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On Campus:

Las Vegas’ fields of green demand researcher’s attention

Water conservation is a top priority for residents of Las Vegas, who not only live in one of the country’s fastest-growing cities, but one of the driest.

Dale Devitt, a professor of soil and water sciences in the natural resources and environmental sciences department and state specialist with University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, has spent 19 years in Clark County building partnerships between the university and the community to address efficient and sensible water use.

“Individually, we are not the problem — collectively, we are,” Devitt says. “Residential water use accounts for up to 65 percent of Las Vegas’ total water use. If urban communities such as those in southern Nevada are to become better stewards of their water resources, they must develop best management practices for all aspects of water utilization.”

Part of Devitt’s research looks at the long-term effects of golf course irrigation with reuse water instead of using municipal water. His research confirms that treated effluent is a better management solution for large fields of green, such as golf courses. He uncovered one caveat, however. Golf course foliage — trees, shrubs and groundcover — are visibly damaged by the treated water.

Undeterred, Devitt has expanded his research to test which plant species aren’t damaged by effluent.

“With this expanded list, landscape architects and managers will have a wider palate of species to select from,” he says. “Based on the foliar damage ratings, managers will know prior to switching to reuse water which species in the landscape may require changes in irrigation management and also which to select as replacement species.”

— Bob Conrad

Incoming Foundation executive board members nominated

The University of Nevada, Reno Foundation approved the nomination of new officers at its Oct. 3 meeting.

Mary-Ellen McMullen was tabbed to take over as Foundation chair in January from Keith Lee, who served for the past two years. Lee will become a trustee emeritus in recognition of his exceptional service to the university. Along with Lee, eight other trustees were also recommended as trustee emeriti. Each served three, two-year terms: Louis Bonaldi, Randall Capurro, JoAnn Elston, Jack Fegely, William Hartman, Carol Mousel, Bradley Roberts and Jeanne Russell.

The following were nominated to serve their first term as Foundation trustees: Ann Jones of Reno, Frank Gallagher of Reno, Dan Klaich of Reno, Jay Kornmayer of Henderson, Scott Machabee of Las Vegas, Chuck Mathewson of Reno, McMullen of Reno, Sylvia Samano of Reno and Blake Smith of Reno.

The following trustees, currently serving on the board, have completed either one or two terms, and were nominated for another two-year term: Joe Brown, James Gardner, Kenneth Gardner and Felicia O’Carroll.

Those nominated for a third term were: Reed Bingham, Bernice Martin-Matthews, Julie Murray, Leslie Raggio, Mike Sloan, William Van Allen and Jane Witter.

In addition to McMullen, other executive officers are: O’Carroll, chair-elect and vice chair of finance; Jennifer Satre, vice chair of development; Raggio, vice chair of special events; Ann Jones Carlson, vice chair of scholarships; Greg Ferraro, vice chair of public affairs and advocacy; Paul Bible, vice chair of planning and governance; Stuart Engs, vice chair of nominations; Michonne Ascuaga and Ranson Webster, members-at-large. Lee will also serve, ex-officio, on the executive committee.

— Jean Dixon

Database profiling Hispanic businesses benefits economic development

A $95,396 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration to the University’s
Nevada Small Business Development Center (NSBDC) will allow the NSBDC to develop the most comprehensive Hispanic economic/demographic database available in northern Nevada.

The database promises to be a vital aid in the future success of Hispanic businesses in not only northern Nevada but the entire country, says Sam Males, state director of the NSBDC. The database will be a useful resource for Hispanic businesses to better understand their own market, providing segmented data applicable to all Hispanic business owners.

Both of Nevada’s U.S. senators, Harry Reid and John Ensign, played key roles in the development of the grant.

“While a wide variety of general information exists at the national level, very little exists at the local level, especially any type of specific Hispanic business information such as business types, business locations, marketing strategies and customer orientation, just to name a few,” Males says.

— John Trent

'Turf-ific' playing surface benefits students

Director of Campus Wellness Steve Pomi calls it "an historic partnership," and he's not far from the truth.

The university's new $2 million intramural and intercollegiate sports practice fields represent a culmination of months of work by a number of different groups. The project, completed in early August, included installation of synthetic "Field Turf" over what had been a battered area of grass and dirt. It also included installation of sports field lighting and fencing.

Funding from the Associated Students of the University of Nevada supplied half the project's cost, with additional monies and support supplied by the university and intercollegiate athletics.

Renovation of the fields will help reduce maintenance costs while aiding the university's burgeoning intramural program, which has ballooned to more than 1,000 participants in field-based sports alone.

"What is has done is triple our options for intramurals, club sports and special events," Pomi says.

—John Trent

KUNR celebrates 40 years on the air

Waking up to National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” or taking a weekly visit to Lake Wobegon on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” are part of life’s rituals for many residents of northern Nevada and eastern California. It’s difficult to imagine life without these and the many other familiar public radio offerings broadcast by KUNR-FM 88.7. But, it’s only since the 1980s that KUNR has been a full-service public radio station and an affiliate of National Public Radio.

“That was a big step for KUNR,” says General Manager Bobbi Lazzarone. “In 1981, we qualified for Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) funding that allowed us to get the 20,000 watt transmitter on McClellan Peak and to hire a professional staff.”

In October, KUNR marked a milestone: 40 years on the air. On Oct. 7, 1963, KUNR began broadcasting from a dormitory on the University of Nevada, Reno campus at a tiny 10 watts with a listening radius of 13 miles. At the time, there was only one other FM radio station in Nevada and few people had FM receivers, which were a novelty at the time. Sign-on was 3:45 p.m. each weekday and sign-off was 11 p.m., partly because there weren’t many records in the station’s classical music library. Today, more than 45,000 listeners tune in to KUNR each week for NPR news, classical, jazz and other music and information programming broadcast 24 hours a day.

“We’re one station, but we’re really trying to meet the needs of everybody,” Lazzarone says. “We believe in giving access to diverse music as it really is difficult for people to find a station any more that’s doing a variety of musical formats. We are also the only local NPR news source, which we broadcast seven days a week.”

For most of its first two decades, KUNR was mostly run by student volunteers. In the winter of 1981, it took a huge leap by qualifying for Corporation for Public Broadcasting funding. Former Director of the Office of Communication and Broadcasting Dan Tone recalls the achievement:

“[University of Nevada] President Crowley deserves a lot of credit for having the vision to support us in applying for financial support for studio hardware money that allowed us to put in the 20,000-watt transmitter and go to stereo. Becoming CPB-qualified enabled us to be an NPR affiliate.”

— John Wheeler

Kleppe uncovers submerged mysteries of Fallen Leaf Lake

John Kleppe is an excellent fisherman. Ask him at five o’clock for a fish dinner and you can count on trout frying in the pan by six. Living at Fallen Leaf Lake near Lake Tahoe for 23 years does that to a man.

For Kleppe, though, Fallen Leaf’s beauty and great fishing is only part of the allure. He firmly believes the future of managing water resources in the Sierra lies somewhere beneath the lake’s waters.

Kleppe, chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and an expert in acoustics, used a submersible, remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to find a number of ancient trees at the lake’s bottom. One is at least 1,000 years old. Another of the trees has been carbon-dated to 300 B.C.

“I believe that these trees are what is, quite possibly, the only known vertical history of the West’s droughts,” Kleppe says, adding that he believes the lake must have been 120 feet lower than its current level for the couple of hundred years during which these ancient pines and cedars burst from seed, sprouted and grew. For a 400-foot deep lake to go down 120 feet and stay down for over 200 years, there had to have been a severe mega-drought.

The significance?

“Like earthquakes, we need to understand droughts, and that there are ways to mitigate them,” Kleppe says. “My theory is that these droughts may be cyclic, possibly solar-driven in 400-year cycles.”

The next step will be to study the trees’ rings. Kleppe has received a grant from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Desert Research Institute, and has enlisted the help of Franco Biondi, assistant professor of geography.

— Melanie Supersano

Tanoue sets sights on international competition

Ryan Tanoue continues to excel on the national rifle stage — as well as the international stage.

Tanoue, a junior from Honolulu, Hawaii, finished second in air rifle at the U.S. National Rifle Championships at Fort Benning, Ga., in late June. Tanoue, a three-time NCAA All-American and 2002 NCAA champion, qualified for the U.S. National Team and competed internationally over the summer. His experience in international competition puts him in prime position to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team when tryouts are held this spring.

The Wolf Pack, led by Co-National Coach of the Year Fred Harvey, opened their season in September. The team’s season concludes March 13-14 at the NCAA Championships.

— Jamie Klund

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