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Await effects of ISU Extension shake up

May 6, 2009
Traer Star-Clipper

By John Speer

Central Iowa Press

While changes appear in store for the Tama County Extension Office, what they will be remains to be determined. Franklin Albertsen, Extension Education director for Tama County. said Monday local changes will be determined by the Tama County Extension Council after more study of the directive from Iowa State Extension. Nick Podhajsky, Traer, chair of the county Extension Council, said on Friday, "There's going to be a change, whether it is right or wrong" based upon information he has received.

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What is known is cost -cutting measures announced by Iowa State will result in the elimination of the 92 county extension education director posts in the state as they exist now.

Podhajsky said moving the regular Extension Council meeting to this Thursday is being considered in light of the developments. The council usually meets on the second Thursday of every month.

Under the restructuring plan announced, Tama County will be grouped in a region with Grundy, Black Hawk, Buchanan, Butler and Bremer counties - one of 20 districts in the state which will have the apparent equivalent of one director for the six-county area.

But, in a WHO radio interview on Thursday, an ISU spokesperson said county Extension Councils may still elect to employ directors and some funding will be directed to them which could be used for this purpose. From press releases issued and that interview, it is believed more responsibility in the make up of the county offices will fall to the local Extension Councils.

In a news release, ISU Vice President for Extension and Outreach Jack Payne said, ""The current economic downturn forces us to change the way we do business. The Extension leadership team has listened to the desires of Iowans, and the ideas of our staff and council members, to create a plan that will strengthen the organization for years to come."

Tama County Extension Council members include Podhajsky, the chair, Judy Morrison, vice-chair, Judy Widmayer, Ann McMullin, Jim Ledvina, Janelle Murty, Duane Petty, Sherri Scarf and Ginger Werner.

The Extension Council is elected in even-numbered years on the general election ballot. Members serve staggered, four-year terms.

The Tama County Extension Office staff in addition to Albertsen includes Sherl Arp, FNP program assistant, Bonnie Murty, office assistant-bookkeeper and Jackie Skala, county Youth Coordinator.

There is a laundry list of field personnel also listed as serving Tama County, ranging from livestock and crop to health and family specialists.

Tama County Extension Office

203 W. High, Toledo

Entrance at rear of building, lower level

Open Mon-Fri, 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.

Phone- 800-707-5474




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