News for employees


MU Extension Insider
April 14, 2015


In the news

Dates to remember

Coming and Going


MU Extension Insider is published on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month by MU Extension Communications and Marketing. Send feedback and comments to Karen Dickey.

In the news

Against the grain

MU FRTI’s mobile grain bin simulator trains firefighters.

To help firefighters, farmers and others learn how to safely operate in and around grain bins, MU Extension’s Fire and Rescue Training Institute recently added a grain-engulfment rescue training simulator to its mobile training equipment roster. Read more.


District option results in funding boost for Mercer County

Residents of Mercer County voted 374-274 last week to approve a property tax levy to provide additional funds for extension programming and to support staff in the county.

Mercer County, population 3,700, is the first county to raise funds this way since Gov. Jay Nixon signed House Bill 542 into law in 2013, giving county extension councils the ability to form single- or multi-county extension districts. The “district option” can let districts pool resources and ask voters to provide additional funding through a small property tax levy.

The county extension council voted to form a single-county district last year after local funding had dropped to $6,500, down from $23,500 in 2010, said Shaun Murphy, Mercer County CPD and 4-H youth specialist based in Livingston County.

Office support staff for the extension center in Princeton had been reduced to 12 hours per week. While Mercer County has a 20-hour-per-week youth program associate, April Meighen, there are no full-time specialists headquartered there.

Murphy says the levy will provide about $30,000 in revenue, allowing MU Extension in Mercer County to extend office hours, expand programming and have funds in place to support a full-time specialist.

“I’ve been strongly encouraged at how supporters in the community have come forward to help, to share stories of how extension has touched their lives, and to state how strongly they supported the issue,” Murphy says.

The county council formed a campaign committee, Citizens for Mercer County Extension, to muster support and educate voters on how extension is funded at the county level. Murphy said the campaign included yard signs, media outreach, word of mouth and presentations to groups. “We had a simple message of education and youth development.”


4-H Youth Futures recognized by Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative

Alison Copeland, state 4-H youth development specialist, and Alejandra Gudino, HES extension associate, received a 2015 Mizzou Inclusive Excellence Award for the Missouri 4-H Youth Futures program. The Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative presents the award “to individuals and groups who, as part of the Mizzou community, have made exemplary contributions within the past two years to any area of diversity.”

4-H Youth Futures, founded in 2002, is a long term mentoring program designed to help first-generation college students and minorities—who have historically lagged others in college enrollment and degree attainment—to go to college and stay in college. The program includes a Latino Youth Futures site in Columbia coordinated by Gudino.


Osher podcasts look at Ferguson and police shootings

From Don Nicholson, interim director, Osher@Missouri

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute recently hosted a series of presentations in the wake of the difficulties in Ferguson and in other communities throughout the country.  Recordings of two of those presentations are now available as audio downloads at http://extension.missouri.edu/learnforlife/podcasts.aspx.

In “What’s Up with Ferguson,” Pamela Merritt, communications director for Progress Missouri, talks about conditions that led to the events in Ferguson, their implications for other communities, and possible strategies for individuals and families to create a more positive future for themselves.

In “Why Cops Pull the Trigger,” Wayne Anderson, MU emeritus professor of psychology and adjunct professor in Columbia College’s criminal justice program, explains how focusing on one officer’s behavior tells us little about why the shooting in Ferguson occurred, and instead looks at police shootings in the context of officer training, job stress, community attitudes, offender personalities and the court system.

Both presentations are relevant for any Missouri community, large or small, and provide important background regarding community ideas and attitudes, and unintended consequences for the decisions we make personally, professionally and within our families every day.


Finish Tier 1 of the Wellness Incentive by April 30

Continue to live healthfully and complete Tier 1 of the 2015 Wellness Incentive by April 30 in order to earn $150 (2015 Wellness Incentive earnings will be taxed) in your May paycheck. You must complete Tier 1 in order to participate in Tier 2, but you can start Tier 2 before completing Tier 1: 

Since the deadline for Tier 1 is approaching, here is a checklist of what you need in order to complete this part of the Wellness Incentive.

1. Sign a wellness pledge, which most employees signed during Annual Enrollment in myHR in October 2014.

2. Complete a Personal Health Assessment (PHA). This PHA is an online questionnaire designed to identify any potential health risks. Log in to the Wellness Portal to take your PHA.

3. Complete and submit a biometric health screening.

By completing Tier 1 of the Wellness Incentive, you can complete Tier 2 to earn $300 in your October paycheck. Learn about activities that will earn your points for Tier 2.


Master Gardener promotional materials available

From Extension Publications

NEW! Event flier templates

New templates are now available to help advertise Master Gardener events.

All you have to do is download the flier, enter your event information and print. You can find the different templates and more detailed instructions at http://extension.missouri.edu/staff/communications/programtemplates.aspx.

Brochure  (UED1126 and UED1126ADD)

This colorful 5½-by-8½-inch brochure is a great tool for educating prospective Master Gardeners on the program. Concise messaging and interesting photos offer a professional look that adds credibility to the program.

The best part? They can be customized with your extension center’s address!

We can print the contact information for you for a small fee, or you can print it yourself with an easy-to-use template. Note: You will receive the full-color brochure. All you will print is your center’s street address, phone number and Web address.

Reasons to use this new brochure

  • Professional printing provides clear images and vibrant colors on high-quality paper.
  • You don’t have to design or update marketing materials.
  • When you factor in the cost of paper, toner cartridges and work hours, the cost is comparable to creating your own materials.

Jennifer Schutter-Barnes, horticulture specialist in Adair County, had this to say about the brochures:

I am very pleased with the Master Gardener program brochures I recently ordered. They were easy to order and arrived in just days. I like how they can be personalized with local information. Providing this local information will allow interested persons to contact me directly to enroll in the Master Gardener program. I will place them around town at the local library and garden centers and will take them to community events to distribute to interested persons. Thank you for offering these brochures!


You print information: $0.24 each (5 or more copies)
We print information: $0.28 each (50 or more copies)
$0.35 each (1-49 copies)


Rack cards  (UED1128)

These 4-by-9-inch cards fit perfectly in brochure display racks and give a brief description of the Missouri Master Gardener program. Extension centers are encouraged to add their contact information by adhering a label to the back of the card. These rack cards are free to all MU Extension centers.  

Order these materials at http://extension.missouri.edu/pubs/order1.aspx.


Recording of April 6 Program Integration webinar available

On April 6, communications and marketing director Dennis Gagnon presented new marketing materials that will be available to all regions for public messaging. This was followed by an update from the Global Food Systems team, which discussed current and ongoing projects as well as the need for individuals to apply to join the team. Access a recording of the meeting at http://univmissouri.adobeconnect.com/p7x1fu4o0zl.


Mindfully managing our tools

From the Mindful Leadership Team

Many of us spend much of our lives in continuous partial attention, juggling email, texts, and Twitter and Facebook messages as we sit in meetings or work at our computers. This multitasking has been considered a way to make the most of one’s time, get more done and be more efficient.

However, research shows that multitasking is neither efficient nor effective. Scientists explain that when we attempt to multitask, the brain has to keep switching from one task to the other rather than working on two or more things simultaneously. This switching takes time and effort that impedes the ability of the brain to function. Multitasking increases the likelihood of making errors and reduces the quality of our work. Other research has shown that multitasking using electronic devices negatively affects interpersonal interactions, the ability to perform cognitive tasks, driving a car and more.

Mindfulness, on the other hand, is the ability to focus, and it contributes to better communication, improved performance and ultimately to truly being more efficient and effective. We can turn off notifications, close email and let calls go to voice mail for later retrieval. We can mindfully manage these tools instead of mindlessly succumbing to the distractions they cause.

For more information about mindful leadership, contact Vera Massey, MasseyV@missouri.edu; Nellie Lamers, LamersN@missouri.edu; or Linda Rellergert, RellergertL@missouri.edu.


Dates to remember

Spring retiree meetings

Active faculty and staff are also welcome at retiree meetings. All meals are Dutch treat. See the latest issue of Friends of Extension for details.

April 17 – Sedalia

April 21 – Online meeting

April 22 – Columbia

April 24 – Jackson

May 6 – Gallatin

June 30 – Quilt Day Camp: 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Missouri Star Quilt Company Retreat Center, Hamilton. More information.


Be less stressed; get more out of life

Register now for stress reduction classes.

Register now for the summer session of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program. Three decades of research show the program’s efficacy in helping people who are coping with job or family-related stress, depression, anxiety or other medical problems.

The eight-week course begins the last week of May and provides tools for responding to the stress associated with illness and everyday life with greater skill and creativity using formal mindfulness techniques (meditation, yoga, body scan) and information about stress, communication and wellness.

The cost is $40 for faculty, staff or retirees of the University of Missouri (which covers employee and spouse/partner), with a $20 rebate for full participation. This course counts toward the $450 Wellness Incentive for eligible employees. Learn more and register: https://www.umsystem.edu/curators/wellness/stress_reduction.


Fee-generation workshops

Workshops have been scheduled to explain additional functions and updates to the Fee-generation Worksheet-Online Tool. Register through ISE up to one week before the workshop. Sessions that do not have at least four registrants will be canceled and registrants will be asked to choose an alternative date.


April 16

2-3 p.m.

May 20

10-11 a.m.

June 18

2-3 p.m.

July 16

10-11 a.m.

Aug. 20

2-3 p.m.


Other dates to remember

Through May: In-person Title IX reporter training. For more information, see the schedule of on-campus and regional trainings and the registration form.

April 30-May 2: St. Louis Storytelling Festival.

May 13: “Key Points: NTT Dossier,” via Adobe Connect, 8:30 a.m. Register through ISE 232.

May 18-22: Youth Development Academy.

August 4: “Tips, Questions and Answers: NTT Dossier,” via Adobe Connect, 2 p.m. Register through ISE 232.

Coming and Going


Please welcome

Marsha Birk, 4-H youth program assistant, Cape Girardeau and Scott counties, SE Region.

Gloria Eddington, SNAP E&T program specialist.

Tonya Raines, SNAP E&T program specialist, Greene County, business development program.

Susan B. Ryan, SNAP E&T program specialist.

June Wayne, SNAP E&T program specialist, business development.

Aldric Lemond Weeks, SNAP E&T program specialist, St. Louis City, business development program.

Karen Westfall, SNAP E&T program specialist, Greene County, business development program.

Tabitha Burston, nutrition program associate, St. Louis City, Urban Region.

Jessica Hood, nutrition program associate, St. Louis, Urban Region.

Alissa Ontiberos, nutrition program associate, St. Charles County, Urban Region.

Sanja Sasvari, nutrition program associate, St. Louis City, Urban Region.

Kara Hughes, nutrition program associate, St. Louis City, Urban Region.

Holly Jay, nutrition and health education specialist, Cass County, West Central Region.

Sherry Grace, office support, statewide 4-H youth.



Retired extension livestock specialist William Domermuth died March 22 at the age of 88. He served with the U.S. Naval Construction Battalion (“Seabees”) in 1945-46. He farmed for several years in Lincoln County after receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agriculture from MU. After a 25-year career with MU Extension, he retired to Florida with his wife, Delores. In addition to his wife, survivors include daughter Rebecca Manley of Lawrence, Kan., and sister Charlene Peter of Cannes, France. In lieu of flowers, send memorials to the scholarship fund of the Bradenton Branch of the American Association of University Women, 4020 Murfield Drive E., Bradenton, FL 34203, or to Tidewell Hospice, 5955 Rand Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34238.

Betty George, longtime youth program associate in Mercer County, died April 2. She is survived by son Rick; daughters Randi and Vickie; three grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; a stepson; and four step-grandchildren. Services were held April 8 at the First Baptist Church in Princeton.

H. “Burch” Harrington,” who advised farmers in Scotland and Putnam counties in a 23-year career with MU Extension, died April 7 at the age of 99. He is survived by seven children, 15 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren. He graduated from MU with a degree in agriculture in 1937, the same year he married Ada Jones, who passed away in 2004. He farmed for 17 years before joining MU Extension in 1955. In 1839, his great-grandfather Michael Robinson donated $50 to Boone County’s bid to become the site of the University of Missouri. Read more about Harrington in an online obituary.

Dixie Garrett, 81, mother of SW Region FNEP project director Terri Fossett, died April 11 at her home in Ava, Missouri.  Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 15, at Clinkingbeard Funeral Home in Ava.  Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, American Diabetes Association or the American Heart Association. Read her online obituary. Cards may be sent to Sam and Terri Fossett, Route 5, Box 577, Ava, MO 65608.


New beginnings

Congratulations to Travis Harper, agronomy specialist and Henry County co-CPD, and wife Joni, who are the proud parents of Augustus William Ross Harper, born April 8, 2015, weighing 6 pounds, 9 ounces and measuring 19.5 inches long.

If you have items to include in future issues, please send them to Karen Dickey, Curt Wohleber or Phil Leslie in MU Extension Communications and Marketing. If you have questions, contact Dennis Gagnon, director.