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Stories this week at WFU

By Jacob McConnico
July 13, 2005

TERRORISM: WHAT'S THE MESSAGE? — Randall Rogan, associate professor of communication and chair of the communication department at Wake Forest University, is available to discuss communication and terrorism in regards to the bombings in London. An expert on the communication and analysis of hostage and crisis negotiation, Rogan has worked with the FBI and was a member of the team of analysts that helped identify the "Unabomber." During the spring semester of 2005, Rogan taught the popular course "Communication, Terrorism and Hostage Negotiation" at Wake Forest. The course explored the ways communication helps define terrorism, how communication via mass media helps facilitate the objectives of terrorism and how communication frames the responses to terrorism.

Contact: Maggie Barrett, or 336-758-5237.

BUSH COURT NOMINATION TRACK RECORD SUGGESTS LONG FIGHT — "If President Bush follows the approach at the Supreme Court level that he has followed for appeals court judges, I think there will be a lot of controversy," said Michael Curtis, professor of law at Wake Forest. "The appeals court judges nominated by Bush have been people who are pretty far from the moderate center on a whole range of issues." Curtis, an expert on constitutional law and legal and constitutional history, is available to discuss the legacy of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and the direction that Bush and the Republicans will take when nominating her successor.

Contact: Jacob McConnico, or 336-758-5237.

LOCAL FAMILIES OPEN HOMES TO EASTERN EUROPEAN STUDENTS — This summer, several local families are opening their homes to students and teachers from Albania, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia as part of the Southeast European Youth Leadership Institute (SEEYLI) being held at Wake Forest for the fifth, consecutive year. The program, funded by the U.S. Department of State and the Open Society Institute, is designed to help participants identify challenges and opportunities for developing and supporting civil societies in their home countries. The home stay portion of the program places SEEYLI participants with local families. For two weeks, the participants stay with the families and learn about everyday life in the United States. The host families say the experience is educational for them as well. "We learned that we are basically alike," said host family Marvin and Linda Scherl. "Our cultures and some of our customs or beliefs may differ, but as human beings we have similar dreams and goals." Several host families, many of whom have hosted participants for the past two years, are available to speak with the media.

Contact: Maggie Barrett, or 336-758-5237.

MODERATE WEIGHT LOSS TAKES MAJOR PRESSURE OFF THE KNEE — Weight loss could be four times as beneficial for overweight or obese adults suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee, according to new research from Wake Forest published in the July issue of "Arthritis & Rheumatism." Stephen Messier, professor of health and exercise science at Wake Forest, was the principal investigator for the study. He discovered that when study participants lost weight, every pound lost netted a 4-pound reduction in pressure exerted on knees. With every step taken, the amount of pressure not placed on the knees begins to add up. "For people losing 10 pounds, each knee would be subjected to 48,000 pounds less in comprehensive load per mile walked," Messier writes in the study article. Osteoarthritis, a disease that destroys cartilage tissue that acts like shock absorbers in the joints, is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Obesity is the most important, modifiable risk factor associated with osteoarthritis of the knee

Contact: Maggie Barrett, or 336-758-5237.

WILL BUSH WIN THE SUMMER SUPREME COURT BATTLE? — With liberals and conservatives gearing up for a fight over a Supreme Court replacement for Sandra Day O'Connor, members of the media can turn to John Dinan, the Zachary T. Smith Associate Professor of Political Science at Wake Forest University for analysis of the nomination and confirmation process. "The first and most important question concerning the fate of any Bush nomination is how to interpret a recent agreement made by 14 moderate Senators that established some guidelines regarding the judicial confirmation process but left unclear whether 50 or 60 votes would be required for the Senate to confirm a Supreme Court nominee," said Dinan, author of "Keeping the People's Liberties: Legislators, Citizens, and Judges as Guardians of Rights." He said that if Bush only needs 50 of 100 Senators, as has been the traditional practice with Supreme Court confirmations, those votes should easily be available among the 55 Senate seats controlled by the Republicans. But, if Democrats impose a higher standard that would require the approval of 60 Senators, as they have recently required of various lower federal court nominees, then we could be in for a long and contentious confirmation battle this summer.

Contact: Jacob McConnico, or 336-758-5237.

GET KIDS TO EAT HEALTHY LUNCHES AT SCHOOL — With the growing problem of childhood obesity, getting children to eat healthy foods at school has become an issue often highlighted by the media. Gary Miller, Wake Forest associate professor of health and exercise science, says parents can increase the chances their kids will eat healthier lunches at school by sending healthy packed lunches that appeal to their children and by talking to children about making healthy food choices. When packing a lunch for children, Miller advises parents to use the healthy foods their children like, offer them a choice of those foods and use creative presentation. Miller, who has a 5-year-old son, acknowledges that the temptation of cafeteria staples such as pizza can be powerful, which is why he says the most important thing parents can do to get their kids to eat healthier lunches at school is talk to them. "If you give kids some credit and talk to them about why some foods are good everyday foods and why others should be eaten once in a while, they get it."

Contact: Maggie Barrett, or 336-758-5237.

SAMURAI WITH BATS: BASEBALL IN JAPAN — William W. Kelly, professor of anthropology and Sumitomo Professor of Japanese Studies at Yale University, will explain the history and reasons for the extreme popularity of baseball in Japan and its place within modern Japanese culture in "Samurai with Bats? Baseball in Contemporary Japan" at 7:30 p.m. July 21. Admission is free. The event is presented in conjunction with the exhibit "Asian Games: The Art of the Contest," which highlights the importance of Asia as a source of many games, including chess, polo, backgammon, Parcheesi and playing cards. The exhibit is structured to suggest the impact of particular games and the cultural values of players.

Contact: Cheryl V. Walker, or 336-758-5237.

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