December 30, 2011

December 30, 2011 message

Good Morning: I hope all of you have a great New Year. This will be my last Regional Director blog. In this message I do want to share some information about a number of staff changes as well as my thoughts on the leadership and organizational transitions.

First some updates on staff and office transitions:

Lincoln County Support staff position is currently being advertised. Audrey Weverka had been in that position for a few weeks and has made the decision to return to her previous employment. Her last day with Lincoln Extension was yesterday, December 29th. The application deadline for this position is January, 12, 2012.

Yellow Medicine 4H Program Coordinator. Amelia Ryan has been named 4H Program Coordinator in Yellow Medicine County. Amelia was among several great candidates who interviewed for this position, and brings previous experience in a temporary role with Extension in the south Metro. She will begin her position in Yellow Medicine County on January 3, 2012

Darrell Cox will begin as Regional Director - Southwest on January 12, 2012. Darrell will join Regional Director Holli Arp in leading Extension Operations in the Southwest region. Together Holli and Darrell will sort out the work with the counties and Regional Offices. Until that time and prior to Darrell's start date, feel free to direct operational issues in the region to Holli.

Mary Jo Fox has accepted a reassignment to the Extension Regional Office in Willmar. That office, located in the Universities Mid-Central Research and Outreach Center on the MnWest Technology campus, will open January 9. 2012. Mary Jo will be overseeing setup issues in the new office beginning January 3, 2012.

Darrell Cox, Regional Director - Southwest will office in the Extension Regional Office in Willmar. Other Educator and Staff assignments to this Center are pending.

The address for the Extension Regional Office in the Mid Central Research and Outreach Center will be 1802 18th St NE, Willmar, Mn. The main phone number will be 320-235-0726 and should have dial tone on January 9.

The Extension Regional Offices in Hutchinson and Fergus Falls closed this week. All Educators and Staff were offered reassigned office locations. Those reassignments are as follows:

Hutchinson:

Catie Rasmussen - Mankato Regional Office
Cindy Peterson - UROC
David Nicolae - Farmington Regional Office
Grant Crawford - Willmar Regional Office
Jim Paulson - Rochester Regional Office
Kim Asche - Mankato Regional Office
Margaret Haggenmiller - Saint Cloud Regional Office and Telecommuting Agreement

Janel Zimmerman and Pam Herrmann declined reassignment offers, and end their employment with Extension today.

Fergus Falls:

Ryan Pesch - Moorhead Regional Office
Doug Holen - Morris Regional Office
Bret Oelke - Morris Regional Office
Karen Terry - Morris Regional Office
Barb LaPlante - Morris Regional Office

Marie Tysdal did not accept a reassignment offer and ends her employment with Extension today.

And finally, today, (December 30, 2011), is my last work day as Regional Director. Next week, (January 3, 2012), I will begin my role as Director of Field Operations. I am very confident that the Regional Directors - Southwest, (Holli and Darrell) along with the Southwest Regional Leadership Team, (Trish Sheehan, Mary Schroeder and Don Nitche), will give outstanding leadership and support so the great Extension Programming and Resources will continue to make a difference for the people of the Southwest region.

Have a great year.

Bob

December 9, 2011

December 9 message

Good Afternoon: I hope you have had a good week: A few items to share this week.

Lincoln County Support. Audrey Weverka begins as Lincoln County Support on Monday, December 12. Her e-mail address will be aweverka@umn.edu. Audrey will work normal hours Monday - Thursday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Welcome Audrey!

Mary Jo Fox: Mary Jo will be the Extension Administrative Support at the Mid-Central Research and Outreach Center. In this role, Mary Jo will continue to Support the Regional Director Team and Counties in the Southwest Region. The Mid-Central Research and Outreach Center in Willmar is scheduled to open January 9, 2012.

Regional Director hiring process: Interviews were held last week for the four Regional Director positions being filled in Southwest, Northwest, Northeast and Central regions. The goal is to have positions filled in early January.

Have a good weekend.

Bob

November 3, 2011

November 3 message

Good Day: I hope you have all had a good week. A few things to share this week,

Transitioning Extension's Field Operations Webinar: Earlier this week many of you participated in this webinar meeting. For those who were not able to view or participate in the web meeting or for anyone who wants to view it again, here is the meeting link.

Extension Templates: Thank you for all of you who are using the new Extension Program material templates. Please review the communication material downloads and templates:
On this site, you'll find the tools you need to bring the University of Minnesota Extension brand to life. These templates and resources have been created to make it easier to create consistent, high-quality; cost-effective Extension marketing communications materials so you can spend more time working on the Extension programming that requires your unique expertise.
As Extension competes for funding, participant registration and donations, there is an important need to represent Extension in consistent ways that help all of our audiences understand our unique strengths and contributions. As key Extension brand ambassadors, you should use the professionally designed templates on this site for all of your Extension marketing communications needs.
New Gmail tool
Boomerang for Gmail is a Firefox/Chrome plugin that lets you take control of when you send and receive email messages. With Boomerang, you can write an email now and schedule it to be sent automatically at the perfect time. Want a cleaner inbox, but don't want to lose track of important messages? Use Boomerang to take messages out of your inbox until you actually need them. There are times you need to make sure you follow up within a specific time frame after sending a message. You can select to only be reminded if nobody replies, or regardless. This way you won't let messages slip through the crack and will never forget to follow up with people. Visit the Boomerang website for more information and for a free install.
Staff changes in the Region:
Lyon County 4H Program Coordinator: We welcome Jodi Gorres 4H Program Coordinator in Lyon County. Jodi began her position on Tuesday, November 1. Jodi is a graduate of Concordia College with a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Child and Family Studies with a minor in Parent Education. She has worked for three years as Membership Specialist with Girl Scouts of MN and WI River Valleys in Redwood Falls and for seven years as a parent educator.
Lyon County Support Staff: We welcome Amanda Kesteloot as Support Staff in Lyon County. Amanda began her position Wednesday, November 2. Amanda will work Monday through Thursday, 8:30 - 4:30 which will also be the hours the Lyon County Extension Office will be open to the public.
Lincoln County Support: Susan Krier has accepted a transfer within Lincoln County. Susan's last day with the Lincoln County Extension office will be November 10. This week the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners authorized filling the Extension Support position at 80 per cent FTE.
Big Stone County Support: Barb Maas will be on a leave of absence for several months. In the interim, Big Stone County has approved the hiring of Liane Rausch as Interim Support staff. Liane will be working 24 hours per week.
Yellow Medicine: 4H Program Coordinator Michelle Molden Aschmann has resigned her position, effective October 31. Next Tuesday, Trisha Sheehan and I will be meeting with County Officials to get authorization to fill this position.
Electronic addresses: The e-mail addresses for Jodi, Amanda and Liane are:
Jodi Gorres: jkgorres@umn.edu
Amanda Kesteloot: akestelo@umn.edu
Liane Rausch: lerausch@umn.edu

Thank you for all you do and remember to change your clocks this weekend.

Bob

October 28, 2011

October 28 message

Greetings everyone -

You are invited to participate in the Southwest Field Operations Webinar on November 2nd from 9:00-10:00 AM. We will share the field operation changes being made to address Extension's goals and budget realities. This information will also be discussed with County Extension Committee's at their fall meetings.

The primary audience for this webinar are Extension Support staff in Regional and County offices. However, any County and regional staff members within the new Southwest region are welcome to join this webinar.


To join the meeting, click on this link: https://umconnect.umn.edu/southwest/


We ask that you log in a couple of minutes prior to 9:00 Enter your name as a guest. Once you are in the meeting room, there will be a pop up box asking to call your phone. If you phone number appears, just click on the "call my phone" link or enter your phone number and click on the link which will call your phone at no charge to you.


You may check that your computer is configured correctly by going here:https://umconnect.umn.edu/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm


We look forward to talking with many of you on Wednesday morning. Please call either of us if you have any questions.


Holli Arp and Bob Byrnes

October 20, 2011

October 20 message

Good Afternoon: I hope you are all enjoying the fall weather. Several items to share with you today.

November 2 UM Connect: Please mark your calendars for Wednesday, November 2 for a UM Connect Webinar for the new Southwest Extension Region. The webinar will begin at 9:00 a.m.. and will last approximately 90 minutes. The webinar will cover budget and staff issues and lay the groundwork for operations in the new Southwest Extension region, which will include 20 county offices and four Regional Extension Offices. Details on connecting to this webinar will be sent at a later date.

Lyon County Staff changes: We will welcome Amanda Kesteloot as Lyon County Support staff. Amanda will begin this position November 1. She will work 80 per cent time (Monday to Thursday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) This will also be the hours the Lyon County Extension Office will be open to the public.
Interviews for the Lyon County 4H Program Coordinator position were held last week. Trish expects to be able to share the name of the successful applicant in the near future.

Worthington Regional Office move: The Extension Regional Office, Worthington will be moving on October 20-24 to their new office location. The new address is: 1527 Prairie Drive, Worthington, MN 56187.

Extension Committee Schedule: Here is the schedule of Extension Committee meetings in the ten county Marshall region:

October 26 5:30 p.m. Swift County
November 7 12:00 Noon Kandiyohi County
November 7 5:00 p.m. Chippewa County
November 7 7:30 p.m. Lincoln County
November 10 7:00 p.m. Lyon County
November 15 4:30 p.m. Lac qui Parle County
November 17 7:00 p.m. Big Stone County
November 28 7:00 p.m. Renville County
December 1 4:00 p.m. Redwood County
December 1 7:00 p.m. Yellow Medicine County

Thank you for sending out the meeting reminders to the members.

Have a good weekend,

Bob

September 23, 2011

September 23 message

Good Afternoon: I hope you are all enjoying this first weekend of fall. A couple of things to share this week:

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler inauguration: This week was the inauguration of Eric Kaler as the 16th President of the University of Minnesota. President Kaler's inauguration speech recognized a student from the region, who is also the son of the Farm Family recognized from Lyon County this year. Here is the excerpt of that portion of the speech:

No, we won't abandon these roots because of students like Kenny Deutz.
Kenny grew up on his family's farm near Marshall, Minnesota, tending crops and milking cows. Since he was a little boy he has wanted to be a veterinarian. Kenny came to the University of Minnesota to achieve that goal.
A few months ago, right after his freshman year, Kenny was accepted into VetFast, an accelerated veterinarian degree program. Across the nation, there's an acute shortage of large animal veterinarians. As the only veterinary college in the state, the University of Minnesota has an obligation to help meet this workforce shortage.

VetFast students receive their bachelor of science and doctor of veterinary medicine degrees in seven years instead of eight. It saves a year's tuition. It's good for the economy. It allows young people like Kenny to give back to his community, and live the dream he first had in kindergarten.
Kenny, congratulations, please stand so we can honor you ...


Retirement events: This fall there are many events celebrating the accomplishments of the 40 plus individuals retiring from Extension. Just a quick reminder for those of you who process expenses that mileage is not paid for staff to attend retirement celebrations.


Regional Operations
Extension regional operations leadership is being redesigned to provide management of our regional offices, support Extension in all 87 counties and continue to meet statewide program needs while using fewer administrative resources. Under the new model, the state will be divided into five regions and each region will have a field operations leadership team that will be responsible for the regional offices and county and local relationships in that region. That team will be led by two Regional Directors and will include program staff who will serve in an advisory leadership capacity for the region. This reduces the number of Regional Directors to 10. A national search process is currently under way for four of these positions with the remaining six being incumbent Regional Directors. As you know, I will be leaving my role as Regional Director to assume the role of Director of Field Operations. That appointment is effective January 1, 2012.

Fall County Extension Committee meetings: Here is the schedule of upcoming county Extension Committee meetings in the region:

October 26 5:30 p.m. Swift County
November 7 12:00 Noon Kandiyohi County
November 7 5:00 p.m. Chippewa County
November 7 7:30 p.m. Lincoln County
November 10 7:00 p.m. Lyon County
November 15 4:30 p.m. Lac qui Parle County
November 17 7:00 p.m. Big Stone County
November 28 7:00 p.m. Renville County
December 1 4:00 p.m. Redwood County
December 1 7:00 p.m. Yellow Medicine County


Enjoy the weekend,

Bob

September 1, 2011

September 1 message

Good Morning: I hope you have had a good week. A few things to share today:

Welcome Linda Kutzke! Linda Kutzke began work this week as Support staff in Kandiyohi County. Linda has previous Extension experience from Clay County, Minnesota. Linda's hours are Monday through Thursday from 8:15 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Those hours are also the hours the Kandiyohi Extension office is open to the public. Linda's e-mail address will be lmkutzke@umn.edu (however that address is not yet activated).

4H Program Coordinator opening: The Lyon County 4H Program Coordinators position is currently posted. Application deadline is September 16th. The position is currently open due to the resignation of the previous Lyon County 4H PC Laurie Palmer.

Promise Fellows: While it is not completely confirmed, we expect two Promise Fellow positions will be hired in the region in October. These twelve month positions will expand youth educational experiences in focused areas. The positions in our region will be in Lyon and Kandiyohi counties.

Gift questions: Earlier this week we all received an e-mail about the staff and faculty gifts that were distributed at the Celebrate U day. Distribution of gifts for staff that did not receive the gifts at Celebrate U day and are located on campus goes through campus mail. For Extension staff located in County or Regional Offices, distribution will be handled as in past years. All of the gifts will be drop shipped to Coffey Hall, and Regional Directors will deliver them to office locations over the next few weeks. So, be patient.

President at the Fair: Last Sunday, U of M President Kaler spent time at the 4H building at the Minnesota State Fair learning about the variety of exhibits, experiences, and opportunities enjoyed by the 6,800 4H members participating in this year's State Fair.

Have a nice Holiday Weekend,

Bob
Here are the answers to last week's state fair trivia:

State Fair Trivia Answers
1. Which fair food contains the most calories? The Fried Candy Bars
2. On average, what's the total number of corn dogs typically consumed by fair visitors each year? 500,000
3. In acres, how large is the fairgrounds? 320 Acres
. 4. When was the Pronto Pup introduced at the State Fair? 1947
5. How long would it take the average cow to produce all the milk served during the fair's 12-day run at the All-You-Can-Drink milk booth? 3-4 Years
6. Dan Patch Avenue on the State Fairgrounds was named after whom? Race horse Dan Patch, who set numerous records at the State Fair track in the early 1900s.
7. In what year was the first Princess Kay of the Milky Way crowned? 1953
8. At what attraction can kids feed a chicken, stroll through an apple orchard and "purchase" produce all while learning about the Minnesota agricultural process? Little Farm Hands at the Fair, located off of Lee Avenue on Machinery Hill
9. What special event took place at the fairgrounds on June 20, 1910? The first flight in Minnesota history
10. Where can you find 100 State Fair coupons offering savings on food, merchandise and attractions? The Blue Ribbon Bargain Book
11. What year was the first Minnesota State Fair held? 1859
12. When did the State Fair attendance first top the one million mark? September 5, 1955. Robert Karklin received a wristwatch and silver trophy for being the fair's millionth customer
13. Which United States President gave one of his most famous speeches at the State Fair? Teddy Roosevelt, his "Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick" speech in 1901
14. Who broke the all-time record for the most tickets sold to a single Grandstand show? Christina Aguilera
15. What are the two oldest buildings on the fairgrounds? The Arts Center and the Progress Center, both built in 1907
16. Approximately, how many rolls of toilet paper are used during the fair? 22,000 rolls
17. What is the oldest ride on the fairgrounds? Ye Old Mill, built in 1913
18. What famous author described the Minnesota State Fair in his poem, "A Night at the Fair" in 1928? F. Scott Fitzgerald
19. How much butter is used to sculpt the likeness of Princess Kay of the Milky Way? 85-90 lbs

August 25, 2011

August 25 message

Good Morning. As we all know, the Minnesota State Fair starts today. Special thanks goes out to all of our staff at county and regional offices who have spent many hours on all of the work that results in young people experiencing the State Fair through the 4-H educational programs.

Here is this years' version of State Fair trivia. If you think you know the correct answers, feel free to reply to this blog. I will post the correct answers next week.

Thanks, Bob

State Fair Trivia - 2011

1. Which fair food contains the most calories?

2. On average, what's the total number of corn dogs typically consumed by fair visitors each year?

3. In acres, how large is the fairgrounds?

4. When was the Pronto Pup introduced at the State Fair?

5. How long would it take the average cow to produce all the milk served during the fair's 12-day run at the All-You-Can-Drink milk booth?

6. Dan Patch Avenue on the State Fairgrounds was named after whom?

7. In what year was the first Princess Kay of the Milky Way crowned?

8. At what attraction can kids feed a chicken, stroll through an apple orchard and "purchase" produce all while learning about the Minnesota agricultural process?

9. What special event took place at the fairgrounds on June 20, 1910?

10. Where can you find 100 State Fair coupons offering savings on food, merchandise and attractions?

11. What year was the first Minnesota State Fair held?

12. When did the State Fair attendance first top the one million mark?

13. Which United States President gave one of his most famous speeches at the State Fair?

14. Who broke the all-time record for the most tickets sold to a single Grandstand show?

15. What are the two oldest buildings on the fairgrounds?

16. Approximately, how many rolls of toilet paper are used during the fair?

17. What is the oldest ride on the fairgrounds?

18. What famous author described the Minnesota State Fair in his poem, "A Night at the Fair" in 1928?

19. How much butter is used to sculpt the likeness of Princess Kay of the Milky Way?

August 18, 2011

August 18 message

Good Morning: My blog message this week is being sent to an expanded address list, including the entire staff at the Marshall and Hutchinson Regional Offices. The reason for this expanded list is to share some information about upcoming administrative changes.

As we all know, there are a significant number of our colleagues who will be retiring from Extension this year or early 2012. In the very near future, Dean Bev Durgan will share the list of individuals who have chosen to retire.

One of the individuals who will be retiring is Director of Field Operation Lee Raeth. Lee has provided great leadership to Extension in general and specifically to Field Operations. Lee's contributions will be greatly missed when he retires at the end of this year.

Dean Durgan has asked, and I have accepted appointment as Director of Field Operations. My appointment to this role will begin in January, 2012.

In the next weeks, we will share the next step for Regional Director leadership in our regions. We will also be in communication with County Extension Committees, County Commissioners and other stakeholders in the regions. I will involve many of you in that communication process, and ask that you refrain from sharing this information with the CEC's or Commissioners until we have had that communication.

I welcome any questions and suggestions that you may have, and look forward to working with many of you on this transition.

Thank you,

Bob

July 21, 2011

July 21 message

Good Morning: I hope you have all had a good week. Fortunately the heat wave has passed and we are back to more bearable summer weather. A few things to share this week:

County Fairs: As you read this, several County Fairs in the region are history, and others are busy preparing for the upcoming event. County Fairs are a very public showcase of the University of Minnesota programming. I thank everyone for all you do to make the County Fair programs run smoothly.

Farmfest: Farmfest will be August 2 - 4. The University of Minnesota will again have interactive displays in the University of Minnesota tent located on 5th Street directly across from the Minnesota Cattlemen's food tent, (new location this year). University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler will attend Farmfest on Wednesday, August 3 and will speak briefly at 10:15 a.m. in the Farmfest Forum tent. The University of Minnesota Farm Family Recognition program will be Thursday August 4 at 1:30 p.m. in the Farmfest Forum tent.

Extension Committees and Budgets: After today, 9 of the 10 counties in our region have met and approved the 2012 budget recommendation to the County Board of Commissioners. The Extension Committee meetings have gone very smoothly which is attributable to their appreciation of the good work the Extension does in the county.

Stormy July: Earlier this month Mark Seeley reported to the MnEDEN team that volatile weather was possible in Minnesota through July 20, and once again Dr. Seeley was accurate. Many areas of our region were impacted by a series of storms that began with the July 1 storm that stretched from South Dakota across Minnesota to Wisconsin. Other storms followed and we all experienced the record stretch of high temperatures and humidity. As with past weather related emergencies, the Extension website has been the access point for educational materials people are looking for as they recover from the storms. This web page has been added to several of your County web pages as a "hot topic".
Here is a photo of the debris cleanup at my residence.

My Schedule: As some of you know, I will be on vacation July 25 - 29th. I will be riding in the MS TRAM, (300 mile bike ride to raise support for Multiple Sclerosis research and treatment). If you need Regional Director help during the week, you can contact the neighboring RD's, (Holli Arp, Nathan Crane or Sarah Chur). I will be checking cell phone and e-mail messages, (I have a mount for my phone on my bike). We will also be attending the U2 concert at TCF stadium.


Have a great week,

Bob

July 1, 2011

July 1 Message

Good Morning: I hope you have had a good week. If you read this on Friday, I hope you are looking forward to a fun and relaxing Holiday.

A few things to share today:

County Fairs: County Fair season starts next week. Thanks to all who work hard for successful Extension programming showcased at these very public events. Here is the fair calendar in our region

July 7-10: Redwood
July 14-17: Big Stone
July 21-24: Lincoln
July 28-31 Yellow Medicine
Aug 3-6 Lyon
Aug 4-6 Chippewa
Aug 10-13 Kandiyohi
Aug 17-19 Renville
Aug 18-21 Swift
Sept: 8-11 Lac qui Parle

Staff change: Kim Johnson, Kandiyohi County will be leaving her Support position in Kandiyohi Extension to pursue new opportunities. Kim's last day in the Extension office will be July 6. We wish Kim well as she begins a new chapter in her life journey.

State Government shutdown: As you know, Extension is not immediately impacted by the State Government shutdown. Here is the message sent by Dean Bev Durgan to staff:

June 28, 2011
Dear Colleagues,
In the event of a short-term government shutdown, the University and Extension will remain open. That means all employees should continue to report to work and continue with your summer and fall programming even if there is a shutdown.
Please note that all University Extension campus and regional offices will remain open if there is a shutdown. If a county or agency that houses an Extension office chooses to close the office during a state shutdown, supervisors will work with affected staff to work from home or move to another Extension office.
We are working with the University and state and federal partners to assess the impact of a possible shutdown on our state funding as well as grants and federal funds that "pass through" state agencies to Extension. A shutdown will mean at least a temporary interruption in the flow of those funds. I will continue to keep you informed of the impact of a state shutdown on Extension.
Bev Durgan
Dean

The following is a list of what is open and closed, copied from today's Star Tribune:

Have a safe 4th

Bob

COURTS

Will remain open at all levels.

DRIVER'S LICENSES

People will be able to renew licenses at driver's license agent offices. Driver tests will not be available. City, county and privately owned offices can distribute tabs and license plates. To find one, go to mndep.com.

EDUCATION

State funding for K-12 schools will continue, but the state Education Department will largely be closed.

HEALTH/HUMAN SERVICES

Medical Assistance, MinnesotaCare, food stamps, welfare benefits, child support payments, county child protection services, refugee assistance, supplemental aid and some services for disabled people will continue. Child-care assistance, services for the deaf, Senior and Disability linkage lines, criminal background checks and food shelf distributions will stop. Licensing for food, beverages, lodging and swimming pools could be interrupted. For details, go to the state's BeReady website at bereadymn.com.

HIGHWAY REST STOPS

Will close. Three waysides, partners with other entities, will stay open: Brainerd Lakes Welcome Center, Park Rapids Area Welcome Center, Floodwood rest area in St. Louis County.

HISTORICAL SITES

Minnesota Historical Society's 26 sites and museums will close, including the History Center, Mill City Museum, Historic Fort Snelling and Split Rock Lighthouse.

HUNTING, FISHING LICENSES

Will not be issued. DNR officers will continue enforcement.

LICENSE PLATES

State Driver and Vehicle Services Division will be closed, but deputy registrars could renew license plates.

MILITARY/VETERANS

Veterans homes will stay open, along with critical assistance programs. Tuition reimbursement claims will stop, and veterans' outreach claims offices will close.

MINNESOTA ZOO

Will close to the public. Zoo staff will care for the animals and maintain security. IMAX and zoo concerts will stay open. For updates, go towww.mnzoo.com.

PUBLIC SAFETY

State Patrol will stay on. The state's prison system will keep 3,600 of its 4,200 employees, including most of those who deal directly with offenders. Local police will likely be unaffected, since the state will still send local government aid.

RACETRACKS

Canterbury Park and Running Aces will close. Canterbury officials are looking for ways to keep at least part of the business open.

STATE COLLEGES, UNIVERSITIES

Will remain open.

STATE LOTTERY

Will close. You won't be able to buy tickets or redeem winning lottery tickets. Drawings for Powerball, Mega Millions and Hot Lotto will continue, but no luck buying tickets in Minnesota. For more info, go to www.mnlottery.com.

STATE PARKS

Will close. For more information, go to www.dnr.state.mn.us.

STILLWATER LIFT BRIDGE

Will remain open.

TAXES

Taxes will be collected, but no refund checks will go out. Tax Court will be closed.

TRANSPORTATION

Most state-funded road construction projects will stop, except for emergency repairs. Twin Cities buses and rail lines will continue operating. South-metro bus lines will keep operating. Solo motorists will no longer be able to pay to use carpool lanes during rush hours on Interstates 394 and 35W.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

Will be paid.

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA

Will remain open.
--

June 27, 2011

June 27 message

Good Afternoon, as the state nears a possible government shut down, there are many questions. Here are a few questions and answers that I have heard. Feel free to use this blog this week pose other questions.

If the state government shuts down, when would the shutdown occur? The current state fiscal year ends June 30, so a shutdown would begin Friday, July 1.

Will our County and Regional Extension offices be impacted by a state government shutdown? The short answer is that Extension will continue 'business as usual". Employees should report to work as scheduled and continue programming.

What about Nutrition Programming? A significant funding source for Health and Nutrition programming is the SNAP ED program. This Federal SNAP ED funds "pass through" a state department which reimburses salaries and expenses for Nutrition Education including "Simply Good Eating". During a shutdown, SNAP ED funds may not be available, and programming will need to be supported from other sources.

Could things change? We are in a very fluid and rapidly changing time. Keep in contact with your Extension Supervisor for any funding or program changes. The Deans office will communicate any changes through the Deans page on the employee website. This is a time to be very careful with information that may not be accurate or circulated via "rumor mill".


June 9, 2011

June 9 message

Good Morning: I hope you have all had a good week. A few things to share today:

University of Minnesota Farm Family Recognition: All of the counties in our region have identified the families to be recognized in the 2011 Farm Family Recognition event. The state wide recognition event will be held Thursday, August 4 at Farmfest. In addition, many counties also have local recognition of their families at the county fair. The Marshall Regional Office coordinates the state wide recognition event and our office is communicating with the families. I will deliver the certificates for the local recognition to the County Office. Farm Family Recognition publicity will go out in mid-July. Additional details about the Farm Family Recognition program and the families being honored can be found at the Farm Family recognition website .

Here are the Families recognized in our region:

Chippewa County Tom and Kathy Palke
Lac qui Parle County David and Patricia Craigmile
Lincoln County Ken and Laura Krog
Lyon County Greg and Mary Deutz
Redwood County Bruce & Maydra Maas
Yellow Medicine County Randy & Ann Kamrath
Kandiyohi County Larry and Mary Larson
Big Stone County Wade and Vicki Athey
Swift County Al and Renaee Schreck
Renville County Neubauer Farms Inc, (Mike and Bill)

Extension Marketing and Communications: You have received information on the templates available on the Extension employee website . To quote from that web page: On this site, you'll find the tools you need to bring the University of Minnesota Extension brand to life. These templates and resources have been created to make it easier to create consistent, high-quality, cost-effective Extension marketing communications materials so you can spend more time working on the Extension programming that requires your unique expertise.
As Extension competes for funding, participant registration and donations, there is an important need to represent Extension in consistent ways that help all of our audiences understand our unique strengths and contributions. As key Extension brand ambassadors, you should use the professionally designed templates on this site for all of your Extension marketing communications needs.
Please use these communications tools and templates in material produced in your office. If you have questions, please contact the Administrative staff at the Regional Offices.

Have a good weekend.

Bob

June 3, 2011

June 3 message

Good Morning: I hope you have had a good week. A few things to share today:

Budget outlook: Public funding for budgets is a front and center topic for many. As we know, the University of Minnesota Extension budget is funded from multiple sources. County government funds account for about 21 per cent of Extensions budget. We are beginning work on the 2012 county budgets and expect the county support funding local programs will remain stable. Federal funds account for approximately 16 % of Extensions budget in Minnesota. The current budget decisions at the Federal level will likely result in a reduction in the Federal funds of about 10 per cent. State appropriations make up about 42 % of the budget for Extension. The Higher Education bill passed by the legislature this year contained significant budget reductions. This bill along with other appropriation and tax bills was vetoed by the Governor. The remaining percentage of Extension's budget is funded through grants, fees etc, including the grant that supports Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Education programs.

Government Shutdown possibility: If a Special Session of the legislature does not result in a budget signed by the Governor by June 30, a shutdown of State Government activities will begin July 1. Several of you have asked if and how the University of Minnesota will be impacted by a State Government shutdown. Director of Field Operations Lee Raeth has provided the following response to that question:

A state shutdown will not directly affect Extension and the greater University (unless the shutdown goes for an extended period of time). The University receives State funds in installments - so if the State is shut down for a longer period of time then the next installment is in question. That would mean determining appropriate plans of action. With a short state shutdown we do not anticipate impacts to Extension and Extension employees.

Impact on Programs: Dean Bev Durgan has consistently said that Administration will continue to use budget decision-making principles that support local, regional and state-wide program impact. All of us have a role in continuing to deliver and support quality programs that are important to our audiences.


Phone book listings; Just a reminder for County Support staff to check and make any necessary updates or corrections with the publishers of the various phone books you receive. Guidelines for phone listings for Extension offices can be found at this link.

Extreme Weather response: I also call your attention to the feature on the public website on tornado and wind response resources. Earlier this year flood response was featured, and also publicized through posters each county received. If you still have those posters up in your office area, I would suggest they be taken down. However, keep them handy and available to be posted if and when we again experience flooding in the region.

Lawn and Garden questions: This is the time of year many of our offices receive calls about Yard and Garden questions. Of course, the Extension Master Gardeners are a resource to address these questions. I would also call your attention to the diagnostic tools for weed and insect identification and plant problem diagnosis on the Garden section of the Extension website. Introducing your customers to these tools can help them find the answers to their questions and also introduce them to an access point to University resources.

Have a good weekend,

Bob

May 31, 2011

May 31 message

Good Afternoon: Here is the schedule for the next round of County Extension Committee meetings:

June 30 7:00 p.m. Big Stone
July 11 12:00 noon Kandiyohi
July 11 5:00 p.m. Chippewa
July 11 7:30 p.m. Lincoln
July 14 7:00 p.m. Lyon
July 18 7:00 p.m. Renville
July 19 4:30 p.m. Lac qui Parle
July 21 4:00 p.m. Redwood
July 21 7:00 p.m. Yellow Medicine
July 27 5:30 p.m. Swift

One of the agenda items will be the 2012 budget proposals which I will discuss with each of you at our upcoming County staff meetings.

Have a good week

Bob