April 13, 2015

Piscataquis County Extension Association

Executive Committee Meeting Minutes

April 13, 2015

Present:  Wally Sinclair, Janet Yelch Weatherbee, Karen Dolley, Barbara Baker-via web, Donna Coffin, Georgia Underwood, Walter Boomsma, George McKay, Dotty Hadler, Richard Neal, Tish Dutson, Guests: Megan and Hailey

Meeting called to order at 3:00 PM. Guests were present-introductions made.

Secretary’s Report – Minutes reviewed by the Committee and were unanimously approved.

Budget Report – See attached report.

Program Reports – Copies of written reports received and emailed. Copies distributed to Executive Committee members. A few highlights:

  • Farming/Horticulture – see attached report.
  • 4-H – see attached report. Barb gave some additional information about the 4-H@UMaine program as todays guests were interested in possibly participating in this program. Megan has an interest in STEM and Hailey has an interest in foreign languages, perhaps as college majors at UMaine!
  • Food Corps – no report submitted for this month.

Unfinished Business

Telephone System Update – continue to await FairPoint. Janet notes it has been a long time since the decision was made by the Executive Committee to change telephone providers. Janet will send a letter to Fairpoint with possible copies to the PUC and local legislators.

GrowME – Walter notes that there was a great deal of positive media coverage. He estimates that 50 classrooms were involved! Many of the GrowMe activities overlap with classroom curriculum, for example, solids and liquids with butter making and counting and making graphs with current math classes! A very worthwhile program!

Work Plans and Public Relations – Keep saving/clipping newspaper articles for the Piscataquis County Cooperative Extension Accomplishments scrapbook. Walter and Donna met with the County Commissioners at their March meeting to keep them up to date regarding recent personnel changes including Amanda’s new office hours and Ana’s departure. There is a sign on the front door with the new Extension hours, 8AM-4:30PM, Monday, Thursday, and Friday; the office will be closed on Tuesdays; Wednesdays by chance. The meeting with the County Commissioners was very positive. They realize decisions made to have reduced office hours and staffing have been based on collected data. Walter and Donna note that Open School Garden activities are being planned for the first part of May. Donna reminds Executive Committee members that it is time to plan for the One Tomato Project. She would like to utilize local growers when purchasing tomato plants to distribute at local food pantries. The food pantries in Guilford, Dover, and Greenville have already indicated they would like to participate. Donna has not been able to contact Milo yet-Georgia offered to contact the Milo Food Pantry to ask if they would be interested in participating in this project. Barb wonders if the school greenhouse in Milo might be able to help. Richard offers to grow “extra” starts of his own cherry tomato plants to donate to the project. George moves that the recommendation/request made for $175.00 to purchase cherry tomato plants be approved, Tish seconds this motion, motion passed unanimously. Donna notes that plants should be ready for distribution by the end of May or the first week of June.

Horticulture Aid Search – Donna reports the part-time position has been posted at UMaine and will also go out to the general public. Applications may be done on line only. Applicants will be accepted until May 5, 2015. Donna notes that mid-May would be the absolute soonest that interviews could begin.

Review of Executive Committee By-laws – the Executive Committee began the process of reviewing and updating the by-laws. Page one was reviewed and a few changes were suggested. At the next meeting the Committee will begin at the middle of Page2 at Article V. Treasurer bonding was discussed. The status of this will be updated as the Committee works on the by-laws.

Food Corps Funding – Walter notes there has been no news regarding the funding for the Food Corps position. Kate has applied for additional funding sources-we await these decisions. We also are awaiting Penobscot County decision to help fund this very important, visible resource!

New Business

Printer – Donna reports the office printer was destroyed in recent building flooding. Benefits of a color printer and a printer that can print larger pages were discussed by Committee members. Amanda and Donna have been able to research costs to replace the printer. George makes a motion that $300.00 be used to buy a new printer and cartridges, Tish seconds this motion, the motion passes unanimously.

Youth Discussion – Megan and Hailey discuss their current activities including their volunteer work with their church, Center Theatre and with the National Honor Society. They shared their plans to attend college in the future. The Executive Committee discussed the importance of young people serving on the Committee. Wally notes the need for young people to become interested in raising small animals including sheep, goats, and rabbits. Wally also notes that the “younger generation” can assist with technology including reaching more people with the use of Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.

Centralized Data Base Management System – Donna reports that the new system is up and running at the University of Maine and will have to be used for all persons interested in signing up for programs including the Master Gardener Program. The system is still in the transition period and some unexpected issues should be expected. Payment for programs will be due in full prior to or at the first class. Janet wonders if personal information can be shared or compromised and Donna confirms that information may be shared. Janet has concerns that some people would not participate in programs at all for this reason.

Next Cooperative Extension Executive Committee meeting planned for May 11, 2015.

Meeting adjourned at 5:10PM.