Christmas trees aren’t dead yet

first_img Both also are focusing on identi fying more than two or three types of conifers for area farmers to grow, on the theory that diver sity of choice always pays divi dends. About 40 percent of all the Christmas trees harvested annu ally in the Northwest are shipped to California, said Bryan Os tlund, executive director of the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association. “Consumer tastes are always changing,” Barney said. “Scotch pine used to be the main choice, but it’s not any more. To be competitive, grow ers have to find the cutting edge.” Jim Storms, president of the In land Empire Christmas Tree As sociation, said his group repre sents nearly 50 growers across eastern Washington, Idaho and Montana. That number has held steady for the past 10 years. Retailers this year are hoping fresh Christmas tree sales hold up to last year’s total of roughly 27 million. The National Christ mas Tree Association is promot ing fresh-tree sales through sev eral marketing efforts, including a “trees for U.S. troops” cam paign expected to send more than 3,000 trees overseas. Storms stays in contact with re searchers such as Barney, be cause he knows the consumer trend is toward the “exotic” ev ergreens such as the grand and subalpine firs. “Those are trees that have been imported into this area, so when we grow them, we’re doing that outside their native regions,” said Storms. He’d like to grow the pricier noble firs but Garfield’s sum mers are too dry for that variety. The closest he can come is the subalpine fir, he said. According to the Pacific North west Christmas Tree Associa tion, this year’s harvest will gen erate wholesale revenue of about $130 million in Oregon and about $50 million in Washing ton state. Oregon has been and continues to be the nation’s major produc er, with production of about 7.3 million trees this year, the asso ciation says. Washington will rank sixth this year, with 2 mil lion trees. Behind Oregon, the leading other states are North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylva nia and Wisconsin. Said Chastagner, “This is a good industry to support. It’s important for people in many rural areas that used to rely on timber and have seen changes in that industry.” Grow-and-cut farms do well in larger cities where there’s enough population to support the business, and also serve as land protectors in the face of urban sprawl, he said. “It’s a viable way of maintain ing farmland in those areas,” he said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake “Clearly, the market growth has been with the artificial-tree in dustry,” said Chastagner, a plant pathologist with the WSU exten sion office in Puyallup who’s known widely as “Mr. Christ mas Tree.” Researchers around the world turn to Chastagner to discuss ideas on seed germination or other methods of devising a bet ter tree, said Barney, a UI horti culture professor who heads that school’s research and extension center in Sandpoint. They and others supported by funds from wholesale tree grow ers don’t believe they will ever develop the perfect Christmas tree. But they’re convinced they can breed trees that last longer, stay fresher and smell more Christmasy than what’s now available. Barney researches which variet ies of trees grow best and fastest in the Inland Northwest – an area with lower Christmas tree pro duction than many other parts of the country. Chastagner focuses on developing improved ver sions of conifers that smell fresher and remain greener after being harvested and sent to retail lots. Both agree there is no “Great Green Hope” – a perfect variety of tree that will please all cus tomers. But they’ve found some populations of firs that hold up better than others, said Chastag ner. Both Barney and Chastag ner spend much of their time working with noble and Fraser firs, two conifers that retain moisture well and lose fewer needles once placed inside a home or shopping mall. SANDPOINT, Idaho – People like Danny Barney and Gary Chastagner stay in touch this time of year, comparing notes on how the battle is going. The two are university research ers who are both trying to hold the line against a common foe: artificial Christmas trees. Their focus is on producing the ideal fresh Christmas tree, which would help tree growers in this part of the country. The two researchers, one in Sandpoint with the University of Idaho and the other in Puyallup with Washington State Univer sity, know that live Christmas trees have seen better days. Since 1986 the U.S. population has grown by about 50 million people, but the number of live trees cut and sold has fallen from 36 million each year to about 27 million. last_img read more

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Barefoot Is Better

first_imgWho do we wear shoes?  It seems obvious; we expect that they help us avoid injuries and provide comfort.  Maybe we should think of the injuries we are getting by wearing them.    The image of the barefoot person is usually of someone poor, deprived, lower-class, hick, unclean, redneck or something else unattractive.  Shoes are a big business.  Within that business, running shoes have become part status symbol, part science.  Those images might change if a study by Daniel Lieberman at Harvard is taken seriously.  PhysOrg summarized his paper in Nature in which he analyzed the physics of runners with and without shoes.  Barefoot runners, he found, strike the ground differently.  Their feet absorb the shock of impact by landing more on the arch and ball of the foot than on the heel.  Shod runners tend to be heel-strikers.  “Most shod runners — more than 75 percent of Americans — heel-strike, experiencing a very large and sudden collision force about 1,000 times per mile run,” the article explained.  That shock travels up into the ankle, shin and legs.  “People who run barefoot, however, tend to land with a springy step towards the middle or front of the foot.”  This gives them a “more compliant, or springy, leg.”  The impact of the heel strike is reduced in good running shoes.  Still, it could lead to repetitive stress injuries.    Lieberman put his runners into an evolutionary landscape, but could not avoid using design terms:The differences between shod and unshod running have evolutionary underpinnings.  For example, says Lieberman, our early Australopith ancestors had less developed arches in their feet.  Homo sapiens, by contrast, has evolved a strong, large arch that we use as a spring when running.    “Our feet were made in part for running,” Lieberman says.  But as he and his co-authors write in Nature: “Humans have engaged in endurance running for millions of years, but the modern running shoe was not invented until the 1970s.  For most of human evolutionary history, runners were either barefoot or wore minimal footwear such as sandals or moccasins with smaller heels and little cushioning.”Lieberman warned that a runner wanting to switch to barefoot running has to ease into it.  It takes a little time to get used to it, but it could be healthy.  “By landing on the middle or front of the foot, barefoot runners have almost no impact collision, much less than most shod runners generate when they heel-strike.  Most people today think barefoot running is dangerous and hurts, but actually you can run barefoot on the world’s hardest surfaces without the slightest discomfort and pain,” he said.  “All you need is a few calluses to avoid roughing up the skin of the foot.  Further, it might be less injurious than the way some people run in shoes.”  He encouraged more research into the health benefits of barefoot running.  For those interested in comparing the two modes, Lieberman and his colleagues have set up a barefoot running website.Most of us are so accustomed to walking in shoes we could not imagine walking around barefoot a good deal of the time, except at the beach or around the pool, but there are a few who prefer it; they amaze the rest of us with how nimbly and painlessly they scamper about on uneven ground, rocks, and all kinds of terrain.  You might be inspired by this story to try easing into some barefoot running, or at least kicking off the shoes a little more often around the house, if your family members will let you.  You may only regret it when stubbing your toe on a chair.  This experiment is also not advised for desert hikers or snow.  When you think about it, though, most cultures throughout history have done pretty well without heavy shoes.    We didn’t need Lieberman’s little evolutionary fairy tale to make this an interesting story.  “Once upon a time, Lucy told her children to grow arches in their feet, and millions of yeas later, they obeyed.”  Nothing in his findings constitutes evidence for evolution; he just assumed it, and weaved a flat-footed tale around it.  Regardless, his work on human endurance running (11/18/2004) remains one of the most interesting “human body” stories we have reported here.    Why must this evidence be forced into evolution?  The real scientific work was all measurement and analysis of design on living runners.  That design involves many integrated systems (circulatory, respiratory, muscular, skeletal, thermoregulatory, endocrine, and more) that could not have evolved in a stepwise manner, if you’ll pardon the pun.  Those who prefer creation explanations will notice that the foot is very well designed for our upright stance, just as ape feet are well designed for their lifestyles partly on the ground and in the trees.  Adam and Eve came complete with all their physical needs (this was, of course, before thorns).  It doesn’t mean that shopping malls with their dozens of shoe stores are unnatural; human creativity and inventiveness is also evidence of our design.  But we should distinguish between needs and desires.  Perhaps some of our inventions are not as good as the original plan.  Will there be barefoot Olympics again some day?(Visited 16 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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BHP Billiton’s African expansion

first_img11 February 2004Global resources giant BHP Billiton officially opened its multi-million dollar Hillside aluminium expansion project in KwaZulu-Natal last week, and is exploring further opportunities for growing its aluminium operations in South Africa and Mozambique.The expansion project at BHP Billiton’s Hillside Aluminium smelter at Richards Bay reached full production in December, just 20 months after the project commenced in April 2003, at a total cost expected to come in under the original budget of US$449-million.This expansion, by 132 000 tons per annum, will raise Hillside’s production to 670 000 tons per annum, making it the largest smelter in the southern hemisphere and the western world.According to the company, some 1 200 people received training in various construction skills during the project. “About $80-million was spent directly in the KwaZulu-Natal region, with a further spend of $7-million per annum expected from the expansion’s continuing operations”, the company said in a statement.“To date, 22 contracts valued in total at US$20-million have been awarded to black economic empowerment procurement and service providers.”Business Day reported that BHP Billiton chairman Don Argus, speaking at the Hillside 3 opening ceremony at Richards Bay last week, said the company had begun a project to explore opportunities for adding value to its southern African aluminium operations.BHP Billiton accounts for approximately 7% of total global aluminium production from its Hillside and Bayside smelters in South Africa and its Mozal smelter in neighbouring Mozambique.Roughly 20% of the Australia-based company’s assets – including coal, manganese, ferrochrome and aluminium – are in southern Africa. The company, the biggest mining company in the world, resulted from the merger in 2001 of Australian firm BHP and South Africa’s Billiton.Earlier this month, the group appointed Dr Vincent Maphai, currently corporate affairs director at SABMiller, as chair of BHP Billiton South Africa.Maphai will be the most senior group executive located in southern Africa, and will report to BHP Billiton executive director Mike Salamon.Salamon said in a statement that southern Africa “is a core element of our global business activities, and Dr Maphai’s experience and stature will hold us in good stead as we progress our empowerment initiatives and seek development opportunities throughout the region.”SouthAfrica.info reporterlast_img read more

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Champaign County’s Current crowned 2019 Ohio Fairs’ Queen

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Joel PenhorwoodPhoto Courtesy of Lora Current.At the Ohio Fair Managers’ Conference in Columbus at the beginning of January, young people from across the state came together to represent their respective counties and communities as they vied for the title of 2019 Ohio Fairs’ Queen. Chosen as this year’s representative was Lora Current of Champaign County.Current is a freshman at Mount Vernon Nazarene University studying social work and theology and represented Champaign County as their 2018 Fair Queen.“It was definitely a surprise. Very exciting. I went in there to try and do my best and represent our county well. It was a shock because no one from Champaign County has ever won before,” she said.She has been heavily involved at the county fair level.“I am one of seven kids — the younger end of that — so I’ve kind of grown up in the 4-H realm of things. I’ve shown market hogs, market chickens and sewing along with other miscellaneous projects.”A busy year lies ahead for Current.“I would like to represent Ohio at as many fairs as I can. A main goal I have is to create awareness for the fairs of Ohio — bringing kids into the program. I think there is something truly special with the fairs of Ohio where kids can learn and grow and it’s truly beneficial. I would like to see as many kids benefit from that as possible,” she said.More from 2019 Ohio Fairs’ Queen Lora Current in this interview with Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood after she was crowned. Audio Playerhttp://www.ocj.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/190107_LoraCurrent_OhioFairsQueen_Full.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.last_img read more

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What is the Darbar Move in J&K all about?

first_imgAs summer sets in, the Jammu and Kashmir government is all set to start functioning from Srinagar for the next six months. For the last six months, however, the government was working from its winter capital Jammu, as part of the pre-independence bi-annual ‘Darbar Move’ practice.Darbar Move is a century-old practice in which the government functions for six months each in the two capitals of the State, Srinagar and Jammu. The practice was reportedly started in the late 19th century by Ranbir Singh, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, who used to shift his capital between Srinagar in the summer and Jammu in the winter to escape extreme weather conditions in these places.  The government will function in Srinagar, the summer capital of the State, till late October and then move to Jammu, the winter capital, in the first week of November. Security measures and other arrangements have been made to ensure smooth functioning of the offices in Kashmir Valley, which has witnessed a spurt in militant activities in the last few months.Ahead of the Darbar Move, Srinagar usually receives a facelift every year. Roads around and leading to the Civil Secretariat, the seat of the government, are being renovated now. Besides, the government offices and quarters have been renovated and the streetlights restored, officials said.While most of the Kashmir-based government employees associated with the Civil Secretariat and other departments arrived in the Valley on April 29 and 30, Jammu-based employees have started arriving in Srinagar already, they said. The Jammu and Kashmir High court also moves from Jammu to Srinagar in summers and vice versa in winters.Hundreds of trucks are usually plied to carry furniture, office files, computers, and other records to the capital.  Over the years, there have been voices raised against the century-old practice which involves heavy funding towards ensuring the smooth conduct of the move.last_img read more

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Pablo Zabaleta to sign two-year contract with West Ham United F.C.

first_imgWest Ham United on Friday announced that veteran Argentine full-back Pablo Zabaleta will join the capital football club on a two-year deal on July 1, when his contract with Manchester City expires.A fine defender and respected leader, Zabaleta won two English Premier League (EPL) titles and four other trophies during a nine-year spell with City.”I hope I can give you good moments. Of course, I come to the Club to enjoy myself and hopefully we can have a very successful time,” Zabaleta told West Ham TV, while revealing he turned down offers from leading clubs in Italy, Spain and England to join the London club.”Sometimes a new challenge is all you need as a person and as a player. I thought my time at City was done. It’s been a fantastic nine years, absolutely brilliant,” the 32-year-old former Espanyol player added.At international level, Zabaleta captained Argentina to FIFA World Youth Championship glory in 2005, won Olympic Gold in Beijing in 2008 and has appeared at two Copa America and one FIFA World Cup finals. In all, he has 58 caps for his country.last_img read more

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