Washington State Magazine

Winter 2002

Winter 2002

In This Issue...


Bridges to Prosperity :: When Ethiopian partisans blew up a bridge to stop the advance of Mussolini, they also split a region. Ken Frantz put it back together. by Teresa Wippel

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Gallery: Bridges to prosperity :: Photographs of Ethiopia by Zoe Keone.}

A matter of survival :: One of the simplest truths of nature is that if a species is to survive, it must reproduce. faculty researchers explore reproduction's mysteries and threats. by Mary Aegerter

Friendly People :: William Hewitt built his dream on Blake Island. Hewitt is gone, but his dream lives on in Native tradition and the rich aroma of roasting salmon. by Pat Caraher

Taking the University to the people :: Cooperative Extension still offers advice on how to can your tomatoes or care for your chickens. But it also does much more, probing needs and providing solutions in every corner of the state. by Tim Steury

The Puyallup Fair :: Every year in late summer, more than a million people gather in Puyallup to eat cotton candy, endure the latest thrill rides--and watch 4-H-ers show their stuff. by Pat Caraher




Cover: Ken Frantz '71, right, founding executive director of Bridges to Prosperity, Inc., participates in a ribbon cutting ceremony with Ethiopian provincial officials and an Ethiopian orthodox priest. The ceremony marked the reopening of Second Portuguese Bridge, which spans the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia. Virtually impassable since World War II, the bridge had been repaired by Frantz and his crew of volunteers from Bridges to Prosperity, ending years of isolation for communities on both sides of the river. Read the story. Photo by Zoe Keone.

Kim Kidwell. By Robert Hubner

Kim Kidwell. Robert Hubner

Designed to compete

by | © Washington State University

By developing new spring wheat varieties with exceptional milling and baking characteristics, Kim Kidwell hopes to create a domestic demand for Washington wheat so it is milled and baked in the Northwest instead of being exported into increasingly competitive foreign markets.

Currently, between 80 and 90 percent of Washington's annual wheat crop is exported rather than used domestically, says Kidwell, who is a spring wheat breeder and associate professor of crop and soil sciences at Washington State University.

Bakers look for a number of different characteristics in wheat, including water absorption, gluten strength, and protein content. Different levels of each characteristic can dramatically affect baking quality.

"Consistency is key," says Kidwell. "Manufacturers need products to bake to a similar size and quality each time. A loaf of bread is worthless to a manufacturer if it doesn't fit in its packaging."

One of the new wheat varieties created by Kidwell is called Zak. Released by WSU for public use in October 2000, Zak is a high-yielding variety that also makes excellent bread and cookies. Nabisco's bakery in Portland has expressed an interest in using Zak.

Categories: Earth sciences, Agriculture | Tags: Soil, Wheat

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