The sentence after your subject line should grab the reader's attention. Direct them toward an action, write a short summary, or present key links/information.

December 2017

Winter Holiday Safety

The Holiday is filled with peace, joy, and happiness but we know that it's possible because of all the hard work in decorating, cooking, and other holiday festivities that you do. The holiday is also time for mistakes and accidents. Use these tips to have a safe and happy  holiday.

1. If you have a live tree, remember to water your Christmas tree every day. A dry tree can catch fire easily.  Keep your trees at least three feet away from any direct heat source such as candles, radiators, and fire places. 

2. Keep your pets and children away from toxic and poisonous plants such as poinsettias. Poinsettias can be poisonous to pets. 

3. When preparing a meal, always wash your hands and utensil especially if it comes into contact with raw meat. Remember to reheat your leftovers to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 

4. Inspect your holiday light each year before putting them up. Make sure that the strands are not frayed or pinched. Turn off any lights before going to bed or when leaving your home. 

5.  Test your smoke alarms to make sure they work and be sure to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home. 

*information and data was pulled from the US Fire Administration.

Beginning Beekeepers Class Available

The Alexander County Beekeepers Association is providing a Beginning Beekeepers Class.  Have you been wanting to take on this hobby and have looked for training to get started?  If so, this is the perfect class for you.  The cost is $40.00 a $20.00 deposit is required to hold a spot.  This class fills quickly so make sure to call today.  These classes will be held every Tuesday from 7:00-8:30 p.m. at CVCC-Alexander Campus.  The classes will begin Tuesday, January 2 and end Tuesday, January 30.  If you have an questions please contact the Extension Center today at 828-632-4451.  

If you already have bees and are looking for a group of beekeepers to meet with each month Alexander County has a Beekeepers Association.  The Beekeepers Association meet at the Alexander Extension Center the 2nd Monday of each month at 7:00 pm.  

December Garden Calendar


Plants in Flower
  • Witch Hazel
  • Indoors: Amaryllis, Cyclamen, Poinsettia
Plants with Colorful Berries
  • American Beautyberry, Burford Holly, Chinese Holly, Foster Holly, Nellie R. Stevens Holly, Nandina, Pyracantha, and Washington Hawthorn.
  • Prune berry producing plants if berries are desired in table arrangements over the holidays.
  • Remove "weed" or undesirable trees from your landscape.
Lawn Care
  • Keep tree leaves from collecting on your lawn.
Specific Chores
  • Put pine needles or wheat/barley straw over your strawberry plants.
  • Greenery will last longer if sprayed with an antitranspirant.
  • Keep your cut Christmas tree in water throughout the holiday season.
  • Order fruit trees and grape vines for February or March planting, if not already done

  Med instead of Meds:
Eating the Mediterranean Way Series

January 23rd-February 1st: Tuesdays & Thursdays
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Extension Learning Center
376 1st Ave, Taylorsville, NC 28681
Cost: $60

Join us in this four part series to learn more about the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean-style eating pattern incorporates the basic of healthy eating that are traditionally practiced in countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. Eating like those who live the Mediterranean region has been shown to promote health and decrease risk of many chronic disease. Eating the Mediterranean way is not only healthy, it is delicious and satisfying. Food that you once thought of as too high in fat or unhealthy, including nuts, olive oils, olives, and whole grains, becomes an everyday part of your diet. 

Participants will learn about the Mediterranean way of eating and cook different recipe.  For additional questions, please contact Der Holcomb at 

  Participants must pre-register to attend.  Please make checks payable to Alexander County. 

2018 Alexander-Caldwell Master Gardener Training Class
Dates:  February 7-May 9, 2018 on Wednesday afternoons, 1:00-4:00p.m.  (with a few exceptions; class time may vary to accomodate travel)

Applications:  Due January 20  Applications can be picked up at the N.C. Cooperative Extension-Alexander County Center

Class fee:  $125 per person; includes training manual, all travel and material fees.

Do you want to learn more about the culture and maintenance of plants?  Do you enjoy working on community projects and sharing knowledge?  Consider enrolling in the Alexander Extension Master Gardener Training Class!!

The Extension Master Gardener Volunteer program is a national program of trained volunteers who work in partnership with their local Cooperative Extension Center to extend horticultural information throughout the community.  Accepted applicants enter the training portion of the program, and can begin volunteering during the class.
The 2018 class will meet for 13 weeks on Wednesday afternoons.  Most classes will be held in Alexander or Caldwell county.  Participants from Alexander, Caldwell and neighboring counties are invited to participate.  

For more information please call the Alexander Center at 828-632-4451 or visit:

2017 Tax Tips
Guido van der Hoeven, Extension Specialist, NCSU
The Optional Standard Mileage Rate is 53.5 cents per mile for 2017. The depreciation component for business mileage is 25 cents per mile in 2017. The rate for medical and moving mileage is 17.0 cents per mile for the year and charitable mileage rate remains at 14 cents per mile in 2017.

A deduction using the optional rate is in lieu of automobile operating and fixed costs that are allocable to business use. These include depreciation, maintenance and repairs, tires, gasoline, oil, insurance, and registration fees. Parking fees and tolls attributable to using the automobile for business purposes may be deducted as separate items, but fuel and repairs are NOT deductible.
Depreciation Methods for Farmers. For property placed in service, farmers must use the following depreciation methods: 1. The 150 percent declining balance method over the GDS recovery period switching to the straight line method when that method yields a greater deduction. 2. The straight line method over the GDS recovery period. 3. The 150 percent declining balance method over fixed ADS recovery periods, switching to the straight line method when that method provides a greater deduction. 4. The straight line method over fixed ADS recovery periods. NOTE: We have discovered that many tax returns have been filed incorrectly using the 200 percent declining balance method, and/or the incorrect recovery period. Use Form 3115 to correct depreciation.
Depreciation Limits for Passenger Automobiles. The passenger automobile category includes trucks and vans with gross vehicle weights of 6,000 pounds or less. For passenger automobiles, light trucks and vans placed in service in 2017, the maximum annual depreciation allowed is as follows:
Cars                 Light Trucks/Vans
Year                                        Amount           Amount
First tax year                         $3,160             $3,560
Second tax year                    $5,100             $5,700
Third tax year                        $3,050             $3,450
Each succeeding tax year    $1,875             $2,075
The maximum ceiling assumes 100 percent business use of the automobile. If business use is less, the ceiling is proportionately reduced. For example, if an automobile were driven 60 percent for business, the deduction would be limited to $1,896 ($3,160 x 60 percent). First year Bonus depreciation of $8,000 is available if new.
Deduction of Organization Dues. The 1993 Tax Act prohibited deductions for amounts paid after 1993 for any membership in any club organized for business, pleasure, recreation, or other social purposes. Newly issued regulations define a "club" as any membership organization whose principal activity is to provide members access to entertainment facilities. Membership in professional organizations, business leagues, trade associations, and chambers of commerce would not be considered to be organized for pleasure. As such, dues for membership in various farm organizations, trade associations, etc. should be deductible.
Deductions for Meals. Beginning in 1998, 100 percent of the cost of business meals for employees is deductible if meals are at and for the convenience of the employer, no longer limited to 50%.
Business Trip Expenses. Beginning January 1, 1994, business trip expenses for a taxpayers' spouse, dependents or other individuals cannot be deducted unless those individuals are bona fide employees traveling with the taxpayer for a business purpose.

NC Agritunity Conference & Tradeshow

Saturday, February 10, 2018
Iredell County Agricultural Center
444 Bristol Drive, Statesville, NC 28677
Registration starts 8:00am
Programs from 8:30am-2:30pm

NC Agritunity is a one-day educational conference for farmers of all types, featuring a tradeshow and a keynote speaker. Large commodity producers, livestock producers, small farm managers, beginning farmers, and anyone just interested in agriculture are welcome to attend. Continuing education credits (CEUs) and pesticide training credits will be available in some of the presentations for existing license holders.  To learn more about the educational session and feature vendors, please visit our website at or contact your local Cooperative Extension Center. 

The event is free and open to the public. 

You can sign up via  the 2018 NC Agritunity registration form or call the Iredell County Cooperative Extension Center at 704-873-0507. Please contact  Lenny Rogers at  (828) 632-4451 if you are interested in setting up as a vendor. For additional information on how to be a vendor please visit our website. Walk-in registration may be limited. 


2018  Alexander County 4-H County Council
President: Anna Reid
Vice President: Anna Beth Harris
Secretary: Sarah Perry
Treasurer: Garrett Brown
Reporter: Kaylor Berwick
Officer Delegate: Deanna Light

Congratulations to our new officers!  
  Our first County Council meeting will be Monday, January 22 @ 4:00 pm.
To find out how you can become involved in Alexander County 4-H call the Extension Center at 828-632-3125.

4-H Holiday Craft Workshop
The Alexander Holiday Craft Workshop was held Wednesday, November 22 at the Extension Center. Participants included: Zoe Norris, Kydd Norris, Leah Cronan, Zoe Houston, Lanie Crouse, Haley Queen, Harper Buff, Macy Chapman, Meredith Wike, Kendall Hammer and Reese Buff. 4-H Junior Leaders included Anna Reid, Cassidy Campbell and Laney Wike. Participants made a hand sewn Christmas Tree ornament, a Mason Jar Candle Holder, Hot Cocoa in a jar with a Snow globe on top, a painted Snowflake Canvas, Fingerprint Christmas Cards and a Cardholder Wreath.

Office Closing for Christmas and 
New Year
Alexander County Offices will be closed Monday, December 25; Tuesday, December 26 and Wednesday, December 27 for the Christmas Holiday.

Closed Monday, January 1 for New year.

Happy Holiday's to You and Your Family's!!!

 Read more N.C. Cooperative Extension news at >>
NC State University and N.C. A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity and prohibit discrimination and harassment regardless of age, color, disability, family and marital status, genetic information, national origin, political beliefs, race, religion, sexual identity (including pregnancy) and veteran status. NC State, N.C. A&T, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.