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From hair to hay, locals are pitching in to help clean up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico

It’s been just over three weeks since the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig off the coast of Louisiana set off a chain of events to include the deaths of several workers on board and a discharge of thousands of barrels of crude oil that continue daily. As this massive oil spill winds it’s way along the Gulf Coast, it continues to creep towards the Florida panhandle. Figuring out ways to help clean up this mess has been on the mind of many. Here in Calhoun County, hair salon owner April Stone and stylist Linda Carpenter of Headz Up are leading the effort to collect something they have plenty of at their business: hair. A non-profit group known as Matter of Trust takes human and animal hair, stuffs it in recycled nylons and creates hairmats that soak up oil. April and Linda are asking other area salons to join them in this drive for hair and they are even willing to mail it all. If you are a stylist, please drop off your clippings at Headz Up on North Main Street in Blountstown. April says she will cover the cost to mail the hair – just get it there fast as time is of the essence in helping with this crisis. Over in Liberty County, Darryl Carpenter of C.W. Roberts Contracting enlisted the help of Jackson County hay farmer Ashmore Goodson to help him test a theory that oil would cling to hay. When it worked, the pair did a demonstration using some large mixing bowls filled with water, poured some burnt oil in and mixed it all up. Next, they added hay, stirred it to simulate wave motion, then, after only a few minutes, removed the hay. The oil stuck to it and the water was clean. The video of the demonstration has made it’s way to YouTube on the internet where over 150,000 have viewed it. National news agencies even picked up the story. Over in Walton County, local leaders enlisted C.W. Roberts to bring in bales of hay to protect their shores. However, a story in the Northwest Florida Daily News reported Monday that the DEP is against using the hay and says it will just add to the mess. The fear is the oil has been in the water too long and picked up other debris, thus it wouldn’t be soaked up by the hay. But Walton County officials believe C.W. Roberts is onto something and they are willing to give the hay a try. Bales of hay lined the beaches of South Walton Monday. To check out the video of the C.W. Roberts hay and oil demonstration, go to youtube.com

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