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Extension > Extension Retiree Newsletter > February 2014

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dean's Column (Feb. 2014)

Dear Extension Retirees,

I look forward to seeing you and hearing about your latest adventures each year at our luncheon for retirees. It is a great time to catch up with each other and remember the positive impact each of you have had through your work with Extension.

To make this more convenient, we will once again have an event in Greater Minnesota and in the Twin Cities. Please mark your calendars for either of the luncheons:
  1. Thursday, June 12 at The Fireside Restaurant in Detroit Lakes

  2. Wednesday, July 23 at the Midland Hills Country Club in Roseville.
An invitation with directions and RSVP information will be sent in April. I hope to see you this summer, when the weather is warm and the snow has melted!

Bev Durgan

University of Minnesota Retirees Association

The University of Minnesota Retirees Association (UMRA) has added some new features and links:

  1. UMRA's members gather at 11:30 at the Campus Club, Coffman Union, on the fourth Tuesday of each month, for lunch, good fellowship and speakers. The next event will be on Tuesday February, 25. After the luncheon, they will host a workshop featuring four UMRA members who are working internationally. The four panelists are Karen Lilley, who just returned from work at a Uganda orphanage; Vincent Hunt, who worked in many countries with the world Health Organization (WHO); Josef Mestenhauser, who, after 50 years of devotion to the University's international activities, continues promoting greater internationalization in learning; and Robert Patterson, who has done consulting and human rights work all over the globe. Ron Anderson, UMRA's past president, will moderate the discussion. You are welcome to attend this free workshop from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. whether or not you attend the luncheon.

  2. University Retirees Volunteer Center (URVC) is dedicated to connecting volunteers with service opportunities within the University and in the surrounding community. Started in 1987, it was the first of its kind and remains today the sole service organization of a higher education institution. The URVC acts as a referral center, matching organizations that need help with willing volunteers of all ages who are seeking meaningful and rewarding experiences. Their office is located in the  McNamara Alumni Center, Room 263, Phone: 612-625-8016 or email:

  3. The University of Minnesota announces a new and perhaps unique digital journal, The Journal of Opinions, Ideas and Essays (JOIE). Through the assistance of the Provost and the University Digital Conservancy (UDC) the journal will be managed by UMRA. As the title implies, it will be a vehicle for the publication of a broad variety of high-quality articles on a wide assortment of topics that may not be typical for conventional scholarly journals. It will include reviews, short stories, poems, photographic essays, essays on scholarly topics, opinion pieces, and discussions of pedagogical and curricular issues.

SNAP-Ed Funding

A new five-year Farm Bill and the President's 2014 budget have passed the U.S. House and Senate. Both restore most of the funding for the national SNAP-Ed program. We are pleased to see this support for SNAP-Ed and will use any additional funding to add staff to our new regional model.

However, we do not expect to receive all of the funding outlined in the Farm Bill and the President's budget. While funding is authorized in the Farm Bill, the actual appropriations are determined each year and may be less than what is authorized, based on national budget realities. In addition, Minnesota's SNAP-Ed funding is scheduled to be reduced by at least 10 percent each year for the next four years as part of a national effort to redistribute the SNAP-Ed funding across the states. And, the SNAP-Ed grant is administered by the Minnesota Department of Health and Human Services, which contracts with Extension to deliver the nutrition education to SNAP eligible participants. As with all grants, we cannot assume the funding is recurring. This is why we are committed to our new regional model that will allow us to expand and contract based on the actual funding.

Smith-Lever Anniversary

2014 is the 100th anniversary of the Smith-Lever Act. This federal act established the Cooperative Extension Service, a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and land-grant universities to extend research-based knowledge through outreach education. University of Minnesota was ahead of the curve, establishing Extension in 1909, five years before the 1914 federal act which established a state-by-state national network to improve the lives of families, youth, farmers, communities and businesses. While we celebrated Extension's centennial in 2009, we will observe the federal anniversary in 2014. Watch for more information about how you can participate in the national social media campaign and other opportunities to support the anniversary.

Watch for Spring 2014 Source Magazine

Watch your mailboxes and email for the Spring 2014 issue of Source magazine. This issue of Source highlights several stories of the ways Extension remains relevant in our ever-changing world:

  1. Extension's 4-H youth program stimulates kids' interest in science, creating the next generation of scientists needed for 21st century industries. Meet two 4-H alumni now studying at the University of Minnesota.

  2. Investments in agricultural research continue to pay back by helping agriculture producers make informed decisions that benefit both farm businesses and the environment.

  3. Rural communities receive much needed access to retail trade analysis, leadership development and other community research and education through Extension, helping them prepare for the challenges and opportunities presented by changing economies, demographics and technologies.

You will also learn how Extension helps parents keep their children front and center, during and after divorce; read the story beyond the numbers to discover what the wine industry means to Minnesota and how it can stay healthy; and find out how Extension's honey bee program, established in 1918, suggests steps we can take to care for these vital pollinators.

Watch this! Discovering Science: Minnesota 4-H builds the next generation of STEM leaders

A new 2 ½-minute video about 4-H STEM puts a spotlight on young people who are getting excited about science through 4-H. Jobs in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math) are growing three times faster than other industries, but only 5 percent of U.S. students get their undergraduate degree in science and engineering. This video shows that hands-on experiences in 4-H STEM set Minnesota youth on a path to continued learning in college--often at the University of Minnesota--and careers.

Visit Extension's YouTube channel for more videos.

Awards and Accomplishments (Feb. 2014)

Sharon (Sherri) Wright was honored in October by being inducted into the 4-H Hall of Fame for her lifetime of Extension work and specifically as the national program leader for the USDA's Children Youth and Families At Risk (CYFAR) Program.

She worked tirelessly for the inception and development of CYFAR. During her tenure, she directed grants to land-grant universities for community programs that benefited more than 27,000 at-risk, low-income youth and families. The 4-H Hall of Fame is sponsored by National 4-H Council. Visit the Hall of Fame for more information.

Retiree Updates (Feb. 2014)

Welcome new retirees:

Rosemary Heins retired on January 31 after a 31-year career as an Extension educator in family development/family resource management. She worked in Redwood, Nicollet and Anoka Counties, and at the Regional Office in Andover.

Kathleen A. Johnson retired in September after 14 years as Extension 4-H program coordinator. She provided leadership and learning opportunities in Dakota County.

Cindy M. Petersen, a family development/family resource management regional educator for 37 years, worked in Renville and McLeod Counties, and most recently at the Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center in Minneapolis. She retired January 31.

Jeffrey K. Reneau, professor, Extension animal scientist and Extension program leader, retired on December 31. His 35-year career earned him the distinction of being one of the nation's leading authorities in dairy management.

Susan Shegrud, Clearwater County Extension support staff, provided support to the county 4-H program, agriculture and natural resources programs, Master Gardeners and the Clearwater County Fair for 23 years. She retired on January 24.

Maryann Woeste, office manager and payroll specialist, retired in December after 43 years of service for the Todd County Extension Office. Her work supported programs in health and nutrition, 4-H, agriculture, Master Gardeners, and county Extension committees.

In Memoriam:

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Richard W. "Dick" Brand passed away December 2, in Long Prairie, age 93. His B.S. and M.S. degrees focused on dairy production, economics and journalism. He started his Extension career as a summer assistant in Houston County. Later he worked in Carlton and Todd Counties and retired in 1982 after 33 years of service.

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Hazel M. Engelstad, 92 and a longtime resident of the Kasson area, died on February 3.  She attended the University and was a 4-H Club agent in Dodge County for many years.

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Carroll Fredrick Giesler, resident of Hibbing was 82 when he passed away on October 28. He received his B.S. degree in agriculture from the University and retired as county Extension director for St. Louis County.

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Doris Marie Hagedorn, 72 and resident of Blue Earth, died on January 26. She worked for 34 years at the Faribault County Extension office.

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Harlund G. Routhe (Hal) was passionate about the University, where he received his B.S. and M.S. degrees studying agricultural education, economics and farm business management. His leadership positions during his 35-year career included state leader of Extension programs, program leader for agricultural production and associate director of Extension. He passed away on January 29 at his home in Falcon Heights, age 87.

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Gerald Wagner, Roseville, died October 19, age 83. He worked for Extension from 1970-1998, during which time he conducted numerous dairy and beef tours in the U.S. and led 26 international tours to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Europe.

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William F. Wilcke, 59, passed away on November 18. His background and degrees in agricultural engineering were well utilized when he joined the University in 1989. In addition to his teaching and research, he served as regional director for the North Central Region-Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education Program until he retired in 2010.

Media Moments (Feb. 2014)

Did you see the great 4-H story in the Star Tribune? The Star Tribune profiled a Hennepin County 4-H club that meets in the Franklin Library in Minneapolis. Most of its members are of Somali heritage; their recent efforts include making a video about the rich diversity of their neighborhood.

Did You Know?

This section includes updates on the activities Extension retirees are involved in since their retirement. Share your own personal stories by sending them to Gwen Gmeinder at

Sharon Rezac Andersen's book "The Burden of Knowing" was published in 2013 by WheatMark Press, Tucson, Arizona. The book details Sharon's study in Nicaragua to determine "accurate information" and the search for truth examining a variety of sources--social media, U.S. administration and human rights advocates. She will be using it as a historical textbook when teaching at the University of Arizona, Tucson.

Irene Ott volunteers weekly at Vadnais Heights Elementary School as a reading coach with first graders. She enjoys the excitement of helping students increase their self awareness and develop into good readers. On an international level Irene is involved with Common Hope to provide financial support for a 6th grader in Guatemala and a Ph.D. student from Turkey who is completing her research in the area of child abuse and trauma through the University's Family Social Science Department.

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