September 14, 2008 in City

UI reports increase in enrollment


The University of Idaho appears to have rebounded from a five-year enrollment slump with an aggressive recruitment plan and amped up efforts to attract high school students.

The university has spent about $1.8 million during the past two years to revamp its image and draw more students to the Moscow campus with a campaign that has included flashy brochures and advertisements.

“We’re starting to see the fruits of the effort,” said Wendy Shattuck, assistant vice president for communication at the university.

Student enrollment for the fall semester has increased for the first time since 2003, according to enrollment figures released last week. The university now has 11,791 students statewide, a 1.3 increase from the 11,636 counted last fall.

After steady declines in fall enrollment since 2003 – the biggest drop at nearly 6 percent in 2006 – former university president Tim White had predicted the turnaround would begin this fall.


Jurors summoned in molestation case

A district court has summoned 150 potential jurors – about three times the normal amount – in the trial of a Washington state man accused of molesting four boys at a Boy Scout camp in North Idaho.

An Idaho grand jury has indicted 38-year-old Timothy Andrew Kellis on nine counts of lewd conduct, one count of attempted lewd conduct and two counts of sexual abuse of a child.

Kellis has pleaded not guilty to charges that he abused boys last summer while working as a counselor at the Camp Grizzly Boy Scout camp in Harvard, Idaho. Kellis, a former high school band director from Tumwater, Wash., is now being held at the Latah County Jail in Moscow on a $200,000 bond.

He faces the possibility of life in prison.

Kellis has also been charged with the second-degree rape of a child in Washington, where he previously worked as a high school band director. The 2nd District Court in Latah County normally calls about 50 to 60 prospective jurors in felony trials. Judge John R. Stegner asked for three times that amount, court officials say, because of the nature of the charges.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday and the trial is expected to go on for about a week.


Center will turn roadkill into compost

A new roadkill compost center will ensure that many deer, cattle and other animals killed along Eastern Oregon highways won’t simply decompose in a ditch.

Instead, the roadkill will become productive compost.

The Morrow County Planning Commission has approved a conditional use permit for a composting facility.

Officials say roadside carcasses are becoming a larger problem as Oregon’s population grows and that roadkill attracts scavengers such as coyotes, which bother farmers and boost the likelihood of more roadkill.

Tom Strandberg, the regional spokesman for Oregon Department of Transportation, said the facility would resemble one near Goldendale, Wash. Across the country, officials are re-examining the way they dispose of roadkill, he said.

Roadkill would be taken to one of four bins surrounded by a concrete berm to keep scavengers out. A layer of soil and wood chips would cover the bottom of the bins. The carcasses would be deposited and covered with finished compost and more bulk vegetable matter.

The process should take about three months.


District used sandwiches to recoup debt

The Edmonds School District has decided to stop taking away hot lunches from students whose parents owe lunch money.

For nearly two weeks, workers were told to throw away the hot food students put on a tray if their accounts were at least $10 behind. The children were given a cold cheese sandwich instead.

The policy was temporarily suspended Thursday after parents, cafeteria workers and community members complained about the district’s efforts to recoup more than $200,000 in lunch fee debt carried over from last year.

“We don’t want to throw away food, and we don’t want to embarrass students,” Edmonds Superintendent Nick Brossoit told The Herald newspaper of Everett.

A community meeting has been called for this week to discuss alternative solutions to the district’s lunch money debt problem.

When the school year began earlier this month, 2,750 students owed $10 or more on their meal accounts. After five days of the cheese-sandwich policy, parents paid back $45,269 of the debt.


Zoo’s baby elephant gets a name

The votes are in, and Oregon Zoo’s baby elephant will be named Samudra, a Hindi word meaning lord of the ocean.

But you can call him Sam.

Little Sam loves to take baths, hence the name. Samudra was among five names put to the public for a vote.

Zoo Deputy Director Mike Keele says there were more than 17,000 votes cast. Samudra captured more than 35 percent.

The calf was born Aug. 23 to Rose-Tu, who became confused after giving birth and nearly trampled him. Relations have since improved.

From wire reports

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