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Author: Tracy DeStazio

Fixing Fido: Do the Right Thing for Your Family Pet

By: Tracy D. DeStazio The Humane Society of the United States estimates that more than six to eight million cats and dogs enter animal shelters each year, with only three to four million of them ever finding homes. According to Kim Winch, clinical operations supervisor for the Humane Society of South Mississippi (HSSM), this startling statistic reveals a huge pet overpopulation problem in our country and is one of the reasons it is so important to spay and neuter the family pet. “Spaying and neutering helps in preventing puppies and kittens from ending up in shelters or on the...

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Greenville Renaissance Scholars Opens Registration for Summer Program

In 2007, community members saw the need for additional opportunities for students in the Mississippi Delta, particularly for those in middle school who were struggling or at risk. Led by Greenville native Margaret Joseph, they formed a program called Greenville Renaissance Scholars (GRS). The program provides after-school, Saturday and summer programs to upcoming 7th, 8th and 9th graders, as well as college-bound high school students and adults looking to improve their ACT scores. “Greenville students were not achieving at the level they [GRS founders] knew the students were capable of,” explains Jon Delperdang, GRS executive director. “They wanted to...

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Dyslexia: Diagnosis and Therapy

According to the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), by definition, dyslexia is a caused by a “different wiring of the brain.” It includes difficulties in acquiring and processing language, and results in issues with reading, writing and spelling. Dyslexia affects one in ten individuals, and according to the IDA, many “remain undiagnosed and receive little or no intervention services.” “I feel the greatest challenge for parents of dyslexic students is the pursuit of a diagnosis and answers,” says Traci Barrientos, a dyslexia therapist at St. James Catholic Elementary School in Gulfport, St. Patrick Catholic High School in Biloxi, and the...

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Have a Heart for Volunteering —  During the Holidays and Beyond! 

“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.”  ~ Elizabeth Andrew   Driving south one day on Highway 49 toward the coast, I noticed a welcoming sign that read something to the effect of: “The Mississippi Gulf Coast: A Certified Retirement Region.”  According to an article in Snowbirds Gulf Coast magazine, the Mississippi Gulf Coast achieved such certification based on its affordable cost of living, access to quality medical care, low taxes and crime rates, and recreational and cultural opportunities. Not only is the area attractive for retirees, but it’s a huge draw for retired military...

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Keep Your Teens (and Pre-Teens!) Mentally Healthy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently found that the suicide rate for children between ages 10 and 14 nearly doubled between 2007 and 2014.  For parents, that’s a pretty scary thing to hear. Other research from Vanderbilt University’s Children’s Hospital found that between 2007 and 2015, roughly 50 percent of suicidal thoughts or attempts by young people were committed by teens between ages 15 and 17, while another 37 percent were by younger teens/pre-teens who were between ages 12 and 14. The final 13 percent were children aged 5 to 11.  These statistics are both sad...

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