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Features

  • The kissing bug may sound like a virus that plagues the protagonist of a romantic comedy, but in fact, these insects are real, and one species does occur in Kentucky. These blood-feeding insects have received a lot of media attention due to the potential health effects of their bites in the southwestern United States. University of Kentucky extension entomologist Lee Townsend recently discussed what Kentuckians need to know about the insect.

  • Cut flowers are undoubtedly the most popular manifestation of showing your love for someone on Valentine’s Day, but potted flowering plants can do the trick, too.  Perhaps the potted bloom has the potential to remind your lover that the sentiment lasts all year…but what does it mean if you can’t get it to bloom again?  Is your love doomed? Of course not, but here are some tips just in case.

  • The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) has come forward with legislation to help businesses and individuals who wish to donate food to organizations that serve hungry Kentuckians.

    “These measures would provide incentives and protections for those who want to join the fight against hunger in Kentucky,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “This is due to the work of the Hunger Task Force, which met for the first time last spring. This is just the beginning of our efforts to reduce food insecurity in the Commonwealth.”

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    TES December GREAT students of the month: Jayden Patton, Jayden Hagan, Jacob Swartz, Maggie Whitehouse, Bella Milburn, and Alexis Helton.

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    Taylorsville Elementary School recently held their Spelling Bee. Spelling Bee contestants and winners were: Zaylie Jones, Malachi Temple, Caden Cole (1st place), AJ Peterman, Kameron Edge (Runner Up), Kyle P., Morgan Owens, and Annie Jo Goodlett.

  • As we are now into February,  you’ll be receiving seed catalogs for the 2017 vegetable-growing season soon. While listening to the cold wind blow outside, what a comfort it is to think about spring and summer and planning your garden.

    To make the most of your garden, every aspiring gardener should follow seven steps to have a successful gardening season.

    • Plan your garden on paper before you begin.

  • It is the time of year for skunks and I am reminded because of the smell and road kill left behind. Plus, a strong scent of skunk has been lingering in the pasture this past week; and I got an Instagram video from my niece as she was clearly backing away from a lumbering black and white rodent down by the river.  We used to get them circling the house on winter evenings, but our livestock guardian dog has kept them at bay the last few years.  Their presence is not surprising, however, because it is mating season for skunks and they are on the move.

  • The Kentucky Department of Wildlife Resources recently launched a canoeing and kayaking page on its website at www.fw.ky.gov. Visitors need only to click on the “Boat” tab, then the “Canoeing and Kayaking” tab.

    The page provides a repository for valuable information about paddling creeks, rivers and lakes across Kentucky.    

  • Even though it’s winter, it’s not too early to start thinking about summer camp or summer jobs. 4-H has a way to combine both. Kentucky 4-H is now hiring 44 energetic staff members for its four summer residential camps.

  • With the number of acres allotted to grow industrial hemp nearly tripling in 2017, this could be the year the crop challenges Kentucky’s reputation as the Bluegrass State.

    The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has approved 209 applications from growers who have been approved to cultivate up to 12,800 acres of industrial hemp for research purposes in 2017, nearly three times the number of acres that were approved for the previous year. More than 525,000 square feet of greenhouse space were approved for indoor growers in 2017.

  • I have learned to be discerning when it comes to catalog shopping.  I steer clear of outrageous or cheap deals.  I prefer the specialty catalog where expertise reigns, providing us with both a good product and the information to grow it well.  

  • State education leaders say that nearly 50,000 students graduate from high school each year and too many are unprepared for today’s jobs, without a path to acquiring skills they need.

    On Wednesday, Stephen Pruitt, Kentucky’s Commissioner of Education, happily announced a three-year effort aimed at strengthening technical and career education for the state’s public high school students, fueled by a $2 million grant from JPMorgan Chase, in collaboration with the Council of Chief State School Officers.

  • Members of the Five Counties Friends of NRA recently attended the annual Kentucky Friends of NRA workshop, and fund committee meeting. Chair Tony Wheatley and Treasurer Larry Mott  represented the local Friends of NRA Committee. At the workshop, the state Friends of NRA were recognized for their huge success in 2016. First, they were awarded the Friends of NRA’s  “Kentucky Breakout Award” which recognizes those committees that have broken out of their usual efforts by reaching an extraordinary result.

  • University of Kentucky agricultural meteorologist Matt Dixon explained that the combination of cold air and winds create dangerous and emergency-category periods of livestock cold stress.

    Livestock producers should make sure animals have adequate shelter, water, dry bedding and feed to make it through cold spells. Pet owners should bring pets indoors. UK livestock specialists said animals have a higher requirement for energy in the colder months, so producers should have high-quality grains and forages on hand to meet their needs.

  • There is something about working in the garden on a sunny winter day:  it clears debris from both the perennial bed and the gardener’s head.   There is clarity to the winter landscape that is quite different than any other season.  On a clear day, the sky is a true blue, you can see all the birds flitting about the leafless trees.  

  • Amid concern over antibiotic resistance and in an effort to improve efficiency while protecting human and animal health, the Food and Drug Administration is making changes in its Veterinary Feed Directive program. They are amending regulations regarding drugs added to livestock feeds; the new rules are effective Jan. 1.

  • The Office of the State Climatologist and the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, in coordination with the Kentucky Drought Mitigation Team, are removing the Level One Drought Declaration that was issued for much of the state on Nov. 10.

    Following this weekend’s abundant precipitation, all of the state is above normal for precipitation for the past 30 days.

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  • Live gifts during the holiday season are welcomed by gardeners…a poinsettia or two, a rosemary topiary, cyclamen, African violets and orchids give us something to fuss over during the winter months.  But, sometimes our homes can be a hostile environment for many of the most popular indoor flowering plants.