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Extension > Extension Retiree Newsletter > April 2013

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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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