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E-cigarettes and the Health Risks for Youth

Overall youth tobacco use has increased for the first time since 2000. A study of Minnesota high school youth showed a 50 percent increase in electronic cigarettes usage over regular cigarette usage since 2014, with one in five high school students having tried e-cigarettes. While school districts and public health services across the state are working to address tobacco use among adolescents, it is important for parents to have an understanding of what e-cigarettes are, how the use of nicotine effects youth development and ways to address the growing health concern.

Electronic cigarettes, often referred to as E-cigarettes, are battery operated devices that contain an aerosolized liquid called e-juice. While conventional cigarettes are “smoked”, when an individual uses an e-cigarette it is referred to as “vaping”. There are several different types of e-cigarettes, including vape pens, hookah pens, e-pipes and the latest, JUUL. JUUL is a popular e-cigarette used among youth for several reasons. This particular e-cigarette resembles a USB flash drive and has a decreased odor, which makes it easier to hide. Like other vaping products, JUUL is available in several fruit, candy and mint flavors which all entice youth. 

Despite the common misconception among youth that vaping is safe, nearly all e-cigarettes contain a mixture of liquid nicotine and other chemicals.  The concentration of nicotine in JUUL alone is twice that of other e-cigarettes and easily absorbed into the body.  A single JUUL pod may contain as much nicotine as 20 conventional cigarettes.  

There is no safe amount of nicotine. It is highly addictive and harmful to adolescent brain development. Even limited use of nicotine in youth can cause lifelong changes in their brain development including decreased attention span and ability to learn, trouble with memorization, mental health/behavioral concerns and an increased risk of future addictions to other substances. 

With the increased use of vaping products, along with the danger it poses for youth, it is time for our community to come together and do what we can to educate and advocate for the students at MCC.  The most important thing we can do, which may sometime be challenging, is to talk to our youth about the health risks of using e-cigarettes.  This includes clearing any misconceptions they may have about the safety of vaping, along with how to handle peer pressure.  

For more information, please refer to the Minnesota Department of Health website at or feel free to call the MCC Health Office at 507-836-1734.

Thank you,
Amanda Tentinger LSN PHN

Winterizing the Lawn

Melissa Runck is an Extension Educator-Ag Production Systems with University of Minnesota Extension in Murray and Pipestone Counties.

SLAYTON, Minn. (10/16/2018) — The end of the growing season is among us, and for some of us that’s exciting news, especially when it comes to our lawns.  Every fall the question arises at our house, “When can I stop mowing the lawn?”.  For us it’s a matter of convenience, for others it’s a matter of proper lawn care/maintenance.  Whatever your take is on the growing season coming to a close, there are several things you can do to make sure your lawn emerges healthy and green next spring. 

In the Midwest our lawns are typically comprised of grass species Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and fescues.  For Minnesota lawns, UMN Extension Educator Sam Bauer recommends that homeowners maintain a grass height of 3 inches or higher.  His reasoning for a taller cut height is that taller grass will shade out weeds and keep soil cooler during hot summer months.  Taller grass will also have a longer root system and better ability to reach nutrients and withstand drought conditions.  It is recommended to never remove more than 1/3 of the leaf tissue (1/3 of the length of the grass blade).  Mowing grass too short, or scalping, will cause stress to the grass plant and take longer for the plant to recover.  To maintain a 3 inch grass cut height, mow the lawn before the grass reaches 4.5 inches tall.  

This past week had many homeowners out mowing their lawns in Carhartts, stocking hats, and mittens, which leads to the question of what time of year should you stop mowing your lawn?  You should continue to mow your lawn until the grass stops growing, which for our area is generally around the end of October.  Even if you rake up or bag lawn clippings normally, it is recommended to leave or return lawn clippings to the ground in the fall.  Decomposed lawn clippings add the equivalent of one fertilizer application to your lawn each year, help to minimize water runoff and improve soil quality, and also help to improve carbon sequestration.  

If your lawn clippings are too long, however (if you’re seeing clumps or piles of clippings strewn across the lawn), then you should either mulch them by mowing over them again or rake them up and remove them.  

Even though grass vertical growth is slowing down and finally stopping in the fall, the roots will continue to absorb and utilize nutrients for as long as the grass stays green and the ground is not frozen.  This makes an application of late fall fertilizer important for extended fall color retention, early lawn green-up in the spring, deeper root growth, and increased stress tolerance.  UNL Extension Educator Sarah Browning recommends making a lawn fertilizer application around the time of the last fall mowing, stating that lawns should receive about 0.5-0.75 pounds of Nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.  Do not apply fertilizer after the grass has turned brown or if the ground is frozen. 

If homeowners have large, mature trees in their lawn then the fallen leaves will need to be managed properly.  A thick layer of leaves left on a lawn will become wet and matted, and will smother the grass underneath and create conditions suitable for snow mold development.  A thick leaf layer left on the lawn is also an ideal habitat for voles, who will find protection from the leaf layer and cause extensive damage to the lawn with their winter-feeding activities.  

Lastly, homeowners need to make sure that mower blades are sharp.  Dull mower blades will leave rough, jagged edges on the grass, making the plant more susceptible to disease.  If mower blades are sharp they will result in cleanly-cut grass blades that are better able to conserve water, thereby reducing the need for irrigation later on.  

These are just a few simple recommendations for homeowners to help winterize their lawns, and hopefully encourage faster green-up in the spring, no dead spots in the grass, and promote overall better plant health.  

USDA Market Facilitation Program

USDA launched the trade mitigation package aimed at assisting farmers suffering from damage due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations. Producers of certain commodities can now sign up for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP).

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will administer MFP to provide payments to corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, wheat, shelled almond, and fresh sweet cherry producers. An announcement about further payments will be made in the coming months, if warranted.  

The sign-up period for MFP runs through Jan. 15, 2019, with information and instructions provided at MFP provides payments to producers of eligible commodities who have been significantly impacted by actions of foreign governments resulting in the loss of traditional exports. Eligible producers should apply after harvest is complete, as payments will only be issued once production is reported. 

A payment will be issued on 50 percent of the producer’s total production, multiplied by the MFP rate for a specific commodity. A second payment period, if warranted, will be determined by the USDA. 

MFP payments are capped per person or legal entity as follows:

• A combined $125,000 for eligible crop commodities

• A combined $125,000 for dairy production and hogs

• A combined $125,000 for fresh sweet cherries and almonds

Applicants must also have an average adjusted gross income for tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 of less than $900,000. Applicants must also comply with the provisions of the Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation regulations.

Expanded Hog Timeline

USDA has expanded the timeline for producers with whom the Aug. 1, 2018, date does not accurately represent the number of head of live hogs they own. Producers may now choose any date between July 15 to Aug. 15, 2018 that correctly reflects their actual operation.

MFP applications are available online at Applications can be completed at a local FSA office or submitted electronically either by scanning, emailing, or faxing. To locate or contact your local FSA office, visit

Murray County Medical Center Celebrates Respiratory Care Week, October 21-27


•Lung Disease is the third cause of death worldwide

•Asthma affects 235 million people

•Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (COPD) affects more than 200 million people

The average healthy person takes 12-20 breaths per minute. This is a function that your body naturally performs. We all take normal breathing for granted until shortness of breath disrupts our normal daily activities and does not allow us to live our life to its fullest potential.

It is unique that our community has access to a Respiratory Care Department right here at Murray County Medical Center in Slayton.


Respiratory Therapy is specialized health care for patients who have trouble breathing and/or have underlying cardiopulmonary issues such as:

• Asthma

• COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

• Emphysema

• Pneumonia

• Cardiovascular/Heart 


Murray County Medical Center provides a variety of interventions, screenings and tests to help identify, prevent and treat acute or chronic dysfunctions of the cardiopulmonary system including:

• Cardiac Stress Testing

• Injection/Pharmacological

• Stress Echocardiogram

• Treadmill

• Cardiovascular Testing

• Echocardiogram

• Electrocardiogram (EKG)

• Holter Monitor

• Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT)

• Spirometry

• Spirometry with bronchodilator

• Bronchial challenge with methacholine

• Complete PFT

• Sleep Studies

• Electroencephalogram (EEG)


MCMC’s Respiratory Care Team offers therapy options prescribed by your provider on an inpatient and outpatient basis. We work with the clinic, Emergency Department and hospital in-patient settings and offers compassionate and expert care to pediatric, adult and geriatric patients in the following areas:

• Pulmonary Rehab

• Oxygen Therapy/Testing

• Nebulizers

• Incentive Spirometry

•Arterial Blood Gas Analysis

• Ventilator Support

• Trauma Team/CPR


• Cough and Airway Clearance Techniques


Get a FREE Spirometry screen on Wed, Oct 24th! This screen is a common breathing test to diagnose asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other conditions that affect breathing.

The Spirometry Breathing measures:

• how much air you inhale

• how much you exhale

• how quickly you exhale

Call MCMC’s Respiratory Therapy Department at 507.836.1234 to schedule your free screening on Wed, Oct 24.


Lincare Holdings, provider of oxygen and other respiratory therapy supplies and services will be at MCMC in Slayton to provide complimentary services and sell supplies. 

Complimentary CPAP services include:

• Download a report from your machine

• Evaluate your equipment

• Complete a pressure check

• Assess your mask