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Penn State Extension Restructuring Raises Concerns

May 7th, 2017

Extension District Director Don Tanner with Kimberly Bohn (left), forestry/natural resources educator; and Nicole Carutis, agronomy educator.

Penn State Extension’s many services to families, farmers, forest land owners and others were spotlighted for the Potter County Commissioners last week. Don Tanner, director of the five-county district, is retiring at the end of June after 39 years of service. He assembled more than a dozen educators, coordinators and other staffers to present an eye-opening overview of Extension’s mission.

At the same time, Tanner advised that two of the agency’s services — water resources education/assistance and horticulture specialist — are currently not provided and may not be returning. Jim Clark of McKean County retired earlier this year after serving as water resources educator. He was active with several Potter County organizations, including the Triple Divide Watershed Coalition, Water Quality Work Group and Natural Gas Resource Center. At the same time, Penn State’s restructuring plan calls for the current five-county district to be eliminated and tied into a new nine-county management area.

From left, Laurie Maletto, Robin Kuleck and Rick Kralj discuss Extension’s mission with the Potter County Commissioners.

Commissioners Doug Morley, Paul Heimel and Susan Kefover heard a detailed reportĀ from Rick Kralj, who is working with food producers, processors and preparers across the region to comply with provisions of the sweeping Food Safety Moderation Act. Laurie Maletto, nutrition education advisor, reported that she will be conducting free seminars at this year’s Potter County Farmers Market. Amy Murphy and other 4-H development coordinators discussed programs serving hundreds of youths in the district. Robin Kuleck summarized educational offerings covering food and nutrition, strength building for senior citizens, dining with diabetes and healthy lifestyles. Among others sharing details were Kimberly Bohn, forestry/natural resources educator, and Nicole Carutis, agronomy educator.

Penn State Extension is housed at the Potter County Education Center on Water Street, sharing the offices there with the Potter County Education Council. While the majority of funding for Extension comes from the state, the Potter County Commissioners also support the agency by providing the facility — complete with classrooms, a kitchen and videoconferencing technology — as well as an annual allotment.

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