News for employees

MU Extension Insider
May 15, 2010

In this issue:


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

In the news

Active and Healthy Schools



Capitol Hill visits a highlight of PILD conference

Visits with U.S. senators and representatives and their congressional staff were a highlight for MU Extension faculty and volunteers during the Public Issues Leadership Development Conference in Washington, D.C., April 26-28.

The conference is designed to inform members of extension’s professional associations and volunteers across the nation about current national programming issues; offer opportunities to network with peers and others, such as national program leaders in USDA; and to provide experience in communicating in the political arena.

Sessions included such topics as “Health, Hunger and a Renewed Interest in What We Eat,” “Addressing Controversial Public Issues,” and “Volunteers Engaging Public Officials and Their Staff.” Mark Stewart, interim CM Region director, served on the conference planning committee.

Members of the Missouri delegation and the associations they represented were Kandace Fisher (MEAFCS), EC housing and environmental design specialist; John Grissom, St. Louis County Extension Council chair; Joe Koenen (UMEA), NE ag business specialist; Wayne Prewitt (MAEP), WC ag business specialist; Richard Proffer (UECRDA), SE business development specialist; Mary Anne Patten (ESP), CM 4-H youth specialist; H.C. Russell, State Extension Council chair; Becky Simpson (MAE4-HYW), NW 4-H youth specialist; Dave Baker, agriculture and natural resources program director; and Sandy Stegall, constituent relations director.

The group visited with Rep. Roy Blunt, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, Rep. Jo Ann Emerson and Rep. Russ Carnahan plus staffers for Rep. Sam Graves, Sen. Claire McCaskill, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver and Rep. William Lacy Clay. Sarah Martin, federal relations liaison in the UM System Government Relations Office, set up the appointments.

Koenen said of his first visit to D.C. and PILD, “It was an outstanding experience for me and I appreciated it a lot.”


MU online commencement

For the third year, the spring virtual commencement ceremony will recognize students who completed their degrees in one of more than 40 online programs through MU Direct: Continuing and Distance Education and the Center for Distance and Independent Study. More than 250 are graduating this week with bachelor’s, master’s, educational specialist and doctoral degrees.

“Continuing your education as a nontraditional learner really can be a balancing act when it comes to work and family,” said Linda Butterfield Cupp, director of MU Direct. “We created this interactive ceremony to celebrate the impressive accomplishments of these hard-working students.”

MU is one of only a few universities to offer such a virtual commencement, and Cupp, along with marketing director Dolores Shearon, gave a presentation about the project to a national audience at the University Continuing Education Association conference in April.

The site features a welcome message from Cupp, as well as speeches by Provost Brian Foster, Graduate School Dean George Justice and Todd McCubbin of the Mizzou Alumni Association.

MU Extension faculty and staff are welcome to join the virtual "Pomp and Circumstance" by visiting  Visitors to the site may send congratulatory notes on the guest book page and view the new photo gallery featuring snapshots posted by the graduates.


Hambelton home destroyed

A tornado hit the home of Vance Hambelton, retired agronomy specialist, and Renee Hambelton, nutrition program associate in Ozark County, on April 30. They were home at the time and were able to get into the basement. Thankfully, they were not hurt. Their home and vehicles were destroyed as well as Vance’s shop and other outbuildings.

Some have asked how you can help. “We have developed a plan that will allow people to provide assistance to Renee and Vance,” said SC Regional Director Rick Sparks. If you would like to make a monetary gift, you may make a check to “SC Region Extension” and send it to the regional office at 1300 N. Bishop Ave., 113 USBM Bldg. 1, Rolla, Mo. 65409-1040.

“We will consolidate the donations and then make one gift to the Hambelton family,” Sparks said.

If you want to help Vance rebuild his fence or pick up debris, you can contact his brother, Stacy Hambelton, ag business specialist, at the Ozark County extension office, 417- 679-3525.


Award winners and office holders

Morris Hudson, director of the Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Center, recently received the Betty McDonald Outstanding Member Achievement Award at the recent Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers conference in San Antonio, Tex. Betty McDonald was a founder and the first president of APTAC, then known as AGMAS (Association of Government Marketing Assistance Specialists). The award recognizes significant contributions and deep commitment not just to the procurement profession but to the APTAC organization and its members.

In addition, Bill Stuby, procurement specialist in the Central Missouri Region, was elected APTAC president.

MU Extension was recognized by YWCA St. Louis Head Start as an “Outstanding Community Organization” for its collaboration on the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, which provides nutrition education for families with limited resources. Receiving the award at a May 7 luncheon were Ida Squires, EC Region nutrition program associate, and Damaris Karanja, EC Region nutrition and health education specialist.

Lala Kumar, WC Region horticulture specialist, is a national award finalist in the NACAA Team Newsletter communications category for The Back Fence. Team members include Molly Fusselman, horticulture educator, Jim Braswell, master gardener, Becky Peck, master gardener, and Laurie Chipman, master gardener.

Karisha Devlin, NE Region agriculture business specialist, is the NACAA north central regional finalist in the Learning Module communications category for her Profit Focused Agriculture curriculum.


Recognize teamwork

It’s not too late to nominate your team for the Quarterly Teamwork Award.  Applications are due June 1.

The award recognizes group efforts that yield results for MU Extension and the people we serve.


Upcoming events

2010 Breimyer Seminar set for May 27

Ron Plain, extension economist, says the theme of this year’s Breimyer Seminar is “Greenhouse Gas Regulation: Boom or Bust for Agriculture?” It starts 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 27, in the Reynolds Alumni Center. Ray Massey, extension economist, will lead off with an overview, followed by Seth Meyer on the FAPRI “Bio-energy Baseline.” David Miller, former MU regional specialist, now head of research at Iowa Farm Bureau, will talk on “Carbon Credits.” Pat Westhoff, FAPRI co-director, will tell what’s happening in Congress. Plain talks before the 4 p.m. adjournment on “Indirect Land Use Change.” Joyce White, extension secretary in charge of registration, needs your signup by May 20. The $30 fee includes lunch and a much-needed parking tag. She’s at 573-884-6572 or The program seeks attendee input in policy discussion.


Making the most of your retirement savings

Whether you are two years or 22 years from retirement, you will want to listen in as Rhonda Gibler,  assistant vice provost—management, offers tips to making the most of your retirement savings. The Adobe Connect  session is 10 a.m.-noon on May 25; registration deadline is May 18.

Due to limited seating in the Adobe Connect cyber room, each region will have a limit of 10 sites.  These sites are available on a first come, first to sign up basis. Offices with multiple faculty are encouraged to sign up early. The TCRC in your region will have a list of the sites where the program will be connected. Please contact your region’s TCRC for more information and to register for a session.


MAEP summer tour

“Missouri Agriculture Extension Professionals will host our third annual tour of Missouri agriculture, June 10-11,” says Matt Herring, agronomy/natural resources specialist and tour coordinator. “This year members will have the opportunity to come to Franklin County with a stop in St. Charles County.”

Tour stops will include Longview Animal Nutrition Center, Riegel Dairy, Hillermann Nursery and Augusta Winery.

“Fifteen rooms have been reserved in my name at the Super 8 Hotel in Washington,” Herring said. The hotel phone number is 636-390-0088. The address is 2801 Eckelkamp Court, Washington, Mo. 63090. For more information, contact Herring at 636-583-5141 or


Panelists help define “Alternate Policies on Climate Changes”

Panelists from MU Extension will help define Alternate Policies on Climate Changes at a conference in Fargo, N.D., May 24. Ray Massey, MU Commercial Ag, joins the discussion on implications for agriculture of cap-and-trade regulations. Pat Westhoff, co-director of MU FAPRI, describes the economics of sequestering carbon. Bob Young, formerly of MU FAPRI and now chief economist at American Farm Bureau Federation, will be on the program organized by North Dakota State University. The MU crew will rub elbows with a governor and legislators on the program.


Coming and going

West Central regional director Black to retire

After 39 years of service with University of Missouri Extension, Al Black, West Central regional director, announced his plan to retire effective June 30. “I cannot imagine any other work that would have been so rewarding and fulfilling. After this time I am looking forward to starting a new chapter in my life and career,” Black said.

“Al’s dedication to the university is greatly appreciated, and the positive impact of his work will continue to be realized for years to come,” said Beverly Coberly, director of off-campus operations.

Black will begin a part-time position as director of the Mizzou Center in Blue Springs to help manage the facility and develop programs and partnerships. “This is a great opportunity for me to continue to serve the region in a way that builds on my work as regional director,” explained Black. “It offers new challenges and opportunities to advance MU in this part of the state and continue to work with Extension.

“This is an exciting time for me personally because I will be able to spend more time with my family and enjoy some of the benefits of retirement while doing work that will be meaningful to the well-being of people in this area,” Black said.

Wayne Prewitt, agriculture business specialist in Vernon County, is serving as interim West Central regional director, starting May 1. Wayne will oversee the day-to-day operations of the region during this appointment. Wayne’s leadership efforts and his programmatic experiences in MU Extension were factors used to identify him for this role.


MoFAST leadership changes

Francis Chmelir and Jim Gann are now sharing responsibilities for the leadership and oversight of the MoFAST program. Francis is serving as project director and focusing on external relationships, reporting, goal-setting and the interface with the Missouri Technology Corporation. Jim is focusing his efforts internally in accessing faculty, researchers and other innovators within the University of Missouri and making matches between the private sector and university resources.


Please welcome

Jill Knadler is the new administrate associate in the NW Region office.

Sara Brooke is the new NW Region program manager for Family Nutrition Education Programs.

John Woodson has joined the MoFAST team at Missouri University of Science and Technology.



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.