28-30 • Sun–Tue
Walla Walla, WA
11–13 • Tue – Thu
Washington Turf and Landscape Show
Lynnwood Convention Center
Equipment Managers' Field Day
Spring Chapter Meeting
August 22, 2018
The air was smoky around Aldarra Golf Club, with ash falling from the sky and sticking to anything in its way, just as it was across the entire Puget Sound region in late August from the wildfires in the Cascades, Olympics and Canadian ranges. But that didn’t dissuade 70 golfers from taking on a tough golf course as part of the festivities surrounding the WWGCSA’s annual meeting.
Alex Hedlund, Assistant Superintendent in Training from Sahalee, overcame a strong field of golfers shooting a 9 over par score of 80, defeating Tom Robinson (Bellevue Golf Course) and Jon Fullmer (Jackson Park Golf Course) by a single shot. Sean Reehoorn (Aldarra) was three shots back. Hedlund’s name will be added to a new perpetual trophy that he will get to display at Sahalee until at least next year’s rendition of the Superintendent’s Cup.
Ross O’Fee of Empire Turf finished with the lowest net score of 72, beating Chris Thornton of Auburn Golf Course by two strokes.
August 21, 2018
Nearly 80 members gathered at Aldarra on August 20 at the WWGCSA Annual Meeting. Superintendents and their Assistants, as well as sponsors and friends of the Association met to go over some business, eat some lunch, play some golf and, most importantly, reconnect face to face to celebrate the brethren of the world Golf Course Superintendents.
Scott Phelps (Newcastle), outgoing President of the Board, delivered a few words to summarize the goings of the Association over the last 12 months. He stressed a renewed emphasis on communication and getting together, despite the growing benefits of a digital learning environment, and the challenges of increased traffic congestion that is especially prevalent in Western Washington. Scott was roundly thanked by those in attendance for the yeoman’s effort he has put in the past two years as Board President, even serving as interim Executive Director when there was a vacancy in the position earlier this year.
Sean Reehoorn (Aldarra) was elected to be the new President of the Board by those in attendance. Sean has had a lot of interaction with the GCSAA, serving on its Education Committee as well as being the WWGCSA’s voting delegate. He is encouraged that the new Board will include members from public courses such as Jackson (Greg Van Hollebeke) and Maplewood (Steve Meyers), as “they bring a different perspective on the challenges that Superintendents face every day,” Reehoorn said.
The day was wrapped up on the fabulous course that is Aldarra. Seventeen foursomes teed it up with prizes for closest to the pin, low net and low gross. While many, by their own account, had a difficult time scrubbing off the rust on their games before their round was done—there was not a shortage of smiles by the time they reached the 19th hole.
August 21, 2018
Sean Reehoorn, Superintendent at Aldarra Golf Club, was elected the new Board President of the WWGCSA at its Annual Meeting. Held August 20, coincidentally at Aldarra Golf Club, Reehoorn was elected along with new Board Members Steve Meyers, Superintendent of Maplewood Golf Course, and Rick Michel, Assistant Superintendent at Broadmoor Golf Club. Meyers and Michel join Reehoorn, Greg Van Hollebeke (Jackson Golf Course) and Jason Otto (Wilbur Ellis) each of whom were re-elected to the Board.
Scott Phelps (Newcastle), though stepping down as President after two terms, will remain on the Board in the post of Immediate Past President. Rolling off the Board after completing their terms of service are Thaddeus Lalley (Assistant from Everett Golf Club) and Michael Goldsberry (Immediate Past President, from Wing Point GCC).
Returning to the Board with remaining terms are Ryan Semritc (Willows Run), Clint Goold (Druid’s Glen) and Jason Krogman (Kitsap Golf and Country Club).
August 10, 2018
Idaho-Based J.R. Simplot Company Has Acquired Gene Editing Licensing Rights. A multinational agricultural company based in Idaho has acquired gene editing licensing rights that could one day be used to help farmers produce more crops and make grocery store offerings such as strawberries, potatoes and avocados stay fresher longer.
J.R. Simplot Company on Monday announced the agreement with DowDuPont Inc. and the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, developers of the nascent gene editing technology. Simplot is the first agricultural company to receive such a license.
“We think this is a transformative technology—it’s very powerful,” said Issi Rozen, chief business officer of the Broad Institute. “We’re delighted that Simplot is the first one to take advantage of the licensing.”
There is no evidence that genetically modified organisms, known as GMOs, are unsafe to eat, but changing the genetic code of foods presents an ethical issue for some. For example McDonald’s had declined to use Simplot’s genetically engineered potatoes for its French fries.
The food industry has also faced pressure from retailers as consumer awareness of genetically modified foods has increased.
J.R. Simplot officials declined to say how much the company paid for the licensing rights acquired through a process intended to prevent the technology from being used unethically. The technology allows scientists to make precise changes to the genome of living organisms and has wide-ranging applications for improving plant food production and quality.
“The issues are about getting the right kind of food produced in the right kind of way,” said Neal Gutterson, chief technology officer at Corteva Agriscience, DowDuPont’s agriculture division. “It’s important to be able to produce enough food for the nine to 10 billion people who will be on the planet in 30 years.”
The gene editing technology is called CRISPR-Cas9, the first part an acronym for “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats.” The technology speeds up the traditional process of breeding generation after generation of plants to get a certain desirable trait, saving years in developing new varieties that are as safe as traditionally developed varieties, scientists say.
Essentially, if an organism’s genome is made analogous to a large manuscript, CRISPR-Cas9 allows scientists to edit specific words in the manuscript using a “search and replace” function. One of the remaining challenges, scientists say, is getting the complete genome for particular food crops. Or, to use the analogy, to not only have the complete manuscript but to have it translated so scientists know where to make the edits.
The CRISPR-Cas9 technology is so new that in March the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which regulates how food is produced, issued a statement clarifying its oversight of foods produced with gene editing. “Under its biotechnology regulations, USDA does not regulate or have any plans to regulate plants that could otherwise have been developed through traditional breeding techniques,” the agency said.
Simplot markets products in more than 40 countries, and it has major operations in the United States, China, Canada, Australia and Mexico. The company, which is a top producer of avocados grown in Mexico and sold in the U.S., is perhaps best known for potatoes.
The company has already used other genetic techniques to adapt genes from wild and cultivated potatoes to produce commercially sold potatoes that resist bruising and late blight, which caused the Irish Potato Famine and continues to cause problems for potato farmers. Gene editing is expected to further the company’s expertise in potatoes.
“That’s part of our vision for Simplot—to be the knowledge leader for potatoes,” said Susan Collinge, vice president of plant sciences at Simplot, where she supervises about 95 plant scientists.
Idaho produces 13 billion pounds (6 billion kilograms) of potatoes annually—a third of the nation’s potatoes—worth about $1.2 billion.
Gene editing likely wouldn’t result in new varieties of potatoes for at least five years, and probably longer before the potatoes could be sold commercially, Collinge said.