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Feature Story

November 16, 1998 - Filed Under: City and County Government

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When the votes have been counted and a new local official takes office, work has just begun for the 25-year-old Center for Governmental Technology.

The center is a unit within the Enterprise and Community Resource Development program area of Mississippi State University's Extension Service. It was established in 1973 to help local officials understand the duties they are to perform.

November 16, 1998 - Filed Under: Nutrition

By Jamie Vickers

MISSISSIPPI STATE - A program started on a shoestring budget to educate 2,000 Mississippi Head Start families in good nutrition has become a national success.

Nutrition $ense was started in 1996 with a $500 Kraft Foods Consumer Center Media Grant. Patty Draper, home economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said a six-person team began with families in Central Mississippi.

November 13, 1998 - Filed Under: Peanuts

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The success of this year's peanut crop depended at harvest on how far away it was from Hurricane Georges, but all areas suffered from drought in the growing season.

Joe Morgan, owner of M&M Farms in Forrest County, said overall yields on his 1,090 acres of peanuts were about the lowest he has ever gotten. His 8-year average yield is 3,334 pounds an acre. This year he averaged 3,013 on irrigated land and less than 2,000 pounds on non-irrigated land.

November 6, 1998 - Filed Under: Dairy

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Dairyman John McReynolds solemnly watched his Oktibbeha County neighbor's dairy operation go up for auction as what was once called the "Dairy Center of the South" lost another family business.

"What is sadder still is when you've got two sons, and you don't want them to stay on the farm," McReynolds said. "Agriculture used to be a way of life, but it never turned into a way to make a living."

November 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Jamie Vickers

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- With proper selection and care, a beautiful, traditional holiday plant may last long past the holidays.

"Poinsettias have become a tradition, and some new gorgeous varieties will be showing up this year," said Norman Winter, horticulturist at the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center.

November 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Family

By Jamie Vickers

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Bring nature into the home to create a new look for both traditional and non-traditional decorations this holiday season.

"There are a lot of things that you can do with materials around your home to decorate for the holidays," said Jim DelPrince, assistant professor of floral design at Mississippi State University.

November 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Pets

By Amy Woolfolk

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When it comes time to pack up the kids, the luggage and the gifts for that trip to Grandma's house, do not forget about family pets and their special needs.

Dr. Richard Hopper, veterinarian with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said that while most pets travel well, there are several things pet owners need to think about before leaving home.

November 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Wildlife

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Short of bagging the perfect 10-point buck, hunters can get what they really want for Christmas if gift-buyers follow a few guidelines.

Stores are full of hunting and fishing equipment, clothes, gadgets and games. Some are needed, others useful and fun, but there are some that hunters and fishers sincerely hope don't end up under their Christmas tree.

Dean Stewart, an avid hunter and wildlife specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said hunters and fishers are real particular about the gifts they get.

November 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Wildlife

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A large number of Mississippians have hunting on their minds when Thanksgiving and Christmas roll around, making safety in the woods a major consideration.

Each year, about 301,000 Mississippians over age 16 go hunting, spending a yearly average 22 days in the woods. With a state population of 2.6 million people in 1990 according to the U.S. Census Bureau, that means nearly 11.6 percent of Mississippians have hunting licenses.

November 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Traditions are a big part of what makes the holidays special, and being thankful and giving back to others less fortunate are holiday traditions many parents want to instill in their children.

Dr. Tom Carskadon, psychology professor at Mississippi State University, said parents can use traditions to help children realize Christmas is a time of giving, removing the emphasis on getting.

November 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Family Financial Management

By Amy Woolfolk

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Smiles and shrieks of joy fill the holiday season as gifts are given, but many of those smiles turn upside down when the holiday bills start rolling in.

Dr. Beverly Howell, family economics and management specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said holiday shoppers often get so caught up in buying gifts for the people they care about that they overspend and end up with holiday debts.

November 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Family Dynamics

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Holiday celebrations with the whole family present often become memorable for their conflicts as hosts and guests tangle under the stress of empty time and close quarters.

Dr. Louise Davis, child and family development specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the change in living patterns can place a burden on both hosts and guests. Planning ahead and communicating well are keys to a happy stay.

November 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Family Dynamics

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Managing the holiday tug of war between family homes can add enormous stress to a season intended to provide pleasant memories for years to come.

"Deciding where to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas is one of the toughest choices many families face during the holiday season," said Dr. Louise Davis, child and family development specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "Healthy compromises require honest and considerate communication."

October 30, 1998 - Filed Under: Beef

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cattle prices are rebounding after numbers of animals dumped on the market peaked in drought-stricken areas and with the anticipation of another year of fewer calves.

"Early in the year, we had an optimistic outlook for the fed cattle market, which led to feedlots keeping cattle longer than normal waiting for better prices," said Dr. Charlie Forrest, marketing specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "Longer-than-normal days on feed led to record-high slaughter weights."

October 23, 1998 - Filed Under: Nuts

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Holiday cooks may want to shop early while prices and supplies last for locally grown pecans.

"The 1998 crop could be the lowest crop in growers' memories," said Dr. Freddie Rasberry, horticulturist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "The few pecans that were set early on were lost to drought stress and the hurricane."

October 19, 1998 - Filed Under: 4-H, Pets

By Jamie Vickers

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Clay County hospitals will have some friendly yet unusual guests when 4-H'ers and their pets show up for therapy.

PAWS, Pets Are Worth Sharing, is a new program teaching Clay County 4-H'ers responsibility. PAWS trains youth and their pets for visits to nursing homes, schools and children's homes to offer a unique type of therapy.

Mary Ann Holloway, president of the PAWS program and owner of Paws-itive Attitudes Training Service, said PAWS offers a break in routine for people in nursing homes and children's homes.

October 19, 1998 - Filed Under: Food and Health

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many people don't worry about cholesterol until they have a heart attack, but a little concern beforehand often can prevent many problems.

Dietary cholesterol is necessary for the body to function normally, but too high levels of these fats in the blood can be deadly.

Linda Patterson, health education specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said the imbalance of blood lipids -- fats -- raises the risk of heart disease. Things such as stress, genetics and exercise all affect the amount of blood fat.

October 19, 1998 - Filed Under: Landscape Architecture

By Jamie Vickers

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Landscapes never look the same after a natural disaster, but steps can be taken to minimize the damages, and some relief may be available at tax time.

Damage to trees includes broken and torn limbs, wounds, split branches, exposed roots and fallen trees. The care given to injured trees depends on the extent of the damage, age of the tree and the time needed for the surrounding soil to reach normal moisture levels.

October 19, 1998 - Filed Under: Livestock

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When livestock are missing, a little-known Mississippi police agency moves into action with local law enforcement officials to recover the animals.

The Mississippi Agricultural and Livestock Theft Bureau within the Department of Agriculture is responsible for working all agriculture-related crimes. Joey Gonce, center director, said cattle are most frequently reported stolen, but horses, swine, poultry, fish, chemicals, equipment and timber are also stolen.

October 19, 1998 - Filed Under: Wildlife

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The state has an abundance of creepy, crawly critters, but exactly which ones and in what numbers are questions the Mississippi Herpetological Atlas wants to answer.

This atlas is seeking to document where reptiles and amphibians are distributed throughout the state. Bird surveys are common, while atlases of reptiles and amphibians -- known as herps -- were not until recently when biologists documented the decline of amphibian numbers.

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