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Purdue, partners to address high-risk drinking on college campuses

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. –- Purdue is joining 13 colleges and universities from across the country to address high-risk drinking on American campuses.

This unprecedented group initiative – the Learning Collaborative on High-Risk Drinking – will use comprehensive evaluation and measurement techniques to identify and implement the most effective ways to confront this persistent problem.

“Using proven methodology, this collaborative of universities will analyze various approaches and develop best practices,” said Purdue President France A. Córdova. “Purdue can adapt those to our own university and share our findings with others.”

About 40 percent of college students in the United States engage in binge drinking. A binge, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is having several drinks – four for women and five for men – in a couple of hours. At Purdue, the most recent survey found its percentage slightly lower at 37 percent.

“By collaborating on this issue, comparing our experiences and learning from each other’s best practices, we believe we are much more likely to make meaningful and lasting progress than if each school attempts to tackle this critical issue on its own,” said Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim, a leader in the effort.

In addition to Purdue and Dartmouth, members of the collaborative include Boston, Cornell, Duke, Frostburg State, Northwestern, Ohio, Princeton, Stanford, Stony Brook and Wesleyan universities, the University of Wyoming and Sewanee: The University of the South. Additional universities and colleges will be accepted through May 20.

The group’s methodology was developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Cambridge, Mass., and is aimed at spreading and adapting knowledge to different settings in order to address a given problem or health concern. This model has already been used hundreds of times in medicine and public health.

A centerpiece of the methodology is its focus on measurement. Various measures will be developed to track the effort’s progress, in consultation with experts from across the country. Data will be shared and compared among participant institutions with the goal of lowering the rate of binge drinking.

Each institution will appoint dedicated teams composed of students and administrators to the collaborative, which will convene in June for the first of a series of face-to-face meetings that will take place every six months. In between those meetings, teams will share outcomes and implementation methods to assess which programs work, where they work and why, focusing principally on the evidence-based interventions developed in recent years that have been shown to be effective. There will be three collaborative learning sessions during the next year, after which the group expects to publish its findings.

“An issue as complex as binge drinking is ideal to take on through this collaborative process,” said Lloyd Provost, senior fellow to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and a collaborative adviser. “The key to a successful collaborative is to effectively combine the subject matter experts’ knowledge with the local contextual knowledge of teams on college campuses.”

Close to 2,000 college students in the United States die each year from alcohol-related injuries – including motor vehicle accidents – and an estimated 600,000 students are injured while under the influence, according to research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. In addition, research has consistently shown that binge drinking often leads to sexual abuse and unsafe sex as well as academic problems.

Among the programs at Purdue is AlcoholEdu, which will be rolled out to all new undergraduate students in July. This online, confidential education course will provide students, whether they drink or not, with information to make well-informed decisions about alcohol and provide some simple strategies to help keep them and their friends safe. Colleges that have used AlcoholEdu have seen reduced alcohol-related negative consequences such as drunk driving, injuries and missed classes.

“Purdue’s offering of AlcoholEdu and the course’s effect will be comprehensively measured and reported,” said Lee Gordon, assistant vice president for student affairs.

Posted in Purdue News0 Comments

WNC logo

Wabash National announces First Quarter Results

LAFAYETTE, Ind. –- Wabash National Corporation (NYSE: WNC) reported year-over-year improvement across most financial and operating metrics.

They reported net income of $3.2 million and $0.05 per diluted share for the first quarter of 2011 on net sales of $222 million. For the same quarter last year, they reported net loss of $139.1 million, or $4.64 per diluted share, on net sales of $78 million. Results for the three months ended March 31, 2010 included a non-cash charge of $126.8 million, or an impact of $4.17 per diluted share, related to the increase in the fair value of the company’s warrant which was issued in 2009 to a private investor and fully exercised in the third quarter of 2010. The company reported operating income of $4.0 million for the first quarter of 2011 compared to an operating loss of $11.2 million for the first quarter of 2010. The improvement in operating income of $15.2 million for the three month period resulted primarily from higher new trailer shipments of 8,900 units, an increase of 242 percent from the prior year period.

The following is a summary of select operating and financial results for the past five quarters:

                                                                     Three Months Ended
                                 ---------------  ---------------  ----------------  ---------------  ---------------
                                    March 31,        June 30,         September 30,    December 31,     March 31,
   (Dollars in thousands)           2010             2010             2010             2010             2011
                                 ---------------  ---------------  ----------------  ---------------  ---------------
   New Trailer Units Sold               2,600            5,400             6,800            10,100            8,900
   Net Sales                     $     78,274     $    149,699     $     170,848     $     241,550    $     221,984
   Gross Profit Margin                   -1.2%             3.5%              3.8%              7.2%             7.4%
   Income (Loss) from Operations $   ( 11,232)    $    ( 5,715)    $     ( 4,206)    $       5,736    $       4,009
   Net Income (Loss)             $  ( 139,079)(1) $    ( 5,602)(1) $     ( 1,938)(1) $       4,859    $       3,197
   Operating EBITDA (Non-GAAP)   $    ( 5,975)    $      ( 493)    $        643      $      10,752    $       8,802

   Notes: (1) Quarterly Net Income (Loss) includes a non-cash benefit (charge) of approximately ($126.8) million, $1.9 million and
              $3.3 million for the first, second and third quarters of 2010, respectively, related to the change in the fair value of the
              Company’s warrant which was issued to a private investor in 2009 and fully exercised in the third quarter of 2010.
        

Dick Giromini, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “Our operating results continued to improve both year-over-year and sequentially. In fact, first quarter gross profit margin of 7.4% reflects our best performance since 2007. These results were driven by continued improvement in our production efficiencies and reflect the leverage achieved from our cost optimization efforts implemented during the recent downturn. Our efforts to further diversify our business continued to gain traction as sales of our DuraPlate® Products had its best quarter on record with revenue of approximately $11 million. In addition, we also announced an agreement this quarter to further diversify through increased sales of our Allied Products to manufacture Frac tanks for the environmental services and oil and gas industries.”

Mr. Giromini continued, “New trailer shipments of 8,900 for the first quarter were at the high-end of our guidance and backlog increased over $250 million to approximately $731 million as of March 31, 2011, reaching the highest level in more than a decade. The strength of our backlog coupled with very low cancellation rates reflects the accelerating recovery in our industry and the strength of our market position. In addition, ACT has recently increased its forecast for 2011 industry trailer volumes to approximately 200,000 units. As a result of these factors and our improved outlook for demand, we are also increasing our new trailer shipment expectations for 2011 to an estimated 45,000 to 47,000 units. With volumes now reaching pre-recession levels, we are focusing our attention to the shorter-term challenges associated with additional ramp-up in production capacity and the continuing impacts of rising commodity and component costs.”

On a non-GAAP basis, the Company’s Operating EBITDA of $8.8 million was better than the first quarter of 2010 by approximately $14.8 million on approximately 6,300 additional new trailer shipments. A discussion of the Company’s use of Operating EBITDA as a non-GAAP measure is included below, and a reconciliation of Operating EBITDA to net income (loss) is provided in the supplemental schedules included in this release.

First Quarter 2011 Conference Call
Wabash National Corporation will conduct a conference call to review and discuss its first quarter results on May 4, 2011, at 10:00 a.m. EDT. The phone number to access the conference call is 877-407-8035. The call can also be accessed live on the Company’s website at www.wabashnational.com. For those unable to participate in the live webcast, the call will be archived at www.wabashnational.com within three hours of the conclusion of the live call and will remain available through July 27, 2011.

Non-GAAP Measures
In addition to disclosing financial results calculated in accordance with United States generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), the financial information included in this release contains the non-GAAP financial measure Operating EBITDA.

Operating EBITDA should not be considered a substitute for, or superior to, financial measures and results calculated in accordance with GAAP, including net income (loss), and reconciliations to GAAP financial statements should be carefully evaluated.

Operating EBITDA is defined as earnings before interest, taxes, preferred stock dividends, depreciation, amortization, stock-based compensation, and other non-operating income and expense, as well as noncash charges associated with the Company’s warrant issued in 2009 and fully exercised in 2010. Management believes Operating EBITDA provides useful information to investors regarding our results of operations. We provide this measure because we believe it is useful for investors to understand our performance period to period with the exclusion of the recurring and non-recurring items identified above. Management believes the presentation of Operating EBITDA, when combined with the primary GAAP presentation of operating income, is beneficial to an investor’s complete understanding of our operating performance. A reconciliation of Operating EBITDA to net income (loss) is included in the tables following this release.

About Wabash National Corporation
Headquartered in Lafayette, Ind., Wabash National® Corporation (NYSE: WNC) is one of the leading manufacturers of semi trailers in North America. Established in 1985, the Company specializes in the design and production of dry freight vans, refrigerated vans, flatbed trailers, drop deck trailers, dump trailers, truck bodies and intermodal equipment. Its innovative core products are sold under the DuraPlate®, ArcticLite®, FreightPro™ Eagle® and Benson™ brand names. The Company operates two wholly-owned subsidiaries: Transcraft® Corporation, a manufacturer of flatbed, drop deck, dump trailers and truck bodies; and Wabash National Trailer Centers, trailer service centers and retail distributors of new and used trailers and aftermarket parts throughout the U.S.

Posted in Business News0 Comments

Gimlet Crest

Purdue withdraws recognition of Gimlet Leadership Honorary

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue officials on Thursday (April 28) announced that the university has withdrawn recognition of the Gimlet Leadership Honorary for ongoing violations of university alcohol and hazing regulations.

The withdrawal means that Gimlet is no longer affiliated with the university and cannot operate an organization, said Pablo Malavenda, associate dean of students. The sanction resulted from a Purdue investigation and hearing, he said.

“It is unfortunate this action was necessary, but after a pattern of similar behavior over the course of many years emerged, it became clear what we needed to do,” Malavenda said.

The Gimlet organization was founded as a booster club for Purdue varsity sports. Its membership consists of juniors and seniors from within the fraternity/sorority community. The organization is most known for its role at Purdue home football games. Gimlet members line the north end zone and after each Boilermaker score execute push-ups equal to the team’s point total. They also ring the Victory Bell after Purdue wins.  Gimlet is one of the oldest running organizations on Purdue’s campus since its beginning in 1922.

The organization has until 5 p.m. Tuesday (May 3) to appeal the sanction to the Campus Appeal Board. If no appeal is filed, the withdrawal goes into effect immediately.

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Saint Joseph's College and Ivy Tech-Lafayette logos

Ivy Tech-Lafayette, Saint Joseph’s reach agreement to help students earn bachelor’s degrees

Saint Joseph's College and Ivy Tech-Lafayette logosLAFAYETTE and RENSSELAER, Ind. — Saint Joseph’s College and Ivy Tech Community College-Lafayette have reached an agreement that will allow Ivy Tech students with associate degrees in specific majors and programs to earn a bachelor’s degree from SJC in a timely manner.

SJC will accept associate degrees from Ivy Tech as equivalent to the first two years of SJC’s baccalaureate program and admit students with junior standing in the following areas: Accounting, Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Education, and Liberal Arts.

“We entered into this agreement with Ivy Tech because we believe its students are in a good position to benefit from the SJC experience as we prepare students to become professionals and leaders in the world,” said SJC Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Daniel Blankenship. “We hope this agreement will provide a smooth transition between the two institutions and give more students the opportunity to complete their baccalaureate degrees.”

“Ivy Tech students now have another option to continue their education,” said Ivy Tech’s Dr. Todd Roswarski, Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs. “The combined academic excellence of Ivy Tech and SJC will prepare students for careers that are in-demand within today’s global economy.”

With the acceptance of the associate degree, the freshman and sophomore levels of Core, SJC’s general education program, will be waived. No credits will be awarded for these courses, but they will not be part of students’ degree requirements. SJC agrees to accept 60-70 credit hours in transfer work from Ivy Tech for those who have earned one of the specified associate degrees. Grades, quality points, and GPA will not transfer.

About Saint Joseph’s College
Saint Joseph’s College, named a “character-building college” by the Templeton Foundation and a “best Midwestern college” by the Princeton Review, is a four-year, Catholic, liberal arts college offering 25 majors, 4 group majors, 32 minors, and 9 pre-professional programs, complemented by the nationally acclaimed Core Program. Founded and sponsored by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, SJC is located in Rensselaer, Indiana, approximately 90 minutes from both Chicago and Indianapolis, on a park-like campus of 180 acres and has an enrollment of more than 1,000 students.

About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system serving nearly 200,000 students annually. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.

Posted in Community News1 Comment

Cayenne peppers

Study finds “reasonable” quantities of red pepper may curb appetite

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Spicing up your daily diet with some red pepper can curb appetite, especially for those who don’t normally eat the popular spice, according to research from Purdue University.

Cayenne peppers

This study used ordinary dried, ground cayenne red pepper. Cayenne is a chili pepper, which is among the most commonly consumed spices in the world. Most, but not all, chili peppers contain capsaicin.

“We found that consuming red pepper can help manage appetite and burn more calories after a meal, especially for individuals who do not consume the spice regularly,” said Richard Mattes, distinguished professor of foods and nutrition who collaborated with doctoral student Mary-Jon Ludy. “This finding should be considered a piece of the puzzle because the idea that one small change will reverse the obesity epidemic is simply not true. However, if a number of small changes are added together, they may be meaningful in terms of weight management. Dietary changes that don’t require great effort to implement, like sprinkling red pepper on your meal, may be sustainable and beneficial in the long run, especially when paired with exercise and healthy eating.”

Other studies have found that capsaicin, the component that gives chili peppers their heat, can reduce hunger and increase energy expenditure – burning calories. The amounts tested, however, were not realistic for most people in the U. S. population, Mattes said.

The current study measured the spice’s effects using quantities of red pepper – 1 gram or half a teaspoon – that are acceptable for many consumers. Other studies also have looked at consumption via a capsule, but Ludy and Mattes’ study demonstrated that tasting the red pepper may optimize its effects. The findings are published in Physiology & Behavior.

This study used ordinary dried, ground cayenne red pepper. Cayenne is a chili pepper, which is among the most commonly consumed spices in the world. Most, but not all, chili peppers contain capsaicin.

Twenty-five non-overweight people – 13 who liked spicy food and 12 who did not – participated in the six-week study. The preferred level of pepper for each group was determined in advance, and those who did not like red pepper preferred 0.3 grams compared to regular spice users who preferred 1.8 grams. In general, red pepper consumption did increase core body temperature and burn more calories through natural energy expenditure.

This study found that those who did not consume red pepper regularly experienced a decrease of hunger, especially for fatty, salty and sweet foods.

“The appetite responses were different between those who liked red pepper and those who did not, suggesting that when the stimulus is unfamiliar it has a greater effect. Once it becomes familiar to people, it loses its efficacy. The finding that there is a difference between users and non-users is novel and requires further study to determine how long it will be effective and how to adjust the diet to improve continuous effectiveness.”

The failure to account for individual differences in liking the burn of chili peppers may explain why some previous studies varied on capsaicin’s impact on appetite suppression and thermogenic response, which is an increase in body heat produced when digesting food.

Mattes said the findings also show that red pepper should be consumed in non-capsule form because the taste – the sensory experience – maximizes the digestive process.

“That burn in your mouth is responsible for that effect,” he said. “It turns out you get a more robust effect if you include the sensory part because the burn contributes to a rise in body temperature, energy expenditure and appetite control.”

Mattes, who specializes in taste and directs Purdue’s Ingestive Behavior Research Center, studies the role taste plays in feeding and digestion.

“Taste works on two very different levels,” he said. “First, it determines the palatability of foods, and that influences food choice. Second, it influences physiology, so it alters how you digest foods and the efficiency with which you absorb the nutrients from them and use them throughout the body.”

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health under the Ruth Kirschstein National Research Service Award and by the McCormick Science Institute.

Posted in Science + Technology0 Comments

Salvia Divinorum plant

Proposal banning ‘Spice’, Salvia moves to Governor

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Senate lawmakers voted 49-1 today in support of the final version of a proposal banning products like ‘Spice’ and the herb salvia divinorum in Indiana, sending the enrolled act to Governor Mitch Daniels where it could be signed into law.

Salvia Divinorum plant

Salvia Divinorum is a perennial herb that recently gained popularity because of its hallucinogenic properties. It is also known as diviner’s sage and it is a psychoactive plant. It has a long tradition of medicinal use in Mexico.

Senate Enrolled Act 57 adds various chemical compounds used in synthetic cannabinoids like ‘Spice’ and the herb salvia divinorum to the state’s controlled substances list. State Senator Ron Alting (R-Lafayette) said if signed into the law, the same penalties for producing, delivering, dealing or possessing marijuana will be established for synthetic cannabinoids and salvia, a powerful, hallucinogenic plant.

“I set out this session to get these dangerous products out of Indiana, and today’s final vote represents an important step toward that goal,” Alting said. “I look forward to the day when this proposal is officially signed into law. This was a team effort and a lot of credit is owed to local law enforcement officials, lawmakers and educators that worked together in the state’s fight against these drugs.”

‘Spice’ and other products like ‘K2,’ ‘Voodoo Magic’ and ‘Mr. Smiley’ are blends of herbs and man-made chemicals. When smoked and inhaled, they mimic the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in marijuana.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, intoxication from THC can cause distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty in thinking and trouble with learning and memory functions.

Salvia divinorum and products made from the herb, like ‘Sally D.’, ‘Magic Mint’ and ‘Diviner’s Sage,’ provide quick highs comparable to LSD.

Officials from the DEA list several chemical compounds in synthetic cannabinoids and salvia as “drugs and chemicals of concern” and have been considering whether to make them controlled substances for more than five years.

Current state law bans “analog drugs” that are designed to have similar effects as illegal drugs, but a loophole exempts drugs labeled “not for human consumption” – often used on brands like ‘Spice’ and salvia products that are sold as herbal incense.

Posted in Indiana Politics0 Comments

Greater Lafayette Community Calendar

 October 2011
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