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Extension E-Newsletter

Extension E-News

Greetings for October, 2013

Beverly SparksBeverly Sparks, Associate Dean for Extension, 706/542-3824,

Extension Colleagues:

Life doesn't get much better than fall in Georgia. Cooler nights, UGA football Saturdays, the Georgia State Fair, Sunbelt Expo and the sights and smells of harvest time make this my favorite time of year. It should be peak color for the changing leaves by the end of the month and it appears we are going to have a spectacular show this year. I encourage you to get out and join in the celebration of harvest time in Georgia.

Here is an update from my desk since the last issue of E-News:

We welcomed 12 new employees into Health Navigator positions. These new employees will work throughout the state to provide educational programs on the Affordable Health Care Act. Associate Dean Debbie Murray describes their role as follows: "Our job is to help Georgian's understand this new marketplace and make sure they have unbiased and factual information in order to make the best decisions for their families and/or small businesses." Please read Dr. Murray's section of this newsletter for more information on the Health Navigator positions and please welcome these new employees to our Extension family.

We celebrated with our Extension colleagues Dr. Clint Waltz, Extension turfgrass specialist, and Mr. James Jacobs, ANR agent for Pierce and Ware Counties, on Oct. 1 at the annual D.W. Brooks Luncheon. Clint received the D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Extension (tenure track faculty) and James received the D.W. Brooks Award in Excellence for Public Service Faculty. Congratulations to these two outstanding Extension colleagues.

Dr. Bo Ryles, former state leader for Georgia 4-H, was honored for a lifetime of achievement for his work by being inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame. The ceremony took place at National 4-H Headquarters in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and many of Bo's UGA colleagues and family were present for the occasion. Congratulations, Dr. Bo!

UGA Extension had strong representation at the Galaxy Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in late September. As I participated in the various association events and sessions, evidence of UGA Extension's contributions and leadership was very apparent. Our agents and specialists represented us well and many were recognized for their leadership and outstanding programming. Highlights include Paul Wigley's (Calhoun County CEC) leadership as chair of the Joint Council of Extension Professionals, and the induction of Mickey Forackers (retired Lowndes County CEC) into the National Association of County Agricultural Agents Hall of Fame.

In late September, I participated in the annual meeting of the UGA Extension Retirees Association. President Paul Bullock and the program committee did an excellent job planning a very informative meeting at Rock Eagle. I am very appreciative of the ongoing support of our Extension Retiree Association and the commitment and dedication of their leadership to assist in advocating for UGA Extension with key stakeholders.

Upcoming events:

  • Twenty new ANR agents and eight new ANR specialists will join us in Athens for a week of ANR training later this month. Thanks to Dr. Brown, our ANR PDCs and all those involved in preparing for the instruction, tours and demonstrations for our newest members of our ANR team. We are certainly thrilled to have a significant number of new employees entering the system.
  • On Oct. 29, we will dedicate the Museum of Natural History at Rock Eagle in honor of Diane Davies. Please join us for this special event honoring this special lady.

As always, if you have questions or concerns that any member of the Extension administrative team can address, please do not hesitate to contact us. I also look forward to being at each upcoming District Program Development Conference and hope to see many of you at Sunbelt Expo.

In this issue of Extension E-News:

  • Greg Price provides details on a new language translation resource;
  • Arch Smith talks about 4-H Week and 4-H's presence at the Georgia National Fair in Perry;
  • Deborah Murray explains the role of the new Health Navigators; and
  • Steve Brown encourages new and veteran Extension employees to participate in upcoming trainings and continue to learn daily on the job.



County Operations

Greg PriceGreg Price, Director of Extension County Operations, 706/542-1060,

The county Extension office always strives to make information available to the local community in ways that can be understood and used. Today we have a new tool in our communication tool box. All of us have probably experienced communicating with someone with some type of limited English proficiency (LEP). Often it is very important for our communication to be clearly and accurately understood. You may find yourself explaining a chemical application in the home or lawn or communicating important information about a child with their parent. Our new tool can help to remove these communication barriers.

CAES has contracted with Language Line Solutions Over-the-Phone Interpreting Service. This 24-hour a day, 365 days a year service gives our employees access to an interpreter over the phone for more than 200 languages. You can use this service for someone in your office or via cell phone through a three-way phone connection.

To access the service you call the 888 number, enter the 8-digit pin, and speak the name of the desired language (if known). You will then be connected to an interpreter. Tell them what you want to accomplish and give them any special instructions. We have provided three documents to help:

These documents and more are available on the CAES Equal Opportunity web page under the resources section.

Please note that this service is covered by a confidentiality agreement for incidents like the case of an agent discussing the health of a child.

Thanks to the CAES Office of Finance & Administration for finding and coordinating this resource. If you have specific questions, please contact Steve Gibson. Dean Angle has agreed to cover the per-minute charges for this service so there will be no direct cost at the county level. Steve and I would enjoy hearing your feedback if you use this service.


Agriculture and Natural Resources

Steve Brown Steve Brown, ANR State Program Leader, 706/542-1060,

Were you ready for your first day on the job?

Think back on your first day in an Extension position. For some of us, that's ancient history. For others, it was very recent. Either way, were you prepared for the tasks that were ahead of you? You agents and specialists had at least a bachelor's degree and most of the specialists had Ph.Ds. Was that formal training enough to prepare you? I'm guessing not. There's no substitute for the college training that gives us the foundation upon which to build, but the training that really prepares us for a career in Extension comes after that first day on the job.

We get that training in a number of different ways. We learn a lot from our co-workers, either informally or in formal mentoring programs. Sometimes, we even learn from our clientele. We certainly learn a lot from our mistakes, but with time, we start to get the hang of it.

By the very nature of their assignments as generalists, agents must undergo a lot of training. To have even a basic knowledge of Georgia's diverse agriculture and natural resources, that college education must be greatly expanded. Having worked with my counterparts from many other states, I am more convinced than ever that Georgia has the best ANR agents in the United States. Perhaps there are many reasons for that, but the most compelling reason is our history of commitment to agent training. We take agent training seriously in Georgia. Some might argue that agents must spend too many hours out of their counties at training sessions. No training program of this size is perfect and I won't try to convince you that every single event is worth the effort, time and money. But in general, our agent training program and the subsequent high quality of our ANR agents is what sets us apart from other Extension services across the country.

At last month's program planning week, your ANR PDCs and I tried very hard to plan a slate of training programs that will continue that tradition. The lingering effects of the Great Recession continue to hamper our ability to do everything we would like to do, but given the circumstances, over the next year, ANR agents will again have the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills they will need to do their jobs. Please take the opportunity to thank the trainers and the PDCs that manage training programs at the district level.

Winter School is certainly not the only venue for training, but it is an important one. Agents will soon receive a slate of options for Winter School classes. It is our hope that you will find classes that meet your needs. There will be numerous other face-to-face training opportunities offered throughout the year at other venues and there will be numerous online opportunities as well. Specialists and administrators need training, too. I hope everyone will take their own professional development very seriously and take advantage of as many training opportunities as possible. Without professional development, we would slide into a culture of mediocrity that would ultimately seal our fate.


Family and Consumer Sciences

Deborah MurrayDeborah Murray, FACS State Program Leader, 706/542-4862,

Welcome to the UGA Navigators and a Big Thank You

The last two weeks have been really eventful and very busy for our county offices and our Health Navigators. I can't say enough praises about the CECs and the county Extension office staffs for helping field questions and supporting our health navigators during a highly public and media-driven opening of the new Healthcare Marketplace on Oct. 1. Our navigators have praised all of you for your support to get them off to a good start.

UGA Extension is a top-notch organization and one I am proud to say I am part of. Welcome to Stephen Bailey, Betsy Charron, Kim Jenkins, Liz Dintelmann, Cassandra Hunter, Allie Chambers, Ashley Wadley, Nykita Scott, Candice McBride, Kim Wyche, Tamra Allen, Sunny Rogers and Martha Weston. The demand for their assistance is very high right now. The Macon television station hosted a call in show with our navigators answering callers' questions. It was reported to be the highest volume of calls in the station's history with the exception of the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, a national event.

So, what is the health marketplace and what is Extension's Role? Health Insurance Marketplaces (also known as exchanges) are new organizations set up to create more organized and competitive markets for buying health insurance. They offer a choice of different health plans, certifying plans that participate and providing information to help consumers better understand their options. Through the marketplace, individuals and families can shop for coverage if they need to buy health insurance on their own. Premium and cost sharing subsidies are available through the marketplace to reduce the cost of coverage for individuals and families, based on their income. Individuals and families with very low incomes will also be able to find if they are eligible for coverage through Medicaid and PeachCare. Finally, small businesses can also buy coverage for their employees through the Small Business Health Options Program Marketplace.

There is a health insurance marketplace in every state for individuals and families and for small businesses. Some marketplaces are operated by the state and have a special state name (like CoveredCalifornia or The Maryland Health Connection.) In other states, including Georgia, the federal government runs the marketplace and it is known as The Health Insurance Marketplace of Georgia.

Our job is to help Georgian's understand this new marketplace and make sure they have unbiased and factual information in order to make the best decisions for their families and/or small businesses.


4-H and Youth Development

Arch SmithArch Smith, 4-H & Youth Development State Program Leader, 706/542-4H4H,

As our country celebrates National 4-H Week Oct. 6-12, Georgia 4-H has much to celebrate during the entire month. Many 4-H members have competed for Master 4-H status in the Egg Preparation Contest and the Chicken BBQ Contest and also presented exhibits and projects at the Georgia National Fair in Perry. Youth livestock shows were on both weekends of the fair with the official Georgia Junior Market Goat and Market Lamb Shows being held Oct. 4-6. The Georgia National Fair is an excellent showcase for 4-H members during National 4-H Week.

Students from the Marietta Center for Advance Academics arrived at Rock Eagle 4-H Center on Oct. 10 for a two-day 4-H Environmental Education experience that put us over the threshold of 1,000,000 students. The Georgia 4-H Environmental Education program provides hands-on learning experiences for children at all five Georgia 4-H centers. The success of GA 4-H EE has strengthened the relationship between public, private and home schools and Georgia 4-H. Environmental Education is a science-based program that correlates to the common core of Georgia Performance Standards.

On Tuesday, Oct. 29, we will continue celebrating the milestone of the 1 millionth EE participant when we dedicate the Museum of Natural History at Rock Eagle 4-H Center in honor of its founder, Diane Davies. The Museum of Natural History was Diane's dream and the centerpiece of the renovation of the Rock Eagle 4-H Center facility in the late 1980s. State 4-H Leader Tom Rodgers hired Diane and gave her $300 and six months to make the EE program a reality. Some 35 years later, participants from Georgia and across the southeastern United States continue to benefit from Diane's desire for children to learn in the greatest classroom of all—the outdoors. In the fall of 2012, Diane was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame.

To conclude National 4-H Week, Georgia celebrated as the fourteenth Georgian was inducted into the National Hall of Fame - Dr. Roger C. "Bo" Ryles. The retired state 4-H leader led the Georgia 4-H program from 1994 to August 2009. Bo was an outstanding state 4-H leader. He also served in several leadership roles on the national level.

Congratulations to Bo and Diane for the positive impact they have had on the lives of Georgia 4-H members.


Outstanding Extension program

We are pleased to announce that the October winner for the Outstanding Extension Program contest is the Chattooga County Beekeepers. This program is coordinated by Rebecca Thomas with Chattooga County Cooperative Extension.

Chattooga County Beekeepers was created in 2012 and has a monthly educational program with 30-40 attendees and a total of 131 active members. This club has networked with surrounding area beekeepers and associations to be a knowledge base and educational outlet for the community, farmers, pollinators, schools and organizations. The club has been able to purchase learning and educational teaching tools and materials which have been used in classrooms and at community events to educate students and the public about honey bees.

Chattooga County BeekeepersThe program is promoted through the Chattooga County Cooperative Extension website as well as through radio, newspaper and television.


Personnel actions since September 1, 2013

New Hires

  • Bamboo Farm – Norman Winter, Director, 10/1/2013
  • Bamboo Farm – James Hughes, Grounds Foreman I, 10/1/2013
  • Coffee County – Chrysann Rogers, Program Coordinator II, 9/16/2013
  • Coweta County – Nykita Scott, Program Coordinator II, 9/23/2013
  • Dawson County – Mary Dintelmann, Program Coordinator II, 9/16/2013
  • Dekalb County – Ada Lopez, CEPA, 10/14/2013
  • Fulton County – Todd Leeson, Public Serv Asst, 10/1/2013
  • Gordon County – Alexandria Chambers, Program Coordinator II, 9/23/2013
  • Habersham County – Cassandra Hunter, Program Coordinator II, 10/1/2013
  • Houston County – Lakeisha Levi, CEPA, 10/3/2103
  • Houston County – Vincent Thomas, Program Asst, 9/26/2013
  • Johnson County – Tamra Allen, Program Coordinator II, 9/16/2013
  • Lee County – Deirdre Shumate, Program Asst, 10/1/2013
  • Liberty County – Martha Weston, Program Coordinator II, 9/16/2013
  • Newton County – Ashley Walden, Program Coordinator II, 9/16/2013
  • Richmond County – Carmen Scruggs, CEPA, 10/14/2013
  • Sumter County – Dorcas Reyes, CEPA, 10/3/2013
  • Thomas County – Kim Wyche, Program Coordinator II, 9/16/2013
  • Troup County – Brian Maddy, Public Serv Asst, 9/1/2013
  • Upson County – Candace McBride, Program Coordinator II, 9/16/2013
  • White County – Nathaniel Eason, Public Serv Rep, 10/1/2013
  • Whitfield County – Ania Arias-Luciano, CEPA, 10/14/2013
  • Whitfield County – Stanislava Tomazin, CEPA, 10/14/2013
  • Wilkes County – Kimberly Jenkins, Program Coordinator II, 9/16/2013

Transfers/Position Changes

  • Emanuel County – Jeffrey Burke, Public Serv Rep, 10/1/2013 (transferred from Sumter County)
  • Northeast District – Judith Ashley, Director, 10/1/2013 (formerly ANR agent and CEC in Walton County)
  • Northwest District – Sheldon Hammond, Director, 10/1/2013 (formerly Ag PDC for NW District)


  • Crawford County – Britney Holloway, Public Serv Rep, 10/4/2013
  • Dougherty County – Jessica Dorsey, Program Asst, 9/6/2013
  • Franklin County – Ricky Josey, Public Serv Assoc, 10/1/2013
  • Grady County – Donald Clark, Public Serv Asst, 10/1/2013
  • Hart County – Charles Rice, Sr Public Serv Assoc, 10/1/2013
  • Mitchell County – Max Demott II, Public Serv Rep, 9/18/2013
  • Walton County – Roy Glen Blair, Public Serv Asst, 9/1/2013
  • Ware County – Virginia Boatright, Public Serv Asst, 10/1/2013