Stories this week at WFU

MEDIA INVITED TO TALK WITH GENOMICS PIONEER — J. Craig Venter, a genomics pioneer and leader in the race to decode the human genome, will speak at Wake Forest’s Opening Convocation Oct. 10 at 6 p.m. Venter will meet briefly with media immediately following the ceremony in the Divinity School foyer in Wingate Hall (adjacent to Wait Chapel). During the ceremony, the university will present awards to faculty and alumni. The event is part of the Year of Health and Medicine in celebration of the Wake Forest School of Medicine’s Centennial. Media may park in Lots P or A, on either side of the chapel. Due to tight parking, media are encouraged to arrive early. Reserved seating will be in the front right of the chapel. Cameras may set up inside the chapel along the stairwells. For more information, contact the News Service at 336-758-5237 or Mark Wright at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center at 716-4587.

STUDENTS SHOW LOCAL CHILDREN ‘WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE’ — Wake Forest students will be making faces with dozens of local children Oct. 11 — faces of Max from Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are.” The students are volunteers with Project Pumpkin, a Halloween event sponsored by several university groups for children referred by several local agencies. They are working with the children at the Winston Lake YMCA beginning at 4:30 p.m. to create puppets that will be displayed on campus Oct. 31 during Project Pumpkin. For more information about the agency plunges, contact Rachel Cook or Cheryl Walker at 336-758-5237.

RECESSION OR WAR: WHAT’S ON VOTERS’ MINDS? — Jac C. Heckelman, associate professor of economics at Wake Forest who has researched the connection between elections and the economy, says this year’s contest will be determined by whether voters are thinking more about the recession or the possibility of military action in Iraq. “What tends to happen in a recession is voter turnout tends to be lower, and the current party tends to be punished,” Heckelman says. Democrats should fare better in this year’s election, but Heckelman says the staggering economy is giving Republicans an incentive to push the war effort. “When we are at war, that tends to be the most important thing.” To arrange an interview with Heckelman, contact Jacob McConnico at or 336-758-5237.

WFU STUDIES POPULAR PILLS FOR ACHING JOINTS — They have become widely popular among people seeking relief from knee pain, becoming a multi-million dollar industry. But do products like Flex-A-Min and others really work? Wake Forest Professor of Health and Exercise Science Steve Messier hopes to find an answer with GATES, a new study that will analyze the effects of glucosamine and chondroitin (the supplements found in products like Flex-A-Min), paired with exercise in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee. “This study will give us a clear idea of whether we’re going down the right path with this treatment combination,” says Messier, an expert on biomechanics and osteoarthritis. He is available for interviews about treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee and his new research. Participants are still being accepted for the study. To arrange an interview, contact Sarah Mansell at or 336-758-5237.

DO COLLEGE STUDENTS VOTE? — Although campus political groups can become deeply involved in elections, it’s not clear whether students actually make it to the polls come Election Day. “There seems to be a lot of interest among the college party organizations … in terms of working on campaigns,” says Katy Harriger, professor of political science at Wake Forest University who is researching ways to reintroduce college students into public life. “The bigger question is how many of them actually vote.” Harriger says the last couple of elections have had record lows in college-age voter turnout. She attributes the low numbers to college students’ busy schedules and the difficulty of the absentee voting process. “You have to find out how to do it, you have to get it mailed and there are deadlines. You have to think about the election much earlier than most people.” To arrange an interview with Harriger, contact Jacob McConnico at or 336-758-5237.

HANES GALLERY EXHIBITS HAVE UNIQUE N.C. TIES — Watercolors by one of North Carolina’s finest poets, and black-and-white images of one the state’s smallest towns, give special meaning to the October exhibits at Wake Forest’s Hanes Gallery. “Pattern and Possibility,” a display of 54 watercolors painted by nationally acclaimed poet A.R. Ammons, and “Corapeake,” a multi-media exhibit of photographs, collages and music from the town, will open to the public Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. Ammons’ widow will be present at the watercolors opening, and several Corapeake residents featured in that exhibit will also be present. Both artists are Wake Forest alumni. To arrange coverage, contact Sarah Mansell at or 336-758-5237.

BEST N.C. BBQ? ASK THIS WFU GRADUATE — Wake Forest alumnus and Winston-Salem resident Jim Early spent six months traveling from Manteo to Murphy asking North Carolina residents of small towns, big cities and all parts in between their recommendation of the best barbecue around. “The Best Tarheel Barbecue, Manteo to Murphy” is the product of his work. Early, a gourmet cook who regularly judges barbecue contests across the country, will be signing copies of his new book on University Plaza from 10 a.m. to noon on Oct. 12, during Wake Forest’s homecoming weekend. To arrange coverage, contact Sarah Mansell at 336-758-5237.

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