Wow guests with unique edibles

Mad Hatter Sweet Peppers. Photo courtesy of All America Selections.

By Melinda Meyers

Make your next gathering one to remember by including a few unique vegetables on the relish tray, as a side dish or for dessert. Your guests will be “wowed” not only because you grew your own ingredients, but because of the unique shape, color or flavor of the vegetables you serve.

Create a memorable dining experience with attractive edible containers adorning the patio, balcony or deck. Include a few Candle Fire Okra plants in large containers to create a tropical feel. The dark green leaves, hibiscus flowers and colorful red pods make a striking display in a container or the garden.

Surprise guests with roasted Candle Fire okra and Candyland Red currant tomatoes. Roasting okra eliminates the slime that prevents many from eating this unique vegetable. And don’t discard any overripe pods, use them in flower arrangements to dress up any event.

Allow your guests to harvest their own greens, herbs and cherry tomatoes to toss into their salads or season their meal. Use Prizm kale as a vertical dark green accent in your containers. Then add a contrasting ornamental leaf lettuce like Red Sails, long lasting vibrant Red Kingdom Mizuna (Japanese mustard) and edible flowers like calendulas, nasturtiums and pansies. The new Patio Choice tomatoes produce up to 100 yellow cherry tomatoes on an 18” plant. Plant it in a container for a splendid display then watch as guests harvest fresh tomatoes from your centerpiece.

Dress up the table, indoors or out, by using a few potted herbs as centerpieces. Include Dark Opal Basil with dark purple leaves and compact Dolce Fresca in a simple container or more decorative pot to create a splendid display. Just place a pair of garden snips on the table and let your guests flavor their meals.
Make any meal special with a Bok Choy Frittata. Your guests will be impressed when you create this popular dish from your own homegrown ingredients. Asian Delight Pak Choi (or Bok Choy) is slow to flower so you will enjoy season-long harvests. The mild flavored tender white stems and textured dark green leaves look good in containers, the garden and when served fresh in a salad, frittata or stir fry.

Serve a colorful platter of sliced tomatoes with the Chef’s Choice series of red, pink, orange, yellow and green fruit. The globe shaped beefsteak tomatoes have the perfect balance of acid to sugar. Their disease resistance, productivity, yield, flavor, color and performance made them winners in the non-profit All-America Selections national trials (all-americaselections.org).

Stuff a few of the uniquely shaped Mad Hatter sweet peppers with cheese. Your guests will enjoy the beauty and refreshing citrusy floral flavor of this three-sided red pepper. The vigorous plant produces an abundance of fruit, so you’ll have plenty to use fresh in appetizers and salads throughout the growing season or pickled for future enjoyment.

End the evening with a surprise. Serve each guest their own watermelon for dessert. Mini Love watermelon packs lots of sweet flavor into individual size fruit. Or brighten their dessert plates with a slice or two of Gold in Gold. This eye-catching watermelon has a yellow rind with golden stripes. The orange-gold flesh is crisp and sugary.

With just a little planning, you can plant unique and beautiful edibles in your garden and containers this season. Then find fun ways to include these in dishes shared at potlucks, meals for family and friends, or as a snack to enjoy on a summer afternoon.

Learn how to protect beef cattle from fly infestation

Article source: Dr. Lew Strickland, UT Extension Veterinarian

Now that warm weather has arrived, everyone will start to focus on all the chores that have to be done to “gear” up for the upcoming season, including fly control. Fly infestation reduces performance and the economic loss from each horn fly biting an animal 30 times/day can also be substantial. Certain flies are responsible for spreading diseases such as pink eye and potentially Anaplasmosis and or Bovine Leukosis, so to decrease disease risk to your livestock here are a few tips to reduce the flies’ impact on your farm’s production.· Feed a larvicide or an insect growth regulator early in the season starting 30 days before flies typically emerge. Continue to feed until 30 days after a killing frost.

·Pour-ons. During spring turnout time, you can use a product that is labeled to control internal parasites, as these products also have efficacy against horn flies. Later in the year, use products only labeled for flies and/or lice. Using pour-on dewormers multiple times throughout the year could lead to internal parasite resistance issues.

· Dust bags/cattle rubs. The advantage of a dust bag or rub is that, if placed at a site where all cattle must use it (watering trough, mineral lick), it can provide economical control of face and horn flies. Proper placement and keeping it charged with insecticide are the keys. Also, strips that can be mounted to mineral feeders can also be an efficient way to apply insecticide to the face of cattle.

· Topical sprays. Timely application of fly sprays or paint ball style packets throughout the year can be effective in reducing the fly population, but can be time-consuming if cattle are grazing an extensive area.

·Fly tags. The key to using tags is to wait until you have 200 flies/cow to place the tags. If applied too early, there will be decreased efficiency. Use pyrethroid tags for two consecutive years, then switch to an organophosphate tag for one year to reduce pyrethroid resistance. Also, there are new generation fly tags that contain different insecticides and are quite helpful in controlling fly populations. Always follow label directions on the number of tags/cow. Be sure to remove tags at the end of the season to prevent resistance problems.

· Don’t mix classes of chemicals in the pour-ons, topicals, and fly tags within the same year. Use the same class 1-2 years, then rotate.

· Fly predators. Not all flies are bad. Fly predators, nature’s own self-inflicted enemy, can be your ally in the fight against pest flies. These are tiny, non-stinging, non-biting wasps that feed on fly larvae and interrupt the breeding cycle of flies, destroying the next generation of flies before they hatch into disease-carrying adults. These predators can be used in areas where cattle tend to congregate and manure tends to accumulate, just apply the predators to manure piles in these areas. Replenish your fly predator supply once a month from April to September; otherwise the fly life cycle will only be broken for a few weeks.

A multifaceted approach is best for attaining your goal of “controlling” flies, so using just one strategy from the above list probably won’t give you the results you anticipate. Since there are so many products on the market for fly control, work with your veterinarian to develop a plan to control flies that best suits your cattle operation.

The Cure for Obesity, Heart Disease, and Anxiety? Puppies!

Dogs can have a positive impact on your health.

By Satesh Bidaisee

Researchers just discovered a simple way to fight obesity, heart disease, and mental illness — by giving people puppies.

That may sound barking mad. But new medical research shows that dogs, cats, and other four-legged friends can significantly boost people’s physical and mental health — to the point where interacting with pets can actually be an effective form of therapy.

Consider how pets could help the 75 million Americans who suffer from high blood pressure, which increases the likelihood of experiencing a heart attack or stroke. In one study of more than 1,500 people aged 60 and over, dog owners had systolic blood pressure that was 3.34 milligrams of mercury lower than that for non-owners. Systolic blood pressure is the pressure in a person’s blood vessels when his heart beats — the first number in a blood pressure reading.

A difference of just over 3.34 milligrams of mercury may not sound like much. But for each milligram of mercury decline in blood pressure, a person’s risk of stroke goes down by 5 percent.

Pet owners also exercise more. A study conducted by Australian researchers found that dog owners were physically active for an hour more each week than those who didn’t have dogs.

My own research aligns with these findings. In a survey of people in Grenada — home to St. George’s University, where I teach — my team found that less than 13 percent of pet-owners were obese. By contrast, half of the people in our sample who did not own pets were obese.

Keeping blood pressure low and staying active is great for the heart. One analysis of 3.4 million people spanning 12 years revealed that those who owned pets had a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease than those who were pet-less.

Pets also improve people’s mental health. In one Israeli study, scientists elevated participants’ stress levels by telling them that they might have to hold a tarantula. Then, to calm the participants down, researchers gave them either toy rabbits, toy turtles, real rabbits, or real turtles. The toys did nothing to relieve stress. But petting both the hard shell of real turtles and the soft fur of real bunnies calmed participants.

A survey of veterinary school students produced similar results. Investigators asked students to report their stress levels on a scale from one to ten, as well as whether they had a pet at home. Six in ten people who did not own pets reported stress levels of eight or higher; only four in ten pet-owners said that they were similarly stressed.
Another review of 17 studies found that pets helped people with mental illnesses — including post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.

Some hospitals and schools are acting on this research. At Indiana University Health North Hospital, dogs wander the hallways and spend time with patients who request a visit. Virginia Commonwealth University offers therapy dogs to students during finals week.

All this research exemplifies the interconnection between human health, animal health, and the environment. That interconnection is the foundation of the One Health movement, to which a number of universities, including St. George’s, adhere in their teaching and research efforts.

Pets are the perfect antidote to all sorts of ailments. It’s time to unleash this knowledge across our healthcare system.

What Happened? Assessing the Singapore Summit

“Peace and prosperity,” “lasting and stable peace,” “peace regime,” “denuclearization,” “new US-DPRK relations”—these fine words and phrases dominate the joint statement of Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. Yet it’s difficult to describe in a concrete way what they agreed to actually do. The joint statement stands as one of hope, nothing more, similar to the tone of the Pyongyang Declaration between Kim Jong-un and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in. The Trump-Kim statement has nothing of substance to say about denuclearization, a Korean peninsula at peace, normalization of US-North Korea relations, economic or military incentives, verification of promises, and schedules for implementation.

Whatever substantive agreements were reached took place between Trump and Kim alone, without any top advisers. And here’s where the trouble begins: the contrary claims that are bound to emerge about who promised what. Already, North Korean state media are saying that Trump promised to ease sanctions, whereas Trump insisted that sanctions will continue. Trump said US military exercises will be suspended, but surely many kinds of small-scale joint exercises with South Korea’s military will go on. And what about Kim’s promise of denuclearization? Does it apply to US nuclear-capable ships and planes in East Asia that comprise extended deterrence? Will “denuclearization” mean anything at all?

The joint statement is thus fair game for critics of Trump, myself included. Yet I have to acknowledge that for all the weaknesses not only of the statement but also of Trump’s entire approach to dealing with North Korea—the sanctions, the threats, the boasts, the ignoring of experts, the false claims about previous administrations’ policies, the insensitivity to South Korean and Japanese interests—in the end we are better off having had the summit than not. Surely no one wants a return to trading threats and insults, with use of a nuclear weapon a possibility.

Still, the summit was more photo-op than peace building project. Some observers believe, with good reason, that Kim Jong-un outfoxed Trump—elevating North Korea’s international standing, obtaining a suspension of US military exercises, and gaining sanctions relief from China in exchange for a repetition of previous North Korean promises to denuclearize. Trump can respond that getting to denuclearization is a lengthy “process”—a word he used quite a bit recently, and certainly not one John Bolton likes. But the process should have preceded the summit, with diplomatic engagement paving the way to agreement on step-by-step de-escalation of tensions and time points for establishing diplomatic relations and reducing nuclear weapons in a verifiable way.

Now Trump must, and fairly soon, show that his “terrific relationship” with Kim is paying off, not just on the nuclear issue but also with regard to improved North-South Korea relations, North Korea’s missiles and cyber war capabilities, and repression of human-rights. Otherwise, his gamble will have failed and he will look like a fool for having tried. As he acknowledged after the summit, “I think he’s [Kim] going to do these things. I may be wrong. I mean, I may stand before you in six months and say, ‘Hey, I was wrong.’ I don’t know that I’ll ever admit that, but I’ll find some kind of an excuse.” Yes, he will.

Trump has already created yet another problem: his effusive praise of Kim Jong-un. Ignoring the North Korea gulag and the Stalinist character of Kim’s regime, Trump has actually said (twice) that Kim “loves his people,” assured us that Kim is “very honorable,” and expressed appreciation for the difficult job Kim has had maintaining order in his society. Such extraordinarily ignorant and politically explosive comments speak to Trump’s fascination with dictators and envy (previously expressed about Putin and Xi Jinping) for their iron-fisted rule. Too bad he can’t find equally laudable words for democratic leaders.

Thus, Donald Trump’s effort to create a diplomatic triumph that might divert attention from the Russia investigation may implode early.  He has the monumental job of convincing Americans, including many in his party, that the Singapore summit solved the problem of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and took the measure of a dictator. His undeserved reputation as a deal maker is about to be sorely tested.

Stay on top of weeds this summer

Article Source: Dr. Gary Bates, Director of the UT Beef and Forage Center

Pasture and hay production in Tennessee follows a relatively predictable pattern. Forages begin to grow in March, do well until mid-June, slump some until September, grow in fall until November, then slump until the next March. This cycle is one that many of you have seen completed dozens of times. Another component of this cycle occurs during the summer season. It is the emergence of warm-season weeds.
After the spring growth of tall fescue is either cut or grazed, weed seeds will germinate and an entire crop of summer weeds begin to develop. Horsenettle, ragweed, spiny pigweed, and tall ironweed are just a few examples. If left unchecked these weeds can quickly begin to dominate a pasture. In my opinion, there are few things that make a pasture look worse than a heavy population of summer weeds. Part of the problem is that these weeds can take over because the tall fescue is slumping, offering very little competition to keep these weeds from dwarfing everything else in the field.

One of the control methods many producers have used is clipping. Trying to stay ahead of the weeds by timely mowing has been used for a long time. This method can reduce the amount of weed in the field, as well as reduce the seed production from these weeds. The problem is that being just a little late on the mowing can dramatically reduce the benefit. At minimum the weeds can dominate the field, but you could also be late enough that the plants have been allowed to produce seed for next year’s weed crop.

Fortunately, there are herbicides that are available to control many of these weeds. Whether it be GrazonNext for horsenettle or 2,4-D for spiny pigweed or ragweed, we have several tools to help control these troublesome pests. A key component to effective herbicide use will still be proper timing. Let the weeds get too big and the level of control will drop. You need to apply the herbicide when the weeds are generally 4-6 inches tall. If you let the weeds get larger, they are much harder to control, plus they have already caused competition problems for your forage crop.

Another problem with many of these weeds is that you can get seed germination basically the entire summer. Let’s say you have an area in which you fed hay last winter. The stand of grass is poor and spiny pigweed begins to germinate all over that area in June. You spray and get good control. Then a few weeks later it rains and another crop of spiny pigweed germinates. If that crop is not controlled, it is almost as if you haven’t accomplished anything.

Because of this, some of the weeds, particularly the areas that are dominated by annual weeds like spiny pigweed and ragweed, may need to be sprayed twice to get season long control. You have to stay diligent and evaluate these areas constantly to determine if another herbicide application is needed. If you need more information on specific weeds and the appropriate herbicides to use, contact your local Extension agent or check UTBeef.com. Look under the Forage/Weed Management section for specific recommendations.

The War Tree

By Kent D. Shifferd

Picture War, with a capital W, as a giant tree. The branches are the individual wars, some great like WWII and some just twigs, small skirmishes. These are supported by a great trunk which is, of course, rooted in the ground.

The trunk comprises all the institutions that support war: most obviously standing military forces, but also the schools (ROTC, teaching a distorted version of history as a string of wars), the veterans’ organizations, the think tanks, the great corporations that supply the war materiel, the religious organizations that justify War, even our sporting and entertainment organizations.

The roots are a set of beliefs about war, namely that it is we have always had it, it’s inevitable, it’s human nature, that it protects our freedom and security, that it’s ennobling, it’s a right of sovereign nations, etc. Because of this mind-set most people support War even though they may hate it. We live in a culture of war, founded on ideas and beliefs, supported by almost every social institution, and it continually yields hot wars. Roots, trunk, branches.

Ever since the first peace organization was founded in 1816, people have been hacking at the branches. Some peace groups oppose particular kinds of weapons: e.g. nuclear weapons, or ICBMs, or land mines, or cluster bombs. Some peace groups are working on the overseas bases branchlet. Others on reducing the military budget or ending NATO, or fixing the UN Charter, getting a nuclear arms ban, and on and on. And there are those who are working to stop the war de jour, or to prevent tomorrow’s war de jour. I cannot fault them, but I wonder—why has all this anti-war, pro-peace activity not worked? Why do we still have many awful wars going on around the world? Has the peace movement failed because it focused on the wrong things? Has it failed because it has focused on the branches and the trunk and not on the roots that nourish them? I think so.

Have we not taken to heart the insight of the Preamble to the UN Charter: “War begins in the minds of men?” Ending a particular weapons system, stopping the transit of war games convoys, closing foreign bases, defeating an aggressor, will never stop War. Whatever momentary anti-war cause we run off to support today, there will be another tomorrow, and another the next day, and another.

If the old anti-slavery abolitionists had worked just to close down one plantation, or to limit the use of the whip to just a few lashes, or to get better food for the slaves, we would still have slavery. It had to be outlawed. No partial project will work; only the totality of an Abolition Movement will suffice to end War and all the individual wars it generates.

We must stop hacking at the branches and the trunk. Cut them off and they will grow back. We need to uproot the tree. That means to persuade people that the myths a we hold about war are just that, that War makes us less secure, and that there are other ways to manage conflict that make us more secure. It means to stop saying “No” and to start saying “Yes.” It means to place before them a positive peace system. And that is a long-term project so the sooner we all focus on that, the sooner we end War.

Dr. Kent D. Shifferd, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is the author of From War to Peace: A Guide to the Next Hundred Years and former Executive Director of the Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies.

Join TN Men’s Health Network in celebration of Men’s Health Month

June is Men’s Health Month and groups across the state and around the country are joining Tennessee Men’s Health Network (TMHN) and the national Men’s Health Network in celebration of this awareness period. The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.

The month is anchored by International Men’s Health Week, June 11-17, the week ending on Father’s Day, a special awareness period recognized by Congress and the Tennessee General Assembly each year. Additional support comes from all 50 governors who declare Men’s Health Week in their states.

Men’s Health Month is celebrated with screenings, health fairs, media appearances, and other health education and outreach activities. These events help ensure a healthier future for men and their families. For a partial listing of events, visit: http://www.menshealthnetwork.org/calendar.htm.

“While men continue to live sicker and die younger,” Mike Leventhal, Executive Director for TMHN explained, “awareness and outreach efforts like those conducted in June reach men and their families where they live, work, play, and pray. These special events have made a positive impact in the lives of men and women.”

Additionally, Men’s Health Network has developed a new program called Wear BLUE, designed to raise awareness and educate men, women, and their families of the need to end the silent crisis in men’s health. Workplaces, community groups, places of worship, and others are encouraged to host a Wear BLUE event in their community. Information, tools, and resources can be found at www.wearblueformen.com.

Health care providers, public policy makers, the media, and individuals can use Men’s Health Month and the Wear BLUE program to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease. In celebration of Men’s Health Month, MHN is launching a number of larger awareness campaigns including ones focused on fibromyalgia, incontinence, fertility, bladder cancer, uninsured issues, public service announcements, and prostate health.

“With prostate, cardiovascular, mental, and other health issues adversely impacting the lives of our men, awareness periods like this help end the silence surrounding men’s health and make it OK for men and boys to talk and take action about their health,” shared Judy Seals-Togbo, Mid-South Program Director for Women Against Prostate Cancer (www.womenagainstprostatecancer.org).

“This Father’s Day we all should try to help the men we love take charge of their health. MHN has resources and programs that can help them do that,” added Dr. Tom Rogers, M.D., TMHN Advisory Board member and Medical Director of Performance Medicine.

For interviews or to learn more about Men’s Health Month contact info@menshealthweek.org or 865.406.0129 or visit us online at www.menshealthmonth.com.

Tennessee Men’s Health Network (TMHN) is an affiliate of the international Men’s Health Network. TMHN serves all men in Tennessee with special attention to those men who have low income in the urban, rural and other underserved areas of Tennessee. Tennessee Men’s Health Network is classified as a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. For more information visit www.menshealthnetwork.org or call 865.406.0129.

Making that car trip with kids less stressful

From the American
Counseling Association

Summer family vacations are fun, unless you count that part about driving to the vacation destination with a backseat filled with one or more unhappy kids.  Children can possess a great sense of anticipation but often a low level of patience. An upcoming beach vacation has them excited, but the all-day drive to get there not so much.With a little planning and preparation, however, even a long car trip can be made more enjoyable, and certainly less stressful, for kids and parents.

An important first step? Have your car ready for the trip. Get your oil, air conditioning and tires checked before heading off. Broken down by the hot roadside is stress producing for everyone. Next, think entertainment. Put together a package with favorite and new books, magazines, video games, downloaded movies and music. Have the right electronics, and the needed car chargers, so those entertainment choices help the miles go by. Dole out the entertainment items one at a time. And don’t turn the whole trip into an electronic cocoon. Family talking, bantering, even mild arguing, is all part of creating the nostalgia of a family road trip.

It’s also important to remember that kids’ time-to-eat schedules are not going to be the same as yours. The fact that you stopped for lunch only 2 hours ago doesn’t mean your backseat buddies aren’t starving. Pack a collection of small containers of healthy and filling treats. Skip the high-sugar, high-fat snacks and the resultant sugar high and crash they often produce.

And yes, the kids can sometimes look out the window. Get a road map (yes, they still make them) and mark out the route to your destination. Every once in awhile, get the kids to trace the route, locate where they currently are, and see if they can find something worth seeing up ahead. If something seems interesting, try actually stopping and seeing it. Make the trip not just getting to a destination, but about things along the way. A scenic overlook, a whacky museum, just a small town with a great local ice cream spot.

An occasional stop might add travel time, but it gives the kids a chance for some exercise and can often be an unexpectedly fun experience for the whole family. Making the drive an interesting part of the
vacation can actually reduce stress for both parents and kids, and add to everyone’s enjoyment.

Counseling Corner” is provided by the American Counseling Association. Comments and questions to ACAcorner@counseling.org or visit the ACA website at www.counseling.org.

This ‘n’ That: Books are still important to me

By Jack Swift
Johnson County Historian

With all the interest and emphasis on electronic devices now-a-days, especially electronic books, it seems to me books made with paper and ink are taking the back seat or maybe even the rumble seat when it comes to entertaining and informing us. I suppose there are those who remember the rumble seat. It was a feature on some cars of an earlier time. I certainly do. I took my driver license test, driving a 1932 B model ford with a rumble seat in back.

I am a book fan. If you saw my collection of books, you would probably agree. Many of them were purchased at used books stores and garage sales. I ran across a real buy at a garage sale a year or so ago. It was the History of the 13th Regiment Tennessee Vol. Cavalry written by Samuel W. Scott and Samuel P. Angel. The book tells the true story of what took place in East Tennessee during the awful American Civil War. It was a terrible time in history since Johnson County and a number of other counties in East Tennessee were loyal to the Union Cause.

As I think about the books I have, I always remember a special book a friend gave me a few years ago that I really cherish. While it shows a lot of wear, it is in pretty good shape considering its age. The book was published in 1811. Its title is The Life of George Washington. Folks, that is old (two hundred and seven years old as a matter of fact.)

Another book that I own that is high on my list is The Authentic Life of President McKinley. It was published in 1901 shortly following the assassination of McKinley, the 25th President of the United States of America. I believe reading is important. I read that reading is one of the main ways we learn as we travel the road of life.

Will you step into the booth?

 

A resident steps into his local precinct to cast his vote on the candidateof his choice during a recent election. The Johnson County, TN election is now scheduled for August 2018. Photo by Tamas Mondovics.

By Tamas Mondovics
Editor

What is an election? For many, to describe what an election is may be simple, while for others perhaps just as difficult.Perhaps the simple answer is that an election is a process of voting to decide the leadership that guides legislation and enforcement of regulations.

Serious candidates work tirelessly to persuade people to support them in hopes of making such decisions as easy as possible and ultimately to win an election.Such efforts include the identifying policies, explaining what they would or would not do if they were elected. Each political party spends great efforts to prepare a list of policies that they are promising to carry out if they are elected. This is called a platform.
The rest comes down to citizens making their choice in secret by marking a ballot.

As passionate, opinionated or concerned many are, the right to vote is often said to be taken for granted.
One of the reasons for such view has a lot to do with the fact that elsewhere in the world many people have no say concerning their political leaders, which prompts the emphasis and importance of participating in the election process whenever the opportunity is afforded to do so.As to who will eventually step into the voting booth boils down to a variety of reasons and if the last general election is any indication, things can get ugly quite easily.

Interestingly, during the 2016 election NPR asked its listeners who felt angry, and others who explained why they felt excited, disappointed or hopeful.Some of the sobering responses as it was reported by the news organization included such expressions as “Don’t have control,” “Anxious,” “Working hard is no guarantee,” Exciting,’’ “Saddened,’’ “Hate” and “Hopeful” topped the chart.

Of course, that was then, and this is now. Time has passed. What has changed? Are things good, bad or ugly?Deciding whom to vote for requires more than just siding with a particular political party.
Reading as much as possible on the candidates’ beliefs, concerns and voter history will help make the best decision possible before one steps into the voting booth. And, that is what election really is.

Is snoring killing your love life?


If you have been banished to the guest room because when you snore your neighbors think there is a 747 landing in the cul de sac, you might want to see the dentist.The sleep disorder most associated with loud snoring is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Studies have found that it is associated with an increased risk of stroke, cancer and death. But why go to the dentist? Because dental care impacts the entire body, says dentist Dr. Steven Freeman, author of the book Why Your Teeth Might Be Killing You.

“People have a tendency to think that the dentist is only about filling cavities and creating a beautiful smile,” Dr. Freeman says. “But your oral health can impact your physical well being of your entire body. Sleeping disorders are frequently diagnosed and treated by dentists.”’

OSA wasn’t diagnosed as a condition until the 1960’s. Every year the number of sleep apnea cases increases due to increased awareness and the condition’s connection to obesity. Since populations are getting more obese, more people suffer from sleep apnea.

For years, people who had sleep apnea had only one choice – the “CPAP” which stands for “continuous positive airway pressure.” It looks like something a jet pilot would use at high altitude, and only 20% of people who are prescribed for it actually use it because it is so uncomfortable. However, there are other devices that are now available, including something called an “oral appliance therapy” that is more like a mouthpiece than a gas mask. It is recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, an organization that includes dentists.

Dr. Stevens says causes of sleep apnea include:

Excess weight/diabetes.
The cheapest way for some people to cure sleep apnea is to lose weight.
Smoking. Smokers are three times more likely to develop sleep apnea than non-smokers.

Hypertension.
OSA episodes produce surges in systolic and diastolic pressure that keep mean blood pressure levels elevated at night. In many patients, blood pressure remains elevated during the daytime, when breathing is normal.

Asthma.
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the upper airway closes during sleep, which causes the reduction of airflow and oxygen to the lungs. This may lead to increased inflammation in the body, including the lungs.

Family history.
Hereditary factors such as body fat distribution, face and skull structure and nerve control of upper airway muscles may be found in the DNA of individuals with OSA. One study discovered that relatives of non-obese OSA patients had an increased frequency of abnormal breathing during sleep.

“The need for a full night’s sleep cannot be overstated,” Dr. Stevens said. “Curing or remediating OSA can save someone from years of battling many health issues.”

Controlling multiflora rose weed in pastures

Article courtesy of the UT Extension Office
Article Source: Dwight D. Lingenfelter, Assistant Ext.Agronomist, and William S. Curran, Professor of Weed Science, Penn State University Extension

The weed multiflora rose is an increasing problem in pastures and noncropland.  It thrives on idle land, fencerows, and minimally maintained, hilly pastures.  Originally introduced from Asia and promoted as a “living fence” to control erosion and provide food and cover for wildlife, multiflora rose quickly spread and is considered a noxious weed.

Once multiflora rose is introduced, its aggressive growth can rapidly overtake desirable land, forming a dense, thorny thicket within a few years.  Although the weed spreads mainly through seed dispersal by birds and other animals, it also spreads by layering.  Layering occurs when the tip of the cane, or woody stem, touches the ground, forms a shallow root system, and generates a new shoot.

Multiflora rose blooms during late May or June, producing up to several hundred white or pinkish flowers in clusters throughout the bush.  Each flower yields a small, round fruit (hip) that changes from green to bright red upon maturity and contains seeds that can remain viable in soil for 10 to 20 years.

Although it is nearly impossible to keep birds and other animals from dispersing rose seeds into pastures and noncropland, it is possible to prevent multiflora rose from becoming a major problem if infestations are controlled in their early stages.  The following cultural or preventive practices will help keep multiflora rose from becoming established, while optimizing pasture production.

• Follow soil test recommendations for lime and fertilizer.

•Plant pasture species adapted to climate, soil, field conditions, and grazing system.

•Prevent overgrazing.

•Scout pastures regularly for weeds, insects, and diseases and control them when necessary.

•Mow annually to prevent establishment of multifulora rose; however, once established it is relatively tolerant of infrequent mowings.

•Spot treat young weeds with an effective herbicide before they become well established and set seed.

•When using equipment around older rose bushes, remove rose hips and seed from equipment to avoid introducing seeds into noninfested areas.

Several herbicides are available for controlling multiflora rose in grass pastures.  The one I recommend most often is Crossbow.  It is less expensive than some of the other herbicides and does a good job on multiflora rose and brambles (blackberry briars).

Crossbow is a mixture of 2 growth regulators (2,4-D and triclopyr).  For spot treatments, use 2.5 to 4 Tablespoons per gallon of water or 1 to 1.5 gallons per 100 gallons of spray mixture.  The ideal time to spray is in early- to mid-June, during full leaf-out and also when the plant is in bloom.  Follow-up foliar or basal treatments may be necessary to achieve total plant kill.

Are parents to blame for their child’s obesity?

Most parents don’t let their children blame others if the child is doing something that is the child’s fault. They tell their children to own up to their mistakes and find a way to fix them.

When it comes to the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States, parents should take some of their own advice and realize that they need to fix the mistakes they are making in guiding their children’s nutrition, says Dr. Joseph Galati (www.drjoegalati.com) author of Eating Yourself Sick: How to Stop Obesity, Fatty Liver, and Diabetes from Killing You and Your Family.

He understands that parents want the best for their children in all aspects of their lives but he says too many parents do not take nutrition seriously when they allow their children to make poor food choices.

“Obesity – with all its tremendous complications – will directly decrease the very opportunities they are working so hard to provide for their children,“ he says. The root causes of obesity are poor food choices, excessive snacking and large food portions. “Parents who serve their children fast food and don’t prepare home-cooked meals are fostering bad health that can last a lifetime.”

Through a combination of poor eating habits and little exercise, Galati says today’s parents are setting up their children to live their lives as unfit, obese and unhealthy. As a result, today’s generation will probably have a shorter lifespan than their parents. The problems start early, he says. A child who is obese at age 2 has a 50 percent chance of being obese as an adult.

But Dr. Galati says all is not lost. He offers several tips for parents who want to stop the trend of both adult and childhood obesity.

Reinstitute the family dinner.
Several studies have show that regular family dinners at least a few times a week have many benefits for children, including improving their eating habits, grades, family relationships and overall health, Galati says. Children who eat with their families also display fewer risky behaviors and have a lower risk of obesity.

Fight for home economics classes in high school.
The high school home economics class taught the basics of food nutrition and cooking. Galati says the elimination of these classes across the country is likely one of the reasons many children don’t know where their food comes from. “We have raised an entire generation that is disconnected from the kitchen,” he says.

Don’t underrate obesity’s impact on health.
Obesity is the root cause for 13 different cancers, cardiovascular disease, fatty liver and cirrhosis, diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, erectile dysfunction and many more. Obesity has more than doubled worldwide since 1980. “It should be taken more seriously,” Galati says.

Improve your health IQ.
Galati says too many Americans simply don’t understand how their bodies work and don’t know they are making poor food and lifestyle choices. He said if people knew a few basic facts about their bodies it would help them make better food and lifestyle choices, and enable them to communicate better with their physicians.

“It’s time parents start educating themselves and their children about food and start making better choices,” Galati says. “Otherwise the consequences will be a lot more dire than what most parents probably realize.”

About Dr. Joseph Galati
Dr. Joseph Galati is a hepatologist who specializes in caring for patients with liver diseases, obesity and nutrition-related disorders. He attended medical school at St. George’s University of Medicine, and received further training in Internal Medicine at SUNY-Health Science Center-Brooklyn/Kings County Hospital Center. He obtained further expertise in Liver Disease and Transplant Medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He has been involved in clinical research in liver disease for more than 30 years. Since 2003, Dr. Galati has hosted “Your Health First,” a one-hour radio program each weekend on iHeart Radio’s 740 am KTRH, and streamed globally on the iHeart app.

How to reduce damage to eyes resulting from prolonged screen time

eye strain

According to a 2015 report published in the Daily Mail, many people spend more time on their devices than they do sleeping. A recent Nielsen Company audience report also found that adults in the United States devote about 10 hours and 40 minutes each day to consuming media on their personal computers, tablets, multimedia devices, TVs, and more. Researchers continue to study the effects of screen time on personal health, but there is reason to believe that screen time may be especially harmful to vision. Devices force the eyes to focus at near range, and over time that can have an adverse effect on vision.

Prevent Blindness America says that eye fatigue, dryness and blurred vision are some of the common effects of prolonged screen use, but these are not the only concerns. Digital devices also expose the eyes to blue light. While research as to how blue light impacts vision is ongoing, there is concern over the long-term effects of screen exposure since these screens are in close proximity to the eyes and use is often prolonged. Prevent Blindness America says that studies suggest continued exposure to blue light over time can lead to difficulty focusing, premature aging of the eyes and even damage to retinal cells.

A recent study by the National Eye Institute found the frequency of myopia, also known as near-sightedness, has increased exponentially in the last few years. Reasons include a spike in time spent looking at things close-up and a lack of outdoor activities that require focusing elsewhere. The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that a separate study recently found that excessive screen time usage in adolescents was associated with development of acute onset esotropia, or crossing of the eyes, and that limiting usage of gadgets decreased the degree of eye crossing in these patients.

Eyes, just like any other muscle, require a varied workout to remain healthy. Many vision experts recommend the 20-20-20 rule. According to this rule, for every 20 minutes of looking at a screen, a person should look away at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds or more. This will help eye muscles to relax. The group All About Vision says to use proper lighting, such as ambient lighting. Position a computer monitor so that windows or lights are to the sides instead of in front or behind it. Be sure indoor light isn’t too bright, as bright light can contribute to glare and fatigue.

Antireflective lenses on eyeglasses or filters for screens also can help absorb some of the blue light and limit how much reaches the retina and accesses the central nerve of the eye. This may alleviate digital eye strain as well. Screen users may want to adjust the display of their devices so they feature a cool, gray tone, which produces less glare. Eyes can be adversely affected by screen time unless strategies are implemented to limit strain and to rest muscles.

How to manage heat stress in beef cattle this season

Livestock Heat Hazard Guide

Provided by the UT Extension Office
Article source: North Dakota State University Ext.

Being proactive is the best approach for dealing with heat stress in cattle.  Once cattle are in a severe state of heat stress, you may be too late to help them.  Having a solid management plan in place to address heat stress could pay big dividends in the form of maintained animal performance during periods of heat and in avoiding death losses in severe cases.  Dr. C.R. Dahlen and Dr. C.L. Stoltenow with North Dakota State University Extension have developed a 3 step plan to help manage heat stress in beef cattle.

Step one:  Identify animals that are most susceptible to heat stress.  Animals that are overweight, very young and very old also are the most at risk.  Animals with dark hides are at a higher risk of suffering heat stress and dying.  Deaths of black-hided cattle on pasture without shade and limited supplies of water have been recorded.  Know where the animals most susceptible to heat stress are before the danger of heat stress is present.  Be prepared to have these animals as a priority in your prevention/intervention plan.

Step two:  Develop an action plan for heat stress.  The action plan is the essential actions you will take to protect the animals most susceptible to heat stress.  The action plan should include the following:
• Animals in heat stress need to drink water.  Make sure they have a plentiful supply of clean drinking water.
• Move the animals’ feeding time to late afternoon or evening.  This will allow rumen fermentation to take place during the cooler night temperatures, and it will increase lung capacity for the cattle during the hotter daytime temperatures.  Normal digestive processes create heat in cattle.
• Air movement is an additional factor that promotes animal cooling.  A breeze or wind moving over the hide of cattle promotes evaporative cooling.  Blocking or hampering the movement of air impedes evaporative cooling.• Provide shade.  Solar radiation from sunny, clear skies contributes to body temperature in cattle.  Providing shade stops solar radiation from increasing body temperature.
• Control flies as much as possible because hot cattle tend to bunch together and flies only will add to the stress of hot days.
•  Maybe the most important, do not work cattle during temperature extremes.  If working cattle is absolutely necessary, keep working time as short as possible, use calm animal-handling techniques to minimize stress related to handling, and consider running smaller groups through the facility or into holding pens.  Provide sufficient water in holding pens.  Get started as early in the morning as daylight will allow.  Do not work in the evening after a heat-stress day; cattle need this time to recover.  Reconsider the necessity of working cattle during these periods; some working events need to be postponed or canceled.

• Pay attention to long- and short-term weather forecasts and have a copy of the temperature humidity index chart readily available.  Livestock weather index charts with temperature and humidity ranges can be found on the internet.  Determine the potential risk threshold and be prepared, even if the risk is several index units away.

Step three:  Know when to intervene.  Heat stress is driven by a combination of factors.  Temperature and humidity are two of the most frequently cited issues.  Understanding that heat stress in cattle is cumulative is important.  If the evening temperatures do not cool low enough, cattle cannot fully recover physiologically before the next onset of heat. Heat in summertime is not avoidable.  However, you can take preventive measures when designing facilities and before temperatures reach dangerous levels to minimize impacts of heat stress on cattle.

Now, what was it I wanted to remember to tell you?

As we grow older most of us forget more often than we once did. Although memory loss is a natural part of the aging process, experts say it usually isn’t problematic for most people until after age 70.This doesn’t mean that you might not be forgetful, even though 70 still may be a ways off. We all have memory lapses, regardless of our age. Even as teenagers we forgot things (cleaning our rooms! that English assignment!), but as we get older we notice more the frustrations that forgetting can bring.
Fortunately, if you find your memory really does seem weaker and more troublesome, there are steps you can take to combat the problem.

A health check is your starting point. Talk with your physician about all drugs you are taking (over the counter and prescription), and have your cholesterol and blood pressure checked. These things, as well as some diseases, have been linked to memory problems.

Researchers report smoking and heavy alcohol use can also affect memory. Harvard Medical School studies found that smokers perform much worse than non-smokers in memory and thinking skills tests.

Staying physically and mentally active can also combat memory loss. When you exercise regularly you’re increasing blood flow for better brain health and function. Studies have found that 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, like walking or jogging five times a week, may even reverse some memory issues.

There’s also some evidence that an active brain performs better. A full social life, interacting with family and friends, is one way. Anything  that challenges your brain, from puzzles to playing games to reading and writing, also appears to stimulate brain cells and their connections.

A healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, but low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may also benefit brain health. And yes, fish really may be brain food, especially when it’s fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and tuna .

Occasional forgetfulness isn’t a reason to worry. Simply writing down things you want to remember can reduce memory frustration, but do pay attention if your memory issues are more severe.  If you forget things much more frequently, have difficulty learning new tasks, repeat phrases or stories in the same conversation, or forget how to do things you’ve done many times before, there may be a more serious problem. Talk with your doctor or professional counselor for an evaluation.

Counseling Corner” is provided by the American Counseling Association. Comments and questions
to ACAcorner@counseling.org or visit the ACA
website at www.counseling.org.

Bullies are a product of immaturity

By Dr. William F. Holland, Jr.
DD.,C.ED.D.
Minister/Chaplain
billyhollandministries.com

As children, we only think about life on a surface level. Having fun, our toys, food and security are usually at the top of our priority list. I’m reminded of the scripture found in I Corinthians chapter 13 and verse 11 that talks about how it’s alright to think like a kid for a while, but there will come a day when we put away our toys and become accountable for our thoughts and actions. Unfortunately, bullies are usually never forgotten whether in our childhood or as an adult.

I remember when I was around ten years old, there was a girl at school a couple years older than me that was constantly being made fun of and treated harshly. She was a stocky girl with tangled jet-black hair and her clothes were often wrinkled, but what really caused the negative attention was her constant runny nose.
There are many reasons why children are mean, but as a shy child, I’m ashamed to admit I was a part of the crowd of spectators that quietly witnessed the daily harassment of this poor young lady. How I wish I would have had the courage to stop them.

After months of mean and rude comments, the entire school eventually learned who she was and also made sure they stayed far away from her. Not only was everyone afraid of catching her “cooties” whatever that was, but they did not want to be associated with her and risk being included as another target. I just so happened to ride the same bus as she did and one afternoon I observed an act of cruelty that was even more disturbing than normal. I was being squeezed against the window, hugging my books because it was so crowded and kept thinking what a relief it will be when I get home.

The bullies began their daily routine of taking turns hitting this girl on the head with their heavy books and you could tell it hurt. Of course, she started crying and telling them to stop but this just made things worse. I now see myself as no better than a spectator at a Roman coliseum when they would throw the Christians to the lions.

Anyway, everyone was cheering and mocking when all the sudden, one of the boys grabbed the bag out of her hands and started tossing everything out the window. I looked back and could see her books, notebooks, personal items and papers blowing down the road and across the lawns. I was in shock because I realized the importance of these things and wondered how anyone could be so vicious.

I can still hear the crowd screaming and going into a frenzy because evidently, they thought this was the ultimate humiliation. The bus driver was hollering for everyone to keep the noise down but as far as I know nothing was ever done about it. Aggressive behavior may be traced back to how children are raised, but there is no excuse and no place in this world for a bully. For those who have been victims, (statistics show that one in three kids are bullied), these painful recollections are commonly kept secret within the depths of our soul. However, as hurtful as these wounds may be, we can turn to God and ask Him to help us with forgiveness as a way to receive emotional healing and spiritual peace.

How to successfully prune flowering shrubs this season

Article source: Penn State Ext Horticulture Department

The correct time to prune your flowering shrubs depends on when they flower. A rough rule of thumb is to prune spring-blooming shrubs soon after they finish flowering because most bloom on old wood, while those that bloom in summer and fall usually bloom on new wood and can be pruned in late winter or very early spring. Like many spring-blooming shrubs, azaleas bloom on old wood, which means they set next year’s flower buds shortly after they finish blooming this year. If you wait too long to prune them, you will remove many of next year’s blooms when you prune, especially if you shear your azaleas. Other shrubs that fall into this category include forsythia, Virginia sweetspire, mock orange, ninebark, quince, rhododendrons, including azaleas, spring-flowering roses, spring-blooming spirea, lilacs and viburnums.

Conversely, shrubs that bloom later in summer and fall tend to bloom on new wood, which means they set flower buds on the current season’s growth. These shrubs should be pruned in late winter or very early spring, before they leaf out. Shrubs that fall into this category include butterfly bush, sweetshrub, beautyberry, trumpet vine, summersweet, buttonbush, bush honeysuckle, smooth hydrangea, peegee hydrangea, repeat-blooming roses, summer-blooming spirea and chaste-tree.
Pruning is an important cultural practice to maintain the health and appearance of flowering shrubs.
· Removal of dead, damaged or diseased wood reduces insect and disease problems while allowing the pruner to catch problems before they get out of hand.
· Keeping the center of the shrub open to sunlight and air circulation improves the growth habit of the shrub while allowing interior leaves to dry quickly after rain or heavy dew which can reduce the incidence of disease problems.
· Removing crossing stems eliminates potential bark damage, reducing the chance of insect or disease problems taking advantage of that damage.
· Pruning also forces new growth, which in most cases produces the most colorful stems and new flowering wood for future years.

Controlling plant size is low on the list of reasons for pruning, because pruning is not a substitute for proper plant selection. Most plants have perfectly lovely natural shapes that can be enhanced and somewhat controlled through proper pruning practices; very few adapt well to shearing. Most plants stay healthy and attractive longer if allowed to grow naturally, so reserve the hedge shears for formal hedges.

The process of removing stems at their point of origin is known as thinning, while shortening a stem from the top is known as heading. Technically, shearing is just making a lot of heading cuts. Thinning cuts are preferable because they open the shrub up to sunlight and air circulation. Heading cuts result in a profusion of growth below the cut that creates a wall of growth on the outside of the shrub that blocks sun from the interior of the shrub and impedes air circulation. Even formally sheared hedges should be opened periodically to encourage new growth from inside the plants.

Shrubs with a suckering growth habit such as forsythia and lilac should have the oldest, biggest stems removed at ground level periodically. Rejuvenate badly overgrown specimens by removing the biggest oldest stems at ground level. This can be done all at once if the shrub is healthy and vigorous, or it can be spread out over a three-year period if it is not by removing one-third of the overgrown stems each year.

Keep the sturdiest, well-placed younger stems and remove those that are damaged, spindly or too close to one another. New suckers will sprout from the roots that will have to be similarly thinned later in summer. Hard pruning should always be done in early spring, before the shrub leafs out. It is less stressful for the plant, and you can clearly see the stems when they are leafless.

Five fun ways to get fit and stick with it

Working out with a friend is more enjoyable and makes you more likely to continue.

Exercise benefits both the mind and body. Study after study indicates how physical activity can reduce the propensity for illness, boost mood, lower stress levels, and much more. Still, certain people find it difficult to muster the motivation to get up and move.

In 2013, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed data from more than 450,000 American adults ages 18 and older who were randomly polled across the 50 states. Participants were asked about aerobic physical activity outside of their jobs. The findings were eye-opening. Estimates indicated nearly 80 percent of American adults do not get the recommended amounts of exercise each week. People most likely to exercise, according to the CDC study, were between the ages of 18 and 24.

Lack of time and inspiration may be to blame for disinterest in exercise. Boredom with routine and being unaware of alternative fitness regimens also may be contributing factors. Increasing the fun associated with workouts could lead to greater success in or outside of the gym.

1. Do what you enjoy.
Wasting time on activities that you don’t enjoy may cause you to throw in the towel prematurely. Don’t base fitness choices around what worked for others; find things that work for you. Exercise physiologists at John Hopkins Weight Management Center say to start with an activity that you already enjoy, even if it’s aligned with the trend of the moment. Chances are you can find a class or make up a routine that works for you.

2. Tweak your playlist.

Music can improve performance during a workout and may actually take your mind off of strenuous or repetitive activity. Tunes also can be coordinated to the workout. Songs that feature lyrics such as run, punch, push, or groove can reinforce movements in the routine, offers the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Also, tailor songs to coordinate to the beats per minute of different activities. Strength activities and endurance activities can feature songs with higher BPMs.

3. Exercise with friends or a group.
Having other people around can make workouts more enjoyable, and that interaction may spur competition that can make you more inclined to stay the course. People who were in the competitive groups in a study of 800 graduate and professional students at the University of Pennsylvania went to 90 percent more classes than those who exercised independently or were not competitive. The results were published in the journal Preventative Medicine Reports. Competition can be a driving factor in efforts to exercise.

4. Head outdoors.
You may be more inclined to workout if you do so outside. Activities such as hiking, snowshoeing, swimming, and cycling on natural courses can be inspiring and burn calories.

5. Try sports or another activity.
Exercise regimens do not have to include running on a treadmill or lifting weights. All types of activities can work, and some may be more enjoyable to you than traditional exercises. Everything from martial arts to dance classes to volleyball can offer cardiovascular and muscle-building benefits in a fun atmosphere. Making exercise fun motivates many people to embrace fitness and stick with their workout regimens

Parents, coaches urged to protect youth athletes from heat

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Have your fun in the sun, but take steps to protect yourself and your family against heat-related illness. The Tennessee Department of Health is encouraging parents and youth sports leagues to prevent heat-related injuries this summer as part of the observance of National Heat Awareness Day May 25.

“Both heat and humidity play a role in the body’s ability to regulate its internal temperature and should be taken into consideration when planning outdoor activities,” said TDH Assistant Commissioner for Family Health and Wellness Morgan McDonald, MD. “High body temperatures can lead to serious damage to the brain and other organs, so it’s important to pay attention to your body’s signals.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 9,000 cases of heat-related illness among high school athletes in the U.S. every year. Heat exhaustion occurs when the body is unable to cool down due to prolonged exposure to extreme heat or increased physical activity.

Signs of heat exhaustion include:

• Heavy sweating
• Cold, pale and clammy skin
• Fast, weak pulse
• Nausea or vomiting
• Muscle cramps
• Tiredness or weakness
• Dizziness
• Headache
• Fainting (passing out)

Sports teams can do their part in preventing heat-related injuries by including heat policies in their emergency action plans. Some simple policies to adopt are:

• Changing games and practice times to avoid the hottest times of day

• Taking off pads and other equipment

• Providing more breaks on hot days

• Maintaining proper hydration

• Becoming acclimatized to heat

•Monitoring the heat index every 30 minutes and stopping all practice or play when it reaches 104 degrees (Heat index is a measure of how hot it really feels when relative humidity is factored in with actual air temperature.)

Community sports leagues can earn recognition for their work to prevent heat-related illness and other injuries by participating in the Safe Stars Initiative. Safe Stars is a free rating system recognizing youth sports leagues throughout Tennessee for providing the highest level of safety for their young athletes. Safe Stars consists of three levels: gold, silver and bronze, and involves implementation of life-saving policies around many injury prevention topics including weather safety.

Learn more about the Safe Stars Initiative and apply today at www.tn.gov/health/health-program-areas/fhw/vipp/safe-stars-initiative.html.

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides direct services for more than one in five Tennesseans annually as well as indirect services for everyone in the state, including emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities and inspection of food service establishments. Learn more about TDH services and programs at www.tn.gov/health.