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Story Ideas for Media 7-17-06


Fighting escalates in Middle East; Ohio State expert offers analysis
- The release of two Israeli soldiers abducted by the Shiite militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon is at root of fighting that began a week ago between Israel and Lebanon. So far, 165 people have been killed and more than 400 have been wounded in Lebanon; 24 Israelis have died and more than 300 have been wounded. Arab-Israeli relations are key areas for Richard Herrmann, professor of political science and director of Ohio State's Mershon Center for International Security Studies, which focuses on the interdisciplinary study of international security. Herrmann is available for interviews by contacting Kathy Becker, Public Relations Coordinator for the center. CONTACT: Kathy Becker, (614) 292-7529.


Student proficiency test scores impact home values, study says.
Student scores on state proficiency tests affect more than just education issues - they play an important role in house prices, a new study suggests.
While it has been well-known that homebuyers pay attention to schools when considering which house to buy, this research shows how potential buyers are evaluating school quality, said Donald Haurin, co-author of the study and professor of economics at Ohio State University.
The study of Ohio school districts showed that an increase of about 20 percentage points in the proficiency test 'pass rate' increased house values in a district about 7 percent, even after taking into account other factors that impact house values. CONTACT: Donald Haurin, (614) 292-6809; Haurin.2@osu.edu SEE:http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/schlhome.htm

Global Warming in Your Garden? Common Plants, Bugs Reveal Important Climate Changes.
Evidence supporting climate change often comes in striking forms, from ozone-layer holes to remote melting glaciers. But signs also can be found in places a lot closer to home: your flower bed or tree lawn, according to Dan Herms, an Ohio State University entomologist at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center's (OARDC) at Wooster. Herms coordinates a statewide growing-season monitoring system that predicts when tree and shrub pests will first appear at any given location based on the blooming of ornamental plants.
This 'biological calendar' helps growers make more effective pesticide applications. But it also collects key data about plant and insect activity that reveals the occurrence of warmer winters and a significant extension of the growing season.
“We are not talking about changes from one year to the next, but long-term changes,” said Herms. “Winters are getting warmer. Bagworms are a good example. These pests of shade trees and woody ornamentals never were a problem north of I-70. But today they are found in northern Ohio as the temperature has gone up during the winter months.” He also says the growing season is starting earlier and ending later. CONTACT: Dan Herms, herms.2@osu.edu, (330) 202-3506.


New name becomes official: John Glenn School of Public Affairs created
- Ohio State's School of Public Policy and Management and has merged with the John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy to form the new John Glenn School of Public Affairs. The new school, which officially opened July 1, will offer two Master's degrees and a doctoral program in public policy and management, including dual- and joint-degree programs with other colleges and departments. In addition, the school runs internship programs for high school and undergraduate students; training programs for mid-career journalists and for public service professionals; activities for undergraduates with an interest in public service; and public events such as lectures and conferences around current policy issues. CONTACT: Laura Sipe, Sipe.9@osu.edu, (614) 247-6369.


Conference to address food shortages in Africa - July 24.
A team of OSU scientist has been awarded a $7.5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to improve the nutritional content of the cassava plant, considered one of the most important food crops in Africa. The plant's starchy tuberous root is a substantial portion of the diet of nearly 600 million people worldwide. A conference to launch the BioCassava Plus project will be held at Ohio State on Monday (7/24) at 302 Pfahl Hall, (part of the Blackwell), 2110 Tuttle Park Place. Topics will include "Why is malnutrition a severe problem in central Africa," and "The uses of cassava by Africans in Columbus, Ohio." Richard Sayre, professor of plant cellular and molecular biology, leads the team of scientists from 11 institutions worldwide in the five-year BioCassava Project. Sayer's research has already helped to create cassava with larger roots, and with little to no cyanide once it is harvested. CONTACT: Sandi Rutkowski, (614) 292-4759.

The person listed as the CONTACT will have the most current information about the story. Call on our media relations staff for help with any Ohio State story: Liz Cook, (614) 292-7276 or