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Atchison County

wear masks

 A Community Challegene

Atchison County Extension Council is joining the state-wide Kansas Beats The  Virus campaign. Learn more about Kansas Beats The Virus activities across  our state; visit the Kansas Leadership Center website.

banner and yard  signs

Our local neighbor to neighbor campaign will share yard signs and banners across Atchison County as a reminder to support each other. We are adding some fun to our campaign by asking members of our community to post a  picture on their social media accounts wearing their favorite mask. Be sure to post a selfie wearing your mask at your favorte hometown business. We will create a #DoTheTaskWearTheMask photo gallery of our Atchison County neighbors.  Let's have some fun.

Our Super Deal #1 Special
Do you have Super Plans to cheer on the Chiefs this weekend? Would a Subway  sandwich party add to your celebration plans? Enter to win our $25 #dothetaskwearthemask Hometown Super Subway Give Away.

Super #DoTheTaskWearTheMask Subway Give Away photo

  1. Post your picture wearing your favorite Super Face Mask on your social media account with the hash tag #dothetaskwearthemask .
  2. Or post your mask wearing photo including #dothetaskwearthemask on our Facebook page.
  3. If you don't do social media,  then E-mail your photo to atchisoncoext@ksu.edu and we will post to our #dothetaskwearthemask gallery.
  4.  All entries posted by 8:59 a.m. Saturday  morning will be eligiblble for our drawing for the $25 Super Subway Give Away.

Together we can Beat The Virus and protect those we love. Follow our facebook page for details about upcoming fun contests. Over $1,000 in gift certificates to local Atchison County businesses will be awarded. Upcoming adventures plans include:

Love Your Sweetheart Week # 2   Post February 8-Febraury 15
Love Your Family  Week # 3  Post Febraury 16-Febrauary 22
Love Your Community Week # 4  Post February 23-March 1
Love  Your Team  Week # 5 Post March 2-March 8
Group (Groups of 5 or more) and Youth challegnes  are coming soon!

gallery  Remember to add this hashtag to your posts: #DoTheTaskWearTheMask

Remember to #dothetaskwearthemask and remind your family, friends and neighbors too! Watch for more  #dothetaskwearthemask activitydetails.

Living Well Together Virtual Learning

Our gathering to learn series resumes  on January 7 @ 6:45 pm.  Plan  to join  us weekly on Thursdays from January-March.  Discover more about our  Living Well Together virtual education series. This page provides details to  register, class schedules and recordings plus resources from previous sessions.

Relationships Matter


Developmental relationships are the roots of young people’s success. They are essential for all young people, in every community. When young people experience these relationships in their families, schools, programs, and communities, they are more likely to be resilient in the face of challenges and grow up thriving.



Stressful times strain relationships. How are you doing? A few thoughts from our friends at the Search Institute.

During this time of social distancing, it can be harder to stay meaningfully connected with the young people in our lives. Yet our relationships are vital to their wellbeing and thriving. Relationships are the source of nourishment and resilience for all young people in many different circumstances and from many different backgrounds.

But when we have great relationships, some areas are stronger (and come easier) than others. And they can become strained when they are disrupted or in times of stress or crisis . . . Like in a global health pandemic.

Whether you’re someone who works with young people and now connects only through technology, a parent, or an essential worker trying to care for children and keep your job, you’ve likely experienced significant disruptions and strains in your relationships with young people during this challenging period.

So perhaps it’s time for a relationships check-up. Complete this quick Relationships Check to see where your relationships with important young people in your life are particularly strong and where they can grow. You’ll receive actionable approaches and activities to strengthen relationships with young people.  Consider joining the thousands who have taken the quiz. 


A note about this tool: The Relationships Check is a tool for self-reflection and conversation among peers and within families. It was not designed for—and has not been tested for—formal assessment, testing, or diagnostic purposes.

Holiday Challegene

holiday food  safety

Can you give us an idea of some of the food safety challenges people face? Throughout the year there’s going to be some challenges that everyone has to face and it probably becomes a little more challenging during the holiday season. And that has to do because of purchasing and preparing many foods simultaneously in advance and that increases the risk of cross contamination and also other handling mistakes. For example, if you have contamination in something that comes from a raw product, such as a fresh meat or a raw dairy product, it can actually be spread from that raw product to a ready to eat food within the refrigerator. It can be spread via using same cutting boards, the kitchen counter, sinks, sponges, and even hands. And then in particular with holiday season, with a lot of the social activities, it’s challenging to keep the foods accessible to the guests as well as keeping them both hot and cold at appropriate temperatures.

Are there some best management practices people should stick to?

There are four main rules of food safety and those are: to be clean, separate, cook, and chill. For cleaning make sure that your hands are washed and the food preparation surfaces are washed thoroughly with warm water and soap, both before and after handling foods. Separate, keep that raw food and ready to eat foods separate in the refrigerator and on the counter, use separate cutting boards. Cook to an appropriate temperature using a cooking thermometer. And chill, chill them to less than 45 degrees in less than 4 hours and also make sure you have a thermometer in your refrigerator to make sure it is less the 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

During the holiday season, are there foods that are more sensitive that you should keep an eye on?

Well certainly any of the raw foods are going to be potentially problematic because they can be the source of contamination. Raw meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, those can be particularly problematic. On the other hand even cooked foods can be problematic because you can cross contaminate them with your hands or with something else that hasn’t been cleaned properly. And if that has been sitting on the counter for too long of a time or hasn’t been properly refrigerated, it can also serve as a growth medium for these bacteria to be able to grow. You enjoy eating them and so does the bacteria.

What are some of the warning signs that something’s gone wrong?

So what we are looking for are those gastrointestinal problems and if they don’t resolve themselves within a day or so, then it may be worthwhile seeking medical care.


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 The video link below provides useful information. For additional reliable information visit the CDC website

Learn About The Importance of Social Distancing from Chicago medical expert. (Click the picture to view  the video clip)



Safe Food Handling

turkey with thermometer
Talking turkey: Tips for preparing holiday foods

The coronavirus pandemic means many of us will gather in smaller groups than usual for Thanksgiving. That may also mean there will be more people preparing their first turkey with all the trimmings. Whether you’re a complete rookie or an experienced cook, chances are that you don’t prepare a holiday turkey and multiple side dishes every day.

Kansas State University food safety specialist Karen Blakeslee says there are ways to avoid last-minute stress and keep food safe when putting it all together.

“Plan a simple meal to reduce extra stress,” she said. “For a smaller group, buy a smaller turkey or even a turkey breast. Cornish hens would be a good substitute.”

One way to share the day if you can’t be together is to have a recipe exchange of holiday favorites, she added.

Blakeslee, the coordinator of the K-State Research and Extension Rapid Response Center, provided these tips for before and after the holiday meal:

  • Make a list well ahead of the holiday. Include a timeline when activities should happen, whether five days before the meal, two days before or two hours before. Will the turkey go in the oven? In a countertop roaster? If the turkey will take up oven space, think about other foods you’ll prepare and how. Utilize your stovetop, slow cooker or electric pressure cooker.

  • Wash your hands often throughout food preparation.

  • If you want a fresh turkey, order it ahead so your store will have it ready. Pick up the fresh turkey one or two days before preparation.

  • A frozen turkey can be purchased much earlier. Store it in the freezer until it’s time to thaw and cook it. Watch for sales at this time of year.

  • How long to thaw the turkey depends on the size of the turkey. Plan for a 12- to 16-pound turkey to thaw for a full week in the refrigerator. If thawing a smaller one, move it from the freezer to the refrigerator the weekend before Thanksgiving.

  • Forgot to thaw the bird in advance? Submerge it in clean, cool water in a large pot, but change the water every 30 minutes or so. This takes about 30 minutes per pound as opposed to several days in the refrigerator. Never thaw any meat at room temperature.

  • If you forget to thaw the frozen turkey, it can be cooked from a frozen state, but it will take about 1-1/2 times the amount of time that it would take to cook a thawed turkey.

  • When prepping the turkey, there’s no need to rinse it. Food scientists say rinsing any meat or poultry can splash water with bacteria on countertops and other foods. Cooking it properly will take care of any potential bacteria.

  • Cook turkey at 325 degrees F or higher until a meat thermometer inserted in the meatiest area, typically the thigh, shows 165 degrees F. Take readings in a couple of places.

  • Cover the turkey with a lid or aluminum foil to ensure consistent cooking. Take the lid or foil off toward the end of cooking for extra browning.

  • Don’t rely on pop-up thermometers only. Pop-up thermometers that come with some turkeys indicate temperature, but not the true temperature of the innermost part of the turkey. These can pop up before the bird is cooked through.

  • Making stuffing? Bake in a separate pan from the turkey, so it easily reaches (also required) 165 degrees F. If you stuff the bird, stuff it loosely. Packing it tightly slows down the time to reach 165 degrees F.

  • Let the turkey “rest” for 15-20 minutes when it comes out of the oven. It helps the juices reincorporate into the meat.

After the meal

  • To help prevent foodborne illness, don’t let food sit out more than two hours after it comes out of the oven or off the stove. That invites potential bacterial growth and no one wants foodborne illness after a nice holiday meal.

  • Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Avoid leaving perishable foods in the temperature danger zone, 40-140 degrees F, for more than two hours.

  • Turkey meat will chill faster if you take the meat off the bones. Save the bones in the refrigerator or freezer to make turkey soup.

  • Store leftover foods in a flat, wide container (about 2 inches high) before refrigerating if possible. That helps it chill faster which keeps bacteria from growing. Freeze leftovers that cannot be used within three to four days.