March 30, 2010

van der Hoeven is Extension's tax man

Guido van der Hoeven
(Marc Hall photo)

You could call him North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s taxman:

But unlike the taxman made famous by the Beatles, Guido van der Hoeven doesn’t tax streets, seats, heat, feet – or anything else, for that matter. But he does spend most of his working days helping others understand income and estate tax rules and how they relate to people’s lives and businesses.

For the first four months of the year, right up until April 15, van der Hoeven fields a steady stream of income-tax-related questions by phone and email. And throughout the year, he researches, writes about and provides statewide training related to income taxes, estate planning and farm financial management.

Right now, the agricultural and resource economist is serving a two-year term as president of the Land-Grant University Tax Education Foundation. That organization is a partnership of 26 universities to develop educational materials useful across state lines.

The foundation recently won a grant to create a tax guide for operators of small- to medium-size farms, and every year it publishes about 26,000 copies of the annual National Income Tax Workbook. The well-regarded 600- to 700-page book is used by the participating universities in tax schools and institutes around the country.

University faculty members who are part of the foundation create the book’s contents anew every year, focusing on changes to the tax code as well as rules about timely tax topics. For example, given 2009’s economic downturn, the latest book includes a chapter on net operating losses.

The book comes packaged with a searchable CD that contains the entire workbook contents since 2003.

In North Carolina, the workbook, which van der Hoeven helps write, is used in intermediate and advanced income tax schools he directs for the Office of Professional Development in N.C. State University’s McKimmon Center. These schools are targeted at accountants and others who help people prepare their income tax returns.

The two-day schools, which take place in the weeks after Thanksgiving every year, draw about 1,200 to 1,300 people. The schools are held in Winston-Salem, Wilmington, Asheville, Greenville, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Charlotte and Raleigh.

A former professional tax preparer himself, van der Hoeven teaches the intermediate classes for four of the locations, and he also created and teaches an introductory income tax workshop offered through the McKimmon Center. His curriculum for the introductory course has also been adopted in seven other states.

In addition van der Hoeven has for 11 years offered workshops around the state on income-tax issues specifically related to agriculture and forestry. Extension specialist Mark Megalos, in N.C. State’s College of Natural Resources, also participates in those workshops.

Van der Hoeven says he also conducts county Extension meetings related to taxes for farmers and others, but he finds it more beneficial to focus on income-tax professionals.

“Almost 90 percent of the people that I talk to at county meetings say, ‘I use a professional tax preparer.’ So what I quickly learned was I could leverage my time and my efforts by educating the practitioners,” he says.

And that’s especially important now, he adds, because recent new rules mean that all tax preparers will need to be registered with the Internal Revenue Service and will need to meet continuing education requirements. The tax schools van der Hoeven offers lead to continuing education credits.

As a tax educator, van der Hoeven says that, “at the end of the day, my goal is that the tax returns are done accurately and completely, and that the taxpayer pays the minimal amount of tax that he or she owes -- and the federal government and state government is reported the maximum amount of income that is owed and due to them.”

In his tax schools, van der Hoeven places a premium on clarity and precision – with an occasional dash of humor.

”Just remember,” he says, “taxes and birthdays are like television commercials; the more you see them, the less you like them.”

-D. Shore

Posted by Natalie at 10:45 AM

December 08, 2009

Hold the date: Agritourism workshop is March 10

An additional session of the workshop, "The Business Side of Agritourism," will be offered on March 10, 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Harnett County Extension Center.

This workshop is a follow up to the agritourism workshop conducted
in April 2009. During this workshop, Extension agents will get practical answers that will help you address your clients' questions on agritourism. Successful farmers as well as Extension specialists covering topics to help you facilitate successful agritourism ventures.

We have travel funds for the first 40 Extension personnel. Space is
limited. There will be a fee of $20/person to partially defray the costs of breaks and lunch. We will be sending additional registration information later.

For information on the "Business Side of Agritourism Workshop,"
contact Gary Bullen at

Posted by Natalie at 01:15 PM

November 11, 2009

Distance education course on tourism offered in spring

Dr. Samantha Rozier Rich, assistant professor and tourism Extension specialist at N.C. State University, will teach an online distance education course this Spring 2010 entitled Foundations of Tourism (PRT 595-602 – Special Topics Course). The course was developed to provide a strong foundation of tourism-related knowledge and practice among Extension field faculty and other professionals working in the tourism field and/or hoping to work in the tourism field.

The course will run seven weeks (March 12 – April 30) and will meet once-a-week, via Elluminate (Thursday evenings from 7-8:30pm). In addition to live (synchronous) online class discussions and lectures, the course will include a variety of assignments aimed at providing students with the opportunity to gain hands-on practical experience working with tourism businesses and professionals.

Additional information about the course
The goal of this course is to provide students with in-depth knowledge of the conceptual foundation of tourism by acquainting students with selected theories, methods, techniques, current issues, practices, and principles that govern tourism behavior. From this course, students will gain an understanding of the multi-faceted nature of tourism to become successful agents of positive change in the tourism industry.

The course requires students to review literature on tourism and examine ongoing debates about important issues regarding how we travel and the structures of institutions that shape our travel. By actively engaging with course readings, assignments, and discussions with the professor and classmates, students will gain a more critical understanding of the tourism system, the role of sustainable communities, its components, and how they interact.

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:
• Understand definitions and characteristics of tourism and typologies of tourists.
• Understand the complexity of the tourism system.
• Examine different approaches to tourist motivation, decision making, and information search.
• Realize the importance of the relationship between marketing/promotion and product planning.
• Examine the goals and challenges to sustainable tourism practices, tourism planning and development.
• Gain in-depth knowledge of the positive and negative impacts of tourism, and the need for ethical leadership.
• Demonstrate an understanding as to the importance of research in tourism.

Course Modules
This course has been divided into one orientation module and # content modules. In general, information is listed in sequential order based on the order in which students will need to access information.

• Orientation Module
• Module 1: Defining Tourism and Tourists
• Module 2: Tourism Demand, Behavior, and Motivation
• Module 3: Tourist Destination Choice – Decision Making
• Module 4: Tourism Marketing and Promotion
• Module 5: DMO’s and Destination Awareness and Image
• Module 6: Planning and Development Issues - Community Impacts
• Module 7: Tourism Research – Future of Tourism

Posted by Natalie at 08:31 AM

July 16, 2009

Richmond County Cooperative Extension works to enhance quality of life

On a mission to get research-based knowledge out into the local community, Richmond County Cooperative extension offers a variety of services designed to enhance economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and quality of life.

"The local staff brings the university to the people by offering local educational programming in the areas of agriculture, community development, family and consumer sciences and 4-H and youth development," said local Extension employee LeAnn Crump.

Read more from the Richmond County Daily Journal.

Posted by Suzanne at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)

February 11, 2009

Counts' legacy is substantial

Sue Counts, who recently staged and hosted a “green retirement party” in Watauga County, believes Cooperative Extension is not only about demonstrating research-based information applications to improve peoples’ lives. It’s also about constructing community coalitions to launch learning projects derived from that research.

Read the story here:

Posted by Art at 10:45 AM

June 17, 2008

ECA collar coolers help beat Middle East heat

women sewing
ECA President Georgine Armstrong and member Faye Meades assemble neckband coolers. (Photo courtesy of Yvonne Mullen)

U.S. soldiers serving in the Middle East may soon thank Pasquotank County for cooler collars. Pasquotank County’s Extension and Community Association teamed up to hand-sew 100 reusable neckbands that hold moisture-retaining crystals. When soaked in cool water and worn around the neck, the neckbands cool the wearer. Service members receive theirs for free, but similar models retail for up to $13.

In addition to the 100 bound for the Middle East, an additional 30 neckbands are destined for those fighting wildfires in Tyrrell County.

For more than 80 years, the N.C. Extension and Community Association has worked to strengthen families and improve the quality of life within our communities. Pasquotank ECA members range in age from 14 to 90 years.

Posted by Natalie at 11:40 AM

June 12, 2008

Guidebook to enhance artisan, agritourism trails

woman painting
Janet Francoeur of Carolina Creations Fine Art and Contemporary Craft Gallery in New Bern paints porcelain at the launch event for the Homegrown Handmade guidebook in Greene County. (Photo by Natalie Hampton)

Ever dreamed of paddling down Greene County’s Contentnea Creek, shopping through the artwork of a chainsaw sculptor, visiting the humble Wayne County birthplace of Gov. Charles B. Aycock or attending the fall Muscadine Festival in Kenansville?

If you’re the type of tourist who longs to wander the back roads of North Carolina, seeking historic sites, artisans, farms and produce stands, and of course, the state’s finest barbecue, the new guidebook, Homegrown Handmade: Art Roads and Farm Trails, is not to be missed.

The guidebook was launched in June at an event in Greene County, which boasts a number of sites in the book. The book was created through a partnership of North Carolina Cooperative Extension and the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

Five years ago, both groups asked the Golden LEAF Foundation for funds to develop a guide to both cultural arts trails and agritourism sites across Piedmont and eastern North Carolina. Golden LEAF asked the two groups to partner in their efforts, and Homegrown Handmade was born.

Cooperative Extension’s Southeast AgriCultural Toursim Task Force worked with the N.C. Arts Council to identify sites across 76 Piedmont and eastern North Carolina counties. Their efforts had resulted in the development of 16 driving trails across some of the state’s most scenic and rural counties. Until now, the trails were available only through the Homegrown Handmade Web site -- -- which required tourists to do some serious planning before embarking on a trail tour.

The book is available for $19.95 in retail book stories, through Web-based book sellers and Cooperative Extension county centers. It gives driving tourists the flexibility of leaving the Internet behind as they meander down country roads.

At the launch, several business owners described their experiences with Homegrown Handmade. Natalie Relyea, co-owner of Relyea’s Produce Patch and Crazy Claw Prawns, described how she and her husband had decided 18 years ago to diversify their tobacco operation into a produce operation. Recently, the couple received a grant to open the first prawn processing facility in the United States to support the growing region’s prawn industry. She expressed confidence that the guidebook would be a dream for both tourists and business owners.

“There’s nothing like riding in the country and seeing a green field with grazing cows,” she said.

Mary Betty Kearney of the Benjamin W. Best Country Inn and Carriage House and her husband have converted an historic home and carriage house into their business, the site of the guidebook launch. Visitors at the event also enjoyed another of Kearney’s products, hamburgers made from her family’s natural Nooherooka Angus beef.

She also described her term as a Greene County commissioner, working to convince fellow policymakers that the economic future of the county – once the state’s most tobacco-dependent – was tied to prospects for attracting and supporting new business enterprises. Today, a number of Greene County’s successful small businesses are featured in the Homegrown Handmade guide.

A podcast from the event is available on the N.C. Division of Cultural Resources Web site.

-N. Hampton

Posted by Natalie at 08:46 AM

May 12, 2008

Program recognizes volunteer efforts

award recipients
Two major award recipients for the evening included Callie Smith, left, and Camilia Cook, right. (Photo courtesy The Mount Airy News)

Nearly 50 women gathered at Piney Grove Baptist Church Thursday to celebrate more than 70 years of serving Surry County as volunteers, leaders and educators.

Both members of the Surry County Extension and Community Association and staff of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension attended the 71st Annual Achievement Program titled "You've come a long way ladies."

Read more from The Mount Airy News.

Posted by Suzanne at 11:14 AM | Comments (0)

February 04, 2008

Aguilar named to 4-H Latino post

Cintia Aguilar

Cintia Aguilar, the College’s first Latino interests facilitator, is determined to serve new audiences, forge new partnerships and promote multicultural 4-H clubs.

For more, visit:

Posted by Art at 10:19 AM

January 03, 2008

New Web site 'connects' textile companies in N.C., around the world

A new online resource launched by North Carolina State University in partnership with the N.C. Department of Commerce aims to bolster the state's textile industry by connecting North Carolina companies with each other and to other markets across the United States and around the globe.

N.C. Textile Connect ( is a comprehensive Web site designed to foster and encourage business partnerships among textile companies within North Carolina and beyond. It also provides valuable information to prospective customers within the state, inside the United States and abroad.

Read more from the News Services' news release

Posted by Natalie at 02:23 PM

September 23, 2007

Bugfest draws crowds in Raleigh

Children at Bugfest
(Photo by Becky Kirkland)

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences was well represented at Bugfest, an educational events sponsored by the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh. A number of college-connected faculty, staff and students presented exhibits in the "beneficial bugs" area of the event, held Sept. 15. In this photo, children enjoy examining a live specimen. Bugfest participants from the college included: Chrystal Bartlett, Cooperative Extension marketing director; David Orr, Mike Linker, Fred Hain and Jennifer Keller, Entomology; David Penrose, Biological and Agricultural Engineering.

Posted by Natalie at 08:04 AM

August 16, 2007

Union County hosts women's conference

Robin Landsman
Extension's Robin Landsman (left), along with "Dorothy" and members of the Women's Leadership Coalition, leads workshop participants down the yellow brick road to accountability and competence. (Photo Courtesy Robin Landsman)

Last spring, Monroe became the Emerald City, as the yellow brick road led to Union County’s Agricultural Services and Conference Center, site of the 2007 Union County Women’s Leadership Conference and Luncheon.

Hosted by the Women’s Leadership Coalition, the annual conference is an initiative of North Carolina Cooperative Extension. Robin Landsman, Extension Family and Consumer Sciences agent in Union County, worked with the Coalition in organizing the event. Dr. Deborah Crandall, director of Extension’s Southwest District, delivered opening remarks, and Monroe Police Chief Debra C. Duncan was keynote speaker, following a workshop called “Leadership According to Oz: Accountability Competence.”

Approximately 170 women participated in the workshop to gain skills in networking and diplomacy, relationship building and professional development, and leadership skills and mentoring.

Workshop participants represented “the diversity that is Union County,” Landsman said. “Our demographics include diversity in age, race and professions. We reached an audience of women in business; women employed in local government and public service; entrepreneurs, students and community volunteers. There were also a few at-home mothers considering their options for returning to the workplace.”

This year’s workshop theme was based on The Oz Principle, a business book about getting results through individual organizational accountability. Co-authored by a business writer and the cofounders of a management-consulting company, The Oz Principle uses L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz stories as metaphors for a journey toward greater accountability in business, with the destination of “home” as analogous to a focus upon results.

The luncheon was likewise an over-the-rainbow experience: On a stage full of Munchkinland blooms (scenery created by the Union County Master Gardeners), singers from area high schools performed songs from the 1939 “Wizard of Oz” film.

Dr. Wanda Sykes, Southeast District Extension director, suggested the Oz Principle approach during last year’s state FCS training, “and upon reading it, I agreed,” said Landsman, who provided copies of the book to the Coalition members. They unanimously decided to theme the conference around the book’s messages -- including the use of Wizard of Oz characters to illustrate the courage to See it, the heart to Own it, the wisdom to Solve it and the means to Do it in exercising accountability.

The event organizers included Coalition members Doris Belk, Kathie Easton, Holly McEachin, Julia Mitchell, Joyce Rentschler, Carol Tyson and Anne Velasco, as well as Landsman and Chris Austin, FCS secretary in Union County. Landsman also notes the support of Crandall and Jerry Simpson, Union County Extension director.

The workshop was led by Belk, McEachin, Mitchell and Tyson, along with Landsman, who said, “They were all volunteers who took the risk to learn about how to develop and present a workshop to their peers. It was extremely important to us to model what it means not only to be accountable but to set a goal, take risks and stretch ourselves to meet those expectations.”

The result? The audience gave the workshop leaders a standing ovation.

“Each year we get better by listening to the feedback of our participants,” said Landsman. In this year’s evaluations, participants indicated that it was time well spent, with 90.82 percent of them rating the workshop as excellent.

A similar high percentage – 94.74 – gave an excellent rating to the remarks of keynote speaker Duncan, who shared her experiences of being a woman in a leadership role. “As long as the job is done right, gender doesn’t matter,” Duncan told the group in her speech, “Holding Yourself Accountable and Succeeding in a Man’s World.”

Her message dovetailed neatly with the conference’s goals to inspire area women to accomplish change, empower one another and make a positive difference in the community.

The event was underwritten by the Real Estate Link of the Carolinas and sponsored by numerous local businesses, groups and individuals.

“Our sponsors include organizations that employ large numbers of women and have a high percentage of women in management and leadership positions,” Landsman said. “These businesses continue to support us financially, as well as by sending large numbers of their employees to our event.”

–T. Leith

Posted by Natalie at 11:21 AM

December 21, 2006

Oldest agent passes away

Sanderlin at groundbreaking
Elizabeth Poyner Sanderlin, center, breaks ground in August on the new Currituck County Extension center.

Elizabeth Poyner Sanderlin, the retired North Carolina Cooperative Extension agent for whom the auditorium of Extension’s new $6.6 million Currituck center will be named, passed away Dec. 20, 2006 at her home. She was 102.

Sanderlin, “Miss Liz” to her many friends, spent much of her working life helping her community grow from a rural, swamp-dotted backwater to a major agriculture- and tourism-supported county.

A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 23, at Moyock United Methodist Church. Burial will follow in the Moyock Cemetery. The family will receive visitors from 6-7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 22, at the church.

Memorial donations may be made to either the Currituck County Library or the Elizabeth P. Sanderlin Auditorium fundraiser by making a check payable to Currituck 4-H Foundation, c/o NCCE Currituck County, P.O. Box 10, Currituck, NC 27929.

To sign the online guest register, visit

In August, Cooperative Extension employees and residents joined Sanderlin and county officials at the 28,262-square-foot education and outreach center’s groundbreaking. The 500-seat Elizabeth P. Sanderlin Auditorium named in her honor and the new center will be available to the public when they open in late 2007.

Sanderlin smiled throughout the groundbreaking ceremony and stepped up to a shovel to have her photo taken with commissioners and others.

The new building, on U.S. 158 at Barco, will include four classrooms, two conference rooms, a demonstration kitchen, an Extension library and offices, which will allow Extension to concentrate many services and programs now offered by 14 full-time staffers from the county courthouse.

Landscaping will include water quality best management practice demonstration ponds and botanical gardens.

At the groundbreaking, Rodney Sawyer, Currituck Cooperative Extension director, noted that Extension’s Currituck operations began in the 1920s. He also recounted events in the life of Sanderlin, Currituck's home demonstration agent from 1951 to 1969.

“Miss Liz is an 'Extension icon,'” he said. “Her contributions to the citizens of Currituck County and North Carolina exemplify the Extension philosophy of helping people put knowledge to work to improve the quality of life.”

”During my career, her words of encouragement and support for our current efforts have fueled a desire to live up to her accomplishments,” Sawyer said. “She is like a guardian angel who looks over our programs and staff to herald the efforts and sing our praises. Miss Liz has inspired me to greater heights and gives credence to continuing the cause. She truly is a beloved citizen of Currituck.”

When Currituck County commissioners in 2004 declared Sept. 27 “Elizabeth Poyner Sanderlin Day,” speakers noted her longtime efforts to help rural women. One commissioner said he learned from her about 4-H, Extension's youth development program.

Sanderlin was born in Moyock, a village along the as-yet-unnamed Intracoastal Waterway, then edged by marsh-laced fields and woods. A 1926 Louisburg College graduate, she returned to Currituck, where she taught home economics, then worked for the Depression-era Works Progress Administration and later, the Farmers Home Administration.

She joined the then-North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering’s Agricultural Extension Service (now Cooperative Extension at North Carolina State University) as a home extension agent in the 1950s and ’60s.

When David Cecelski profiled Miss Liz for The News and Observer (Raleigh) in December 2002, she recalled her childhood one-room schoolhouse, socializing with friends at the Northern & Southern railway station at Moyock when trains came in, roads so horrible that people “stayed stuck,” closing the gate against free-ranging cattle between Moyock and Snowden, and families raising what they ate (although her father owned a grocery store).

She remembered the excitement of “company coming in and church meetings.

“You never knew who was going to eat at our house because people would come from up the creek and other places to shop, and there weren't any restaurants over yonder,”
she said in the N&O story.

Such sociability served her well in her generations of Extension and other public-spirited work in the county. Sanderlin, with other county ag extension agents and the Works Progress Administration, developed the idea of farmer-supplied and operated roadside stands on U.S. 158/N.C. 168, Currituck County’s linear main thoroughfare, to snare the ever-increasing Outer Banks-bound tourist trade. For most of Miss Liz’s career, that five-lane asphalt highway was at best a narrow, yet critically important concrete strip. But as the county grew, so did its Extension programs, and Sanderlin remained a critical component of that growth.

-A. Latham

Posted by Art at 01:37 PM

September 11, 2006

'Summer Salsa Sizzle' held in Guilford

Dancers on stage
The Caifazes Capoeira Group preforms a traditional dance during the Summer Salsa Sizzle. (Photo courtesy of Karen Neill)

Guilford County held its first-ever cultural awareness event called the "Summer Salsa Sizzle" on Tuesday, August 26. The event helped create fun and provide educational opportunities to unite the culturally diverse communities, in this case the Latino community.

Developing a sense of friendship and trust is important to this audience before they will work with structured organizations, and this event went a long way towards this goal.

The Guilford County Cooperative Extension staff and colleagues from the Center for New North Carolinians at UNC-Greensboro hosted the event. With this partnership, these groups hope to continue reaching the diverse audience of Guilford County.

Tours of the Extension gardens, which were coordinated by the Guilford Master Gardeners, took place with an overview at the Latin vegetable demonstration and our tropical plants collection.

In the kitchen, a salsa cooking demonstration was held. Members of the community and the Extension advisory board helped to judge a homemade salsa contest.

Youth activities were also popular, with hands-on crafts and games created with help from the Americorps Volunteers and the Guilford 4-H staff. The Spanish 101 class was also popular.

A Spanish-language interpreter was provided for all activities. To top off the evening, local musical and dance groups performed while participants mingled, and vendors sold ethnic foods.

Mary Holderness emailed in, "What great fun! A wonderful blend of diversity of people and activities brought four friends to this Extension event, and they were amazed and delighted."

Posted by Natalie at 03:04 PM

August 24, 2006

Extension center construction to start

Elizabeth Poyner Sanderlin, who turns 102 next month, has spent much of her long life devoted to helping her community.

Now, as a tribute to Sanderlin's many years of devoted public service, the auditorium of the new $6.6 million Currituck Center of the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service building will be named in her honor.

On Friday, Aug. 11, nearly 100 Extension employees and residents joined Sanderlin and county officials in celebrating the groundbreaking of the new Extension Center next to Central Elementary School in Maple.

Read more from The Daily Advance.

Posted by Suzanne at 03:48 PM

August 22, 2006

Crossing Over: NC LOT tours Mexico

In Oaxaca, N.C. LOT visited people affected by emigration from Mexico. (Photo by Jean-Marie Luginbuhl)

Faced with an unprecedented boom in potential clients due to continuing waves of immigrants, especially from Mexico and Central America, North Carolina Cooperative Extension is gearing up to better serve Latino and other underserved clients. A recent fact-finding mission to Mexico has provided some valuable perspective and insight for the effort.

Read more in Perspectives

Posted by Art at 10:16 AM

July 19, 2006

EDEN helps communities cope with disaster

Ah yes, it's the beginning of summer in the U.S. -- which means that, so far in 2006, sections of the Northeast have already experienced major flooding, the Midwest and South have coped with tornadoes, parched portions of the West and Southwest are struggling with another year of miniscule rainfall, and the Gulf Coast is casting a wary eye at what may be another active hurricane season.

In short, Mother Nature can be a real trip.

But USDA is assisting in a program designed to help reduce the impact of disasters at the community level. It's called "EDEN"--or "Extension Disaster Education Network."

Read more from USDA News

Posted by Natalie at 08:24 AM

June 16, 2006

Survey to gauge Extension's response to Latinos

Due to the burgeoning Latino population in the state, Cooperative Cooperative Extension’s Latino Initiative has developed a quick survey to gauge how we are doing and where we should go as a state in serving this population. In order to get a complete picture of how we can best serve North Carolinians, we would like to gather this information from all agents and county Extension directors in North Carolina (we will aggregate data per county and report this back to you).

The survey asks 15 questions and should take less than three to five minutes to complete. Personal information will be coded and will remain confidential. Please follow the following link to the survey or paste it in your browser.

Posted by Natalie at 08:08 AM

April 17, 2006

EDEN provides West Nile Virus site

With all the news related to avian influenza, the Extension Disaster Educaton Network urges Extension professionals to remember the efforts being made to combat West Nile Virus (WNV). As a human health concern, it only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to transfer the disease.

Thanks to Kim Cassel – EDEN's point of contact for South Dakota State University – EDEN now has a complete Issue page on WNV: This is an informative page that provides an overview of the virus and answers the following questions:

* How many kinds of mosquitoes are in the United States?
* Why do mosquitoes bite?
* What disease-causing microorganisms can mosquitoes transmit?
* What is the most effective way to prevent mosquito bites and control mosquitoes at home?

A number of helpful and informative resources are accessible through this page, including a report titled "Public Health Confronts the Mosquito: Developing Sustainable State and Local Mosquito Control Programs."

As the summer season approaches and mosquitoes once again become the seasonal obstacle, this page may prove a valuable resource for Extension professionals.

Posted by Natalie at 08:02 AM

January 04, 2006

Franklin equine group assists hurricane victims

Franklin group gives donation
Members of the Franklin County Extension Horse Advisory Committee raised funds to assist hurricane victims with horses. Pictured from left are Martha Mobley, John Daniels, Thomas Cofield and Irene Ayscue (Photo courtesy of The Wake Weekly)

The Franklin County Extension Horse Advisory Committee last month sent two $500 checks to Hancock County, Mississippi, to assist two Gulf Coast horse owner families affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The committee raised the donations at its 2nd Annual Educational Trail Ride in November at Double D Equestrian Center near Louisburg.

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension staff in Franklin County worked with the Cooperative Extension center in Hancock County, also known as “Ground 0” County, to locate two families who needed assistance.

One family had 33 horses. Seven survived the hurricane, but three later died. Nine are still unaccounted for. This family has Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers to “call home.”

The other family had six horses, and four perished in the storm. They also lost part of their barn, and their home was destroyed. Through the Extension Service, the families thanked the Franklin County group, saying, “you don't know what blessings we have received through this donation,” especially before Christmas.

Members of the Franklin County Extension Horse Advisory Committee are John Daniels, Thomas Cofield, Karen Becerra, Irene Ayscue, Diane Hays, Don McKnight, Wilbert Perry, Yevette Rothgery and Henry Shearin. The advisor to the group is Martha Mobley, agricultural Extension agent, Franklin County. For more information on the Franklin County Extension Horse Advisory Committee, call 919.496.3344.

Posted by Natalie at 09:06 AM

December 16, 2005

Extension greets Honduran students

Honduran students visit NC State (Art Latham photo)

For the third consecutive year, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has hosted senior students from the National Agricultural University of Honduras (Universidad Nacional de Agricultura or UNA) in Catacamas at agricultural sites in North Carolina.

In October, 35 Honduran agriculture students, including the university rector and several faculty, learned about our state’s agriculture from a variety of College-related sources.

After greetings by Dean Johnny Wynne and an on-campus orientation by Dr. Larry Nelson, assistant dean for international programs and International Programs Advisory Committee director, and Dr. George Naderman, associate Extension professor emeritus in soil science, the group visited the State Farmers’ Market hosted by Monica Wood, marketing specialist with the N.C .Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The next day, they discussed 4-H programs with Dr. Ed Maxa, associate professor and department Extension leader for 4-H youth and development, and Gina Garcia-Somuk, 4-H youth development Hispanic outreach director. Leadership development is of particular interest to the administration of UNA.

At the Lake Wheeler Road Field Lab, Mark Rice, assistant director, National Center for Manure and Animal Waste Management, hosted their visit to the Waste Management Center and Dennis DeLong, Extension aquaculture specialist, discussed operations at the Fish Farm. Nearby, they visited air quality research facilities.

Denise Finney, Paul Mueller and Jean-Marie Luginbuhl did the honors at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems near Goldsboro and Sam Uzzell, Cooperative Extension ag agent for Pitt County, showed them around the Davenport Farms with Charles Davenport being their host. These sites were the high-points of their North Carolina visit according to the UNA students.

The next day, the group visited NCDACS’s agronomic labs, ending the day with a joint meeting and a hot dog and hamburger cookout with Jefferson Scholars on the University Student Center patio. The Jefferson Scholars enjoyed practicing their Spanish with the guests (although most of them carried their dictionaries). The following day they took in the State Fair.

-A. Latham

Posted by Art at 02:30 PM

December 15, 2005

Posada event demonstrates Cooperative Extension's cross-cultural outreach

Photo of volunteers hanging a pinata
Volunteers tie a piñata to a stout rope before hoisting it to the cafeteria rafters. (Photos by Art Latham)

Although they’re a long way from their original homes, Hispanic/Latino workers and their families in remote Tyrrell County have felt welcome for several years, thanks to North Carolina Cooperative Extension.

Since 1996, Dee Voliva Furlough, family and consumer sciences agent for N.C. Cooperative Extension in Tyrrell County, with a little help from the Latino community, has done her best to ensure that.

She’s seen results especially since 1999, when she helped form the 24-member Extension Hispanic/Latino advisory committee. Rosa Hernandez, now a year-round Columbia resident and a committee member, was especially helpful, Furlough said recently.

And since 2001, townspeople see a small part of those outreach efforts during the year’s-end holiday season, when Furlough helps her Latino clients reenact an historic Mexican cultural tradition.

La Posada (originally las posadas) is a procession – a large group of singers follows Mary and Joseph, who repeatedly are turned away from “inns” – in this case, local homes and businesses along Main Street -- until they finally find room; in this case, at Columbia High School. At each stop, enactors inside and outside the inn sing choruses to each other in Spanish and English, and children score treats that rival Halloween’s. The mile-long procession, which was featured in Coastwatch magazine, ends at the cafeteria with a fiesta of traditional food, upbeat music and games, complete with two piñatas.

Photo of children posing as Mary and Joseph at the inn
‘Mary’ and ‘Joseph’ are turned away yet again from an ‘unfriendly’ inn.

This year’s procession included more than 100 people, many of whom would no doubt later shop in Columbia’s business district’s stores. More than 200, most of them Latinos, attended the fiesta.

Rhett White, Columbia town manager, helped dish out tamales and other Latino food during the fiesta.

Said White: “Cooperative Extension has always played a strong role in Tyrell County’s community and governmental affairs, so their involvement with the Latino community is nothing new.

“But without the efforts of Dee and the Extension staff,” he said, “the posada wouldn’t be the important part it is of our holiday activities. Extension deserves credit for their outreach to the growing Hispanic community in this town and in the county.”

The posada is not the only Latino-oriented project Furlough and the Extension staff have undertaken, and their successes didn’t happen overnight.

Furlough had to patiently build up her contacts with the Latino community. First, she staged educational displays in Spanish on the apartment building grounds in Columbia where many Hispanic women live. The demonstrations included nutritious food samples and interpreters on hand to answer question on topics from health and nutrition, parenting and housing to stress management.

Photo of children hitting a pinata
Lupita Ramos helps a young would-be piñata-buster.

As Furlough met more Latino women, the demonstrations progressed into more specific educational outreach projects, including creation of an advisory council.

“Extension in Tyrrell County and the advisory council have worked over the years as advocates for and sources of research-based information for area Hispanics,” Furlough said. The council, under Extension’s auspices, has initiated programs and outreach efforts based on local Hispanic residents’ expressed needs.

These include:

(Through a Cooperative Extension community development grant)
·Free Spanish classes for Tyrrell County employees and others.
·Spanish/English medical dictionaries for the Columbia Medical Center, the local Health Department and ambulances
·Spanish/English dictionaries for local businesses and county offices
·Rosetta Stone software (which teaches both Spanish and English) for the public library
·Sewing machine repair for Hispanics (and others) to use these machines at the Family Resource Center
·Translation/interpretation services

(Through community donations)
·Personal hygiene kits for incoming Hispanic seafood workers (a few kits were bought and distributed before a Chowan Baptist Ladies Association donation)
·Donation of educational videos regarding domestic violence in the Hispanic culture to the local women's shelter
·Accoutrements for a county-wide forum on Hispanic affairs, with guest speaker Dr. Nolo Martinez, former Governor's Director of Hispanic/Latino Affairs
·Bienvenido – Welcome – to Tyrrell County event. Speakers from the Council, as well as other community spokespeople welcome new workers. Refreshments, displays and educational materials available with interests of the entire family. Participants receive Food Lion gift cards. This has been done for the past two years

Extension-provided services:

·Needs survey of the Hispanic community
·Beginner and Advanced ESL classes taught through Beaufort Community College at the library (initiated through Extension and the council)
·Twice-weekly exercise classes at the Extension Office
·Health education classes taught by the county health department and Chowan Hospital
·Distribution of a Spanish/English newsletter focusing on such topics as health, nutrition, parenting, financial management and more
·Drivers education classes taught by Beaufort Community College
·Availability of a variety of Extension pamphlets in Spanish
·Donation of Spanish books and magazine subscriptions to the public library, which granted the council space for Spanish language material.
·Spanish displays and information at various community and health fairs

“We look forward to continued outreach in this area, and welcome additional resources and services for Hispanics from other sources,” she said.

Are such cross-cultural communication efforts difficult?

“If it can be done here in Tyrrell County,” Furlough said, “it can be done anywhere.”

-A. Latham

Posted by Suzanne at 11:00 AM

December 07, 2005

Extension helps with Eastern N.C. agri-cultural trail

Extension employees at dedication
Tom Glasgow, Craven County Extension director; Lin Nichols, Duplin County agri-cultural tourism secretary, Regenia Bell, family and consumer sciences agent, Carteret County; Bill Ellers, Pamlico County Extension director; Ed Emory, Duplin County Extension director, Ray Harris, Carteret County Extension director; and Barry Nash, N.C. State Seafood Lab and N.C. Sea Grant. (Art Latham photo)

North Carolina Cooperative Extension personnel and state Arts Council officials have introduced another in a growing number of Web sites in the Agri-Cultural trails series.

These Web pages, part of a Golden LEAF-funded project to boost the rural economies of many formerly tobacco-dependent North Carolina counties, promote Internet-accessible, do-it-yourself car tour guides along once-anonymous country roads to ag and cultural sites, as well as helping farmers find new ways to market value-added agriculture-related products and services. The trails provide visitors with activities such as festivals, "pick your own" farms and art galleries, always combining the arts with agriculture.

The newest trail, unveiled in October at kickoff ceremonies before about 30 attendees at the Maritime Museum in Beaufort, is called “Coastal Treasure Chest.” It includes possible tourist destinations in Pamlico, Craven and Carteret counties. Membership listings on the trail page are free if participants meet stated conditions.

Coastal Treasure Chest is the eighth in a series that eventually will encompass 77 of the state's 100 counties, says Ed Emory, Cooperative Extension director for Duplin County and a force behind the steadily growing agri-cultural tourism business in Eastern North Carolina.

“Similar trails are being developed in the Eastern Piedmont, along the Interstate 95 corridor and the ‘heartland’ areas,” says Emory.

Cooperative Extension has been instrumental in developing agricultural tourism in our state. Agri-cultural tourism, an aspect of heritage tourism, promotes preserving cultural, natural and historic uniqueness, protecting resources through stewardship and sustainable use and promoting North Carolina as a top tourist destination.

“The demand for programming and technical assistance for new and existing agricultural tourism enterprises has been overwhelming,” Emory says.

In addition to media and museum representatives, joining Emory were county Extension directors Bill Ellers, Pamlico; Tom Glasgow, Craven; and Ray Harris, Carteret. Also attending were Regenia Bell, family and consumer sciences agent, Carteret; Barry Nash, N.C. State Seafood Lab and N.C. Sea Grant; and Lin Nichols, agri-cultural tourism secretary, Duplin.

Also present were local historic attraction personnel, such as Patricia Suggs, Beaufort Historic Site executive director and several business owners who had just joined or were intending to sign on for the trail.

-A. Latham

Posted by Natalie at 02:12 PM

October 04, 2005

Take bold steps to address Latino immigrant needs, expert advises

North Carolina Cooperative Extension “must be bold” in meeting the needs of its ever-growing Latino constituency, the state’s former Hispanic/Latino Affairs director told a group of Extension personnel at a recent three-day training session at the Brownstone Hotel in Raleigh.

Dr. Nolo Martinez addresses training session
Dr. Nolo Martinez addresses training session. Art Latham photo

“Extension is practiced in this kind of work, and is the best showcase for democracy we have,” Dr. Nolo Martinez said to 49 agents and specialists from around the state at the Creating an Understanding of the Latino Community Conference. “Extension is the gatekeeper, but some agents are like the Border Patrol, protecting the extreme positions. We need to act as bridges, not protectors.”

The N.C. Cooperative Extension Service’s internal reporting system indicates 23 of our state’s 100 counties engaged in some sort of Latino/Hispanic programming in 2004.

These numbers do not necessarily reflect all ongoing programs, however.

For instance, Extension and the Migrant Education Program partner with Ashe County schools to identify and serve migrant families. And in 2003-2004, there were 46 MEP sites in more than 40 counties statewide.

“Extension could start as it has in other states,” Martinez said, “first with bicultural, Spanish-speaking volunteers, then by hiring Spanish-speaking paraprofessionals.” Martinez, a former Extension specialist, is now assistant director of outreach and research at the Center for New North Carolinians at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and teaches classes at UNC-G and North Carolina State University.

Another speaker, discussing the wave of Latino immigration into our state, specifically from Mexico, said Extension needs to make up for lost time.

While NAFTA was implemented 11 years ago, U.S. Census data indicates that the Mexican immigration wave started more than 30 years ago, said Dr. Jim Johnston, Kenan Distinguished Professor in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Business School.

Rogelio Valencia, Hispanic ombudsman for the state Health and Human Services Department, pointed to an on-the-ground challenge of the sort Extension might be able to address.

Axel Lluch, left, and Rogelio Valencia, both standing
Axel Lluch, left, and Rogelio Valencia, both standing. Art Latham photo

“In Mexico, the custom is to leave the kids at home while the parents work,” he said. “Here, Social Services will come and take them.”

Said Dr. Wanda Sykes, Extension Southeast District Director and one of the training’s organizers: “Cultural differences, perceived or not, and the apparent lack of understanding of the Hispanic/Latino culture and identification of specific needs has created a challenge for Extension faculty.

“Cooperative Extension employees have a tremendous opportunity to program for this new and expanding audience,” she said.

Also speaking, in chronological order:

The conference was sponsored by the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service and the Center for International Understanding.

-- Art Latham

Posted by Art at 10:58 AM

September 12, 2005

Extension participates in National Preparedness Month

Dr. Ed Jones, right, shares Cooperative Extension's disaster information with visitors to the National Preparedness Exhibit. (Becky Kirkland photo)

Dr. Ed Jones, North Carolina Cooperative Extension associate director, appeared recently with Extension's disaster exhibit in downtown Raleigh. Extension participated in a National Preparedness Month education event, which included participants from public and private agencies involved in disaster planning and recovery. The event took place on Centennial Mall, across from the legislative building.

The event took place just as the devastation from Hurricane Katrina was unfolding in the Gulf states, so citizens had much on their minds. Jones represents Cooperative Extension on the state's Emergency Management Team.

Other organizations participating in the event inluded the State Animal Response Team, National Guard, Citizens Corps, N.C. Community Emergency Response Team, Medical Reserve Corps, N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, N.C. Division of Emergency Management, National Weather Service, N.C. Division of Environmental Health, Amateur Radio, Center for Mission Persons, State Highway Patrol, N.C. Division of Crime Control and Public Safety and the American Red Cross.

Posted by Natalie at 02:09 PM

August 29, 2005

Latino initiative is focus of training

The Latino Initiative, a three-day training program with Cooperative Extension and the Center for International Understanding, will be offered in Raleigh Sept. 19-21. This program, offered to 60 Extension employees, will provide advanced training in working with the Latino population and a fresh approach to immigrant integration.

North Carolina has the fastest growing Latino population of any state, and most of the state’s newest residents are from Mexico. The Latino Initiative provides Extension employees with resources and information to create practical solutions for successfully incorporating immigrants into their communities. A CRD grant has been secured to pay for lodging and some meals. The training is open to agents, program assistants and associates, as well as Extension specialists.

Information about the training is available through Extension’s Learning Management System on the Web, Questions may be directed to Craven Hudson at

Posted by Natalie at 08:30 AM

July 07, 2005

Operation Brighter Day nets 4,600 assistance applications

RALEIGH – Gov. Mike Easley has announced that more than 4,600 applications for individual assistance were filed as part of the Operation Brighter Day hurricane recovery program. The program began taking applications on April 22 and concluded on June 17.

Hurricane victims were encouraged to submit one application to cover all available individual assistance programs at Recovery Application Centers (RACs), which were located in North Carolina Cooperative Extension centers in each of the 50 disaster-declared counties covered by the Hurricane Recovery Act of 2005.

“We worked hard to reach storm victims and let them know that we were prepared to help with uninsured losses,” Easley said. “We will work to review applications as quickly as possible and get qualified applicants the funds they need to recover.”

A total of 4,627 applications were filed at RACs or by calling the Governor’s Hurricane Recovery Bilingual Hotline. The hotline closed June 30, and RACs are no longer taking applications.

Since April 22, a total of 2,221 requests were filed for housing damage, 1,372 for damage to private driveways and bridges, and 1,040 for agricultural loss.

Applications will be reviewed and claims verified during the next several weeks. The receipt of aid dollars for those who qualify should begin in mid- to late-August and probably not be complete for 18 months to two years.

For a county-by-county breakdown of the number and type of applications filed, visit, look under "Press Releases" and select "Weekly Individual Assistance Report by Program" for June 24.

--Press release courtesy of the North Carolina Governor's Office

Posted by Natalie at 02:37 PM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2005

Southern Fare

"Hushpuppies, Pimento Cheese and Sweet Tea" is the name of North Carolina's newest "agri-cultural tourism trail." It's part of the Golden LEAF-funded HomegrownHandmade project, a partnership of North Carolina Cooperative Extension, the state Arts Council and HandMade in America designed to boost rural economies. Read more in the Daily Dispatch article.

Posted by deeshore at 11:09 AM | Comments (0)

June 19, 2005

Library gets grant to create 4-H and home demonstration history site

The NCSU Libraries' Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) recently won a grant to create a resource-based research and educational Web site entitled "'Green ‘N’ Growing': The History of Home Demonstration and 4-H Youth Development in North Carolina." The goal is to enable teaching, learning, and research by providing access to primary resource materials. Read more in the NCSU Libraries News story.

Posted by deeshore at 07:12 PM | Comments (0)