Stories indexed with the term ‘4-H’

Local MSU Extension Saved from Closing

Programs of the Michigan State University Extension in Washtenaw County – including 4-H and consumer counseling – were running without interruption this week, while staff was quietly preparing for another potential task: Closing down their operation completely.

At Wednesday’s administrative briefing of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners, county administrator Bob Guenzel said that staff had been making preparations to close in light of possible cuts by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who had indicated she might veto MSU Extension funding in a budget bill passed by state legislators.

But on Friday morning, Granholm signed the budget – and spared MSU Extension funding.

“It’s been an interesting week,” Nancy Thelen, director of the Washtenaw MSU Extension, told The Chronicle Friday morning in a phone interview. [Full Story]

4-H Fans, Others Lobby County for Funds

The overflow crowd in the lobby of the county administration building arrived too late for a seat in the boardroom.

An overflow crowd in the lobby of the county administration building arrived too late for a seat in the boardroom, and watched Wednesday's Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners meeting on TV. (Photo by the writer.)

Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners meeting (Aug. 5, 2009): As Washtenaw County grapples with a staggering budget deficit, 4-H supporters – including local farmers, teens and club leaders – packed Wednesday’s county Board of Commissioners meeting, urging commissioners not to cut funding for that program. They were joined by many others who use master gardening, financial counseling and other services of the county’s MSU Extension program, which could see dramatic funding cuts as the county tries to balance its budget.

As The Chronicle previously reported, the county faces a $30 million deficit over the next two years. Last week, county administrator Bob Guenzel released a list of options for cutting another $12 million out of the budget, and eliminating up to 181 jobs. Those options – which he stressed are not his recommendations at this point – target non-mandated services, ranging from Head Start to a variety of mental health programs. On Wednesday, Guenzel gave a formal presentation about the options to commissioners, who will be the final arbiters of any budget decisions. The discussion following Guenzel’s presentation could aptly be summarized by this statement from commissioner Conan Smith: “It sucks.” [Full Story]