Cooperative Extension honors ‘Friends’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 December 2018 at 5:47 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers: Marsha Cook, left, receives an award as an outstanding 4-H leader from Kristina Gabalski, 4-H program leader. The meeting was held at the new Lures Restaurant & Bar at the Bald Eagle Marina on South Lakeland Beach Road.

KENDALL – The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orleans County held its annual meeting on Tuesday night and honored many supporters of the agency.

John Curtin was named “Friend of the Extension” for donating 4.5 acres of woodlots by the fairgrounds near Wood Road. The Extension may use the wooded area for a nature trail, outdoor camping and perhaps other uses,” said Robert Batt, the Extension executive director.

Having the land creates many possibilities for the agency, Batt said.

The Extension also named Brett Ross a “Friend of the Master gardeners.” Ross grows thousands of day lilies on East Shelby Road near the Millville hamlet in Shelby. He donates many varieties of day lilies to the Master Gardeners’ plant sale in September, said Katie Oakes, the Master Gardener coordinator. Ross and Curtin were unable to attend the annual meeting on Tuesday.

There are 15 master gardeners who led about 300 people in classes and workshops the past year. The master gardeners were also at numerous community events.

The 4-H program named an outstanding 4-H leader. Marsha Cook of Albion has been the leader of the Super Kids Club the past five years. She has been helping in 4-H for more than decade. Her son Brandon, 18, is aging out of 4-H but daughter Hollee, 7, will be involved for several more years.

“It’s good the kids,” Cook said about 4-H. “There’s more to life than textbook learning.”

She likes the hands-on projects through 4-H. Cook is an active fair volunteer, including in the weeks leading up to the fair helping to make sure the grounds are in tip-top shape, said Kristina Gabalski, the 4-H program coordinator.

“Marsha is always ready to step up and help wherever she might be needed in the 4-H program, including help with the annual holiday workshops in advance of the Holiday Fair,” Gabalski said.

Robert Batt, executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension, thanks supporters of the agency. He also led a trivia contest at the annual meeting.

Several 4-H leaders marked milestone anniversaries of service this year, including: Kayla Sucy and Marsha Cook for five years; Merri Mathes for 10 years; Barb Kurzowski for 20 years; and Sara Johnson for 30 years.

“Their guidance, care and dedication have helped shape so many young lives,” Gabalski said about the 4-H leaders. “There would be no way to provide 4-H programming to the youth of Orleans County without them.”

There are 454 youth, ages 5 to 19, enrolled in the 4-H program, with 89 leaders and volunteers.

The 4-H’ers had more than 3,000 exhibits at the Orleans County 4-H Fair, which was attended by over 24,500 people during the fourth week of July.

There are now three schools – Kendall, Medina and Lyndonville – with afterschool 4-H clubs.

The Extension also elected five people as members of the board of directors.

• Ben Flansburg is president and co-owner of BCA Ag Technologies, a precision farming company that specializes in GPS and precision control of agriculture equipment. He also is active with the Barre Volunteer Fire Company.

• Jose Iniguez is a fruit grower and co-owner of Fish Creek Orchards in Waterport.

• Christopher Oakes of Medina is the production manager for LynOaken Farms in Lyndonville.

• Joseph Sidonio of Holley is a Marine veteran and self-employed n the mining and quarrying industry. His daughter Amelia is active in the 4-H Rabbit Raisers and the Senior Council.

• Zach Welker of Medina breeds, shows and markets registered Holstein genetics in addition to helping as Sk Herefords, where his wife Alana is a partner. Welker is a co-leader and barn superintendent of the beef/dairy club, and a board member for the Animal Welfare/Market Auction Committee as well as the Fair Committee.

Three board members who are finishing their terms and leaving the board were commended for their service. They include Kathy Harling, Patrick Woolworth and Tim Kirby.

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