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July 7, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Children and Parenting

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Back-to-school expenses can knock the wind out of some families' bank accounts, but delaying some purchases can help soften the blow.

School supplies, clothes and fees can add up to staggering levels if families try to address all back-to-school needs in August, according to Dr. Beverly R. Howell, extension family economics and management specialist at Mississippi State University.

"Clothing is probably the biggest of the back-to-school expenses," Howell said. "Clothing is also one of the easiest expenses to spread out during the school year."

July 7, 1997 - Filed Under: Community, Family

By Rhonda Whitmire

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When home sweet home is no longer under their parents' roof, college students choose either residence hall life or apartment living.

The proper housing choice, for some students, can mean a world of difference.

Many college campuses are experiencing a rise in applications for residence halls or dormitory rooms.

July 7, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Children and Parenting

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Doctors hands in the delivery room, not school bells, signal the beginning of the educational process.

Most people are conditioned to associate learning with school, but babies are learning a thousand times more than older students even in the best schools.

"Everything is new and an opportunity for learning to a baby," said Dr. Louise Davis, extension child and family development specialist at Mississippi State University.

July 7, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Children and Parenting

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A landmark day for children and their parents, the first day of school can be traumatic or a long-awaited, exciting time.

Dr. Louise Davis, extension child and family development specialist at Mississippi State University, said parents can help make sure the start of school is a pleasant one.

Parents' positive attitude towards school is the biggest factor in a child having a good first day of class.

July 3, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Weather has been a constant challenge for Mississippi's cotton growers.

Rain delayed most of the crop's planting time two to three weeks. Next, continued rains and cool weather slowed initial growth. Fields in Northeast Mississippi have suffered the most.

"We're looking at the good, the bad and the being destroyed," said Dr. Will McCarty, extension cotton specialist at Mississippi State University. "Most poorly drained fields have drowned out. Whenever farmers can get in those fields, they will likely replant in soybeans, if possible."

June 27, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Seafood Harvesting and Processing, Catfish

BILOXI -- Mississippi shrimpers are enjoying the benefits of higher prices and a 1997 harvest coming in two waves.

Dave Burrage, extension marine resources specialist in Biloxi, said opening shrimp landings should be similar to June 1996 landings of 2.6 million pounds of tails-only shrimp. Comparable figures for this year are not yet available.

However, Biloxi, which has 80 percent of the state's processing capability, landed 749,500 pounds of heads-on shrimp the first week of the season. In 1996, shrimpers landed 624,100 pounds in Biloxi the first week.

June 25, 1997 - Filed Under: Community, Family

By Rhonda Whitmire

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Before getting out in Mississippi's heat, consider the consequences of mixing alcohol with summer outings.

If summer plans include any time on the state's lakes and rivers, boaters need to be aware of the regulations and the penalties concerning Boating Under the Influence.

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks will continue to enforce alcohol regulations that went into effect in 1996.

June 23, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Children and Parenting

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When some parents think of vacations with kids, they get an instant headache as pictures pop in their minds of crowded cars, unending "are we there yet?" questions and cranky children.

Dr. Louise Davis, Mississippi State University extension child and family development specialist, said traveling with children can be restful and fun for everyone. It just takes some preparation.

June 23, 1997 - Filed Under: Technology

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hectic schedules often make people wish they could be in more than one place at a time, but technology available through Mississippi State University can make this possible.

Through video teleconferencing, university specialists can present a program once and have it sent via satellite to hundreds of sites around the state. Without leaving their community, audience members can see and ask questions of the speaker, often hundreds of miles away.

June 23, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Food Safety

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Grilled meats, potato salad and meringue pies are typical summer foods served at cookouts and picnics, but these goodies can reach the danger zone when not handled properly.

Dr. Melissa Mixon, extension nutrition specialist at Mississippi State University, said cooking out and having picnics are fun ways to enjoy the summer, but outside conditions make cautious food handling extra important.

June 23, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Soils

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Experienced farmers know the importance of lime, but this is the first year growers could select from two grades depending on their price range and success expectations.

Larry Oldham, extension soils specialist at Mississippi State University, said acid soils limit production of every crop in Mississippi. These soils require lime to neutralize the soil acidity for maximum economic productions.

June 23, 1997 - Filed Under: Insects, Lawn and Garden, Insects-Pests

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Peaceful walks and relaxing fishing trips can be ruined with just one wrong step in a mound of hundreds of stinging fire ants.

Mississippi, as well as several other states in the Southeast, is home to this pest that infests lawns, pastures, gardens and occasionally houses. Fire ants are a nuisance, but there are some strategies for controlling the tiny beast.

Dr. James Jarratt, extension entomology specialist at Mississippi State University, said landowners can choose from a variety of control methods.

June 20, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Corn

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's corn is battling for decent yields as cool, wet weather hampers growth and triggers common rust disease throughout much of the state.

"Corn is in its critical pollination period which is the most sensitive time for any stresses," said Dr. Erick Larson, extension corn specialist at Mississippi State University. "The weather conditions since Memorial weekend have caused an unusually heavy outbreak of common rust in corn fields."

June 13, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cool, rainy days have delayed cotton growth, but not boll weevils. Cotton's No. 1 enemy is emerging from overwintering and searching for cotton squares.

"Even though boll weevil numbers are high, I'm not as concerned about them as I am about the crop as a whole," said Mike Williams, extension entomologist at Mississippi State University. "The insects don't even want the cotton at this point."

Spring conditions have delayed the cotton's growth by at least two weeks in most areas of the state.

June 9, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Forestry, Timber Harvest

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many Mississippians don't see the forests for the pines. Pine trees are not the state's only timber resource, just the most noticeable.

As Mississippians drive along state highways and see acre after acre of planted pines, some wonder if the state is losing its hardwoods. However, the majority of trees growing in Mississippi are oaks, hickories and other hardwoods.

June 9, 1997 - Filed Under: Soils, Lawn and Garden

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- One gardener's trash can become his treasure in a matter of weeks.

The piles of weeds, clippings and leaves often discarded can instead be naturally recycled. A well-tended compost pile quickly changes mounds of organic matter into rich soil additives.

Dr. David Nagel, Mississippi State University extension horticulturist, said compost is the result of microorganisms processing organic waste.

June 9, 1997 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Soils, Forest Soils, Lawn and Garden, Forestry

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Erosion is more than an unsightly nuisance because if left unattended, it can wash away vast amounts of soil.

Larry Oldham, extension soil specialist at Mississippi State University, said erosion is simply soil being moved by water or wind. Some degree of erosion occurs nearly everywhere.

"Anytime you scratch up the surface of the soil, you're going to have the potential for erosion if you don't put some type of cover over it," Oldham said.

June 6, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Dairy

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Sixty years after the first June Dairy Month, Mississippians are still enjoying the product, but substantially fewer farmers continue in the business.

"Just in the last five years, Mississippi has lost about 40 dairy herds annually," said Dr. Reuben Moore, extension dairy specialist at Mississippi State University. "It's a matter of profitability. These dairies would not be closing if the financial incentive was there. Someone would take over the operation."

May 30, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Soils

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many Mississippi farmers are witnessing too much of a good thing.

Moisture is an important ingredient in establishing a new crop, but rains in the last weeks of May have left many crops struggling to develop uniform stands.

Larry Oldham, extension soil specialist at Mississippi State University, said most fields need drier conditions and warmer weather.

May 26, 1997 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, Urban and Backyard Wildlife, Family

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Homeowners must face continuous efforts to keep their houses in good condition, and when animal invasions occur, people struggle to win a battle against nature.

Mississippi residents often face small intruders, such as mice, wanting to share their homes, but other unwelcome guests may also become home invaders.

"Squirrels, raccoons, bats and birds will occasionally come into homes that have unsecured vents, chimneys or other small openings," said Phil Mastrangelo, state director of Animal Damage Control.

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