News for employees

MU Extension Insider
May 27, 2014


In the news

Dates to Remember

Coming and going


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

In the news

Extension program helps disabled veterans play golf

For the last five years an MU Extension-affiliated program, Boots on the Green, has helped veterans with disabilities enjoy the therapeutic benefits of golf.

“Golf is a great medium for therapeutic recreation because it uses all the facets. You have your mental, your physical and your social facets in golf,” says Jerry Hitzhusen, associate professor in MU’s parks, recreation and tourism department. “And there are benefits to just being outdoors on a golf course rather than at the VA hospital, where most of these men reside.”

Boots on the Green is a partnership of MU Extension, the St. Louis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Gateway PGA and H.E.R.O.E.S. Care, a support network for military families. Read more about the latest developments with the program and see a video about Boots on the Green.


4-H Day with the Cards draws families together at the ballpark

More than 2,400 Missouri and Illinois 4-H’ers, and their families and friends invaded Busch Stadium in downtown St. Louis on a recent Saturday afternoon for the 2014 edition of “4-H Day with the Cardinals.” Clad in T-shirts with the familiar 4-H clover logo, the throng completely encircled the field for 30 minutes during a pregame parade. Watch video of the 4-H Day with the Cardinals.

“We’ve held this event every year since 2002, the year of 4-H’s centennial,” said Rhonda Shafer, MU Extension 4-H youth specialist based in Lincoln County. “I think it’s a great way to have 4-H families come together and celebrate the great American pastime. 4-H is a wonderful youth program. It’s a great time to get the two together.”

Shafer coordinates the event with MU Extension 4-H youth development colleagues Dave Hileman of Franklin County and John Nickler of St. Charles County.

The annual 4-H visit to Busch Stadium is a great morale builder, publicity event and fundraiser wrapped into one, according to Shafer. It’s one of the biggest single groups the Cardinals entertain all season.

Fundraising comes in the form of a raffle. Parents buy chances for their kids to win items donated by the Cardinals, including autographed baseballs, box-seat ticket packages and other ticket prizes. Raffle-chance holders also could be selected to join pregame activities on the field such as attending batting practice, leading the 4-H pledge or throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.

All raffle proceeds are split between the Missouri and Illinois 4-H contingents.

“Missouri applies its raffle proceeds to a college scholarship fund,” says Shafer. “Proceeds from the 12 past seasons have totaled more than $57,000.”

Connor Dittlinger, 16, of Benton in southeastern Missouri, won the privilege of throwing out the first pitch. The five-year veteran of 4-H leadership training wants to run a business someday: “4-H helps me prepare for my future.”

Dittlinger missed his duties as first baseman for his high school baseball team to perform his first-pitch assignment at Busch Stadium: “It was exciting…something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve probably been to 30 Cardinal games in my life, but I never got to experience that before.”

Shafer, Nickler and Hileman devote a lot of behind-the-scenes time and effort to ensure 4-H Day with the Cardinals runs smoothly.

“We like to think of it as a nice family outing,” says Hileman. “People see that the program is active and strong. It’s one of the best promotional events that we have for 4-H in the state.”

John Nickler, Rhonda Shafer and Dave Hileman, 4-H day with the St. Louis Cardinals

From left: MU Extension 4-H youth development specialists John Nickler (St. Charles County), Rhonda Shafer (Lincoln County) and Dave Hileman (Franklin County) tackled the many pre-event details that make 4-H Day with the Cardinals a big success.


National 4-H history project blossoms in Polk County

Inspiration struck when Polk County 4-H youth development specialist Velynda Cameron learned about the national Voices of 4-H History Project at last year’s national 4-H FilmFest in Branson.

As a result, Cameron motivated members of the Polk County 4-H club to become the first 4-H group in Missouri to participate in the National 4-H History Preservation Program, which aims to increase public awareness of 4-H by collecting and preserving audio, video and print information.

The project links Polk County 4-H history to this year’s centennial celebration of the Smith-Lever Act, which started extension nationally. Among the many local 4-H history projects, 4-H memorabilia has gone on display in the Polk County Museum. In another local project, a 14-year-old Bolivar 4-H’er explored her family’s links to 4-H tradition. Read both stories to discover more about the history of 4-H in Polk County.


Cass County crew hosts centennial celebration in Harrisonville

Cass County centennial celebration

The MU Extension Center in Cass County celebrated extension’s centennial with a tailgate and barbecue May 22. Nearly 125 county extension council members, county, state and federal legislators and aides, and citizens enjoyed a free lunch and fellowship, according to Susan Mills-Gray, WC Region nutrition and health specialist. In addition to Mills-Gray, other Cass County faculty and staff hosting the Harrisonville event were David Hoffman, livestock specialist and CPD; Brittany Nieder, 4-H educator; Rhonda Kasper, FNEP program associate; and Kathy Edwards, administrative assistant.


MO SBTDC reaccredited by national review group

The Missouri Small Business and Technology Development Centers, part of MU Extension’s Business Development Program, received reaccreditation recently from its professional review organization, the Washington, D.C.-based America’s Small Business Development Center network, according to Steve Devlin, BDP director.

“Full accreditation with no conditions is no ordinary feat and speaks volumes of our staff’s dedication to helping small businesses in Missouri succeed every day,” said Devlin in extending congratulations to the MO SBTDC team and its state director, Chris Bouchard.

Members of the ASBDC accreditation committee reviewed nearly all MO SBTDC operations and found “numerous examples of innovative thinking and actions. The Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center Network is commended for both its dedication and commitment to the pursuit of continuous improvement.”

The next scheduled review will be in 2019.


BDP client wins statewide honor from SBA

A client of MU Extension’s Business Development Program has been named the 2014 Missouri Small Business Person of the Year by the federal Small Business Administration.

Nilson Goes, CEO and president of Infinite Energy Construction Inc. in Kansas City, receives business counseling from Mark Allen, business development specialist at the UMKC SBTDC. Goes’ firm, which was profiled several months ago in the BDP monthly client newsletter, has experienced significant growth in the past few years and now has more than 40 employees in four offices around the country: Kansas City, Knob Noster, Fort Worth, Texas; and Fort Irwin, California.


University slated for 5.2 percent increase in state funds

As a result of budget bills passed earlier this month by the Missouri General Assembly, the four-campus University of Missouri System stands to receive an increase of $21 million, or 5.2 percent, in its operating budget, according to Marty Oetting, UM System state government relations director.

“This represents the first time since FY 2001 that the university received an operating appropriation increase above 5 percent,” said Oetting.

Overall this year, lawmakers approved more than $603 million for UM, including operating funding and capital support through bonding, general revenue and surplus revenue funds. This exceeds the recent high-water mark from FY 2001, when lawmakers approved more than $500 million in operating and capital support.

The bills await review by Gov. Jay Nixon by June 30. He retains line-item veto authority on budget bills and could elect to veto or withhold funding of certain items should state revenues come in below previously agreed-upon estimates. As of the end of April, revenues have only grown by one-half of a percent, which is below Nixon’s 2.8 percent estimate for the current fiscal year.

See a full overview of university-related budget items passed by the General Assembly this year.


New Total Rewards blog addresses faculty, staff benefits

A new blog focusing on faculty and staff benefits started May 19, according to Tracey Westfield, communications associate with the MU System’s Total Rewards program. It provides information on topics related to the myTotal Rewards package, including benefits, compensation, retirement and wellness programs.

“The Let's Talk Total Rewards blog is a place where the university community can learn about plan options and share ideas,” says Westfield. “Visit the blog, read articles daily and tell us what you think.”

Faculty, staff, retirees, students, alumni, prospective members of the university community and others are welcome to share their ideas and questions. Use the "Subscribe" field on the right side of the blog to have newly posted articles delivered daily to your email inbox.


Dates to remember

Shelter Insurance seeks nominations for excellence award

The Shelter Insurance Foundation is accepting nominations for this year's $2,000 Fred V. Heinkel Award for Excellence, according Randa Rawlins, secretary and general counsel for Shelter Insurance Cos. Nomination deadline is July 1.

The award may be given to one or more individuals or organizations that have demonstrated excellence in any areas of science, medical research, health services, education, history, agriculture, athletics or any other field designated by the foundation's board of directors. The award may be divided and given to more than one recipient each year.

To nominate an individual or group for the award—named for the companies’ first board chairman—please send your nomination to Joe Moseley, secretary of the Shelter Insurance Foundation, 1817 W. Broadway, Columbia, MO 65218-0001.

Please email questions about the Heinkel Award to Moseley or call 573-214-4324.


International manure event hits Missouri in July

The 2014 North American Manure Expo will be held in Springfield on July 8-9. The expo rotates among states each year and this is the first year Missouri is hosting the event.

“The name says it all,” says Teng Lim, MU Extension assistant professor of agricultural systems management. “When it comes to anything about nutrient management or manure management, this is the show to come to.”

The two-day event will feature tours on July 8 to a pasture-based dairy for concrete tank and lagoon agitation demonstrations, and to a wastewater treatment facility featuring anaerobic digestion, nutrient management planning and field mapping.

On July 9 there will be solid and liquid application demonstrations, an equipment and trade show, and educational sessions. Speakers include several MU Extension specialists: agricultural engineer Joe Zulovich, economist Ray Massey, water quality specialist Bob Broz and nutrient management specialist John Lory.

Admission is free but preregistration is required. For more information and to register for the expo, visit the event’s website


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.

2014 workshops

June 19

2-3 p.m.

July 16

10-11 a.m.

Aug. 21

2-3 p.m.


Moodle workshops

Extension Technology and Computer Services (ETCS) is conducting half-day online Moodle course-development workshops.

Dates and times for the balance of the year:

  • July 2, 12:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 8, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
  • Sept. 10, 12:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 7, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
  • Nov. 6, 12:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 5, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Come join us for a Moodle Online Course Development workshop.  These are 4-hour face-to-face sessions scheduled through the remainder of the year at the dates and times listed below.  We meet in room #160 at 1110 S. College Ave. in Columbia.  If you have a program you would like to put online, come prepared to share your idea and material and begin work on developing your course.  There are travel funds available for this ISE, and you may contact Rhonda Clayton at for details.

To register, go to


Other dates to remember

June 1: Deadline for submitting county office sustainability reports.

June 10-11: 2014 CPD conference in Columbia.

June 15: Deadline to nominate for County Clerical Staff Recognition Awards

July 1: Shelter Insurance nominations for excellence award, contact Joe Moseleyor call 573-214-4324.

July 13-17 & 20-24: Summers @ Mizzou. For more information, contact Teresa Bishop at 573-884-0554 or go to


Coming and going

The Newton County extension office has relocated to 18728 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850.


Please welcome

Jamie Merritt, nutrition program associate, Franklin County, EC Region

Elaine Anderson, youth specialist and CPD, Miller County, EC Region

Anna Klem, youth program assistant, Barry County, SW Region

Marlee Schweppe, youth program assistant, Jefferson County, Urban Region

Crystal Doffoney, nutrition program associate, Jackson County, Urban Region

Kori Sproat, youth program assistant, Johnson County, WC Region



Two MU Extension county office staff members died earlier this month. Elizabeth McGraw, Ray County office manager, died May 16. Sherri Norman, Jackson County office secretary, died May 18. 


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