QUESTION: Are you aware of a Parkinson’s support group?

ANSWER: I am, thanks to my trusty Longview News-Journal.

Each Sunday, the News-Journal publishes a Health Digest in the Lifestyle section that lists information about a number of support groups, as well as other health-related activities. That’s where I found information about the Longview Parkinson’s Support Group, which meets at 5:30 p.m. the fourth Thursday of each month in the Friendship Room of Buckner Westminster Place, at 2201 Horseshoe Lane in Longview. (The group does not meet during November and December.)

That means the next meeting is Sept. 26. You can call Jim or Hettie Pollock for information at (903) 736-8872.

I spoke to Jim Pollock, who himself has Parkinson’s. He said the group typically sees 25 to 30 people attend each meeting, with a group of about 50 or 55 people total who are regularly part of the group. Meetings sometimes feature speakers from pharmaceutical companies involved in Parkinson’s medications, or people involved in different kinds of treatments and therapies for Parkinson’s. This month’s meeting, for instance, will feature a speaker who’s been trained in a form of meditation that’s supposed to be particularly effective for people with Parkinson’s disease. Members of the group also have attended conferences on Parkinson’s disease.

“There’s all types of things that can be tried to assist Parkinson’s patients at this time, so we try inform people of some of the latest things that are available to them,” Jim Pollock said. “I have Parkinson’s myself, supposedly from my tenure in Vietnam when I was in the service. I’m happy to speak to the new people about some of the experiences that I’ve had with it. Of course, it’s different for everybody, but at least my goal is to try to ensure that people don’t just get this diagnosis and run away thinking that their life is over.”

Q: How old do kids need to be before they can join ag, and can they have a goat for their project?

A: There are a couple of programs I think you could be talking about. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension offers the 4-H program for children age 8 entering third grade or age 9 in third grade all the way through 12th grade. Veronica Boykin, the office manager at Gregg County’s Extension office, told me, in Gregg County, 4-H meets monthly at the extension office, although there might be additional meetings scheduled at other times and places. You’ll find 4-H programs at extension offices around the state, and they’ll all offer different kinds of clubs.

Gregg County has a livestock club that raises rabbits, chickens, goats or hogs, for instance, which the children show (and sale) at the Harvest Festival. Other clubs could be shooting sports, robotics, archery, fashion and consumer or financial decision making, for example. Also, Gregg County’s 4-H Coordinator Arvita Scott has planted after school programs in some local schools. Registration is $25 through Nov. 1, and increases a little after that. For more information, contact the Gregg County AgriLife Extension Office at (903) 236-8428 or email Scott at arvitta.scott@ag.tamu.edu. (If you’re in another county, just look for your county’s AgriLife Extension office.)

Many area schools also offer FFA programs, but offerings by age will vary some from school to school. Check to see what your school officers, but, for instance, Junior FFA is for students who are at least 8 years old and in third grade in grades where agricultural science classes are not offered. FFA programs can start as early as seventh and eighth grade.

Q: I was just wondering if you ever heard anything about a little girl named Joline?

A: I did not. For anyone who is confused by this question, this is in reference to a column I wrote in May about the last time I took my father to the VA clinic here in Longview before he died 10 years ago, and a little girl we met while we were there.

I’d love to know who she is and where she is, and I wrote that column wishing someone would read it and make a connection. I still have hope.

— Answer Line appears Thursday and Saturday. Email questions to answerline@news-journal.com, leave a message at (903) 232-7208 or write P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.