Palouse Columns, a commissioned sculpture by acclaimed Seattle artist Robert Maki, will be dedicated Sept. 29 on the Washington State University campus. The public event will begin at noon and be held at the sculpture, on the lawn near the northwest side of historic Thompson Hall. Maki’s sculpture joins 10 outdoor artworks on campus. Palouse Columns is a tight grouping of six painted steel columns reflecting the rolling topography of the Palouse region of eastern Washington and northern Idaho. For more details, see http://wsunews.wsu.edu/detail.asp?StoryID=4096

A celebration of the construction of Phase 1 of the new Plant Biosciences complex is set for 11 a.m., Oct. 1, at Washington State University. Scheduled for completion in spring 2005, the $39 million Phase 1 building will have more than 93,000 square feet on four floors. The new building is part of a new biotechnology research and education complex envisioned for the Pullman campus. For more on the event, check http://wsunews.wsu.edu/detail.asp?StoryID=4094

Homecoming weekend is coming up on the Pullman campus. Activities from Sept. 30-Oct. 4 include a bonfire rally, parade and student competitions and, of course, a football game between the WSU Cougars and Arizona Wildcats at 2 p.m. Saturday in Martin Stadium. For more on Homecoming activities on and around campus, read http://wsunews.wsu.edu/detail.asp?StoryID=4093

In the news

While unemployment remains high in Washington and throughout the Pacific Northwest, hiring trends show signs of improvement. According to a national survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers expect to hire 12.7 percent more college graduates in 2003-04 than they hired in 2002-03. To succeed in the competitive market for those jobs, students need to start early, do their research, polish their interviewing skills and stay on top of what’s happening in the job market, according to Debbie Edwards, interim director of WSU Career Services. WSU and the University of Idaho are co-sponsoring a Career Expo on Oct. 7 at the Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum. You can contact Edwards at 509.335.2547 or dedwards@wsu.edu.

Hurricane Isabel dominated the news when it struck the East Coast. But its human toll was small when compared with the impact of a summer heat wave in France. A report released last week by France’s National Institute for Health and Medical Research says the August heat wave killed nearly 15,000 people. Steven Stehr, chair of the Department of Political Science/Criminal Justice Program at WSU, has written and studied extensively in the area of governmental response to natural disasters. Stehr says heat waves are relatively unspectacular, are spread out over longer periods of time than some other types of disasters and tend to spread out the damage and the casualties.  In addition, determining whether or not someone died due to a heat wave is not entirely scientific. Many victims in these events tend to be elderly with pre-existing health problems. Stehr can be reached at 509.335.2264 or stehr@wsu.edu.