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April 22, 2011

April 22 Message

Good Morning: I hope you have had a good week. We are all looking forward to sunshine and warmer weather. A few items to share this week:

Google Docs Training: Earlier this Week County Support staff in the region received an invitation from Karen Mathys to attend Google Doc trainings. Trainings are scheduled for Marshall and Worthington. Karen anticipates upcoming trainings in other locations. However, those training dates and locations have not been determined. I would encourage your participation in this training and would also point out that space is limited to the number of work stations available in the computer labs. So, if you plan to participate, register as soon as possible. If you have any questions about this, contact Karen at Extension IT or Mary Jo at the Marshall Regional Office.

County Extension Website: I would also remind the County Support Staff to be sure you are keeping the County Extension Web page current, (calendar of upcoming events, My Program entries, other special features or announcements). Our public, program participants, County Extension Committee Members, County Commissioners and other stakeholders use the website to learn about program offerings and as a gateway to other resources so it is vital that the County Support Staff keep those websites current.

Extension Committee meetings: Eight of our counties have held there second quarter meetings. The remaining two counties, Swift and Big Stone meet April 27 and 28th.

Extension Changes across the border: Some of you, (especially in our border counties), have been following the organizational changes announced for South Dakota State Extension. I had a call this week from a State Legislator in South Dakota who was questioning how the University of Minnesota Extension structure is working, since the South Dakota plan has many similarities to Minnesota. He was pleased to learn that our system is working well in addressing local, regional and State needs and delivering high quality educational programming from a local, regional and State delivery system.

Have a blessed Easter.


April 1, 2011

April 1 message

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

Legislative activity: As we all know, the Minnesota Legislature is dealing with many difficult policy and budget issues. This past week, the Omnibus Higher Education bills passed the House and Senate. The bills will go to Conference committee for reconciliation of differences found in each respective bill before advancing to the Governor's office.

To learn more about the legislative process, here are some suggestions:

• Join the University Legislative Network
• Visit the University's Government Relations Webpage for the most current legislative information related to the U
• Review the ENews article in which Dean Bev Durgan outlines staff's legislative role
• Be prepared to tell a concise Extension story of the difference made because of Extension programming

You may have occasion to be in conversations with your local legislators. Here are some suggestions when communicating with your legislators

: • Acknowledge the difficult decisions and hard choices that legislators need to make - they do not have an easy job
• If presented with the opportunity, ask for support for the University of Minnesota
• Reiterate that any investment in the University is an investment in Extension
• Use "because" statements regarding Extension's value - tell your Extension story - while being concise
• Keep the messages focused on supporting the University instead of getting specific about what budget reductions might mean for Extension
• Avoid using any specific budget information such as what the House and Senate Higher Education Committees are recommending for the University (these numbers will probably change several times)

Please feel free to contact me with any questions, and also let me know of conversations you may have with your legislators.

County Extension Committee meetings: Renville and Lyon Extension Committees meet the Week of April 3; Kandiyohi, Chippewa, Lincoln, Redwood and Yellow Medicine meet the following week.

Have a good weekend