“How do I sum up six incredible months of my life?” asked Susan Kuzniakon returning homefrom serving as an International 4-H Youth Exchange Representativeto Belgium. Kuzniak is agraduate student at the University ofGeorgia.Putting her experiences into words was tough, Kuzniak said. After all,she now intimately knowsanother country and its culture. And she owes it all, she said, to4-H.Kuzniak said it’s a trip she will always remember. “I became fluentin French, made friends inBelgium and with the other U.S. students on the trip with me, saw alot of Europe and tried newthings I otherwise would not have tried,” she said. “Anyone with anopen mind can benefit from thisprogram.”More than 300 Georgia youths have taken advantage of the two internationalexchangeopportunities the IFYE program has offered since it began 75 yearsago. With several programs tochoose from, 4-H makes traveling an incredible experience.The IFYE Representative program is open to all 19- to 30-year-old 4-Halumni. During theirthree- or six-month stay, representatives live with several host familiesfor three to six weeks at atime.Representatives can take part in day-to-day family life. They also maypursue special intereststhrough self-study and receive academic credit through their university.They may travel to countriesin all areas of the world, including Western and Eastern Europe, LatinAmerica, Australia, Asia andAfrica.The IFYE Ambassador Program is open to any 15- to 19-year-old 4-H’er. It offers many waysfor young people to explore another area of the world, live with hostfamilies in other countries, learn another language and culture, experienceyouth programs and enjoy the sights and sounds of otherlands.All IFYE ambassadors stay with host families. Some take an added educationaltour. The Ambassador programs begin in June and last five to six weeks.Ambassadors may exploreEurope, Latin America, Asia and Africa.The 1998 fee for the Ambassador program is $2,650 to $3,250. The costranges from $3,775 to$4,775 for the Representative program. Prices vary depending on thearea of the world and type ofprogram selected.The fee includes the international airline ticket, travel in the hostcountry, food, lodging,supplemental insurance, orientation and evaluation programs. Financialsupport and fundraising helpmay be available through county and state 4-H offices.Greg Price, an ExtensionService 4-H specialist with the UGA Collegeof Agricultural andEnvironmental Sciences, coordinatesthe IFYE program. He encourages students to take advantageof the life-changing experience.”We always tell our 4-H exchangees they won’t come back the same person,”he said. “And theydon’t. They find out who they really are, how they handle challengingsituations and how theyabsorb another culture. They always learn a tremendous amount abouttheir host country. But theyreally learn the most about themselves.”The student is not the only one who benefits from the program. “Everybodylearns from anexchange program,” Price said. “The families back home and host familiesabroad see the worldthrough new eyes.”And when the exchangees return,” he said, “their communities discoverthey have a grassrootsambassador on hand to speak for another culture.”Kuzniak is still using the knowledge she gained in Belgium every day.”I am getting my Master’s degree in teaching English as a second language,”she said. “Myexperience in Belgium helps me relate to my students because I wasforced to communicate in mysecond language (French) while I was on my trip.”
By Elmer GrayUniversity of Georgia After a hard morning of cleaning low-lying vegetation, gardeners aren’t the only ones looking for lunch. Chances are, they’ve already been feasted on by a few chiggers. And the itching begins.Chiggers, a common and somewhat mysterious pest to many gardeners, are the larval stage of mites. Adults from this family are often called red bugs. Thankfully, the garden itself is not where chiggers are commonly found. Gardeners typically come in contact with chiggers when clearing vegetation around their yards and gardens. Adult chiggers pass the winter in leaf litter commonly found in overgrown areas. They become active in the early spring, laying eggs that become the first generation of the season. After the six-legged larval stage emerges from the egg, it feeds on humans and animals. This stage is very small, measuring less than 1/150th of an inch in diameter. Consequently, you can often feel them on you, but it is hard to see them. After taking a blood meal, the larvae molts to an eight-legged nymph and adult. The adult mite is approximately 1/20th of an inch long and is usually bright red. The nymphs and adults are not parasitic but feed on insect eggs, small insects and organisms found on or near decaying woody materials. Chiggers attach to almost any domestic or wild animal, including birds and poultry. When feeding on humans, chiggers prefer areas where clothing is tight against the skin, hence the common occurrence of chigger dermatitis around the top of the sox, the waistline or under the elastic of undergarments. Chiggers attach themselves by inserting their mouthparts in hair follicles or pores. The larval mite then injects saliva into the host. The saliva begins to dissolve the tissues, which are ingested by the chigger. Because the pest is so small and the saliva such an irritant to the human body, a welt will typically occur at the bite site, making it look like the chigger is actually borrowing into the host. This is not the case. Chiggers typically don’t survive more than a day or two on a human due to the adverse host reaction and the excessive scratching and rubbing caused by the intense itching sensation. Bites typically persist for several days. They can last much longer if excessive scratching occurs and a secondary infection takes place. The recovery time can be significantly reduced if skin is thoroughly washed within the first 3-6 hours of attachment, and medication applied to alleviate itching and prevent secondary infection. By keeping vegetation cut short, chigger bites can be reduced. Walking trails should be mowed to less than ankle height to reduce bites. Residual insecticide applications can be used to suppress populations in defined areas.To keep from becoming a chigger feast, use insect repellents thoroughly when entering areas of known chigger occurrence. Apply a product containing permethrin to clothing. For bare skin, use products containing DEET. Tuck pant legs into socks to help keep chiggers from reaching bare skin. This is particularly useful when done in conjunction with repellents. Volume XXXIIINumber 1Page 23
By April SorrowUniversity of GeorgiaAlmost 6,000 people from Fulton County are serving time in state prisons. Quitman County has the highest per capita lottery ticket sales. And there are 962 chicken houses in Franklin County. All of this information and much more can be found in the 2008 Georgia County Guide. In its 26th edition, the annual guide is compiled by the University of Georgia Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, a unit of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The public information comes from 90 federal, state and private agencies.Using more than 1,400 variables, it provides the latest figures on agriculture, courts and crime, economics, education, government, health, housing and households, labor, natural resources, population, public assistance, transportation and vital statistics for all of Georgia’s 159 counties and the state. For example:* Richmond County has more doctors per capita than any other Georgia county. * More than 88 percent of the families in Forsyth County are married couples.* Gwinnett County collected $47 million in HOPE scholarships last year, the most of any county.* Fayette County has the highest median household income at $75,679. The Clay County median is $22,627. * Charlton County has the highest county millage rate. Towns County has the lowest.* Fulton County got more than $3 million in federal grants last year, the most of any county. DeKalb County was second with less than half a million federal grant dollars. * Thirty percent of commuters in Hancock County carpool.The guide “has evolved over time to become the premier source of county-level data,” said Sue Boatright, a CAES research coordinator and the guide’s editor. The information is commonly used by realtors, educators, political consultants, county planners and architects and many others to make community decisions, she said. “It provides a snapshot of a county using a broad spectrum of data,” she said. “The guide is a valuable tool for planners and decisions makers.”Information is free online at www.georgiastats.uga.edu. The book costs $20. Past editions are available. Microsoft Excel spreadsheets of all of the data in the book cost $50. To order, go to the Web site www.countyguide.uga.edu, or send a request and check to the Office of Communications, 117 Hoke Smith Annex, Athens, GA 30602-4356.(April Sorrow is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
Her interest in solving real-world problems attracted her to Georgia. “I am excited about engaging with the agricultural community about the most pressing issues of our time, including reducing world hunger and easing human suffering through micro and macro agricultural practices,” Kelsey said. “Leading this dynamic faculty to support UGA’s agricultural education, communication and leadership programs, we will educate the next generation of critical thinkers to help solve problem globally.” Since joining Oklahoma State in 1999, Kelsey has won 27 awards for excellence in teaching, research and service. She has co-authored over 200 publications and secured more than $11 million in research funding.Kelsey earned a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science from California Polytechnic State University and a Master of Arts degree in agricultural and extension education from New Mexico State. She has a Ph.D. in agricultural, extension and adult education from Cornell University. The UGA CAES Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication provides a world class learning environment for students and supports the physical and biological sciences in agriculture with leadership, education, and communications. Kelsey will assume leadership of the department July1, 2013. After a nationwide search, the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has named Kathleen (Kay) D. Kelsey head of the college’s Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication. “ALEC is home to a large segment of our student body,” said J. Scott Angle, CAES dean and director. “It is an area of study that has grown rapidly over the past decade and continues to grow. We need a dynamic leader to guide that growth, and I’m confident Dr. Kelsey is that leader.” Kay Kelsey comes to UGA from Oklahoma State University where she was a professor of evaluation. Her research interests include evaluation of educational programs, specifically in the agricultural context.
Athens, Ga. – J. Scott Angle, dean and director of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, announced today that Laura Perry Johnson will become the college’s associate dean of extension beginning Jan. 1, 2015. “We are confident Laura will take UGA Extension in new and exciting directions,” Angle said. “Her wealth of experience and deep understanding of the state and the needs of those we serve will be invaluable.” Perry Johnson is currently the district extension director for Southwest Georgia, where she manages faculty, staff and UGA Extension programs for 41 counties. She has been with the CAES for 25 years, serving as a graduate teaching and research assistant, laboratory technician, youth livestock specialist and district 4-H program development coordinator before becoming district director in 2012. Perry Johnson has bachelor, masters and doctorate degrees in animal and dairy science from the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. She holds the rank of Senior Public Service Associate within the UGA Public Service Faculty system. “When I went to the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences as a student in 1983, I had no idea where that would lead me,” Perry Johnson said. “But it’s my belief in this organization and the work we do that has kept me here. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to help continue to move the organization forward and enhance our reputation as one of the premiere Extension organizations in the nation.” UGA Extension is a statewide network of agriculture and natural resources, 4-H and youth development, and family and consumer sciences experts, with offices in 157 of Georgia’s 159 counties. The organization’s mission is to deliver the knowledge and discoveries from the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences to the people of Georgia.
Susan Varlamoff’s title at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences – director of the Office of Environmental Sciences – suits her. She was a boots-on-the-ground environmentalist long before moving to Georgia and joining the university. As a housewife and the mother of three young children living in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, she successfully fought the expansion of a toxic landfill that was proposed for her neighborhood. Then, she wrote an award-winning book about it, “The Polluters: A Community Fights Back.”The University Press of Florida released Varlamoff’s new book, “Sustainable Gardening for the Southeast,” this month. In it, she aims to teach home gardeners how to protect the environment around their houses. The concept for the book began eight years ago, when Varlamoff initially became employed by CAES on the college’s Griffin, Georgia, campus. She read a water quality study that showed pesticide levels in urban watersheds are higher than in rural watersheds. Varlamoff, along with a team of CAES scientists, reasoned that farmers in rural areas minimize pesticide use due to its high cost; furthermore, professional pesticide applicators must be certified. “This led us to believe that homeowners were harming the watersheds by improperly applying pesticides,” she said.As a result, the UGA team developed a survey for home gardeners, mainly in the metro Atlanta area, to learn if urban gardeners wanted to learn more about sustainable gardening and then implement the practices they learn. The survey revealed that approximately 70 percent of homeowners wanted to garden and protect the environment, and they wanted more information on how to do so. The team produced a training manual and brochures that UGA Cooperative Extension agents used to present trainings.The development of these materials led to Varlamoff’s decision to compile the information in book form. “It’s an issue that’s time has come. Basically, I pulled together science-based information from Southern land-grant universities on various aspects of environmentally friendly gardening. There are a lot of books on these individual topics, such as water conservation and natural pest control, but not one book on the entire topic,” she said.The book teaches readers how to create an ecosystem in home landscapes, according to Varlamoff. “We talk about using this pesticide and that one, but if you create functional ecosystems, then Mother Nature will do the heavy lifting and manage pests naturally,” she said.Topics covered include reducing water usage through xeriscaping, planting trees to reduce climate change, growing food and bringing wildlife to your doorstep. The most important thing, Varlamoff says, is to begin with nutrient-rich soil as the foundation. Varlamoff has used her Lilburn, Georgia, landscape as a 23-year field study site. “I can see how different my landscape is from more than 20 years ago until now. I don’t have any plants that attract a lot of pests,” she said. “If they do, poof! they go to the compost pile.”She has eliminated all invasive plants, like kudzu and privet, and added many native plants. “My neighbor is a native plant aficionado, and she gives me plants that find a home in my garden,” Varlamoff said.Her “low-maintenance” landscape attracts 20 different types of birds as well as other wildlife. “It’s beautiful to have a yard that is filled with critters because it’s a wonderful nature lesson for children,” said Varlamoff, who is now a grandmother of two. Installing different types of trees and native plants is what attracts local, native insects and wildlife that work together to keep pests “in check” without pesticides, she said. “As I say in the book, if you really want to make an environmentally friendly statement in your landscape, plant a native oak tree,” she said. “They are the biggest biodiversity attractors.”“(UGA turfgrass specialist) Clint Waltz suggested reducing the amount of turfgrass in my landscape to 40 percent, so I did. I’ve turned my whole backyard into a woodland area with paths, and I’ve reduced the grass area in the front by putting in shade trees,” she said. “I tried to take a very balanced approach. You can create an environmentally friendly landscape without sacrificing beauty, and I still have plenty of grass for picnics and family activities.”Varlamoff says home gardeners don’t have to turn their backs on plants that don’t fit the sustainable gardening model. “It’s OK if you have a camellia. It’s beautiful. It doesn’t attract a lot of wildlife, and it’s not native, but that’s OK,” she said. “A few of the plants my husband likes are semi-invasive, but we keep them because he likes them.”While doing research for the book, Varlamoff found several studies that link cancer cases to families who used DDT in their landscapes in the late 1950s. “The study said the risk of acute leukemia was seven times higher in these families,” she said. This hits close to home for Varlamoff, who was 14 years old when her 5-year-old sister died of leukemia. “There’s nothing like walking behind your sister’s coffin to make an impression on you. To me, there are very few good reasons to use pesticides in your landscape.”“Sustainable Gardening for the Southeast” can be ordered through the University Press of Florida at upf.com.
More than 700 Georgia 4-H ninth through 12th grade youth members gathered for the annual State 4-H Fall Forum at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton, Georgia.The conference is planned by the Georgia 4-H State Board of Directors. The State Board is made up of tenth through 12th graders who are elected by their peers each summer. This year’s “#trending with Georgia 4-H” theme focused on social media-related topics.Katie Comer, former 4-H’er and Facebook Regional Community Development Manager, served as an invited speaker. Highlighting the essential elements of 4-H (Mastery, Generosity, Independence and Belonging), Comer shared how her involvement in the Georgia 4-H program has prepared her to continue to achieve her professional dreams. Fall Forum attendees may exhibit a booth at the exhibition fair to share more about their project achievement work in their communities. They also participate in service projects by creating friendship bracelets for nursing homes, holiday cards for foster children, and preparedness animal care kits for pet owners evacuating from natural disasters. Each year, the 4-H’ers also collect non-perishable food items for 4-H Cans Hunger.Several volunteers were honored at the Annual Volunteer Dinner, recognizing several award-winning programs and initiatives led by volunteers, as well as recognizing extraordinary Georgia 4-H volunteers for lifetime service.During the evening assembly, one attendee received a $300 summer camp scholarship in a drawing, the State Cotton Boll and Consumer Judging Winning Team received recognition, and the Georgia 4-H delegation for the National 4-H Conference in March 2020 in Washington, D.C. was announced. Georgia 4-H’s performing arts group, Clovers and Co., provided energetic entertainment, and the evening ended with a dance and pizza party.During the closing assembly, Stedman Graham, chairman and CEO of S. Graham and Associates, gave a keynote speech on identity leadership. “Identity leadership is based on the philosophy that you can’t lead anyone else until you first lead yourself,” said Graham. “It is about self-mastery. If you did the same thing you did yesterday, as you will to today, as you will do tomorrow, what have you done? Nothing. And nothing from nothing is nothing.”“I just want to thank 4-H for the work that they do to prepare these students,” said Graham after the assembly. “If you aren’t focusing on helping young people, you aren’t doing anything, because they are the future. We’ve got to be able to help them understand who they are. I teach identity leadership for that reason, to give people the process of success. Because the process for success is the same for everybody, the difference is that some people know it and some people don’t. I’m glad to be able to share my work with 4-H and over 700 students here today”Georgia 4-H empowers youth to become true leaders by developing necessary life skills, positive relationships, and community awareness. As the largest youth leadership organization in the state, 4-H reaches more than 242,000 people annually through the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension offices and 4-H facilities. For more information, visit georgia4h.org or contact your local Extension office.
Vermont State Hospital Receives Full Accreditation by Nation’s Premier Health Care Certification OrganizationWaterbury, VT (September 12, 2008)- By demonstrating compliance with The Joint Commission’s national standards for health care quality and safety, the Vermont State Hospital (VSH) has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval.The Joint Commission is an independent, not-for-profit organization which accredits and certifies more than 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. According to their official website, “Joint Commission accreditation and certification is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to certain performance standards.””I am extremely pleased that The Joint Commission has recognized VSH for the exemplary efforts they have made to continually foster a holistic, patient-centered system of care within the facility,” said Governor Jim Douglas. “Secretary LaWare, Commissioner Hartman, VSH CEO Terry Rowe and all the VSH staff are to be congratulated for this achievement.”Darlene Christiansen, Executive Director of the Hospital Accreditation Program at the Joint Commission, also praised VSH for their efforts: “Above all, the national standards are intended to stimulate continuous, systematic and organization-wide improvement in an organization’s performance and the outcomes of care. The community should be proud that Vermont State Hospital is focusing on the most challenging goal — to continuously raise quality and safety to higher levels.””First and foremost, this accreditation demonstrates the State’s strong commitment to ensuring those with the most acute mental health needs receive the highest level of quality care. Accreditation of VSH is also a critically important step in the State’s comprehensive Futures Plan to revitalize Vermont’s mental health system,” added Agency of Human Services Secretary Cynthia D. LaWare. “In addition this accreditation will favorably position VSH for hospital certification by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS).”Michael Hartman, Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health, says accreditation is also evidence of the pride of VSH staff, who have worked hard to ensure a recovery-oriented, supportive environment for VSH patients. “This recognition by The Joint Commission is proof of an organization-wide commitment to provide quality mental health care to our clients on an ongoing basis.”Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission is dedicated to continuously improving the safety and quality of the nation’s health care through voluntary accreditation. The Joint Commission’s on-site survey of VSH occurred in May and June.
Statement from Department of Mental Health Commissioner Michael Hartman on Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Decision Regarding Certification of Vermont State HospitalWe all know that Vermont State Hospital has faced its share of challenges in the past few years as the State, legislators, advocates, mental health clients and other stakeholders have worked to rethink, reform and revitalize Vermont’s system of mental health care to best serve our state’s most severely mentally ill.The good news is we have made significant progress in our concerted efforts to improve care, treatment and recovery services at VSH. This spring, we were pleased to report that VSH was found to be compliant with several key provisions of an agreement made in 2006 between the US Department of Justice and the State, including marked improvements in protection of patients from harm, the quality improvement of patient care, the environmental conditions and building safety of the hospital, and mental health assessments.Just last month, VSH was extremely pleased to receive The Joint Commission’s coveted Gold Seal of Approval for demonstrating compliance with the Commission’s national standards for health care quality and safety. The Joint Commission is an independent, not-for-profit organization which accredits and certifies more than 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States and is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to certain performance standards.Today, I would like to share with you some news regarding an initial certification survey of Vermont State Hospital (VSH) by CMS-contracted nurse surveyor staff from the Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living’s Division of Licensing and Protection, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Boston Regional Office.The surveyors reported that VSH was out of compliance with certain standards related primarily to three CMS Conditions of Participation for Hospitals, regarding Patient Rights, Medical Record Services, and Organ, Tissue and Eye Procurement. Based on the findings of this survey, which took place September 15-18, the surveyors have recommended that CMS not certify VSH at this time. As a result of these findings, today CMS has denied VSH’s request for participation in the Medicare program.Needless to say, this is very disappointing news, in light of the tremendous progress that VSH has made in recent months to consistently, comprehensively and compassionately improve the hospital’s system of care for Vermont’s most acutely mentally ill.We welcome the opportunity these findings present as we continue to improve the hospital’s services for our clients. We do, however, have significant disagreement with some of the findings, and will be engaging in the formal process of reconsideration as defined in federal regulation regarding CMS decisions. Meanwhile, we will continue to make improvements in our policies and the physical plant as deemed necessary and appropriate as a result of our understanding of this review.We have made significant progress over the last few years at VSH. This CMS survey represents a final hurdle which we have every confidence that we will overcome, and we remain committed to ensuring that Vermonters with severe mental illness receive the highest quality care, treatment and recovery services.#####
About Mack MoldingMack Molding is a leading custom plastics molder and supplier of contract manufacturing services. Mack specializes in plastics design, prototyping, molding, sheet metal fabrication, and medical device manufacturing. Founded in 1920, Mack is a privately owned business that operates seven facilities throughout the eastern United States. For more news and information about the applications and services of Mack Molding Co., go to www.mack.com(link is external). Click on this link for a corporate overview — http://www.mack.com/resource/Corporate%20Overview.pdf(link is external) Mack will be honored at a ceremony in June along with a list of other winners that reads like a directory of Who s Who in Manufacturing, including Alcoa, BigBelly Solar, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Caterpillar, Chevron, Dow Chemical, Emerson, Genentech, General Mills, L Oreal, Pfizer, Pratt & Whitney, and Toshiba, to mention a few. The projects that enabled these companies to become PM100 winners reflect great creativity and inventiveness, a determined willingness to take risk, and an enduring resilience to continually improve every aspect of their business, says David Brousell, editor-in-chief of Managing Automation Media. These companies are leading the way to a better future for all industry. # # # # # Mack Group,Mack Molding Co. has been named a winner of Managing Automation Media s prestigious 2009 Progressive Manufacturing 100 Award for its recently completed Energy Efficient Lighting Technology Project, which affected all three Vermont plants.The comprehensive lighting project, a $450,000 investment, called for the installation of more than 2,100 high-intensity fluorescent light fixtures that increased light levels throughout the three plants and eliminated hot spots and shadows. From an energy-efficiency perspective, the initiative is expected to save over 1.7 million kWh per year of electricity, the equivalent of taking 167 cars off the road or powering nearly 300 Vermont homes. It is one of the 10 largest energy-saving projects completed by a Vermont company in partnership with Efficiency Vermont, the state s energy efficiency services provider. Receiving this award recognizes our commitment to innovation and the use of advanced technology, and validates that we are on the right track with our mission and business strategies, says Jeff Somple, president of Mack Molding s Northern Operations. Even in these tough economic times, Mack will continue to make intelligent investments in our future.