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January 2008 Archives

You can't see it. You can't smell it and it has no taste. Yet this natural byproduct of radioactive decay is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, and the No. 1 cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers, according to new research from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Extension housing specialist Bill Angell, chair of the WHO International Radon Project's Mitigation and Prevention Working Group, says: "Our risk is higher in Minnesota partly due to our geology"--soil in the Upper Midwest contains widespread uranium and radium--"and partly due to having our homes closed up so much of the year to stay warm."

The need to train Spanish-speaking restaurant workers in food safety practices has increased significantly in recent years, and the trend is expected to continue. According to the State Demographic Center, Minnesota's Hispanic population will grow by 47 percent from 2005 to 2015. Extension-taught ServSafe® courses proved successful for English language speakers, but up until early last year, a Spanish version of the course had low passing rates in Minnesota.

At first glance, they appear to have nothing in common: a nonprofit sexual-assault coalition and a county program to assist homeowners with shoreland management. On closer inspection, however, the similarities become clearer. Both provide services that benefit individuals. They also share a common problem: explaining to lawmakers and the public at large how those services work for the common good. That's where Extension's Public Value Program comes in.

ugust 18, 2007. As drought scorched northeastern Minnesota, record rains of up to 20 inches flooded the southeastern part of the state. During the three-day deluge, streams and rivers swelled to dangerous levels. Mudslides and foamy, debris-laden water washed out roads and destroyed homes and businesses. Crops on the cusp of harvest were demolished. In the end, seven people were dead and thousands left with only pieces of their former lives.

Despite tragedy, all hope was not lost. Relief came in many forms during the torrential rains, including the University of Minnesota Extension.

Minnesota dairy cows may not be ready to run the Boston Marathon, but they do have a little extra zip in their step these days. Their feet and legs are healthier because University of Minnesota research on cow comfort is encouraging farmers to make substantial changes in dairy cow housing. As a result, comfortable cows are giving more milk--a boon to local producers and part of the reason for increased confidence in the farmers' ability to compete nationally. The number of dairy cows in Minnesota is on the rise, fueling cautious optimism that the heart of the industry remains here in the Midwest, not headed for western states.

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