News for employees

MU Extension Insider
Jan. 15, 2011


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

MU Extension class works to curb diabetes through diet

As Missouri diabetes rates reach unprecedented levels, classes from University of Missouri Extension help diabetics and those at risk for diabetes to better manage their meals for healthier lives. Kent Faddis reports.

See also: Related news release from Roger Meissen.


Paying to borrow your own money

For families who are trying to make ends meet, their annual tax refund is something they count on and need. Many will turn to "refund anticipation loans" to get their money faster. The problem is that families with limited resources are paying a high price just to get their money a few days earlier. Debbie Johnson reports.


Berry earns Ed. D.

Congratulations to Meridith Berry, NW regional information technology specialist, on her recent graduation from the University of Missouri Education Leadership and Policy Analysis doctoral program. The statewide cooperative program is recognized as one of the nation’s best cooperative programs focusing on knowledge generation in a collaborative learning environment. Her dissertation topic was “Identification of perceptions of reincarcerated men concerning community reintegration life experiences as measured by the community reentry survey and prediction of group membership.”

“The research topic came from my work with the Building Strong Families program in prisons,” Berry explained. “I wanted to know if we were using our resources to meet the needs of the recovering offender.” The research identified job skills, job opportunities and substance-abuse treatment as important issues for reentry into the community regardless of age, race or ethnicity. The research also affirmed the important role of agencies such as MU Extension in the successful reintegration of released felons.


Extension news from Iraq

KIRKUK, Iraq—Wendy Flatt , extension livestock specialist, has been on loan with USDA-FAS since September 2009 on the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) as an agriculture adviser in Kirkuk, Iraq.  Kirkuk, which is approximately 150 miles northeast of Baghdad, is in a very ethnically diverse area that is home to Kurds, Arabs, Turkoman, Christians and others. 

Wendy was integral in developing a Women’s Veterinary Initiative.  Twenty-seven Iraqi women veterinarians learned how to run their own businesses, estrous-synchronize cows and sheep, artificially inseminate, and apply for and receive micro-loans to purchase equipment for their potential businesses. They also learned about new technology and dairy production methods. 

Wendy and her colleagues have also been working with four private dairy associations to jump-start the dairy processing industry in Kirkuk.  Currently, most of the yogurt, cheese and milk for sale in Kirkuk is imported.  The locally produced dairy products are made in village kitchens where quality, consistency and sanitation are concerns for local residents.  The PRT has been working with the four associations to bring micro-dairy processors to produce yogurt, cheese and pasteurized milk in a sanitary, consistent manner.

Wendy will return to Missouri this spring.


Photo requests

As annual report season enters full swing, we’ve seen requests for photos from counties across the state. Below are a few locations where past photos can be found on the MU Extension shared drive:

S:\MUCampus\Ag Info\Image Database

S:\UMSystem\Coop Media\Ext Annual Report 2010

S:\UMSystem\Coop Media\Photos 2010

You might not see photos from your county in these places. If you don’t, we most likely we don’t have any, but you can help change that by identifying prime photo opportunities in 2011. Since we are the main provider of photos for the overall MU Extension annual report, sending us ideas could mean you end up as an example for everyone to see.

This last year brought a change in our photography services. With a vacancy left by Steve Morse’s departure early in 2010, Roger Meissen now splits his time evenly between writing news stories and photography duties.

This means we need your ideas to help fill the manpower gap. You’ve seen news stories we’ve showcased in the Insider and probably read and heard others we produce. Help us find stories that we can tell visually through still photography and video as well as radio and print.

A good story idea:

We can’t guarantee coverage of every idea, but pitching them to us gives needed exposure to MU Extension and means you’ll have more photos at the end of next year for your county’s annual report. While this doesn’t replace the need for you to take pictures at your programs and events, our work can help raise the bar in highlighting the great work you do.

Send your photo or story pitch to us. You can contact the Cooperative Media Group at or 573-882-7794.


Upcoming events

Don’t forget to register for Legislative Day

The annual MU Alumni Alliance Legislative Day will be held on Thursday, Feb. 24, in Jefferson City. UMEA is proud to partner with the State Extension Council to coordinate MU Extension’s participation in the event. Extension has set a goal of 500 participants for this year’s event, so start visiting with extension council members and supporters to arrange their attendance.  Everyone may register at

An ISE, “The State Budget Picture and MU Extension’s Focus on Jobs,” will be held for faculty and staff.  ISE registration is through WebApps. If you have questions, please contact Bob McNary, UMEA’s Legislative Day chair, at


Experience the Community Development Academy

“Just a reminder that slots are available to support five faculty to participate in Course 1 of Community Development Academy, March 28-April 1, in Excelsior Springs, Mo.,” says Mary Leuci, community development program director.  “CDA gives people skills in working with communities and in groups involved in community-based programming and delivery.”

Faculty who attend CDA report that they have extended their local networks to effectively benefit extension and leveraged more funds for community projects and their programming. “It’s also a wonderfully rich and diverse learning environment that stretches participants,” Leuci added.

Five additional slots are available for Course 2, which focuses on sustainability and integration (economic, environmental, social/civic) with public/private, local governance, and civil society.  

Registration is through the ISE listings in WebApps.

 For more information, e-mail Mary at or see


UMEA professional improvement scholarships

“One of the great benefits of belonging to UMEA is that you are eligible to apply for UMEA professional improvement scholarships,” says Cindy Zluticky, UMEA treasurer. “This year UMEA will give $3,000 in scholarships.” 

Deadlines for applying are Feb. 1 and Aug. 1.  Awards are for up to $500.  Applicants must be a current member of UMEA and have been a member the last two years.  Priority will be given to first-time applicants.  Application guidelines can be found on the UMEA website at  

Applicants will be notified by March 1 and Sept. 1.  Apply today!


Faculty award applications due soon

Information regarding development leaves, project awards and faculty awards for the upcoming academic year can be found on several websites:

Please note that application deadlines for many of the awards are from mid- to late January. The submission process has changed and must be done electronically.


Coming and going

In our thoughts and prayers

Rick Mammen, SW regional director, is re-prioritizing his plans to focus on his health and is applying for long-term disability, said Beverly Coberly, director of off-campus operations. Jay Chism will continue his leadership role, moving from “acting” to “interim” SW regional director.

"Thanks so much for those who keep me in their thoughts and prayers," Mammen said. You can follow Rick's health updates on Caring Bridge at


Please welcome

Barbara Landis, SW nutrition program associate.

Charmaine Flint, office manager, Holt County.

Kelli J. Wilmes, nutrition and health education specialist, Nodaway County.


Leaving us

Robin Davidson, NPA, resigned in December to return to school.

Stephanie Hardy, Worth County office manager, resigned to take another position.

Donna Haley, NE nutrition program assistant, has retired effective Jan. 4.



Our sympathy goes out to:

The family of Chris Shoemaker, whose mother, Jo Shoemaker, passed away on Monday, Jan. 10.  Condolences may be sent to Chris, Tammy and family at 1317 Magnolia St., Macon, MO 63552. 

The family of Floyd E. Wright, who passed away on Dec. 2.  He had served as SE  regional director  and as agronomy specialist headquartered in Mississippi County all during the 1970s and 1980s. A memorial service for Floyd will be held Saturday, Jan. 15,  at 10:30 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Kennett, Mo.  Messages of remembrance and sympathy can be sent to the family at 311 N. Jackson, Kennett, MO 63857.


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.