Last Call for Grocery Summit
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Saying “goodbye” to driving for 10, 20 or more miles for groceries need not be wishful thinking.
The loss of local groceries stores adds time and transportation costs to feeding the family, but there’s more to it than that, said David Procter, spokesperson for an upcoming Kansas State University conference focusing on rural (and, in urban areas, neighborhood) grocery stores.
Seasonal weather can make travel hazardous, if not impossible; driving also can be compromised by an injury, illness or the aging process.
Either way, access to food is limited -- and a health issue, said Procter, who encourages interested parties to attend the K-State rural grocery summit: “Strengthening Our Stores. Strengthening Our Communities.”
The summit is scheduled June 5-6 at the Hilton Garden Inn Conference Center in Manhattan, Kan. It is recommended for rural and neighborhood grocery store owners and managers; local government officials such as city and county commissioners, community economic development agencies and volunteers, potential funders, grocery distributors and concerned citizens.
For more information and registration, go to Rural Grocery Summit III or call: 1-800-432-8222 or 785-532-5569 weekdays during regular business hours.
More information also is available at each of Kansas’s 105 K-State Research and Extension offices.
Beware of Lightning
MANHATTAN, Kan. – In her role as the director of the Kansas Weather Data Library, Mary Knapp answers many questions, including some related to lightning.
One question she was asked recently was, “Can a bolt of lightning come out of a clear sky?” Knapp said. “The answer is yes. The phrase ‘bolt from the blue’ is often used to indicate surprise, as ‘a bolt of lightning from a blue sky.’”
According to Phrase Finder, a reference for quotations, the earliest citation is Carlyle, 1837 – “Arrestment, sudden really as a bolt out of the blue, has hit strange victims,” she said.
“Sadly, that is still true. Lightning can travel more than 25 miles from the thunderstorm itself,” said Knapp, who also serves as a delegate to the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN). “There have been numerous cases of victims being surprised by lightning from a clear sky. That is why it is important to take cover when thunderstorms are in the vicinity – even if the rain has yet to arrive. It is also recommended to wait about 30 minutes after the storm has passed to resume outdoor activities.”
Information about Kansas weather is available on the Weather Data Library website. “Weather Wonders” audio reports are available on the K-State Research and Extension News Media Web site. Information about EDEN is available.
Pesticides, Not Disease, Make Lawn Clippings Risky
OLATHE, Kan. – Pesticides, not lawn diseases, are the one reason central U.S. homeowners might want to bag grass clippings and send them to the landfill.
Two grasses dominate the region’s lawns, explained Rodney St. John, turf scientist with K-State Research and Extension. The major disease that attacks tall fescue is brown patch. Kentucky bluegrass gets a disease called dollar spot.
“The organisms that cause both diseases are already in the soil,” he said. “Bagging the clippings from an infected lawn isn’t going to reduce disease severity or spread.”
Applied pesticides, on the other hand, can stay active for days, a month or even longer, St. John said. So, using treated clippings then as a mulch or compost ingredient is risky. The pesticide could continue to work for a while in its new location.
“A lawn-weed herbicide, for example, might treat begonias like dandelions,” he said.
St. John is a strong proponent of keeping lawns within recommended height range and cutting off no more than a third of the grasses’ height in a single mowing. That duo promotes lawn health and appearance.
Following the one-third rule also can make mower bags obsolete. The clippings that result are small enough to filter down into the lawn -- where they will not contribute to thatch. Instead, the clippings will reduce lawn fertilizer needs by 25 to 33 percent.
“That’s the easiest way to handle pesticide-treated clippings,” he said. “But, if you prefer bagging, your only responsible course is to read and follow the pesticide’s label directions exactly. Many labels, for example, say you shouldn’t collect clippings for compost until 30 days have passed. Some have a longer wait time.”