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Archive for June, 2013

(Photo provided)

(Photo provided)

(Houston) – Charles Kartchner of Edgar Springs was the first TCMH inpatient to move into a new room on the medical surgical floor of the hospital’s new construction. Kartchner opted to settle in to the new recliner in his room.

Kartchner (center) is shown here in his new room with members of the TCMH nursing staff that helped him move and have provided care for him during his stay. Left to right: Gina Baney, Lacy Sigman, Lisa Palmer & Tara Ragsdale.

A Missouri State Fruit Experiment Station employee is thinning peaches to about six to eight inches apart on the branch. Most of the peaches are about the size of a dime when they are thinned.

A Missouri State Fruit Experiment Station employee is thinning peaches to about six to eight inches apart on the branch. Most of the peaches are about the size of a dime when they are thinned.

by Marilyn Odneal, Horticulture Adviser

(Mountain Grove) – Many people have a problem thinning fruit from their apples, peaches, plums and pears. They think they will get less fruit in the long run and certainly don’t want to lessen their harvest. The fact is that less than 10 percent of the potential fruit is needed to develop to produce a full crop.

The practice of fruit thinning apples, pears and stone fruits is beneficial. First, the fruit that is removed will allow the remaining fruit to develop adequate size and quality. If too much fruit is on the tree, sugars produced in photosynthesis and other nutrients will be spread too thin over all. If there is less fruit on the tree, they will develop to be sweeter, contain more nutrients, and will grow to be bigger in size. An extra advantage of hand thinning is that you can select the best fruit and remove misshapen, small and/or diseased ones.

It is also important the trees are not overloaded with fruit because when they size up, the branches may break if they cannot hold up the weight. Last but not least, if thinning is done early enough, it will increase the plant’s ability to initiate flower buds for fruit production in the next year.

Thin excess fruit when the fruits are the size of the end of a dime–about 1/2 inch in diameter. If you have a lot of trees to thin, you can start earlier. A good procedure is to start at one end of a branch and systematically remove fruit, leaving about one fruit every 6 to 10 inches down the branch (you can thin plums a little closer – from four to six inches). Be sure to leave only one fruit at a given site; when fruit grows together in a pair and touches, this provides homes for both insects and diseases.

At the Missouri State Fruit Experiment Station, two people will thin the fruit on one tree. They start together on one side and thin each branch as they proceed around the tree and meet at the other side. That helps make sure that all parts of the tree are thinned.

Apples are produced in groups of five or so. Thin to one fruit at each site. Apples will naturally thin fruit that was poorly pollinated in late May or early June. You can see if this natural thinning is occurring by shaking a limb and noting the fruit that falls. You may want to wait until after this natural drop occurs before you hand thin your apple trees.

So, thin fruit trees when they are about the size of a dime and they will grow to be large sized and luscious. Remember that thinning is necessary for apples, peaches, nectarines, pears and plums, but not cherries. And don’t worry – you really won’t reduce your fruit crop by thinning. Instead you will get bigger and better tasting fruit for your effort.

Please direct comments or questions concerning this column to Marilyn Odneal via email at MarilynOdneal@missouristate.edu; write to Missouri State Fruit Experiment Station, 9740 Red Spring Road, Mountain Grove, Mo. 65711; or call (417) 547-7500. Visit our website at http://mtngrv.missouristate.edu.

(University of Pennsylvania)

(University of Pennsylvania)

(Springfield) – Weeds have had an ideal environment in southwest Missouri to flourish during the last three years. Dry weather in 2011 and 2012 weakened established grass and ample moisture during the 2013 spring has allowed weed seeds to come on like gangbusters.

The most opportunistic weed at this point in southwest Missouri appears to be poison hemlock according to Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“Poison hemlock is not on Missouri’s noxious weed list but many farmers feel it’s more of a headache than some plants that are on the list,” said Cole. “The biennial plant can be controlled with herbicides in the late fall or very early spring. Normally the toxicity is reduced, but not totally eliminated when dried, as in hay.”

IDENTIFICATION

Missouri’s noxious weed list includes: marijuana, musk thistle, Canada thistle, field bindweed, common teasel, cut-leaved teasel, purple loosestrife, Scotch thistle, kudzu, multiflora rose and Johnsongrass.

Poison hemlock is a highly visible plant since it reaches usually 5 to 7 feet tall this time of year.

“It’s in full bloom now with an abundance of white blossom clusters. The favored location is along streams, ditches and old barn lots although it can be found about anywhere,” said Cole.

Poison hemlock has a big, hollow stem with purple spots on it. Many refer to it incorrectly as wild carrot. Cole says there is an odor to the plant sometimes described as “mousy.”

IMPACT ON LIVESTOCK

True to its name, the plant is moderately to highly poisonous to cattle, horses, swine and sheep. The most toxic parts of the plant are roots and seed. Affected animals show signs within two hours of eating it.

“Most animals do not eat it other than nibbling on the leaves. To create a toxic condition requires cattle to eat 1 to 2 pounds of the material,” said Cole. “Fortunately I don’t know of very many deaths attributed to it around here. I suspect at this time of year the plant will be coarse enough it will be sorted out from any grass-legume hay and not be eaten. The risk to animals should be minimal unless they have nothing else to eat.”

Symptoms include nervousness, trembling, incoordination and death in some cases. Pregnant cows that graze poison hemlock may experience birth defects in their calves such as cleft palate and spinal abnormalities. The critical time in the pregnancy for cattle is 40 through 70 days.

MU Extension Guide sheet G-4970, “Plants Poisonous to Livestock,” is available online. There are a number of poisonous plants that lurk in Missouri pastures, ditches and fencerows that can harm and even kill livestock that eat them along with baled forage.

The most common poisonous plants of Missouri include black cherry, black locust, black nightshade, bouncing bet–also known as soapwort–bracken fern, buttercup, common cocklebur, field horsetail, jimsonweed, johnsongrass, milkweed and mustard species, Ohio buckeye, poison hemlock, common pokeweed, snow-on-the-mountain, water hemlock, white snakeroot, wild indigo and wooly croton. Some of the toxic species, like wooly croton and mustard, are relatively harmless unless the animal ingests large amounts.

If livestock poisoning is suspected, call a veterinarian immediately and remove livestock from the grazing area until all poisonous plants have been destroyed.

CONTROL MEASURES

“Hemlock is becoming a real problem and is on the order, if not greater than knapweed in its infestation,” said Tim Schnakenberg, an agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension. “It can be eradicated by applying a recommended herbicide early in the year and later in the year every effort should be made to minimize seed production. This may be done by mowing in the bloom stage.”

Recommended control is to use Remedy Ultra, Tordon 22K or Grazon P+D before poison hemlock bolts in the early spring. It may also control it in the fall in the rosette stage.

Information about herbicide treatments is available online under the “agriculture” link at extension.missouri.edu/greene. Or contact any of these MU Extension agronomy specialists in southwest Missouri: Tim Schnakenberg in Stone County, (417) 357-6812; Jill Scheidt in Barton County, (417) 682-3579; John Hobbs in McDonald County, (417) 223-4775 or Brie Menjoulet in Hickory County, (417) 745-6767.

Anna Kelley and Andrew Tangonan are two of the Mercy scientists on the research team for the corneal wound repair project. (Photo provided)

Anna Kelley and Andrew Tangonan are two of the Mercy scientists on the research team for the corneal wound repair project. (Photo provided)

(Springfield) – When an improvised explosive device blows up in the face of an American soldier, medics rush to treat life-threatening injuries. That often means injuries to the eyes, which account for nearly 40 percent of all war wounds, can go untreated for days, frequently resulting in blindness.

Now, scientists at Mercy Research and Development (R&D) in Springfield, Mo., have a solution, thanks to a $4.8 million research grant from the U.S. Department of Defense. Mercy scientists have developed prototype contact lenses capable of delivering medication. They’re designed for medics to apply to soldiers’ eyes right on the battlefield – immediately stabilizing the eye and preserving vision.

“This research project is the most personal thing I’ve done in my career,” said Dr. Shachar Tauber, Mercy section chair of ophthalmology and optometry and principal investigator on this research and product development. “My father was injured in war, causing blindness in one eye and diminished sight in the other. Making sure our soldiers not only live, but live to literally see their families again, is so important to me.”

Other researchers have been working on similar projects for decades, but Dr. Tauber looked at it from a different angle. He had the idea to apply a Nobel prize-winning breakthrough – electrospun polymer fibers – to the world of ophthalmology. “We decided to impregnate those fibers with medication,” he explained. “More than a few experts said it couldn’t be done, but we now have the test results and the patent to prove the science works.”

Mercy researchers have developed several lenses with different uses. One lens can simultaneously deliver a steroid and an antibiotic to reduce swelling and fight infection for up to seven days. When wounds involve lacerations to the cornea, another product works as a sealant to hold the wound shut for up to three days, while also delivering medication. That allows time for the soldier to be transported to a military hospital for surgery.

“Another great thing about this research is its applications beyond military needs,” said Keela Davis, director of Mercy R&D. “The base lens can be infused with just about any drug for the eye and made available to everyone. We know when patients are prescribed eye drops for things like glaucoma or pink eye, the medication only reaches the eye about a quarter of the time. That’s either because the patients don’t use the eye drops, or the medication lands somewhere else. Eye drop installation is difficult, plus tears immediately dilute the drug and wash it away. This solves those problems and will lead to improved visual outcomes for patients.”

Now that researchers have tested prototypes that work, they still have one obstacle to overcome before the contacts can get to the battlefield. “They need to be mass produced,” explained Davis. “We are looking to license the technology to an established company or find an investor to help us set up the manufacturing process here.”

from the USDA

(Columbia) – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that grant applications are being accepted from qualified non-profit organizations and educational facilities to help rural cooperatives develop new markets for their products and services. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today’s announcement is one part of the Department’s efforts to strengthen the rural economy.

“This funding is part of the Obama Administration’s effort to ensure the development of a rural economy built to last. This program supports business development services for rural cooperatives. These funds will promote start up, expansion and operational improvements as cooperatives work to grow and strengthen their businesses and provide sustainable, well-paying jobs to rural residents,” said Vilsack.

USDA is offering Rural Cooperative Development Grants (RCDG) to non-profit corporations and institutions of higher education. The grants may be used to conduct feasibility studies, create business plans, help rural cooperatives develop markets and provide training for cooperative leadership. Grants are awarded competitively on an annual basis to Rural Cooperative Development Centers, which in turn provide technical assistance to individuals and cooperatives.

Missouri USDA – Rural Development State Director Janie Dunning commented, “Often rural cooperatives have great ideas for businesses, but need assistance in developing the idea or finding markets for products. This program allows organizations and colleges the opportunity to seek funds to assist rural cooperatives develop and enlarge their markets. Rural cooperatives have insight into the product assets of an area and can develop programs to enhance and bolster the local economy.”

Through this notice, USDA may award up to $6.5 million in grants. The deadline for paper applications is July 15, 2013. Electronic copies are due July 10, 2013. For information on how to apply, see page 30848 of the May 23, 2013 Federal Register, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-05-23/html/2013-12329.htm or contact the USDA Rural Development Missouri State Office at (573) 876-9321.

Individual grants of up to $200,000 are available. Grants may be used to pay for up to 75 percent (95 percent when the applicant is a 1994 Land Grant Institution) of the project’s cost. Recipients are required to match 25 percent (5 percent for 1994 Land Grant Institutions) of the award amount.

The RCDG program and other USDA business and cooperate development programs have had a significant impact on rural communities. Business and cooperative program funding created or saved an estimated 53,000 rural jobs and helped almost 10,000 rural business owners or farmers improve their enterprises in 2012.

For example, in Rolla, MO, Missouri Incutech Foundation received a $96,000 Rural Cooperative Development Grant in 2012 to establish a Missouri Cooperative Development Center to focus on assisting and joining rural agriculture producers and purchasers. The center has sponsored training and workshops on the requirements for agriculture producers as it relates to retail/wholesale grocery markets and local farm fresh produce. As a result of the training and workshops, Circle B Ranch in Seymour, MO has been able to grow their product lines and establish new markets from their pastured heritage breed pork. Missouri Incutech Foundation has leveraged RCDG funds to help drive the local food economy in central and southwest Missouri.

President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.

(West Plains) – “Helping Businesses Grow” is the mission of Ozarks Small Business Incubator (OzSBI) and since opening its doors a year and half ago that is what OzSBI has been doing. By providing a broad range of incubation services including business coaching and milestone meetings, trainings and workshops, a microloan program and monthly Round Table meetings with business professionals, OzSBI has been able to help its young client companies expand and create new jobs. To date 36 new jobs have been created, 20 of those jobs have gone to low-to-moderate income people and 21 to individuals previously unemployed.

Currently, OzSBI a multi-office facility with shared meeting rooms and technology houses 4 tenant businesses. These firms include a Nelson Law Office, SMS Technology, Restoring Hope, Wade Insurance and Heart of the Ozarks Counseling. These “tenant clients” receive all OzSBI’s incubation services, while renting an office at the facility.

Chuck Swift of Restoring Hope was motivated to move his home office to OzSBI after his first tour. One day in late February, he and his partner Jeff Smith stopped by OzSBI to see what the Incubator had to offer and were blown away. His first impression was “this is the type of facility you see in St. Louis or Kansas City.” “As a home-based business, you can never get away from your work,” said Chuck. “Coming to OzSBI reduced our stress and helped us operate more efficiently and opened my mind to new ways to expand,” commented Chuck.” Since moving to the Ozarks Small Business Incubator, Restoring Hope, LLC has more than doubled in size.

OzSBI also offers an Affiliate Client program, which allows entrepreneurs to take advantage of all the incubation services while running their business off-site. Currently, OzSBI has 9 Affiliate Clients that include a variety of businesses including a photographer, restaurant, sign maker, mold inspector to a car collision repair center.

Wages Brewing Company became an Affiliate Client in March of this year. Phil and Amber Wages plan to open a full-scale microbrewery in 2014. To get ready for the challenge of opening their business, they decided to take some business courses at the OzSBI. The first business class Phil took was OzSBI’s entrepreneurial training program, Operation JumpStart (OJS). Phil enrolled in OJS in 2011 and learned about starting a business “including some basic concepts that seem obvious but, for whatever reason, weren’t.

Phil was skeptical about becoming a client of OzSBI. “I had my doubts that the Ozarks Small Business Incubator could help me. I didn’t become a client because I wasn’t sure the monthly fee would benefit my business. They suggested a free trial “milestone meeting” and after we met, I realized there is real value to what they do.”

“The first thing that caught my attention was that they were not just “business” in the suit and tie way of talking about projections. They had real questions and tons of ideas. The milestone meetings also serve as a source of motivation and accountability. They offer resources that are included in the monthly fee, such as roundtable meetings with business professionals and discounts on in-depth workshops. The value to me is that my business is so much further along than it was before I became an OzSBI Client. I know suggest to my friends to give the OzSBI a try. There really is a chance they can help you start your business.”

If you would like to learn more about becoming a client of OzSBI, please call 417-256-9724 or visit our website at www.ozsbi.com.

(Little Rock) (AP) – The Arkansas Science and Technology Authority is getting a new president.

Gov. Mike Beebe on Friday named Tim Atkinson of North Little Rock to lead the agency.

The authority’s mission is to advance innovation in science, technology and business in Arkansas.

The 45-year-old Atkinson most recently served as assistant provost and director for sponsored programs at the University of Central Arkansas. Before that, he directed research programs for more than 10 years at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute.

Atkinson starts July 1. He replaces John Ahlen, who has retired.

(Jefferson City) (AP) – Gov. Jay Nixon froze $400 million of spending Friday for education, building repairs and state services because of concerns that legislators could override his veto of an income tax bill that he contends would drain state revenues.

Nixon announced the spending restrictions while signing a nearly $25 billion operating budget for the 2014 fiscal year that starts next Monday. He also said he has directed his budget chief to prepare a plan to eliminate 1,000 employee positions if the tax-cut veto is overridden.

The income tax cut “would undermine our fiscal foundation now and for years to come,” Nixon said at a Capitol news conference. It is “a dangerous experiment we simply cannot afford. These costs are real and immediate if my veto is not sustained.”

Earlier this month, the Democratic governor vetoed a Republican-backed bill that would have phased in a tax deduction for business income over the next five years. That bill also would have gradually reduced the income tax rate for individuals and corporations over the next decade.

Legislative projections presume the bill would reduce state revenues by more than $700 million annually once fully implemented. But the immediate cost would be smaller and each incremental tax rate reduction for individuals and corporations would take effect only if state revenues continue to rise by $100 million annually.

But Nixon says the annual cost would be higher and could hit as much as $1.2 billion in the short term, based on other provisions in the bill that link Missouri’s tax rates to federal legislation about online sales tax collections.

Lawmakers would need a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers to override Nixon’s veto during a September session.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Kurt Schaefer says he still wants to override the veto of the tax-cut legislation and accused Nixon of “playing politics with taxpayer money.”

“He’s using it as leverage to basically further his opposition to giving Missouri taxpayers back any of their money,” said Schaefer, R-Columbia.

House Speaker Tim Jones and Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey both asserted that Nixon exceeded his constitutional authority by withholding spending despite a budget surplus.

“This is nothing more than a politically motivated stunt that places Missouri families and children at risk by needlessly cutting critical education funding in an attempt to generate controversy over a common sense tax reduction bill for all Missourians,” Jones, R-Eureka, said in a written statement.

Nixon put a hold on a $66 million increase – which he originally recommended to lawmakers – in Missouri’s $3 billion funding formula for public schools. He imposed a 4 percent spending freeze on public colleges and universities, which essentially wipes out a funding increase and dips into the institutions’ core budgets. And Nixon froze a $10 million appropriation that would have funded a cooperative medical school program in Springfield between the University of Missouri and CoxHealth and Mercy Health System.

The governor particularly emphasized the cuts to education.

“Members of the General Assembly can either support House Bill 253 (which cuts the income tax) or they can support education, but they can’t do both,” Nixon said.

Nixon’s actions received an instant endorsement as “prudent and necessary” from the Missouri School Boards’ Association, which is part of a coalition urging lawmaker to sustain the veto of the tax cut.

“The withholdings are just the first indication of how devastating the tax cut bill will be for the public school students in our state for years to come,” Carter Ward, the association’s executive director, said in a written statement.

Schaefer disputed such assertions. He said Missouri’s revenues have grown by nearly 10 percent for the 2013 fiscal year, meaning the state should carry over at least $350 million into the new budget year. He questioned Nixon’s claims that the tax-cut would have an immediately negative effect on the state budget.

Schaefer said Nixon’s budget actions “make up a speculative budget shortfall, which doesn’t exist and will not exist.”

In addition to the education spending, Nixon froze $184 million for building repairs and construction, including money that had been targeted for the state Capitol, a new office building, state parks and the design of a replacement facility for a mental hospital in Fulton.

He also put a hold on $14 million of general revenue expenses that would have helped finance a $500 pay raise for state workers and nearly $46 million that would have provided a pay hike to medical professionals who treat low-income patients covered by the state Medicaid program.

(Albuquerque) (AP) – Federal officials have granted a southeastern New Mexico company’s request to open a horse slaughterhouse.

Officials also say Friday that they plan to grant similar permits to operations in Iowa and Missouri.

With the action, Valley Meat Co. of Roswell is set to become the first operation in the nation licensed to process horses into meat.

The company has been fighting for approval from the Department of Agriculture for more than a year with a request that ignited debate over whether horses are livestock or companions.

The decision comes months after Valley Meat Co. sued the USDA, accusing it of intentional delays because the Obama Administration opposes horse slaughter.

Valley Meat Co. wants to ship horse meat to countries where people cook with it or feed it to animals.

Over 450 people attended the funeral service of Sgt. David Finley on Friday afternoon. (ORN Photo)

Over 450 people attended the funeral service of Sgt. David Finley on Friday afternoon. (ORN Photo)

(West Plains) – Over 450 friends, family and fellow troopers attended the funeral service of Sgt. David Finley, which was held Friday afternoon at the West Plains Civic Center.

Speakers at the service included Sgt. Marty Elmore, Lieutenant Bruce Fiske, and retired Let. David Bailey from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, who spoke of Finley’s accomplishments, bravery and love for his family, his community, and for the Highway Patrol.

Dr. Dean Finley was the presiding minister at the service.

Sgt. Finley graduated from Kickapoo High School in 1987, and was a police officer with the city of Republic for three years, where he earned Rookie Officer of the Year. He graduated from the Missouri State Highway Patrol in 1995, and was assigned to Zone 6 of Troop G, covering southern Howell and Oregon counties. He was named the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in 1997.

He passed away on Saturday, June 22 while training for a triathlon in Fayetteville, AR.

Interment was held at Howell Memorial Park Cemetery.

The West Plains and Willow Springs Fire Departments joined together to drape this flag across Porter Wagoner Blvd. in honor of Finley. (ORN Photo)

The West Plains and Willow Springs Fire Departments joined together to drape this flag across Porter Wagoner Blvd. in honor of Finley. (ORN Photo)

Retired Lt. David Baley with the Highway Patrol speaking at the service. (ORN Photo)

Retired Lt. David Baley with the Highway Patrol speaking at the service. (ORN Photo)