Tiptoe through the history of mistletoe

Posted December 25, 2014 at 11:26 am

Hanging mistletoe is a holiday tradition around the world. But have you ever wondered why we steal a kiss because we’re standing under some shrubbery?

“The use of mistletoe around the holidays dates back to pre-Christian times when it was used by Druids in rituals associated with the winter solstice,” said David Trinklein, horticulture specialist for University of Missouri Extension. “After being harvested by Druid priests with a golden sickle, people placed it over their door as a means of warding off evil in the coming year.”

Because of its wide use, it’s difficult to pinpoint where the Christmas kiss under the mistletoe began. It could be based on a Norse belief.

“A Norse legend says that mistletoe in the house would keep warring spouses from becoming too belligerent toward each other,” Trinklein said.

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    Legislation filed to cut red tape for family farms

    Secretary of State Jason Kander announced that he will push for legislation to make family farm corporations exempt from unnecessary paperwork and fees. The legislation has been filed on Secretary Kander’s behalf by Sen. Mike Parson (R-Bolivar) and Rep. Diane Franklin (R-Camdenton). It has the support of the Missouri Farm Bureau.

    “Missouri is home to hundreds of family farms that feed and fuel the world,” Kander said. “Farms don’t move from year to year, so it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to make them reconfirm their address annually. They are

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    Missouri employers should see workers’ compensation insurance costs decline in 2015

    Two separate analyses of the workers’ compensation climate in Missouri have returned with the same conclusion: Employers should anticipate an approximately 4 percent decline in workers’ compensation insurance rates in the coming year.

    The National Council on Compensation Insurance says the current conditions in Missouri call for a 3.7 percent reduction in worker’s compensation insurance rates beginning Jan. 1. Meanwhile, Missouri’s Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration has released a 4.4 percent recommended reduction in rates.

    Neither recommendation is binding on insurance carriers in Missouri. However,

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    Missouri has high rate of uncompetitive legislative elections

    By Steven Anthony

    In the last two elections, 74 Missouri House seats and 9 Senate seats went uncontested by either Republicans or Democrats.

    Those numbers continue a disturbing trend of noncompetitive state legislative elections since 1996.

    One factor that could explain the number of uncompetitive elections is the 1994 voter-approved term limits initiative.

    “I think [term limits] make a difference in part because you don’t get as many people deciding they’re going to make a career at the state legislative

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    Look forward to seeing you in 2015

    Good Day,

    The final full week before Christmas is moving time for a good many folks on Capitol Hill. Some Representatives and Senators are leaving government and looking forward to new chapters in their lives. Many of their staff members will be leaving Washington, as well. Other legislators and staff will continue to serve the citizens they represent, but will do it from new locations. Wednesday of this past week was “moving day” for Hartzler

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    Government budget leaders drop revenue collection projections

    by MDN Staff

    Missouri budget leaders and the governor have agreed that state tax collections will be $367 million below the original estimate upon which Gov. Jay Nixon had based his budget proposals back in January. The projections cover the budget year that began July 1 and will conclude June 30, 2015.

    Even before the start of the legislative session, legislative budget leaders had argued the governor’s projections of tax collections were too high. But the revised estimate is even lower than what the legislature had projected.

    Overcome opportunities to over-indulge

    From late-November to the first of January, winter holidays can bring a feeling of dread as people encounter lots of different opportunities to over-indulge.

    Dr. Pam Duitsman, a nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension says there are several things that can help lessen the risk.

    “First of all, consider incorporating traditions that focus on having fun, not on the food,” said Duitsman. “For example, select an activity or game that everyone will enjoy. Depending on the weather, an outdoor activity might be ideal.”

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    Kander releases report on Elections Integrity Unit successes

    Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander released a report on the accomplishments of his Elections Integrity Unit in its first election cycle. The Elections Integrity Unit has reviewed and responded to 97 complaints since Kander established the unit 13 months ago.

    “In just over a year, my office has launched more formal elections investigations than any Missouri secretary of state in history because I want to ensure that every eligible Missourian has the right to cast a ballot, and that only eligible Missourians cast a ballot,” Kander said. “We have put online

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    Savvy Senior®

    Who should be screened for lung cancer?

    Dear Savvy Senior,

    What can you tell me about lung cancer screenings? My husband was a long-time smoker, but quit many years ago, so I’m wondering if he should be checked out.

    Concerned Spouse

    Dear Concerned,

    According to recent recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force – an independent panel of medical experts that advises the government on health policies – if your husband is between the

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    Why the cheapest ‘retirement investment’ is critical to your health

    You maxed out your 401(k) every year you worked, invested wisely and planned carefully in preparation for retirement. Perhaps you even researched your Medicare options and you know exactly what health and drug plans you’ll choose. But if you’re like the majority of other Americans approaching – or in – retirement, you’ve likely overlooked a critical aspect of retirement planning and investment: dental insurance.

    By 2030, 72 million Americans will be 65 and older, the Administration on Aging predicts. Currently, 70 percent of American seniors

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