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Have a safe turkey (day)

Guest Opinion: A resolution for the family

Avoiding cool-weather electrical dangers

Kentucky Cover to Cover

Kentucky’s changing farmscape

Co-op Postcard: Touchstone Energy ride raises $4,000


Have a safe turkey (day)

Here are recommendations for a safe Thanksgiving turkey dinner from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

Fresh turkeys: buy turkey only 1 to 2 days before cooking; keep turkey stored in the refrigerator until ready to cook; do not buy fresh, pre-stuffed turkeys. If not handled properly, bacteria that may be in the stuffing can multiply quickly.

Frozen turkeys: keep frozen until ready to thaw and cook; turkeys can be frozen indefinitely but for best quality, cook within one year.

For more information, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at (888) 674-6854 or TTY at (800) 256-7072. You can also visit the Web site at www.fsis.usda.gov.

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Guest Opinion: A resolution for the family
by Tami Dequardo

Things are so different today than they were just a few decades ago.

No more do children play outside and learn and explore. They’re too busy playing video games, watching television, or on the computer or phone.

There is no real family time. Time is spent doing other things. For kids it can be sports, hanging out with friends, or in their rooms locked up tighter than Fort Knox.

For mom and dad it could be work, chores, grocery shopping, and other responsibilities. Sitting at the table as a family, or playing games, or just spending real quality time with each other is becoming a thing of the past.

How was it possible years ago for women to have 10-12 children and still have the time to keep house, mend clothes, and have healthy homemade meals, when taking care of one child seems like such a major task today?

As a young, first-time mom in this modern-day world, I find myself longing for the old days. Or at least some of the old ways of doing things, such as the time when Christmas wasn’t about hundreds of dollars’ worth of gifts, but about God and family.

When I was a little girl, at Christmas time I would usually get several small items and one big. And I was never disappointed! I was happy with my Easy-Bake oven and my dolls.

I also long for the times when school-free summers were spent outside and barefoot, when families did things together, told stories, shared dreams and ideas. When true love was shown, not bought.

After purchasing more than $100 worth of presents for my daughter’s first Christmas, I too have fallen into the modern-day ways.

Since realizing this, I have decided I don’t want my little girl to grow up like this. I don’t want to spend all that money on senseless things that are only around for a little while, when I could be putting all my time into playing with my daughter and teaching her things and showing her love and save all my money for her future!

From now on, I’m spending more time with my family, less money on foolish things, and taking the time to enjoy what I do have and making the most out of the life I’ve got. I know I’ll be better for it in the long run.

Tami Dequardo is a 24-year-old wife and mother of one living in Shepherdsville.

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Avoiding cool-weather electrical dangers

As the leaves drop and the weather gets colder, keep in mind the following electrical safety tips for the change of season:

  • Make sure space heaters are in good repair and certified by an independent testing lab such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Also check that power cords are not frayed, cracked, or cut.
  • Do not use an extension cord to power a space heater. Plug directly into the electrical outlet. Make sure the circuit can handle the power demands of the space heater and any other appliances plugged into it.
  • Keep space heaters at least three feet away from flammable materials such as curtains, draperies, loose paper, and upholstery. Keep space heaters out of reach from small children and pets. Never use heaters as drying racks.
  • If the heater is running on fuels such as gas, kerosene, or wood, follow manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Make sure carbon monoxide detectors are installed. Keep chimneys and flues free from corrosion or blockages.
  • Space heaters should have an automatic shut-off in the event they tip over.
  • Check to see if electric blankets are in good repair and certified by an independent testing lab like UL. Do not tuck your electric blanket under the mattress and don’t put anything on top of the blanket. Do not allow pets to sleep on electric blankets.
  • Check cold weather tools, like leaf and snow blowers, to ensure power cords are in good repair. Extension cords need to be approved for outdoor use.
  • Use only weatherproof outdoor electrical appliances for outdoor activities.

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Kentucky Cover to Cover

It’s just about that time of year to curl up by the fireplace with a good book. Here are some new releases you might want to check out.

Sidney Saylor Farr had to leave school in Bell County, Kentucky, when she was only 11 years old. She later graduated from Berea College, but in the intervening years she gathered lots of life experience. The result is My Appalachia: A Memoir, a personal history that includes Appalachian history, folklore, recipes, and superstitions. Find the book at www.kentuckypress.com or call The University Press of Kentucky at (859) 257-5200.

Pop culture icon and Kentucky native Hunter S. Thompson has been back in the headlines since he passed away in 2005. The journalist is remembered in Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson, by Rolling Stone magazine staff Jann S. Wenner and Corey Seymour. With an introduction by actor Johnny Depp, this book is a collection of memories of Thompson by those who knew him well, from childhood playmates and celebrities. Singer Jimmy Buffett recalls that “there was always a soft side of Hunter that people didn’t see.” And behind his outrageous façade, actress Margot Kidder claims he was “a very sad, sweet, lost little boy who was very eager to please.” Published by Little, Brown and Company, call (212) 364-1350 or e-mail bonnie.Hannah@hbgusa.com.

Sculptor Doyle Glass of Louisville gives tribute to Vietnam War veterans in Lions of Medina. Glass conducted 75 interviews with vets and family members to tell the story of Operation Medina in Vietnam in 1967. A reconnaissance operation, Medina became synonymous with the bravery and courage of the U.S. Marines, and all who fought in Vietnam. Contact Coleche Press at (502) 744-9192 or http://www.lionsofmedina.com/.

Get the kids reading with The Mystery at the Kentucky Derby. Kentucky author Carole Marsh sets her latest mystery at Churchill Downs, with kids serving as the main characters. Odd things are happening at the world’s most famous racetrack: horses and jockeys are simply disappearing. And it’s up to Grant and Christina to quit horsing around and solve the mystery before the Kentucky Derby is run. Get this book at www.carolemarshmysteries.com or call Gallopade International at (800) 536-2438.

Bill Noel writes a mystery for adults in Folly, his first novel. Residing in Louisville, apparently Noel “hasn’t experienced much murder and mystery, so he created his own.” Set in South Carolina, a vacationer finds himself involved in the murder investigation of a local developer. What should have been a relaxing time becomes a race for Chris Landrum to keep from being killed himself. Order the book at www.iuniverse.com or call (800) 288-4677.

You might be surprised to learn that, of all the Native American tribes that called Kentucky home, there were only two settlements of the Shawnee, led by well-known Chief Tecumseh. Jerry E. Clark chronicles their history in The Shawnee. The Shawnee were generally thought to be hostile, but Clarks presents another side to them. Despite frequent battles to keep their hunting grounds, the Shawnee were also quite helpful to the white settlers during Daniel Boone’s time. These Native Americans often traded goods with the whites, and even taught them medicinal practices still used today. Contact The University Press of Kentucky at (859) 257-5200 or www.kentuckypress.com.

Owensboro resident Dorothy Taillon used her experience as a real estate agent to pen House Hunting is Murder. The book’s main character, Abigail Turner, is also a Realtor, living a happy and quiet life in fictional Owensburg, Kentucky. Her quiet life turns chaotic when she becomes a suspect in the murder of one of her clients. With the help of a retired police officer, she conducts her own investigation so she can clear her name. But Abigail learns that finding the real murderer is not the only problem she will have to solve in order to get her life back. Order the book at www.publishamerica.com

Hurricane Katrina brought attention to the importance of wetlands—it was partially due to their destruction that made Katrina so devastating. Wetland Drainage, Restoration, and Repair offers photographs and case studies of how to keep our wetlands environmentally sound. Written by Thomas R. Biebighauser, a biologist with the Daniel Boone National Forest, the book includes many wetlands areas of Kentucky. Call The University Press of Kentucky at (859) 257-5200 or go online at www.kentuckypress.com.

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Kentucky’s changing farmscape

Kentucky’s rural farming economy has changed dramatically in the past decade and will continue to shift in the coming years. Most of Kentucky’s farms are small with off-farm income a prime component. Tobacco production is moving west and so have total cash receipts.

“With this change in structure, we are also seeing changes in economic importance of agriculture. We knew that when the tobacco buyout was completed there would be significant change,” says Will Snell, farm policy specialist with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.

In 2005, Kentucky had the United States’ 11th highest net farm income, thanks in part to tobacco buyout payments and other federal farm program payments. The tobacco buyout was designed to provide payments over a 10-year period, but half the buyout dollars have already been distributed in the first three years as a large number of recipients have opted for the lump sum option.

Growth in the west
But prosperity has not been even across the state, says Snell. Growth in cash receipts primarily has been in western Kentucky thanks to poultry, some good grain years, and increased tobacco production, while in central and eastern areas of the state, many counties have seen cash receipts drop by 25 percent or more between 1998 and 2005, primarily because of lost tobacco acreage.

Kentucky has also seen a change in the composition of farm cash receipts. Traditionally, the state has had about a 50-50 balance between crops and livestock, but in the past few years livestock has come to play a more prominent role, led by horses, cattle, and poultry. In the 1990s, $1 of every $4 came from tobacco. In 2005, tobacco receipts fell to less than 10 percent of total cash receipts.

“There’s no doubt we’ve been talking a lot about diversification in this state, given the changes in our tobacco economy, and I’ll be the first to admit that it takes time for some of these markets to develop and for infrastructure to take hold. But the bottom line is that traditional enterprises in Kentucky still account for well over 80 percent of our total cash receipts,” Snell says.

In 1997, the value of tobacco production reached an all-time high with those dollars spread across 45,000 farms growing the crop and about 60,000 farms renting out their production quotas. Today, the value of the crop has dropped to about $300 million, but the number of farms growing the crop has declined even more—down to about 7,000 to 8,000 farms with the potential to still fall to about 5,000, he says.

Small-farm economy
“I feel tobacco will still be an important and profitable crop, a $300 to $400 million enterprise for our farm economy, but considerably fewer people will be a part of that farm economy in the future,” Snell says.

The rest of agriculture is also seeing change. But overall, Kentucky is retaining most of its farms with the average size about 160 acres. In many cases individual farm operations may be getting larger but not by ownership.

Kentucky farms are very dependent on off-farm income, as two-thirds of the state’s farms have less than $10,000 in farm sales.

“A lot of people would look at those farms and say they aren’t important to the farm economy or the local community, but I would take exception to that,” he says. “I would think that most of these part-time farmers use their off-farm income to pay the normal bills: the mortgage, health insurance, groceries. The discretionary income generated from that part-time farming buys equipment, sends a son or daughter to college, or helps in making that decision to buy a new vehicle. It’s not a lot of money on an individual basis, but when you multiply hundreds and hundreds of your neighbors out there in this income class and multiply that by the thousands across the state, I would argue that that income makes an impact in the local community.”
—Laura Skillman, UK Extension

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Co-op Postcard: Touchstone Energy ride raises $4,000

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