A Brutal Allergy Season Is Ahead. Blame the Polar Vortex.

One week ago, I purchased the first asthma inhaler I’ve owned since the 8th grade. …"We’re expecting a lot of cases like you," my doctor told me as he wrote my prescription. "It’s going to be a hell of a pollen season." And for that, you can blame the polar vortex—the extreme cold system that repeatedly hovered over much of the United States this year—along with the rest of this winter’s brutal weather. …While no single weather event—the cold snaps that caused this year’s pollen vortex, for example—can be directly attributed to global warming, the science community is engaged in a lively debate over whether climate change is making unusual weather events, including severe cold temperatures, more likely. Jennifer Francis, a research professor at Rutgers University, argues that the rapidly warming Arctic has caused the jet stream to slow, which could result in atmospheric events, such as winter storms, staying put for longer…The future may offer a reprieve from agonizing allergy seasons. Leonard Bielory, an environmental sciences professor at Rutgers, predicted in Scientific American that a warming planet will eventually cause pollen counts to taper off. "It cannot continue on a linear scale," he said. "If heat goes up to a certain temperature, plants will die. It will hit a breaking point." Of course, at that point, a prolonged allergy season won’t be high on the list of problems.

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Ag expert to present research on peppers

Wesley Kline, agricultural and resource management agent with Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Cumberland County, will share the results of years of pepper trial research with Rutgers Master Gardeners of Cumberland County at the group’s monthly program and business meeting.

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S.J. food stamp recipients learn to budget and plan

An anonymous fresh produce donation left at Colonial Manor Methodist Church is a blessing for the volunteer food pantry operating out of the church basement. …Their source is a mystery pantry founder Alice McKewen doesn’t mind leaving unsolved. It’s never been easy for federal food stamp recipients to stretch their allowance….In Gloucester County, 11,500 households receive SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, a 4.7 percent increase since January 2013, according to Ed Smith, the county’s Division of Social Services superintendent. More than 31,700 Camden County households benefit from SNAP. On average, a family of four in Camden County receives $632 a month, according to its Division of Social Services. That’s just under $160 for groceries every week."People don’t necessarily know how to shop smart, or how to get through until the end of the month on their SNAP dollars, " said Luann Hughes, an educator at the Rutgers Cooperative Extension. "Budgeting and food planning help you stretch your dollars." Hughes’ programs target low-income families who may use food stamps. Her first lesson teaches SNAP students how to fill their pantries. Pick up pasta, canned vegetables, beans and soups from food pantries, and save food stamps for produce and meats, she advised.

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Brevoort Conover, retired Warren County 4-H Agent, dies at 83

Brevoort C. Conover, a former Warren County 4-H Agent and New Jersey State 4-H Youth Development department chair, died peacefully at his home in Bethlehem, Pa on April 13, 2014, surrounded by his family. He was 83. Conover proudly served as faculty of the Rutgers University Cooperative Extension for 30 years, attaining the rank of professor 1. He served as the Warren County 4-H agent for 19 years before being elected state department chair in 1978.He served in that position for nine years, and then served an additional two years as the Extension 4-H Specialist. He was a life member of the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents, serving various offices, including national president in 1974. He retired in 1989 as a professor emeritus. He was a member of the Rutgers Retired Faculty Association and a member of the Henry Rutgers Society. In 2010, he was recognized for his years of distinguished service with induction into the National 4-H Hall of Fame at the National 4-H Center in Chevy Chase, Md.

Read the entire article at Hunterdon County Democrat »

Rutgers Marine Field Station Director Ken Able Talks on Its History

The Tuckerton Historical Society is hosting Ken Able, ichthyologist and the director of the Rutgers Marine Field Station, at its Giffordtown Schoolhouse Museum on Saturday, April 26, from 2 to 4 p.m. Many boaters would recognize the Rutgers Marine Field Station as they motor from Barnegat Bay to Great Bay and beyond.

Read the entire article at The SandPaper.net »