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Story Ideas for Media 3-26-07


Ohio State receives $2.9 million NSF grant to boost K-12 science education.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $2.9 million to the university’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center at Wooster to help boost science education in Ohio schools. The 5-year NSF grant will join Ohio State researchers with K-12 teachers in Wayne and Holmes counties to build curriculum around the Sugar Creek Watershed Project. The Sugar Creek project is a grassroots effort partnering Ohio State scientists with area farming communities that has led residents to work together to monitor and remediate the water in their stream. Richard Moore, professor of human and community resource development and principal investigator on the grant (as well as the Sugar Creek project), says the program will focus on watershed science as a model for teaching science. CONTACT: Richard Moore, moore.11@osu.edu, (330) 202-3538, or Lance Williams, (614) 292-7739, williams.2157@osu.edu.

Ohio Union deconstruction nets $45,000 for Habitat for Humanity. Before the Ohio Union is demolished, the Habitat for Humanity OSU student chapter “deconstructed” the building, removing chairs, tables, light switch covers, file cabinets, artificial plants, chalk boards and anything else even remotely reusable. The items went to Habitat’s Build it again Center on Westerville Road, to be resold. The deconstruction generated $45,000 in revenue for Habitat; with more than $20,000 back to the Ohio State chapter. The money will help the chapter with costs of the next home it builds in the university district. CONTACT: Amy Murray, (614) 292-8385.


Software pinpoints traffic accident “hotspots.”
Ohio State University scientists have created software that can identify traffic accident hotspots on state roadways. The software is publicly available and can be adapted for use by any state, said Christopher Holloman, associate director of the Statistical Consulting Service in Ohio State’s Department of Statistics. Currently, the Ohio State Highway Patrol is using it to help position its cruisers during major holidays. “We can make predictions for every major roadway in Ohio, under all possible road conditions, for every hour of the day, for every day of the week,” Holloman said. The software relies on reports of injuries and fatalities from the highway patrol, and incorporates statistics about what makes accidents happen. CONTACT: Christopher Holloman, (614) 292-0738; Holloman.5@osu.edu. SEE: http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/accident.htm


Policy series explores the secrets behind financial aid – March 30.
Kim Clark, senior writer with U.S. News & World Report, will present “Deal or No Deal: The Secrets Behind Student Financial Aid,” at noon on Friday (3/30) as part of the new Food for Thought Policy Forums sponsored by The John Glenn School of Public Affairs. Clark is currently in residence at Ohio State as a fellow of the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism. Her research unveils the surprising and sometimes dysfunctional realities behind financial aid decisions. All forums are held in Page Hall’s Policy Forum, 1810 College Road and are free, but RSVP’s are required to mar30@jgippm.ohio-state.edu. CONTACT: Patti Confar, (614) 247-8181.

How far can you toss a concrete Frisbee and other engineering challenges – March 30-31. Students from 15 schools in Ohio, Kentucky and Pennsylvania will build bridges, race concrete canoes and toss concrete Frisbees as Ohio State hosts the annual Ohio Valley Regional Conference of the American Society of Civil Engineers March 29-31. The events are on Friday and Saturday (3/30-31) with winners advancing to the ASCE National Competitions. Schedule of events for media coverage:
• The Concrete Frisbee Competition is 9 a.m. to noon on Friday (3/30) at Anderson Concrete, 200 Haul Road. In the Concrete Frisbee Competition, the Frisbee must be between 8 and 12 inches in diameter and no more than 2.5 inches at its thickest point. Frisbees will be judged on aesthetic qualities and on the accuracy and distance of throws by the students.
Concrete Canoe racing is noon to 4 p.m. on Friday (3/30) at Anderson Concrete, 200 Haul Road. The Concrete Canoe Competition will involve both building and racing the canoes, so students will be judged on topics such as design, use of technology and materials and competitive spirit. The canoes must float even when filled completely with water, and all floatation material in the canoe must be encased in concrete.
• The Environmental Competition is 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday (3/31) in Knowlton Hall; 274 West Woodruff Ave. Students must design a system to improve typical river water to drinking water quality using only commonly available household items or construction materials purchased from retail stores. The system must be constructed within 30 minutes and take no more than 45 minutes to treat the water.
CONTACT: Joan Slattery Wall, (614) 292-4064,