Feature Story from 2002
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- An online marketing site and a mischievous comic strip cat are teaming up to benefit Mississippi's 4-H youth organization.
In honor of the national organization's centennial year in 2002, eBay will auction limited-edition prints of a Garfield comic strip, hand signed by creator Jim Davis. Sales will benefit the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Caribbean Islands and the Pacific Islands. Proceeds from the Feb. 10 through 16 auction will go to Mississippi's 4-H Foundation to promote youth programs across the state.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Video conferences for distance education and for business meetings are providing options for meeting the travel challenges faced during these days of tighter budgets and increased concerns about flying.
Dan Brook, head of Mississippi State University's Computer Applications, said time has become a precious as money in today's society. Most people consider the time for travel as a part of the price for attending classes or meetings away from their immediate area. Video conferences provide face-to-face discussion immediately without extra hours of travel.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Much of the safety of the U.S. meat supply depends on veterinarians, a specialty area two Mississippi State University students are soon to pursue.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Two Mississippi cities will host major garden and patio shows this spring promising something for everyone.
The first event will be at the Orange Grove Lyman Community Center on Highway 49 in Gulfport on Feb. 23 and 24. The second show will be at the fairgrounds in Jackson in the Agricultural and Industry Building on March 9 and 10. Both shows will be from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. on the first days, and from noon until 5 p.m. on the second days. Admission will be $3 for people age 14 and older.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Farmers from Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana will converge soon on Biloxi for a three-day conference that may yield solutions to the quest for profitable alternative crops.
The Ark-La-Miss Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference and Trade Show will take place at the President Casino, Broadwater Towers Hotel from Feb. 6 through 8. Topics to be covered include establishment of farmers' markets and other marketing issues, irrigation and fertility, and food safety.
By Bethany Waldrop Keiper
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A couple's wedding day can give them high spirits, but receptions that include distilled spirits can cause headaches in ways many couples may not expect.
An alcohol-free reception can ensure that a wedding is memorable for the right reasons.
By Bethany Waldrop Keiper
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many newlyweds find themselves going from happy couple to heavy couple within the first few years of marriage.
Excess post-wedding pounds are as notorious as the freshman 15, and often more difficult to lose. Pre-wedding diets may have an effect on post-wedding weight in some cases, said Rebecca Kelly, human nutrition specialist and registered dietitian with Mississippi State University's Extension Service.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Whether to have joint or individual accounts is one of the biggest questions newly married couples face when they decide how to handle family finances.
Each couple must decide whether to pool all money and pay the bills together or divide the bills and keep incomes separate. They also must decide what to do about credit cards and debt brought into the marriage.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Although the number of people getting married increased shortly after the attacks of Sept. 11, prospective couples should make sure their reasons for marrying are the kind that can last a lifetime.
Some communities nationwide located near military bases reported some sharp increases in weddings in the days and weeks following the attacks. Many military personnel married in anticipation of being deployed, but Mississippi appears not to have been affected by that national trend.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Volunteer 4-H leaders across Mississippi will gather in late February to celebrate 100 years of 4-H, an organization dedicated to the improvement of youth.
The annual 4-H Volunteer Leaders Conference will be held Feb. 22 to 24 at Wesley Pines Conference, Retreat and Camping Center in Gallman. The conference drew 190 volunteers last year, and organizers hope to have at least one from each county this year. The theme is "Celebrating 100 Years and Counting."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Children who don't get moving, start life heavy and tend to become sedentary, overweight adults.
Childhood is a time of boundless energy that gives kids the ability to eat practically all they want and still stay slim. But when that energy is channeled into video games or suppressed by television viewing, children gain weight as easily as adults.
Kids need regular activity to form good habits of exercise they can carry the rest of their lives. Youthful inactivity leads to unhealthy weight gain and hurts future health.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many children don't want to wait until they are older to join in the fun to be had on off-road vehicles, but safety experts urge them to be cautious when they do.
With the proper training and protective gear, youth can drive more safely on properly-sized vehicles such as four-wheelers, but Choctaw County agent Dannie Reed said he sees many unsafe riders.
"We will continue to have accidents and the opportunity for fatal accidents, because many parents and youth are not following basic safety precautions," Reed said.
By Bethany Waldrop Keiper
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's unpredictable winter weather can leave people shivering in the dark without warning, so prepare for winter storms long before the first drop of freezing rain falls.
Herb Willcutt, agricultural engineering and safety specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said thorough preparations before you're iced in can provide important creature comforts.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- People who provide child care in their homes can learn how to improve their business and provide a higher quality environment for the children through a free, educational program entering its second year in the state.
Mississippi State University's Extension Service offers the Nurturing Homes Initiative for family home child-care providers in Mississippi. The Mississippi Department of Human Services' Office for Children and Youth funds the project.
By Ashley Crawford
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Understanding the causes of eating disorders may be the first step toward recognizing and helping the potential victims of this self-inflicted abuse.
People with eating disorders demonstrate compulsive behaviors regarding their food intake, weight and shape in hopes of gaining rewards. Two common types of eating disorders include anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi State University agricultural engineers will improve and develop new applications for a recently patented rotary excavator.
Norman Haigh of Natchez said he invented the rotary excavator -- called a Rotifer in the patent application -- to address the need for a fast, efficient and economical method for draining land in flood plains like the Mississippi Delta before development. He assigned 50 percent of the patent rights to his invention to MSU.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Litter boxes are a challenge of cat ownership when used correctly, but when the cat refuses to follow training, they can be a real mess.
Used correctly, litter boxes are indoor bathrooms for family pets, allowing the animal to live a life of luxury without stepping foot outside. When the cat uses it incorrectly or not at all, they can become the last straw that makes kitty an outdoor pet or worse, homeless.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many Mississippi residents face more challenges to their success than others, but a Feb. 19 conference in Jackson is being designed to close the gap.
The Children, Youth and Families At Risk project, part of the Mississippi State University Extension Service, will conduct a one-day conference to enhance knowledge and skills needed by those trying to help at-risk groups.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most pet owners put away the paper towels and the disinfectant when their pet is housebroken, but some must keep them handy because their trained dog continues to have accidents in the house.
Dr. John Harkness, animal behaviorist at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, said many dogs urinate inappropriately from submissiveness or excitement. Other causes include fear, separation anxiety, territorial marking and medical problems.