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January 29, 2010

Extension issues winter weather advisory


With impending winter weather expected across the state this weekend, N.C. Cooperative Extension specialists at N.C. State University offer some tips on preventing injuries or illness associated with winter storms and the potential for power outages.

Resources have been posted to Cooperative Extension’s disaster page at www.ces.ncsu.edu/disaster. Other winter storm resources from the national Extension Disaster Education Network are online at eden.lsu.edu/Topics/Hazards/SnowIce/Pages/default.aspx.

For a complete list of Cooperative Extension experts who can speak about disaster, visit: www.ces.ncsu.edu/disaster/media/experts.html.

Avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning
During a winter power failure, families may be tempted to stay warm and prepare meals by bringing a gas or charcoal grill indoors. This information sheet from the Centers for Disease Control explains the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning from indoor grilling.

Preventing frozen pipes
Having faucets dripping during sub-freezing weather can prevent frozen pipes in exterior walls.
These resources, above, are provided by Dr. Sarah Kirby, Cooperative Extension housing specialist, 919-515-9154 or sarah_kirby@ncsu.edu.

Food safety during winter storms
When the power goes out, the clock starts ticking on foods in refrigerators and freezers. Keeping appliance doors closed as much as possible during an outage can help protect your food from spoilage. Dr. Ben Chapman offers tips on knowing what’s safe to eat and preparing meals when the power is out.
Dr. Ben Chapman, Cooperative Extension food safety specialist, 919-809-3205 or ben_chapman@ncsu.edu

Driving on snow and ice
Those unfamiliar with driving in a winter storm can be caught off guard. While the best advice is often to avoid driving in winter weather, Dr. Andrew Behnke offers tips for those who must go out.
Dr. Andrew Behnke, Cooperative Extension specialist working with Hispanic families, 919-515-9156 or 919-559-8288 or andrew_behnke@ncsu.edu

Landscape damage
Trees and shrubs are often damaged by winter storms. Dr. Barbara Fair, North Carolina Cooperative Extension landscape specialist, can answer questions about dealing with damaged trees and shrubs.
Dr. Barbara Fair, Cooperative Extension landscape specialist, 919-513-2804, 919-772-5566 or 919-749-2011 (mobile) or barbara_fair@ncsu.edu

North Carolina is a major producer of both pigs and poultry (chickens and turkeys). Because these animals are typically raised in buildings, a winter storm is unlikely to have an impact, unless there are power outages. Farm animals such as cattle, goats and sheep, on the other hand, are typically kept in pastures and could be impacted by winter weather. Dr. Matt Poore, Cooperative Extension livestock commodity coordinator and ruminant nutrition specialist, can answer questions about cattle, goats and sheep. Dr. Jean-Marie Luginbuhl, Cooperative Extension specialist, can answer questions about goats and sheep.
Dr. Matt Poore, 919-515-7798 or matt_poore@ncsu.edu
Dr. Jean-Marie Luginbuhl, 919-515-8743 or jean-marie_luginbuhl@ncsu.edu

Posted by Natalie at 11:01 AM

NCACES to meet Feb. 5

The next meeting of the N.C. Association of Cooperative Extension Specialists will be held Fri., Feb. 5, 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon in 2405 Williams Hall, N.C. State University. The program includes technology updates, a presentation on “Edutainment in Extension,” a presentation on N.C. State’s scholarship of engagement report, as well as an administrative briefing.

Posted by Natalie at 10:56 AM

Deadline is Feb. 5 for Outstanding Extension Service Awards

Nominations are being accepted for the Outstanding Extension Service Awards. For the CALS Committee, nominations for this award are due on Fri., Feb. 5 at 5 p.m. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is eligible to present four Outstanding Extension Service Awards for 2008-2009; two awards for employees in CALS departments and two awards for employees in county Extension centers. “Award Description, Criteria and Schedule” are available at www.ncsu.edu/extension/awards/oes.phpfor. Please contact Vicki Pettit in Extension Administration at vicki_pettit@ncsu.edu if you have any questions. Nominations should be submitted to:
Dr. Joe Zublena
Outstanding Extension Service Award Committee Chair for CALS
Box 7602, NC State University
120 Patterson Hall
Raleigh, NC 27695-7602

Posted by Natalie at 10:45 AM

January 08, 2010

Bazemore case plaintiffs reunite with Extension administrators

Bazemore group
Plaintiffs and attorneys in the Bazemore case pose for a reunion photo. P.E. Bazemore is in the center, front row. (Becky Kirkland photos)

In the early 1970s, a group of employees of the N.C. Agricultural Extension Service sued the organization over unequal pay for employees of color and over segregated 4-H and Extension Homemaker clubs. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled for the Bazemore v. Friday plaintiffs in 1986, setting an important precedent on the burden of proof in work place discrimination cases.

In October, many of the original plaintiffs in the case returned to the JC Raulston Arboretum for a reunion and to hear Cooperative Extension and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences administrators describe efforts to improve diversity. The plaintiffs left saying they were impressed with efforts increase diversity among employees and students in the College.

Judge Ed Reibman of Pennsylvania, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys from the Bazemore case, opened the reunion meeting by describing a document he had read recounting the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Civil War’s battle of Gettysburg. At that reunion, former Union and Confederate soldiers put aside differences and embraced their common history. “When people have differences of opinion, why do we have to wait 50 years?” Reibman said. “It takes so long for us to shake hands and move on.”

Reibman began to consider bringing the Bazemore plaintiffs together with Cooperative Extension administrators, whom they had challenged in their historic court case. He approached Dr. Jon Ort of the Cooperative Extension Service at N.C. State University, who enthusiastically supported the idea. “We always considered the case to be a family affair,” Reibman said. “It was a difference of opinion among family.”

The Bazemore case was originally filed in 1971, when Extension employees, clients, Homemaker Club members and parents of 4-H’ers sued the University of North Carolina system, other school officials and county commissioners from three counties. The plaintiffs alleged racial discrimination in Extension’s employment and in the way it provided services to the public.

Though black and white factions of the Extension Service had merged in 1965, the plaintiffs presented statistical evidence showing salary disparities between black and white employees. The Supreme Court found that the statistical analysis of the salaries proved discrimination, though the court found that Extension had acted according to law regarding desegregation of the clubs. The Bazemore precedent still stands today and has been used to prove salary discrimination in other cases, most noteably in the case of Lilly Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.

Ledbetter, whose case received attention from presidential candidate Barack Obama, proved that she was paid less than men at the same company. However, the statute of limitations in the case did not allow her to collect back pay from Goodyear. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, passed by Congress earlier this year, overturned the statute of limitations.

The reunion in October brought together the Bazemore plaintiffs, Extension administrators from both N.C. State and N.C. A&T State universities and attorneys for both the plaintiffs and the state. Judge Howard Manning Jr., son of the late Howard Manning Sr. who represented the state, appeared briefly at the reunion and urged participants to get involved with Futures for Kids, a non-profit group focused on dropout prevention.

Schwab and Bazemore
CALS Personnel Director Sheri Schwab talks with P.E. Bazemore, one of the original plaintiffs in the case.

During the meeting, various administrators shared different diversity initiatives of the college and Extension. Again and again, presenters noted, “We’re not there yet, but we’re trying.”
Dr. Joe Zublena, head of county operations, described Extension’s (2005?) legislative initiative to achieve salary equity for employees. Sheri Schwab, head of personnel for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, gave an overview of Extension’s employee demographics. She pointed out that Extension has 108 current vacancies that offer opportunities to increase the organization’s diversity.

Chiquita McAllister of N.C. A&T State University described the efforts of Extension’s Diversity Catalyst Team. The team, which includes employees from both universities, has worked to promote acceptance of diversity among all Cooperative Extension employees.
Lisa Guion, assistant dean for diversity in N.C. State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, described numerous efforts the college has made to increase its ranks of minority students by introducing high school students to agricultural and life sciences.

In closing the meeting, Reibman offered the plaintiffs a personal challenge to help improve the Extension Service. “Some of the speakers here today gave you some specific suggestions of you can get involved to make the Extension Service better,” he said. “And I’m going to give you one more, which is very easy and it won’t cost you anything and I think you’ll get tremendous personal satisfaction out of it.

“Go back to your community and Identify one or two kids who you think have the potential to be agents in the Extension Service. Take that person under your wings, encourage that kid, be a mentor. Not for a day, not for a week, but for three or four or five years. Get that kid through middle school, high school and college. Get that kid on a program that’s going to make him eligible to apply for one of the 108 current vacancies in this operation. That’s how you can really make a difference.

“We’ve left a legacy – a legacy in this state, a legacy in the Extension Service and a legacy in the law, in terms of the Bazemore litigation. Life is short for all of us. But you still have something else to give – so that all of us will have a better future.”

The original plaintiff, P.E. Bazemore, a former Monroe city councilman and an Extension retiree, said he was very pleased with the progress that was described during the reunion. Looking back on the case, he said it was a hard but necessary step for the plaintiffs to take.

“I think we achieved what was seriously needed at the time. You have another group of (administrators) here now who really want to do the thing right. It isn’t a matter of them being pressured. They’re looking for ways they can make the Extension Service better. And I think that everyone in here is going to be ready to volunteer to do more than they’ve done before.

“I’m overly impressed with what I’ve heard. And it isn’t just what people said, it’s how they said it. You know they were speaking truthfully.

“This is a beautiful day, and I’m alive to see the Extension Service moving in this direction. I’ll be grinning about this for a long time. It tells you that the thing we went through was not wasted, and we’re reaping the benefits now.”

-N. Hampton

Posted by Natalie at 08:47 AM

Forages conferences will feature international expert on livestock and wildlife grazing behavior

A series of conferences on pasture and forage management held across the state this month will include remarks from an expert on livestock and wildlife grazing behavior. This is the second conference series on which North Carolina Cooperative Extension and the North Carolina Forage and Grassland Council have collaborated.

Conferences will be held at the Nash County extension center Jan. 19 in Nashville, at the Union County extension center Jan. 20 in Monroe, and at the Mountain Research Station Jan. 21 in Mills River. Each conference will run 1-7:30 p.m.

Utah’s Dr. Fred Provenza will present information at each conference, along with panels of exceptional local forage managers. Provenza is often featured in Stockman Grass Farmer magazine. Among his most interesting accomplishments is the successful management of livestock and wildlife to eat weedy and invasive plants.

North Carolina forage managers will appear at each conference. In Nash County, the featured managers will be Linda Fisher, E.B. Harris and Bill Freeman, while in Union County, Rob Kalmbacher and Corey Lutz will be featured. In Mills River, George Lenze, Page Modlin and Steve Lemel will be the featured local pasture managers.

Tradeshows and dinner are included in each of the conferences. For more information, contact your local county Extension center or Sue Ellen Johnson at N.C. State University, 919.513.1335 or se_johnson@ncsu.edu. Find contact information for Cooperative Extension county centers at www.ces.ncsu.edu/index.php?page=countycenters.

Posted by Natalie at 08:33 AM