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Q: I’ve been seeing a bug that looks like a grasshopper, but much larger — 3 to 4 inches — with really long, fine legs. Do you know what that’s called?

A: An answer from ISU Extension: “Although we are guessing based on your brief description, you are describing a praying mantis, which has been spotted quite frequently lately. To be sure snap a picture or bring a found dead bug into the local ISU Extension & Outreach Office. We have better tools to identify all sorts of insects.”

Q: What are the future plans for the green bridge in Waverly?

A: It will be removed and demolished. City officials plan to replace it with a pedestrian bridge.

Q: How do I start milkweed plants for the butterflies — is it by scattering seeds from the pods?

A: According to ISU Extension, “Nature seems to be more efficient at starting milkweed plants than humans are, or at least the few in our office trying to start some. Scattering matured seeds from the pods near where they are all ready growing is a great start and then you can relax for the winter. 1-2 months after they’ve sprouted, you can pinch off extra plants or feed them to the squirrels and other pesky critters that love milkweed shoots.”

Q: In the Parade magazine there was an article on “Shark Tank,” but it doesn’t say if Lori Greiner is married or not. Do you happen to know?

A: She’s married to businessman Dan Greiner.

Q: What is a stork? Do we have any in this area? Where are they from?

A: Storks are large birds, usually with long white legs and long bills; they are related to herons and flamingos. There are a number of stork species, mostly found in Europe, Asia and Africa, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. The wood stork can be found in the southern United States.

Q: Is rhubarb safe to eat? Is it good for you?

A: “Rhubarb stalks are not poisonous; rhubarb leaves are mildly poisonous. The leaves contain oxalate so trim them off and discard them and you’re safe. Plus, you would have to eat a lot of them to get sick. Rhubarb is a cool weather/spring crop and should be picked, eaten or preserved in the spring. Never eat it once it has gone to seed or the weather turns hot. It would be tough and bitter by then anyway. Fresh rhubarb can be washed, chopped and frozen to be enjoyed throughout the year,” says Steven Eilers with ISU Extension.

Q: When I was a member of the Boy Scout Troop in Reinbeck in the 1950s we went to the YMCA in Waterloo to swim and always swam in the nude. What was the reasoning behind that?

A: It used to be very common at schools and YMCAs. The practice evidently dates back to the days of woolen bathing suits; fibers from the suits would sometimes clog early pool filters. And it also was considered more hygienic, as well, for some reason — the American Public Health Association recommended nude swimming for boys from 1926 until 1962.

Questions are taken on a special Courier phone line at 234-3566. Questions are answered by Courier staff and staff at the Waterloo Public Library.


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