News for employees

MU Extension Insider
March 1, 2012


In the news

Upcoming events

Coming and going


MU Extension Insider is published on the first and 15th of the month. Send feedback and comments to Karen Dickey.

In the news

Saving "MO" money

Money talks, and often what it says is "goodbye." Even with the best intentions to put a little money aside every month, we often find there’s nothing left when the month comes to a close. Brenda Procter,  state consumer and family economics specialist, shares some tips on building up savings. Video news story by Kent Faddis and related news release by Debbie Johnson.


Spirit spark!

Occasional humor in the workplace can improve morale and make people smile, says Kathy Macomber, SW business development specialist and member of the self-directed extension team called Team Spirit.

"I have used fake lottery scratch-off tickets from the dollar store—every one is a $15,000 winner!—during trainings to keep peers engaged and make time for a giggle," she says.

Kevin Ryan, of Ryan and Associates, has some suggestions for adding lighthearted fun to your workplace:

Check out the full article on Ryan’s website.

Team Spirit is interested in knowing how YOU inject fun into your work with MU Extension,  so send email to the MU EXT TeamSpirit group.

Team Spirit will be hosting a quarterly article discussion. Watch for details coming soon, and get started by checking out this quarter’s Journal of Extension article Strengthening Communities Through an Engaged Citizenry: Opportunities for Extension Programming.


Extension-produced documentary debuts to packed house

Eliot Battle, center, at the premiere of "Battle: Change From Within."

MU Extension’s premiere screening of “Battle: Change From Within” packed Bush Auditorium on the MU campus last Saturday, Feb. 25. 

The MU Extension-produced documentary chronicles local civil rights pioneer Eliot Battle and his pivotal role in desegregating schools, housing and the Columbia community.

“The film is really an insider’s look at desegregation as it happened in Columbia and the personal toll it took on Battle and his family to bridge the gap between Columbia’s black and white communities,” said Michael Hicks, MU Cooperative Media Group film and TV producer.

Battle, who had been an assistant principal at Columbia’s all-black Douglass High School, became a guidance counselor and the first black faculty member at Hickman High School in 1960, serving as an advocate, mentor and mediator during the crucial early years of Hickman’s transformation into an integrated school.

The 55-minute documentary tells his story through archival film footage, newspaper accounts, still photos, and interviews with former students, colleagues, community leaders, Battle’s children and Battle himself. 

“This project was truly a grass-roots effort,” said Julie Middleton, MU Extension director of organizational development and one of the film’s directors. “There was a groundswell of interest from the community very early in the process.”

Hicks and Middleton used a combination of traditional and new media to market the premiere.   “We did everything—hung up flyers, talked to newspaper reporters and sent invitations to a Facebook event, but my favorite use of new media was using Google+ to appear on KOMU’s U_News program with Sarah Hill,” said Hicks.

“I counted 516 tickets before the event started and people still came in and stood in the aisles,” said Janice Perkins, administrative associate.  The event also generated front-page stories in the Columbia Missourian and Columbia Daily Tribune newspapers.

The project was funded with 90 individual donations.

“We would not have been able to make this film without all the donations from the community, and I am very grateful for the support,” Hicks said. “This is a great example of how MU Extension works hard to find alternative ways to fund projects.”


Branson tornado information on Facebook

A storm recovery resource called Branson Tornado Info on Facebook was up and running less than 12 hours after the tornado struck Branson on Feb. 28.

Actually, the page was put in place during January by David Burton, SW civic communication specialist.

“I created three new pages on Facebook that are modeled after the success we had last year with the Joplin Tornado Info and Missouri Flooding Info pages on Facebook,” Burton said. The Joplin Tornado Info page is still very active, with more than 50,000 fans.

Facebook users can “like” the Branson Tornado Info pages to find out how to help and to learn about emergency and cleanup work from the organizations and groups doing the work.

These pages are designed to be a collaboration of state, federal and local agencies and organizations involved in the affected areas. The pages are managed by MU Extension but public information officers from various organizations can serve as co-administrators, following a model used after the Joplin tornado.

Persons willing to help as administrators on these new pages should contact David Burton at the Greene County Extension Center at 417-881-8909 or after liking the Branson Tornado Info page.

Having co-administrators who post information and check facts on what others post is important and was a key to the success of the Joplin Tornado Info page, according to Burton.

“I logged in this morning at 5 a.m. and we already had 50 fans,” he said on Feb. 29. “It went from two to 50 overnight. As we saw in Joplin, social media is a great communication tool during disasters.”

Editor’s note: The page had more than 16,000 "likes" as we publish Insider.


News stories extend reach of your meetings

Communications tip by Duane Dailey.

We must be reporters, telling our stories. The main story: What Extension did this week. The local media need your story.

If you report what you do, you reach people who never attend meetings. With every event you have a story.

A group of Missouri editors scorched my ears. They said Extension sends stories in advance of meetings, but rarely writes a follow-up. “Tell us what happened!”

Meetings take energy. But don’t stop when you stack the chairs and turn out the lights. Write down the first draft that night. That news story can expand your audience by hundreds. Let people know you are alive. Make them regret missing your meeting.
Media work is not one-and-done. Report every week.

Saturday I visited a farmer at a meeting in Columbia. (Old farmers never retire, they just keep raising cattle.)

He rang my gong: “I don’t know what our local extension people do.” Whoa! Here’s a guy who has not shut down. He’s tuned in to his local community. But he hasn’t read about Extension lately.

That’s your job. It’s not PR. It’s not marketing. It’s education through storytelling. Your readers will do your PR.


Ray County Extension Center has moved

New address:

Ray County MU Extension Center
1015 W. Royle St. 
P.O. Box 204
Richmond, MO  64085

The telephone number is still 816-776-6961.


Missouri 4-H launches online store

The Missouri 4-H Foundation and Treetop Enterprises announce the opening of the Missouri 4-H Merchandise Store Online. The Merchandise Store is an outstanding resource for a wide variety of University of Missouri Extension 4-H apparel, promotional items and gifts to meet the needs of the 4-H community and the general public.

Treetop Enterprises Inc., based in Fenton, Mo., and the Missouri 4-H Foundation will give back to the communities that purchase 4-H products through this website. Five percent of total quarterly purchases will be distributed by the Missouri 4-H Foundation to support Missouri 4-H in the counties that place orders. The store offers lots of great apparel and products and will be expanding rapidly. Please check back often for new products.

“Treetop Enterprises is pleased to partner with the Missouri 4-H Foundation to offer high-quality Missouri 4-H merchandise at reasonable prices,” said Adam Wedel, president and owner of Treetop Enterprises Inc.

Cheryl Reams, executive director of the Missouri 4-H Foundation, said, “We are pleased to partner with a Missouri business like Treetop that will contribute to the local economy while also giving back to Missouri 4-H communities.”

The site can be viewed at


Upcoming events

Using tablet technology RFP

“MU Extension administration is seeking proposals for how to effectively use tablet technology within extension,” announces Rhonda Gibler, associate vice provost-management.  “Please consider making a request if you have ideas about how to capitalize on the use of tablet technology to further our reach, improve our programming outcomes or increase our efficiency and effectiveness.”

There are three areas under which you may submit a proposal. The proposal may include any or all of these areas:

I. Development of Applications (Apps) that assist with evaluation, development, or presentation of programs. Development of Apps that assist with the management or impact of a program (iPad and Android platforms).

II. Tablet Purchase-Testing the specific use of a tablet with Apps that already exist to carry out Extension work.

III. Testing of Apps purchased for a tablet that you have access to for carrying out Extension work.

The first round of proposals will be accepted March 1-April 2.  Applications are accepted online at

Log in using your university PawPrint and password.

Proposals will be reviewed throughout the proposal time frame.  Early submissions are encouraged, as awards may be made prior to April 2.

There isn't a specific limit on the number or proposals that will be funded. The merit of the proposal will be considered throughout the proposal period.

It is anticipated that additional rounds for proposals will be announced in the coming months. 


Morrill Act 150th anniversary

In 1862, the passage of the Morrill Act laid the groundwork for the democratization of public higher education. This 10-minute video from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities explores the history and impact of the Morrill Act, and includes comments from MU Chancellor Brady Deaton and Washington State University President Elson Floyd, who was president of the University of Missouri System during 2003-2007.


Download MU Extension video to your smartphone

As you prepare for Legislative Day, don’t forget that you can download video news stories to your smartphone. They are available on the share drive at S:/UMSystem/Coop Media/Smart Phone Files/iPhone Files/.

A short video is available that describes how to download MU Extension video news stories for viewing on iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and other mobile devices:


Other dates to remember

Nominations for Extension awards are due by March 2. Please review the criteria for the following campus awards and take the time to submit applications. Past winners are listed at the websites.

The annual UM Alumni Alliance Legislative Day will be held on Tuesday, April 3, in Jefferson City. Everyone may register online.

The 11th annual 4-H Day with the St. Louis Cardinals is May 12. Ticket orders must be postmarked by April 2.

Cambio de Colores (Change of Colors) - Latinos in the Heartland conference, June 12-15.

2012 Extension Annual Conference, Oct. 29-31.


Coming and going

Please welcome

Cherry Merchant, Saline County FNEP nutrition program assistant.

Kimberly Foley, administrative assistant, Conference Office/CE.

Patrick Kurtz, fiscal database coordinator, AMT-Fiscal.



Sandra Hodge, public policy specialist, retired Feb. 29.

Phil Leslie, communications specialist, Small Business and Technology Development Centers, retired Feb. 29.



Our sympathy goes to:

The family of Virginia Norris, who passed away on Feb. 4.  Dr. Norris embarked on her 32-year professional career with University of Missouri Extension in Shelby County. In 1959, she moved to Columbia, where she was a member of the 4-H staff, served as a district supervisor, taught graduate classes in adult education and retired in 1973 as assistant director for extension of the College of Home Economics. Memorials are suggested to the Missouri 4-H Foundation, 211 Whitten Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, or the McLean County Extension Service Foundation, 402 N. Hershey Road, Bloomington, IL 61704. Cards may be sent to Carol N. Evans, 132 W. Rowe St., Roodhouse, IL 62082.

The family of Wilma Shelton, retired senior secretary, Springfield, who passed away Jan. 29.

The family of J. Doyle Jones, retired Lakes Country area director, who passed away Feb. 15.

The family of Robert F. “Bob” Wilcox, former Randolph County Extension Council member, who passed away Feb. 23.  Cards may be sent to son Dan Y. Wilcox, 339 Circle Drive, Moberly, MO 65270-3230.

Fay Miller, Pike County secretary, on the death of her father, Wilford L. "Bill" Gilbert, who passed away Feb. 23. Memorials may be made to Alzheimer’s Association or the Pike County Hospice.  Fay’s address is 22553 Highway M, Curryville,  MO  63339.


If you have items to include in future issues, please send them to Karen Dickey or Curt Wohleber in the Cooperative Media Group. If you have questions, contact Mark Stillwell, CMG interim director.