The U of I Extension Shares Focus of Programs with PC Board

The Putnam County Board meeting held Monday, Dec. 14, consisted largely of representatives from the University of Illinois Extension office sharing the focus and impact of the office’s programs.

Despite the difficulties in Springfield and the inability to find a way to move the governmental process forward, the Extension programs within the local area were a success. However, Jill Guynn, county director for the local Extension office, shared concerns about the future of their own budget.

“As of July, our funding has been suspended along with many others because of the state budget. We’re operating on our emergency line right now and, as everyone is, are looking forward to having the state budget resolved and being able to get back to normal operations,” said Guynn.

Susan Glassman, nutrition and wellness educator, discussed the success of the series of three programs held at the Putnam County Community Center in Standard which educated residents about healthy eating. She also shared statistics about the percentages of residents who have diabetes and heart disease.

Breanne Suarez, 4-H and youth development educator, discussed the successes of the various programs held within local schools, including the robotics club, gardening, health and wellness, and programs which showed students the many different careers available within the health care field.

Daryle Wragge, ag and natural resources program coordinator, discussed the numerous programs available to the local ag industry, the benefits they provide, how they help highlight environmental damages caused in part by agricultural practices, and how to effectively change them.

“When you see a dead zone at the mouth of the Mississippi river down in Louisiana that is half the size of Rhode Island, where nothing is growing, no plant life, no fish, no crayfish, no mussels, there’s nothing ... when you see things like this happening ... OK, why? Draining, we’re draining our nitrates that aren’t used in our soil up here, in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana. This we bring, not only just from commercial and industrial bases, but from agriculture. Some of these are going down river and causing a massive problem down there, and agriculture needs to definitely be aware of it,” said Wragge.

In other news:

• Jim Burger, county zoning officer, spoke to the board about zoning issues and proper permit procedures regarding home improvements at Lake Thunderbird.

• The board also approved the ambulance service contract between the county and the McNabb Fire Protection District, which will span from Dec. 1, 2015, through Nov. 30, 2016. The details of the contract were unchanged from the previous contract.

Source: Putnam County Record