Extension Staff Meets With Wyoming County Commissioners

Associates of the Wyoming County office of Penn State Extension had a meeting at the county courthouse on May 24. Participants included (seated, from left) Mike Lunak, Mark Madden, commissioners Tom Henry and Ernie King, Tim Jayne, Linda Falcone, (standing) Rick Hiduk, Scott Brown, Mason Tate, Becky Smith, Jeremy Leadicker, Melissa Wright, Delaina Jayne, Jennifer Daubert, and Kathy Boehmer.

Staff members from the Wyoming County office of the Penn State Extension paid a visit to the courthouse in Tunkhannock recently, where they were welcomed for a meeting with county commissioners Ernie King and Tom Henry. They were joined by several members of the Extension’s Wyoming County Advisory Board.

The purpose of the meeting, according to Extension client relation manager Mark Madden, was to reacquaint the commissioners with the vast array of services and programming available in Wyoming County. “Our purpose for events like this across the state is to engage with our commissioners to celebrate our partnership and to affirm our value to the residents of Wyoming County,” Madden stated. He said that the composition of the staff and advisory board are reflective of demographics, geographic and social diversity and praised them for both their teamwork and ability to recruit and retain volunteers.

Most people know that the Extension promotes agricultural awareness and productivity, but the commissioners were excited to learn that many of the problems and concerns that county residents ask of them regularly can be addressed directly by the Extension.

Topics covered by the Extension employees ranged from, but were in no means limited to healthy eating, calf raising, and watershed protection to economic vitality, community stewardship, and drug and alcohol intervention programs for teens.

Extension Master Gardner coordinator Melissa Wright told the commissioners that a recent Seed to Supper presentation at the Tunkhannock Public Library was so successful, she would like to take the program to Noxen and Factoryville to reach more people.

Extension educator Linda Falcon spoke of ag development programs offered in both English and Spanish and about helping non-profit organizations achieve better structure through statewide resources. There are also programs, she noted, on ag alternatives that farmers can consider if they want to shift away from their current applications, such as farmers markets and microbreweries.

Extension 4-H educator Tim Jayne related that 4-H goes way beyond livestock production these days to include expressive arts and even robotics.

Three current topics in particular that caught the attention of the commissioners were awareness campaigns for the public on the spotted lanternfly and the equally invasive Japanese knotweed, as well as broadband accessibility in rural areas. The commissioners have been working with state officials on other levels to address the need for high-speed internet, but commissioner Henry said that he would not have thought to reach out to the Extension for help with broadband, food tips for persons with diabetes or Japanese knotweed.

The number and comprehensiveness of services is breathtaking,” commissioner King said afterward. “The problem is how to have people realize that these services are available.”

Interested readers can learn more at extension.psu.edu/wyoming and on Facebook at Penn State Extension, Wyoming County, PA.

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