4-H Inc. prepares for upcoming events

COLUMBIA CITY — Tuesday evening’s 4-H Inc. board meeting was the last for Kay Walter, secretary at the Whitley County Purdue Extension Office. She has voluntarily taken minutes for the organization, though the board does elect a secretary, this year being Dave Rupley.Rupley asked what was to happen at the next board meeting and was told, “Bring two pens.”Offers to Walter to continue her duties even after her retirement date, March 18, were met with a smile, and a polite but firm refusal.“It doesn’t get much better than Kay,” said Rex Eiler, boardmember. A retirement party for Walter will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. March 20 at the 4-H Community Building in Columbia City to celebrate her 24 years of service with the Extension Office. Everyone is welcome and no gifts are requested.Volunteer opportunitiesIf concession help during the fair is not your cup of tea, the board is looking for volunteers for two work sessions which they are calling Work Day 2011. Anyone interested to come out to the fairgrounds to put in some sweat equity is welcome on either or both dates. • April 2, beginning at 8 a.m., is the first date, with April 9 as a rain date, for the tear down of the old bleachers. Tools will be provided. • June 4, with a June 11 rain date, work crews will be assigned to set up the new bleachers. Other jobs to be done if enough help is available include painting, running pipes for water and some concession work.Other business In other business, the board purchased equipment for the concession stand — two six-foot stainless steel prep tables ($85 each) and two tables with under counter refrigeration ($350 each). The board voted to:­ — purchase two more boards to post the State Fair winners for the previous three years. This is necessary “because we are so great at the state level,” said Aaron McDevitt, board member. ­— allow rental of the 4-H Center tables and chairs for use only in other 4-H buildings, at 50 cents per chair and $5 per table.— sell some of the extra gates at the silent auction: four groups of two 12-foot gates; three groups of two 3-foot by 4-inch gates; and seven groups of two 6-foot by 9-inch gates.— pursue having the Share the Fun program continue at the local level, even though it has been discontinued at the state level. It may be transformed into a “4-H Idol” competition and a radio station has shown interest in sponsoring prizes, ribbons and a video at the fair.— get the Kubota mower serviced as it hasn’t been done since 2006. The board also discussed that the walk-in cooler does not work again. After spending more than $500 for each of the last two years to get it running, board member Cathy Heritier suggested they need to find out what is wrong with it. Some suggested it should be allowed to run and not shut off when not in use.The ag museum board requested permission to redo the kitchen area for more cabinet space and some electrical work. They agreed to pay the estimated $2,000 - $2,200 cost. The fair board decided to take a look at the area and make a decision at the April meeting.Discussion of selling advertisement on the new bleacher area occurred with the cement blocks or the actual seats being suggested as possible places for advertisement. Jeff Geiger said he would rather have a nice sign for sponsors names listed as advertising “on the blocks would look trashy, in my opinion.”Cindy Barnett, Extension Educator reported Lisa Schrader has been hired and is being trained to replace Walter. Barnett expressed concern over the new budget being discussed at the state level. She said the governor has suggested an additional 15 percent cut in funding for higher education. This would affect funding of the Extension Offices with a potential loss of 20 to 25 positions in the state. She asked that everyone call their representatives telling them why the Extension is important to you and supporting the flat line budget. Upcoming events:4-H Fun Night — 4 to 7 p.m. March 18 at the 4-H Center — All-you-can-eat fish and tenderloin supper, silent auction and kids games. Adults $8.50, children age six to 10 $4.50 and five and under, free. 4-H Retirement Party for Kay Walter — 2 to 4 p.m. March 20 at the 4-H Center.Whitley County Extension Service annual meeting — 6 to 8:30 p.m. March 21 at the 4-H Center. Registration is at 5:45 p.m. Focus on Consumer and Family Services with “Colors for Leadership,” presented by Mike Talbott and Roger Shearer, Extension Educators in Allen and Wells counties.Work Day 2011 — 8 a.m. April 2 to tear down old bleachers. Tools provided. Rain date: April 9.Work Day 2011 — 8 a.m. June 4 to set up new bleachers. Various other jobs, if enough help. Rain date: June 11.Whitley County 4-H Fair — July 15 to 21.