PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. – A flood watch remains in effect today (Mon Feb 10) through Tuesday evening for much of north Georgia, including the following counties:Dawson-Lumpkin-White-Dade-Walker-Catoosa-Whitfield-Murray-Fannin-Gilmer-Union-Towns-Chattooga-Gordon-Pickens-White-Floyd-Bartow-Cherokee-Forsyth-Hall-Banks-Jackson-Madison-Polk-Paulding-Cobb-North Fulton-Gwinnett-Barrow-Clarke-Oconee-Haralson-Carroll-Douglas-South Fulton-DeKalb-Rockdale-Walton-Clayton-Including the cities of Calhoun, Dahlonega, Cleveland, Rome, Cartersville, Gainesville, Marietta, Atlanta, Lawrenceville, Athens, Carrollton, Douglasville, East Point, Decatur and Conyers.
Ask the Doc returns as Dr. William Whaley discusses with Guest host Rick about Chemo treatment recovery and the flu shot conspiracies.
About five years ago I told my dad, who is one of my biggest fans but also one of the most blunt people you’ll ever meet, that I wanted to be the first female head coach in the NFL.
“You can’t do that, Lauren,” he said.
“Why?” I argued.
I was expecting some drawn-out response about how I didn’t know enough about football.
“Because you can’t go in the men’s locker room,” he said flatly.
Ah, I hadn’t thought of that.
That was my senior year of high school, and never did I think I would be where I am now.
I grew up an UGA fan; my grandad attended college there in the ’60s and the red and black passed down into my veins. I learned to spell Georgia by chanting the fight song in my head (I still do subconsciously whenever I have to write it out!) I had an UGA cheerleader outfit and one of my baby pictures has me holding a stuffed bulldog. One of my nana’s fondest memories is of dancing around the living room with me as an infant when Georgia scored a big touchdown against Georgia Tech. I’ve never considered myself athletic, but I believe I owe a lot of my passion for sports to Papa Skip and Nana.
Flash forward a few years and the first time I stepped foot on a sideline was as a cheerleader for the 8th grade Mill Creek rec football league. Cheerleading was not for me, and within a year I traded in pom poms for a six-foot flag pole as a member of the Mill Creek High School Colorguard.
In high school I lived for Friday night lights, and I have many fond memories of screaming myself hoarse for the Hawks while in the stands with the marching band. It was a well-known fact that I was the most spirited person in the band when it came to football, and while my coach would be yelling at me to pay attention during our warm-ups I’d be busy trying to figure out how much yardage we’d gotten from the last pass.
I guess my fellow classmates took note of my love for the game as well, because they voted me their Homecoming Queen my senior year. That is still one of my all-time favorite memories from high school- hearing my name called while standing on the 50 surrounded by family and friends.
I graduated from Mill Creek in 2015 but I had a hard time staying away from Markham Field. The University of North Georgia doesn’t have a football team, and Mill Creek decided to get really good the year after I left (this was the fall of 2015, the year they got knocked out by Colquitt County one round before the state championship.)
In the spring of 2016 I heard of an opportunity to work for the Gwinnett Braves, Triple-A minor league affiliate for the Atlanta Braves. Needing a summer job but hoping to avoid retail, I took it. I spent the next two summers as a Guest Relations Representative scanning tickets and welcoming fans. In addition to my already-sound knowledge of football, I learned all I could about America’s favorite pastime and a new love was born.
I spent one more summer at Coolray Field before graduating college, and this time it was as a member of the Promotional Team. That may be the most fun I ever had at work. Our team set up the on-field promotional games, signed up contestants, sold 50/50 raffle tickets and overall worked to make sure people had a good time. I certainly did- the memories I made with my team that year will forever be some of my favorites.
For a while I told people that I wasn’t interested in sports journalism, but the Lord as he fortunately often does had other plans. I got the opportunity to intern with the UNG Athletic Department my senior year of college, and I left Gwinnett County to plant some roots in the North Georgia mountains.
Two months ago I still wasn’t certain that I’d ever work in sports again, but when baseball started back up I knew I couldn’t live without it. I was fortunate enough to find an opportunity to apply with FetchYourNews.com, and even more fortunate to get an offer. And here we are.
I don’t tell you all this to brag on my accomplishments or give you some long-winded biography. I want to be just as much a part of your community as you all are now a part of my daily life. When I come to your sideline I want to know each of you and each of you know me. Part of being a great sports reporter is establishing a relationship with your team and community. Part of that relationship includes establishing trust, and how can you can trust someone if you don’t even know them?
One of the biggest reasons I keep working in sports is because of the the communities they create and the people I get to meet. There’s something about having a team to rally around that gets inside of you and never leaves. The people I have met so far and the connections I have made are priceless and will forever be a part of who I am and a big reason for why I do what I do.
So here’s to the journey ahead, and here’s to memories that are yet to be made and the relationships yet to be formed. I can’t wait North Georgia!
By: Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent
Whether you’re a new, beginner or veteran homeowner, landscaper (perhaps your own company) or golf course superintendent, you’ll find the latest research-based information on growing and maintaining Turfgrass at this year’s Turfgrass Research Field Day on the UGA campus in Griffin, GA on Thursday, August 9th.
The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) researchers and UGA Extension specialists will present the latest information on how to care for residential lawns, commercial golf courses, athletic fields and any other space covered with Turfgrass.
Field day topics will include how to control weeds, insects and diseases, managing seed heads, heat and drought tolerance and an update on the UGA Turfgrass breeding programs.
A catered BBQ ribs and chicken lunch will be followed by product exhibits and demonstrations of the latest Turfgrass industry equipment. A self-guided research tour begins at 1:15 pm with at least half dozen programs to choose from. Guided tours will be offered in Spanish for Spanish-speaking attendees.
Registration is from 8:00 to 8:45 am followed by the welcome and presentations plus information regarding the available tours. To view the Turfgrass research plots, the event is held outdoors, rain or shine, so dress appropriately and bring sunblock. The day concludes at 2:30 pm.
Pre-registration is required for the $65 individual fee ($25 for students) before July 17th. After that deadline, fees increase to $80 and $30. Receive a 10% discount for four or more registrants. The registration fee includes instruction, research tours, demonstrations and exhibits, Turfgrass research field day guide and lunch. You can register online at www.georgiaturf.com or via the Griffin location in person, by phone or fax, or snail mail. Their telephone number is 770-229-3477. For more information, view or download the brochure at: http://caes2.caes.uga.edu/commodities/turfgrass/georgiaturf/FieldDay/index.html. We also have a few brochures here in the office if you’d like to pick one up.
The event is sponsored by the UGA CAES, the UGA Center for Urban Agriculture, the Georgia Urban Ag Council, the Georgia Turfgrass Foundation Trust, the Georgia Golf Course Superintendents Association, the Georgia Golf Environment Foundation, the Georgia Sports Turf Managers Association and the Georgia Recreation and Park Association.
Please note: the field day is certified for private and commercial pesticide recertification credits in Georgia and neighboring states. A license number is required to receive the field day pesticide credits.
Also this summer, if you or someone you know enjoys the amusement parks in the area, buy the tickets on-line at a discount and support the Gilmer County 4-H Club. Selling tickets to Six Flags and White Water has been a local 4-H fundraiser for nearly 10 years. Day passes and combo vouchers for season tickets including parking are available. For every ticket purchased through our partnership log in, the Gilmer County 4-H Club gets $1.00 so be sure to write down the following information; it is needed to access the site. A word of caution: the name, password and promo code are case sensitive. Our partnership link is https://sixflags.com/partnerlogin?m=32824 and the name is: GilmerOG and the password is: SixFlags10 and the promo code is: gilmer4h and if you need more information, call the Gilmer County UGA Extension office at 706-635-4426.
By: Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent
Leyland cypress is a popular, fast growing hedge or border tree reaching heights of 50 to 100 feet and widths of 20 to 30 feet. Though Leyland cypress originally appeared pest resistant, problems have recently become apparent. Over use of this plant, improper site selection, improper planting, and stressful weather conditions have led to two disease problems. They are cankers and root rot.
Cankers are infected wounds on limbs and branches that may ooze infectious sap. The trees get the canker because of fungi entering the tree. Leyland cypress can actually get two canker diseases. Botryosphaeria Canker is one type and it is commonly called Bot Canker which kills individual branches in the tree. The foliage may turn rust colored before it dies. The dead branch will have darker bark and will have a sunken canker where the dead part of the branch begins. The other canker is Seiridium Canker. Limbs infected with Seiridium Canker turn yellowish and then brown when they die. Limbs often die back from the tips. The cankers on the main stem are sunken, reddish and ooze sap profusely. There can be many cankers on a limb and unfortunately, there is no spray to control these diseases. The diseases enter wounds and are worse during stressful conditions. The main control is to keep the plant in good health so it can resist these diseases. Extreme weather and improper watering can be big factors in the spread of these diseases. Plants with roots that get too wet or too dry are more likely to get either these canker diseases or root rot.
Even though we have been getting plenty of rain lately, the tree has suffered through years of drought, poor sunlight, and above average rain. Over a period of years this adds stress to the tree. If the weather turns into a drought, water plants deeply once every 7 – 14 days and wet the soil to a depth of twelve to eighteen inches when watering. Soil must dry out between watering or roots may die. Avoid wetting the leaves and limbs when you water. Soaker hoses are better because they keep the foliage dry, which may reduce disease problems.
Selecting the proper planting site will go a long way in helping prevent disease problems. Leyland cypress planted too close together, near paved areas, next to walls or other heat reflecting surfaces may need special care in watering and planting to get established and to grow well. Plant Leyland cypress in well-drained soil in sunny locations. Mulch them after planting but mulches should be no deeper than two to four inches. Apply mulch from the base of the tree out to several feet beyond the reach of the branches. Because it holds in water, do not use landscape fabric unless the soil is very well drained. Do not pile mulch against the base of the plant.
Do not plant Leyland cypress in wet soils or poorly drained areas. They may respond to wet feet by developing root rot or dying. Check soil drainage before you plant or if the tree has problems. Dig a hole about a foot deep and wide. Fill it with water. If it takes longer than three hours for the water to drain out, the soil is probably poorly drained. Do not plant Leyland cypress closer than eight feet. As the plants get big enough for the limbs to touch, remove every other tree. As the limbs rub together, they cause wounds that can be infected by the fungi which causes the canker diseases.
If your Leyland cypress already has these diseases, first cut out the dead limbs. Be very careful to make cuts into good live disease free tissue. Cutting diseased limbs and then good limbs may spread the disease. While pruning you can periodically clean your shears with a towel dipped in rubbing alcohol. Leyland cypress generally does not respond well to cuts on the main stem, but if you have cankers on the main stem, remove the tree or cut below the canker and see if the tree recovers. Nothing can be done about the weather, but you can lower the stress on the tree. If you experience a lot of problems you’re your Leyland cypress, you might want to consider using a different plant.
For more information view the publication entitled Diseases of Leyland Cypress in the Landscape on our web site at http://extension.uga.edu/county-offices/gilmer.html or contact me in the Gilmer County UGA Extension office.
An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Organization
Johnsongrass: Friend or Foe
Plus Master Cattleman Program in Dalton this Fall
By: Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent
A common sight right now is thick stands of what might be confused for corn growing on roadsides, pastures, and hayfields. What you’re seeing is most likely Johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense.) Two important questions often asked are “what good is this plant” and “is it a beneficial forage plant or merely a persistent weed?”
Johnsongrass is a summer perennial grass that belongs to the sorghum family and can serve as a good forage crop in our pastures and hayfields. Livestock will graze young Johnsongrass plants if given the chance, as it is relatively high in crude protein and highly digestible. The issues with Johnsongrass arise from its persistent growth and potential toxicity issues for livestock. When stressed by drought or frost damage, the plant produces hydrocyanic acid which is a derivative of cyanide, also known as prussic acid. This compound can be very toxic and even lethal to cattle.
Johnsongrass grows from a very thick set of fibrous roots and rhizomes (underground root nodules that form new plants) that make the plant more difficult to kill because it can “fall back” on energy stores in these rhizomes whenever the plant is stressed, whether by grazing, mowing, or herbicides. These rhizomes can also form new plants if disturbed or cut (by plowing or leaving part of the root in the ground). These rhizomes over‐winter and send out new shoots in the spring and early summer. Johnsongrass also reproduces by seed, with a single plant producing 80,000 seeds per year. Because of these tendencies, Johnsongrass can be very persistent in a field if not controlled early and often.
Even though the symptoms of poisoning from Johnsongrass look like nitrate poisoning, the prussic acid can dissipate over time within the forage. If a large field of Johnsongrass is cut for hay, the hay should be dried to a safe baling content (15 to 18%) to ensure the prussic acid content has dissipated. Young plants, plants killed after frost, or plants growing after a long drought are the most susceptible to high prussic acid levels.
Control of this plant is difficult if it’s allowed to take control of a field in large areas. Tillage is not recommended as it will most likely make the problem worse by distributing more rhizomes. Pulling up of plants is possible, but making sure that all the root is dug up is important. Mowing or grazing to prevent seed head production will help keep the plant at bay, but it will not remove the plant from the field.
There are some herbicides available to control Johnsongrass, but most of them cannot be used in tall fescue, which is the major part of our hayfields and pastures in Gilmer County. Treatment of plants with glyphosate (Roundup) will allow for translocation of the product into the root system. One good option to get the glysophate to the Johnsongrass and not harm the desirable forage is through a wick applicator. Fortunately in our area the Limestone Valley Soil and Water Conservation District has one that can be rented. It is housed at Hinton Milling Company in Jasper. Contact them at 706-692-3626 to schedule a time to use it. You can also make or buy a wick applicator to try and control this (and other) pesky weeds.
I also want to mention that the UGA Extension office in Whitfield County is hosting a Master Cattleman Program this fall in Dalton from September 4th through October 23rd from 6:30 – 8:30 pm, which is every Tuesday for 8 weeks. Paid registration before August 17th entitles participants to one free forage sample analysis; sample must be submitted no later than September 11th. Registration is $85 per person and includes a dinner on the final night. Pre-Registration deadline is August 24th and can be done on-line at: https://nwgeorgiacattle2018.eventbrite.com or for more information, contact me in the Gilmer County UGA Extension office.
An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Organization
By: Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent
Are some of your plants suddenly dying? Did the tulips forget to bloom this spring? After you hunted for some bulbs, did you find little tunnels in and around your flower beds? If so, you may be a victim of the pine vole.
Often confused with moles, pine voles can be found in underground tunnels. In fact, they may use mole runs just to make it easier to move around. Pine voles are usually 4 to 6 inches in length and are covered with brown, dense fur with a bicolored tail. Their under parts are gray.
Pine voles prefer areas with a heavy ground cover of grasses. They like living in deciduous and pine forested areas, abandoned fields and orchards. They will eat grasses, seeds, tubers, bulbs and any underground growing part.
There are 23 vole species across the country. They can cause extensive damage to orchards, ornamentals and trees due to their girdling of seedlings and trees. Girdling usually occurs in fall and winter. The easily identifiable sign of voles is numerous burrow openings of about an inch around shrubs and flowers. Voles are active day and night, year round, and they do not hibernate during the winter. Their “home” range is usually ¼ acre or less.
Moles, on the other hand, are found throughout a lawn or garden. They have runs and push up soil just like the voles, but they do not come out of the ground. They stick to a diet of grubs and other crawly creatures found in the soil, and they will sometimes kill plants as their tunnels will create air pockets that roots cannot live in, so proper identification of the mammal is important.
After identifying the culprit, controlling these rodents can be challenging. Keeping grass in an area short helps with control because they do not like to move across open areas because of flying enemies. Frightening devices or repellents generally do not work and although owls, snakes and hawks are predators of voles, they seldom control vole populations. However, trapping, using a mouse snap trap, is effective along an active run during the winter. Favorite baits are peanut butter-oatmeal mixtures or apple slices. Place several traps around a hole and cover it with a box to fool them with shelter and prevent pets from getting in the traps and if by chance one gets into a home, setting a snap or live trap as you would for house mice results in successful control.
If you are seeing the pushed up soil runs made by moles, there are two basic types of control. There are harpoon traps that can be placed over an active run, but these are very tricky to use. The most effective control has been to apply granular insecticides labeled to kill grubs. These will limit the moles food source and they will leave the area if they don’t have anything to eat. The down side to this method is that the granules will also kill the beneficial critters that live in the ground. Remember when using any insecticide to always read and follow the label directions.
For more information, contact me in the Gilmer County UGA Extension office.