April 28, 2009

April 28 message

Good Morning: A few items to share with the MnEDEN Team today:

Temporary employee: During our last meeting I reported that a temporary employee has been hired to assist with the flood recovery efforts in Northwest Minnesota. That person is Pat Frazee who began work on April 16 and will be employed for a six week period.

Flood Information Line: As requested during our last team meeting, I have contacted Tim Arlt concerning the activity level of the flood information line. Tim reports that as of April 22 there have been no calls to the flood information line. Tim has not yet made a decision to go back to the regular Farm Information Line hours.

CSREES Special Needs Grant Proposal: Mike Schmitt is finalizing the grant submission. Items to be funded in the grant as well as the “in kind” efforts are all proceeding.

AMC Extension Committee: I will be making a presentation to the Association of Minnesota Counties Extension Committee on Wednesday, April 29. You can view the presentation handout here.

North American Flu: Greg Coumo convened a conference call yesterday, April 27 to discuss Extension’s role and response to the North American Flu situation. Participating in the call were Katherine Waters, Lee Johnston, Mark Whitney (Lee and Mark are Extension’s Swine team), Dr. Peter Davies, DVM, Aimee Viniard Wiedeman, Dave Preisler and Trudy Wastweet, (Dave and Trudy are with the Minnesota Pork Produces organization).
Katherine Waters and Mark Whitney are giving leadership to crafting the message and content to be shared with the public and producer groups. Aimee VW is coordinating the messaging with University Relations

MnEDEN Team Meeting: Our next meeting is scheduled for May 19.

Have a nice day.


April 17, 2009

April 16 update

Good Morning: A few items of update for the MnEDEN Team.

Flood Intern Position: This position has been authorized and the Intern began work yesterday. The duration of this temporary position is initially for six weeks. One of the major roles of this position will be providing the “public face” of Extension in Disaster Recovery Centers in Moorhead, Breckenridge and Hendrum to assist in the connection of Extension resources with the needs of the Disaster victims visiting the Recovery Centers. This includes distributing material, promoting referral phone numbers and resources, accessing the Extension Flood page web resources etc. I also see this person as having a key role in organizing any upcoming Disaster Recovery fairs.

Picking up the Pieces: This publication is very popular. City and County Inspectors along with FEMA representatives are delivering this publication as they do door to door home inspections. As a result, our printing supply has been exhausted, and a second printing is under way.

Moisture Meters: Yesterday we ordered ten moisture meters. We ordered the exact models that NDSU is using and will also be replicating the “check out” policy used by NDSU Extension.

USDA reports: As you know, USDA is very interested in the Extension role in the flood response. I have been asked to provide frequent reports to various individuals at USDA.

CSREES Special Needs Gran Proposal: Mike Schmitt is finalizing this grant proposal which will be submitted to CSREES as early as today. Included in the draft funding request is funding for the “Picking up the Pieces” publication, Home clean up after to water recedes videos, Home septic Systems after a flood videos, Resource Promotional handouts, Temporary staff, (intern), Table top displays, media marketing costs, moisture meters and travel costs.

MnEDEN meeting: Gwen has set up the next meeting for Tuesday, April 21 at 3:00 p.m.

Enjoy the great weather today and this weekend.


April 14, 2009

April 14 Message

Good Evening: This is a quick update / follow up to today's meetings.

Following our meetings, I had a couple of conversations with Mike Schmitt to address several of this topics and issues discussed in our MnEDEN and Flood meetings. Mike also had a conversation with Bev Durgan.

Mike, (with Bev's approval) has approved the hiring of a individual to provide and Extension presence at the FEMA DIsaster Recovery Centers. This person will connect the Resources we have with the needs of the visitors to the Recovery Centers. I will be putting together a position description for the immediate hiring. The employment will initially be for a six week period through the University NASTE hiring procedure. I have discussed this with Nancy Frosaker Johnson who already has a couple of people in mind who could do this job. This person will be provided a lap top computer and printer to print material on demand to supplement the print and display material we will have available at the recovery centers.

Mike has also approved the purchase of moisture meters with the use to be consistent with the procedures used by NDSU. Nancy will be contacting the individual at NDSU who purchased their Moisture meters to begin the process for our purchase. We will also replicate the NDSU check out and deposit procedure for the moisture meters.

Finally, any bills or expenses incurred should be forwarded to Gwen. Mike S will need a report of incurred and anticipated expenses.

THanks for everyone's work on this issue.


April 6, 2009

April 6 MnEDEN Message

MnEDEN Team: I had a few things to share so I thought I would use this blog format. Feel free to give your thoughts and input using the blog reply.

I am in Moorhead today, (Monday) and Tuesday. Our day began today with a meeting with the Regional and County staff along with representatives of Public Health and the County Environmental Services. Later we had conversations with a County Commissioner, the County Administrator and Becky Koch from NDSU EDEN. Tomorrow Nancy Frosaker Johnson (RD in Moorhead) and I will make a presentation to the County Board of Commissioners.

A few observations on the situation in Moorhead.

-While the community is very anxious to start the cleanup process, they are also very aware of the forecasted flood crest predicted for next week. Moorhead has begun constructing contingency levies and is strengthening the primary levies on the direction of the corp of engineers. On the other hand, the leadership in Fargo is publicly doubting the NWS predictions.

-FEMA has secured a former Wal-Mart store as their operation Center. We have made contact with the local FEMA head to attempt to secure a location in the Center for a resource area for Extension material. This could be the first step to a “resource fair” similar to what was held successfully in Southeast Minnesota following their floods.

-In discussions with the staff, Public Health and NDSU, there is agreement that there is a need for some “how to” videos” to be put on the website and also used in some trainings. Examples would be training for volunteers that will be helping with cleanup on sanitation, protective clothing etc.; as short video on use of moisture meters; some promotion / advertisement of resources including the FIL and flood page. There is interest in both Minnesota and North Dakota and from our Deans in submitting a funding proposal to USDA for these purposes.

-The Answer Line (cooperative line with ISU), blocks calls originating from a North Dakota phone. I have discussed this with Karen Schier who has been in contact with Iowa to see if this can be “unblocked”. This is a problem since our material is promoted to Minnesota residents who may be picking up our material in a business like a Home Depot located in North Dakota.

-Dean Durgan will be in Moorhead on Thursday of this week. While here she will meet with the staff, local stakeholders, and the leadership of NDSU Extension.

-I see a need for another flood UMConnect early next week.

Let me know any comments, concerns or suggestions.