You are viewing the most recent posts on this topic.
October 21, 2013 at 10:14 AM
By Shawn Vestal
The Spokesman Review / MCT
MOSCOW, Idaho — Malcolm Renfrew didn’t invent Teflon.
But one of the fascinating developments of Renfrew’s fascinating life was that he frequently had to correct people who said he did. It was Renfrew — a son of Spokane who went on to a long, distinguished association with the University of Idaho — who introduced the stuff to the world and who oversaw the team that developed uses for the miracle plastic to which nothing would stick.
Over the past half-century, Teflon has found its way into everything from medical to military applications, but its most famous use — apart from its metaphorical perfection for describing slippery people — is the nonstick frying pan.
“We knew it would be an important chemical,” he once said of Teflon, “although it was not easy to fabricate. The frying pan thing. … I would never have imagined that.”
Renfrew died Saturday in his Moscow home. It was his 103rd birthday. His influence lingers all over the University of Idaho campus — from Renfrew Hall, to the Renfrew lecture series, to the Renfrew fellowship endowment. He helped create the university’s chemistry department and guided decades of scientists through their educations. He painted watercolors of Palouse scenes and played trombone in the Vandal Boosters Non-Marching Pep Band. Two years ago, his birthday was declared Malcolm Renfrew Day in Idaho.
Still, it was his role as a DuPont chemist developing Teflon in the 1930s and ’40s that became his obituary headline.
Renfrew presented the first paper on the substance — titled “Polytetrafluorethylene: heat-resistant, chemically inert plastic” — at a meeting of the American Chemistry Society in Atlantic City, N.J., in 1946; the story was picked up by wire services and ran in newspapers around the country.
“PLASTIC DEFIES HEAT AND ACIDS” read a small headline in The Spokesman-Review at the time. The article quoted Renfrew as saying, “No substance has been found which will dissolve or even swell” the plastic.
Renfrew gave a more colorful account of the speech and surrounding events, including some shenanigans with “barfly newsmen,” in an interview he gave in 1987 to the Chemical Heritage Foundation.
September 23, 2013 at 1:00 PM
NAMPA, Idaho (AP) — A microchip and a volunteer effort to neuter stray cats in Nampa helped reunite a Middleton woman with a cat that ran away during a storm in February 2011.
Laura Foster had given Dalo up for dead after searching him for weeks.
But on Sunday, her cat was home and Foster was crying tears of joy.
Dalo was trapped Sunday by Spay Neuter Idaho Pets (SNIP). He was among a group of cats getting regular feedings from a resident.
The Press-Tribune reports that when volunteers trapped Dalo they noticed he was unusually friendly for a feral cat.
They checked for a microchip and called Foster.
Foster got Dalo from a shelter in 2002 and says the cat never left the house until it was spooked by the storm.
September 5, 2013 at 7:30 AM
A 10-year-old south-central Idaho girl suffered a head wound during a weekend hunting accident.
Cedar Glaesemann of the Jackson area was accidentally shot after she fell Sunday morning while carrying a .410 shotgun, The Times-News reports.
The girl was dove hunting with her brother, father and grandfather, Cassia County officials said.
The girl was taken to Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City. Hospital spokeswoman Bonnie Midget said Wednesday the family asked the hospital not to release the girl’s condition.
September 4, 2013 at 9:10 AM
BURLEY, Idaho (AP) — Officials in Cassia County say a 10-year-old Burley girl was accidentally shot Sunday during a family hunting trip in south-central Idaho.
Details of the incident weren’t released, bu the Cassia County sheriff’s office said the family called 911 about 10 a.m. Sunday to report the shooting.
The girl was taken by ambulance to the hospital in Rupert and later flown to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. Officials did not release her condition.
Chief Deputy George Warrell says the sheriff’s office investigated the shooting and ruled it was accidental.
August 9, 2013 at 10:16 AM
KETCHUM, Idaho (AP) — A black bear in search of a late-night snack broke into an Idaho house and licked leftover Chinese food from a cast-iron pan on the stove.
David Edwards, of Ketchum, told the Idaho Mountain Express that his dog’s barking awakened him around 3 a.m. Monday.
When he went to investigate what had his Irish setter-Lab mix so upset, he saw the bear on its hind legs, paws on the stove, licking a pan.
Edwards’ wife, Sara, had fallen asleep on the couch, and his first instinct was to get her away from the kitchen area. However, he said, “I couldn’t tell her there was a bear in the house because she would have just lost her mind. She gets very upset over spiders.”
So he woke her up and led her into a bedroom without telling her about the furry visitor.
Edwards went back into the kitchen to find the bear was gone and the pan licked clean. Edwards credits his dog for waking him up before the bear got farther into the house.
“If it weren’t for Stanley, who knows what would have happened?” Edwards said.
July 12, 2013 at 8:48 AM
BURLEY, Idaho (AP) — A 33-year-old Burley man is charged with ordering his pit bull to attack his father during an argument.
Steven J. Dalton is charged with felony aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, disability or permanent disfigurement.
Court records say police responding to a disturbance on July 1 found Dalton’s father with blood on his shirt, face and above his left eye. The father told police Dalton had hit him multiple times and then told the pit bull “to get him.”
Investigators say the father suffered a deep gash above his eye and had several bumps on his head.
July 3, 2013 at 1:28 PM
DECLO, Idaho (AP) — A southern Idaho teacher who allowed her fourth-grade students to use markers to draw on the faces of six classmates who failed to meet their reading goals will return to the Declo school for the 2013-2014 school year.
Cassia County school board member Steve Lynch tells The Times-News that Summer Larsen’s contract was renewed based on teacher evaluations performed by principal Rebecca Hunsaker, who recently retired.
“The evaluation recommended rehiring Larsen,” Lynch said. “The evaluation was done appropriately and professionally and supported that decision.”
The newspaper could not reach Hunsaker for comment.
Cindy Hurst said her 10-year-old son came home from school Nov. 5 with his entire face — including his eyelids — scribbled on with green, red and purple markers.
“He was humiliated, he hung his head and wanted to go wash his face,” Hurst said at the time. “He knows he’s a slow reader. Now he thinks he should be punished for it.”
The Cassia County School District filed a complaint against Larsen with the Department of Education’s Professional Standards Commission.
Superintendent Gaylen Smyer said the investigation is complete and Education Department spokeswoman Melissa McGrath said there is no formal discipline in Larsen’s file.
“I was told any PSC activity in this case would not preclude the school district from renewing Mrs. Larsen’s contract for the 2013-2014 school years,” Smyer wrote in an email to The Times-News.
An investigation found nine students who didn’t meet their reading goals were allowed to choose between staying in during recess or having their faces marked. Three chose to forgo recess, while six allowed the other students to draw on their faces.
Larsen, who has been with the district for six years, hasn’t commented on the issue. She does not have a listed phone number.
June 27, 2013 at 10:45 AM
MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) — The sister of a 19-year-old Pullman, Wash., man who committed suicide last weekend is seeking an apology from an Idaho sheriff’s deputy she says harassed her brother via Facebook in the days before his death.
Alise Smith said her brother’s decision to end his life was his own, but she believes the comments that Andrew Cain received about arrest warrants in Latah County became too much for him.
The sheriff’s office Facebook page included a “wanted poster” and a post congratulating Cain on being the county’s most wanted person of the month for June. Smith said a deputy also sent private messages to her brother via Facebook. Sheriff Wayne Rausch did not immediately reply to an email and phone message seeking confirmation of the private messages.
“It has never been my policy to include editorializing in media releases pertaining to the location and apprehension of persons wanted by the court,” Rausch said in a statement released by his office. “That situation has been resolved.”
Rausch did not confirm or deny that a deputy sent private messages to Cain via Facebook.
Smith said she understood the “wanted poster” but felt the “congratulations” comment and the private messages were an abuse of power.
She told KLEW-TV that she received a text from her brother early last week that said he felt like putting a bullet in his brain. The message included a screen shot of Facebook messages from a deputy, Smith said.
“Eventually, it all just got too much to handle because other people were texting him and messaging him on Facebook and he just couldn’t handle all of the people telling him how awful a person he was,” Smith told KLEW.
Cain fatally shot himself Sunday, Whitman County Coroner Pete Martin said. (more…)
June 19, 2013 at 10:29 AM
AMMON, Idaho (AP) — A 21-month-old southeastern Idaho girl has died after she was left in a vehicle, according to officials with the Bonneville County sheriff’s department.
Deputies and paramedics were called shortly after 5:15 p.m. Tuesday to a residence in Ammon, just east of Idaho Falls, according to the sheriff’s department. CPR was attempted but Elizabeth Randall was pronounced dead at a hospital in Idaho Falls.
The National Weather Service recorded temperatures in the upper 80s and low 90s at the Idaho Falls airport on Tuesday afternoon.
Detectives are investigating and an autopsy is planned.
Officials did not say how long the girl might have been left in the vehicle.
May 20, 2013 at 12:56 PM
BOISE, Idaho — An Internet entrepreneur and former Wall Street derivatives analyst contends that central Idaho’s Sun Valley resort and the Twitter Inc. social media site have heisted his handle.
Leonard Barshack, who in the 1990s founded the Internet email listing service Bigfoot, is suing Twitter and the Sun Valley Co., demanding they return the handle “SunValley” to his control.
Barshack filed the lawsuit in Idaho’s 5th District Court with his lawyer and wife, Erin Smith, this month, arguing he began using the Twitter handle in April 2010.
He eventually wanted to use the handle to promote business in the region, Barshack said, only to have Twitter tell him late last year he was violating the San Francisco-based company’s policies against impersonation.
“One day I woke up, and Twitter had taken my handle away,” Barshack said Monday, adding that his appeals for Twitter to reconsider have yielded only “boiler plate” responses, forcing him to sue.
“Twitter has been aloof and arrogant, and unfortunately the only way to get their attention was to file a formal complaint,” he said.
This dispute underscores how Twitter has become a powerful marketing tool that companies like Sun Valley Co. can use to market their wares to potential customers — and just how aggressive they can be when they conclude that somebody is squatting on valuable Internet real estate.
Barshack is no Internet ingénue.
After working at Wall Street’s Salomon Brothers with now-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Barshack in 1997 won financing from billionaires Sam Zell and Herb Allen for Bigfoot. Since then, he started a poker software company, Tribeca Tables, and moved to Sun Valley, the resort near Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains where he skis regularly — on runs of the company he’s suing.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
Trending with readers