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News From 1999

July 26, 1999 - Filed Under: Health

By Chuck Dunlap

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Passing a calculus test may be easier for some students than trying to pass their first alcohol breath test.

A 1997 Harvard School of Public Health study found that 43 percent of college students admitted to binge drinking in the preceding two weeks. A binge is defined as drinking to the point where health and well being are at risk.

July 26, 1999 - Filed Under: Wood Products

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Treated wood products used for making picnic tables, decks or lining gardens are safe and durable options for sprucing up Mississippi yards.

Dr. Terry Amburgey, a Mississippi State University professor in the Forest and Wildlife Research Center, said oil-borne preservatives and water-borne solutions both offer excellent durability. However, wood freshly treated with oil-borne preservatives, such a pentachlorophenol or creosote, should not be used on decks or lawn furniture.

July 23, 1999 - Filed Under: Beef, Swine

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- News of government payments for some hog farmers and improved cattle prices will bring some relief to Mississippi livestock producers after years of depressed markets.

The second phase of Small Hog Operation Payment program moneys will soon be available to hog producers who have struggled to break even for the last couple years. The program will pay up to $10 per slaughter-weight hog marketed during the last six months of 1998. With a limit of 500 market hogs, or an equal number of feeder pigs, the maximum payment for any one operation is $5,000.

July 19, 1999 - Filed Under: Cotton, Remote Sensing Technology

By Rebekah Ray

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Two Mississippi State University researchers showed that combining remote sensing and variable rates of fertilizer application helps cotton production on different types of soils.

Using a test plot located in the North Delta, Dr. Jac Varco and MSU research assistant John Thompson studied cotton's performance under different conditions.

July 19, 1999 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

I was sitting on the shaded patio the other afternoon moaning about the heat when a darting visitor approached and changed my outlook on the day. A ruby-throated hummingbird decided my hanging basket of pink wave petunias was just the feast for which he had been searching.

July 19, 1999 - Filed Under: Family Financial Management

By Chuck Dunlap

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Heating and cooling the home accounts for about 44 percent of a home utility bill each month, and therefore uses more energy and costs more money to operate than any other system in the house.

Heat pumps are a growing alternative to conventional electric units and a good way to save money. A heat pump can save as much as 30 to 40 percent of the electricity a consumer uses for heating and cooling the home. Both gas and electric heat pumps are available for use.

July 19, 1999 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Rising costs of designer clothes, popularity of gangs and the growing incidence of youth violence have made school uniforms an attractive option to many parents and school districts.

Once reserved for private schools, uniforms have become more common among the student population at large. Several Mississippi school districts already have established school uniform codes or will require uniforms this fall.

July 16, 1999 - Filed Under: Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's cotton appears to be headed for an above average crop in 1999 as insect pressures are low and the weather is favorable for cotton production.

Dr. Will McCarty, cotton specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said the overall crop looked very good by mid-July.

"At this point, the crop has good moisture, vegetative growth, fruit set and light insect pressure," McCarty said. "With still months before harvest when anything can happen, the potential of this year's cotton is definitely above average."

July 12, 1999 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

The 30-inch tall, spiky blue flowers of the angelonia continue to be the most impressive of recent plant introductions. In a world where round flowers seem to dominate, the texture from the plant is a joy to behold. The Florida Plant of the Year last year was a variety called Hilo Princess, and it performs well here too!

July 12, 1999 - Filed Under: Health

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A new trend in massage is making fans among an age group that can't talk about the subject, but is weighing in with their support in other ways.

Infant massage or touch therapy is the gentle stroking, touching and massaging of a baby. Healthy babies seem to enjoy the massage, while premature babies or those with health problems often have marked improvement after the treatment.

July 12, 1999 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

By Molly Kinnan

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The aftermath of a challenging school year can cause some students to lose their educational incentive, but there are a number of steps to prepare them for the upcoming academic experience.

Dr. Louise Davis, child and family development specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said resiliency is one good way to help a student regain and maintain a steady focus at school.

July 12, 1999 - Filed Under: Community

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Dinah Jordan received more than a doctor of pharmacy degree from a distance learning program that provided unique insights into problem-based learning issues.

Jordan, chief of pharmacy services at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, recently completed the new non-traditional doctor of pharmacy program for licensed practitioners. The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy in Jackson conducted the majority of the classes through an Internet chatroom and used problem-based learning techniques.

July 12, 1999 - Filed Under: Animal Health

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many of the same critical issues that apply to prescription medicine for people also apply for their pets.

Dr. Dinah Jordan, chief of pharmacy services at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, said prescriptions are only for the individual named on the label, for the purpose it was prescribed and often for a specific length of time.

July 9, 1999 - Filed Under: Fruit

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Watermelons, blueberries and peaches are finding their way to Mississippi tables despite the weather conditions Mother Nature throws at them.

A mild winter that deprived peaches of their necessary chill hours, a dry spell this summer and recent rains during harvest have not stopped growers from producing decent yields. The market is providing reduced prices for watermelons, average prices for peaches and better-than-average prices for blueberries.

July 5, 1999 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Cleome and the French Hollyhock are dazzling old cottage garden type plants that anyone would love to have in their yard at this time of year.

Both reseed easily thereby giving perennial plant performance. In some places, the French Hollyhock is really perennial.

July 5, 1999 - Filed Under: Nutrition

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Teachers from across the state made bread, soup, ice cream and more one week this summer as they learned techniques they can use to teach their students good nutrition and health.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service held a distance learning workshop at 10 locations statewide June 28 to July 1 to teach the Exploring Nutrition in the Classroom curriculum. Three continuing education unit credits were granted to teachers who participated.

July 5, 1999 - Filed Under: Health

By Chuck Dunlap

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The bumps, bruises and sore muscles are not the only concerns for Mississippi athletes returning to school this fall. Training for exposure to the August heat is a key issue for coaches and players alike.

Average temperatures in mid-August are around 95 degrees with a heat index of 115 degrees. These numbers are extremely dangerous for anyone with prolonged exposure to it, especially those who are involved in strenuous outside athletic activities such as soccer and football.

July 5, 1999 - Filed Under: Nutrition

By Molly Kinnan

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Encouraging children to eat a good breakfast could provide them with more than just a nutritious meal but an essential source of energy needed to get through the school day.

Two Mississippi State University Dietetic Interns, Jennifer Eggert and Nancy Bowers, have researched the importance of breakfast for children under the supervision of Dr. Barbara McLaurin, MSU Extension nutritionist specialist.

July 5, 1999 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

By Chuck Dunlap

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Children and teenagers have access to many benefits from being online, but they can also be targets of crime, exploitation and pornography from behind the keyboard just as in any other environment.

Kids are trusting, curious and anxious to explore this new world and the relationships the Internet brings to them. Children and teenagers need parental supervision and common sense advice on how to be sure that their experiences in "cyberspace" are happy, healthy and productive ones.

July 5, 1999 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The value of parental input in education is indisputable, but some parents are taking their involvement to a new level with the growing trend in home schooling.

Jack Rutland of Brookhaven, president of the Mississippi Home Educators Association, said the number of families participating in home schooling has increased significantly in the last decade. The figures on home-schooled students are contained in each local school district, not at the state level, so the exact number enrolled in Mississippi is unknown.