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In brief: Look out for signs of tussock moths

A tussock moth outbreak last summer affected more than 9,000 acres of Douglas fir and grand fir trees in Spokane and Kootenai counties, according to aerial surveys by state and federal agencies.

The native insects attack the top third of trees. The damage reduces tree growth, causes top-kill and can make the trees vulnerable to attacks from bark beetles, entomologists say. Hairs from the tussock caterpillar also irritate some people’s skins.

Last summer’s outbreak was tracked by the Washington Department of Natural Resources, the Idaho Department of Lands and the U.S. Forest Service. The agencies documented damage in Mica and Tekoa peaks, Liberty Lake and Gelbert Mountain in Spokane County. In Kootenai County, the moths were detected in the Signal Point area south of Post Falls, Twin Lakes and the Plummer area.

State agencies are asking private property owners to be on the lookout for signs of tussock moths and their egg masses. To report an outbreak, contact Glenn Kohler in Washington, (360) 902-1342, In Idaho, contact Tom Eckberg, (208) 666-8625,

Library director’s post will be focus

Spokane County Library District trustees will meet from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday to consider how to replace Director Michael Wirt, who plans to retire in February 2012.

Wirt joined the district in 1972 as contract librarian for Lakeland Village at Eastern State Hospital. He was named assistant director of the district in 1976 and director in 1980.

Trustees will confer with a recruiting consultant in the public meeting at the Lincoln Center, 1316 N. Lincoln St.

Wirt said the board hopes to name his replacement by Dec. 31.

Research facility to break ground

Officials with Micron Technologies Inc. say they intend to break ground this year on a new 50,000-square-foot research facility at the company’s main campus in Boise.

Spokesman Dan Francisco said this week that at least half of the new building would be devoted to research and development of 300 millimeter wafer microchips.

Construction is expected to be finished next year.


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