This is the last week of spring semester classes on Washington State University’s campuses. Finals week begins May 3.

Dick Harwood, C.S. Mott Chair of Sustainable Agriculture, emeritus, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at Michigan State University, will discuss “Research Priorities for the Land Grant University” at 3:10 p.m. on April 26 at the Johnson Hall Annex, Room 107, on the WSU campus in Pullman. At MSU, Harwood has been a leader in research focusing on the role that crop rotation can play in improving soil quality and in fighting pests. For more information, see

Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu will share “A View from Washington” at the Vancouver’s Royal Durst Theatre on Saturday, May 1 at 7 p.m. Sununu became New Hampshire’s 75th chief executive in 1983 and served three consecutive terms. In 1989 he was appointed chief of staff to President George H.W. Bush and served in the White House until March 1992. For more details, see

In the news

The coffin photos: Last week, a military contractor from Edmonds was fired after The Seattle Times published her photo of flag-covered coffins of soldiers killed in Iraq. The contractor was fired, according to her employer, because she violated U.S. government regulations that ban the media from taking pictures of caskets as they are prepared for return home. The government says it bans these images out of deference to the families of deceased soldiers. Is that a credible argument? No, said John R. Irby, associate professor and journalism degree sequence coordinator in the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University. A newspaper reporter, editor and publisher for more than 25 years before beginning his teaching career, Irby said there are larger issues to consider. Secrecy in government is increasing. The media, Irby said, should not stand for being managed, ignored or lied to by government, a dangerous precedent that goes against the very freedom and values the United States proclaims in its world policies. The argument of deference to families of slain soldiers sounds sincere, but Irby suggests it might denigrate the sacrifices of our soldiers and might be designed to hide from the American public the harsh realities of war. Irby is available at or 509.335.1547. Many stories from his newspaper career can be found in his new book ”Kill the Editor,” which will be released July 1. For more information, contact him via e-mail or go to

Milk prices surge: People have been paying plenty attention in recent weeks to the rise in gasoline prices. What has received far less attention, but may garner more in the near future, is the rising price of another everyday item – milk. Dairymen received prices that were at 25-year lows the last two years; now prices are rebounding. Ned Zaugg, an area extension WSU dairy faculty member in Snohomish County, said that dairymen have not seen much of that increase as yet. But he expects consumers to find milk prices increasing dramatically in the coming month.  However, Zaugg predicts, when the price returns to the seasonal lows, you’ll not see much of a drop in the retail price because of the retailing philosophy of charging what the public is willing to pay. Zaugg can be reached at 425.357.6018 or