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Sound Living is a weekly public affairs program, hosted by Jeff Wichman, and distributed to radio stations throughout the area.  It addresses issues related to families and consumers.

The program is now available as a podcast. You can subscribe and listen to the program in its entirety on our podcast page at soundlivingksu.libsyn.com

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Send comments, questions or requests for copies of past programs to ksrenews@ksu.edu.

Program Date

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BE READY FOR AN EMERGENCYIt may seem like a daunting task, but organizing your important papers, documents and family photographs and placing them in a waterproof, fireproof container offers protection and peace of mind. K-State Research and Extension resource management specialist Elizabeth Kiss (kish) offers suggestions for making a “grab-and-go” box, compiling a household inventory, and steps that can be taken to make life less stressful in the event of an emergency.

SL 05-26

CONVERSATIONS ON MENTAL HEALTHOfficials with the Kansas 4-H Foundation and Healthy Blue are partnering to invest in the mental health and well-being of Kansas youth. Healthy Blue – a collaboration of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, Blue KC and Anthem Partnership Holding Company – has pledged $100,000 to the initiative. K-State associate professor and K-State Research and Extension specialist in youth development in the department of Applied Human Sciences and Kansas Health Foundation Distinguished Professor of Health at Kansas State, Elaine Johannes, and Kansas 4-H youth development specialist in the Southwest Research-Extension Center, Amy Sollock, (saul-ick) say youth will be invited to participate in a series of “community conversations” in which they’ll be encouraged to share their views on what it looks like to live a healthy lifestyle, issues they struggle with, and more.

SL 05-19

MEDITERRANEAN EATING STYLEThis year’s Walk Kansas, a K-State Research and Extension health and nutrition program that helps participants improve their physical and mental health, includes a six-week virtual learning series on the Mediterranean eating style. The Med Instead of Meds curriculum includes seven steps to eating the Med way. Extension family and consumer science specialist for the northeast region and state leader for Walk Kansas, Sharolyn Jackson, covers the seven steps and Extension’s plans to offer the program throughout Kansas.

SL 05-12

A CHANGE IN GARDENING PRACTICESEven the most popular guides eventually need updating. That’s the case for the Kansas Garden Guide. K-State Research and Extension has just released the 2023 Kansas Guide. Rebecca McMahon, administrator of Kansas State University’s local food systems program and one of the authors of the guide, says the new publication reflects changes in gardening practices as well as the way people think about and approach gardening.

SL 05-05

OUTDOOR SKIN PROTECTIONSkin cancer is the most common of all cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 5-million skin cancers are diagnosed each year in the United States – that’s more than all other cancers combined. Skin cancer rates are also on the rise over the past few years. K-State Research and Extension northwest regional family and consumer sciences specialist there are several steps we can take to protect ourselves outdoors, including applying and reapplying sunscreen, seeking shade and wearing sun-protective clothing.

SL 04-28

WARM-WEATHER FOOD SAFETYPicnic and barbecue season offers lot of opportunities for outdoor fun with family and friends. However, these events also present opportunities for foodborne bacteria to thrive. As food heats up in warmer temperatures, bacteria multiply rapidly. Kansas State University food scientist Karen Blakeslee says keeping food at proper temperatures – indoors and out – is critical in preventing the growth of foodborne bacteria. She discusses keeping food out of the “Danger Zone” and offers tips for reducing the risk of foodborne illness by following four simple steps: clean, separate, cook and chill.

SL 04-21

DINING WITH DIABETES ONLINEAccording to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, diabetes is an epidemic in the United States – affecting over 34 million Americans. There are approximately 255,000 Kansans with diagnosed diabetes. In addition, 66,000 have diabetes but don’t know it and every year another 20,000 people in Kansas are diagnosed with diabetes. K-State Research and Extension offers a self-paced, online series of its Dining with Diabetes program to help address the health concerns of a disease that affects one in nine Kansas adults. Southeast family and consumer sciences regional specialist and Kansas Dining with Diabetes coordinator, Christina Holmes, says the first of five weekly sessions begins May 1st.

SL 04-14

PROMOTING FINANCIAL SUCCESSWe all make day-to-day decisions about money. While most of the decisions are small – buying a coffee on the way to work, going out for lunch or hitting the vending machine for an afternoon snack – the choices we make impact our financial success. April is Financial Literacy Month and K-State Research and Extension family resource management specialist Elizabeth Kiss (kish) shares five tips to promote financial success, as well as how parents can help children understand finances by discussing the family’s short, medium and long-term goals.

SL 04-07

MAKE FAMILY MEALS A HABITFamily meals play an important role in helping children develop healthy habits around food. In addition, they provide opportunities for children to learn about healthy, nutritious foods, build a menu, help in the kitchen and form stronger bonds with their family. K-State Research and Extension family and youth development agent in the Chisholm Trail District, Tristen Cope, says you can make family meals a habit – just start slow and keep it simple.

SL 03-31

NOT GROWING OLD; AGING WELLThe nation is aging. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2040, about one in five Americans will be 65 or older – up from about one in eight in 2000. K-State Research and Extension offers a variety of programs and publications to help people grow old gracefully, successfully and with increased longevity. K-State Extension aging specialist and interim director of the university’s Center on Aging, Erin Yelland, says some of the keys to aging well are healthy eating, positivity, and being physically and socially active.

SL 03-24

BEING MINDFUL ABOUT NUTRITIONMarch is National Nutrition Month. Each year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics creates an annual campaign to help people learn about making informed foods choices and developing healthful eating and physical activity habits. K-State Extension assistant professor in the Department of Food, Nutrition, Dietetics and Health and state program leader in nutrition and health for youth and adults, Priscilla Brenes, says this year’s theme, Fuel for the Future, emphasizes eating with sustainability in mind.

SL 03-17

WALK KANSAS ENCOURAGES CHANGE– K-State Research and Extension’s Walk Kansas program has been helping participants improve their mental and physical health for more than 20 years. One of the keys to the success of the program is that participants are able to make small changes over an eight-week period that become a habit. In addition to being physically active and eating healthy, Walk Kansas state leader, Sharolyn Jackson, says the program provides information on chronic disease prevention, stress management, and how to select and prepare healthy recipes.  

SL 03-10

HYPERTENSION AWARENESSAccording to Kansas Health Matters, nearly one-third of adult Kansans have been diagnosed with hypertension – or high blood pressure. K-State Research and Extension is in a pilot program that focuses on hypertension awareness, self-monitoring and prevention. Sara Sawer, nutrition, health and wellness agent for Sedgwick County, and Stephanie Gutierrez, Extension Program Coordinator in the K-State College of Health and Human Sciences, are co-coordinators of the Hypertension Awareness and Prevention Program pilot project being offered in 11 counties throughout the state. They explain the need for the program, what participants will learn about hypertension and they’ll benefit from the four month program.

SL 03-03

LEARN IN NATURE’S CLASSROOMA Kansas State University child development specialist says children benefit both physically and mentally from spending time outdoors with parents and other children. According to Bradford Wiles, children learn through play and being outdoors, in nature, offers children an opportunity to play and learn in a variety of fun and creative ways.

SL 02-24

ARE YOU READY FOR TAX DAY?If you’ve prepared your taxes and know that you’re getting a refund, it may be tempting to spend it all at once. However, a tax refund isn’t a bonus check from the government. It’s money you worked hard for and should be treated as a regular paycheck. There are several ways a tax refund can be used. The key is to do what makes financial sense for you. K-State Research and Extension Resource management specialist Elizabeth Kiss (kish) says that might include paying down debt, building your savings and having some fun.

SL 02-17

HAVE A PLAN FOR SEVERE WEATHERWeather forecasts aren’t perfect; they can change very quickly. In Kansas, that means an increased chance for tornadoes, damaging winds, severe thunderstorms, lightning, large hail and flash flooding. The National Weather Service in Topeka has designated March 6-10 as Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Kansas, including a statewide tornado drill March 7th. K-State meteorologist and manager of Mesonet, a network of environmental monitoring stations across Kansas, Chip Redmond, says having a plan for what to do in the event of severe weather is the first step in protecting you and your family.

SL 02-10

VALENTINE’S DAY AND KINDNESS– Valentine’s Day typically centers around red roses, chocolates, greeting cards and romance. However, Kansas State University child development specialist Bradford Wiles believes it can also be a time for kindness. While Valentine’s Day celebrates love, he says kindness is a key component of love. Wiles talks about how parents can show kindness toward their children and themselves.

SL 02-03

GEARING UP FOR WALK KANSAS 2023Making just a few lifestyle changes can have a huge impact on our health. In fact, two-thirds of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and others, can be prevented by making lifestyle changes. K-State Research and Extension’s Walk Kansas program, an 8-week, team-based challenge to be physically active most days of the week and eat more fruits and vegetables, has helped thousands of participants make lifestyle changes to improve their mental and physical health. Walk Kansas state leader, Sharolyn Jackson, says the program enables participants to make small changes over several weeks to improve their health and well-being. This year’s Walk Kansas begins March 26th and runs through May 20th.

SL 01-27

MAXIMIZING EMPLOYEE BENEFITS– Surveys continue to show that the top benefits employees want from employers are health insurance, paid time off, retirement, vision, dental and life insurance, parental leave and health savings accounts. The three primary employee benefits are vacation or paid time off, health insurance and retirement. K-State Research and Extension family resource management specialist Elizabeth Kiss (kish) discusses how employees can maximize these benefits.

SL 01-20

BE PRESENT AND RESPONSIVEAs we begin a new year, Kansas State University child development specialist Bradford Wiles suggests reflecting on the things we do well because we want to maintain those things while we try to improve in other areas. For parents, he recommends they pause and reflect on ways that will best help children develop as they work through adolescence. He says engaging in a daily dialogue with children from a young age demonstrates parents are really interested in their lives. It’s by being present and responsive to their needs that parents can model life skills to their children.

SL 01-13

A FOCUS ON LIVING BETTERK-State Research and Extension family and consumer science agents and specialists offer a variety of programming that can improve our health and well-being, including physical, mental and financial health, relationships and parenting. This winter, the 2023 Living Well Wednesday series will feature webinars on radon gas, legal documents, hypertension awareness, prevention and management, mental health, stretching food dollars and positive parenting. KSRE family and consumer science specialist for the northeast region, Sharolyn Jackson, previews the winter series and Brian Hanson, the K-State Radon Programs Coordinator, has an overview of some of the material he’ll cover on January 11th.

SL 01-06

TIPS FOR ACHIEVING GOALSWhen it comes to goal-setting, Kansas State University family resource management specialist Elizabeth Kiss (kish) says we often think it’s all or nothing…”We think ‘I have to do this or ‘I have to be focused…’ However, that’s not necessarily the best or most successful way to achieve goals. Instead, Kiss recommends taking the long view on goals – which is a kinder, gentler approach. To improve your success rate, she suggests writing down your goals, sharing them and reviewing them periodically; but not obsessing over them.

SL 12-23

DESIGNING FOR HEALTHKansas State University and K-State Research and Extension’s work shows how efforts at the community level – focusing on social determinants of health, health equity and health literacy – are crucial to improving people’s health. In K-State’s Department of Interior Architecture and Industrial Design, most of assistant professor Kendra Kirchmer’s scholarship focuses on the enormous impact places we spend most of our time – our homes, workplaces and schools – have as upstream determinants of health outcomes. She says your zip code is a better determinant of health outcomes than your genetic code.

SL 12-16

WINTER WEATHER SAFETY When the days get shorter, temperatures start dipping into the teens and scraping frost off car windows becomes common, many feel winter has arrived. For those who go strictly by the calendar – winter officially arrives on December 21st. Regardless, winter in Kansas is often unpredictable. As a result, now is the time to start preparing for what can be rapidly changing conditions. In a typical Kansas winter, Kansas State University meteorologist Chip Redmond says we can face a number of weather-related challenges.

SL 12-09

PANDEMIC RIPPLE EFFECTSWhen a disaster such as a tornado, flood or fire occurs, it’s easy for friends, neighbors and community to offer assistance to those in need. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a disaster that’s created ripple effects that are much harder to identify. Mental health is a ripple effect that many continue to struggle with. The Kansas Health Foundation’s Distinguished Professor of Health at Kansas State University, Elaine Johannes, says the pandemic didn’t hit everyone the same and that the ripple effects are different, depending on a number of factors. However, she says community can play an important role in the recovery process.

SL 12-02

BUILDING HOLIDAY MEMORIES Christmas, while officially just a one day holiday, often becomes much longer, especially if you have travel to be with friends and relatives. Christmas is an exciting time for children as well as an opportunity for adults to help them learn about family traditions, understand the importance of giving and receiving gifts, and reassure them that this mythical Santa will find them no matter where they are Christmas Day. K-State Research and Extension child development specialist Bradford Wiles discusses how Christmas brings families together and helps build memories that will last a lifetime.

SL 11-25

BUDGETING FOR WINTER HOLIDAYSWith the gift-giving season drawing nearer, mental, physical and financial stress may be increasing – especially considering the cost of almost everything is higher than last year. Kansas State University family resource management specialist Elizabeth Kiss (kish) says focusing on what makes the holidays special for you and your family and friends, can help relieve stress and make the holidays more joyful. She says one way to approach holidays is managing our time, energy and money.

SL 11-18

EMPOWERMENT OVER DIABETESDiabetes is a disease that occurs when blood glucose – or blood sugar – is too high. It affects about 37 million Americans. November is National Diabetes Month, a time for education and outreach for this costly disease. K-State Research and Extension has a health and wellness program to help participants learn strategies to lessen the risk of diabetes. Southeast Research-Extension Center family and consumer sciences specialist and state director for Dining With Diabetes, Christina Holmes, says the program consists of a series of four classes that includes learning, demonstrations, physical activity and tasting foods – which combine to empower individuals to better manage this disease.

SL 11-11

A GIFT OF SAFE, NUTRITIOUS FOODThis time of year, a Kansas State University food safety specialist says food pantries, food banks and soup kitchens really appreciate gifts of food, money and time. But the generosity of donating food also needs to be accompanied by the gift of safety and health. Londa Nwadike, who holds dual appointments with Kansas State and the University of Missouri, urges people to think about those who will eventually receive the donated food items and to provide a variety of safe, nutritious options.

SL 11-04

BEST PRACTICES FOR HOLIDAY MEALSWith the holidays just around the corner, now is the time to start planning those large family meals. In addition to finalizing a menu, you might need to clear out space in the pantry, refrigerator and freezer for extra food, the traditional turkey or ham, and any side dishes you want to prepare in advance. Kansas State University food scientist and coordinator of the Rapid Response Center, Karen Blakeslee, says we also need to practice the four food safety principles: clean, separate, cook and chill.

SL 10-28

HEALTHY COOKING FOR THE HOLIDAYS Food is one of the joys of the holidays. Unfortunately, holiday foods often contain lots of fats and sugar. However, that doesn’t have to be the case. K-State Research and Extension nutrition, food and health agent for the Southwind District, Clara Wicoff says fats and sugar can be reduced by focusing on the “star” ingredients – fruits and vegetables. She says recipes can be made healthier by making a few ingredient modifications or substitutions.  

SL 10-21

SURVIVING ECONOMICALLY Rising prices seem to be hitting us everywhere we look – in the grocery store, at the pump and even at our favorite restaurants. And, there may not be much relief in sight. A recent report showed inflation is increasing faster than the average wages of American workers. As a result, the average household will pay thousands more to purchase the same things they bought a year ago. K-State Research and Extension family resource management specialist Elizabeth Kiss (kish) says the Extension publication, When Your Income Drops, is a series of publications that focuses on surviving during economically difficult times – a situation many people are currently experiencing.

SL 10-14

BUILDING A STRONGER BONDLike any relationship, the bond between a parent and child can be made stronger. K-State Research and Extension child development specialist, Bradford Wiles, says it starts with being intentional about spending quality time together. He says that can include eating together, talking about your day, working on projects or playing together.

SL 10-07

MAKING A DIFFERENCEThousands of Kansas 4-H members will put their hands to larger service – part of the 4-H pledge – the weekend of October 8th and 9th by participating in 48 Hours of 4-H. The goal is to challenge 4-H members in every Extension unit to be service-minded leaders and to make an impact in Kansas and their community. Kansas 4-H Regional Specialist for Central Kansas, Beth Hinshaw, says this weekend of service allows 4-H youth to work with their friends, 4-H alumni, parents, volunteers, community partners and organizations to show what 4-H does, how it serves others and how much fun it is when we all work together.

SL 09-30

FALL LAWN AND GARDEN PREPARATIONSFall has officially arrived, and the leaves are starting to fall fast enough to be noticed in the home landscape. While more homeowners aren’t too excited about having to rake or even mulch mow their yards multiple times just to keep ahead of the falling leaves, K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent for Johnson County, Dennis Patton, says it’s important to prevent a buildup of leaves on the lawn because a thick layer of leaves creates shade and reduces the amount of sunlight that the grass receives. In addition to raking, he says there are several tasks homeowners and gardeners should be tackling over the next 45-to-60 days.

SL 09-23

LIVING WELL WEDNESDAY SPANISH SERIESA virtual learning series produced by K-State Research and Extension family and consumer sciences agents across the state is launching its fall series with three programs being presented exclusively in Spanish. Extension family life and resource management agent for Sedgwick County, Elizabeth “Liz” Brunscheen Cartagena, is presenting two of the three webinars: Connecting Cultures on September 28th and Survive, Fight & Thrive on October 26th. She discusses the upcoming series and the need to present material to a Spanish-speaking audience.

SL 09-16

INTERGENERATIONAL CONNECTIONSIntergenerational connections can help both older adults and children feel cared for and valued. Research shows that intergenerational programs increase self-esteem and feelings of well-being for both older adults and children. K-State Research and Extension child development specialist Bradford Wiles says intergenerational connections can reduce loneliness and boost happiness for older adults and help children develop life skills, confidence and a sense of who they are.

SL 09-09

ADVANCE HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVES If you worry about the medical care you’d receive if you became ill and were unable to speak for yourself, the publication, Advance Health Care Planning in Kansas, has the necessary forms to allow you to state your health care preferences…before a health crisis occurs. Advance directives allow you to voice your future healthcare wishes and appoint someone to be your voice if you become unable to speak for yourself. Unfortunately, unless these documents are in place, decisions can be made on your behalf that may not align with your wishes. Erin Yelland, interim director of the Kansas State University Center on Aging and an associate professor and Extension specialist in adult development and aging in the College of Health and Human Services, is the author of the publication. She says a majority of American adults don’t have advance health care directives in place.

SL 09-02

GIVING COOL-SEASON LAWNS A BOOSTHomeowners with cool-season lawns, such as tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass, have an opportunity to give their lawns a boost this fall. Cool-season lawns that have thin spots from the hot, dry summer will benefit from an overseeding, as well as an application of fertilizer. K-State Research and Extension agent for Johnson County, Dennis Patton, says choosing quality grass seed is the first step in successfully planting or overseeding cool-season lawns. He explains how to decipher grass seed labels to prevent getting seed that’s contaminated with orchardgrass or rough bluegrass. He also covers the “best practices” for applying grass seed and fertilizer to cool-season lawns.

SL 08-26

A REMINDER TO CHECK YOUR CREDITThe average American checks their credit score – the number that reflects their creditworthiness – around four times a year. A credit score, based on information in a credit report, is typically used to determine whether they are approved for loans, credit cards or even renting an apartment. According to a survey conducted in 2020, only 33% of Americans had checked their credit report in the last year. To help Kansans better monitor their credit reports, K-State Research and Extension offers a “Check Your Credit” program that reminds them when it’s time to request another report. The family resource management agent for the Southwind Extension District, Joy Miller, discusses the program and why you need to check your credit reports regularly.

SL 08-19

PUBLIC HEALTH AND EXTENSIONKansas has strong roots in developing healthy communities. K-State Research and Extension and local public health departments across Kansas have a shared history and work together to improve the well-being of all Kansans. Shelly Schneider, a state public health nurse specialist with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, discusses the primary duties of public health departments and the importance of having Extension as a partner and ally.

SL 08-12

SAFELY PREPARING SCHOOL LUNCHES In addition to packing a school lunch that has nutritional value, it’s important to consider food safety. According to Kansas State University food scientist Karen Blakeslee, dangerous bacteria can rapidly build up in food that is not kept at a safe temperature and can case food borne illness. Blakeslee, who is also the coordinator of the university’s Rapid Response Center, says the key to packing a school lunch that remains out of the danger zone for promoting bacteria growth is making sure cold foods stay cold and hot foods stay hot.

SL 08-05

PRE-DIABETES LIFESTYLE CHANGESK-State Research and Extension has been involved in a diabetes prevention program through a partnership with the University of Kansas Medical Center. The Prevent T2 pilot program focuses on lifestyle changes. K-State Research and Extension family and community wellness agent for Lyon County, Emily Prouse, who is also a registered dietitian, says Prevent T2 is an educational program for pre-diabetes. She says many of the participants in the Lyon County pilot program became so involved that they wanted to extend the sessions for another six months.

SL 07-29

STRATEGIC BACK-TO-SCHOOL SHOPPINGIt’s back-to-school shopping season. According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, back-to-school and back-to-college shoppers anticipate paying more for school supplies, clothing and electronics. As a result, they’re implementing savings-focused shopping behaviors, including comparative shopping online, shopping sales more often, buying store brand or generic products and using coupons more. K-State Research and Extension family resource management specialist Elizabeth Kiss (kish) says shoppers can cut costs by having a plan and doing their homework before making back-to-school purchases.

SL 07-22

LANDSCAPE WATER CONSERVATIONWhether you have an irrigation system or water your lawn and home landscape with hoses and portable sprinklers, you can reduce water use by implementing just a few simple water-saving steps. K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent for Johnson County, Dennis Patton, says a well-designed landscape and watering efficiently will conserve water and keep your water bill from skyrocketing over the summer.

SL 07-15

A FOUNDATION FOR LEARNINGTeachers play a vital role in a child’s education. However, a parent is a child’s first and most important teacher. Research shows support from the child’s family is critical to success. K-State Research and Extension child development specialist Bradford Wiles describes parent involvement as an effort to understand what is happening in their children’s lives. He says parents can help their children do well in school by connecting what they’re learning in school to their everyday life and activities at home.

SL 07-08

FOUR COMMON TYPES OF ARTHRITISAs part of its 2023 annual lesson series, K-State Research and Extension family and consumer sciences specialists and agents have developed several Men’s Health Guide Fact Sheets, including early detection and prevention of cancers specific to men, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and arthritis. According to the CDC, nearly 20% of men of all ages had doctor-diagnosed arthritis in the United States from 2013 to 2015. Undiagnosed arthritis is thought to be much higher. Holly Miner, family and consumer sciences agent for nutrition, food safety and health in the Wildcat Extension District has authored the Men’s Health Guide Fact Sheet, Arthritis: Four Common Conditions. It contains a description of the four major types of arthritis, risk factors, diagnosis, and a healthy dietary pattern to help prevent or lessen the risk of some types of arthritis.

SL 07-01

HEALTHY BODY, HEALTHY BRAINAccording to the recently published K-State Research and Extension Fact Sheet, Healthy Body, Healthy Brain, what you eat, how much you move, how well you sleep, and how you mange stress all play an important role in your overall well-being. Research also shows a connection between heart and brain health. By Keeping your heart healthy, you also lower your risk for stroke, dementia, and other brain problems. Co-authors of the Fact Sheet, Sharolyn Jackson, the northeast area Family and Consumer Sciences specialist, and Wyandotte County Family and Consumer Sciences agent, Lori Wuellner, say age-related cognitive decline is common. However, while the death rates for heart disease and cancer are declining, the death rate for Alzheimer’s disease is increasing. They discuss some ways to protect the health of your body and brain.

SL 06-24

TIPS FOR CUTTING GROCERY COSTS”Sticker shock” is typically associated with big ticket items, such as vehicles, major household appliances and electronics. However, “sticker shock” is now hitting Americans at the grocery store checkout line. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumers paid 11.9% more for food eaten at home in May than in May 2021. Lisa Martin, an agent for K-State Research and Extension’s Shawnee County Office, says it’s possible to control rising grocery costs and still maintain a healthful diet.

SL 06-17

PRESERVING HOMEGROWN FOOD Canning season typically runs from June to October, with some carryover into the holiday season. Harvesting garden produce at its peak freshness and canning as soon as possible – ideally that day or the next – produces the highest quality product. However, canning is a science and Kansas State University food scientist Karen Blakeslee says there are a number of steps involved in safely preserving food.

SL 06-10

CANCER: EARLY DETECTION AND PREVENTIONHeart disease is the leading cause of death in men, accounting for one in every four deaths. After that, according to the CDC, are lung, prostate and colorectal cancers. The good news is that these health threats men face are largely preventable. However, a K-State Research and Extension family and consumer sciences agent says early detection is key to detecting and preventing these types of cancers. Holly Miner, who focuses on nutrition, food safety and health programs for the Wildcat Extension District, has authored a Men’s Health Guide Fact Sheet that provides practical advice to help men defend against three types of cancer: prostate, colorectal and testicular.

SL 06-03

MAKING BLACK GOLDCompost is the ultimate soil amendment. It provides nutrients plants require and increases the water holding ability and workability of the soil. K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent for Johnson County, Dennis Patton, says compost is often called “black gold” because of its value in improving garden soil. So, how do you build a good compost pile? Patton, who considers composting to be both a science and an art, suggests thinking in terms of greens and browns.

SL 05-27

SUMMER FOOD SAFETY TIPSThe warmer weather provides an opportunity to move much of our meal preparation outdoors. Kansas State University food scientist Karen Blakeslee says food safety needs to be a priority, especially when grilling food outdoors and hosting large outdoor get-togethers. This includes washing our hands, using a food thermometer to check for doneness and keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold.

SL 05-20

GROWTH IN EXTENSION HEALTHHelping to promote healthy lifestyles in Kansas is one of the missions of K-State Research and Extension. Gayle Price, an Extension specialist at the Southeast Kansas Research Center in Parsons, has been a part of that mission for 35 years – and she’s seen a lot of changes during that time. Price, who is retiring later this year, has seen partnerships work successfully with Extension programs that address opioid addiction, food insecurity, child nutrition and wellness, physical activity and much more.

SL 05-13

SUSTAINING RURAL GROCERY STORESResearch shows grocery stores are critical to maintaining vibrant, healthy and thriving communities. Unfortunately, rural grocers are facing a challenging and ever-changing retail landscape that makes it difficult to stay in business. The Rural Grocery Initiative – housed within K-State Research and Extension – aims to sustain locally-owned rural grocery stores to enhance community vitality and improve access to healthy foods by identifying and sharing resources that support grocers and rural communities. As part of that effort, the Rural Grocery Initiative hosts the National Rural Grocery Summit. This year’s summit is being held June 20th and 21st in Wichita. RGI program manager, Erica Blair, says there are many rural grocer success stories that’s need to be shared and that’s why this biennial event is so important.

SL 05-06

LEARNING TO MANAGE STRESSStress is how we react when we feel under pressure or threatened. If it lasts for a long time it can impact physical, emotional and mental wellness. K-State Research and Extension’s Stress and Resiliency Team provides educational information about stress, stress management and resiliency to Kansans. Extension behavioral health specialist Brad Dirks says stress impacts us all and that we all react to stress differently. However, there are steps we can take to manage stress and live a healthier life.

SL 04-29 

THE OPPORTUNITY COST OF SCREEN TIMETV, smartphones and tablets are part of our culture. That doesn’t mean we should spend every waking minute staring at a screen. In fact, research shows both adults and children benefit from limiting screen time to just a few hours a day. K-State Research and Extension child development specialist Bradford Wiles says not establishing rules for screen use or having screen-free zones in the home comes at what he calls an “opportunity cost” – the things we miss out on by watching our screens instead of engaging in activities with our children and family.

SL 04-22

INITIATING PUBLIC HEALTH EFFORTSPublic health is the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities. In the U.S., there’s an expectation that no matter where we live, work, learn or play, we all have an equal opportunity to be healthy. However, that’s not always the case. Kansas State University Extension agents Tristen Cope and Clara Wicoff were selected to participate in an 18-week course titled Public Health Essentials, designed to build capacity of non-traditional public health organizations, such as Cooperative Extension, to engage in multi-sector initiatives to improve community health. They talk about the public health gaps that exist in their communities and how this course can increase their knowledge and skills to identify ways to help close those gaps.

SL 04-15

DEALING WITH HIGHER PRICESThe cost of everything seems to be going up. So how do you deal with increased prices? A K-State Research and Extension family resource management specialist says strategic budgeting, planning, and cutting costs where possible can help reduce the financial impact of higher prices. Elizabeth Kiss (kish) also suggests buying only the things you actually need, cooking at home to reduce your overall food costs and shopping with a list to avoid impulse buying.

SL 04-08

BONDING THRU BOARD GAMESResearch shows newer style board games, such as Euro-style games – also called Eurogames – can be used as a tool to strengthen family relationships and expose children to life skills that enable them to have success at home, school and – eventually – the workplace. K-State Research and Extension family life and resource management agent for Sedgwick County, Liz Brunscheen-Cartagena, is familiar with Eurogames and has written two publications on the benefits of playing board games.

SL 04-01

SMALL SPACE GARDENINGIf you’re limited on space, don’t have enough time or energy to care for a large garden or simply don’t want to plant more than you can consume, container gardening or raised bed gardening are a great alternative. K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent for Johnson County, Dennis Patton, says the only difference between a traditional in-ground garden and container gardening or  raised bed gardening is that you’re doing it in a more confined space where you have more control.

SL 03-25

COMMUNITY HEALTH EQUITYWe all make choices every day that impact our health. However, linking our health solely to the choices we make doesn’t tell the whole story. There are other factors that influence our health and individual behaviors. K-State Research and Extension has developed a framework for health and well-being that focuses on three core themes – health equity, social determinants of health, and working through coalitions to increase community health assets. Associate professor and Extension specialist in youth development in the Department of Applied Human Sciences and Kansas Health Foundation Distinguished Professor of Health at Kansas State University, Elaine Johannes, discusses Extension’s role in community health.

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AVOIDING IDENTITY THEFT AND SCAMSWhether it’s called a scam, con, fraud or theft, people taking advantage of others financially continues to be a major problem. K-State Research and Extension agent for the Southwind District, Barbara Stockebrand, says it can happen anytime to anyone and that technology has opened the door for people with bad intentions to steal your identity or coax you into a scam simply by gathering personal information from an email or financial transaction. Stockebrand and Janae McNally, an adult development and aging specialist with the Frontier Extension District, are hosting an upcoming Living Well Wednesday webinar on steps consumers can take to avoid identity thefts and scams.

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SEVERE WEATHER PREPAREDNESSKansas experiences a wide variety of summertime severe weather events, including tornadoes, damaging winds, large hail, lightning and flash flooding. Assistant meteorologist for the Kansas State University Weather Data Library and manager of Mesonet, a network of environmental monitoring stations across the state, Chip Redmond, says we need to prepare for all types of severe weather – and know what to do if we’re at home, outdoors or in a vehicle.

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PREPARE FOR UNEXPECTED EVENTSAs students, we practiced what to do in the event of a fire or a tornado. The goal was to learn what to do in an emergency. As adults, we know how to protect ourselves when a tornado warning is issued or what to do if a fire occurs. However, we may not know the steps we can take to protect our family and business finances from unexpected events. K-State Research and Extension family and consumer sciences agent in the Central Kansas District, Deb Wood, and the family and consumer sciences agent in the Southwind Extension District, Joy Miller, say just one flood, fire or tornado can wipe out a lifetime of savings. On March 9th, as part of the Living Well Wednesday webinar series, they’ll discuss how to prepare your finances for times of disaster. On this week’s Sound Living, a preview of their upcoming webinar.

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EIGHT WEEKS TO A HEALTHIER LIFEWalk Kansas, K-State Research and Extension’s annual physical activity and wellness program, attracts thousands of participants each year. This year’s event runs March 27th through May 21st. Extension family and consumer sciences specialist for northeast Kansas and Walk Kansas State Leader, Sharolyn Jackson, discusses how this eight week challenge helps participants lead a healthier life.

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HELPING CHILDREN COPE WITH STRESSChildren start developing many new emotions around two years. These strong emotions, including frustration, anger, embarrassment and excitement, can sometimes be overwhelming and they may need to calm down. K-State Research and Extension child development specialist Bradford Wiles says there are number of steps that can be taken to help children cope with normal childhood emotions and the stress caused by the pandemic.

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KANSAS VALUE ADDED FOODS LABThe Kansas Value Added Foods Lab at Kansas State University includes facilities, equipment, and instruments to assist small business owners and entrepreneurs with food product development, packaging, and physical, chemical and microbiological analyses of foods. The KVAFL also allows undergraduate and graduate students to develop new food products and work with entrepreneurs to develop their products to sell commercially. On today’s Sound Living: a look at the role the Kansas Value Added Foods Lab plays in assisting small food producers.

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LANGUAGES OF APPRECIATIONK-State Research and Extension’s Living Well Wednesday webinar series continues in February with programs on the Five Languages of Appreciation and the MIND Diet. The series, produced by family and consumer sciences agents and specialists from across the state, covers a variety of topics to improve our overall health and well-being. LaVerne Williamson, employee relations and engagement specialist with Kansas State University’s Human Capital Resources, will present Languages of Appreciation on February 9th. Participants will learn about their own language of appreciation and receive practical tips on how to express genuine appreciation throughout the workplace. Also, northeast Extension family and consumer sciences specialist Sharolyn Jackson previews the February 23rd webinar on the MIND Diet.


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STRATEGIES FOR TRANSITIONSTransitioning from one activity to the next can be challenging for young children and their providers. However, K-State Research and Extension family and youth development agent for the Chisholm Trail District, Tristen Cope, says there are strategies that childcare providers can use to help young children better manage transitions and routines. This includes providing an advanced warning, using a visual calendar and teaching them songs that signal it’s time to move from one activity to the next.

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FOOD SAFETY HAZARDS AND CULPRITSProtecting against foodborne illness involves more than just practicing the four basic food safety principles: clean, separate, cook and chill. To ensure our food is safe to eat, Kansas State University food scientist Karen Blakeslee says we also need to learn about the three types of food safety hazards: biological, chemical and physical.

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PLANNING THIS YEAR’S GARDENSWhether you’re an experienced gardener or just a novice, winter is a good time to plan spring and summer gardens. According to Dennis Patton, K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent for Johnson County, it’s an opportunity to think about what you want to plant, research new varieties and consider any changes you’d like to make. He also says planning for spring and summer gardens during winter will save time, energy and money when planting season arrives.

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IMPROVING HEALTH AND WELL-BEINGK-State Research and Extension family and consumer sciences agents and specialists are offering a winter webinar series in January, February and March to improve our health and well-being. Extension family and community wellness agent for the West Plains District, Jennifer LaSalle and community health and wellness agent for the Chisholm Trail District, provide an overview of the first two webinars in the series: Parents Guide to Social Media and Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude.

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BEING INTENTIONAL WITH KIDSThe start of a new year often brings a variety of resolutions: to be more active, improve our food choices or bolster our savings. However, Kansas State University child development specialist Bradford Wiles says strengthening the connection with their children is one of the best resolutions a parent can make. In fact, he advocates for parents to be intentional with kids.

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STRETCHING GROCERY DOLLARSExpect to keep paying more for groceries in 2022. According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics earlier this month, prices shoppers paid for groceries in October were 5.4% higher than at the same time last year. K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter says planning meals before shopping, being aware of what you already have, looking for bargains, substituting lower-priced items for similar products, and planning for leftovers helps stretch food dollars while still providing healthful meals.

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THE LONG VIEW ON GOALSOften when it comes to goal-setting, Kansas State University family resource management specialist Elizabeth Kiss (kish) says we think it’s all or nothing…”We think ‘I have to do this or ‘I have to be focused…’ However, that’s not necessarily the best or most successful way to achieve what your goals. Instead, Kiss says to take the long view on goals – which is a kinder, gentler approach. To improve your success rate, she recommends writing down your goals, sharing them and reviewing them periodically; but not obsessing over them.

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THE “WHY” FOR PHYSICAL ACTIVITYWinter, because of its shorter days and colder temperatures, can be a challenging time to be physically active. However, K-State Research and Extension northeast family and consumer sciences specialist and coordinator of the Walk Kansas program, Sharolyn Jackson, says if we can identify our “WHY” for wanting to be physically active, have a plan for being outdoors and identify ways to stay active when we’re stuck indoors, we can enjoy the benefits that come from being physically active.

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CONNECT AND COMMUNICATEFamily dynamics can be difficult, particularly during the holiday season. As part of its Living Well Wednesday series, K-State Research and Extension Regional family and consumer sciences specialist JoEllyn Argabright and Chisholm Trail District family and youth development agent Tristen Cope, are hosting a webinar on December 8th that focuses on communicating effectively with family members to reduce stress, creating an inclusive environment and making the most of the holiday season. They provide a preview of the webinar, including methods for connecting with family members – near and far – and tools to add to your toolbox to reduce stress through the holidays.

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HOLIDAY FOOD SAFETY REMINDERSThe holiday season has arrived. Food – usually a lot of it – is part of the holiday celebration. Whether it’s the traditional large meal with family and friends, potlucks at work or the company party, food is everywhere. While we often worry about gaining a few extra pounds during the holidays, Kansas State University food scientist Karen Blakeslee says we should be equally concerned about food safety. She says following four basic food safety principles, along with regularly washing our hands – is the best to prevent foodborne illness.

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A HEALTHIER THANKSGIVING FEASTThe cost of a typical Thanksgiving feast will be more expensive this year. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, prices will be higher on just about everything because of inflation. The average cost of preparing Thanksgiving dinner last year was about $47. This year the cost is expected to be at least 5% more. While we can’t control costs, we can control what we serve and how it’s prepared. The typical Thanksgiving meal – turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, green beans, rolls and pumpkin pie – is relatively healthy. Unfortunately, K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter says we often take those foods and prepare them in a not-so-healthy manner.

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LIVING WELL WEDNESDAY SERIES K-State Research and Extension family and consumer sciences agents and specialists are getting ready to launch a new series of virtual webinars that cover a variety of topics that improve our health and well-being. The Living Well Wednesday Webinar Series kicks off with a soft launch on November 17th and December 8th with two webinars focusing on managing stress through the holidays.

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HEALTH EQUITY AND WELL-BEINGIn a 2020 report on America’s Health Rankings, published by the United Health Foundation, Kansas ranks 26th among the 50 states on health outcomes. A team of K-State Research and Extension professionals is receiving training from the National Leadership Academy for the Public’s Health to foster community conversations about creating a more robust and effective approach to health. Ed Ehlinger, the senior assistant surgeon with the National Health Service Corps and the ‘coach’ of the team, was a pre-conference speaker at Extension’s recently held annual conference.

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REDUCING SALT IN OUR DIETThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration made a recent request for food manufacturers to voluntarily reduce salt in their products by 12% over the next two-and-a-half years. More than 70% of the sodium Americans eat comes from what has been added by the food industry to products later purchased in stores or restaurants. K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter says that’s why the FDA is asking those two groups to reduce sodium levels in 163 categories of the most consumed processed, packaged and prepared foods.

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SIMPLE HOLIDAY TOY IDEASAs children start making their holiday wish list, A Kansas State University child development specialist encourages parents to consider whether a toy promotes creativity and engaging with others, such as puzzles and board games. Bradford Wiles says toys with lots of bells and whistles often do things children would do on their own with a simpler toy.

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MANAGING HOLIDAY SPENDINGHalloween is fast approaching. For many, that marks the beginning of the end-of-year holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas and other December celebrations, and New Year’s Eve. Kansas State University family resource management specialist Elizabeth Kiss (kish) retailers want us to be thinking about the holidays. She says they’re already starting to stock holiday merchandise, so this a really good time to plan ahead, think about how you’d like to celebrate this year and then determine how much your budget can handle.

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DINING WITH DIABETES E-MAIL CHALLENGEIn 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 34.2 million Americans are living with diabetes. In Kansas, 9.4% of the adult population have been diagnosed with diabetes. K-State Research and Extension offers “Dining with Diabetes” – a program designed for pre-diabetics, people with type 2 diabetes and their caregivers. In November, they are offering a four-week Dining with Diabetes E-mail Challenge. Gayle Price, program director for Kansas State University’s Dining with Diabetes program, and an Extension specialist at the Southeast Kansas Research-Extension Center in Parsons and Sara Sawer, the Dining with Diabetes lead trainer and a family and consumer sciences agent in Sedgwick County, discuss what’s covered in the challenge and how participants will benefit from the program.

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