Feature Story from 2005
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's Christmas tree growers were having a great year, and then Hurricane Katrina hit.
Steve Dicke, forestry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said frequent summer rains had trees growing very well until Katrina's heavy rain and strong winds blew many over. The following drought prevented some growers from being able to right affected trees.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Jokes are made about them and fictional characters mimic their behavior, but bullying among young children is no laughing matter.
Bullying is the systematic harassment of children by their peers. It is most common in boys in late grade school, but girls are not immune to the problem. A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that more than 5 percent of students nationwide stay home from school at least one day a month because they feel unsafe either at school or getting there.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Domestic violence knows no social, racial, educational or economic boundaries, and everyone in the community pays a price for it.
Days lost from work or school along with the increased drain on the health and justice systems are just part of the costs communities bear from domestic violence.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The state's littlest crime victims will get some much-needed attention when Stop the Violence Day is recognized Nov. 22 and child advocates join forces to raise awareness of child abuse.
Child abuse is a serious problem in Mississippi and nationwide. In 2003, more than 17,000 instances of abuse and neglect were investigated, and 16 Mississippi children died from abuse or neglect. Abuse is anything that harms a child physically today or into the future. Neglect is a failure to provide what the child needs, and includes anything that places them in danger.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Girls need support from family and friends to be strong enough to recognize and leave unhealthy relationships.
Lynn Pike, professor of human sciences at Mississippi State University, said the development of an unhealthy relationship is a gradual process. On rare occasions, males will be the victims, but those are the exceptions.
By Marcus Daniels
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hurricane Katrina gave Mississippi 4-H'ers the chance to do what they do best, and they responded by bringing sunshine and hope into the lives of devastated hurricane victims through service and contributions.
Susan Holder, state 4-H leader with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said immediately after the Hurricane Katrina, Mississippi Operation 4-H Relief was set up to channel the forces of 4-H'ers all over the state in aiding victims.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's outdoor sportsmen should not let the thrill of the hunt exceed their good judgement when it comes to safety.
“Negligence and carelessness from getting in a hurry are common causes for hunting accidents,” said Jonathan Peeples, wildlife and fisheries associate with Mississippi State University's Extension Service.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Signs of the times are appearing along Mississippi highways. Billboards proclaiming the availability of “soy biodiesel” have appeared in the Jackson area and other locations in the state.
While biodiesel still is not a household word, it is more widely recognized than it was just a year ago when the fuel was available to commercial customers at just a handful of Mississippi outlets.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When scientists around the world need in formation on gene function in agriculturally important crops, they turn to an online database developed at Mississippi State University.
Known as AgBase, this database catalogs the functions of genes in the genome sequences of plants and animals. Dr. Shane Burgess, a College of Veterinary Medicine researcher, was the lead collaborator on the project.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Sites are being established across Mississippi to downlink a regional forestry satellite conference from Feb. 7 through March 21.
Deborah Gaddis, forestry specialist with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service, said landowners, Extension agents and others interested in forest management concepts can benefit from the 2006 Advanced Master Tree Farmer Satellite Shortcourse. The seven-week course will originate at Clemson University, and it will include regional and national forestry experts including two from MSU.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Storm recovery means addressing many issues, but one of the first is restoring adequate, quality child care in communities affected by Hurricane Katrina.
“Before parents can return to work and before children can resume a more normal life, child-care centers have to be safe and operational,” said Louise Davis, child and family development professor with Mississippi State University's Extension Service.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hurricane Katrina flooded thousands of vehicles in south Mississippi and Louisiana, and many of these soggy vehicles will soon start flooding used car markets across the rest of the country.
Some with just minor water damage can be dried out, cleaned up and small repairs made, but others that were fully or mostly submerged will be trouble. Experts say bacteria and mold can get established in wet cars, and airbags and anti-lock brakes usually fail in time if they get wet with salt water and rust or corrode.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Three months after Hurricane Katrina created one and a half times as much debris in Mississippi's three coastal counties as the state creates in a year, removal is progressing slowly under a plan that emphasizes long-term safe disposal.
By Marcus Daniels
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- In addition to reading, writing and arithmetic, Claiborne County students are learning skills to secure future employment.
For eight years, Claiborne County Extension Director Doyle Banks has worked with Port Gibson High School and the Vocational Technical Complex under the Children, Youth and Families At-Risk grant to help prepare students for the work force.
“I've seen more than 800 students successfully complete the program and go on to be productive members of the work force,” Banks said.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Farmers and agricultural consultants across the region will converge on the Mississippi Delta in January to learn practical ways to the save energy costs during the 2006 production year.
“Every farmer in the nation felt the impact of higher fuel prices in 2005,” said Don Respess, Bolivar County Extension director and co-chair for the event. “We want to provide energy conservation solutions farmers can implement this year.”
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Adults can protect themselves from winter colds and flu by helping children learn good hygiene practices and keeping their play areas clean.
A flu shot is a smart, preventative measure, and is recommended for children less than 2 years old, senior adults and those with compromised immune systems. The best time to get a flu shot has already passed this year, but everyone can take precautions to avoid this virus and other sicknesses.
STONEVILLE -- The research of two Delta professors has the potential to save Mississippi catfish producers an estimated $5 million to $8 million annually. Now the researchers are being awarded for their contributions.
Ed Robinson and Menghe Li are research professors in catfish nutrition at the Mississippi State University Delta Research and Extension Center's National Warmwater Aquaculture Center in Stoneville. They recently received the “most relevant publication to Mississippi” award from the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Station.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Record-setting sales were posted at the 2005 Mississippi State University livestock auction, which featured two interactive video bidding sites.
The 23rd annual Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Production Sale was held Nov. 17 at the Mississippi Horse Park in Starkville and featured 107 lots of Angus, Charolais and Hereford bulls, commercial bred heifers, Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- It wasn't long ago that spotting the word “soy” on a food label meant a shopper had drifted into the health food section of the grocery store, but the ingredient shows up in mainstream products throughout those same stores today.
The humble soybean is grown mostly for its protein and oil. Mississippi producers plant more than 1.5 million acres of farmland to soybeans each year, and the crop is used in everything from catfish feed to biodiesel and ham.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's crops endured major hurricanes and may not repeat their record yields, but economists are predicting that the state's agricultural value of production just topped 2004 levels to break the historic $6 billion mark.