Looking for grass

first_imgBy Brad HaireUniversity of GeorgiaCharlie Brummer wants to develop switch grass that can be used to make ethanol. If you’ve seen a patch growing in the wild, let him know. You may help the University of Georgia researcher and his colleagues fuel the United States in the future.Switch grass is a hardy perennial grass commonly grown for cattle feed in the Midwest, said Brummer, a forage and biomass crop researcher with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. It also can be fermented to produce ethanol, a biofuel alternative to gasoline.Corn and sugarcane can be converted to ethanol, too. These two crops have been studied for many years, and hundreds of domesticated varieties are available for human use. But the full potential of switch grass hasn’t been captured, Brummer said. The few varieties cultivated in the United States are still considered wild.”We’re not necessarily looking for high-yielding switch grasses,” he said. “Our approach is to develop high ethanol-yielding switch grass varieties that are more easily fermentable, or more economical and viable for ethanol production in the United States.”But right now, Brummer needs switch grass samples, or germ plasm, that he and other UGA scientists can study. He’d like to collect 100 different cultivars. He’ll get about 35 of them from the Plant Genetic Resource Unit on the UGA Griffin campus. He hopes to find the rest growing wild around the Southeast this fall.”We want switch grass that was unlikely planted,” he said, “patches found around places that have never been tilled, like along wooded edges, in state parks or even cemeteries.”Hunters, hikers, campers or anyone who spends much time in nature are likely to see the switch grass he wants, he said. If they do, they can call (706) 542-8847 or e-mail brummer@uga.edu.By fall, switch grass can be found in large clumps with flowers, stems and leaves as tall as 6 feet. It will have tiny, shiny teardrop seeds, too. The foliage turns a pale yellow.Brummer will use standard breeding and field evaluation to study the different cultivars. Project partner Katrien Devos, a CAES plant geneticist, will study switch grass at the genetic level.”There is very little known about the genetics of switch grass,” Devos said. “The mode of inheritance is not known with certainty. We will build the genetic resources to bring switch grass up to the level with other crops so breeding can be done in a more efficient and targeted manner.”For example, she said, a line may be found that produces a good ethanol yield but not much biomass. With genetic mapping and markers, the gene, or genes, can be identified and placed into a plant that produces a lot of biomass, capturing the best of both plants.”In the end, we’ll breed switch grass varieties that the market, or the U.S. bioenergy industry, will demand in the future,” Brummer said.Devos and Brummer are part of a UGA team led by Alan Darvill, director of the UGA Complex Carbohydrate Research Center. The team was recently awarded a Department of Energy grant that will partner UGA with other universities, national laboratories and private companies to create bioenergy centers.These centers will push research to find and develop plants with cell walls more easily converted into sugars and microorganisms that can efficiently break down those walls and convert the sugars into fuel.UGA will receive $20 million over the next five years to conduct the work.last_img read more

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Champlain College award goes to General Rainville and Vermont National Guard

first_imgBURLINGTON, Vt.–At Champlain College’s Commencement Ceremony on May 7, the College presented its Distinguished Citizen Award to Major General Martha T. Rainville –the Adjutant General of the State of Vermont–and the members of the Vermont National Guard.The ceremony was presided over by the chair of the Champlains Board of Trustees, William G. Post, Jr., and President Dr. Roger H. Perry, who delivered the Commencement Address and will retire at the end of June. Post said the awardees have collectively demonstrated tremendous leadership skills and community service, both in and outside of the Guard.When Champlains trustees met to discuss this years recipients, these were some of the words that were shared: Dignity, service and caring, Post said.Champlain College Trustee Bill Cody recently retired from the Army National Guard and he said, The Vermont Guard has served our country and our state above and beyond the call of duty. And Marthas care and concern for the welfare of the soldiers, air men and women, and their families are unsurpassed.Post said General Rainville has handled an important and sensitive job with grace and dignity in a very difficult timea time when soldiers have been deployed for active duty in the Middle East and other parts of the world. The efforts of the Guard and the General have been noticed across the state and on the national level. U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy said, Adjutant General Martha Rainville has been a superb leader during an especially difficult time for members of the Vermont National Guard and their families. He has said the Guard embodies the spirit of service that has always been a hallmark of Vermonters.Members of the Guard stand ready to assist Vermonters in times of need, Post said. They also make their mark as distinguished citizens by being involved in many civilian and community organizations, and General Rainville exemplifies that trait. Rainville has been involved in St. Albans town government, the Northwestern Medical Center, the American Heart Association, District 6 Environmental Commission, Vermont Veterans Home, and in her church.General Rainville oversees 4,000 members of the Vermont Army and Air National Guard and she manages a budget of $115 million.last_img read more

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Call for new judges comes up short in special session

first_img January 1, 2005 Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Regular News Call for new judges comes up short in special session The effort will be renewed when legislators reconvene in March Associate Editor A bill touted as a first step toward delivering desperately needed new trial judges unanimously passed the House Fiscal Council December 16, but went nowhere in the special session when it did not get an audience in the Senate.HB 23A, filed by Rep. Bruce Kyle, R-Ft. Myers, would have created 20 new judges — only a fraction of the 110 judges the Supreme Court has certified as critically needed in Florida’s trial courts — and Kyle vowed to push for more judges during the regular session that begins March 8.Kyle’s proposal calls for an additional judge for each circuit, except the 12th and 17th, and a pair of county judges, one for Collier and one for Martin.But on the special session’s final day, Senate President Tom Lee, R-Brandon, indicated he did not view the situation as a big enough emergency to expand the call of the special session on pre-kindergarten, but promised to address the need for judges during the regular session.“It is a sleeping giant. At least, in the House, it has gotten up,” said Kyle, who said he has at least 76 sponsors on the bill.“I think people finally realize there is a need out there. I am confident, at least out of the House, there will be more judges in the regular session.. . . The resounding theme, as I was getting signatures, was that everyone anticipates doing more judges in the regular session. And I do, too.”Kyle, a prosecutor and chair of the House Justice Council, said he filed the bill — with the support of House Speaker Allan Bense, R-Panama City, and with help from Rep. Jack Seiler, D-Pompano Beach, and Rep. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach — “because we haven’t had any new judges since 2002. The Supreme Court certified 110 new judges, and so there is a definite need.”At the Fiscal Council meeting, Rep. Curtis Richardson, D-Tallahassee, asked, “Does this have the support of the chief justice of the Supreme Court?”Kyle responded: “I talked personally, before I filed the bill, with the chief justice at length. And she is supportive of any new judges that we could get, because there has been a long, outstanding need.”Every circuit that was certified for additional judges by the Supreme Court, Kyle explained, would get at least one circuit court judge, according to his revised bill. The original version of his bill called for 14 additional judges, which he explained was arrived at by “the ones we had actually done in 2002, subtracted from the certification of 2001. Those 14 were the most outstanding.. . . that need has been there for closing in on five years. This is a member-driven process. There is a lot of need throughout the state.”Kyle’s bill would make the new judgeships effective March 1, but he wants the enacting dates spread out in July and January.“That is good for the Governor’s Office, as well, because it lessens the workload. When you’ve got 110, if you do them all at one time, that’s a lot of interviews,” Kyle said referring to the number of names sent to the judicial nominating commissions for consideration.“Some circuits are certified for seven new judges, and I think you’ll get a better quality of applicants, too, by spreading it out, rather than jamming it up all at once.”The proposal for 20 additional judges and support personnel came with an annual price tag of $5.1 million. Call for new judges comes up short in special sessionlast_img read more

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Wullenweber named Lilly Scholar in Decatur County

first_imgGreensburg, In. — The Decatur County Community Foundation has introduced Claire Wullenweber from South Decatur High School as the 2018 Lilly Endowment Community Scholar.  She will receive full tuition to an Indiana accredited public or private nonprofit college or university of her choice and a $900 yearly stipend for required books and equipment.last_img

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