Twenty-eight county officials have achieved Certified County Officials (CCO) status in a University of Illinois Extension-directed educational program for local officials. The officials were recognized during the annual spring meeting of the Illinois Association of County Officials in Springfield on April 28.
Each of the county officials completed at least 24 hours of credit in the program, part of the Certified County Officials program, a joint effort of U of I Extension and the Illinois Association of County Board Members and Commissioners. Scott G. Erickson is the first county official in Knox County to receive the certification.
Erickson of Galesburg has been the Knox County Clerk since December 2003. Erickson was inspired to be involved in county government because of an interest in history, politics, and current event was instilled in him at a young age. "I decided that this could be my chance to make a difference in Government. I have tried to bring my experiences in business and customer service with me to this position and incorporate them into the management of the office. We are here to serve the people and should treat them with the same respect and courtesy that we want to receive," commented Erickson.
During his time in office, Erickson has brought in new voting equipment and introduced voters to state of the art voting technology for County elections. He introduced both optical scan and touch screen equipment for use by County voters. These new technologies have been readily accepted and Knox County has a few polling precincts that have been voting 100% on touch screen equipment. "This new technology allows for a greater cost savings to the County and a more efficient and productive day for our Election Judges," said Erickson.
Erickson believes, "The Certified County Officials program is a great resource to all elected officials. It allows for an exchange of ideas and questions on topics that affect the daily operations of government. I am always striving to improve myself and this program has given me just that. I would encourage all County officials to participate in this program!"
On April 30, 2008 Al Lautenslager, co-author of Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days , presented a seminar on low cost marketing to nearly seventy participants at the Kensington Ballroom in Galesburg.
The seminar was presented as part of University of Illinois Extension's USDA funded Rural Communities Development Initiative on Entrepreneurial Communities. The Illinois Entrepreneurship Network, Western Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, and Galesburg Regional Economic Development Association all partnered with University of Illinois Extension to bring this workshop to Knox County.
Focusing on low to no cost marketing activities, Lautenslager encouraged participants to link their products or services to news stories. He gave examples of press releases he had used in promoting his business, and their relative success or failure. In addition, he presented examples of well received marketing campaigns and advertisements that utilized more creativity than dollars. He made sure participants recognized that repetition the key, and to make sure the consumers could link the advertisement to the business or product that was being promoted.
The seminar was very well received, and represents just the first in what is hoped to be a series of programs for businesses and entrepreneurs in Knox County. The Entrepreneurial Communities' initiative is looking forward to future programs with existing partners, as well as encouraging new community partners.
Several times a month the Family Nutrition Program (FNP) teaches parents and grandparents about feeding their children in Knox County's WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) program at the Knox County Health Department. Rather than teaching "lecture style" WIC participants are encouraged to share their experiences in an informal discussion. While FNP staff members facilitate the discussion, parents and grandparents are the main speakers in the classes. Everyone is encouraged to share their questions, difficulties and challenges. Class participants are able to help one another find answers, help each other and share solutions for personal success. There is no greater teacher than sharing your personal successes. By teaching classes in this way many parents have expressed how much more they enjoy the classes, and how having the opportunity to help others through their experiences is encouraging to them thus providing a sense of worth.
5/30 - Community Matters Steering Meeting
6/24 & 6/26 - Roses telenet
7/8 & 7/10 - Perennials telenet
7/12 - Clothing Judging
7/17 - Knox County Council Meeting
7/19-22 - 4-H Livestock Shows
7/21 - Celebrity Showmanship
7/22 & 7/24 - Summer/Fall Shrubs telenet
7/29 - Teen Idol Preliminaries & Finals
9/6 - Local Food Expo - Local Chef Contest
9/16 & 9/18 - Tree ID
9/30 & 10/2 - Evergreens telenet
10/14 & 10/16 - Composting telenet
Refer to the Knox County website for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please help support University of Illinois Extension. Donations are tax deductible. Please make checks payable to Knox County Extension Education Foundation, 180 S. Soangetaha Rd, Suite 108, Galesburg, IL 61410.
Thanks in advance for your generosity.
What has three wheels a brain and has everyone asking how does that work? The five students from the 4-H Robotics Special Interest Group at Carver Center could tell you. They spent six Wednesdays from March through April learning to program Lego Robots. They started out finding their way around the Lego Mindstorms computer program. It did not take the group long before they had the robots on the gym floor moving in circles and squares. This drew much attention and thus interest in future Robotics Groups. The students will end their work with reports on robots that they plan to exhibit at the 4-H Show in July.
Local photographer, Tom Foley and Knox College Professor of Dance, Kathleen Ridlon teamed up with U of I Extension to teach their professions.
Tom Foley shared his expertise in photography with thirty-five students at King and Silas Willard Schools. The students gained skills and confidence during six after school sessions in January, February and March. The students learned to use cameras taking pictures of their favorite subjects. They also created photo grams using darkroom techniques and solutions. Foley brought his collection of cameras new and old to show students and help bring the history of photography to life. Many arranged a collage of their best photographs in hopes to win that blue ribbon at the 4-H Show.
Kathleen Ridlon started out her class at the Steele After School Program by asking, "Who's tired of sitting still and standing in straight lines?" Move it Recess was born! Students expressed themselves through movement as individuals and in a group. Just add some African drums and the audience and you had one awesome performance. On February 26, ten students displayed their individual talents and their ability to work as a team. This performance was the finale after six weeks of preparation. The performance will soon be available for viewing on DVD
For the past 8 months Head Start Preschoolers in Knox County have been learning about healthy snacks with U of I Extension's Family Nutrition Program (FNP). At the beginning of the school year when asked to name a healthy snack the answer given most often was "Chips". Once a month, to each of the twelve Knox County Head Start classes, an FNP staff member took a healthy snack for the children to make. The children were also given a sheet to take home to their parents that included information helpful in feeding small children, and the recipe the children made that month. The class would discuss the snack, how they could make it at home, what the ingredients were and if they had tried those foods at home.
All of the snacks were made with fruits and vegetables. After playing a game that got the children moving and stretching, they would all make and/or taste the snack together. After 8 months, the children look forward to the physically active games. When asked to name a healthy snack the most frequent answer is now a fruit or a vegetable. Several of the children from each classroom can name most of the snacks FNP provided during the year as well as name the healthy fruit or vegetable used to make that snack.
Local municipalities, landowners and state agency personnel attended training on the management of invasive and exotic plant species. Invasive and exotic plants cost millions of dollars annually to manage and control.
In addition to their economic impact, local biological diversity is decreased as these plants displace native plants from our area.
Attendees were provided with instruction on how to manage these populations and minimize their impacts. Chemical, mechanical and cultural control methods were discussed with the group.
On February 21, twenty-nine Certified Crop Advisors (CCA) from across the area convened at the U of I Extension office for training on soil and water conservation practices in February. CCA are required to attend continuing education programs to maintain their certification each year. Extension provides a great deal of training opportunities for these individuals throughout the year.
Topics for the session included; soil chemistry-P and K management, reclaiming Illinois River sediment for agricultural reclamation projects, conservation applications and sequestration of carbon.
A big "thank-you" goes out to the many local stakeholders who are collaborating with Extension on the development of a local food system in our region. We have benefitted greatly from participation of local consumers, retail businesses and producers all working together on this effort.
The intent of the project is to take a comprehensive approach to building the capacity of local food systems by linking the food production and processing of the region to community development, economic opportunity, and environmental sustainability of the region. In order to accomplish this, extensive dialogue and coordination must occur among producer/distribution/retail entities; education for producers must be developed and applied on both season extension and environmental sustainability issues; and consumer awareness of availability and benefits of locally grown food must be substantially enhanced.