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Forester: How to heal flooded trees

Florida has received an exceptional amount of rain this summer that has led to flooding on our rivers, creeks, swamps, and other low lying areas. Although trees require water to grow and stay healthy, too much of a good thing can stress our trees causing growth loss, disease, insect outbreaks and in some cases death.

A few tree species, such as bald cypress, is adapted to frequent flooding and will survive this excessively wet summer without harm. However, many of our trees will be stressed for several years even after the high waters recede. The first symptoms usually noticed are leaf yellowing, shoot growth, crown die-back and defoliation.

There are many factors that determine if a tree will survive flooding including species, age, vigor, flood duration, location, soil characteristics and the time of year. Once a tree becomes weakened, it is more prone to insect and disease damage. When the ground becomes saturated, conditions are ideal for fungal problems that lead to root rot diseases. Flooded soil conditions promote reproduction and dispersal of these fungi but also promote the susceptibility of roots to infection. Saturated soils also reduce soil oxygen levels that may cause some roots to die leaving the tree with a smaller root system to recover from the stress.

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Hurricane Andrew memories still vivid after two decades

Anne MoshierSanderson resident Anne Moshier fled Homestead, FL as a young girl to escape the wrath of Hurricane Andrew, which devastated the city and much of South Florida 20 years ago.

Last week on August 24, the anniversary of the hurricane’s landfill, Ms. Moshier updated her Facebook status to say, “Hurricane Andrew changed my life forever …”

That day would have been her first day of 5th grade at South Dade Baptist Church and School. But the day before, she recalled this week, her parents, Terry and Howard Moshier, were in a frenzy.

Hurricane Andrew had reached Category 5 intensity and would become the costliest hurricane in U.S. history, that is until Hurricane Katrina hit some 15 years later in 2005.

But in the days leading up to impact, the hurricane was forecasted to make landfall further south, so the Moshiers, who lived in a sturdy home on the Homestead Air Force Base where her father was stationed, had not prepared.

“All the TVs in the house were on,” recalled Ms. Moshier, a Macclenny photographer. “The military police were on their loud speakers ordering everyone out. It was very surreal, like a bad dream. We started packing the truck with important papers, our pets and so forth. My dad was concerned about his Harley, so we brought it into the kitchen. I thought it was the funniest thing, but then again, I was a child and Daddy’s bike was never allowed inside.”

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BCHS alum performs at Olympics with Gator band

Taylor Hartley at Victoria Park performing before the opening ceremonies.Baker High alum and member of the Florida Gators marching band Taylor Hartley returned from London on July 31 after performing in the Olympics and squeezing in some sightseeing during a very busy week-long trip.

The Press caught up with the 19-year-old Glen St. Mary native now attending the University of Florida and studying tourism and hospitality upon her return for an interview via e-mail.

She is a 2011 graduated of the high school and the daughter of Rhonda and Mark Hartley, also of Glen.

Press: Had you ever been abroad before?

Hartley: I actually have never been abroad before. This made the trip even more exciting. I had flown before, but not more than about 2 hours, so a 6-hour flight seemed crazy. I really enjoyed the trip. My favorite part of the flight was having access to movies and games. A few of the band members and I played trivia on the flight there. I was really nervous about flying over the water, but I just said a little prayer to myself right before take off and that helped calm my nerves.

Press: When and how did you find out the Gator band would be going to the Olympics?

Hartley: We were told about the trip at band practice during the fall. At first, we were just in awe, then there were a few screams and jumping up and down. It was one of the most exciting days. However, we were still not sure it was actually going to happen. Therefore, we tried to stay as calm as possible until we knew for sure. They announced our news to the entire Gator Nation at one of the home games during halftime.

Press: What is your role in the band? And what was the band’s role in the Olympics?

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More than just man’s best friend

Cookie pulls Crystal Crosby.Cookie may not have the horsepower of her equine neighbors, but she can certainly imitate them.

With help from Crystal Crosby, Cookie’s amateur trainer and owner, the Australian Shepherd has learned to pull a buggy-like contraption with two wheels, a seat and reins.

“She’s really an intelligent dog,” said Ms. Crosby, 17, who first met Cookie at 8 weeks old.

Back in 2007, her father, Wayne Crosby, brought the puppy back from an Amish farm in Ohio as a birthday present for his daughter. He was struck by how well the breed followed commands and herded cattle on the farm.

“That’s what sold me on them, really,” said Mr. Crosby, who moved his family here from Jacksonville in 1999.

Even in the nearly 100-degree heat, Cookie had no problem getting strapped into a harness and towing Ms. Crosby up and down their gravel drive known as Penelope Lane south of Macclenny to show-off her skills on July 9.

The buggy and the harness that Cookie uses to pull it weigh about 30 pounds. They’re made by a Perry, GA-based company, Chalo Sulkey. The company’s motto: “Because dogs love to pull.”

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