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December 8, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Food and Health, Nutrition

By Amy Woolfolk

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippians will have many opportunities to celebrate during the holidays, but take extreme caution when alcohol is served.

Nutrition guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture do not recommend the consumption of alcohol. For those who intend to drink anyway, USDA recommends only moderate drinking.

Dr. Barbara McLaurin, extension human nutrition specialist at Mississippi State University, said USDA's definition of moderate drinking is different for men and women.

December 8, 1997 - Filed Under: Family
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Home and auto burglaries can happen any time of the year, but seem more frequent and worse at the holidays.

Many otherwise cautious people get careless with security in the mad shopping rush. And when opportunities present themselves, some people steal from houses filled with gifts under trees and cars displaying the day's purchases.

Dr. Frances Graham, extension housing specialist at Mississippi State University, said people should be more cautious around the holidays.

December 8, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Food and Health

By Amy Woolfolk

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cold winter weather may bring the need for extra layers of clothes, but it does not have to bring extra pounds.

The cooler temperatures and shorter days leave many people sitting inside, eating too much and exercising too little. People who allow the change of seasons to change their daily activities are at risk for gaining weight.

Linda Patterson, extension health and safety specialist at Mississippi State University, said winter weight gain can be a problem for people of all ages.

December 8, 1997 - Filed Under: Community, Technology, Family
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Clothing designers and manufacturers can benefit from a Mississippi State University professor's efforts to improve computer software programs.

Dr. Phyllis Bell Miller, assistant professor of human sciences, pioneered the art of apparel design on personal computers in the 1980s. Today, she's on the brink of major advancements that will make the programs even more diverse.

December 8, 1997 - Filed Under: Pets
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- People can care for themselves, but when temperatures drop and home heaters kick into high gear, pets rely on thoughtful owners.

Indoors, pets can face dry skin problems. Outdoors, extreme temperatures can be life threatening. And on driveways and around vehicles, antifreeze poses a deadly risk.

Dr. John Tyler, internal medicine specialist at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, said owners should keep their pets' safety in mind when watching the weather.

December 8, 1997 - Filed Under: Pets
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When families get together for the holidays, it's easy to forget the furry members of the group.

Dr. Richard Hopper, extension veterinarian at Mississippi State University, said the holidays can be traumatic for house pets. Decorations offer a wide range of potential dangers.

"Be prepared for odd behavior because sometimes guests in the house upset the pet," Hopper said. "Pets can become jealous and aggressive towards children, quit eating or have bad behavior such as soiling the carpet."

December 4, 1997 - Filed Under: Christmas Trees, Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Dare to be different in your Christmas tree selection. Select a living Christmas tree that can be planted in your landscape when Christmas is over. This tree will serve as a special memory of holidays from years past.

November 26, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Bright Lights is the new Swiss chard honored as an All-America Selection for 1998, and it really looks as though you will want to try it.

You may be asking yourself what in the world is Swiss chard. One horticulturist has described it appropriately as a beet without a bottom. They are a source of wonderfully edible stems and leaves that are like spinach. Another horticulturist describes it as perpetual spinach, which also happens to be a variety name.

November 24, 1997 - Filed Under: Farm Safety, Family, Nutrition
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Sometimes Old Man Winter doesn't just knock at your door. When he barges right in, some extra efforts can help people stay warmer in cold houses.

Whether your home is without electricity following a winter storm or simply a cold house, several steps can make it more bearable during the winter.

Dr. Frances Graham, extension housing specialist at Mississippi State University, said clothing, nutrition and special insulation can help people stay warmer in cold houses.

November 24, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Christmas Trees
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Years of hard work are about to pay off for Mississippi's 140 Christmas tree growers.

Unlike the state's annual crops, farmers have a long wait before reaping the harvest rewards. Six-foot trees take about four years to grow.

Dr. Steve Dicke, extension forestry specialist in Raymond, said the enormous effort involved in growing trees has reduced the number of Mississippi Christmas tree growers over the years. The state had 450 growers in 1985 when the industry was in its infancy.

November 24, 1997 - Filed Under: Farm Safety, Family
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- On winter evenings, few things can top the warmth of a wood heater, but these can turn dangerous if not installed and maintained properly.

Andy Sharp, a Starkville fire fighter and chimney sweeper, works both with preventing and putting out chimney fires. On average, Starkville has five to 10 chimney fires a year, he said.

"Very rarely does the house catch on fire, but nine times out of 10, the chimney is damaged by a chimney fire," Sharp said. "The chimney is not designed to have a fire, and a fire inside it can crack the inside and outside."

November 24, 1997 - Filed Under: Environment, Food, Food Safety, Nutrition
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When a hunter's goal is a tasty meal, success will depend on more than an accurate aim.

The wild taste is not necessarily something game meat naturally has, but results from improper care of the game. A few preparations can ensure the successful hunt is enjoyed on the dinner table.

Dr. Melissa Mixon, extension food safety specialist at Mississippi State University, said field dressing is the most important step in preserving the flavor of the meat.

November 20, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

The United States has not been the same during the holidays since Ambassador Joel Poinset brought a plant back from Mexico in 1825. Poinsettias have become a tradition, and some new gorgeous varieties will be showing up this year.

Pepride is a new variety that has caught my eye. Its dark green leaves and deep red bracts are shaped like oak leaves. Freedom is a dark red variety with dark green leaves. It is awfully hard to find a prettier poinsettia than this one.

November 13, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

The one thing most people hate about this time of the year is that it's dark when they get home from work. However, lights in the flower beds can be a welcome sight as they pull into their driveways every evening.

After mulch, lighting is the perfect finishing touch to landscaping. Lighting can really make a dramatic impact in the landscape, especially when featuring the old oak, water pond or flower garden.

November 10, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Nutrition

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most everyone strives for a slim figure, and some people have enough discipline to maintain good nutrition, but eating concerns can go too far.

Dieting can lose its value as a tool for maintaining health, and it can even be destructive if people continues to lose weight beyond their healthy weight range.

Dr. Barbara McLaurin, extension nutrition specialist at Mississippi State University, said people should consider overall nutrition when starting a weight-loss diet.

November 10, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Food and Health, Nutrition

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Eating junk foods and forgetting to exercise can cause health problems much more serious than simply being overweight.

Americans are aware of the importance of good nutrition and physical activity, but many don't realize that neglecting those habits can lead to health risks, such as type 2 diabetes.

November 10, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Farming
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Some farmers still receive advice from their neighbors, but many are turning to certified crop advisors for help in making decisions that will impact their pocketbooks and protect the environment.

"Certified crop advisors take field management decisions up to a whole new level," said Dr. Larry Oldham, extension soils specialist at Mississippi State University. "CCA advice results from research-based training."

November 10, 1997 - Filed Under: 4-H, Youth Livestock

By Amy Woolfolk

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Youngsters planning to participate in the Mississippi junior livestock program in 1998 have some studying to do before the season begins in January.

Dr. Joe Baker, extension animal science specialist at Mississippi State University, said 4-H and FFA officials serving on an ethics task force committee decided in February 1997 to make the junior livestock program truly a program for the juniors.

November 10, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Animal Health

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Heavy acorn crops may delight wildlife enthusiasts, but cattle producers recognize the deadly threat to their animals pastured with large numbers of oak trees.

Dr. Richard Hopper, extension veterinarian at Mississippi State University, said it is common for cattle to eat acorns, but few are poisoned by them in the state. Most happen when acorns are abundant and pastures offer little forage.

November 10, 1997 - Filed Under: Farm Safety, Environment
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cutting firewood can be a cost-effective way to warm homes in the winter, but never compromise safety in an attempt to cut home heating bills.

Dannie Reed, Choctaw County extension agent, said using chain saws is a hazardous and sometimes deadly activity. Chain saw accidents are a leading cause of emergency room visits, and some result in fatalities in Mississippi.

"Chain saws are probably the most dangerous of the portable power tools since it has more horsepower and exposed cutting blade than most anything else you can use," Reed said.

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