Tuesday 12 December 2017
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No News on UW Extension nEXT Generation Update

By Patrick Mares

Times Journal Staff

On Monday morning the Calumet County agriculture & extension education committee reported that the nEXT Generation Update team for the UW Extension were in the process of looking over surveys submitted by counties around the state.  In fact Committee member Merlin Gentz told the committee, feedback links were still open for revisions or additional comments.

Gentz asked that Calumet be prepared. “I would like to see us document what we would like to see maintained in our Ag (programs).”  He also asked that county administrator Todd Romenesko’s letter to the update team be shared with the board, to clarify the official county position.

Patrick Laughrin agreed this documentation was important.  “When I got on the county board I had no idea of what the county offered,” he said.

It was stated that UW Extension aid was formerly based on services offered and would be more than halved as UW positions in calumet were projected to be reduced from 1.5 to 0.5 full time positions.

Gentz suggested that the newly appointed Calumet community economic director Mary Kohrell may be able to take on some of the responsibility.

As a first step forward, assistant dean positions are slated to be posted on Feb. 27, closing March 6, and the new positions are scheduled to be in place by early April. Area administration, which is still supposed to be by region, will follow.


The FoodWise program team, lead by Kris Soper explained FoodWise teaches low income families to stretch their food dollar from feeding growing bodies to older adults on a tight budget.  As an example they brought bagged sugar, exhibiting the amounts in various popular drinks. Soper explained that FoodWise targeted schools where 50 percent or more of the students were on the reduced price lunch plan. 

While FoodWise is only available in areas meeting their income requirements, the committee asked if they could make some of their media assets available as the information would be useful on a wider basis.

The council presented resolution 17-1 Memorial Resolution for Ron Green to Mary Ellen Green and a $25 donation in honor of Ron’s many years of service.

Tami Gasch spoke to the council regarding the 4-H speaking contest, stating that one student had even won at state and was eligible for nationals. 

She spoke highly of the heavy speaking component in many aspects of 4-H, complimenting it for the development of poise among students whether their future public speaking was before an audience or a potential employer.

It was stated that the committee would like to increase the visibility of these speeches and some discussion centered on making sure committee members observed future speaking opportunities.

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