News for employees, July 1, 2008

MU Extension rallies to support flood recovery

Like a well-oiled machine, University of Missouri Extension faculty and staff have been working in flood-affected communities throughout the state.

Regional specialists have been working with emergency operations centers, fielding questions and preparing for the long recovery process ahead ― all of which is standard operating procedure, said Eric Evans, community emergency management specialist.

Flooding in St. Charles County. Click for larger image
Water from the Mississippi River just starts to overtop a St. Charles County farm levee, covering about 800 acres of land.
Scott Killpack photo/MU Extension-St. Charles County

“The regional faculty have been through so many disasters, they just go out and do the work,” Evans said.

Michael Ouart, MU vice provost for extension, said regional faculty have the organization’s support.

“I want to assure you that we are doing everything we can to see that faculty and staff have the resources they need to help Missourians put their lives and livelihoods back together,” Ouart said.

More than 20 major levees have broken along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, flooding homes, businesses and thousands of acres of farmland, as a result of record rainfalls and flooding in the upper Midwest.

Community emergency management teams in six of the eight regions ― Northwest, Northeast, Central Missouri, East Central, West Central and Southeast ― have been activated to assist with short-term and long-term recovery efforts.

Evans and others on campus are preparing for the recovery process by identifying, updating and creating publications that families, businesses, producers and communities will need to return to normal.

Campus faculty are reviewing materials on mental health issues; flood claims; cleaning and rebuilding homes; crop damage; contaminated water supplies; financial recovery and risk management; salvaging food, furniture and household appliances; and safety.

MU Extension has played a key role in Missouri’s response to natural disasters since 1993, when similar flooding devastated homes, businesses and cropland. During floods in 1993 and again in 1995, MU Extension’s role in public education and research-based information earned the organization permanent membership status in the Governor’s Disaster Recovery Partnership.

MU Extension flood response resources


MU Extension partners with agencies to train faith-based organizations in emergency preparedness, response

As MU Extension faculty know, faith-based organizations are an integral part of recovery efforts in communities struck by disaster ― whether it is housing people who have lost their homes, feeding volunteers, cleaning up debris or distributing relief supplies.

Faith-based organizations throughout Missouri can learn how to plan for their continued operation in a disaster through a series of emergency preparedness workshops that are scheduled through September.

“Because of the important role these organizations play, it’s critical that they have a plan to continue their operations during a disaster,” said Eric Evans, MU community emergency management specialist. “By having a continuity of operations plan, these organizations can survive an emergency physically, operationally and fiscally.”

The Regional Mass Care Citizen Preparedness and Emergency Human Services Symposiums are open to congregation members of all faiths.

Eleven two-day workshops are scheduled across the state. There is no cost to participate in the program, which is funded by the Governor’s Faith-Based Initiative.

Using a train-the-trainer model, participants will learn the steps for putting together an emergency operations plan using templates that they can take back to their congregation.

Participants also will learn about the roles that faith-based organizations can play in disaster response and recovery. “Involving faith-based organizations in disaster relief means greater capacity to take care of human needs when an emergency impacts the community or state,” Evans said.

One goal of the symposium is to increase emergency sheltering capacity to 10 percent of the state’s population. The current capacity is about 1 percent, Evans said.

Participants also will be trained to teach congregation members about individual and family preparedness.

Schedule of Workshops

Sessions run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

To register for the workshop, call the MU Extension Fire and Rescue Training Institute at 800-869-3476.


HEED grants pass $50,000 mark

Women’s health, literacy, family support groups and personal hygiene are among the 114 grants awarded through the Human Environmental Sciences Extension Fund, which supports local educational programming by extension faculty and staff, and Missouri Family and Community Education Clubs.

The endowment’s advisory committee has distributed $50,825 since the fund started in 1984. The HEED fund provides seed money for community-based projects that meet critical needs.

This year, eight communities will benefit from the generosity of donors who contribute to the HEED fund.

“The 2008 projects funded through HEED show a great deal of creativity in addressing critical issues at a grass-roots level,” said Jo Britt-Rankin, MU associate dean for human environmental sciences extension.

A total of $3,000 was awarded to:

An advisory committee, composed of volunteers, professionals and business people, recommends how income from invested money will be used. Grants typically range from $250 to $500 per project.

Typically, monies from the HEED fund supplement local financial and in-kind contributions.

“For a relatively small investment, the payoff from these projects makes a huge difference in the lives of people in those communities,” Britt-Rankin said.



UMSL scholar receives Ratchford award

 Jennifer Hatton, UMSL

George McCall, recipient of the Ratchford Award
University of Missouri President Gary Forsee presents the C. Brice Ratchford Memorial Fellowship to George McCall, UM-St. Louis professor emeritus.

George McCall, UM-St. Louis professor emeritus, is the 2008 recipient of the C. Brice Ratchford Memorial Fellowship Award from the University of Missouri System.

The annual award is given to a faculty member who advances University of Missouri Extension's land-grant mission and personifies the creativity, vision and leadership exhibited by the late C. Brice Ratchford, president emeritus of the University of Missouri and dean of cooperative extension. A committee of faculty members from each of the UM System's four campuses selects the winner.

"I am highly honored," McCall said. "I spent a lot of time with Brice Ratchford when I first came to the university. His personal reputation and outstanding work are truly remarkable and have left an everlasting impact on both this university and its scholars. It's a great honor to be connected to any award that carries his name.”

McCall joined the university as a professor in 1972. He served as chair of the Department of Sociology several times throughout his tenure and retired in 2002.

His expertise is in dispute resolution in southern Africa, policy analysis and social psychology. In addition to UMSL, he has held teaching positions at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Iowa. He also is the author of numerous books, monographs, articles and chapters.

McCall earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa and his master's and doctoral degrees from Harvard University.


Awards honor 12 county clerical staff members

Twelve MU Extension staff members were honored for their service and dedication to excellence with County Clerical Awards.

Award recipients in four categories are selected by a committee of their peers.

Brenda Humphrey of Franklin County was the winner in the Senior Award category, for those employed by the local extension council for eight or more years. Teresa Meier of Cape Girardeau County and Virginia Bryan of Jasper County were runners-up.

The Junior Award for individuals with two to seven years of service went to Verlinda Talley of Henry County. Runners-up were Becky Vanskike of Shelby County and Cinda Burton of Macon County.

Tarah DeMent of Reynolds County received the Rookie Award, presented to individuals with less than two years of service. Karrie Grimes of Cass County and Karla Remick of Andrew County received runners-up honors.

The Technology Award went to Carol Grote of St. Charles County, with Pam Powell of Howell County and Linda Drummond of Clinton County receiving runners-up awards.

Winners in each category receive a certificate and monetary award.


Members of MU Extension 4-H recently put the finishing touches on a Habitat for Humanity house. Watch how 4-Habitat team members combined their talents and interests in this unique community service project.
Watch the video story

When you hear the word puppet… what comes to mind? Could it be one of the Muppets… such as Kermit the Frog… or maybe Pinocchio sticks his wooden nose into your head… but out of all the puppets you’ve ever seen before… nothing can compare to… the puppets of Bunraku. Listen to the audio story from intern Jessica Hord

News Briefs

The Missouri Film Office has returned to the Missouri Department of Economic Development. For the last three years, the office was a part of MU Extension’s Missouri Business Development Program.

During the three years that the office was part of the program, film tax credits tripled to $4.5 million. The program raised more than $50,000 to support the office and nearly doubled its budget.

“We have laid the foundation for significant growth of Missouri's film industry,” said Steve Wyatt, business development program director.

The University of Missouri policy on personal days has changed. The University has removed the four-hour increment requirement. Employees may now use personal days in any increment.

The FY09 Grant Fact Sheet from the MU Office of Research is now available. The document includes the fringe benefit rates for current and upcoming fiscal years to be used in grant applications.


Congratulations to Steve Ball, who was promoted to the rank of associate professor with tenure.


MU Extension Insider is published on the 1st and 15th of each month for MU Extension faculty and staff. Send comments to Editor, Eileen Yager.