CSU’s Chemistry ranks among top 50 across nation

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Jul 272010
 
Authors: Nick Childs

CSU, once again, broke the top 50 chemistry graduate programs in the country.

The U.S. News and World Report recently ranked CSU’s chemistry graduate program at 45th, tied with Duke University, Boston College and the University of Virginia.

According to the Chemistry Department Chair Ellen Fisher, this achievement is attributed to the national recognition of members within CSU’s chemistry program, which increases the programs “visibility.”

“The program is on an upswing year by year, and I’m thrilled to be here to ride the wave,” said chemistry professor Tomislav Rovis.

CSU has been ranked in the top 50 since the early ‘90s, Fisher said, and she believes that the program will continue to rise and could rank as high as the top 20.

“We could crack the top 40 in the next three to five years,” Fisher said.

In order to do so, she said, the program must continue its focused efforts on increasing the programs visibility within the realm of chemistry.

This includes developing a faculty that is rising in prominence, increasing available resources and continuing to win grants and awards.

The Chemistry Department, Fisher said, currently has approximately $7 million of research equipment, and they continue to try to add to it.

It is difficult to get much higher than that because the programs that rank in the top 10 have been there for a long time and are well established, she said.

Along with the department-wide honor, Roche, a leading pharmaceutical company, recently honored Rovis and doctoral student Daniel DiRocco, showing CSU’s “focused efforts of increased visibility” are not going unnoticed, Fisher said.

Roche honored Rovis and DiRocco for catalytic reaction research. Also recognized was the work of two professors and about a dozen graduate students from various chemistry programs around the country, Rovis said.

This is particularly important to the Chemistry Department, Rovis said, because it’s such a small group of people being recognized, most who were from schools ranked in the top 15 by the U.S. News and World Report.

“Roche has long supported our program, and this is a great recognition. It shows the impact of the works outside of the university,” Fisher said.

With the recognition by Roche, Fisher said, comes an unrestricted grant of approximately $30,000 to be used as Rovis pleases.

“This gives us the latitude to do different things,” he said, adding that with the current funding from the university there is only so much that can be done. Research is more limited, he said.

While the amount of money isn’t as significant, he said, the great part about it is that he doesn’t have to defend why he wants to do certain research; he is allowed more range in the type of research that he can do.

DiRocco’s recognition included a trophy and a cash honorarium, Fisher said.

Rovis, a self-proclaimed “idea man,” set in motion research that led to the building of “tools” that make molecules that may be the basis for treatments of illnesses such as cancer.

The goal, he said, is to be able to manipulate molecules to do exactly what they want in a timely manner.

“Our tools are used to make new compounds to create new drugs faster,” he said.

Rovis received his bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. He then moved on to do his post-doctoral studies at Harvard University and came to CSU in 2000.

The work at Harvard, he said, was essential to his maturation process as a chemist. Harvard’s chemistry department is currently ranked the 4th best program in the nation, according to the U.S. News and World Report.

Rovis is appreciative of honored by Roche, but he gave a lot of credit to DiRocco and his other students.

“Without the student’s passion, (my research) would go nowhere. (DiRocco) is a very, very strong researcher, and this is a very high recognition for him. It is definitely deserved,” Rovis said.

Staff writer Nick Childs can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:27 pm

TCU picked to win the MWC in 2010

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Jul 272010
 
Authors: Collegian Staff Report

The TCU Horned Frogs were selected as the preseason favorite to win the MWC in 2010, the conference announced Tuesday.

TCU is coming off a 12-1 season in 2009, running the table in the MWC and earning a spot in the Fiesta Bowl, where they fell to Boise State 17-10.

In 2009, TCU was also picked as the preseason favorite to win the conference. The Horned Frogs became the first school in the 11-year history of the MWC to finish the year atop the league standings after being selected as the preseason front runner.

 Posted by at 5:26 pm

Junior Sisson named 1st team all-conference

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Jul 272010
 
Authors: Collegian Staff Report

CSU junior linebacker Mychal Sisson was named first team All-Conference by the Mountain West Conference Tuesday during the league’s Media Days in Las Vegas.

Sisson, a native of Duncanville, Texas, has led the Rams in tackles the past two seasons with 91, including six sacks and a forced fumble in 2009 and 105 total take downs in 2008. Sisson’s efforts in 2008 were good enough to have him named a consensus freshman All-American.

Sisson was the only CSU player to be named first team All-Conference.

 Posted by at 5:25 pm

Buffaloes get new transfer from USC

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Jul 272010
 
Authors: Collegian Staff Report

CU-Boulder will add a new wide receiver to its football roster come fall, adding USC transfer Travon Patterson.

Patterson, the 5-foot-9-inch, 170-pound native of Long Beach, Calif., has 10 receptions in the past three seasons with the Trojans.

He will be eligible to play this season when the Buffs and CSU Rams meet in the Rocky Mountain Showdown on Sept. 4 in Denver.

 Posted by at 5:24 pm

Kowalczyk’s recent surgery a success

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Jul 272010
 
Authors: Collegian Staff Report

CSU Athletics Director Paul Kowalczyk is recovering after a successful surgery Thursday to treat prostate cancer.

Serving as the head of the Athletics Department since 2006, Kowalczyk, 52, had known about the cancer since a physical in June 2009. He plans to be back at work by the time the Rams’ volleyball and football seasons start this fall.

 Posted by at 5:23 pm

Police Chief has sucessful year

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Jul 272010
 
Authors: Rachel Childs

CSU Police Chief Wendy Rich-Goldschmidt has seen a year of bike traffic, budget cuts and gun bans and is ready to take on another one.

“I certainly like new challenges, and this has certainly been a challenge for me,” Rich-Goldschmidt said.

Last year, Rich-Goldschmidt left her position as police chief at the University of Northern Colorado to take over for former CSU Police Chief Dexter Yarborough, who resigned last year amid both internal and external investigations into alleged misconduct.

“I was at a place in my life where I was at UNC for 22 years. I felt like I was ready for a new challenge and looking for a new chapter in my life,” Rich-Goldschmidt, who had been with UNC since 1987, said.

She beat out University of Alaska Anchorage Police Chief Joe Dale Pittman and Commander of the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force and former CSU police officer Jerry Schiager for the position.

She began work last August and was sworn in more than a month later. The beginning was like drinking from a fire hose, she said.

“One of the things that I noticed right away is that ten to the hour it’s kind of like walking the gauntlet because you have to move so many people, either pedestrians or bicyclists or motorists, in a fairly compressed space,” she said.

Her label as the first female chief has no bearing on her ability as a leader.

“I look more at the qualities I have as a person,” she said. “There have been small issues over the span of my career where gender may have been a discussion point, but I don’t see it as having been an obstacle for me.”

Her largest accomplishment for the year was the creation of a strategic plan and organizing the direction of the department.

“We’ve certainly had an opportunity to make some changes and provide some new direction and strategy in terms of identifying our goals and objectives and trying to of course augment campus safety, which is really our mission,” Rich-Goldschmidt said.

Some of the changes include updating policies in order to maintain the department’s accreditation and tackling issues such as alcohol awareness by connecting students with resources that include RamRide and the Education and Prevention Services Department.

The aim is to keep the community safe and facilitate the success that students are here, according to Rich-Goldschmidt.

“I have always been impressed with Chief Rich-Goldschmidt.  Her approach to policing is exactly what the university needs.  She understands the needs of the university and leads in a positive direction to accomplish our goals,” said CSUPD Assistant Chief Frank Johnson.

Positive relationships are Rich-Goldschmidt’s other main focus. The police department works closely with several on-campus divisions and academic organizations including the Associated Student of CSU, Housing and Dining Services and Crime Stoppers.

“There are some great partnerships that we are continuing to work on, whether or not its community members or police agencies,” Rich-Goldschmidt said.

Vice President of Student Affairs Blanche Hughes meets with the chief monthly to discuss how to allow students and law enforcement to better communicate.

This year’s endeavors include a question-and-answer session for incoming students and parents, as well as the regular ‘walk-arounds’ by officers in the residence halls.

“She’s a great team player. She’s always looking at what’s best for the students and the university,” Hughes said.

Fort Collins Police Department Chief Dennis Harrison believes that the role of law enforcement in each department has been given a better focus than last year.

“It’s a great relationship,” Harrison said.

The two meet weekly to discuss future collaboration. CSUPD has recently planned to dedicate some staff members to assist the city with alcohol safety by adding some staff to the downtown area to monitor safety around bars.

Controversial issues, such as the CSU System Board of Governors charging campus leadership to implement a system-wide gun ban earlier this year, have also fallen on the chief’s desk.

“It was quite an interesting time. This is a topic that people feel very passionate about, with a myriad of opinions and perspectives,” Rich-Goldschmidt said.

The policy of allowing concealed weapons still stands, and the department will stand by that policy, she said

Upon signing up for the position, she was thrust into a tight fiscal atmosphere, in which the department saw $152,000 in budget cuts, called for adjustments to staffing and the loss of five squad cars.

“I don’t think that the community will see any significant change or impact in our service,” Rich-Goldschmidt said, adding that her long-term goal is to see a positive impact on the way law enforcement and students interact and how the police force operates.

“In terms of the coming year again we will be working hard to again roll out that strategic plan and identify the ways that we can be as involved in helping our community to be a great place to work and study to achieve their four year degree.”

Crime Beat Reporter Rachel Childs can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:21 pm

CSU, Fort Collins fortify flood prevention plans

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Jul 272010
 
Authors: Alexandra Sieh

Thirteen years ago today, Fort Collins found itself wading through the wreckage of what has been one of the worst floods in Colorado’s history: the Spring Creek Flood of 1997.

As water quickly rose from the creek’s banks, alerts rang throughout CSU’s campus and Fort Collins, warning people to find higher ground.

By late evening, the flash flood had already damaged buildings and city structures in its path, ultimately taking the lives of five people and causing more than $300 million in damage to CSU and Fort Collins, as reported in the July 25, 2007 edition of the Collegian.

In reaction to the devastation, both the city and university began construction on preventative measures designed to ward against another tragedy, said Fred Haberecht, the assistant director of Facilities Management.

For those buildings most affected during the last flood –– most notably the Morgan Library, the Lory Student Center, the Eddy Building and the Education Building –– floodwalls and plazas have been added to keep other waters at bay.

CSU has also teamed up with the city of Fort Collins to create a storm sewer pipe, also called the Locus Street Outflow Project, which diverts water away from campus.

The CIPO project is another example of flood prevention, in which the city created a detention pond at Taft Hill and Prospect Roads that collects excess water, keeping it from running toward campus.
All a part of “life on the Front Range,” as Haberecht explained, the projects on and off campus were designed to avoid another disaster like that of the Spring Creek Flood. But since that time, the city hasn’t had to test these measures as rains and river conditions have remained at manageable levels.

That fact hasn’t stopped those at Facilities Management from keeping their eyes open for another flood.
Amid what Nolan Doesken, a state climatologist and director of CSU’s Colorado Climate Center, has described as a peak season for potential severe storms and flooding, Haberecht and his team are still wary of storm conditions for the next few weeks.

From July 20 through August 12, Colorado faces a period of intense rains and “prolific” lightning, Doesken said in an e-mail interview.

While this isn’t to say that there is no risk at other points in the year, these few weeks settle into ideal rain conditions, Doesken said, thus raising flood potential.

There are four reasons for this heightened probability. First, there is “plentiful solar energy to initiate convection,” meaning that the sun is close, heating the ground and causing warm air to rise. Winds are also moving more slowly, allowing heavy rains to settle over a region for longer periods of time.
The troposphere (Earth’s lower atmosphere) also reaches its warmest temperatures during this time of year, allowing it to hold more water vapor, building up conditions for storms.

The final reason, Doesken said, for this season’s peak of storms is found in North America’s monsoon circulation. A wind and rain pattern that travels across the continent, the monsoon circulation is at its peak during these weeks, allowing moisture to accumulate over the states.

With an ideal climate for storms settling in the skies, Colorado –– the northeast corner in particular –– is up against a season already defined by severe flooding and thunderstorms.

Along with the Spring Creek Flood in Fort Collins, Coloradans remember the Big Thompson Canyon Flood of July 31, 1976, one of the most deadly flash floods in the state’s history.

Killing 144 people and devastating towns all along the canyon and near Interstate 25, the Big Thompson Canyon Flood is another that resulted from the conditions Doesken described.

Despite this destructive past, Fort Collins residents needn’t fear a repeat of 1997’s flood.

Most storms will be “garden variety” storms, producing less than 2 inches of rain, Doesken said. It is when rainfall exceeds that residents should be prepared.

He recommended that residents always stay alert and watch the skies.

Haberecht advised the same, reminding people to find higher ground when storms roll in.

Since ’97, Fort Collins is more prepared, Haberecht said, with the impact of that flood still on the minds of residents and CSU faculty alike.

“Both Fort Collins and CSU have taken precautions to mitigate against another storm event,” he said.
But as is the case in most natural disasters, precautions are just defensive moves.

“Mother Nature is going to take its toll,” he said. “We’ve set up protections, but that doesn’t mean we can control things.”

Design Editor and Copy Chief Alexandra Sieh can be reached at design@collegian.com.

*Attend the Big Thompson Canyon Memorial *

What:
Community members will join to remember the flood and those lost in the waters that day 34 years ago,
Larry Flambeau will share his firsthand experiences, and
Scholarships will be awarded to six of the victims’ great-grandchildren.

Where: Near the Big Thompson Volunteer Fire Department one mile below Drake Co., 13 miles west of Loveland

When: July 31 at 7 p.m.

For more information: Visit http:// www.1976bigthompson
flood.org.

 Posted by at 5:21 pm

Scubbles

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Jul 272010
 
Authors: Derrick Burton
 Posted by at 5:20 pm

Life on the Edge

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Jul 272010
 
Authors: Dave Anderson
 Posted by at 5:19 pm

Putting an old school spin on the movies

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Jul 272010
 
Authors: Kirsten Silveira

It turns out drive-ins aren’t just in the movie Grease.

Yes, places to get the unique movie experience are becoming less-and-less common, but here in the Choice City we’ve got ourselves a treasure. The Holiday Twin Drive-In is a nearly 30-year-old Fort Collins staple.

The two-screen, outdoor theater is located at 2206 Overland Trail and is equipped with an FM stereo station for audio. Each screen shows a double-feature of that week’s movie pick.

This week, moviegoers can catch “Despicable Me” and “Inception” on screen one and “Toy Story 3” and “The Sorcerers Apprentice” on screen two. On Friday, Holiday Twin will swap-out “Toy Story 3” for “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.”

The box office opens at 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and when the line of cars reaches the road on Friday. Shows begin at sundown.

Admission prices, which are cash only, are as follows:

  • Age 6 to 11: $2
  • Age 12 and older: $6
  • Age 65 and older: $4

Assistant News Editor Kirsten Silveira can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:13 pm