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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Crick in your neck? Move your tablet!

After hours of Hearthstone on your tablet computer, are you starting to feel a crick in your neck?

Researchers at Washington State University say tablet users experience neck muscle strain at levels up to 3 to 5 times greater than when sitting with the head in a neutral position, like glancing at a desktop computer monitor.

Anita Vasavada, associate professor of chemical engineering and bioengineering at WSU, published the results in the February issue of the journal Ergonomics. She and a research team studied the tablet use of 33 people, including students and faculty, at a laboratory in Pullman. They used x-rays to determine the curvature of the spine when users typed and read on tablets in several different positions, including allowing the user to pick how they held the tablet. 

Muscle strain was most severe when users typed on the tablet as it sat in their lap. It was least severe when the tablets were propped up to the highest angle using the Smart Cover stand produced by Apple, but researchers did not test multiple brands of tablet accessories. 

To the surprise of researchers, there was no noticeable difference in muscle strain between men and women in the group. Past research has shown women are at greater risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders, according to the WSU researchers.

Vasavada and the researchers note the sample size is small, but the laboratory findings could go a long way in introducing ergonomic guidelines for tablet use. A booming industry of ergonomic keyboards, desks, chairs and other accessories has already developed for desktop computers.

The Tech Deck's advice? It's probably best to take a break between hourlong card battle bouts, anyway.

Unloading the quote book: Ernie Kent wins first as WSU coach

It wasn't pretty, but Washington State men's basketball coach doesn't expect many wins to come in that fashion in his first year at the helm in Pullman. 

Friday night's 80-68 win over Idaho State at Beasley Coliseum showed as much. 

I unload my quote book from Kent and players after the jump. 

Lovely lentils

The National Lentil Festival in Pullman is right around the corner.

To celebrate, the Spokesman-Review's Food section plans to feature several recipes spotlighting the protein-packed and fiber-full lens-shaped legume. Here are a couple in advance: Ultimate Veggie Burgers from Cook's Country and Arugula, Lentil and Butternut Squash Salad from the new cookbook "A Simple Feast: A Year of Stories and Recipes to Savor and Share" by Diana Yen.

Ultimate Veggie Burgers

From Cook’s Illustrated

This recipe is a bit involved, but it comes highly recommended from a vegetarian friend who makes these patties by the double or triple batch-loads, then freezers them for future use. We're told they freeze well.

Lentils and bulgur give the texture a hardy quality. Cremini mushrooms and cashews add savory flavor. Canned lentils may be used but the result is slightly less flavorful.

¾ cup dried brown lentils, picked over and rinsed

2½ teaspoons table salt, divided

¾ cup bulgur

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 medium onions, chopped fine (about 2 cups)

1 rib celery (large), chopped fine (about ½ cup)

1 small leek, white and light green parts only, chopped fine (about ½ cup)

2 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)

1 pound cremini mushrooms (or white), cleaned and sliced about ¼-inch thick (about 6½ cups)

1 cup raw unsalted cashews

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

Ground black pepper

Bring 3 cups water, lentils and 1 teaspoon salt to boil in medium saucepan over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until lentils are just beginning to fall apart, about 25 minutes. Drain in fine-mesh strainer. Line baking sheet with triple layer paper towels and spread drained lentils over. Gently pat lentils dry with additional paper towels; cool lentils to room temperature.

While lentils simmer, bring 2 cups water and ½ teaspoon salt to boil in small saucepan. Stir bulgur wheat into boiling water and cover immediately; let stand off heat until water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain in fine-mesh strainer; use rubber spatula to press out excess moisture. Transfer bulgur to medium bowl and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, celery, leek, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Spread vegetable mixture on second baking sheet to cool; set aside. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to now-empty skillet; heat over high heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Spread mushrooms on baking sheet with vegetable mixture; cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Process cashews in food processor until finely chopped, about fifteen 1-second pulses (do not wash food processor blade or bowl); stir into bowl with bulgur along with cooled lentils, vegetable-mushroom mixture, and mayonnaise. Transfer half of mixture to now-empty food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped, 15 to 20 1-second pulses; mixture should be cohesive but roughly textured. Transfer processed mixture to large bowl; repeat with remaining unprocessed mixture and combine with first batch. Stir in panko, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Line baking sheet with paper towels. Divide mixture into 12 portions, about ½ cup each, shaping each into tightly packed patty, 4 inches in diameter and ½-inch thick; set patties on baking sheet; paper towels will absorb excess moisture.

Patties can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 3 days.

Cook on stovetop with remaining oil, about 4 minutes per side, or on grill, about 5 minutes per side, flipping only once.

Note: If freezing, for each patty to be frozen, add 1 teaspoon panko or ½ teaspoon plain bread crumbs before shaping. Thaw overnight in refrigerator on triple layer of paper towels, covered loosely.

Note: If freezing, for each patty to be frozen, add 1 teaspoon panko or ½ teaspoon plain bread crumbs before shaping. Thaw overnight in refrigerator on triple layer of paper towels, covered loosely.

Yield: 12 (4-inch) patties

Arugula, Lentil and Butternut Squash Salad

From “A Simple Feast: A Year of Stories and Recipes to Savor and Share” by Diana Yen

This salad highlights the flavors of autumn with its delicate, peppery leaves, sweet butternut squash and earthy lentils.

For the salad

1 butternut squash (2 to 2½ pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into ¾-inch cubes

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons honey


1 cup French green lentils (also known as Puy lentils)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 garlic clove, minced

½ teaspoon ground cumin

Freshly ground black pepper

6 ounces arugula (about 8 cups loosely packed)

For the dressing

2 garlic cloves, peeled

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

3 tablespoons finely minced shallots

1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard

1½ tablespoons white wine vinegar

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, toss the butternut squash with the olive oil and honey and season generously with salt. Spread the squash in a single layer on the baking sheet and roast until beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Stir the squash and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until fork tender. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, place the lentils in a medium saucepan and add water to cover by 2 inches. Do not salt the cooking water to ensure the lentils will stay firm to the bite. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the lentils are fully cooked but still firm. Drain and set aside. In the same pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until softened, 2 to 3 minutes, then return the lentils to the pan, add the cumin, and season with salt and pepper.

To make the dressing, smash the garlic to a paste on a cutting board using the side of a chef’s knife. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, shallots, garlic, mustard and vinegar. Add the olive oil in a slow drizzle as you continue to whisk until the dressing has emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, toss the arugula with the dressing and top with the lentils and roasted squash. Serve immediately.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

I come bearing links

From Spokane — Hello there, Coug fans! You may have noticed that at the top of the page it doesn't say, "Christian Caple." That's because I am not, in fact, Christian Caple. I'm his replacement, the guy who will take over his beat covering WSU football, basketball, etc. His loss. I've taken a pit stop on the road to Pullman to immerse myself in one of life's great treasures: New Hire Paperwork. But that doesn't mean I don't have time to pass along the daily links from around the Pac-12, and introduce myself, I suppose.

Back to school?

Remember: Just because your little one is back in the classroom, it doesn't mean they all are. Here's a gem from yesterday's Pullman police log.

13-P07307 Juvenile Problem               12:02:24 09/04/13 Aaron Breshears ACT

Reaney Park, PULLMAN, WA 99163

RP reporting a child at the park that should be at school.  Officer responded.  Child is homeschooled. 

Police log gems: Pullman police help baby bird

Pullman police responded to a call of a baby bird that had fallen out of the nest Tuesday at about 11:20 a.m. on the 2500 block of NW Short Drive.

Police responded and placed the bird back into the nest, according to police logs.

Palouse Cities Among USA Smartest

Ithaca, N.Y. is a relatively small college town, but one thing that might make up for its size is its brain power. That’s because Ithaca tops a new list from Lumosity that ranks U.S. cities by their raw cognitive performance. … Many of the cities and towns on the list, not surprisingly, are prominent “college towns.” Ithaca, N.Y., the top of the list, is home to both Cornell University and Ithaca College. State College, Penn. number two, is home to Penn State. Lafeyette, Ind., number three, is home to Purdue University/Sean Ludwig, VB Offbeat. More here.

DFO: Interestingly, Pullman, Wash., ranks No. 10 and Moscow, Idaho, ranks No. 29 on the Lumosity list.

Question: How would you rate your North Idaho city for smarts (on a scale of 1 to 10)?

AT&T launches first Eastern Washington LTE (true 4G) service in Pullman

If you're a big fan of LTE (long term evolution) mobile data, AT&T has news.

The wireless provider announced it's deployed true LTE service in the Moscow-Pullman area.

So, to confuse things, the way mobile connectivity works, LTE is considered important because it qualifies as "true 4G" service. True 4G data speeds are generally 10 times faster than mobile 3G networks.

Verizon, Spring and AT&T all offer 4G service in Spokane and Coeur d'Alene.  Verizon can properly claim to be the first wireless carrier with LTE service in Spokane.

AT&T hasn't said when it will bring LTE service into Spokane. At present, it offers a hybrid network here called 4G HSPA+. And that, according to an AT&T spokesman, is roughly four times faster than 3G.

Pullman and Moscow get AT&T’s first Eastern Washington LTE data network

If you're a big fan of LTE (long term evolution) mobile data, AT&T has news.

The wireless provider announced it's deployed true LTE service in the Moscow-Pullman area.

So, to confuse things, the way mobile connectivity works, LTE is considered important because it qualifies as "true 4G" service. True 4G data speeds are generally 10 times faster than mobile 3G networks.

Verizon, Spring and AT&T all offer 4G service in Spokane and Coeur d'Alene.  Verizon can properly claim to be the first wireless carrier with LTE service in Spokane.

AT&T hasn't said when it will bring LTE service into Spokane. At present, it offers a hybrid network here called 4G HSPA+. And that, according to an AT&T spokesman, is roughly four times faster than 3G.

Ed Schweitzer honored by IEEE for his achievements in power systems

Ed Schweitzer III, founder and president of Pullman’s Schweitzer Engineering Labs, was presented a 2012 IEEE Medal in Power Engineering last weekend during a ceremony in Boston.

He was among 26 men and women saluted by the IEEE for achievements in technology, computing and engineering. IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional association.

The award recognized Schweitzer’s role in “revolutionizing the performance of electrical power systems with computer-based protection and control equipment.”

His company, with offices in Pullman and Lewiston, designs and manufactures a range of products used in the electric power industry. Its products provide backup protection for distributed power applications and help utilities keep accurate measurements of power flowing through transmission lines.

Itron partners with northeast U.S. utility to study advanced smart grid options

On Wednesday, as Itron reported mixed earnings, the Liberty Lake utility technology maker and service provider also announced it's taking part in an East Coast smart grid demonstration project.

Itron and National Grid, a northeast U.S. utitlity, announced they will be partners on a project to build and evaluate advanced smart grid systems in Massachusetts.

Here's where the geeky tech stuff shows up in the story: the two firms will field-test the multi-application capabilities of the new Itron-Cisco IPv6 based smart grid solution, including advanced metering, home area networking (HAN) and distribution automation (DA). That "stuff" is the typical and more or less standard set of tools the smart grid depends on.

OK, then, what's the key news here?  The press report says the system will use Cisco technology that allows a utility to exchange information with its residential and business customers without requiring them to all use just one proprietary set of equipment or applications.

As designed, that makes the smart grid more open-standards based, sort of like the way the Web is designed.

It's a big deal because this allows an electric utility do have a grid system across a diverse set of customers, including large industrial customers, or when dealing with a dispersed group of home customers, some of whom may be using different home metering products than others across the utility map are using.

If you really want all the other details, here's the official Itron release.

Itron and Cisco not long ago announced they had a similar deal for BC Hydro, one of Canada's largest electric utilities. Here's a summary of the project being done in British Columbia.

Pullman adopts stream conservation project; holds festival Sept. 17

CONSERVATION — Pullman is working with private landowners and students to beautify and maintain the several that flow through the Palouse town.

The Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute in partnership with the City of Pullman will kick off the

  • Pullman ponders pot planting

    In this photo provided by the Oregon State Police, a marijuana growing operation is shown in in Northeast Oregon on Friday, June 17, 2011.

    PULLMAN – The Pullman City Council will discuss medical marijuana and the possible regulation of newly approved “community gardens” at its regular meeting Tuesday.

    The discussion is prompted by recent changes in state law, which took effect July 22. The law now allows up to 10 patients to join together and raise “community gardens” for the purpose of supplying themselves with medical marijuana. Each garden would be limited to a maximum of 45 marijuana plants. More here.

    Community marijuana gardens: good idea or bad idea?

    Idaho Vandal End Cited For DUI

    Authorities in Pullman, Wash., say they arrested University of Idaho receiver Robert Hatchett III for allegedly driving under the influence. The 22-year-old junior from Compton, Calif., was pulled over early Sunday morning and failed two field sobriety tests. Police say Hatchett was initially pulled over because the taillights in his vehicle were not working. KXLY reports that Hatchett was later released on the misdemeanor charge. "We are aware of this matter. It will be handled in a manner consistent with our departmental policy," Idaho athletic department spokeswoman Becky Paull said in an email to the Idaho Statesman/AP, Idaho Statesman.

    Question: Which college team will have more DUIs and criminal activity this year — WSU or UI?

    Pullman Drug Arrests Unusually High

    Item: Pot arrests disproportionately high in Pullman/Jody Lawrence-Turner, SR

    More Info: Last year, Pullman police arrested 104 people for misdemeanor marijuana possession; the city’s population is about 29,800. In Spokane, a city of 208,916 people, 221 were arrested on the same charge. According to the 2000 census, 50 percent of Pullman’s population is 18-24 years old, while only 11 percent of Spokane’s fell into that age group, despite the presence of a handful of colleges and universities.

    Question: Is the Pullman Police Department too aggressive in arrested people for misdemeanor marijuana possession?

    Pimp, robbery suspect jailed in Spokane

    A convicted pimp suspected of robbing nine banks in Oregon and Western Washington is in the Spokane jail.

    Kevin Antoine Jones, 23, was arrested in Pullman Wednesday and appeared in U.S. District Court on Thursday.

    He's awaiting transport back to Seattle. Jones is charged with four counts of bank robbery for hold ups Oct. 16 at U.S. Bank in Tukwila and Wells Fargo in Des Moines, Oct. 18 at U.S. Bank in Seattle and Oct. 19 at Chase Bank in Des Moines.

    He's also suspected of robberies Nov. 5 at a U.S. Bank in Portland, and Nov. 6 at a U.S. Bank in Gresham, Bank of the West and Wells Fargo in Troutdale.

    Also suspected is Isaiah Jordan Summers, who is in custody.

    The two were arrested after a robbery at Columbia Bank in Milton, Wash,., on Nov. 8.

    It's unclear why Jones was released from custody, but he was featured on Washington's Most Wanted Feb. 25 and 26.

    A viewer's tip led to his arrest at an apartment in 1800 block of Northwest Lamont Drive in Pullman after a brief SWAT team standoff.

    Jones has prior convictions for promoting prostitution and gun possession, according to Washington’s Most Wanted.

    Pullman served with a Clean Water Act 60-day notice letter

    Press Release

    City of Pullman Up to Its Neck in Waste

    Pullman, WA — April 21, 2010 – The next time you consider swimming or boating on the South Fork of the Palouse River, you might want to consider what you are getting into.

    Based upon information obtained from the Washington Department of Ecology, The Land’s Council today sent the City of Pullman a Clean Water Act 60-day notice letter. The notice letter explains that the City’s stormwater system, sewage collection system, and wastewater treatment facility are impairing recreational and environmental uses of the South Fork of the Palouse River and the Palouse by discharging illegal and unsafe levels of fecal coliform bacteria, chlorine, PCBs (a known carcinogen), and ammonia, among other pollutants. Following the 60-day notice period, The Lands Council intends to seek legal remedies against the City of Pullman for its violations of the Clean Water Act.

    The water quality problems facing the South Fork of the Palouse River pose a danger to local residents recreating in the water. One such person is Lands Council member Scott Cornelius, who recreates and maintains a trail for others to recreate along the South Fork of the Palouse River. “It is unfortunate that the contamination has risen to this level,” said Mr. Cornelius. “But we believe with a little push in the right direction, Pullman can begin fixing its pollution problems.”

    One major problem facing Pullman, and the residents that use the water, is the excessive discharge of fecal coliform bacteria. These bacteria are found in human feces. Their presence in streams poses a health risk to swimmers and other water contact activities. Another problem is the discharge of toxins, such as PCB’s and the pesticide dieldrin from Pullman’s stormwater system. These carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting pollutants are persistent and attach to fatty cells in humans and fish, posing a long term health threat to those that come into contact with the water or those that eat the fish caught in the polluted water.

    A second new hotel coming to Pullman?

    Last month a California property company announced plans to buy land in Pullman to build a Hilton-branded hotel and convention center.

    Something must be happening in Pullman.

    Now a Louisiana company, InterMountain Management, LLC, has plans to build a 100-room, $11.5-million Hampton Inn & Suites in the southeast corner of Pullman.

    Director of Development Stan Jones said InterMountain is preparing to  close on roughly four acres near the intersection of Bishop Blvd. and Fairmount Drive.

    “The decision by the other company is purely coincidental to our plan,” said Jones.

    He said InterMountain, based in Monroe, La., has found that Pullman is underserved for quality lodging and accommodations.

    Jones said it seems odd to him that Hilton Hotels  —- which also owns the Hampton Inn & Suites division — would add two new hotels in the same relatively small city. “But that is a question for Hilton,” Jones said.

    Pullman has a different reason to party

    Avista is leading a $38 million smart grid demonstration project that will distribute electricity more efficiently and use sources such as solar and wind power. The demonstration is part of a $178 million regional effort in the Northwest. According to the Spokesman, funding will come from the federal government at $19 million; Avista will throw in $12.9 million; and other partners will contribute the remaining dollars. Also, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Washington State University, Itron and Hewlett Packard are also involved in the smart grid. The project is estimated to take five years, a bright spot in the future during the Wulff regime (3-21). Sorry. We just can’t resist with the Apple Cup approaching. Full story HERE.

    2nd Tea Party Planned For Pullman

    Item: Second TEA Party planned for Pullman: Organizers hope event encourages attendees to put message into action/Hillary Hamm, Moscow-Pullman Daily News


    More Info: Jeff Williams isn’t sure everyone got the message during the area’s first Taxed Enough Already parties in April. Williams said the roughly 500 people who participated in the events in Moscow and Pullman understand the need for accountability in government, fiscal responsibility and standing strong by the Constitution. Now he wants to spread the word even more and start a revolution among people willing to challenge their elected officials. A second TEA Party Protest/Freedom Rally will take place in Pine Street Plaza in downtown Pullman at 4 p.m. Saturday.

    Question: Have you attended any of the protest tea parties in the Inland Northwest?

    The Glow: Pullman (high)Lights

    I got the name! The Glow: -insert selected city here- (high)Lights….what do you think?  Finally - a phrase that describes what I do, (check out the city’s highlights!) and something catchy, (glowing city lights!). Whew! So here’s the third weekly installment of my adventures…

    There’s usually only one thought in my mind when traveling through the ‘Home of the Cougs’, Pullman, Washington: “Which coffee shop?” (That’s not really all that surprising, now is it?)

    While grabbing some ‘joe down on the East end of Main Street, I came across a little used book store - Brused Books. To be honest, any store with a huge window-display of various art books is exactly my type of place.

    “The name came to owner Bruce Calkins in a dream…” says the website for Brused Books: Personal.palouse.net. And it’s perfect. The store features over 80,000 different titles, (*jaw drops…) and keeps track of each one old-school style.  No ‘database’ for these guys; it’s classic card files and trade-in credit all the way.

    This is exactly the warm-comforting-scholarly atmosphere that you experience directly upon stepping into this book-lover’s heaven. Looking for a copy of Allende’s ‘Eva Luna’? (They’ve got at least 5…) How about the I Ching? (I counted 4, including countless textbooks delving into every other surrounding philosophy…)

    Brused Books will also satisfy your inner-world traveler.  I like to call it the ‘Center Cultural Mini-Store’, (based on it’s location: the center of the store, and what it offers: a high dose of culture…) It features authentic Prayer Flags, ethnic pan-flutes, fair-trade herbal tea, and hand-woven scarves and bags from various international countries. This place truly is a go-to place for anyone interested in finding a crazy-good deal in a little shop with a crazy-cool atmosphere.

    Chloe’s Tried-and-True Favorites: I have to hand it to the Music section. Located wayyy in the back, I’ve found some great steals. It’s got everything ranging from orchestra sheet music and jazz instruction books to the pubished journals of Kurt Cobain (had to buy it), and the lyric-book for The Doors, (had to get that one too…)

    What’s better: A great used book?, or a brand-spankin’ new one? What has been your favorite book-store find?