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September 28, 2010

Septmber 28 message

Good Afternoon: The Regional UMGoogle application training date has been set for Wednesday November 10 at the Marshall Regional Extension office. The training will begin at 9:30 a.m. and will conclude with the noon lunch. Lunch will be provided. This training is for County Support staff in our region, (Lincoln, Lyon, Redwood, Renville, Yellow Medcine, Lac qui Parle, Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Big Stone, Swift). Presenters will be the Marshall Regional Support Staff.

This training is intended to help you migrate and use Google Applications, and answer any questions you have about the transition.

Please mark this on your calendar, let me know if youhave a conflict with the date and cannot attend, and carpool with your neighbors where it makes sense.

Questions? Give me a call


September 27, 2010

September 27 message

Good Afternoon: This week is starting out sunny and dry. Let's hope we get some much need drying conditions this week. A few things to share this week:

Flood resources. Many counties in our region were impacted by the flood conditions this past week. Extension resources to help with the many questions that citizens impacted by flooding in their homes and farms are located on the Extension Public website.

On that page, the Flood and Water page is highlighted. This page has resources form homeowners impacted by flooding. A second page "Wet Fall Weather and Crops" is intended for farmers with questions about dealing with flooding on their fields and farms.

I encourage you to use and share both of these resources to clientele dealing with theses serious issues.

Google Migration: County Extension Offices are scheduled to migrate from Outlook to Google beginning the week of November 8. Prior to that time, all staff should perform their email clean up. Details on the cleanup process are outlined on our IT page on the Extension Employee website.

Google Migration information request: As we prepare to Migrate each county Extension Office to Google, Extension IT needs your response to the following questions. Please e-mail you county information regarding these questions as soon as possible, (within the next 24 to 48 hours) to Mary Jo Fox, (foxxx055@umn.edu)

Please describe how the county office staff currently handle their email

Do they:

Forward University email to a county e-mail system?
Forward County e-mail to U of M Outlook?
Access county email though one system and U of M email though Outlook?

Please describe how County office staff currently access the U of M calendar system

Do they:

Access through UMCal web client?
Through Outlook?
They do not access/use it?

Finally, do you (or your county IT person) anticipate any other issue your county may have in migrating to UMGoogle?

Google Training for County Support staff: Once the ten counties in our region migrate to Google, I would like to schedule a training session with county support staff. The session would be held in Marshall. At this time we are looking at coordinating this training with a November meeting for the 4H Program Coordinators in the seven counties in the region that Trish Sheehan works with. The possible days we are looking at are November 9, 10, 16, or 17. In addition to Google apps training, we would also cover several other support issues including, but not limited to 4H On-line enrollment.

4H On Line Enrollment: Last week, your office should have taken in a webinar regarding the new online 4-H enrollment through 4h4me.com. Over the past few years, Minnesota 4-H has been transitioning to online enrollment and re-enrollment. For this coming fall, they will continue that transition by no longer printing re-enrollment forms for every member and leader. Online enrollment on www.4h4me. com will begin on Monday, October 11 for both members and leaders.
If you did not get to listen in on one of the webinars, you will need to view the recorded session as soon as possible. More information, including user guides, is available on the 4-H website .

Staff changes: Congratulations to Deb Hadley, who has accepted the Extension Educator for Regional 4-H Youth Development Programs position located at the Worthington regional office. She will be working with the 4-H program coordinators in the eight county region to provide leadership to 4-H Youth Development programs in Cottonwood, Jackson, Martin, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Rock and Watonwan counties.

Deb will leave her 4H PC position in Redwood County on October 12. The Redwood County Extension Committee and will meet Thursday, September 30 to begin the process to fill the Redwood County 4H Program Coordinator position.

Have a good week,


September 10, 2010

September 10 message

Good Afternoon: I hope you have had a good week. My unofficial rain gauge has nearly 10 inches of rain so far this month. So let's hope for a warmer, dryer weekend. A few things to share this week:

Learning Circle Lessons: Earlier this week you should have received the latest Learning Circle lesson CD in the mail as well as a message from Pat Persoon with details about the upcoming lessons and how to get the lesson material. Here is the message Pat sent:

Learning Circle lessons for the new program year are now being produced.

Lessons that have been produced to date include:

Cooking Safely for a Crowd by LouAnn Jopp - The handouts have been posted on the Moodle site. I am putting the DVD in the mail to you today.

Eating Well on A Budget by Connie Burns - The handouts have been posted on the Moodle site but the DVD is not yet available.

There is also a lesson being developed on diabetes, " A Touch of Diabetes - Take it Seriously" but not yet available. David Moen has been approached about sharing some of the Master Gardener programs to expand the library of available lessons as well.

If you do not have a Moodle account, you can activate your account by logging in with your Internet ID and password to the Moodle server: moodle.umn.edu

Once you log in there, your account will be initiated right away and you will be added to the user database. Then you can log in to the Learning Circles site. This link will bring you to "Welcome to the Extension Learning Circles Project Website". Scroll down to #3 and click on Learning Circles Library. You will see the titles of the new lessons at the left to view and download the lesson materials. You should be able to print the lesson materials for the study groups in your county. You may want to add this site to your favorites for future use.

I will keep you posted on any updates on available and new lessons. If you have any questions, let me know.

Furlough Days: I've had questions about how the furlough procedures in County Extension offices will work. As we all know, University of Minnesota employees will be on furlough (unpaid leave) December 28, 29 and 30th. This includes 4H P.C.'s and NEA's in County Extension Offices. December 31 is an observed Holiday for University and Counties for New Years. Monday, December 27th is a University of Minnesota Floating Holiday.

University of Minnesota offices, (including the Extension Regional Offices) will be closed the week of December 27th for the two holidays and three day furlough. County Offices follow the County schedule, so in most cases those offices will be open December 27, 28 29 30, and closed December 31.
Typically 4H PC's and NEA's follow the County Holiday schedule for their 11 University Holidays, so in most cases, they will have applied their floating Holiday to a County Holiday not recognized by the University such as Veterans Day. If this is the case, the NEA's and P.C.'s will be working on December 27th unless they are taking this as a vacation day.

County Support Staff ( County employees), will be working Dec 27 - 29th, unless you are using this time for vacation. If you are taking vacation during that time, the office will be closed.

Questions? Give me a call.

Have a good weekend,


September 3, 2010

September 3 message

Good Afternoon: I hope you have all had a good week, and are looking forward to a nice long weekend. A couple of things to share this week:

Migration to Google Apps. As you know, the University of Minnesota, (including Extension) will switch from Outlook / Oracle Connector to Google Applications this year. Google Apps will be the calendaring, e-mail, document sharing, instant messaging and web site publishing platform. Regional Support staff are in the process of transitioning to Google apps, and other staff, including Educators, County Support Staff, PC's and NEA's will be invited to migrate from Outlook to Google in October. Outlook will no longer be supported by Extension after 2010.

In preparation for the change to Google, staff are encouraged to clean up your e-mail. Messages larger than 25 MB, e-mail accounts larger than 6 GB and folder names longer than 39 characters will not transfer. Tips for cleaning up outlook e-mail can be found on the Information Technology section of the my employee website. Also found at that location is helpful inflation on what to expect in the transfer process, Google application features and how to set up g-mail accounts.

Furlough details: By now you have seen information on the December 28-30, 2010 furlough. Regional Support staff, along with 4H PC's and NEA's in county offices are included in the furlough and the reduction in pay for the furlough days will be reflected in the pay statement for that pay period. County employed Support staff are not included in the furlough. However, I do recognize that there may be some scheduling conflicts considering planned vacation time etc that we will need to discuss on a county by county basis.

Have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day weekend.