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UC Agriculture & Natural Resources News

Les Stromberg obit in Fresno Bee

The Fresno Bee ran a by-lined obituary about legendary UCCE farm advisor Leslie (Les) Stromberg on Saturday. Mr. Stromberg, who was hired as the Fresno County advisor for "soils and truck crops" in 1951, passed away Nov. 12 at the age of 89. According to the article, Mr. Stromberg sounded early warnings about the danger of San Joaquin Valley soil contamination, and helped growers fight plant disease, increase yield and establish Fresno County as the leading agricultural region in the nation.

The reporter who wrote the obituary, Jim Steinberg, sought comments from Mr. Stromberg's successor in the post of soils and water farm advisor, Dan Munk, and from one of Mr. Stromberg's colleagues in the Fresno County office, Bob Sheesley.

"It was a tremendous loss when he retired (in 1986)... He's remembered by growers. A thorough individual and kind man," Munk was quoted.

"He was the most knowledgeable soils and cotton adviser California ever had. He was my mentor, very practical, an original applied researcher," Sheesley was quoted.

Posted on Monday, November 19, 2007 at 9:10 AM

Hometown newspaper reports on Dan Dooley appointment

An article in today's Hanford Sentinel notes that Daniel Dooley hails from the same Hanford high school as his predecessor Reg Gomes.

"It's probably not common that you get people from the same high school following each other in these types of positions," the newspaper quotes Dooley.

In his article about the appointment, reporter Seth Nidever went to UCCE Kings County farm advisor Bob Beede for comment.

"Dan definitely understands the nature of the value and the critical use for agriculture ... and the activities assigned to the UC Cooperative Extension office," Beede is quoted.

According to the article, Beede said he looked forward to Dooley "beating the drum" for the role of the agricultural extension. He said that the extension's effect on the local economy is "in the multimillion dollar range."

Nidever also spoke to Bruce Roberts, the former county director for UCCE in Kings County who is now a professor at Fresno State. He called the extension program "very crucial" to keeping central California agriculture "competitive in the global market," the article said.

Posted on Friday, November 16, 2007 at 1:18 PM

Coverage of Dan Dooley's appointment

Today's media coverage of the appointment of Daniel M. Dooley to the position of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources vice president seemed to center in his native San Joaquin Valley.

The Fresno Bee offered the most extensive coverage with a story on the front page of the business section and an editorial calling the Regents' appointment a "wise choice." Fresno Bee ag reporter Dennis Pollock used comments from both Dooley and UC Regent Fred Ruiz gleaned during a teleconference yesterday. In addition, he included quotes in his story from Chowchilla grower Kole Upton, search committee chair Richard Rominger and water activist Lloyd Carter.

Other coverage included:

Associated Press issued a brief announcement, which was picked up in several major newspapers, including the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Several publications adapted the UCOP news release:

Posted on Friday, November 16, 2007 at 9:58 AM

What’s up with the bees?

The Sacramento News and Review ran a story today about apiculturist Eric Mussen's recent presentation at UC Davis on colony collapse disorder of honey bees. Using an irreverent writing style, reporter Kel Munger outlined the role of bees in production of fruit, nuts and vegetables in California and delved into theories about CCD.

"Mussen, possessor of one of those dry, scientific senses of humor, offered up theories galore, varying from the divine (bees raptured to heaven) to the conspiratorial (jet 'chemtrails' or 'chemical contrails' supposedly intended to kill old people have accidentally killed bees). He debunked them both gleefully, then addressed more serious theories in depth," the article said.

Mussen commented on the fact that bees dying en masse is not new. Bee journals have reported on hive failures since 1869. Die-offs were documented in three consecutive years in the early 1960s, and in 1975.

According to the article, Mussen doesn't expect the current surge in CCD to be related to any one specific cause.

“We’ll learn from all the studies, and it will lead to more research,” Mussen is quoted. “My general suspicion is that it’s a variety of things, all working together.”

Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2007 at 1:44 PM

Diet advice preceeds holiday eating season

The Sacramento Bee ran a story Nov. 9 with advice from two UC nutrition experts that Californians may take to heart next week when the holiday "eating season" begins. Linda Bacon, a San Francisco City College teacher who is on staff at UC Davis, and UC Davis nutrition researcher Judith Stern suggest people don't count on dieting after the holidays to make up for heavy eating. By and large, the diets don't work.

Dieters may get early results, but "every major study shows that a majority of dieters gain the weight back, and sometimes more," Bacon is quoted in the article.

The story reviewed a research project conducted by Stern and Bacon that found behavior change works better than dieting to improve overall heath. The researchers tracked 78 women, half were told to restrict their food consumption, keep food diaries and monitor their weight. The other half were instructed to train themselves to pay more attention to internal body cues that signal hunger and fullness. After two years, 42 percent of the first group dropped out, but only 8 percent of the second group. The second group maintained their weight, decreased their bad cholesterol and blood pressure. The dieting group lost weight in the beginning but gained it back by the end of the study.

"People are better advised to focus on behavior change than weight to achieve their health goals," Stern was quoted.

Posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 at 1:46 PM

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