Elementary students learn about chemical safety

December 11, 2009 CAVE CITY — About 275 students at Cave City Elementary School learned last week that liquids, tablets and capsules that resemble items that are safe may not be safe at all, and to ask an adult what they are.Arkansas Farm Bureau safety program coordinator Jennifer Victory of Little Rock showed the students vials of liquids, one at a time, asking them what the each vial contained. Much of the time, the students guessed various flavors of Kool-Aid or other safe substances, when in reality the chemicals in the vials would make people very suck or even kill them if ingested.

Engineers surprised by low bids

December 11, 2009 Batesville city officials are “astounded” at the low bid for the first phase for upgrading the wastewater treatment system.Six bids were opened Thursday afternoon at city hall as follows:• W.L. Hailey & Co. Inc. of Nashville, Tenn. — $8,230,500;• S.J. Louis Construction of Mansfield, Texas — $6,795,000;• Mobley Contractors Inc. of Morrilton — $9,335,492;• Morgan Contracting Inc. of Baker, Fla. — $7,950,000;• Oscar Renda Contracting Inc. of Roanoke, Texas — $5,606,000;

Pastor succeeds despite blindness

December 11, 2009 LITTLE ROCK — A Batesville man is one of 11 Arkansans nominated as a candidate for the annual Consumer of the Year Award, according to the Arkansas Department of Human Services. The overall winner will be named at the end of the year by DHS Division of Services for the Blind.The Rev. Gene Cross, pastor of the Quail Valley Free Will Baptist Church, is among the award recipients.

Hoarding mental disorder gets spotlight

December 10, 2009 JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — For years, no one on Crest Drive paid much attention to the little white house with pink trim.The front yard was overgrown with shrubs and three cars sat motionless in the driveway. Neighbors on the quiet street knew that the owner, a retired psychologist named Carina DeOcampo, was an odd, private person; even her family would leave bags of food on the front steps, then quickly drive away.

Deen lists tips for entertaining on budget

December 10, 2009 TV cooking star Paula Deen’s holiday dishes may be rich, but they’re not costly to prepare.Her Southern-style comfort food — down-home and traditional — is a natural fit for the season too. It works out for anyone on a budget who’s throwing a party for friends and family in coming weeks.“I’ve always referred to my food as very humble food,” said Deen, who hosts “Paula’s Home Cooking” on Food Network. “It’s not packed with expensive things to dress it up.”

Letters to Santa aren’t all about toys or manners

December 10, 2009 SCRANTON, Pa. — A microscope. A new puppy. A mother. And absolutely, positively NO CLOTHES.From the humorous to the heart-wrenching, children’s wish lists to Santa reveal that children aren’t as toy-centric as parents think — and that they’re not as polite as perhaps they should be.Carole Slotterback, a psychology professor at the University of Scranton, analyzed nearly 1,200 letters sent between 1998 and 2003 to the central post office in Scranton, a struggling former coal city in northeastern Pennsylvania.

News of Other Days

December 10, 2009 Editor’s note: This column ran previously in the Guard on Dec. 26, 1996. 

Frigid temps follow snow in Midwest

December 10, 2009 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Frigid temperatures iced the Upper Midwest as a storm that dumped more than a foot of snow in several states from Iowa to New England threatened another round today as it neared the end of its cross-country trek.Commuters from Des Moines to Chicago were warned of morning temperatures reaching 10 degrees at best and icy roads. Wind chill values could dip as low as negative 25 in parts of Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois, according to the National Weather Service.

End of the ’00s

December 10, 2009 Katrina natural disaster, just made worse by man 

Solar power coming soon to U.S. retailers

December 10, 2009 NEW YORK (AP) — Solar technology is going where it has never gone before: onto the shelves at retail stores where do-it-yourselfers can now plunk a panel into a shopping cart and bring it home to install.Lowe’s has begun stocking solar panels at its California stores and plans to roll them out across the country next year.This shows how far the highest of the high-tech alternative energy technologies has come. Solar power is now accessible to anyone with a ladder, a power drill, and the gumption to climb up on a roof and install the panels themselves.