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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,


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

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

Have a safe 4th



Will remain open at all levels.


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.


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


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.


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.


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


Will not be issued. DNR officers will continue enforcement.


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


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


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.


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.


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


Will remain open.


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.


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


Will remain open.


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


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.


Will be paid.


Will remain open.