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Fire safety reminder for dormitory living

Fire safety reminder for dormitory living

Dorms are filling up fast around Washington State as students begin or continue their college education, and the state Fire Marshal wants to make sure everyone has a safe school year.

“Fire safety should be reviewed as students settle into their new places,” said State Fire Marshal Chuck Duffy. “Understanding the safety features of a building and knowing your escape routes can significantly increase your personal safety.”

The United States Fire Administration reports an estimated 3,800 university housing fires occur each year. The leading causes include cooking, intentionally set fires, careless smoking, unattended candles and overloaded electrical wiring. Marshal Duffy suggests the following tips to reduce the risk of fire and increase safety:

Cooking should only be done in a location permitted by the school’s policies. Never leave your cooking unattended. If a fire starts in a microwave, leave the door closed and unplug the unit.

Check your child's vaccinations before heading back to school

Check your child's vaccinations before heading back to school

Getting ready for back to school means getting school supplies and backpacks, but it's also the perfect time to make sure children are up-to-date on their shots. Getting all of the recommended shots is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their kids' health.

A new survey from the Washington State Department of Health shows vaccination rates are on the rise (71 percent in 2013 versus 65 percent the year before) but are still below the Healthy People 2020 goal of 80 percent, leaving many kids unprotected.

Below is a summary of shots children need:

WSU student planners feature rival school on cover

WSU student planners feature rival school on cover

Students at Washington State University did a double-take when they received their free student planners from The Bookie this week. The cover features a picture of a cougar, the iconic Bryan clock tower and a building that was a little harder to identify.

Down at the very bottom of the cover, with beautiful brick and elegant cherry trees is Savery Hall, a building located at the heart of the campus of WSU's sworn rival – the University of Washington.

Distraught manager Leslie Martin at WSU's bookstore The Bookie says they are aware of the problem and are working with the vendor to come to a solution. The planners are no longer being handed out, but the ones that have been released are not being collected.

There is no word on whether the school will receive a refund or whether a reprint with a corrected cover is in the works. Meanwhile, a photo of the planner is quickly making the rounds online drawing amusement and criticism.

EWU sending financial aid counselors to students in Carlton Complex fire

EWU sending financial aid counselors to students in Carlton Complex fire

In an effort to help students and their families impacted by the Cartlton Complex fires, Eastern Washington University will send a team of financial aid counselors and outreach staff to Okanogan County to assist those who are planning to attend Eastern this fall.

The financial aid and outreach team will be in Okanogan County the week of August 11 to meet with students and their families. As the date approaches, details on the exact location and times will be announced and posted on the university website and Facebook page.

Eastern has also authorized $250,000 of aid for an EWU Student Hardship Fund to help with tuition and housing for current and incoming students.

EWU Vice President for Student Affairs Stacey Morgan Foster said financial aid counselors will have the authority to award hardship grants during their visit. The grants are also available to EWU students outside of the Carlton Complex fire area.

Whitworth named among top universities in the West

Whitworth named among top universities in the West

For the sixth year in a row, Whitworth University has been designated one of the best colleges and universities in the West in a recent college guide published by The Princeton Review.

The education-services company ranked Whitworth among 123 institutions in the “Best Western Colleges” section of it's website feature, “2015 Best Colleges: Region by Region,” which was posted Tuesday.

The Princeton Review chooses schools based on institutional data it collects from several hundred schools in each region, on visits to schools, and on the opinions of independent and high-school-based college advisors. It also takes into account students' reports about their campus experience. Only schools that permit The Princeton Review to survey their students independently are eligible to be considered for the regional “best” lists.

WSU researchers create gel to keep fields healthy during drought

WSU researchers create gel to keep fields healthy during drought

Washington State University researchers have created a product that could help farmers keep their fields moist during a drought.

Led by Associate Professor Jinwen Zhang, the group created hydrogel pellets similar to the super absorbent material used in diapers. The main difference is what they're made of. While diapers rely on petrolium based gel, WSU researchers have created one out of soy protein.

The pellets swell to hold 250 times their weight in water, and because they are made of biodegradable agricultural material instead of chemicals they leave no residue behind when they disintegrate in the ground. In fact, the soy protein can actually act as a source of nitrogen to help plants grow.

A soy-based product would also lessen dependence on foreign oil imports, and boos the local economy since the U.S. Produces half of the world supply of soy beans.

Graduation day for North Central students participating in Youth/Police Initiative

Graduation day for North Central students participating in Youth/Police Initiative

One dozen students from North Central High School were applauded by Spokane Police Thursday as they graduated from the fifth Youth Police Initiative class.

Youth Police Initiative, or YPI, is to enhance police officer understanding of the beliefs, values and experiences of local youth, and to promote positive police/youth interaction – and it appears to be doing just that.

“My favorite part of the program was meeting the officers and learning how they're more like the kids than they seem,” said Krista Moize, one of Thursday's YPI graduates. “The cops were really interesting and really funny.”

Participating youth are selected by local community leaders. This time it was Jenny Jamison, who runs the school's “Outside the Box” program in connection with the YMCA.