Monday, October 19, 2015

“4-H 5K Run for Health” Set for Nov. 21 in Aurora

Contact: Karla Deaver, 4-H Youth Development Specialist
Headquartered in Lawrence County
Tel: (417) 466-3102

MT. VERNON, Mo. – Lawrence County 4-H will hold its fourth annual “4-H 5K Run for Health,” starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 21 at the United Methodist Church in Aurora.

In addition to helping raise funds for Lawrence County 4-H members, those who register will participate in a fun, healthy activity and be eligible for a number of awards.

“Healthy Lifestyles is just one of the 4-H initiatives,” said Karla Deaver, 4-H youth development specialist with University of Missouri Extension. “This annual event will promote 4-H by encouraging youth to participate, but will also help the community engage with our members and volunteers in a fun, healthy way while raising funds for the local 4-H council.”

In addition to the 5K, a one mile kid’s fun run will be offered. 

“We are a youth organization, and we had a lot of fun last year with this shorter distance that accommodates some of our younger members,” Deaver said.

The race will feature divisions for youth and adults, with awards given to first, second and third place in each age division and to the overall youth male and female.  Youth divisions will be ages 10 and under, 11 to13 and 14 to 19.  Adult divisions will be in 10 year increments.

The cost to register for the event is $15 for 4-H members and volunteers, and $20 for non-4-H members.  All registrants will receive a race tech shirt, available in adults and women’s sizes this year. Advanced registration is required by Nov. 1. For more information on the event or to register, call MU Extension at 417-466-3102 or go online to 

“The Lawrence County 4-H Council is excited about this event. It as an opportunity to promote 4-H in the local area, as well as provide families with a fun, healthy activity,” said Deaver.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

“If We Say It, We Must Mean It,” Says MU Extension Human Development Specialist

Contact: Renette Wardlow, human development specialist
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909
Photo at

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Parents and other adults who care for children often discuss the “how and why” of discipline according to Renette Wardlow, human development specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“One of the questions I get asked the most often is ‘How can I get my children to listen to me and do what I say’?” said Wardlow. “Basically, if we say it, we must mean it.”

There are many and varied ideas on what discipline is and how it should be used. Parents have the responsibility to train their child in the way he should go. Wardlow says that challenge often requires that we first learn to discipline ourselves in the matters of child rearing.

“Whether parenting skills come naturally, or we learn them through trial and error, they are accomplished by consistency, encouragement, and example,” said Wardlow.

First of all, there are no specific rules, no set answers.

“We are different people, different from our parents. The way we feel today may not be how we feel tomorrow. Our children are not alike and our setting is constantly changing. If we can remember these things then we can begin to understand why no book can contain one set of rules that will work for everyone,” said Wardlow.

However, there are some general guidelines and principles that can be adapted to individual situations and that can help you think through your situation.

Discipline is guidance, teaching, and learning. It is helping your children to grow in self-direction so that when they are grown up, they can control their actions. Discipline continues from birth all through life.

Discipline is necessary. It is necessary to develop wholesome, satisfying relationships with others; for health and safety; and for the protection of the rights of others.

Discipline does not just apply to misbehavior; it is much more. It involves looking at behavior, try to understand why, trying to find the best way to change behavior and provide a good learning experience for a child.

“Regardless of what age a child is, one of the most difficult jobs as a parent is to set limits on a child’s behavior. However, once limits are set it is especially important to determine what to do if a rule or limit is broken,” said Wardlow.

There are times when a child breaks a rule and must suffer the consequences.

“When we set limits but don’t follow through consistently, we find our credibility suffers,” said Wardlow. “Regardless of how ‘stern-faced’ we appear, if we do not follow through, we lose, but the child loses more. He or she learns that we do not really mean what we say!

For more information, contact any of MU Extension’s human development specialists in southwest Missouri: Renette Wardlow in Christian County at (417) 581-3558, Dr. Jim Wirth in Taney County at (417) 546-4431, or Angie Fletcher in Texas County at (417) 967-4545.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Check Out Charities Before Making Contributions

Contact: Janet LaFon, family financial education specialist
Headquartered in Jasper County
Tel: (417) 358-2158

CARTHAGE, Mo. -- In both good times and bad, Americans are generous givers to charitable organizations. Many of these organizations are legitimate and put the money to good use.

However, there are some charitable organizations that spend the majority of the money donated on salaries and other administrative costs – and little if anything on those in need.  How can a potential donor tell the difference?

“Most charities and professional fund-raisers operating in Missouri are required to register with the Attorney General’s office,” said Janet LaFon, family financial education specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

Those exempt from registering include religious organizations and educational institutions. Many of the charities who are required to register voluntarily provide information that the Attorney Generals’ office makes available to the public.

“You can find out the missions of various charities and how much money they receive each year. Also included is information on how much they spend on programs and administrative costs,” said LaFon. “The Attorney General’s office doesn’t endorse any of the charities on the list.”

The information is provided as a resource you can use to evaluate various charities. Check their website ( or call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-392-8222.

“It can sometimes be difficult to know if a charitable organization is reputable and will put your money to good use,” said LaFon. “Before you donate, take some time to do a little research.”


To help consumers make informed charitable contributions and avoid fraud, LaFon recommends four basic tips to research the charity.

Check out the charity.  Before making a contribution to a charity that solicits funds by mail or telephone, check it out. Ask for information about the organization, how funds will be used and what percentage will go to administrative costs. Be sure to read all of the organization’s materials carefully, including the fine print.  Other resources you may wish to check are and The Better Business Bureau (BBB) also provides information to help evaluate charities at  “When evaluating a charity, be sure to take a look at the financial health of the organization, accountability, transparency, and results,” said LaFon.

Confirm tax-deductible status. Be sure you are giving to a registered public charity with a 501 (c) 3 status. To check the tax exempt status of aid or charitable organizations, go to the Internal Revenue Service website,

Donate Funds with Check or Credit Card. Do not give cash or a credit card number to solicitors who call or email you. Request that the charity mail you written information about the fund. Then make your donation to a charity with a check or credit card.

Report Fraud. If you think you have dealt with an organization that is not using your funds properly, contact the Missouri Attorney General ( or the Federal Trade Commission ( to file your complaint.

 “Take the time to choose the recipients of your charitable giving to make sure that the dollars reach helping hands,” said LaFon.


A good, highly efficient charitable organization usually spends about 75 percent of the money it raises on charitable programs and the remaining 25 percent on general administration and fundraising, according to (formerly the American Institute of Philanthropy).

At the lowest end of the “acceptable” spectrum are charities that spend 60 percent on charitable programs and the remaining 40 percent on general administration and fundraising.

According to Charity Navigator, total giving to charitable organizations was $358.38 billion in 2014 (two percent of the Gross Domestic Product, or GDP). This is the fifth straight year giving has increased, and the first year to surpass the previous high of $355.17 billion seen in 2007.

As in previous years, the majority of that giving came from individuals. Specifically, individuals gave roughly $258.5 billion (72 percent) representing a 5.7 percent increase over 2013.


For more information on issues related to home finances, contact either of the MU Extension family financial education specialists in southwest Missouri: Janet LaFon, Jasper County Extension Center, (417) 358-2158, or Nellie Lamers, Taney County Extension Center, (417) 546-4431,

Monday, October 05, 2015

Yellow Nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus)

By Sarah Kenyon, agromony specialist, University of Missouri Extension

Nutsedge emerges as a pale green spike, similar in appearance to a grass seedling. However, the plant is not a grass at all; the leaf blades have no collar region, ligules, or auricles. Viewed from above, the leaves are arranged in three vertical rows (three-ranked arrangement). Grasses have a two-ranked leaf arrangement. The three-ranked leaves, triangular stem, and v shaped leaf blades are the major identifying characteristics of the sedges.

Sedges thrive in wet soil conditions.  With the abundant rainfall experienced this year sedges have emerged in large numbers.  Underground tubers that form at the end of each rootlet are even more important than seeds in the reproduction of yellow nutsedge. The tubers overwinter and survive soil temperatures as low as 20 degrees. The tuber skin contains a chemical that must be washed off by soil moisture before the tuber can sprout. Therefore, yellow nutsedge thrives in wet areas.

Livestock can graze sedges, and this weed can be nutritious when vegetative.  The tubers can also be consumed.  Hogs are recommended as a control strategy since they seek out sedges as a food source.  Chemical control options include Permit, Yukon, Sedgehammer, and Outrider.

For more information, 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 Sarah Kenyon in Texas County, (417) 967-4545.