Washington State Magazine

Winter 2011

Winter 2011

In This Issue...


When Memory Fades :: With memory notebooks and smart apartments that use motion technology to track their residents’ daily behaviors, WSU neuropsychologists are exploring ways to help patients and their families cope with age-related memory loss. Meanwhile, two scientists have discovered a means to restore neural connectivity. by Tim Steury

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Video: Smart Apartment Research }

Attention! :: Cell phones, Internet, car horns, children, commercials—all carry information and all work together to create in us what social scientist Herbert Simon calls “a poverty of attention.” How do you rise above the din to capture what is most important? You may be surprised to learn that one of the oldest forms of communication is still one of the best. by Eric Sorensen

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Tips: How to focus your attention }

All About Everett :: The blue-collar Snohomish County city just 25 miles north of Seattle recently asked WSU to take over the University Center where graduates of its community college can go on to complete four-year degrees in a variety of disciplines, including engineering. Snohomish, Skagit, and Island counties have been underserved by the state’s four-year programs. by Hannelore Sudermann

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Map: Everett: City Snapshots }


Collegiate athletics in the 21st century :: by Thabiti Lewis


{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Story: Sabermetrics As Told By The Simpsons }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Recipes: Unifine Flour Cookbook from Leonard Fulton’s Fairfield Milling Co. (PDF, 2.2MB) }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Story: Flourgirls and the WSU-Unifine connection }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Video: A talk with architect Jim Olson}


:: Sports: John Olerud: Faith, hope, and horses

:: In Season: Wheat: A 10,000-year relationship

:: Last Words: Are our pictures worth a thousand words? (Washington State Magazine 2012 calendar)

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Timeline: John Olerud’s baseball career }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Books and videos: Bread }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Calendar: Order your Washington State Magazine 2012 calendar }


New Media

:: The Man Who Dammed the Yangtze: A Mathematical Novel by Alex Kuo

:: Building New Pathways to Peace edited by Noriko Kawamura, Yoichiro Murakami, and Shin Chiba

:: Montaña Y Caballo by Yarn Owl - Tyler Armour ’10, Tim Meinig ’10, Ted Powers ’09, and Javier Suarez ’10

:: New & Noteworthy: Standing Above the Crowd by James “Dukes” Donaldson ’79; Eliminate the Chaos at Work by Laura Leist ’91; Pick Up Your Own Brass: Leadership the FBI Way by Kathleen McChesney ’71 and William Gavin; The Itty Bitty Guide to Trees: A Children’s Identification Guide to Trees of the Inland Northwest by Jaclyn Gotch ’07 MED, Lisa Bird, and Amy Ross-Davis; The Alpine Tales by Paul J. Willis ’80 MA, ’85 PhD

Cover photo: William Lipe, PhD, Archaeology, born 1935 — came to Washington State University in 1976. (See First Words.) By Robert Hubner

William D. Ruckelshaus is sworn in as administrator of the EPA in 1970. <em>Charles Tasnadi/Associated Press</em>


William D. Ruckelshaus is sworn in as administrator of the EPA in 1970. Charles Tasnadi/Associated Press

Bringing history and historian together

by | © Washington State University

Historian Douglas Brinkley recently visited Seattle to interview William D. Ruckelshaus, the founding head of the Environmental Protection Agency and advisor to a variety of Northwest clean water and community groups.

Ruckelshaus first made the connection between the environment and public health shortly after graduating from Harvard Law School when he returned to Indiana as a young lawyer. In the office of the Indiana attorney general, Ruckelshaus was assigned to the Indiana Board of Health, where he noticed that many of the state’s health issues were tied to air and water pollution, he says. It was a foundation for his work a decade later defining the mission and organization of the EPA. 

“He’s really the long shadow of that institution,” says historian Brinkley, who interviewed Ruckelshaus for a book on the environmental movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Brinkley sought details about Ruckelshaus’s own story, and about the history surrounding the formation of the EPA during the Nixon Administration, as well as his time as acting director of the FBI and as deputy attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice.

Ruckelshaus has no plans for a memoir. Instead, this will be the sum of his experiences for posterity. “Nobody tells a story better than Bill,” says Brinkley. And the hours of video from the interviews will be available to the public and for historians and scholars to use for years to come, he says.

Brinkley recently published Wilderness Warrior, a biography of Theodore Roosevelt and his creation of federal laws and national parks to protect wildlife. “He saw that protecting natural resources was directly in line with protecting America,” Brinkley says. “Ruckelshaus reflects T.R.’s approach.”

This is an interesting time for the focus, since there have been calls to eliminate the EPA and to open discussions of drilling for oil in the Florida Everglades. When the EPA was created the country had major problems with pollution coming from large, specific sources, says Ruckelshaus. For example, some cities had no sewage treatment at all. But since then, point source polluters have been brought under social control. Today, the problem comes from harder to control non-point sources like runoff from streets and farms. “And people forget how bad smog was,” he says. “That’s what makes the current assault on the EPA so difficult.”

While it benefits our nation to capture and chronicle this history, it is also of special value to Washington, where Ruckelshaus has made his home and has served as a volunteer leader in water quality and salmon recovery issues, says Michael Kern, director of the William D. Ruckelshaus Center, a joint project between Washington State University and the University of Washington to resolve conflicts surrounding public policy issues. 

The Ruckelshaus Center supported the efforts to record the extensive interviews and will maintain them in its archives.

Categories: History, Public affairs | Tags: Ecology, Government, Public service

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