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    WAYNE SLOCUM

    WAYNE SLOCUM

    Menopause might not be something every woman thinks about all the time, but every woman who is throwing off the covers from hot flashes is certainly thinking about it.

    Doctors define menopause as the natural stopping of the menstrual cycle for one year, and it usually happens around age 50. The time after the menses have stopped for over a year is referred to as the postmenopause (after the menopause).

    The ovaries are at the heart of the menopause. Healthy ovaries do two important things – they make eggs and they make hormones. When the ovaries have reached the menopause they no longer make eggs, so a woman who is postmenopausal can no longer have children. The second function of the ovaries is to make hormones. As a woman’s ovaries age her periods will start to become less cyclical. So as women reach their mid-40s it is not unusual for their menstrual periods to become closer together or further apart.

    The primary hormones produced by the ovaries are estrogen and progesterone. As these levels decrease not only do women become unable to get pregnant and have changes in their menstrual cycle, but numerous other changes may happen to a woman.

    While some women will have a big problem with these symptoms, many will have few problems or none at all. The length of time the symptoms affect women can vary from several months to several years.

    The most common symptom of the menopause is a hot flash. Hot flashes are described as a sudden feeling of heat that rushes throughout the body, most commonly the upper body and face. Quite often the skin might blush, and sometimes there is some sweating. Individual hot flashes last from seconds to several minutes, but are not the same as being hot all of the time. Hot flashes can occur during the day or at night (sometimes referred to as night sweats).

    Other changes that are common with the menopause are emotional changes, vaginal dryness, body shape changes, sleep disturbances, irregular menses and osteoporosis.

    So what can be done to help women through this natural part of their lives? Sometimes nothing is needed. In other cases simply understanding that this is a normal sequence of events is enough to make the symptoms more tolerable. Sometimes vaginal lubricants are helpful with the painful sex that can come from menopause. The hot flashes seem to respond to dietary changes and lifestyle changes in some people. Numerous over-the-counter remedies are available at both health food stores and in local pharmacies. Extra calcium is a good idea to help prevent osteoporosis.

    In some cases a physician might suggest hormone replacement therapy. Hormones have been shown to alleviate hot flashes and control irregular menses. Just as with any medication, there are risks and benefits with taking hormones. Your doctor should be able to help you decide if you should consider taking hormones.

    Dr. Wayne Slocum is a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with Obstetrics-Gynecology Associates, P.A., and on the medical staff at North Mississippi Medical Center.

    Two important elements in the long-term surface transportation plan for Northeast Mississippi open this week, the new Highway 6 link from Tupelo into Pontotoc County and a segment of the Northern Loop/Barnes Crossing West road, connecting U.S. 78 and North Gloster Street in Tupelo.

    Highway 6 opened Thursday morning; Barnes Crossing West opens with a ribbon-cutting at 9 a.m. today on the west side of the route’s new bridge spanning the Natchez Trace Parkway. Traffic must exit at Mt. Vernon Road until the final link is opened in the fall on completion of a new bridge over Highway 78 near Belden.

    Opening of the last link of the new Highway 6, in particular, strengthens the regional network of corridors.

    Traffic now can flow from Tupelo on four-lane highways to other four-lane connectors in every direction except eastward to Birmingham, where the critical I-65 interchange with the U.S. 78/Interstate 22 Corridor remains under construction. Completion of the spectacular $165 million, three-level, “stacked” interchange is projected for the fall of 2014.

    U.S. 45 connects with U.S. 82 near Starkville and West Point, in Meridian with Interstates 20 and 59, with I-40 in Jackson, Tennessee, and U.S. 78 connects indirectly with I-240 in Tennessee, but will connect directly with the new Interstate 69 near Holly Springs when that route opens.

    Additionally the four-lane arteries opened so far create a strong intra-state network in Northeast Mississippi, tying together the towns and cities from Starkville to the Tennessee line, Holly Springs to the Alabama line, and from Oxford/Batesville to Fulton.

    All the four-lane highways in Northeast Mississippi rise out of two concerns: Economic development and safety.

    Highway 6 is an example of a changed route to connect traffic, especially heavy commerce, to industrially developed areas on the U.S. 45 corridor. As it turns out, the new highway itself already is targeted for major economic development.

    The Community Development Foundation, in a joint venture with the Hancock family, is developing land for The Hive, an industrial park with frontage on the new Highway 6. Movement on those plans could begin in a few months.

    Dramatic infrastructure change requires seizing new opportunities.

    CAL THOMAS

    CAL THOMAS

    Gov. Rick Perry of Texas plans to order 1,000 National Guard troops to his state’s border with Mexico in an effort to stem the tide of immigrants illegally entering from Central America, dispersing around the country once they’ve made it into Texas.

    Critics will call it a stunt and accuse Perry of showboating, but at least he is taking action, while President Barack Obama, who took an oath to defend the country from all enemies foreign and domestic, drinks beer, plays pool and attends fundraisers as our borders are overrun.

    Polls show a majority of Americans favor stopping illegal aliens from entering the country.

    In a recent telephone survey by Rasmussen Reports, 59 percent of likely U.S. voters believe “the primary focus of any new immigration legislation passed by Congress should be to send the young illegal immigrants back home as quickly as possible.” Only 27 percent think they should be allowed to stay.

    The public isn’t buying what they’ve been told by the media and some Democrats that the illegal immigrants are fleeing dangerous conditions in their own countries.

    Texas’ border with Mexico is 1,200 miles long, and 1,000 National Guardsmen won’t make a significant difference, but as supplements to the U.S. Border Patrol they could slow the tide.

    During a 2012 Republican presidential debate, Perry defended giving in-state tuition breaks to illegal immigrants, saying those who opposed the practice don’t have a heart. That was about immigrants already here. At the time, Perry says he warned the administration of the increasing number of unaccompanied children crossing the border.

    If Perry’s detractors, of whom there are many, criticize him for a “symbolic” act, what about Obama’s motive for not sending federal troops, or finishing the border fence? Obama’s critics say the president is “importing” future Democratic voters and creating another underclass that will be dependent on government and thus, the party of big government, the Democrats.

    Action, even if insufficient to solve the problem, beats doing nothing in the minds of many Americans. Perry’s planned troop rollout will occur over the next 30 days. If it reduces the number of illegal immigrants flooding into Texas, Perry could embarrass and serve as a contrast to Obama and congressional Democrats. It might also improve Perry’s presidential chances should he seek the 2016 GOP nomination.

    Should the immigrants, as a result of Perry’s action, attempt to enter the U.S. at the borders of New Mexico, Arizona or California, the governors of those states might consider following Perry’s example.

    At an Austin news conference, Perry said he expects Washington to foot the bill for the cost of deploying the Texas National Guard. Good luck with that. He may have more success at the border than with Congress or Obama, who dither and waffle and stall as the issue of illegal immigration jumps to the top of American concerns.

    Cal Thomas’ latest book is “What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America” is available in bookstores now. Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribune.com.

    baseball_icon_greenBy David Wheeler

    Special to the Journal

    Better check the various junior college baseball schedules for the 2015 season – it will be very different.

    With the announcement last week that Meridian was leaving its independent status and rejoining the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges, there are now an odd number of schools to work out a fair league schedule. For the spring of 2015, the 15 teams will face each other once – in a doubleheader – to determine which schools make the postseason.

    “I’m excited about it, and I think it’s going to help our league,” said Northeast Tigers coach Kent Farris, whose squad hosted three other teams from the South Division for the finals of the Mississippi postseason back in the spring. “I think the regular-season champion will be more of a true champion.”

    Through 2014, there were seven teams in the South Division, and also seven teams in the North Division, including Northeast and Itawamba. Four teams from each division made the playoffs.

    Going forward, with Meridian in the South, the top two teams from each division make the playoffs, with the next four teams with the best records filling out the remaining eight slots.

    “To me, it’s true baseball, and the regular-season championship will have a lot more prestige,” Farris said. “And I think it will give the kids a lot more exposure because a lot of recruiting is done by talking to other coaches.”

    A casualty of the new format will be home-and-home series against traditional rivals, specifically in this corner of the state, Northeast versus Itawamba – at least for the 2015 season.

    With the new division schedules already on paper, Northeast and Itawamba would only play once in 2015. Plans are in the works for 2016 for Itawamba and Northeast to continue playing twice a season – once as a division doubleheader, and once as a non-division doubleheader.

    “You’ll get a good look at who the best teams in the state are,” Itawamba coach Rick Collier said. “I kind of like it, but you had better bring your ‘A’ game every time you play.”

    Southern Miss head coach Todd Monken closed his first season with his first victory. (AP Photo)

    Southern Miss head coach Todd Monken closed his first season with his first victory. (AP Photo)

    By Steve Hunt

    Special to the Journal

    IRVING, Texas – When Todd Monken became the new Southern Miss head coach in late 2012, the former Oklahoma State offensive coordinator figured his first win would come before the final game of his first season.

    But when the Golden Eagles beat UAB 62-27 on Nov. 30 in Birmingham, not only did Monken have his first win, but Southern Miss had something it hadn’t possessed in a long time – momentum heading into the offseason and spring football, something which would hopefully carry over into the Aug. 30 opener at Mississippi State.

    “Winning the last game brought a lot of juice to finish the season,” Monken said on Wednesday during the 2014 Conference USA Football Kickoff. “I think the things our players learned and our coaches learned about why we play the game, the ways that we can do it better, irrespective of winning or losing, how we treat our players.”

    However, that is not to say the Southern Miss head coach didn’t feel that the Golden Eagles’ 1-11 record wasn’t an accurate reflection of how things went in in 2013, because it was.

    “We earned the 1-11. There’s no way getting around it. Early on in the season, we had a couple games we should have won and didn’t,” Monken said. “Confidence is a powerful thing and we lost some of that early on and that took a while to get back. But no one’s going to bail us out but us. No one’s going to feel sorry for you. No, we’ve got to do it. We’ve got to dig ourselves out of this hole and we will.”

    One reason he’s so optimistic is because this season marks the first since 2011, the final year under Larry Fedora before he departed for North Carolina, that Southern Miss will have had the same head coach in consecutive seasons. And Monken feels stability is something every successful program must have.

    “Well, I think for the first time in four years, our players have the same head coach, same offense, defense and special teams,” Monken said. “So I think there’s a comfort there in our terminology. I think there’s a comfort there in terms of trust. We talk about an alignment of our present AD and coach, first time in a while that’s been the case, which allows you to pull in the same direction. I think there’s a lot of positives moving forward that I don’t think you realized maybe the year before.”

    No Golden Eagle knows that better than senior wide receiver Markese Triplett, who has already played for three head coaches. Like his teammates, he was longing for some stability heading into 2014.

    Embracing stability

    “Yeah, it’s tough. Since I’ve been here, I’ve had four different wide receivers coaches,” Triplett said. “So the stability of just having a constant leader and a constant motivator around when you need him and having his number where you can text him, it’s a good deal. I just love that.”

    Monken has been on the job for around 18 months, but it’s clear just how much his players have bought into not only his system and philosophy, but also into him as a person.

    A good example is senior defensive back Jacorius Cotton, who redshirted last season due to academic issues resulting largely from him becoming a father for the first time.

    And Cotton admits that after missing last season, he definitely heads into 2014 with something to prove, but gives Monken a great deal of credit for everything he did to help him through a tough 2013.

    “Coach Monken is a real players’ coach,” Cotton said. “He tries to do the utmost for our team, tries to do as much as he can to help us be a better person, be a better player and be a better student. I feel like coach Monken is always there for us. Coach Monken really helped me out a lot and guided me through last year.”

    But as Monken heads into Year 2, it’s clear there is nowhere he’d rather be than in Hattiesburg ready to spearhead a big turnaround.

    “Over the last 80 years, it’s the 20th-winningest program in football, so there’s a reason why it’s won,” Monken said. “There’s no barriers to success, and that’s where you want to be as a coach.”

    baseball_icon_greenBy David Wheeler

    Special to the Journal

    The Tupelo 49ers senior American. Legion baseball team is the defending state champion.

    “I don’t know if that’s an advantage,” Tupelo head coach Kirk Presley said. “But it’s better to have had that experience than not.”

    The 49ers barely have a handful of players returning from last year, but the 2014 group of players are ready to try to grab for some gold for themselves as the state tournament begins today at Pontotoc High School.

    Tupelo gets to throw the first pitch of the event, playing the Booneville Banditos at 5 p.m.

    “We like the team we have this year,” Presley said. “We have a roster full of guys that we can plug in and that gives us a chance to win.”

    While rarely having its full roster most weekends this summer, the 49ers have a 16-11 record, including an impressive tournament win in June at the University of North Alabama.

    Big hitters

    When Tupelo is swinging the bat, Amory graduates and Itawamba Community College players Tanner Poole and Hayden Williams are 2013 holdovers, and anchor the middle of the order. Poole is batting .425, and Williams .414 this summer.

    The 49ers have seven different players over the .400 mark, also including infielders Chase Cernigliaro from Tupelo at .419, and Tucker Jenkins from Baldwyn at .411

    Cernigliaro was an all-area selection in soccer, and started for the Golden Wave in baseball, but was not recruited in either sport.

    “I think we’ll be good in the tournament,” Poole said. “Our pitching will have to step up, but I think we have the arms that can.”

    The 49ers have at least eight pitchers that Presley could call on, with Collin McCrory (3-1) and Cole Robinson (2-2) from Amory, Ty Wheeler (3-1) from Tupelo, and Dillon Taylor (1-3) from Fulton as four potential starters.

    “Our pitching has been really solid, and kept us in games, and that will be key this weekend,” Presley said. “Going into nine inning state tournament games, with the heat, they will have to keep their pitch count down.”

    The winner of the Tupelo-Booneville game will play host Pontotoc Red Sox at 10 a.m. Saturday. The other Friday game will feature Hattiesburg versus Vancleave at 8 p.m.

    Jody Stegall of Grenada claimed the big fish bounty with a flathead that weight in at 66.6 pounds. (Courtesy)

    Jody Stegall of Grenada claimed the big fish bounty with a flathead that weight in at 66.6 pounds. (Courtesy)

    By Kevin Tate

    Outdoors Writer

    The first time Dwain Brister laid hands on a catfish in the latter’s home depths he was pulled, yanked, twisted – and hooked. Nearly 20 years later, he and his friends have launched a statewide mission to share the adrenaline rush that makes such an experience one many can’t wait to do again.

    Known by a variety of terms, the practice of locating big catfish in their underwater lairs, engaging them in hand-to-mouth combat and hauling them topside is a passion for many, but one without much of a support network in our state. Grabbing or grabbling, as it’s typically known here, has been a tradition sold by word of mouth and passed along from mentor to apprentice and friend to friend.

    “My uncle got me into hand grabbing 19 years ago,” Brister, from McComb, said. “The excitement is all about the hunt of the fish. Back then, though, if we saw five other boats in a weekend hand grabbing on Ross Barnett Reservoir, we thought it was crowded.

    “When I got started there was really nothing in the state, organization-wise, for hand grabbers. Several of us down here that fished together started calling ourselves the Mississippi Handgrabbers Association just for fun, and we talked a lot about doing something official, about taking the group statewide.”

    Family tradition

    When Brister’s uncle and hand grabbing mentor passed away, he was spurred to action.

    “I’d talked with him a lot about launching a statewide organization,” Brister said. “When he died, I decided it was either time to act, or time to forget about it and move on, to just let the idea go. I decided to act. Each year, at the beginning of the season, we dedicate the first fish caught to his memory. I dedicate this association to him and the other great hand grabbers who have passed down their knowledge to us so that their legacy and this way of life can be passed down for generations to come.”

    He and his friends made their group’s name official and launched a statewide tournament and big fish bounty that ran much of the duration of the past hand grabbing season, which closed July 15, in a format that gave every participant plenty of opportunity to put their best fish forward. Official check stations were established at weigh-in sites across the state, all using certified scales, and the tournament ran its course over several weeks.

    “Everybody’s got their own honey hole,” Brister said. “By doing it that way, everyone could fish their own turf and just focus on getting the biggest fish they could to the scales.”

    Tournament entrants were encouraged to bring in their biggest fish as they caught them, not necessarily all on the same day, eventually accumulating the weights of their five largest to comprise their tournament string. Big fish bounty entrants enjoyed a similar system.

    Participants could enter in teams or as individuals, and they could enter the tournament or the big fish bounty or both. In all, 1,172 pounds of fish were weighed in by contestants spread across the state. The big fish bounty went to Jody Stegall, from Grenada, with a winning weight of 66.6 pounds, edging out the next closest entrant by 17 ounces.

    Passing it on

    First place in the tournament went to Team Mississippi, from Madison, with a total stringer of 255.68 pounds. Second place was claimed by Sean Adkins, from Utica, with 197.8 pounds, and third went to the team Mississippi’s Finest, from Grenada, with a weight of 157.7 pounds.

    Brister says this past tournament is just the beginning. The association has been marketing itself through social media and at wildlife expos and will continue to do so. To learn more about the group, visit mshga.com.

    KEVIN TATE

    KEVIN TATE

    When I pushed the ladder over the pile and leaned in to grab my turkey vest, two panels from a dog pen clamped down on my left hand and made me howl. I stepped backward onto a tailgating chair that lay where I’d tossed it after park and rec baseball was done two months ago. The chair rolled from under my foot and I fell into a heap of extension cords, narrowly missing a stack of Christmas decorations and bending my favorite fishing rod into a shape that resembled the number 3. Somewhere underneath was a case of clay pigeons, or so I judged by the muffled crunch my landing made. At least, I hope it was clay pigeons.

    I was looking for my turkey hunting gear to pose in some photos I wanted to shoot, but finding anything out of season is always a chore. I’d not expected to need it before March. As it was, I felt I’d be lucky to find it by then.

    Sorting through any pile of equipment is always a long-term process for me because, eventually, everything in it becomes a talisman for a memory. The rod my little boy used to catch his first fish stood in one of the boots my little girl wore on her first hunt. I tripped over both and knocked into a tooled leather shotgun case one of my Old Men carried as a boy.

    The room, which I do occasionally put into order, is so full that the removal and return of any two items is enough to turn it upside down again. I guess it’s a physical twin of memory itself. I don’t worry about anything getting stolen from either because, even though some of the things cost a lot, they wouldn’t be worth much to anyone but their owner. Besides, the disorder alone should be enough to repel any thief. In both cases, when I set out in search of something, I can be confident it’s in there somewhere and, in the looking, many other forgotten things are found.

    Neither system for memory storage is ideal, physical or otherwise, but then the items’ distribution ensures they all get touched from time to time, and I suppose that’s the reason we keep them after all.

    Kevin Tate is V.P. of Media Productions for Mossy Oak in West Point.

    Houston’s solar car team takes a break for a photo on the speedway before competing and winning first place. (Courtesy)

    Houston’s solar car team takes a break for a photo on the speedway before competing and winning first place. (Courtesy)

    By Floyd Ingram

    Chickasaw Journal

    HOUSTON – For the 14th year in a row the Houston Solar Car Team has gone to Texas and beaten every other high school solar car team in the nation.

    Sundancer, the name of the Houston solar vehicle, crossed the Solar Challenge finish line in Austin, Texas, on Thursday afternoon with an unofficial 120-mile lead over its nearest competitor in the four-day hybrid race that saw two days of racing on the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth and two days of road racing to Austin.

    “The car performed perfectly and did so well,” said Houston Solar Car team captain Kristen Black. “I am so proud of this team. The car was ready, they were ready and we won it all – again.”

    Black, a third-year veteran of the Houston School of Science and Technology’s solar car program, said there were no major navigation errors, no glaring safety issues and no major mechanical or electrical problems.

    “I worried about me being the captain of the team that broke the streak,” said Black. “But then we started racing, got out front and stayed out front. This feeling of being the best in this race is what solar car is all about.”

    Black and the Houston Solar Car Team accepted their 14th Solar Challenge Championship Trophy at a banquet at the University of Texas at Austin on Thursday night.

    Twenty-five teams – a competition record – entered this year, racing under a new format called hybrid racing that saw two days of closed circuit racing on the Texas Motor Speedway and two days of road racing from Fort Worth via Waco to Austin.

    The team is expected to return to Houston Saturday afternoon.

    floyd.ingram@journalinc.com

     

    town_tupelo_greenDaily Journal

    TUPELO – Two streets downtown will be partially closed this weekend for a Tupelo Film Commission project.

    Main Street will be closed from Front to Spring streets, while Front Street will be closed from Main to Court Street. The closures will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

    All businesses in the area will keep regular business hours during this time.