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May 29, 2009

May 28 message

Good Morning: I hope you have had a good week. With the nice weather comes a variety of yard and garden calls to our offices. Spring canker worms are active, weeds are growing and plant disease symptoms are evident.
Although we do not have Horticulture Educators in offices in our region, we do connect people to the University resources. This may be through a referral to a local Extension Master Gardener, or referral to the Extension web based resources. As many of you know, the Extension Horticulture team has done a great job in making resources available to handle many of the common questions. Most of these resources are available though the Yard and Garden page.

Included in the page are a number of quick and easy diagnostic tools for weed identification
Insect identification
and plant problem diagnosis

If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to familiarize yourself with these great resources.

Enjoy your weekend.

May 22, 2009

May 22 message

Good Afternoon, I hope you have all had a good week. All of our offices are closed Monday in observance of Memorial Day. Have a safe and enjoyable Holiday.

In the past few years there has been much work done in anticipation of the discovery of the pest Emerald Ash Borer, (EAB), in Minnesota. Last month the pest was discovered near Lacrosse Wisconsin and this month EAB was discovered in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

This is a very serious pest that has had a history of killing every unprotected Ash tree that has been infected. Minnesota has one of the highest populations of Ash of any State in the Country, so the prospect of losing that tree population is hard to imagine.

In Minnesota the EAB team has been preparing for years for EAB. Their work includes early detection, containment of an identified infestation to stop the spread, and if necessary, treatment and removal.

Several of the media releases in the past week or so have indicated contacting the County Extension Office for more information. If you are getting these calls, here are some suggestions in helping people with their EAB questions:

-Extension Website: Emerald Ash Borer is featured on the Extension Website. Refer people to the website. If they do not have access to the internet, offer to print the pertinent pages.

-Do I have Emerald Ash Borer?
This worksheet on the Emerald Ash Borer Extension Website is a step by step guide to help tree owners identify if they have the pest.

-If people have additional questions or suspect that they may have EAB, they should contact treeinfo@umn.edu

In the next few weeks, we plan to conduct several UM Connect sessions with County and Regional Staff to help with EAB questions and referrals.

Have a great weekend.


May 15, 2009

May 15 message

Good Morning: I hope you have all had a good week.

Each of our eight Counties has funded a summer intern this year. The following individuals will join our county staff teams as summer 4H Interns:
County Intern Start Date
Lac qui Parle Kali Maatc 5/18/09
Lyon Melissa Goblish 6/8/09
Redwood Kelsey Bourne 6/1/09
Renville Kari Stai 6/1/09
Kandiyohi Bailey Rettmann 5/26/09
Chippewa Emma Skaggs 6/1/09
Lincoln Cody Schlecht 6/1/09
Yellow Medicine Brittany Moorse 6/11/09

There are two goals for the summer Internship program. The first goal is to involve the intern in meaningful programming that would not have been possible without the addition of the summer programming staff. The second goal is for the Intern to have a positive experience with the University of Minnesota Extension.

The expectation for all of us is to be sure the Intern goals are achieved. This means providing a welcoming and professional work environment that provides the opportunity for the intern to be involved in quality Extension programming.

Have a good weekend.


May 8, 2009

May 8 message

Good Afternoon. I hope you have had a good week.

Yesterday, Dean Bev Durgan awarded the 2009 Distinguished Extension Awards. Here is an excerpt from the Dean’s column in this week’s Extension Weekly:

Dear Colleagues,
Today, I have the pleasure of presenting distinguished Extension awards at the Extension Staff Consultative Committee (ESCC) annual professional development day for Extension support staff.
Karla Engels, executive office and administrative assistant in the Extension Regional Office in Marshall, received the Distinguished Extension Support Campus Staff award for her work on the Enterprise Financial System.
Janel Zimmerman, executive and office assistant at the Extension regional office in Hutchinson, received the Distinguished Extension Support Field Staff award.
We congratulate Karla and Janel on this recognition. This recognition reflects positively on the work that they and all of you do in support of Extension. So congratulations to all.

Have a great Mother’s Day weekend.


May 1, 2009

May Day message

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

AMC Extension Committee. At their meeting this week, the Association of Minnesota Counties Extension Committee unanimously approved the recommendation to make no change to cost of the 2010 Memorandum of Agreement for local program staff. The 2010 cost of local positions will remain at the 2009 level. This recommendation was made with the recognition that Counties are facing budget challenges. The recommendation also recognizes that while salaries for University staff will be frozen, other costs of the position such as field expenses and fringe benefit costs will increase and the University will not pass those increased costs on to the County partners.

2010 Budget Development: The MOA is a major part of the 2010 budget. The other major parts are the County Salaries and benefits (Support Staff), and the office operational costs. In the next few weeks, I would like to work with each of you on the preliminary 2010 budget proposal. In preparation for that conversation I would like to have the following information:

1: Please let me know of any decisions, or discussion of future decisions that have been made by the County Board of Commissioners relevant to 2010 employee cost of living, step, merit or longevity adjustments.

2: Any decisions or discussion on alternative employee budget management actions such as furloughs.

3: Current status of any pending operational budgetary needs such as equipment. I ask you to think about this in light of the current budget as well as next year’s budget. I’ll be meeting with each of you in the next few weeks to discuss the budget status and 2010 budget development.

Have a good weekend.