Soy to Improve Health and Help Restore Afghan ProductivityThe U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that the American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) program and three partnering organizations will receive a cooperative agreement for work in Afghanistan. The USDA Food for Progress program brings the strengths of soy protein to fight some of the highest rates of malnutrition in the world, as well as help rebuild Afghanistan’s food industry. The estimated value of the project is $26 million.”We are excited to help Afghan farmers rebuild their infrastructure while we make healthy food available to their fellow citizens and to build a market for soy,” said WISHH Chairman and ASA Board member Scott Fritz, a soybean producer from Winamac, Ind. “Diets will improve and soy consumption will increase as Afghan agriculture and the local economy develops. When this happens, everybody wins.”The three-year project will allow WISHH to launch its first extended effort in Afghanistan. Joining WISHH on the project are: Shelter for Life International, which is headquartered in Minnesota; California-based Nutrition and Education International Inc. (NEI), and CBI Global located in Ohio. These organizations have seen the need and enormous potential for soy in their approximately 20 combined years of work in the war-torn country.USDA’s efforts to help redevelop Afghanistan’s agriculture sector is the top Obama Administration priority for reconstruction. The USDA cooperative agreement will provide 240 metric tons of defatted soy flour over the next three years to meet immediate nutritional needs of 5,000 women and their families. The agreement also includes 13,750 metric tons of soybean oil that will be monetized or sold into the local market in support of the project activities. The project will also bolster the processing end of the agricultural value chain, with the shipment of 6,000 metric tons of soybeans over three years. Afghan soybean processing facilities will use the soybeans to produce soy flour and soybean oil for the local market. Over the life of the program and all of its activities, this project will support more than 220,000 direct beneficiaries.Afghanistan has some of the worst health statistics in the world. According to UNICEF, more than half of all children under five suffer from moderate or severe stunting. Twenty five percent of children die before reaching their fifth birthday. The health of rural Afghan people, particularly women and children, is often the worst in the nation.NEI founder and nutrition scientist Dr. Steven Kwon survived the post-war devastation in Korea in the 1950s before moving to the United States. Those experiences prompted him to go to Afghanistan in 2003 to see if he could help. Dr. Kwon identified that soy could play an important role in meeting the dire need for protein.With the support of local Afghan leaders, NEI has distributed soy flour to pregnant and lactating women and conducted nutrition education and soy cooking seminars. NEI has also worked with small bakeries to encourage them to use 10 percent soy flour in the production of naan (a traditional flatbread) for elementary schools and refugee camps.Adding 10 percent soy flour increases the absorbable protein of the naan by 110 percent, says Dr. Kwon, who has witnessed the impact of soy in his 28 trips to Afghanistan. “After one month, the children’s faces go from looking sick to normal,” Kwon says “In three months, we see healthy and happy looking children—all because of soy.”Dr. Kwon is enthusiastic about the expansion of these results by working with WISHH under the new USDA Food for Progress cooperative agreement. “WISHH has the technical expertise to strengthen the (food) processing sector in the country…We can jumpstart this processing sector.”Increased agricultural productivity will require rehabilitation of watersheds and improvements to irrigation infrastructure. Road repairs and small loan programs for farmers are key to the sustainability of the project. Shelter for Life has worked in these areas in Afghanistan since 1997. “The two decades of war crumbled the infrastructure,” says Director of International Programs Mustafa Omar. “We are looking at parts of the country that have a history in food production, but are currently unable to do so.”CBI Global based in Columbus, Ohio, acting as agent for The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, will be monetization agent for the project. “Robert Clark at CBI was great throughout the entire proposal process and provided a lot of input,” Fritz said. “CBI’s monetization work is key to the entire effort.”The WISHH program is managed from ASA’s world headquarters in Saint Louis. Since U.S. soybean farmers founded WISHH in 2000, WISHH has worked in 23 countries to improve diets, as well as encourage growth of food industries. Please visit www.wishh.org.
Jenny Rohrich, Ashley, N.D.Kudos goes out to Jenny Rohrich, of Ashley, N.D., for presenting at American Soybean Association’s 16th Annual Soybean Leadership College in Orlando, Florida last week.Jenny held a panel discussion titled, “A Farmer’s Guide to Making the Most of Social Media”.Thank you for presenting at the Soybean Leadership College and teaching farmers how to bring agriculture and social media together!Check out Jenny’s blog Prairie Californian and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.Check out last week’s ASA Kudos here!
Figure 1: Growth in U.S. soybean and soybean meal exports to sub-Saharan Africa from 2007 to 2016. (USDA FAS Global Agricultural Trade System Data)The American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) Program’s long-term market development work in sub-Saharan Africa is gaining traction. In Africa, WISHH works with local supply chain partners to drive early-stage, long-term market growth in developing economies through technical assistance, market linkages, capacity building conferences, trade teams and market building campaigns.U.S. soybean and soybean meal exports to sub-Saharan Africa grew steadily from 2007 to 2016 at an average rate of 4,286 metric tons/year (Figure 1), indicating steady early-stage market growth in the region. Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana accounted for 99 percent of 2016 sales, which were over 41,000 metric tons or an approximate 1.7 million bushel equivalent. These countries are core targets for WISHH animal feed and human food activities in West Africa. As these economies continue to grow, WISHH’s long-term market development work will play a critical role in ensuring that U.S. soybean exports continue to increase.
ASA President John Heisdorffer (left) presents Warren Stemme (right) with Outstanding State Volunteer Award during the annual ASA Banquet at Commodity Classic in Anaheim, Calif on Feb. 28. Photo credit: Joe MurphyThe American Soybean Association (ASA) recognized Warren Stemme, from Chesterfield, Mo., with its Outstanding State Volunteer Award at its annual awards banquet during the 2018 Commodity Classic in Anaheim, Calif.The Outstanding Volunteer Award recognizes the dedication and exemplary contributions of volunteers with at least three years of volunteer service in any area of their state association operation.Stemme is recognized by his state association as being a “standout” volunteer who is always willing to take on challenging tasks to help the association. He’s worked on policy development, advocacy activity, grower engagement, membership recruiting and fundraising.“Warren Stemme is the association leader we all hope to grow up to be,” wrote Missouri Soybean Association President Matt McCrate in his nomination letter. “He seeks to find the best in others and to be that rising tide that lifts all boats, rather than to raise his personal profile.”Stemme’s many years of volunteer work at the state level has helped create financial stability for the Missouri Soybean Association and solid positioning for the organization’s future.While Stemme has served in all the top farmer-leadership positions with the Missouri Soybean Association, he is also recognized for mentoring young growers and helping guide them toward leadership positions.Stemme also regularly opens his farm for farmer-focused events. He is committed to relationship building and strategic initiatives that help further the mission of the Missouri Soybean Association.
U.S. soybean farmers have been present and active developing demand and utilization of soy in Taiwan for nearly 50 years. During a Washington visit this week, Yau-Kuen Hung, chairman of the Taiwan Vegetable Association and Wade Cowan, past president of the American Soybean Association, signed a commitment by the Taiwan soy industry to purchase an additional 600,000- 1 million metric tons of U.S. soybeans.The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) is hosting a Goodwill Mission from Taiwan with the help of the soy family during this week, and on Wednesday, the delegation met with soy family representatives, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) officials and Members of Congress. This trip reestablishes the deep connection and relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan.ASA appreciates the Taiwan market’s steadfast partnership with the U.S. soy industry. The Taiwan Goodwill delegation will travel later this week to Minnesota and then to Iowa.
La Center City Council’s newest member said he supports the current direction of the council, including its recent decision to open lines of communication with the Cowlitz Tribe.Randy Williams has served on the city’s planning commission for two and a half years, acting as the commission chairman since January. He was unanimously selected June 23 for the vacancy left by Councilwoman Barbara Vining, who resigned June 9 to move with her family to Colorado. Williams was sworn in right away and will serve in the position until the next council election in the fall of 2011.Williams said he sees no reason to try to change the current direction of the council, and considers diversifying the city’s tax base as the most important issue in the city. One way to help diversify sources of income is to extend the city limits west to the Interstate 5 junction and develop the area, he said.“Anything to bring jobs to La Center is good,” Williams said.La Center is unusual because of the significant portion of city revenue that comes from local cardrooms. But Williams said he doesn’t believe the city should place all of its eggs in one basket.“That’s a business decision,” he said. “A business would diversify.”Williams, 60, moved to La Center five years ago with his wife of 16 years, Lorraine; twin sons, Sean and Ian; and daughter, Chelsea. Sean and Ian will enter the ninth grade at La Center High School this fall; Chelsea will enter fifth grade at the elementary school.
LONGVIEW, Wash. (AP) — Longview police say a student initially thought to have displayed a handgun in a Longview high school cafeteria was really carrying a knife.Capt. Jim Duscha says the boy flashed a large “Rambo-style” knife Wednesday morning, then snapped it back into a plastic holster. The officer tells the Daily News of Longview that other students mistook the sound for a magazine being loaded into a gun and they alerted Mark Morris High School officials. That prompted a widespread lockdown of Longview schools and Lower Columbia College.Police arrested a 15-year-old boy a short time later as he walked along a road. The officer says the knife was recovered later but he did not know where it was found. The unidentified teen was booked into a juvenile detention center for possession of a dangerous weapon, unlawful use of a weapon and obstructing a police officer. Longview Superintendent Suzanne Cusick says the school lockdowns were later lifted.
The first vote cast by the Vancouver City Council in its new council meeting chambers Monday was a unanimous one — albeit it was to approve meeting minutes from Aug. 15.But, by the end of the inaugural meeting at the new City Hall downtown, the council had a dissenting vote, heard from concerned citizens and was back to business as usual.Vancouver is fully moved from five buildings spread out over 10 miles into one building, at 415 W. Sixth St., across from Esther Short Park.“It will be our new home for the next 50 years, no doubt about it,” Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt said as the meeting drew to a close around 9:15 p.m. “We start a new era. What a great overall morale builder and a great next step forward.”Just hours before the meeting was set to start, staff scrambled to unpack chairs and finish final details, while a group of neighborhood association leaders also got a grand preview tour. The official dedication and open house for the public will be Saturday from noon to 3 p.m.Vancouver purchased the six-story, 118,000-square-foot building from Bank of America in June 2010 for $18.5 million, more than half off the estimated $40 million construction cost. The building was built by Downtown Vitality Partners, a group that includes Columbian Publisher Scott Campbell, but was forfeited in early 2010 as part of a bankruptcy settlement. The Columbian had no stake in the sale to the city.
Firefighters responding to a report of a stove fire in a Vancouver restaurant late Saturday were met with something unexpected when they arrived at the scene.It was the stove, still burning, sitting on a sidewalk outside.Workers at Malibu’s, 115 E. Seventh St., had carried the burning electric range outside after a fire extinguisher didn’t put out the fire, said Capt. Kevin Murray of the Vancouver Fire Department.Murray said fire officials do not recommend taking that sort of initiative.“Whether it’s a pan or an appliance, you don’t want to take the risk of carrying it through the building while it’s burning,” Murray said. “We recommend to discharge the fire extinguisher, call 911 and evacuate the building.”Crews responding to the 9:51 p.m. incident used another extinguisher to finish off the fire, Murray said. They also worked to clear smoke from the business and from another business that had shared second-story space.No one was injured. A fire marshal was being called in to investigate.
Scofflaws beware: Live video of your high jinks will soon be streamed directly to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.That’s the message Clark County Public Works is hoping to share with vandals who have frequently targeted Pacific Community Park, which sits near the intersection of Northeast 162nd Avenue and Northeast 18th Street. County workers on Friday spent a few hours cleaning up the latest graffiti and installing three cameras and signs warning park visitors they are being watched.Bill Bjerke, operations superintendent for parks and grounds maintenance at Clark County’s Department of Public Works says the cameras are a necessary move.“It’s something that we have to do,” he said. “It’s a huge consumption of our maintenance time. We have to drop our planned activities to take care of maintenance there.”Since the park opened in December 2007, the county has recorded 131 cases of vandalism,resulting in more than $27,000 in repairs. Cases of vandalism have been increasing over the years and occurred at a rate of about once a week in 2011, Bjerke said.Vandalism includes attempted arson, destruction of park property and a lot of graffiti, he said.Maintenance crews try to use liquids to remove graffiti whenever possible, but they usually need to sandblast the walls with pumice. Theoretically, the pumice can remove the graffiti without hurting the structure’s surface, but it will still do some damage with multiple applications, he said.
Washington state improved its standing in a national assessment of how friendly state tax systems are to businesses, moving from No. 8 last year to No. 7 this year, according to a report released Wednesday by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation.The Washington D.C.-based tax research group, which has analyzed fiscal policy at the federal, state and local levels since 1937, said the absence of an individual income tax in Washington puts it among the 10 states with the best tax systems under which to attract new companies and to expand existing ones.All but one of the states that rank in the top 10 “do without at least one of the major taxes,” said Mark Robyn, economist for the Tax Foundation and author of the group’s State Business Tax Climate Index. And Washington’s lack of an individual income tax is an “obvious strength,” Robyn said. “That can be very positive for competitiveness. Washington reaps some benefits from that.”Indeed, Ken Fisher, CEO of Fisher Investments, says his company’s decision to expand in Camas has largely been because of the advantages of Washington’s tax climate. Fisher Investments is headquartered in California, which ranked No. 48 in the country.Oregon did not fare as well as its neighbor to the north. However, the state improved its position in the Tax Foundation report, moving from 15th last year to 13th this year. That was due partly to its lack of a sales tax.
On Sunday April 15, 2012, at approximately 2:45 p.m., Portland Police officers assigned to East Precinct responded to the report of an armed robbery on the playground of Vestal School, located at Northeast 82nd Avenue and Everett Street.Officers arriving in the area were flagged down by a group of people at Northeast 81st and Glisan who were pointing to the suspects who were walking northbound on 81st from Glisan. Officers approached the suspects and took them into custody.The suspects were identified as a 13-year-old female and a 15-year-old male.Officers spoke with the victim, 34-year-old Shawna Hale of Southeast Portland, who told officers that she was sitting in the playground area of Vestal School as her car was getting cleaned out at a neighboring car wash. The two suspects approached her from behind and the female pointed a gun at her and demanded money. The victim gave the suspects her purse and the suspects ran away towards 81st Avenue.The victim chased the two suspects towards Glisan Street then lost sight of them and called 9-1-1.Two men in the neighborhood attempted to stop the suspects and got into a physical confrontation with them prior to the suspects walking away and later being arrested by police.Officers recovered the gun, which turned out to be a BB gun replica of a handgun. Officers also recovered the victim’s purse and contents.Both suspects were taken to the Donald E. Long Juvenile Detention Home on robbery charges.
Skamania County may not be able to pay to maintain its current service levels because of a “declining financial condition,” the Washington State Auditor’s office reported Monday.During a financial audit, the auditor’s office determined the county’s general fund expenditures exceeded revenues in 2009, 2010 and 2011. By the end of 2011, the county had borrowed $1.15 million from restricted funds to cover general fund operations, the report said.“The county prepared annual budgets for 2010 and 2011 based on revenue estimates,” the report said. “When forecasted revenue was not received, the county did not take timely action to reduce expenditures.”The office said the county should:• Make a comprehensive plan, including detailed financial benchmarks and guidelines to target cash-flow issues.• Improve its general fund cash flow to decrease dependency on interfund loans.• Closely monitor financial activities and ensure timely and accurate financial information is provided to commissioners to help with decision-making.“The county is aware of the precarious financial condition and took significant steps at the end of 2011 and in the 2012 budget to meet this issue,” the county said in its response.The 2012 general fund budget was reduced by 30 percent. The county also took a $2.5 million loan and will repay almost $500,000 immediately and the remainder by selling surplus property, the county said. The county will also reduce staff and service levels to meet actual revenue projections, it said in its response.
It’s not often a family is rewarded for their ability to feud.The Frey family from Vancouver are excitedly awaiting their Thursday appearance on the long-running game show “Family Feud,” airing 5 p.m. on KPDX (Cable 13, Broadcast 49).Jack Frey and his adult sons Matt, Mark and Tom, along with Tom’s wife Angie, traveled to Atlanta last July for the taping, where they competed against another family for a chance to win up to $100,000 and a car.Family Feud first aired in 1976. Though its hosts have rotated over the years — currently it’s comedian Steve Harvey — the format remains about the same. Families compete by guessing how average people responded to a variety of questions and contestants get points for picking the most popular answers.The Freys took a road trip to Tacoma for the audition last year, playing a test game in front of mall shoppers before being interviewed on video. Matt said it was his sister Chris Barker who persuaded the clan to try out, though she didn’t make the final five-person team.“It was her idea and she was the only person that was denied by Family Feud,” he said.Matt said the family agreed to share any winnings with the left out sister.If you’re hoping for a spoiler on how they fared, prepare for disappointment. The family is bound by secrecy until the show airs.
A Vancouver woman, 54, died Friday morning after a rip current swept her out to sea in Lincoln City, Ore. Around 10 a.m. she went swimming with her 23-year-old daughter off the beach at D River Wayside State Recreation Area. About 15 minutes into their swim, both were swept away by a rip current and began to yell for help to people on shore. The daughter was able to swim away, but the victim disappeared for several minutes before being spotted face-down in the water off shore, according to the Oregon State Police. North Lincoln Fire & Rescue sent out a rescue swimmer, along with a rescue board, to retrieve her, said Lt. Jim Kusz. She was pronounced dead at Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital. The victim was visiting the area with her husband and daughter, who have withheld her name. “Nearly 50 percent of all our water calls are rip currents,” Kusz said. A rip current rushes water out to sea, overpowering even the strongest swimmer. They can sweep unsuspecting beachcombers off their feet and out to sea. The Oregon State Police and Lincoln County Medical Examiner are investigating.
We enjoy pointing out that Make a Difference Day, the largest annual community service day in the nation, was started by the print media.It was magazine-style USA Weekend, an insert carried by many newspapers, that launched the annual day of volunteerism in 1992. Since then, millions of Americans have signed up and shown up on the fourth Saturday in October to do something positive for their communities.This year, the Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation Department has four opportunities for volunteers who want to clean up Clark County. Everybody is invited to participate — all ages and groups of all sizes — on Saturday. Here are the details.• Parks and public areas: “The Butt Stops Here.” Volunteers will meet at 10 a.m. at Luke Jensen Sports Park, 4000 N.E. 78th St., and then fan out in search of cigarette butts and other litter in parks and public areas. You must provide your own transportation. Volunteers will return to Jensen Park at 12:30 p.m. to weigh their bags of litter and to eat lunch. Orientation coffee donated by Starbucks and lunch donated by Blind Onion Pizza.
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah took its fight against gay marriage to the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, asking the high court to suspend same-sex unions that became legal when a judge struck down the state’s voter-approved ban.The heavily Mormon state wants the marriages to stop while it appeals a judge’s decision, which said banning gay couples from marrying violates their right to equal treatment under the law.In papers filed Tuesday, the state asked Justice Sonia Sotomayor to overturn a decision that has led to more than 900 gay marriages in Utah. Sotomayor handles emergency requests from Utah and other Rocky Mountain states. She can act by herself or get the rest of the court involved.“Numerous same-sex marriages are now occurring every day in Utah,” Utah lawyers complain in the filing. “Each one is an affront not only to the interests of the state and its citizens in being able to define marriage through ordinary democratic channels, but also to this court’s unique role as final arbiter.”Utah repeatedly stressed that states have the authority to define marriage as between a man and woman. “That states have a powerful interest in controlling the definition of marriage within their borders is indisputable,” Utah said in the filing.
Environmental regulators were notified Wednesday of an estimated 220,000-gallon oil spill contained inside a Vancouver asphalt plant. Workers discovered the spill around 7 a.m. Wednesday at Albina Asphalt, 1300 W. Eighth St. The plant’s company president, Jeff Arntson, said the spill occurred some time after 5:30 a.m., when workers selling a load of asphalt saw no problems with the tank. “We’re attempting to recover as much of it as we can while it’s still flowing,” Arntson said.The Southwest Washington Clean Air Agency and the Department of Ecology were notified, along with the neighboring Port of Vancouver. The floor of the tank evidently failed, forming a hole, which spilled hot asphalt oil into a containment area, said SWCAA executive director Bob Elliott. The oil flowed downhill, forming a pool about 2 feet deep.“It’s a large enough quantity it’s going to take some considerable effort on the part of Albina Asphalt and their contractor to clean up the site,” Elliott said. “At this point in time, it’s not clear how long the cleanup will take.”The liquid asphalt is contained inside the property, which is surrounded by a dike, Elliott said.Elliott said the odor released by the spill was minimal. However, residents in the surrounding neighborhoods described the smell as strong. Jamie McClure, who lives around Lincoln Avenue and West 19th Street in the Hough neighborhood, said it “smelled like someone was burning a tire in their wood stove.”Linda Kent, spokeswoman with the Department of Ecology, said that 20,000 to 30,000 gallons will be vacuumed into other tanks on site. Once the rest solidifies, it will be removed with excavators and front loaders. Kent said that it’s too soon to determine whether any soil absorbed the liquid. If so, it will have to be removed as well.
KIEV, Ukraine — Russia is launching artillery attacks from its soil on Ukrainian troops and preparing to move heavier weaponry across the border, the U.S. and Ukraine charged Friday in what appeared to be an ominous escalation of the crisis.Russia accused Washington of lying and charged Ukraine with firing across the border on a Russian village. It also toughened its economic measures against Ukraine by banning dairy imports. Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, said five salvos of heavy rockets were fired across the border near the town of Kolesnikov in the Luhansk region in the country’s east. A border crossing point near Marynovka was fired on twice with mortars, also from the Russian side, while Ukrainian forces shot down three Russian drones, Lysenko said.If true, the allegations mean Moscow is playing a more direct role in the fighting than it has been accused of up to now — a dangerous turn in what is already the gravest crisis between Russia and the West since the end of the Cold War.In addition, Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said that the U.S. has seen powerful rocket systems moving closer to the Ukraine border and that they could be put into the hands of the Russian-backed separatists as soon as Friday.
TROUT LAKE — Road No. 8040 on the south side of Mount Adams is closed during weekdays in order to remove hazard trees from the Cascade Creek fire of 2012.The temporary closure will be from 8 a.m. until noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 8 a.m. until noon on Fridays until the snow falls.The closure location is on road No. 8040 at the junction with road No. 8040202. Road No. 8040 is used to access South Climb, Morrison campground, Shorthorn trail, Wicky Shelter, Crofton Ridge East and Cold Springs camp.For more information, call the Mount Adams Ranger Station at 509-395-3400.