Posts tagged ‘LSU agcenter’

Shooting their way to college

Olyvia, 11, Landon and Hunter, both 13 practice shooting in the prone position.


In Louisiana, when you think about kids learning to shoot a rifle, you usually think hunting.
For John Hashagen, he pitches it as a way to an affordable college education.
The West Feliciana Parish Manager also serves as head coach of the parish’s 4-H Rifle Team.
“It was something that our son Christian competed in, so we were attending practices and competitions, then I got certified as a coach,” Hashagen said. “My son is no longer in it, but I love volunteering. It’s a good program and it’s fun.”
His son now competes on the Rifle Team at Morehead State University in Kentucky.

Coach John Hashagen displays one of the Daisy Avanti bb guns his young students use to practice shooting.


He said about 35 colleges across the country have rifle teams and he has created somewhat of a pipeline over the last four or five years as participation has increased from about 40 kids when he started coaching eight years ago to 152 kids, who will be participating this year. He said almost all of the kids who graduate from the program go on to receive scholarships.
He said in his eight years as a coach, his students have gone on to attend, on scholarship, schools such as the Air Force Academy, University of Akron and Tennesee Tech.
“I think it’s a good sport for kids to get into at an early age because it’s a sport that virtually every kid can participate in. It has individual and team competitions and it teaches them discipline, which a lot of kids lack these days,” Hashagen said.
With 4-H, the smaller kids will use BB guns for practice and sporter rifles for competition.
The West Feliciana team’s rifles were purchased with a $12,000 grant from the National Rifle Associations Friends of the NRA program.
Hashagen also credits the LSU AgCenter with providing him with the means to become a certified coach, as well as providing the liability insurance policy that is required when transporting the kids to and from competitions.
Hashagen admitted that the sport can be cost prohibitive as they get older. A precision rifle, required for college competition, costs about $2,000. This is along with almost $4,000 in additional equipment.
“But I also tell parents to think about it this way, we are paying $2,500 a semester for our son to attend a school that costs $14,000 a semester,” Hashagen said.
On Saturday, the three Sonnier children were setting up for practice. All joined last year and already have long-term goals for the sport.
Olyvia, 11, is looking to beat her current high score of 141 and to get past qualifying rounds of the Junior Olympics to compete on a national level.
Landon, 13, hopes continuing to develop his shooting skills will help him when he looks to join the military after high school. He hasn’t decided which branch just yet.
Hunter, 13, is looking to steadily improve in local competitions before moving up to bigger competitions.
Hunter and Landon’s determination has also turned into a bit or a competition between each other as well.
“When we got the notice that there were spots available for them, I took them to sign up that same day becuase they had been asking to join for a while, said their mother Tina Sonnier.

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September 22, 2012 at 6:59 pm Leave a comment

DRY, HOT SUMMER: SW La. faces water watch

Drying soil stresses area agriculture
*published June 23, 2009
BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS

Some folks are feeling the pain of the abnormally dry conditions that continue throughout the area.

“Most of the parish has not had rain for at least three weeks,” said Jerry Whatley, a county agent with the LSU AgCenter Extension Service.

Whatley’s main focus is on crops.

“What’s significant is that if we were having 60-degree weather,” the moisture shortage would not be as bad.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture estimate has 82 percent of the state labeled as short or very short on soil moisture for the week that ended Sunday.

About three weeks ago, 83 percent of the state had adequate or surplus moisture.

Whatley said rice and sugarcane producers are seeing their costs go up as they pump more water from their irrigation wells.

He also suggested some homeowners shouldn’t focus on their yards as much as usual.

“I know most people want to maintain their lawns and gardens, but they don’t realize how much moisture that takes,” Whatley said.

According to the latest drought outlook from the National Weather Service, the area is considered abnormally dry, with the next step being a moderate drought.

“If we don’t get any rain in the next few weeks, we could be headed that way,” said Joe Rua, a meteorologist with the weather service’s Lake Charles office.

This week’s forecast has temperatures in the high 90s all week, with the first chance of moisture on Saturday — a 20 percent chance of rain.

Whatley said the AgCenter expects the scorching weather to persist for the next 60 days.

In the cattle industry, this drought is bringing on longterm negative effects, Whatley said.

“Without proper moisture, the quality of forage decreases,” Whatley said.

For nursing cows, this causes a decrease in milk production, making it harder for them to feed their calves. Pregnant cows use more of their body fat.

“So when they give birth, they are in a poorer condition and struggle to not only feed the newborn calves, but will also rebreed slower,” Whatley said. “All of this translates to lost money for the owners.”

Lake Charles water superintendent Russell Buckles said last week that the city was pumping higher volumes of water to deal with the increased use.

Buckles suggested residents water early in the morning or late in the day and not let water overrun into the street and drains.

Brady Miller beats the heat by jumping the cool water in Prien Lake Park on Monday. With dry conditions and high temperatures expected throughout the week, this and other area water parks should be popular spots for area residents.  BY KAREN WINK

Brady Miller beats the heat by jumping the cool water in Prien Lake Park on Monday. With dry conditions and high temperatures expected throughout the week, this and other area water parks should be popular spots for area residents. BY KAREN WINK

Last Thursday, the Lake Charles Fire Department suspended indefinitely all burn permits and burning in general in the Ward 3 fire district.

“We had been following the conditions and decided as a precaution to put this in place,” said Capt. Jeremy LeBlanc.

He said there had been some grass fires, but not an alarming number.

article link: http://bit.ly/3InZF7

June 23, 2009 at 4:02 am Leave a comment

CAMERON TOUR OF HOMES

The home of Dave and Debbie Savoie was one of four chosen for display in the Cameron Parish Tour of Homes on Sunday. BY KAREN WINK

The home of Dave and Debbie Savoie was one of four chosen for display in the Cameron Parish Tour of Homes on Sunday. BY KAREN WINK

Higher, stronger, smarter houses survive
*published May 18, 2009

CAMERON — Four Cameron Parish residents on Sunday showed that hurricane preparation can be stylish.

Their homes serve as examples of how houses in the area should be elevated and fortified against hurricanes.

The tour of the homes was sponsored by the LSU AgCenter and the Cameron Parish Police Jury.

They were all built to satisfy residential building code hurricane resistance requirements after the original homes were destroyed by Hurricane Rita. All of the homes survived Hurricane Ike with minimal damage.

 Louisiana State University Extension associate Lilli Arning shows how ties are used throughout the housing framework to Katie, Angie and Butch Burgress of Longville during the Cameron Parish Tour of Homes. BY KAREN WINK

Louisiana State University Extension associate Lilli Arning shows how ties are used throughout the housing framework to Katie, Angie and Butch Burgress of Longville during the Cameron Parish Tour of Homes. BY KAREN WINK


In the first home — owned by Dave and Debbie Savoie — Lilli Arning, an extension associate with the AgCenter, showed off impact-resistant windows on the front of the house.

“This is very important because when the windows are blown out, there is a chance for uplift,” Arning said. “This is when wind comes in and can rip off the entire roof.”

Arning offered paperwork about tax credits, and Savoie talked about grants that helped her pay for part of the elevator she would need because her son, Jeremy, uses a wheelchair.

The Office of Citizens with Developmental Disabilities paid the $17,500 for the elevator.

Lower Cameron Parish resident Stephanie Rodrigue speaks to Helene and Gabbie Massey of Grand Lake during the Cameron Parish Tour of Homes. BY KAREN WINK

Lower Cameron Parish resident Stephanie Rodrigue speaks to Helene and Gabbie Massey of Grand Lake during the Cameron Parish Tour of Homes. BY KAREN WINK


“We want people to know you can live on the coast,” said Cynthia Richard, an extension associate with the AgCenter. She gave a tour of Cecil and Leslie Clark’s home.

“As long as they build their houses stronger and smarter, they won’t have to rebuild from scratch,” Richard said.

Richard and Arning both stressed the need to get insurance.

“The higher you build, the lower your premiums will be,” Arning said while explaining the need to build to certain standards.

Another feature is a strapping system in which the house is heavily bolted to the foundation of the home.

“The house isn’t just nailed down,” Arning said. “There is a continuous loadbearing path connecting each part of the house.”

Arning talked about the importance of having the house elevated and that it be safely connected to the foundation to fight water and winds.

Two other features common on all four houses were heating and air-conditioning systems completely elevated on the back porches, and ondemand water heaters.

The on-demand water heaters are more environmentally friendly and result in lower water bills, according to Debbie Savoie, but they cost more than traditional water heaters.

Nicky and Stephanie Rodrigue displayed pictures of their home after Hurricane Ike. The only damage seen was of the doors on the first floor and the breakaway walls, which the family credits with keeping the second floor from being damaged.

The walls on the first floor are secured with nails that are a half-inch shorter than the ones used on the second floor.

When they are hit with heavy wind or rain, they fall off. If they were connected to the second floor, a heavy wind could pull the entire side of the house down.

Stephanie Rodrigue estimated that about 30 people visited her home on Sunday.

Butch Burgess of Longville took the tour with his wife and daughter, Angie and Katie, simply out of curiosity.

Betty Anderson, who lives in Lake Charles, said she wanted to see the homes and the features that helped them withstand hurricanes.

“There is a lot of outside criticism about people who want to live so close to the coast,” Anderson said. “But this just shows that if you plan ahead and properly, your house will survive.”

article link:http://bit.ly/k0C4b

May 18, 2009 at 2:11 pm Leave a comment