News for employees, Jan. 15, 2010

winter storms

High winds created drifts several feet high.

And now a big thaw

Winter storms keep faculty busy

Winter storms and frigid temperatures kept members of MU Extension's community emergency management team busy during the last several weeks. Two feet of snow fell in some parts of western and northern Missouri. High winds piled snow into low spots, creating drifts several feet high and problems clearing many roads for several days. As temperatures rise, team members are turning their attention toward flood threats and damage to homes and other buildings as snow melts in the region. Amie Schleicher and Meridith Berry photos/NW Region faculty

Nine communities join Healthy Lifestyle Initiative

Nine sites have been added to MU Extension’s Healthy Lifestyle Initiative, which supports community-based approaches to addressing the increasing rate of obesity. The new locations are Scotland, Oregon, Mercer, Cooper, Camden and Scott counties; Blue Springs; and two in the City of St. Louis.

“We’re really excited about the different kinds of communities and the different kinds of partnerships that are participating in the expansion of the Healthy Lifestyle Initiative,” said co-director Ann Cohen, associate state nutrition specialist.

Each community will receive seed money and technical support from MU Extension to develop action plans to increase access to locally grown foods and safe physical activities.

Selected communities already had some level of collaboration among local partners and MU Extension. This targeted effort is designed to strengthen those partnerships. “One of the biggest benefits we’ve seen with the four pilot communities is the community partnerships that develop,” Cohen said.

Representatives from the new communities will meet via Adobe Connect in February. In April, representatives from all 13 communities will participate in a two-day capacity building conference in Columbia.

2010 Legislative Day registration is open

UMEA and the State Extension Council are coordinating the participation of citizens representing MU Extension at the University of Missouri Alumni Alliance Legislative Day, March 2, in Jefferson City. The annual event provides an opportunity for university alumni and supporters to visit with legislators and share information on the university’s impact throughout Missouri.

An inservice for faculty and staff is scheduled for the morning of March 2, and all participants representing MU Extension will meet in the afternoon. For questions, contact Susan Mills-Gray, UMEA Legislative Day chair.

Registration and details for all participants

IT training topics planned through April

MU Extension employees can boost their technology skills through the monthly ITV trainings, offered from 10 a.m. to noon on the fourth Tuesday of each month. Upcoming dates and topics:

Sign up by contacting your region’s TCRC at least a week in advance.

Fee generation sessions continue

Have questions of about the new fee policy? Rhonda Gibler, assistant vice provost-management, is hosting Adobe Connect conferences to help people navigate the new process.

Sign up by contacting Jeanne Miner.

Ratchford nominations being solicited

It is time once again to nominate worthy faculty members for the C. Brice Ratchford Memorial Fellowship. Nominations are due March 2.

The $5,000 award is given annually at a meeting of the UM Board of Curators to a university faculty member who makes significant contributions to the land-grant mission in extension, international education or agricultural economics programming.

Cooper County to move

The Cooper County extension center is moving Jan. 28. The new office will be located at 510 Jackson Road, Suite A, Boonville. The phone number will be the same.

Legislative Update

The new session of the Missouri General Assembly opened. The UM Governmental Relations newsletter, Legislative Update, provides ongoing coverage of what’s happening in Jefferson City.

Tax changes could impact your refund

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 resulted in several changes to the tax code that could affect the amount of your refund, said Brenda Procter, associate state family financial education specialist.

Some provisions, such as the credit for new homebuyers and “Cash for Clunkers” are well-publicized, but there are several others, including credits for higher education expenses.

A summary of tax changes is available on Missouri Families.

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