Dear Readers: A reader wrote in asking what she could do with her KIDS’ OLD TROPHIES. Here is what some of you had to say:

* Brady in Texas wrote: “My brother was a teacher at a school for very at-risk students. He’d spend all year gathering and putting new life into old baseball mitts and trophies. In the spring, he would organize a softball tournament for the students. He told me those trophies were the only thing most of those kids had ever won.”

* Sherry in Virginia wrote: “We donated a lot of ours (we are a bowling family) to the local VA hospital. The nameplates were changed and given to the veterans who participated in their bowling tournament.”

* Nancy in Alabama wrote: “I set up a photo shoot for my daughter’s trophies and took a close-up shot of each one. Then I pried off the nameplate and took the trophies to the local Girls Club. I made a CD of the photos for my daughter. Everyone was happy.”

* A Reader, via e-mail, wrote: “I’m an awards dealer, and we welcome old trophies. Too often, youth groups have low budgets. We like to see every child get something.”

What great ideas! Keep the hints coming! -- Heloise



P.O. Box 795000

San Antonio, TX 78279-5000

Fax: 1-210-HELOISE



Dear Heloise: I take many road trips, and I often am in unfamiliar cities. When driving in, I pay attention to where the local hospitals or minor emergency clinics are located. There usually are signs off the main highways designating hospitals. I like to be prepared, in case I ever am in need of one. Luckily, that hasn’t happened yet. -- Dan in Florida


Dear Heloise: I am having gnat problems with my indoor plants — some more than others. I change the soil and mix used coffee grounds with it. I still get gnats. Please help! -- Gloria in Colorado

One of my classic hints is to mix a little dish soap into the water and use that mixture to water the plants. There also are many commercial products available that will kill gnats. Sprinkle a tablespoon of granulated insecticide over the top of the soil. These can be found at most home-improvement or garden stores.

Gnats are attracted to moist soil, so the best way to prevent gnats is to let the soil (or at least the top inch or two) dry completely in between watering. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: My dog is on a special food for health reasons, so when I board him, I have to take his own food. I started premeasuring the food for the kennel workers. I place each feeding amount in a small, zippered plastic bag. It not only helps me by making sure I have sent enough food, but it helps the workers save time by not having to measure it themselves. -- Jean in Iowa

Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Please include your city and state.

, King Features Syndicate