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The seminar "Brownfields and Urban Gardening" will be offered Jan. 10-12 in 1052 Rathbone Hall.

The seminar will focus on urban soils and safe gardening practices. Participants will hear from experts on contaminants in urban soils and progress in urban agriculture.

Leadership for the seminar, which may be taken for academic credit under CHE 650 or for continuing education, is provided by K-State's Center for Hazardous Substance Research and the departments of chemical engineering and agronomy.

"Brownfields, urban gardening and local foods have all been in the news recently as leaders, such as President and Mrs. Obama, discuss the growing importance of fresh produce in diets," said Larry Erickson, director of the Center for Hazardous Substance Research. "This is an increasingly important topic because of obesity and the importance of good nutrition."

A free, open public session, "Soil Quality, Compost and Composting," will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 10, in 1052 Rathbone Hall.

More information about the seminar, including online registration, is available at


The College of Veterinary Medicine, Beef Cattle Institute and Frontier program are commemorating the upcoming 150th anniversary of the state of Kansas with the release of the coffee table-style book "150 Years of Kansas Beef."

The book is dedicated to longtime Kansas rancher Jack Vanier, whose wife, Donna Vanier, made the project possible. The Vaniers own the CK Ranch in Brookville.

"With chapters reaching as far back as the great cattle drives of the 19th century, this historical and photograph-rich book will take readers through the challenges and triumphs of the Kansas beef industry over the last century and a half," said Justin Kastner, director of the book project and co-director of the Frontier program, a historical studies research program offered by the department of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology.

"Dozens of families contributed ranch histories, photographs and other paraphernalia to the project, some of which are described in an online podcast series available through the Beef Cattle Institute at," he said. "We're grateful to the scores of families who have contributed to the project."

Chris Stephens, former development officer for the College of Veterinary Medicine, worked closely on the project with Kastner and Chris Gruber, the college's current director of development.

"It's difficult to imagine the rich history of the state of Kansas without acknowledging the social and economic impact the beef cattle industry has played in driving the state's progress," Stephens said. "One might say the same for one of Kansas' most prominent citizens, Jack Vanier, who has spent his entire life diligently working for the advancement of the state and Kansas agriculture. Jack's primary focus has always leaned toward beef cattle production -- an economic factor that touches the lives of every Kansan."

The Vaniers, both active philanthropists, have supported many community and K-State projects through the Vanier Family Foundation. The "150 Years of Kansas Beef" book dedication was a surprise Christmas gift to Jack Vanier from his wife.

"I don't have the opportunity to surprise Jack very often," Donna Vanier said. "This is why I want to honor his legacy as a prominent cattleman and astute businessman who has worked tirelessly for the state of Kansas."

The book can be ordered online at It is being printed by Donning Company Publishers and will be delivered in summer 2011.

For more information, contact Kastner at 785-532-4820 or, or Blair Tenhouse at 785-532-2511 or Written requests can be mailed to: 150 Years of Kansas Beef, c/o Blair Tenhouse, Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology, 1800 Denison Ave., Kansas State University, 309 Coles Hall, Manhattan, KS 66506.


Eight hours hunkered over her work in Justin Hall. Two hours commuting from her home outside Council Grove. Deb Sellers had become a master at sitting, and she did not like it one bit.

Sellers is an assistant professor of family studies and human services and extension specialist in adult development and aging at Kansas State University. She knows the problem of too much sitting. She also knows one solution.

If you pass her office today, you may hear light footsteps. Sellers is hard at work…and walking.

She and husband, Mark, designed and built a standing desk around a treadmill. They left off the traditional rails; the monitor, telling the assistant professor how far and fast she is walking, sits in a custom-built stand atop the desk.

"I noticed in the four years I have been at K-State my physical activity had decreased," Sellers said. Previously she was in the field, serving elders in acute care hospitals, long-term care facilities, retirement communities and government agencies.

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic invented a treadmill desk, she said. She asked her husband, a commercial woodworker, to make one for her. He measured heights and widths and then constructed a mock-up out of cardboard.

Sellers used it to ensure that the height worked and that she could integrate physical movement with work. She could. The desk worked.

Mark Sellers then built the desk from wood and laminate. The two hauled it to Sellers' office on the third floor of Justin. She transferred her second computer screen to the new desk.

The empathetic professor checked the noise level. She didn't want her walking to interfere with work in nearby offices. No problem, reported her co-workers next door.

Next she checked the energy use. She didn't want her treadmill shocking the electric bill. No problem: a treadmill uses about the same amount of electricity as a mini-fridge, which is commonplace in offices.

Today Sellers tries to walk -- at the pace of 1 mile an hour -- at least an hour a day, taking care of e-mail and keeping up with her profession. Her wireless keyboard and mouse make that possible, she said.

She feels better, she said. "But I wouldn't try to write a journal article while I was walking."


K-State is offering Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response training Jan. 3-5.

The sessions include a 40-hour training course and an eight-hour refresher course, both to keep first responders of hazardous materials safe, effective and certified to handle hazardous waste emergencies.

"These sessions are very well rounded in the why's and how's of working with hazardous waste and chemical spills," said Steven Galitzer, director of the department of environmental health and safety at K-State. "The on-site classroom experience includes two full days of hands-on experience with the materials and equipment used in hazardous waste operations and emergency response."

The 40-hour training course is a Web-based class that includes 16 hours of hands-on training from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 4-5, 2011, on the K-State campus in Manhattan. The online portion of the class is at the participant's pace and must be completed prior to Jan. 4. This training satisfies Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements in hazardous waste operations and emergency response for employment in treatment, storage and disposal facilities; hazardous waste clean-up sites; and emergency response involving hazardous materials.

The eight-hour refresher course is on site from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 3, 2011. This course is for people who have completed the 40-hour training. It re-qualifies participants to enter hazardous waste sites in the field and work appropriately with hazardous materials in the laboratory.

Both courses cover topics such as federal regulations, toxicology, hazard communication, site management, air monitoring, site characterization, operating procedures, safety and spill clean-up.

Additional information and online registration can be found at or by call the K-State Division of Continuing Education conference registration office at 785-532-5569.


A K-State 2+2 program created for nontraditional Latino and Latina students who want to teach in southwest Kansas has received the 2010 Outstanding Service to Underserved Populations Award from the Association for Continuing Higher Education.

The award was presented at the association's recent annual conference in Albuquerque, N.M.

AccessUS was created by K-State's department of curriculum and instruction and the Division of Continuing Education. It has helped 16 students earn their bachelor's degrees in elementary education with an English as a second language endorsement from K-State.

"The purpose of AccessUS was to fill two needs: the need for highly qualified teachers willing to work in southwest Kansas, and more specifically, the need for bilingual teachers to work with the increasingly diverse student population in the region," said Amanda Morales, on-campus coordinator for AccessUS and program assistant in the department of curriculum and instruction.

The program primarily recruited bilingual Latina students working as paraprofessionals in schools in diverse southwest Kansas communities. Since the students already lived in these communities, Morales said it was more likely they would want to stay and teach there after earning their degrees.

Morales and Gayla Lohfink, on-site program coordinator for the College of Education, helped organize partnerships with several community colleges in southwest Kansas to fulfill the students' general education requirements. Partnership colleges included Dodge City Community College, Garden City Community College and Seward County Community College.

The upper-level education courses were taught by K-State faculty. Course delivery was through a variety of distance education methods, including teleconferencing, DVDs and more.

"We took the courses that we already offer on campus and developed hybrid versions of them," Morales said. "We modified the courses for delivery to the students in southwest Kansas, but still kept the same course quality and rigor, which isn’t always the easiest thing."

In addition to course instruction, the department of curriculum and instruction and the Division of Continuing Education also provided students with advising assistance, tutoring, scholarships and stipends for books and resource materials.

Funding for the program was provided by a U.S. Department of Education Equity and Access Grant to K-State's College of Education and funds from the Kansas Legislature.

Morales attributes the success of the program to accommodating the special needs of diverse, nontraditional students, including being flexible with their busy schedules and providing financial assistance whenever possible.

"I think it's a good example or testament to what can be accomplished when you're willing to collaborate for the good of students," she said. "It involved identifying a need and then everybody working toward fulfilling or addressing that need."


Faculty and staff are invited to a ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception for the Large Animal Research Center

The ceremony will be at 2 p.m., Friday, Dec. 17, at 2705 Denison Ave., near the intersection of Denison and Marlatt Avenues.

Tours of the new facilities will be given to interested parties.


State of Kansas employees -- including K-State employees -- are eligible for many discounts from cell phones and computers to restaurants and more.

Reach for the STAR -- State Thanks and Recognition program -- the next time you are considering a purchase. In these tough economic times it might just pay off to take a look at the discounts offered through the STAR program to save a little money. The STAR program allows state employees to receive discounts from participating merchants. STAR offers discounts at restaurants such as Cheeburger Cheeburger, Qdoba’s and Papa Murphy’s. They also offer discounts at hotels, warehouse stores, cell phone providers and much more.

The main website is, and the discount search page is

Keep in mind some discounts are only offered periodically, and businesses are added frequently, so check the website often.

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Did you know state employees can purchase a one-year subscription or renewal to KANSAS! magazine for $18 and a two-year subscription or renewal for $25.25 -- more than $10 off the newsstand price? And KANSAS! calendars for 50 percent off the retail price (only $5)?

KANSAS! is full of beautiful photography and entertaining stories about a state rich in history, varied landscapes and authentic people. With a subscription you'll receive the KANSAS! calendar along with your winter issue.

Take advantage of our pre-Christmas offer: Order by December 17 and receive five issues for the price of four. Your subscription will begin with the spring 2011 issue and we will send you the beautiful winter 2010 anniversary issue and 2011 calendar absolutely free before Christmas.

To order, call Priscilla at KANSAS! magazine at 866-526-7624 or e-mail Pris Humphrey at To get your discount mention that you are a state employee.