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New Agent Alert!!

Hello everyone! My name is Lane Wiens, and I am the new Shawnee County Horticulture Agent.

I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture from Kansas State University in 2020 and will be finishing my Master of Science degree in Horticulture this spring. My Masters’ research is focusing on using chemicals used in greenhouses to control the size of plants to extend how long foliage plants look good before they need to be cut back. It’s been interesting research and is answering a question that no one has thought to ask. My work experience in the horticultural industry is varied but has broadened my knowledge of plants and their care. I’ve had some retail experience, helping customers to select plants for their combo planters or in the garden. I’ve also worked in production greenhouses, working to grow all the plants a small, local greenhouse in the Manhattan area sells for the year, but also in teaching greenhouses at KSU, helping teach the next round of horticulturists how to grow efficiently in commercial operations.

Other areas I have experience in are fruit production and winemaking, thanks to an internship at a vineyard around Manhattan, as well as experience in landscape design, installation, and maintenance. I’m looking forward to putting these skills to work for the residents here in Shawnee County!

Lane Wiens

(he/him)

Shawnee Co. Horticulture Extension Agent

1740 SW Western Ave, Topeka, KS, 66604

785-232-0062 ext. 104

lwwiens@ksu.edu

www.shawnee.ksu.edu/lawn-garden/

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Improve your Grant Writing Skills!

Happy 2023!   K-State Research and Extension has virtual grant-writing workshops scheduled to start soon.  We see participants from every corner of the state in these sessions and participants are reporting positive results as a result of this training!  

The Grant Writing course consists of two (3-hour) online live sessions with many additional resources. Time for interaction with other participants is an important aspect of the class; even experienced grant writers pick up tips and are reenergized after consulting with peers. The course is suited for people who have never written a grant (50% of our audience), as well as those who have a lot of experience and want to take a fresh look at their current practices. This online course is adapted from a highly rated face-to-face training with proven results. More than 1700 Kansans were trained over four years and found confidence resulting in at least $25 million of successful grants for playgrounds, park improvements, walking trails, building restoration, leadership programs, arts, programming, festivals and other community infrastructure.

FAQ: 

  • All courses are online
  • Each course costs $60
  • If you miss a class, you can watch the recording.
  • Enrollment Link is in the same for each workshop… with one more click to choose the preferred session. http://bit.ly/3GErvJN

This training is provided by our KSRE State Community Vitality Specialist Nancy Knopp Daniels.

Sincerely,

Candis Meerpohl, M.S. 
Extension Director

Shawnee County 
1740 SW Western Ave
Topeka KS 66604
785-232-0062 ext.110
candism@ksu.edu
www.shawnee.ksu.edu

How to Navigate Medicare

As a Family & Consumer Sciences Agent I wear many hats around the office, one of them being that of SHICK (Senior Health Insurance Counselor for Kansas) counselor. As an agent in this role I provide free, unbiased health insurance counseling to seniors in our county. Currently I am working with Medicare beneficiaries with Part D Open Enrollment. If you are on Medicare Part A and/or B with a stand-alone drug plan now is the time to make decisions for your 2023 Prescription Drug Plan. Part D plans are meant to be shopped each year. Premiums change, preferred and in-network pharmacies change as well as the level of coverage on some prescriptions. It can save you money by looking at this each year and making changes if you need to. My appointment book is currently full helping Medicare clients this time of year but I made the below video to help you with the process.

Note the dates for Medicare Part D Open Enrollment are October 14- December 7 each year.

Susan Fangman, Shawnee Co. Family and Consumer Sciences Agent

1740 SW Western Ave.

Topeka, KS  66604

785.232.0062 ext. 103

sfangman@ksu.edu

Welcome A-Board!

Fall Board Leadership is starting soon! Next week soon! Community Resources Council is sponsoring our next Board Leadership series. We will be having four sessions at their 455 SE Golf Park Blvd. If you serve on a community board are interested in learning the skills needed to be a successful board member please register to attend.

Topics covered include duties and responsibilities of community boards, conflict resolution, parliamentary procedure, financial topics, strategic planning and others. Program participants get handouts to share with their fellow board members and a chance to network with other community boards.

The registration for all four sessions is $15. The dates for the series are Oct. 26th, Nov 2nd, 9th and 16th. The sessions are held from 6pm-7:30pm, and this will be the last Board Leadership class for 2022. To sign up e-mail candism@ksu.edu.

Sincerely,

Candis Meerpohl, M.S. 
Extension Director

Shawnee County 
1740 SW Western Ave
Topeka KS 66604
785-232-0062 ext.110
candism@ksu.edu
www.shawnee.ksu.edu

Let’s Get Moving!

Benefits– There are many benefits of regular physical activity- lower blood pressure, decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers. Physical activity can also increase your energy, improve your mood, help you sleep better and lower stress. What benefits matter most to you? Make a list and keep it handy to help you stay motivated!

Recommendations– It is recommended adults get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (walking, gardening, water aerobics) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (running, swimming laps, jumping rope) or a combination of both, spread though out the week. Muscle strengthening activities (like resistance or weight training) should take place twice a week. Kids and teens should get 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Gradually increase your activity and intensity to gain even more health benefits. Don’t worry if you aren’t there yet, set small goals over time to improve. Don’t get discouraged if you have a bad week or month, you can start again and gradually work back up to your old pace.

Make it a habit– If you are trying to make exercise a new habit, exercise at the same time of day each day. For example, plan a lunch time walk 3 days a week during your lunch break, or plan a bike ride each Saturday morning. Also, know yourself and what time of day you are more apt to be physically active. If you are not a morning person and have a hard time getting out of bed on a good day it is probably unrealistic to expect yourself to get up early to go for a run. Don’t set yourself up to fail. The American Heart Association has many articles that offer tips for developing healthy habits https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/habits

Make it fun– Choose several physical activities that you enjoy and mix it up! Varying activities will help alleviate boredom and will help decrease the chances of a repetitive impact injury. Other ways to make physical activity more fun is to do it with someone else. Ask a family member or friend to join you! A 30-minute walk seems to fly by when you have someone to visit with. Some people enjoy listening to music, podcasts or audiobooks while they are exercising. Just make sure it isn’t so loud that you can’t hear what is going on around you. My favorite way to make walking fun it to take one or both of my dogs. To keep things interesting, we like walking in new places. Here is a picture of them loaded up and ready to go to Gage Park to walk the fitness loop.

Susan Fangman, Shawnee Co. Family and Consumer Sciences Agent

1740 SW Western Ave.

Topeka, KS  66604

785.232.0062 ext. 103

sfangman@ksu.edu

First Friday Webinar

If you work in community improvement or engagement you will want to register to listen to K-State Research and Extension’s First Friday e-Call every month.

The purpose of the First Friday e-Call is to increase the local community’s knowledge of the experts, education, and economic resources available to help small businesses and entrepreneurs and to share innovations in community development.  

The subject in October is to learn about Micro Internships that are opportunities for students across Kansas. Tim Peterson, Senior Project Director, Kansas Board of Regents will tell how a small business, non-profit or other organization can utilize a Kansas college student to expand their work and complete projects.  More than 500 students are registered for the program and waiting to help provide on-demand project help for Kansas employers. Most projects are 10-40 hours long. The online meeting will be Oct. 7th from 9:30-10:30am

There is a registration to participate in the online meetings. One-time registration is required: https://tinyurl.com/y9pjybxv.  You will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. There is no cost to participate in these meetings.

If you don’t get the email, check your spam filter; it will come from Nancy Daniels <no-reply@zoom.us>. 

Sincerely,

Candis Meerpohl, M.S. 
Extension Director

Shawnee County 
1740 SW Western Ave
Topeka KS 66604
785-232-0062 ext.110
candism@ksu.edu
www.shawnee.ksu.edu

Research Farms in Shawnee County

      Agriculture and Agribusiness are the number one industry in Kansas. Shawnee County has 847 farms and a total of 201,662 acres in farm ground.  Shawnee County has a total of 8,799 jobs and $1.88 billion dollars in the agriculture, food and food processing sectors. Agriculture research has one of the highest returns of any public investment. It has been estimated that research generates a benefit-cost ratio of 10:1. The local farmers have had numerous challenges in the last several years with higher fertilizer cost, higher fuel, more expensive parts and machinery cost, the aging farming population, and many weather challenges. The goal has been to keep food products for our consumers.

Pictured are farmers at the August 2022 Kansas River Valley Experiment Field day near Rossville. The farmers look at the many Research and Extension test plots to test production of planting dates, row spacing, varieties, herbicides and pesticides used, and many other factors in growing crops in our area.

K-State Research and Extension has two research farms in Shawnee County to run test on the best practices to increase production of food products for our area. They look at control of weeds, production of bushels of grain, time of planting and production, and many other factors dealing with all issues of growing crops in Kansas. This research has helped to increase production in our area. In 1960, a farmer fed just 26 people, today’s farmer feeds 155 people. Today’s farmer grows twice as much food as their parents did– using less land, energy, water and fewer emissions.

Leroy Russell

lrussell@ksu.edu

Welcome A-Board; A Course on Board Leadership

Do you serve on a Board or help facilitate the work a Board does? Shawnee County Extension has a four-week course on how to have effective and productive board meetings called “Welcome A-Board”. We had a series this year in July and August and are seeing if there is interest in another series in November.

Topics covered include duties and responsibilities of community boards, conflict resolution, parliamentary procedure, financial topics, strategic planning and others. Program participants get handouts to share with their fellow board members and a chance to network with other community boards.

If you have asked people to serve on a board but they don’t feel they have the skills, this course is also for prospective members.

There is a $35 cost for the program to cover snacks at the sessions and materials participants receive. 

If you would be interested in the program in November e-mail candism@ksu.edu for more details.

Sincerely,

Candis Meerpohl, M.S. 
Extension Director

Shawnee County 
1740 SW Western Ave
Topeka KS 66604
785-232-0062 ext.110
candism@ksu.edu
www.shawnee.ksu.edu

Add Some Vigorous Exercise

Research shows that adding small bouts of vigorous exercise to your activity routine can help prevent cognitive decline as you get older. People of all ages can benefit from adding intervals, short bursts of vigorous activity, to their exercise routine, and it is beneficial for your brain and body.

You can include interval training in your physical activity routine at many levels and it doesn’t require special equipment. The key is to start at a level that is right for you and build from there. If walking is the activity you prefer, alternate with short bursts of brisk walking or jogging, depending on your fitness level. If you walk outdoors, you could walk faster between certain mailboxes, trees, or other landmarks. If you walk on a treadmill, leave the speed the same and increase the grade for short amounts of time- 30 seconds to 2 minutes- and back down again.

Interval training can jazz up your activity routine and keep it interesting and fresh. The more vigorous the activity, the more calories you burn, so it makes sense that interval training aids in weight loss. Another benefit is improved cardiovascular fitness.

While most people can include interval training safely, it may not be appropriate for everyone. If you haven’t exercised regularly, or have a chronic health condition, be sure to check with your physician before adding any type of interval training.

As with any activity, you should begin with a 5-minute warm-up, such as walking at a slower pace and light stretching. Start by adding just one or two intense activity bursts and work up from there. Listen to cues your body gives you to avoid injuries and sore muscles. Challenge yourself more as your stamina improves and always include cool-down time at the end of any activity. Give intervals a try- you may be surprised by the results!

-From the Walk Kansas Newsletter, Week 7 2022

Susan Fangman, Shawnee Co. Family and Consumer Sciences Agent

1740 SW Western Ave.

Topeka, KS  66604

785.232.0062 ext. 103

sfangman@ksu.edu

Fun at the Fair

A hallmark of late summer in Extension & 4-H is the county fair. For many 4-Hers, it is the peak of their 4-H experience. They spend the year setting goals for their projects, and the fair is the showcase for all of their hard work and learning experiences. We recently finished up the Shawnee County Fair here, and the weeks after the fair are always a good time to reflect on the mission of 4-H.

You probably think of the 4 “H’s”: Head, Heart, Hands, and Health. These introduce members to the idea of fully committing themselves to bettering their communities, and if we look deeper, we’ll find the 4 areas that have been identified as a need for youth. The environment provided for youth to develop belonging, independence, generosity, and mastery of skills helps us grow people who are engaged in their communities, compassionate, and innovative. During the county fair, you can look around and see the short term developmental steps that lead to successful people later on. 4-Hers are challenged, and learn how to win with grace, as well as how to fail without giving up. One young girl told a staff member “I got a red ribbon on my cake, but it was a really important red, because the judge gave me really good tips on how to make a better cake next year!”

Shawnee County Fair King and Queen Candidates representing 4-H at the Fair

If you are interested in learning more about the long term impacts of 4-H, check out the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development from Tufts University at https://4-h.org/about/research/. Questions about enrollment in Shawnee County 4-H can be directed to the 4-H staff at the extension office at wiensg@ksu.edu or 785-232-0062. We look forward to welcoming your family into the program!

Grace Wiens

4-H Youth Development Extension Agent

Shawnee County 
1740 SW Western Ave
Topeka KS 66604
785-232-0062, Ext. 120
wiensg@ksu.edu
http://www.shawnee.ksu.edu