In order to help them survive, humans throughout the ages have carefully manipulated plants in order to propagate desirable traits. Ancient cultures in central Mexico transformed small tufted grasses into what we now know as corn, and the Romans worked tirelessly to create the perfect rose.

For over 100 years 4-H has been growing children. 4-H started out as Corn Clubs for boys that taught them ways to get more corn yield from an acre of land. The girls wanted to get involved too, so Canning Clubs were formed. The girls were taught the best and safest techniques for canning tomatoes.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Summer is now in full swing and cattle producers have and will be thinking about managing flies, deworming and may even be considering other vaccinations as part of their herd management program. These things got me thinking about cattle handling facilities.

In order to help them survive, humans throughout the ages have carefully manipulated plants in order to propagate desirable traits. Ancient cultures in central Mexico transformed small tufted grasses into what we now know as corn, and the Romans worked tirelessly to create the perfect rose.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

For over 100 years 4-H has been growing children. 4-H started out as Corn Clubs for boys that taught them ways to get more corn yield from an acre of land. The girls wanted to get involved too, so Canning Clubs were formed. The girls were taught the best and safest techniques for canning tomatoes.

Honeybees are without a doubt one of the most prevalent insects in modern human culture. We depend on honeybees for honey and for their help in pollinating large fields of crops, which tend to exclude most other pollinators because of their prohibitive shape, size and heavy pesticide exposure.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

June is National Healthy Home Month. Usually when we think of “healthy” we think diet and exercise, but there is another way to improve your and your family’s health. Making sure you have a healthy home will decrease the risk of health-related issues such as allergies and asthma, and in some…

The sides of highways are an assault on the senses, with hot blasts of wind radiating from the busy roads bringing pungent fumes and loud noises that overwhelm most wildlife that approach. Many times, wildlife stumbling onto a highway are forced to quickly turn back or face a quick death att…

A large majority of retirees work between 25 to 30 years in public service before receiving their retirement, contributing 6 percent of their pay each month. For many public sector workers that monthly, required contribution impacts their daily lives – this mandatory contribution to their pe…

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

A group of healthcare stakeholders met in Raleigh recently for a first-ever “listen and learn” session focused on two questions: How much should we spend on healthcare and how should these dollars be advocated?

You don’t have to look far to see that many in North Carolina – approximately 500,000 – are struggling from an absence of adequate, high quality health insurance. This is why Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital are supporting bipartisan efforts by Gov. Roy Cooper and legisl…

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Habitat loss is one of the main causes of pollinator decline worldwide. While manicured lawns and sculpted hedges often appear pleasant to our eyes, landscapes dominated by human designs offer appallingly few home sites to the other wildlife living in the area.

In North Carolina, fresh market strawberry production ranks third in the nation behind California and Florida with approximately 1,000 acres harvested each year. May is “Strawberry Month” and during this time, folks flock to pick-your-own strawberry farms, local produce stands, farmers marke…

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Can you remember what the commencement speaker said at your graduation? We are in commencement “season” and platitudes aplenty will be spoken to graduates across our state. Most will be forgotten as soon as tassels are turned, but this year’s graduates of the UNC School of the Arts heard an …

Daddy was never much for boat fishing, as far as I can tell. I imagine he did it a few times, but I don’t ever recall seeing anyone towing a boat into our driveway.

There’s a divide in society, between those with calloused hands, and those who ride a desk for a living. The relationship is often of judgment, with one side believing their mama didn’t raise her kids to have dirty hands, and the other believing there is honor in swollen hands that sport thi…

While bumble bees, carpenter bees and other large bees are readily spotted flying throughout their environments, most of the bees native to the United States are much smaller and can be easy to miss.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

As last week’s massive teacher march and rally in Raleigh approached, lawmakers geared up for a crush of visitors advocating for public education. There were rope lines set up at the entrance of the Legislative Building, and many legislators put up welcoming signs in their offices offering s…

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has introduced legislation, SB 790, that would give North Carolina land to South Carolina’s Catawba Indian Nation for an off-reservation casino.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Saturday is Cinco de Mayo, an event probably more celebrated in Texas than Mexico. It’s not Mexican Independence Day (that’s Sept. 16), but commemorates victory over the forces of Napoleon III. Yes, France intervened in our neighbor to the south after both the Spanish, the original European …

Like many people, when I first heard N.C. Elections Board Executive Director Kim Strach’s proposal to address absentee ballot fraud by having pre-paid postage for absentee ballots, I thought it was a great idea. However, later study revealed that it would be a waste of taxpayer money that wo…

North Carolina’s dubious ranking of having the 10th highest rate of uninsured people in the nation continues to play out across the state in ways that challenge our collective well-being and community stability, even as it leads to worse health outcomes and diminished livelihoods for hundred…

Ginseng is one of the most commonly consumed herbal supplements in the United States, and while little scientific evidence is currently published to back it up, ginseng is often used to treat colds and flus while reportedly also boosting memory, regulating blood sugar levels and acting as an…

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Jackson County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which also draws its membership from Macon and Swain counties, has been in the news lately, in stories on Blue Ridge Public Radio and elsewhere. I write this letter out of concern that import…

A crucial cord of priority-setting in government connects the April 15 tax-filing deadline with the May 1 teachers rally in Raleigh. North Carolinians filed their 2019 state income tax forms amid a six-year spree of tax reductions that has eroded North Carolina’s ability to afford the teache…

Our legislature has been in session since Jan. 30 and at last count 17 bills had been approved by both houses of the legislature and sent to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk for approval or veto. Traditionally that pace quickens following the Easter break.

I believe that the leadership ability and management practices of school principals have a large effect on how well teachers teach and students learn. But I admit to being biased on the matter: my late father spent most of his career as a principal in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system.

The story of E.L. McKee’s contribution to Jackson County is inextricably linked to that of two other notables written about in recent weeks: his wife, Gertrude Dills McKee, North Carolina’s first woman state senator; and his frequent business associate, C.J. Harris.

Tomato blight and blossom end rot are perhaps two of the most discouraging ailments that can afflict our gardens. Since planting time is upon us, here are my recommendations to combat trouble before it starts.

It’s the time of year when it’s difficult to resist the impulse to plant during our warm and beautiful spring days!

As a tree slowly grows, it is constantly changing itself to better withstand local stressors.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

“You ain’t from around here, are you?” These words, loosely translated, were probably first uttered by Manteo and Wanchese when Walter Raleigh’s settlers first landed on our Outer Banks. What once might have been a conversation starter has now switched to abject hatred toward immigrants.