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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Celebrate Food and Ag Day at a Gopher Game

TIME SENSITIVE:  Be part of the inaugural Celebrate Ag & Food Day, Saturday, September 14 at 11 a.m. as Gopher Football hosts Western Illinois. Join Extension friends, college alumni and agricultural leaders for the game at the TCF Bank Stadium to celebrate and show your support for Minnesota agricultural and food industries. Extension is partnering with the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and others on this special opportunity. Extension staff and friends can order tickets at a special rate of $15. Tickets must be purchased by September 13 to be a part of this group. Don't forget to show your support by wearing Extension clothing

Dean's Column (Sept. 2013)

Extension colleagues remain a vital part of Extension long after the retirement parties are over and you move on to new adventures. Retirees are strong advocates, partners, volunteers and donors. Some even return to work with us on specific projects that require their expertise and relationships.

Today, we have nearly 400 retirees in active communication with Extension. In addition to this e-newsletter for retirees, we have a Facebook page for Extension retirees. There are 58 retirees keeping in touch on Facebook and we encourage you to join us there. If you are not in touch and want to connect, click "Request to Join" on the Facebook page or send a request to Gwen Gmeinder at

Each year, I look forward to hosting the summer luncheon for retirees. This year, we added one in northern Minnesota. In June, I met with 25 retirees in Detroit Lakes, including colleagues I worked with when I first came to Extension as an agronomist and weed scientist. In July, I met with 73 retirees for a very engaging afternoon in the Twin Cities. Both events featured highlights from authors Don Breneman and Mark Seeley on the writing and publishing of "Voyageur Skies."

I look forward to seeing those of you who attend the ESP meeting at the Extension Program Conference in Duluth in early October (more info below).

Extension is filled with employees who are working to make a difference with the people, programs and places they are passionate about.  It is rewarding to see that passion continue long after colleagues leave Extension.

Bev Durgan

Epsilon Sigma Phi at Extension Program Conference

Extension's Program Conference will be held October 7-9 at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. All Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) members are invited to join us for the following activities:

  • ESP silent auction noon - 7 p.m., October 7

  • ESP dollar auction 4:30-6 p.m., October 8, during the Lightning Talks

  • ESP member meeting 6:15-7:30 p.m., October 8

Show your support for ESP by donating an item to the ESP silent and dollar auctions that reflects your passion. Do you like to paint? Knit? Golf? Go to your lake cabin? Think about donating a basket of items that coordinates with what you love to do or a 'masterpiece' you've created. Donate an item to the auctions as an individual or with a group. Approximately six items will be selected for the dollar auction, with the remaining items being offered at the silent auction. All proceeds go to the Minnesota Extension Workers Scholarship (MEWS) Fund.  

To donate an item for the silent and dollar auctions, please send the following information to Ellie McCann, via email by Wednesday, September 25: name of donor; address of donor; email of donor; item description (20 words or less); estimated fair market dollar value of item.

Other ways to be involved at conference:

  • Take bids from colleagues who are unable to attend (such as retirees who may only be in attendance one of the two days).

  • Volunteer to help with setting up the silent auction on Monday afternoon.

  • Make a cash donation to MEWS if you are unable to attend either or both of the auctions.

Contact Ellie McCann, with questions.

Watch for Fall 2013 Source Magazine in Late September

The Fall issue of Source magazine will be sent to your home address as soon as it rolls off the press in late September, and it will also be available on the Extension website. You can look forward to reading about how Extension Climatologist Mark Seeley sees changing weather patterns and what that means for Minnesotans. You'll see how 4-H alumni, such as Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Harlan Madsen, give back to communities and what they learned about leadership in 4-H. Discover how Extension is helping Minnesota businesses take steps from farm to fork to improve food safety practices and prevent outbreaks of foodborne illness.

This issue also features Extension's work in economic development in Minnesota communities, and the impact of cooking-based nutrition education. And, we hope you'll be inspired by friends whose gifts to Extension make a difference in Minnesota.   

Awards & Accomplishments (Sept. 2013)

The "Educational Response to Families' Financial Situation After Natural Disaster" will receive the Distinguished Team Award at the ESP Recognition Luncheon at the Galaxy IV Conference in Pittsburgh on September 18.  Team members are: Phyllis Onstad, Extension educator (now retired); Sara Croymans, Extension educator; Rosemary Heins, Extension educator;  Shirley Anderson-Porisch, Extension educator (now retired); Cindy Petersen, Extension educator; Lori Hendrickson, Extension educator; Rebecca Hagen Jokela, Extension educator; Patricia Olson, assistant director, Family Development & Extension program leader, family resource management; Sharon Danes, family resource management specialist; Lori Scharmer, NDSU interim family economics specialist; Mary Marczak, evaluation & research specialist, Family Development; Alisha Hardman, doctoral student in Family, Youth, & Community.

Symposium Honors, Shares Jean Bauer's Research and Legacy

The Department of Family Social Science is pleased to announce its inaugural Family Social Science Cornerstone Symposium, "Upholding the well-being of families in a changing world," to be held on Sept. 27. This year's symposium will honor Jean Bauer, an Extension specialist and family social science professor who passed away in 2012. Elizabeth Dolan, University of New Hampshire professor emeritus will present on Bauer's extensive body of research and the legacy she left behind, focusing on family policy and the economic well-being of families and communities. This event is aimed at family-serving professionals and students of family social science, but all are welcome to attend. Presentation is at 2 p.m., 105 Cargill Hall with reception to follow at 3 p.m. Please RSVP with your name and email address. 

In Memoriam (Sept. 2013)

Retirees who passed away since the last update [note - sometimes notifications are received well past the time a retiree died]

M. Bandow.jpg
Mary Bandow, 73, a graduate and longtime employee of the University who worked as an Extension human resource personnel assistant, passed away on August 17, Roseville.

J. William (Bill) Mudge, an Extension dairy specialist from 1960-1986, died on April 24, age 92. Bill received his degrees from Kansas State University, with his Ph.D. in dairy cattle genetics and management.  Bill's Extension responsibilities included development and education of dairy herds, making significant contributions to computerizing record forms and data for dairy producers to use in herd management. He was a great friend of the dairy industry.

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James L. Rabehl, Baxter, died June 4. After graduating from University of Minnesota with a bachelor's degree in agricultural education, he became the Crow Wing County assistant agricultural agent. He spent five years as Extension director in Scott County and returned to Brained as an Extension county director until retiring in 1992.

G. Sullivan.jpg
Gerald J. Sullivan, age 88 of Grand Rapids died June 6. He worked for Extension for 13 years and retired in 1980 as professor emeritus at the University's Research and Outreach Station in Grand Rapids.

Richard D. Herman, Duluth, passed away October 21, 2012 at age 86.  He was an Extension county agricultural agent and director, first in Mora, then for South St. Louis County until he retired in 1983. Richard was a graduate of the University of Minnesota receiving his bachelor's and master's degrees in science.

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Norman H. Adams, Wadena, was 92 when he passed away on March 7, 2009. He worked in Extension agriculture programs for 10 years and retired in 1985. Norman also served as an adult leader of the Oakdale 4-H Club and participated in many county and state fairs.  

Media Moments (Sept. 2013)

4-H'ers Shine in the News During State Fair

News stories from the Minnesota State Fair shined the light on the growth and development 4-H'ers gain through their wide array of projects. The stories are available on Extension's "In the News" webpage. Also, discover many stories via the University of Minnesota Extension Facebook page. Highlights included a visual essay from Minnesota Public Radio on a Chisago County 4-H'er whose collaboration with a farm family enables her to show a winter yearling at the fair. 4-H'ers also were embedded as reporters for hometown news media; their stories included this look at the 4-H Hilton in the Chanhassen Villager. 4-H Ambassadors capped the Fair with Dean Durgan joining two ambassadors for an interview with John Hines on WCCO-AM.

Extension Garden Experts Regular Guests on WCCO Radio Saturday Mornings

It's 8 a.m. and inside the WCCO-AM studios callers are already in the queue, seeking answers to their yard and garden questions from Extension experts as "Smart Gardens" begins.

A trio composed of Julie Weisenhorn, state director of Extension's Master Gardener program, Mary Meyers, Extension horticulturist at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, and Sam Bauer, Extension turfgrass specialist, take turns as host Denny Long's weekly guests on "Smart Gardens" every Saturday from 8-9 a.m. on 830 on the AM dial. Podcast recordings are also available to listen to through the WCCO website.

"This is what we were looking for," says Long, a 'CCO veteran familiar to listeners throughout the state. "We like having Extension here because people know they're getting trustworthy information. It's great, and it's proven wildly popular."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dean's Column (April 2013)

Dear Extension Retirees,

Please plan on joining us for lunch and a fun opportunity to catch up with fellow Extension retirees during our annual Extension Dean's lunch with retirees on Tuesday, July 23 at the Midland Hills Country Club in Roseville. This year, we are also adding a second luncheon location and date for those who live in Greater Minnesota. Please join us on Monday, June 24 at the Holiday Inn in Detroit Lakes. All are invited to attend one or both events; a more formal invitation will be sent in the next month.

I look forward to seeing you this summer!

Bev Durgan

Winter 2013 Issue of Source Magazine is Online

The Winter issue of Source magazine has been sent to your home addresses, and is also available on the Extension website. Read about the many ways Extension is creating a stronger Minnesota through education and research, including University President Eric Kaler's thoughts about what he has seen of Extension as he's traveled around the state. Discover how Extension reaches more farmers by educating the agricultural professionals who influence them. Read how Extension's 4-H prepares youth to lead and succeed through its unique learning model. Learn how Extension is helping to fill a leadership gap in rural Minnesota communities.

This issue also features Extension's work in growing healthier foods through research and education on high tunnels and phytonutrients; response to needs expressed by the Fond du Lac community to better manage their natural resources; a curriculum that helps families adjust to changing economic conditions; and a new edition of a book on ornamental grasses that is based on 25 years of research.

Federal Reductions for Extension Programs

In early January, the House, Senate and President Obama passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 to avert the fiscal cliff. The legislation has significant implications for SNAP-Ed (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education) in Minnesota and nationwide. In addition, on March 1, President Obama signed an order that put in effect the across-the-board government spending cuts known as "sequestration." Government agencies are now beginning to cut a total of $85 billion from their budgets between now and October 1, 2013. While the full impact of the sequestration is not yet known, Extension administration is expecting and preparing for potential budget reductions. Extension is planning for an 7.9-percent reduction in federal capacity funding (Smith-Lever and other funds).

Our current funding plan is to cover these costs from Extension's reserves, which means that Extension will not have to cut positions or programs in order to cover costs in FY 2014. Thanks to our collective wise stewardship of public and private funding (including gifts made by retirees), Extension currently has the reserves available to cover these expenses. However, we will need to continue to diversify our funding sources and continue our efforts to obtain grants, gifts and fees to offer high quality programs that meet the needs of Minnesota.

Gifts to support Extension can be made online (click on Make a Gift), or mailed to the University of Minnesota Foundation (designate Extension as gift beneficiary and fund of interest), CM-3854, PO Box 70870, St. Paul, MN  55170-3854. For questions about giving, or including Extension in your estate plan, contact Jane Johnson, Extension Development Officer, at 612-626-3717 or

Extension Prepares for Spring Floods and Summer Drought

We are expecting a wetter-than-normal April and there are several areas of Minnesota at risk of flooding. As communities prepare for possible spring flooding, Extension is ready to share research-based educational resources to assist Minnesotans in preparation and recovery. The most up-to-date information is available at Extension's flood website. In addition, we are preparing education and resources for potential drought conditions later this summer.

During times of crisis in our communities, Extension continues to play an important role by educating the public with relevant information and recommendations about flood preparation and supporting the work of our many partnering agencies. In addition to the website, Extension education is available by calling Extension's toll-free phone services - Flood (aka Farm) Information Line (1-800-232-9077) and AnswerLine (1-800-854-1678).

New Retirees

Larry Coyle retired January 2 after 35 years of professional service in technology and distance education. He was a strong early voice in promoting technology-enhanced outreach work.

National Agriculture Day

As part of Extension's recognition of National Agriculture Day on March 19, Dean Bev Durgan highlighted the role Extension's Institute for Agricultural Professionals plays in bringing the newest research and innovations to farmers. Her column, "Reaching more farmers through agricultural professionals," was distributed to news media throughout Minnesota and has appeared in newspapers and industry publications. It was also shared via Facebook and Twitter.

"According to a 2011 survey, agricultural professionals serve an average of 60 clients each, having an impact on some 48,000 acres. Just one of the Institute's educational programs impacts 4.3 million acres across the state and surrounding regions," Durgan observed. Essential partnerships among Extension, farmers and agricultural professionals were featured recently in Source Magazine.

In Memoriam (April 2013)

Charlotte W. Huckstead, 93, South St. Paul, died March 12. She was an Olmsted County Extension Home Economist in the 1970s and later was active in many volunteer positions from Dakota County Historical Museum to Ginnie Adams Watercolor group.

Nancy J. Nelson, the first full-time community resource Extension agent in Minnesota, passed away on April 8, age 58. She began her Extension career in 1992 in Moorhead where she worked with the local businesses until she retired in 2002.

J. David Radford passed away on February 27 at age 82. He received both a Bachelor of Science and Master's Degree from the University. He began his Extension career in Carleton County as an Extension resource development agent. His areas of expertise included dairy and small farms, and his long successful career continued until he retired in 1986.

Richard C. Walter, age 81, died January 15 in Red Wing. Richard graduated from the University in 1959 with a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science. He worked for Extension in Goodhue County until he retired in 1989.

Charles E. Williams served in several roles for Extension. In 1981, he became the 4-H district program leader, followed by staff development coordinator, minority recruiting officer, Extension specialist and Extension's equal opportunity officer. Charles passed away in Minneapolis on September 9, at age 71.

Did You Know? News About Retirees

Do you ever wonder what Extension retirees are doing now that they have time to devote to their passions? Read below for news about fellow retirees and submit your own personal stories to Gwen Gmeinder at

Extension Retiree Donald P. Untiedt was featured in a February issue of the Star Tribune's Home & Garden section for his impressive garden that is home to dozens of varieties of Minnesota flowers, a waterfall and a koi pond.

Karen Lilley, Extension retiree, volunteers with the Blue House, an orphanage for girls in Uganda, Africa. She maintains their website, manages print and online communications, does publicity for fundraisers and outreach, and serves on the U.S. board. In the past year she's had some success with donors doing their own fundraisers (for example, biking across the country, running marathons) by creating online giving pages. She's trying to balance her desire to help more orphans with a desire not to work too hard in retirement.

Epsilon Sigma Phi Scholarships

Shirley Anderson-Porisch was awarded a scholarship to support her attendance at the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE) Annual Conference in St. Louis, MO, November 2012. Shirley said "I am very grateful for the scholarship to attend the workshops and hear keynote speakers-all of which helped me with strategies for doing my work."

Phyllis Onstad attended the 2012 ESP National Conference in Mobile, AL where she participated as a Minnesota voting delegate. She reported, "Thank you for the scholarship which offset the cost of attending this meaningful conference-it was an amazing opportunity."

If you are a member of ESP Pi Chapter, you are eligible for scholarships to attend National Extension annual meetings, professional conferences, or continuing graduate education.The next round of scholarship applications are due July 1.

An Afternoon with the University of Minnesota Retiree Association

As an undergraduate intern, I am finding many great experiences working for the Extension Development Office. In March, I attended the University of Minnesota Retiree Association's (UMRA) board meeting and lunch event where I heard author and NPR radio broadcaster Krista Tippett speak on a "Conversation on Meaning in Life." She and UMRA President Ron Anderson discussed life, faith and living with purpose.

UMRA hosts a monthly lunch with guests who present on issues of interests to retirees and small-group discussions follow. During the luncheon, I also had the opportunity to speak with retirees about why they decided to join UMRA. The overwhelming response was that the programming, events and connections they made through UMRA kept them active and engaged with the University after their retirement. Faculty from across disciplines and locations have found UMRA to be a great resource.  

UMRA is an independent organization, with about 500 members, including faculty, P&A, and civil service employees. They meet the fourth Tuesday of each month at 11:30 a.m. in Coffman Memorial Union. For more information about how to join, visit the UMRA website.

Sadelle Schroeder, Extension Student Development Intern

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