an extra 30 minutes,” she said.

“The Biggest Loser: Battle of the Ages” runs at 8 p.m. every Tuesday on NBC and episodes can be viewed online at, after the episode’s premiere. Rainville’s first interview can be viewed at

“Tune in every week to watch and root me on,” Rainville said. “I love the support I’ve gotten from the university already.”

As seen in the Sept. 20 issue of The Argonaut.

Missing student confirmed dead

Archive from June 2011
Lindsey Treffry | The Communicator

SFCC student Leighton Welch, 35, missing since March, was found dead in the Spokane River on May 19.

On March 28, Michonda Weaver, Welch’s fiance, was talking to him via cellphone. He described a steep cliff, she said. Welch also told her that a dog in the area had spooked him.

Welch was intoxicated when he left home that day, according to Weaver. Spokane detectives said his cellphone was last used in the vicinity of 330 S. Oak St., near Browne’s Addition.

Welch’s body was found in the Spokane River close to the Stevens County line and near the Nine Mile boat launch, according to a May 21, Spokesman-Review article by Meghann Cuniff.

Welch was the father of two of Weaver’s children, Elijah, age 2, and Achellis, 7 months. The couple also raised an autistic child, named Zackahriha, age 4. The day after Welch’s body was found, Weaver discovered she was pregnant with Welch’s third child.

“He was the best father any child could ask for,” Weaver said. “He was always there for his kids.” Welch was studying social work and planned to transfer from SFCC to Eastern Washington University in the fall to become a drug and alcohol counselor.

Gerontology and social services instructor Polly McMahon had Welch in some of her classes.

“I could depend on him to want something better,” McMahon said. “For himself, his family, and his children.”

According to McMahon, he sat at the same table in class everyday. Part of the Coeur D’Alene tribe, Welch was paid to attend college, and through the payments supported his family, according to Weaver.

“Whatever grade he got he’d always ask ‘What can I do to get a better grade?’,” McMahon said. “Even if he had the maximum points, he’d want extra credit — a revise, a redo.”

Welch was the third student that the human services department lost this year, according to McMahon, who assumes Welch had an alcohol relapse the day he was on the cliff.

“When you drink you have impaired coordination. It happens,” McMahon said. “Especially if you have a grueling background (like) he did.

“He had turned his life around.”

According to Cuniff’s article, Welch had felony convictions, but according to Weaver, he had not committed a crime since the early 2000s.

“We had our problems, but we had an autistic child,” Weaver said. “Every relationship with a developmental child has a problem.

“But we overcame it.” Although plans are not concrete, McMahon and other social services students are planning a tribal-themed memorial for Leighton.

“He was a great guy,” Gerontology student Kerry Picard said. “He was personable (and) always wanting to help.”

According to McMahon, he was a iconoclast, always questioning and defying what is considered normal.

“A day without Leighton is a day without sunshine,” McMahon said. “He made me laugh and my eyes roll.”

According to Weaver, there has been some controversy over his death, especially online. Comments under the Spokesman story claimed that he committed suicide.

“He would never have done that,” Weaver said. “He was the person he was now because of our family.”

As seen in issue 42.11 of The Communicator.