Saturday, May 30, 2009

Rep. Brown named Freshman Legislator of Year

State Representative Dan Brown, R-Rolla, was awarded the Freshman Legislator of the Year award for Elementary and Secondary Education.
Representative Brown promoted legislation that would improve the quality of education and schooling for Missouri. He co-sponsored HB 509, which would mandate physical education programs and nutrition guidelines in all schools. He also co-sponsored HB 456, which improves school nursing by affording them equal pay with teachers.
“It is important that we look to our greatest investment, our children, when we devise policy in government,” said Representative Brown. “I can’t imagine not putting our children first when considering legislation. We must prepare them for the future, where they will not only have to live but also lead and succeed.”
Representative Brown was elected to receive the Freshman Legislator award by a group of his fellow legislators. The honor was presented to him by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ron Richard, R-Joplin.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Not the best choice for the Supreme Court

I don't support Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor, a Latina woman, for the U.S. Supreme Court.

I would prefer someone else, someone like myself, although a little wiser.

Why?

Well, I would hope that a wise white man with the richness of his experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a Latina woman who hasn't lived that life.

Do I sound like a racist to you liberals? If so, then she must sound like a racist to you, too, for I merely took her quote and turned it around.

Queer turn of events

Out on the Left Coast, California's Supreme Court has upheld that state's decision by voters to ban homosexual marriage, although those "couples" already "married" may stay wed legally.

Meanwhile in the Heartland of the United States, Iowa is marrying and giving in marriage, homosexual style.

Isn't it queer that the most liberal state has banned this perversion of marriage, yet here in so-called conservative "flyover country," homosexual "couples" are being courted?

Iowa used to be known only for its cornfields, acre after acre of them. Now it is also known as THE place to go for homosexual couples to get married.

The next time you meet someone from Iowa, you'll be able to say accurately, "Iowa, eh? I hear all they've got there is ears and queers. And I don't see any kernels on you."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Doggone it

Well, shucks, the Ozarks lad who hoped to go to the National Spelling Bee didn't make it. Here's a news brief from a Springfield TV station:


David Bippes , winner of the regional spelling bee held in Springfield, successfully spelled two words -- navigator and mandir -- Wednesday.

But his performance on the bee's typed test wasn't good enough to qualify him for the semifinal round Thursday.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fun and nutritious summer snacks for kids

By David Burton
University Extension

Snacks can be an important part of the diet for many children according to Tammy Roberts, a nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“It is hard for them to eat enough at just three meals to get all of the nutrients they need for the day. Planning snacks can help assure they get all of the nutrients they need,” said Roberts.

When choosing recipes for snacks, Roberts says it is important to let the children help with preparation in order to make them fun.

“One thing you can do to assure your children are getting healthy snacks is to make snack boxes that contain healthy choices,” said Roberts.

A refrigerator snack box could contain yogurt, pudding, juice boxes, grapes, vegetables and vegetable dip, or string cheese. Suggestions for the pantry snack box include pretzels, granola bars, bananas, apples, oranges.

Kids love to help prepare food. Here are some recipes you might want to try.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Parfaits

2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons skim milk
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 cup fat-free whipped topping, thawed
1 package instant chocolate pudding

1. Add two tablespoons milk to the peanut butter and stir until well blended. Stir in whipped topping and set aside.

2. Mix chocolate pudding with two cups of milk as per package instructions.

3. In clear cups or glasses layer pudding, peanut butter mixture and another layer of pudding.

4. Refrigerate until ready to serve.



Peanut Butter Balls

One-quarter cup peanut butter
One-quarter cup honey or lite pancake syrup
One-half cup nonfat dry milk
One-quarter cup quick oatmeal
Three-quarters cup crisp rice cereal (save one-half cup to crush)

1. In a large bowl, combine peanut butter, honey, dry milk, oats and one-quarter cup of the rice cereal.

2. Shape into one-inch balls.

3. Put the remaining one-half cup of rice cereal in a large zip-type bag and crush.

4. Place the balls in the bag and shake until balls are covered with the cereal.

5. Store in covered container in the refrigerator.

For more information on nutrition issues, go online to http://extension.missouri.edu or contact Tammy Roberts at (417) 682-3579.

Monday, May 25, 2009

For Memorial Day ...

... here's Ray Charles ...



...and here's George Jones:



May God continue to bless the United States and the great state of Missouri. May we repent and turn back to Him and to his Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who died for us in spite of our sinfulness and absolute worthlessness. May we all turn to Christ and be cleansed of our sinfulness by His blood and be filled with His Spirit.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Never to be forgotten

By Dan Brown
District 149 State Rep.

Memorial Day is a good time to reflect on the sacrifices and services of the American soldiers and veterans and the U.S. military men and women. The American military is, has always been and will always recruit the best and finest young men and women and we will continue to shower them with appreciation, support and prayers, as we have always done. Memorial Day is a great opportunity for us to express the special places they have in the hearts of American citizens and more by honoring the people who work in the various branches of the military.

We often hear that freedom has a price and that each generation pays its due. Today is our day to say thank you to those who for generations have foot the bill; to those who have paid so dearly—with their lives. And to their families and friends whose lives are forever changed and to whom we owe heartfelt gratitude.

Gathering together on this day is one way to show our appreciation and thanks. We need to teach others about the sacrifices that have been made on our behalf so that we might continue to enjoy the liberties and freedoms granted in our Constitution. We must help future generations understand that, politics aside, the act of committing yourself to your country and being willing to fight for the freedom of others, is among the most noble of endeavors. We can do this by volunteering to help those veterans who are still with us, by assisting a family who is grieving the loss of a service member, by visiting those injured in service to the nation to help them build a new life.

Let the feelings of true patriotism and love for all those who have risked their lives for the sake of America show by putting up American flags in front of your houses. Find a way in your life – at work or home, at church or a youth group meeting, wherever – to keep their memories alive. Honor their sacrifices, tell their stories, and cherish their memories.

And finally, continue to gather together on this special day each year to pay homage to every one of them. Make this day an annual reminder of the need to give of yourself in honor of those who have given everything. Treat Memorial Day with reverence and respect and others will follow your lead. Have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Weekend!

As always, please feel free to contact me either by calling my office at 573-751-5713 or by email at dan.brown@house.mo.gov

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Memorial Day boaters urged to keep zebra mussels in mind

By Jim Low
Conservation Department

OSAGE BEACH–A little caution by boaters over the Memorial Day weekend could save a lot of trouble and expense for Missourians in the long run.

That is the message from the Missouri Department of Conservation concerning the zebra mussel. The thumbnail-sized invader from Eurasia has galloped across much of North America in two decades and now has footholds in several Missouri waters. The only hope of slowing its spread lies in caution by boaters.

Zebra mussels cause several kinds of trouble. For one thing, they alter the ecology of waters they infest by competing with native fish and other animals for food. Their habit of attaching themselves to any solid object dooms native mussels, which are smothered by dense encrustations of the prolific invaders.

Zebra mussels have a hefty price tag for property owners, too. They weigh down docks, buoys and other objects exposed to water. Large numbers of mussels attached to boat hulls increase water drag, leading to higher fuel costs. Their tiny larvae, called “veligers,” get inside marine engines, live wells and water lines, requiring maintenance and creating a danger of damage due to overheating.

Zebra mussels also drive up utility bills by clogging water intakes of public and private utilities. Keeping those pipes open requires millions of dollars of maintenance annually.

And zebra mussels are only one of a growing number of invasive aquatic plants and animals that can hitch rides to previously uninfested waters on boats and other marine equipment.

An alert marina worker averted a zebra mussel infestation at Lake of the Ozarks in 2000 when he spotted thousands of tiny zebra mussels on the hull of a cabin cruiser brought to Missouri from out of state. Not everyone was so vigilant, however, for in 2006 marina workers, boaters and Conservation Department workers discovered zebra mussels at several locations in Lake of the Ozarks.

Today, Lake of the Ozarks has dozens of known infestation sites. The pests also have turned up in Lake Taneycomo, Bull Shoals Lake and in the Osage River below Bagnell Dam.

Most recently, zebra mussels have been discovered in the Missouri River in the Kansas City and Chamois areas.

No one has discovered an affordable way to eradicate the mussels once they are established in a lake or stream. Consequently, state officials can only hope to contain their spread to where they already exist and monitor other waters for new infestations.

Boaters are in a position to do more, however. Measures every Missouri angler and boater can take prevent the further spread of zebra mussel include:

· Thoroughly inspecting hulls, drive units, trim plates, transducers and other submerged portions of boats for adult zebra mussels after each use. Adults are fingernail sized with dark and light stripes. Small zebra mussels give hard surfaces a sandpapery feel.

· Examining crevices and recessed areas around motor housings, trim tabs and behind water intake screens on motors’ lower units.

· Checking trailers, ropes, minnow buckets and anything else that was in the water. Report any suspected zebra mussels to the nearest Conservation Department office.

· Removing all suspected zebra mussels, along with vegetation or other material clinging to boats and trailers and put it in a trash container.

· Rinsing boat bilges, trailers, motor drive units and live wells before launching them in another location helps prevent transferring microscopic zebra mussel larvae. Use water at least 104 degrees if live zebra mussels are found, or if your craft has been in waters known to be infested with zebra mussels. Most commercial car washes meet this standard.

· After rinsing, allow boats and other equipment to dry in the sun for at least five days before re-launching in a different lake or stream.

Some measures that help prevent the spread of zebra mussels also aid in stopping other aquatic pests, including the rusty crayfish and Asian carp. One of the best things anglers can do is dispose of live bait properly. Put unused bait in trash bags and deposit it in trash receptacles away from water. Never release unused bait – whether fish, worms, crayfish or anything else – into lakes or streams.

Boaters can prevent invasive plants and animals from hitching a ride by draining all water from bilges and live wells and removing vegetation and other trash from boats and trailers when they move them from one body of water to another.

More information about invasive aquatic species prevention is available at visit www.protectyourwaters.net/.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Some Texas music

Here's a good ole gospel hymn by some wild and unruly Texas musicians. This is supposed to be a Missouri blog, and there's no Missouri connection here. I just like Texas music, plus I'm married to a Texas native who loves Willie Nelson. So here's Willie singing:


Monday, May 18, 2009

Nortre Dame sells out

By R.D. Hohenfeldt
Managing Editor, Ozarks Almanac

For the life of me, I do not understand why a university operated by the Roman Catholic Church, which supposedly opposes all forms of abortion, would invite President Barack Obama, who supports access of all women to all forms of abortion, to speak to its graduates. Can you enlighten me? While you're thinking of something pithy and witty to say, read these excerpts from the Associated Press coverage of the speech. Or you can click here to read the whole report.


SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- President Barack Obama strode head-on Sunday into the stormy abortion debate and told graduates at America's leading Roman Catholic university that both sides must stop demonizing one another.

Obama acknowledged that "no matter how much we want to fudge it ... the fact is that at some level, the views of the two camps are irreconcilable." But he still implored the University of Notre Dame's graduating class and all in the U.S. to stop "reducing those with differing views to caricature. Open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words. It's a way of life that always has been the Notre Dame tradition."

One of the noisiest controversies of his young presidency flared after Obama, who supports abortion rights but says the procedure should be rare, was invited to speak at the school and receive an honorary degree. "I do not suggest that the debate surrounding abortion can or should go away," the president said.

The Rev. John Jenkins, Notre Dame's president, introduced Obama and praised the president for not being "someone who stops talking to those who disagree with him." Jenkins said too little attention has been paid to Obama's decision to speak at an institution that opposes his abortion policy.

Ahead of Obama's address, at least 27 people were arrested on trespassing charges. They included Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff identified as "Roe" in the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. She now opposes abortion and joined more than 300 anti-abortion demonstrators at the school's front gate.

More than half held signs, some declaring "Shame on Notre Dame" and "Stop Abortion Now" to express their anger over Notre Dame's invitation to Obama.

Obama entered the arena to thunderous applause and a standing ovation from many in the crowd of 12,000. But as the president began his commencement address, at least three protesters interrupted it. One yelled, "Stop killing our children."

The graduates responded by chanting "Yes we can," the slogan that became synonymous with Obama's presidential campaign. Obama seem unfazed, saying Americans must be able to deal with things that make them "uncomfortable."

On the Notre Dame campus, members of an abortion rights group also protested while a plane pulling an anti-abortion banner circled above. Tara Makowski of Seattle, who received a master's degree Saturday from the school, said she was dismayed by the way Notre Dame was being characterized.

"Seeing us being portrayed nationally as radical conservative has been really tough," she said. "People need to realize that the majority of students and faculty" favored Obama's visit.


OK, what do you say about that? All I can figure out is American Christianity is in disarray. Next semester at commencement, I expect to hear that Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary has invited pornographer Larry Flynt or homosexual loudmouth Perez Hilton to speak and begin a dialogue on what Baptists have traditionally seen as sinful practices. Can't you already hear that Flynt wants Christians to stop demonizing pornographers and Perez Hilton wants Baptists to open their hearts and minds to the practice of homosexuality?

If the Catholics sell out with abortion, the Baptists can do it with porn and homosexuality, can't they?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The top 10 questions of people considering a move to rural or small-town Missouri

By R.D. Hohenfeldt
Managing Editor, Ozarks Almanac

Most of the people who visit this blog throughout the month are from outside Missouri, as the new map I placed down on the bottom right corner of this page will attest.

I presume most of you "outsiders" are considering becoming Ozarks, or at least Missouri, "insiders" and you're looking for information about the lifestyles, the hunting and fishing, the weather, the gardening, the recreation, and everything else you can think of, that's available. That's research and it is good.

I hope this blog has been of value to you and I hope you'll continue to visit it. I want you to understand that I'm trying to discourage you from moving here. I figure if I can discourage you, then it means you shouldn't move here, and I have done you a valuable service by saving you a lot of heartache and expense.

Most people who live elsewhere and want to move here probably should not, especially those who live in cities and think they want to try "the simple life" of a small town or a small farm. Think about it. Why would you, who have spent the last 10, 20, 30 or even 40 years in the city and have grown accustomed to all the so-called "amenities" of city life, think you can find happiness in a small town or the country? Is it because Andy Griffith's Mayberry looks like a good place to live? Is it because you've been reading Country Living or Romantic Country Living magazines?

Well, I'm going to help you focus your thinking away from all that hocus pocus. Let's get real with the top 10 questions people ask about the locations they're thinking about. I compiled these questons from scores of posts on the Missouri Forum on city-data.com. When I posted the 10 questions together, they created controversy; I guess that's because when seen together, they seem pretty shallow. The forum moderator deleted the thread and locked me out of the forum, so I'll put them here, where they're probably more appropriate.

Here goes with the questions, with my comment on each of them.

1. Is there an active music/club/bar scene in this town? Where do I go to have a drink and hear some good music?
Listen, small towns in Missouri are not Austin. They don't have a Sixth Street district. If you want to go have a drink and listen to music, you're likely going to have to settle for a tavern, beer and a jukebox.

2, What about arts and culture? I can't live without my museum, art gallery or theater fix. Is there an active theater district or arts district?
A town the size of Rolla will have an arts group with monthly showings and a theater (or theatre) for summer plays. For the majority of other towns, the theater district will be limited to a small movie house or maybe just a video rental store.

3. I love diversity. Is there diversity in this community?
We have diversity in rural Missouri. We have some people who are well-off and we have some who aren't. We have town folk and we have country folk. We have Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics and Pentecostals. That's all the diversity we need. Unfortunately, here in Rolla we have people who wear their saggin pants down to show their butt cracks. That's too much diversity.

4, I'm very spiritual, but I don't go to church. Am I going to be hounded by Baptists? (Variations: I'm an atheist... I'm an agnostic ... I'm a wiccan ...)
Well, if inviting you to participate in worshiping our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is hounding you, yes, probably. We don't want you to go hell, so we'll probably ask you if you know the Lord. We'll probably also invite you to our church where we have wonderful fellowship dinners, good music get-togethers and youth ministries. It's called being friendly, not hounding. We'll ask you once, and if you decline, we likely won't bother you again. Then you'll complain that we're shunning you.

5. Where do you go for "serious shopping"?
We usually find what we need here in town. Local stores carry an awful lot of stuff. If Wal-Mart or Lowe's doesn't have it here in town, they can order it. If they can't order it, I can order it from a catalog or online. There's lots of other things to get serious about rather than shopping.

6. I'm looking for a quaint town. Are there quaint shops on Main Street?
Used to be. Then the government built the interstate, the car companies started building better cars and folks got more mobile. New people got "serious" about shopping and everyone started going to St. Louis or Kansas City or Springfield to spend their money instead of buying from the quaint shops.

7. I'm very liberal and I'm looking for like-minded liberals. Is this a liberal town?
We're liberal in our love and concern for our family, our church, the community and one another. We're not very liberal about government, taxes and regulations. We're too busy making a living to be liberals. You'll find some liberals among the government employees in town, the school teachers and the social service agencies.

8. I love gourmet dining. What are the best restaurants?
I like that bar in Rolla that serves baked taters and catfish. We've also got a couple of good steakhouses, plus four Chinese places, a couple of Japanese places, three Mexican restaurants, and every fast food joint and pizza parlor you can think of. For some really good chicken fried steak go over to that place in Doolittle with the giant chicken statue in back of an El Camino. Is that what you mean by gourmet dining?

9. Where can I buy high-quality whole, healthy foods like I'm used to buying in my city?
Do like the rest of us do, grow a garden, buy from the farmers market, can, freeze. We've got a couple of quality health-food stores in Rolla, but they're not as big as you're used to in the city.

10. How long will it take to be accepted? Will I fit in? Does this town accept outsiders?
Well, now, really, how long do you think?
We don't have the kind of bar or nightclub you want, the kind of music you want to hear, the kind of theater and culture you expect on a regular basis.
We're not big fans of the kind of diversity you're talking about.
You don't want us to invite you to church.
You're concerned that we don't have enough stores for you to spend your money in, so you're going to head off to the city to spend your real money. Then you'll complain that there aren't enough quaint shops in town.
You'll probably get mad at us because most of us won't support the political party of taxes and regulation.
You turn your nose up at good ole beef, pork, catfish, potatoes and corn served in local restaurants.
And you're too lazy to grow your own healthy food and turn your nose up at our local health food stores.
So whose job is it to assure you of fitting in? Yours or ours?
We're perfectly willing to accept you, but we aren't going to change everything around here to fit your agenda or whims. Do you really want to fit in or do you want us to fit with you?
If it's the latter, rural Missouri probably isn't your best choice for a new home.

Sunday sermon in song

Two versions of "Daniel Prayed":




Saturday, May 16, 2009

Ozarker goes swimming in Burma, gets arrested

Springfield TV station KSPR has a short news story about an Ozarker who went to great lengths to get into the news:

A man from the Ozarks is under arrest halfway around the world accused of sneaking into an opposition leader's home.
The international incident links the Ozarks with Myanmar, the country formerly known as Burma in southeast Asia.
John William Yettaw, who is from Falcon, Missouri, in Laclede county, is accused of swimming more than a mile to get into the home of Aung San Suu Kyi.
The opposition political leader has been detained in her home for 13 of the past 19 years.
Myanmar's military-ruled government is hostile to Suu Kyi's democracy movement.
According to news reports someone from the U.S. Embassy has spoken with Yettaw.
The Falcon man made a previous visit to Myanmar.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Interoperability for Missouri’s First Responders

By Dan Brown
District 149 State Representative

On September 11th in New York, the lack of a digital emergency communication system (interoperability) cost 343 firemen their lives. Twenty minutes before the second building collapsed, a police helicopter sent a warning over the police communication system. Since the two systems don’t intercept, firefighters were not warned and a horrendous tragedy occurred that may have otherwise been prevented.

In contrast, Minnesota has an interoperability system in place. When the 35W Bridge collapsed, emergency responders were able to communicate effectively, putting everyone on the same wavelength. David Berrisford of Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management was quoted as saying, “It worked wonderfully.”

The current communication system in Missouri is over 50 years old. It prevents our emergency personnel from the ability to communicate with local police, firefighters, highway patrol, and paramedics. If we were to face a serious emergency such as New York or Minnesota, we may not have the ability to keep our citizens from danger. In 2008, Governor Blunt signed a contract to implement state-wide interoperability. However, in January, Governor Nixon put the contract on hold.

This week, the House voted to overturn the Governor’s decision and fund interoperability for our state. House Bill 22, which specifies how the state will spend part of the federal stimulus funds, designates over $112 million for a new statewide emergency radio communications system. This will replace the old system and allow first responders to communicate easier and on a broader scale.

This new system is important to the safety of all Missourians. Over the past few years, we have experienced several natural disasters, such as ice storms, tornados and flooding. In addition, we have police, fire fighters and paramedics risking their lives on a daily basis to help fellow Missourians. The least we can do is provide them with the tools they need to communicate effectively and save lives.

House Bill 22 also uses federal stimulus funds for a new cancer hospital at the University of Missouri-Columbia. This bill will use 31 million dollars to replace the old Ellis Fischel Hospital. Regardless of your views on federal stimulus money we have found that if not used in Missouri, it will go to other states and we (my constituents) are still going to be taxed for the full amount. With that in mind I want to use the money to benefit the citizens of Missouri, not pet projects of various politicians.

Among other sizable items in House Bill 22 it will provide $18 million for repairs at community colleges, $9.3 million for Bellefontaine Habilitation Center for developmentally disabled in Saint Louis, and about $2.5 million for a new roof and sprinkler system at the Veteran’s Home in St. James. These are a few examples of one time expenses that will sustain and generate new jobs.

As always, it is a pleasure to serve you in the House of Representatives. Please do not hesitate to contact me either by calling 573-751-5713 or by email at dan.brown@house.mo.gov

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Nature notes

We got tomatoes, crook neck squash and green peppers in the ground Saturday afternoon after spending Saturday morning working at the church, scraping and painting an outdoor staircase. The ground was mud, but we planted anyway.

In between spits of rain this afternoon, we weeded the hosta bed on the east side of the house, then planted one Hosta, a couple of Virginia Bluebells and a whole bunch of Lily of the Valley.

Weather has been overcast and plenty cool today. I put on a windbreaker while working in the Hosta bed.

We had tornadoes across the Ozarks Friday. A tornado warning put all the customers and the associates in the break room and the training room for 45 minutes Friday morning. We had power at the store, but some residents were without power six hours later.

Thirteen tornadoes were spotted in SW Missouri, according to KY3. I'm not sure what has happened in south central Missouri. I heard at church that Salem was hit hard, but I've not verified that.

Sunday sermon in song

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Local Study Shows No Difference in Beef Cattle Gains Between Well and Pond Water

By David Burton
University Extension

Producers know that quality water is the single most important nutrient for the survival of animals.

However, quantifying the differences in cattle’s performance on good versus poor quality water is tricky to do says Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

Back in the mid-nineties, a trial was set up at the University of Missouri’s Southwest Research Center near Mt. Vernon, Mo. to evaluate the impact of clean and dirty water for grazing beef cattle.

“The presumption was there would be measurable differences in stocker gains, cow-calf performance at weaning and perhaps noticeable disease patterns,” said Cole.

Incorporated into the replicated project were high and low endophyte fescue pastures.

The run of the test (June 19 to Oct. 18) was done with stocker steers.

Since the test pastures were 2.5 acres each of the four years, the water supply for the dirty pond water pastures was hauled daily from nearby farms that had cattle traffic in them. The clean water supply was from a deep well located on the Southwest Center.

“The clean water tanks were scrubbed weekly and the water usually appeared to be clean enough for human consumption. In contrast, the dirty pond water was just that, dirty, dingy and foul smelling at times,” said Cole.

An analysis of the water quality was made in the spring and in the fall from each source, each year.

The results showed only iron tended to be slightly above the acceptable levels for human consumption in the pond water among the minerals. Sulfate and nitrate levels were well within the acceptable range for both sources of water.

Fecal coliforms were present in the pond water each period. In some cases the bacterial count was several thousand units above the safe level as defined in the literature.

“After the four-year, replicated study, two years with stocker steers and two years with spring-calving cow-calf pairs, no significant difference in animal performance (rate of gain, weaning weight, cow weight, hair scores, water intake, mineral intake) was found,” said Cole.

During the last three years of the study, one pasture was set up to give the cattle a choice between either clean or dirty water. Once again, virtually no difference in the cattle’s choice of water was noted when they were offered side-by-side.

According to Cole, this study does not support the conventional wisdom often referenced in news articles that proclaim significant improvements in beef cattle performance. Some reports even claim daily stocker gains of over 0.5 pound per day when good quality water is provided.

“Perhaps before you write off your ponds as being detrimental to your cattle’s performance, you should test your water. Most of the concern in the articles I’ve seen seems to center around elevated sulfate levels in the western and northern states’ pond water supplies. This did not appear to be a problem with the southwest Missouri pond water,” said Cole.

Of course, there are other issues with cattle having access to ponds for reasons such as foot rot, and causing loss of fish and wildlife habitat.

“However, if your pastures are giving your cattle fescue toxicosis or heat-stress problems, pond access can be cooling and helpful,” said Cole.

Cole also notes that there are degrees of dirty, filthy water and watchful cattlemen should be able to distinguish what is acceptable and what isn’t for their farm.

“It’s still best to provide the best quality you can and plenty of it, but don’t be alarmed by the news articles that are negative to pond water and think you’re about to seriously harm your cattle,” said Cole.

For more information, contact any of the MU Extension livestock specialists in southwest Missouri: Eldon Cole in Mt. Vernon, (417) 466-3102; Gary Naylor in Dallas County, (417) 345-7551; and Dona Funk in Cedar County, (417) 276-3313.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Use Caution: Receding Flood Waters Pose Hazards to Producers and Livestock

By David Burton
University Extension

When flood waters begin to recede, producers must continue to use caution when assessing damage and beginning clean-up procedures on the farm.

According to Amanda Marney, agriculture preparedness specialist with University of Missouri Extension, livestock will be exposed to unique hazards created by flood waters.

In addition, agriculture producers must also protect their own health when working in and cleaning up previously flooded areas.

LIVESTOCK

“It is very important that you make sure all animals have a source of clean, uncontaminated water. Animals on pasture may need a different source of water until ponds or creeks clear up,” said Marney.

She says it is also imperative that agriculture producers have their water tested if any part of the farmyard is flooded.

“If using well water for livestock water, be aware that it may have also have been contaminated and the well may need to be disinfected,” said Marney.

Check all sources of feeds and forages for spoiling and contamination. Flood waters can contaminate feeds, forages and fields. Watch for molds in the field and in stored feed and forages. Feeding of moldy feeds is risky and unhealthy for all animals.

Standing water may have damaged some pastures or parts of pastures. This may have isolated animals and limited forage supply.

“Hungry animals may then eat contaminated or poisonous plants. Therefore, be prepared to supplement feed, when needed, in order to prevent animals from eating contaminated plant materials,” said Marney.

It is a good practice to make sure all animals are up to date with vaccinations. Agriculture producers may need to administer Blackleg boosters to pastured animals. High-risk, younger animals that were on flooded pastures may benefit from a therapeutic dose of penicillin.

“Animals have been stressed during thunderstorms and resulting flooding. Consider supplementing additional feed or vitamins. Watch closely for signs of illness such as pneumonia and lameness. Make sure all animals are accounted for and are eating,” said Marney.

Is there manure storage on the farm? If so, consider having Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) check for any evidence of weakening or leaking.

PRODUCERS

Agriculture producers should be extremely wary of electrical equipment that has been exposed to flood water or other moisture.

“Don’t turn the power back on until it has been inspected by a qualified electrician. If you are not certain that the power is off, then never enter flooded areas or touch electrical equipment if the ground is wet,” said Marney.

Flood cleanup may involve the use of gasoline or diesel powered pumps, generators, and pressure washers. It is important to realize these devices do release carbon monoxide, a deadly, colorless, odorless gas. Due to this fact, Marney says producers should operate all these devices outdoors.

“Never operate the power unit indoors. It is virtually impossible to ensure adequate ventilation,” said Marney.

Farm tractor and equipment operators should be extremely cautious when using towing chains to free or move "stuck" equipment. Hitch only to the drawbar to avoid tipping the tractor over backwards.

Use only a long towing chain designed to support the towed load. Check the machine's operator's manual for additional safe towing information.

For more information, contact Marney at the Univesity of Missouri Southwest Research Center or at (417) 461-1319.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Flowering Trees Add Beauty to the Landscape

Flowering trees are important because they add beauty and seasonal interest to the landscape according to Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

"In the landscape, flowering trees are secondary in importance to shade trees that provide framing, shade and background. However, flowering trees do provide interest that few shade trees can match," said Byers.

VARIED INTENSITY

The flowering tree bloom intensity and color may vary each year. That is why Byers frequently gets asked about what factors may influence a tree's bloom performance.

"One of the biggest factors is the growing season the previous year. Flower buds are formed and set during the past summer growing season. Weather conditions or drought play a significant role on bloom intensity next spring," said Byers.

Harsh winter conditions -- such as extreme cold temperatures or early spring frosts -- can influence plant performance the following spring.

Cool spring temperatures during the bloom period will actually prolong the colorful beauty of the tree according to Byers.

SELECTION FACTORS

When selecting flowering shrubs and trees for your landscape, Byers says there are several factors that should be considered.

For starters, the size, form and overall appearance of the tree should be considered as well as the season of blooming, intensity, duration and the flower color.

"Perhaps the most important consideration is the planting site. Most flowering trees will perform best in fertile soils that are well drained. Modify soils with compost and elevate the planting area if drainage seems to be a problem," said Byers.

POPULAR TYPES

In southwest Missouri, there are several popular flowering tree types to choose from that will also perform well.

Flowering crab apple trees are popular but Byers recommends choosing disease resistant varieties. Callery pear trees, like the new Aristocrat, Redspire, and Cleveland Select, are also popular.

"Some of the favorites in the Ozarks remain Eastern redbud, flowering dogwood, flowering plums, flowering peach and flowering cherry trees," said Byers.

For more information, contact Greene County’s Master Gardener Hotline, (417) 862-9284.

PeeWee drops by for birthday

Today is Delaine's birthday. When I got home from work, she told me she had a wonderful present. An Eastern Wood Pewee, or as I call him PeeWee, showed up and started calling her.

PeeWee is a little bitty bird with a great big voice. His call sounds to Delaine like he's saying "Hey, Delaine, Hey, Delaine." It was mighty special to her to hear that little feller hollering at her on her birthday.--R.D. Hohenfeldt

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Few Simple Steps Can Help Protect Your Identity

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, there are over 1,000 victims of identity theft per day. This too common problem is not a laughing matter according to Janet LaFon, family financial education specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“Most people have no idea how the thief got their information. Frequently, it happens when a wallet or purse is lost or stolen. But many thieves get information in other ways – from trash, by stealing mail out of home mailboxes, at businesses and through the Internet,” said LaFon.

Sometimes thieves gain access to places that keep records for many people, such as schools, hospitals, car dealers or fitness centers. They may even use the stolen identities themselves, or sell them to other thieves.

Unfortunately, identity thieves are frequently someone we know according to LaFon.

“Family members, friends, hired help, for example, often have access to our private information and may be tempted to use it,” said LaFon.

With the holidays just a few months away, it is a good time to review steps that can be taken to prevent fraud.

First and foremost, keep personal information safe. “Don’t keep your personal identification numbers (PINs) with your checkbook, ATM card or debit card,” said LaFon.

It is also a good idea to shred any papers that contain confidential information before you throw them out or recycle them.

“I also recommend keeping as few credit cards as possible in your purse or wallet,” said LaFon. “Another big no-no: never carry your Social Security number with you.”

LaFon also recommends being especially careful about giving out your Social Security number.

“Some businesses may have a real reason for needing your social security number, but not all,” said LaFon.

It is also a good idea to be cautious when giving out personal information on the telephone or through the Internet.

“Unless you initiated the contact, don’t give out confidential information. If using the Internet, find out about the security level of the website before giving personal information,” said LaFon.

Be sure to review bank and credit statements when they arrive to make sure all transactions are legitimate.

Finally, obtain copies of your Credit Report on a regular basis (preferably at least once a year) to check for suspicious activity.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Seven Tips for Organic Gardening Success

From University of Missouri Extension:

It is possible to grow fresh high-quality produce and vegetables in southwest Missouri with only natural fertilizers and pesticides according to Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

"Growing organic can be successful with good soils, fertility, proper watering techniques, plant selections and steps to encourage healthy plants. Monitoring for pests and quick action to ward off major problems are key considerations," said Byers.

Byers says there are seven essential tips for organic gardening success.

First, the success of the organic approach depends on how gardeners use and prepare organic matter that benefits the soil and plant functions. Animal manures are excellent sources of organic matter and plant nutrients.

Second, because plants need proper nourishment, another key is proper soil nutrients. Soil tests will indicate if there is a need for more nutrients for the garden. It is very important to be sure the soil pH is acceptable for vegetable gardening.

Byers’ third key is to select plants that are genetically resistant to diseases. When available, the use of resistant varieties is the best way to reduce diseases.

The fourth key is planting times. “Planting when soil temperatures are correct for maximum plant growth is important. It is also important that you never allow a vegetable plant to get stressed due to lack of available soil moisture," said Byers.

Fifth, Byers says it is important to remember to clean up weeds or other plants that may serve as an overwintering host plant, along with crop plants that have been diseased.

Sixth, it is important to avoid the introduction of diseases. In some cases, careful selection of disease free seed and propagating material helps disease control.

Seventh, promoting healthy plant growth deters some insects. “Healthy plants are less susceptible to insect attacks. Natural and biological products are available for insect control,” said Byers.

Good organic growers exhibit great horticulture knowledge and skills by using sound cultural practices according to Byers. However, he says there is little proof organically grown produce is healthier or of higher quality than that produced inorganically.

“Basically, it is a matter of conviction and choice. But for me, organic gardening makes good sense. Healthy soil speaks volumes,” said Byers.

For more information, contact Greene County’s Master Gardener Hotline, (417) 862-9284.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Dodge dementia with healthy habits

The University of Missouri Extension office in Greene County issued this news release:

The last thing any person wants to think about is losing their memory.
But according to Tammy Roberts, a nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension, the best way to keep your memory at peak performance is with exercise and healthy eating habits.
“The bad news is that our brain reaches its peak of functioning when we are still in our twenties. The good news is that there is plenty you can do to help maintain your memory. It starts with healthy habits,” said Roberts.
A recent study published in the April edition of the “Nutrition Action Health Letter” shows the importance of exercise.
Women who walked for 1.5 hours per week scored better on memory tests two years later than those who walked less than 40 minutes per week.
“Arthur Kramer of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that the gray matter of the brain increased after just six months of a brisk walk for 45 minutes three times per week,” said Roberts.
Habits that benefit the heart also benefit the brain. Belly fat in middle age has been linked to three times the risk of having dementia compared to those with a trim waist.
Belly fat is also linked to a higher risk for diabetes.
“Avoiding type 2 diabetes is important for a lot of reasons not the least of which is memory. Type 2 diabetes increases the risk of cognitive decline,” said Roberts.
High blood pressure during mid life is a risk factor for dementia.
“It is thought that high blood pressure causes tiny strokes that are completely undetectable until an autopsy is completed. It is thought that these small strokes do damage to the brain that results in dementia,” said Roberts.
There is also research that shows a morning cup of coffee can also keep your mind young.
“We have known for years that caffeine revs up the brain in areas tied to short term memory and attention. Some recent research with mice shows that mice that had the human equivalent of 500 milligrams of caffeine did better on memory tests than those that did not receive caffeine,” said Roberts.
For more information on nutrition issues, go online to http://extension.missouri.edu or contact Tammy Roberts at (417) 682-3579.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Funny (or stupid) things city people say--Part IV

I get the biggest kick out of city folks, and I enjoy razzing, teasing and generally having a great time joking with them. They don't have much of a sense of humor, though, EXCEPT when it comes to making fun of country people. Usually, city folks don't do it with the wit that country folks use; city folks just like to lay on insults, of which they are the masters.

Here's a funny thing I read some time back on the city-data.com website. It was in a discussion about raising chickens, and someone was curious about how a chicken grower with a flock of hens only could get so many eggs. His/her question:
If you don't have a rooster, how do you get eggs?
I just about fell out of my chair laughing at that. Bless his/her heart. Ignorance is not a crime or a social disgrace. It's just a lack of information/education; and, in this case, it is hilarious.

It reminds me of a cartoon I've seen on television (I've got grandkids so I'm allowed to watch cartoons every now and again). I'm not sure what the name of it is. I guess it's "Barnyard" or some variant, for it takes place in a barnyard. The main character is a bull (looks to be a Holstein) who walks on his hind legs, as all the cattle do. The bull has a huge udder and teats!

So far, I've not spotted an egg-laying rooster on the cartoon show.

I guess the cartoonist is a city slicker, and I thank him for giving me a good laugh every time I see that cartoon.

Killing grubs is not key to controlling moles

By David Burton
University Extension

Two moles per acre is considered an infestation and ridding a home lawn of moles can seem like a never-winning battle.

But the odds of success are increased when the right scouting techniques are used according to Brie Menjoulet, an agronomy specialist at the University of Missouri Extension in Hickory County.

“No matter what the control method -- granular or gel baits, repellants, or traps -- scouting techniques are the key,” said Menjoulet.

Moles will feed on earthworms and grubs every two hours, 24 hours a day. Once a mole has eaten the food supply throughout a run, the mole will stop using that run and start a new one.

“Mole traps and baits must be placed in the active runs to be most effective. That makes good scouting essential,” said Menjoulet.

To find active mole runs, Menjoulet recommends poking a hole through the top of the run. Mark the location with a flag a few inches to the side of the run or by using a landmark that is memorable.

“In about 2 hours, check the run and if the hole is repaired or plugged back up, the run is active and will be a good location for baits and traps,” said Menjoulet.

Moles can smell human scents on some types of bait. Using gloves while handling mole baits can help increase product success and reduce possible chemical exposure to the applicator.

Mole baits are pesticides and can be harmful if not properly used as directed by the label.

“Grub worm pesticides are used to kill grub worms and, unfortunately, can kill up to 70 percent of earthworms as well. Grub worm pesticides should only be used to kill grub worm infestations, not to control moles by reducing their food supply,” said Menjoulet

For more information, contact nearest MU Extension office or visit MU Extension online at http://extension.missouri.edu.

Grazing schools start soon

Southwest Missouri will offer a total of seven Management-intensive Grazing (MiG) Schools for the 2009 season.

Starting in 1995 as a regional program, the schools are held at various locations, dates and formats to meet the diverse needs of area livestock producers.

"The Southwest Region covers 15 counties, and the planning committee does its best to offer locations throughout the area," said Rich Crawford, co-coordinator for the region and superintendent of University of Missouri’s Southwest Research Center.

Evening and Saturday schools provide people who have off-farm jobs a chance to attend a grazing school.

To date, literally thousands of individuals have attended the schools to learn about the basic principles and practices of MiG. The schools have also helped livestock producers qualify for thousands of dollars in various cost-share programs through NRCS or FSA.

Upcoming grazing schools in southwest Missouri include:

* MU Southwest Research Center in Mt Vernon, Mo., (daytime) on May 12 – 14, contact Richard Crawford at (417) 466-2148.
* Crowder College, Neosho, Mo., June 23-25 (daytime), contact: Nathan Witt 417-451-1366, ext.3 or John Hobbs (417) 223-4775.
* Marshfield, Mo., (daytime) on Oct. 6 – 8, contact Mark Emerson, (417) 468-4176.
* MDC Dalton Shooting Range, Bois D’Arc, Mo., (daytime) Oct. 20 -22, contact Mark Green (417) 831-5246.

Attendance is generally limited to 25-30 people. Cost of the schools varies by location, and includes all of the materials (grazing manuals, guides, grazing stick). Daytime schools usually include meals and breaks and some include transportation.

Schools are conducted and sponsored by USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service, University of Missouri Extension and Area Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Scouting Fields one Key to Managing Wheat Foliar Diseases

By David Burton
University Extension

There are foliar diseases that can cause yield loss in winter wheat according to Jay Chism, an agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Barton County.

“The key is to apply fungicides to wheat at the early boot stage to head emergence. Research shows fungicides at this growth stage, when the flag leaf is in danger of infection will provide the most benefit,” said Chism.

According to Laura Sweets, a plant pathologist at the University of Missouri, leaf rust, strip rust and Septoria leaf blight are diseases that are likely to cause yield loss.

“The incidence and severity of these foliage diseases will depend on the weather conditions during the growing season,” said Sweets. “Susceptibility of the variety to each of these diseases and the amount of inoculum in each field will also determine the severity of disease infection.”

Most wheat foliage diseases are favored by warm, wet conditions. Frequent light rains, heavy dews, high relative humidity and warm temperatures are ideal for the buildup of foliage diseases.

So far this season in Barton County, Chism says he has seen only low Septoria pressure, while powedery mildew is beginning to develop in the thicker field canopies.

“It is important to scout wheat fields for diseases,” said Chism. “And growers should also know the difference between viral and fungal diseases.”

Fungicides will have no effect on viral diseases.

“If fungal diseases are threatening to infect the flag leaf, then applying foliar fungicides is a good practice, but farmers need to identify the disease and the severity before they make that determination,” said Chism.

Delaying fungicide applications to coincide with insecticide applications may make economic sense.

“Commodity prices are not as favorable as last year. Delaying an application of fungicides until an aphid threshold is reached may work in some instances,” said Chism.

Always be sure to follow the label recommendations when deciding to apply pesticides.

For 2009 wheat fungicide label information go to http://extension.missouri.edu/barton for products registered in Missouri.

For more information on applying foliar fungicides to wheat contact Chism at (417) 682-3579.

Conservation Department asks motorists to spare wandering box turtles

The Missouri Department of Conservation issued the following news release:

JEFFERSON CITY–Have you ever seen a turtle trying to cross a busy highway and wondered how many of these creatures die under the wheels of automobiles each year? Jeff Briggler has, and as Missouri’s State Herpetologist, the answer worries him.

Briggler and other workers at the Missouri Department of Conservation have made informal observations over the years, counting the number of dead turtles – especially box turtles – on stretches of highway.

“We discovered that mortality rates are very high on high-traffic roads,” says Briggler, “whereas mortalities are much lower on less-traveled roads.”

On May 26 last year, Briggler counted 116 three-toed box turtles crossing Highway 63 between Jefferson City and Cabool. Of those, 104 had been hit by vehicles.

Turtles are struck by cars throughout the warm months, but they are at special risk at this time of year, when they are moving around looking for mates and establishing home ranges. Young males are most at risk.

Comfort is a factor, too. Like other reptiles, turtles are cold-blooded. Walking out onto warm asphalt and basking in the morning sun feels good on cool spring days.

Box turtles live a long time, and females continue laying eggs for most of their lives. They need lots of time to replace themselves, since snakes, raccoons, opossums and other nest predators eat most of their eggs. Before roads crisscrossed their habitat a low reproductive rate was no big deal. Animals that continue laying eggs past 60 years of age can afford to take their time replacing themselves. But the unnatural mortality caused by speeding cars is a problem.

“Box turtles did not evolve amid thousands of miles of busy highway,” says Briggler. “We don’t know very much about how highway mortality will affect their long-term survival, but the implications of our casual observations are worrisome. Animals with low reproductive potential usually cannot sustain the sort of continuing slaughter that we see on our roads.”

To help, Briggler suggests that motorists slow down when they see a turtle in the road and check to be sure they can safely steer around it. If traffic and road conditions permit, motorists can pull their vehicles off the roadway and carry turtles to the other side of the road and place them at least 15 feet beyond the pavement, facing away from the road.

Briggler also is troubled by the too-common practice of capturing box turtles for pets. He said the animals’ nutritional needs are not easy to meet in captivity, so captive turtles are likely to die due to improper care. In most cases, that means slow starvation.

He suggests keeping a turtle only for a day or two and then releasing it where it was captured. He said this last condition is very important, since turtles are intimately familiar with their home areas. If released in strange surroundings, they have trouble finding food and may wander across roads trying to meet their daily needs.

The three-toed box turtle is the species most often seen crossing roads in Missouri . Primarily a woodland species, it is found everywhere but the extreme northern part of Missouri . The ornate box turtle is found in all but the southeastern corner of the state, but is more adapted to grassland and is most common in western Missouri . Young males make up most of the travelers as they search for territories of their own and for female turtles.

Three-toed box turtles have three toes on each hind foot, unless they have lost a few appendages to predators or frostbite. Ornate box turtles usually have four toes per hind foot. In keeping with their name, ornate box turtles also have more vivid yellow stripes on a black background on the tops of their shells. The bottoms of their shells typically have streaks of black on a yellow background.

For more information about box turtles, visit mdc.mo.gov/nathis/herpetol/boxturtles/.

People should stay out of caves to protect bats

The following news release was issued by the Mark Twain National Forest Supervisor's Office:

ROLLA, Mo. -- A relatively new illness affecting bats throughout eastern US has prompted Mark Twain National Forest to ask forest visitors to stay out of Mark Twain National Forest caves and abandoned mines for the next year.

An April 24, 2009 emergency closure order applies to caves and abandoned mines in Mark Twain National Forest’s 29 counties in southern and central Missouri. Similar emergency closure orders were issued April 24, 2009 for National Forests in 33 states east of the Great Plains and Puerto Rico.

Nearly 500,000 bats have died in New England and Mid-Atlantic states in the last two years as a result of white-nose syndrome, including almost 25,000 endangered Indiana bats.

“We’re asking the public to stay out of Mark Twain National Forest caves to reduce the chances of spreading white-nose fungus to Missouri,” said David Whittekiend, Mark Twain National Forest Supervisor.
“This will give the Forest Service time to work with its scientific partners and public to determine how to best protect Missouri bats.”

White-nose syndrome is named for a white fungus that appears on hibernating bat faces, ears, wings, and feet, as a symptom of a yet unknown underlying disease.

The disease causes bats to come out of hibernation severely underweight, often starving before insects – on which they feed – emerge in spring. Once a colony is infected, the fungus spreads rapidly and has the possibility of killing over 90% of bats within the cave in two years.

Scientists believe the fungus is spread by bats. There are also indications it may be unknowingly transferred from one cave/mine to another on human footwear and gear.

There have been no reported human illnesses attributed to the fungus.

"White-nose syndrome has already infected bats in mines on the Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont and caves on the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia,” Whittekiend said. "We are asking the public to stay out of caves in the hopes of protecting some of the largest bat populations in the United States."

Many national forests are home to several species of bats, including the federally endangered Indiana bat and grey bat as well as the more common little brown bat. Bats are a natural and important part of the forests, making a significant contribution towards the control of forest and agricultural insect pests.

Mark Twain National Forest has approximately 600 caves.

For more information about Mark Twain National Forest visit our website at www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/marktwain.