WVU Extension Service

Agents – this release is designed to be customizable for use in your county publications. Please personalize and use as appropriate.

If your county had only one winner, please make sure to change subject-verb agreement in headline and article to singular tense.

Alternate, county specific title: [Insert county name] County [youth/youths] bring[s] home Gold Ribbon awards from State 4-H Day


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

[Insert county name] County 4-H’ers represented [Insert county name] County at State 4-H Day, held at WVU Jackson’s Mill on May 20, 2017.

The annual competition allows youths to participate in educational activities and engage in friendly competitions that develop their subject matter knowledge, leadership skills and life skills.

After a variety of competitive events including visual presentations, public speaking, digital presentations and lego and robotics challenges, several 4-H’ers from [Insert county name] County were granted gold ribbon awards for their impressive communication skills.

“We are so proud of our hardworking 4-H’ers for taking the time to learn about a new subject and, most of all, for having the confidence to present to judges at a state competition,” said WVU Extension Service [Insert county name] County Agent [Agent Name]. “This is another example of how our West Virginia 4-H’ers are taking opportunities to better themselves and their communities.”

From [insert county name] County, winners include:

• [insert first & last name], [insert division] division, [insert presentation title] in the [insert category] category
• [insert first & last name], [insert division] division, [insert presentation title] in the [insert category] category
• [insert first & last name], [insert division] division, [insert presentation title] in the [insert category] category

*Agents—if you’d like to elaborate more about specific projects here, feel free to fill in the quote below.

“[Info about project/s],” said [Agent last name]. “[End quote].”

If you’d like to learn more about West Virginia 4-H opportunities in our county, visit [insert county website] or call the WVU Extension Service [insert county name] County at [xxx-xxx-xxxx].

WVU
06/21/16/bd

Agents – this release is designed to be customizable for use in your county publications. Please personalize and use as appropriate.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

With over 1,700 submissions statewide, [insert number of winners in your county] [insert county name] County winners of the West Virginia 4-H poster contest will have their submissions showcased at the 2017 State Fair of West Virginia in Lewisburg, Aug. 10-19.

The annual contest aims to encourage artistic expression among 4-H’ers and increase their knowledge in areas such as health and nutrition, environmental issues, dairy, safety, 4-H values and science, technology, engineering and math fields.

From [insert county name] County, winners include:
• [first and last name of youth], [age of youth]—[Name of submission]
• [first and last name of youth], [age of youth]—[Name of submission]
• [first and last name of youth], [age of youth]—[Name of submission]

Many posters go on to be displayed at local fairs, schools and businesses, sharing poster messages with a broader audience and thereby giving contest applicants the opportunity to spread awareness of issues that affect them and their communities.

According to [insert county name] County 4-H agent [agent full name], the annual contest encourages citizenship among West Virginia 4-H’ers, which is one of the three national 4-H mission mandates.

“[Insert quote about impact of contest and/or pride in all 4-H members who participated], said [agent last name]. “[End quote here, if there is more to be added—if not, erase]”.

Of the 1,700 submissions from county youths ages 9 to 21, 332 were chosen and submitted to the state level representing 43 of West Virginia’s 55 counties. The state level entries were judged to select a “Best of Show” or gold ribbon in each category and division. All other posters received a blue, red or white ribbon and will receive the State Fair premium for a 4-H exhibit. Posters in the dairy category will also be displayed at the West Virginia Dairy Cattle Show and WVU Jackson’s Mill summer festival—state winners in the dairy category will receive a homemade ice cream freezer sponsored by the American Dairy Association.

West Virginia 4-H is a program of the WVU Extension Service. For more than a century, 4-H has focused on agricultural science, electricity, mechanics, entrepreneurship and natural sciences. Today, 4-H out-of-school opportunities also exist in subjects like rocketry, robotics, biofuels, renewable energy and computer science.

To learn more about new opportunities in the 4-H program, visit http://www.ext.wvu.edu/, or contact your local office of the WVU Extension Service.

5/22/17/bmd

Agents – this release is designed to be customizable for use in your county publications. Please personalize and use as appropriate.

West Virginia 4-H’ers throughout the state are invited to WVU Jackson’s Mill to learn how to improve their communities with leadership skills gained at the 2017 Older Members’ Conference, hosted by the West Virginia University Extension Service 4-H Youth Development program.

West Virginia 4-H’ers ages 14 to 21 are invited to the event held at WVU Jackson’s Mill in Weston from June 18-24. Pre-camp, by invitation only, begins Saturday, June 17.

According to Brent Clark, WVU Extension Service 4-H Youth Development program director, the main purpose of the conference is to equip older 4-H’ers with new skills that encourage personal growth and can be used to better their local clubs and communities.

“West Virginia 4-H is founded on making the best, better,” said Clark. “At Older Members’ Conference, we help empower our older members to become leaders within their own communities by teaching them about the world we live in through interactive games, workshops and activities.”

This year’s theme is O-M-Camp. During the conference, days are divided into two parts: discussion and workshop. The discussions allow for peer-focused, respectful conversations among campers while workshops engage youths in skills that range from cooking and dancing to learning about astronomy, creative art and film.

Workshops such as How to be an Adult 101 aim to prepare camp go-ers with life lessons including how to write a check, stick to a budget and complete everyday adult tasks.

“We strive to immerse our campers in workshops that are relevant to the world we live in today and help to prepare them for the future,” said WVU Preston County Extension agent David Hartley. “When they leave here, we hope they take home a multitude of new skills and a better understanding of how to become a pioneer for change in their community.”

Early registrants are eligible for discounts. The postmark deadline to receive scholarships is Friday, June 2. The cost to register will increase after the postmark deadline.

To learn more or register, visit bit.ly/4Homc, contact your local Extension office or contact Micalyn Stump at 304-293-5871 or Micalyn.Stump@mail.wvu.edu.

For more than a century, 4-H has focused on agricultural science, electricity, mechanics, entrepreneurship and natural sciences. Today, 4-H out-of-school opportunities also exist in subjects like rocketry, robotics, biofuels, renewable energy and computer science.

To learn more about new opportunities in the 4-H program, visit http://www.ext.wvu.edu/, or contact your local office of the WVU Extension Service.

-WVU-

bd/05/17/17

CONTACT: Brittany Dick, WVU Extension Service
304.293.8701, Brittany.Dick@mail.wvu.edu
Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.

Agents – this release is designed to be customizable for use in your county publications. Please personalize and use as appropriate.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Looking for unique ways to make mom feel special this Mother’s Day? Team up with the rest of the family to plan and shop for a healthy breakfast or brunch for mom.

This May, West Virginia University Extension Service is bringing [insert county name] County families ideas to make Mother’s Day morning one to remember. WVU Extension Service Families and Health Specialist Gina Wood suggests a comprehensive meal made with healthy, whole foods and lots of love.

Simple, yet delicious meal ideas that include a wholesome serving of energy-boosting protein, fiber-rich carbohydrates and nutrient-dense, fresh fruit include:

  • Scrambled eggs or omelets served with whole grain toast and slices of fresh melon, kiwi or peaches
  • Whole wheat blueberry muffins with yogurt and orange wedges
  • Smoothies made with yogurt, ripe bananas and fresh or frozen berries

Wood says that brunch ideas can involve the whole family, regardless of ages.

“Younger children can help by washing fruits and vegetables, stirring ingredients and setting the table, while older children can peel and chop produce and operate appliances,” said Wood. “By helping prepare a meal, children learn creativity, teamwork and math and science skills.”

The benefits of a home cooked family meal extend beyond developing life skills—it also develops bonds.

“Eating meals together as a family as often as possible is also great for kids and adults alike because it encourages communication,” says Wood. “There is evidence that having family meals is linked to a lower risk of obesity, substance abuse, eating disorders, teen pregnancy and an increased chance of graduating from high school as well as higher self-esteem among children.”

*Note to agents— Feel free to promote local Mother’s Day events in this space. Transition with “However, if you’re looking to take mom out for a nice brunch, _____._

For more healthy recipe ideas, visit snaped.fns.usda.gov/recipes-menus.

To learn more about WVU Extension Service or healthy lifestyles, contact Gina Wood at Gina.Wood@mail.wvu.edu or 304-720-9338.

WVU
04/10/17/adc

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The West Virginia University Extension Service’s Community Leadership Academy, taking place on Wednesday, April 19 through Friday, April 21 at the Marriot at Waterfront Place in Morgantown, is an opportunity for emerging and established community leaders to connect, develop personally and find solutions that work in our community.

Not just a typical conference, it’s designed from the ground up to support leaders in developing leadership skills that are crucial to solving real world problems in West Virginia. The approach focuses on ways to approach difficult situations that require thoughtful decision making.

Registration is currently open to those interested and is available at www.cla.ext.wvu.edu/registration . The general cost of attendance is $245 per person for the three-day event. There are student, VISTA and early-bird discounts available. The early-bird registration deadline is Wednesday, March 15 and regular registration deadline is due by Friday, April 7.

A variety of sessions are available for multiple interests and specialties. Session categories will include topics on leadership, good governance and economic strategy, and will feature breakout sessions that allow a customizable workshop experience.

For more information about the breakout sessions and a full list and description of all the sessions available, visit www.cla.ext.wvu.edu/.

Keynote speaker, Thomas A. Heywood, will call upon his own experience navigating challenging times, while emphasizing West Virginia’s bright future and how effective leadership, in combination with good governance and economic strategy, can affect positive change.

Attendees can also look forward to a session hosted by WVU President E. Gordon Gee as he discusses leadership strategies that stem from his many years of successful leadership experience.

For those looking for a hands-on, after-hours learning experience, there will be the popular culinary and craft beer tours offered that feature different restaurants and bars unique to West Virginia. Participants will learn more about community development and sustainability in the state and see firsthand how these businesses contribute to the state’s economy by way of creating jobs and revenue.

For more information, visit the sites above or contact your local ( COUNTY ) County WVU Extension office at ( CONTACT INFO ).

WVU
es/02/24/17

For CommENEWS:

Agents – this release is designed to be customizable for use in your county publications. Please personalize and use as appropriate.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

No matter who you’re cheering for, you’ll need delicious snacks to fuel your team spirit throughout the big game.

Luckily, the WVU Extension Service has tips to help win big in the snack department while making sure to provide plenty of healthy options for party guests.

Set a game plan

This year, Super Bowl Sunday is on Feb. 5. That means party hosts have ample time to prepare a menu that includes lots of tasty, healthy items for guests to enjoy.

According to WVU Extension Service Family Nutrition Program Specialist Gina Wood, planning ahead can be the difference between enjoying food in moderation or completely overindulging.

Or, if you’re attending a party, plan ahead by drinking plenty of water and eating a small, healthy snack before the big game.

“If you arrive hungry, you’re more likely to over-indulge,” she says.

Wood also advises to engage in physical activity before the game. Doing a pre-game exercise is a good way to stay healthy ahead of an evening filled with sitting and will make you more likely to stick with healthy eating habits later.

Keep healthy options available

If you’re heading out to a watch party, consider taking along a healthy appetizer for your host. If you are hosting, include healthy options for your guests. Either way, you can’t go wrong with snacks such as:

• A vegetable tray with low-fat salad dressing as dip
• A fruit and cheese tray
• Sliced apples with low-fat dip made from vanilla yogurt with a touch of honey and cinnamon
• Salsa or guacamole served with baked tortilla chips
• Hummus served with whole grain crackers or pita bread

Don’t be afraid to try new, healthy recipes as well. Wood suggests trying recipes such as bite-sized zucchini pizzas, black bean and corn fiesta salsa or oven-baked chicken strips. Recipes are available at fh.ext.wvu.edu/food/recipes.

Moderation is key

No matter how much planning you do, there could inevitably be unhealthy snacks to tempt you at the buffet table. Wood says balance and moderation are key to conquering the goal of making healthy decisions while enjoying a variety of offered dishes.

Scan the buffet. Then choose two or three dishes you want, balancing small portions of unhealthier options with fruits and vegetables.

“Try not to load your plate with some of every available dish,” she says. “If they’re not your favorites, they’re not worth it.”

Wood also reminds party hosts and guests to stay hydrated, which also aids in keeping you fuller, longer.

“Remember to “Rethink your Drink” and choose water over high calorie drinks,” says Wood. “If you want flavor to wash down your snacks, try infusing your water with fresh or frozen fruit—you can even use sparkling water for some added zing.”

Rethink your Drink recipes are available at bit.ly/WVUESWaterRecipes.

With a set game plan in place, you’re sure to be victorious at this year’s Super Bowl party no matter who you’re cheering for.

For more information on healthy eating, visit bit.ly/WVUESFamilyNutrition or contact the <insert county name> County WVU Extension Service office.

-WVU-

bd/1/17/17

CONTACT: Brittany Dick, WVU Extension Service
304.293.8701, Brittany.Dick@mail.wvu.edu

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter

For CommENEWS:

Agents – this release is designed to be customizable for use in your county publications. Please personalize and use as appropriate.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

As the year’s end draws closer, so does the chance of cold, snow and ice. While winter weather may be unpredictable at times, there are some easy things you can do to prepare according to WVU Extension Service [insert county name] County agent [agent name].

Dress in layers.

When heading outdoors in cold weather, it’s best for everyone in the family to dress in several layers of lightweight clothing. Be sure to wear gloves and socks, and keep your head, neck and ears covered. Make sure to wear footwear that will keep your feet warm and dry, and has plenty of tread to maintain footing when walking in snow or ice.

Prep your vehicle.

Before potential storms hit, have a professional check fluid levels, windshield wipers, lights, brakes and tires. Tires should be properly inflated and have adequate tread to safely tackle winter roadways. This is also the right time to make sure each vehicle is stocked with a windshield wiper scraper, a snow brush, an emergency kit, jumper cables and a spare change of clothes—you never know when you might need it if roadways are not safe enough to drive home. You can find a list of good suggested items at www.ready.gov/winter-weather.

Keep your animals safe.

Don’t forget your four-legged family members during winter weather. Pets should be brought inside. If that’s not possible, make sure they are protected by a warm, dry and draft-free enclosure that is large enough to allow them to sit and lie down, but small enough to hold in the pet’s body heat. Raise the floor a few inches off the ground and cover it with cedar shavings or straw. Turn the enclosure away from the wind and cover the doorway with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic. Be sure to provide food and non-frozen drinking water, and check on them frequently.

Knowledge is power.

Pay attention to the news and take time to understand the terminology used to alert the public of upcoming weather conditions.

A winter weather advisory means weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous, so caution should be used. A winter storm watch means a winter storm is possible in your area within the next 12 to 36 hours. It could include heavy snow and/or ice. You should monitor alerts using radio, television or weather apps, check your emergency supplies and gather any items you may need if you lose power. A winter storm warning means life-threatening, severe weather conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. People in the warning area should take precautions immediately.

Having an idea of what winter weather is to come means everything in a potential emergency situation. If you have a smartphone, consider downloading apps available from FEMA or the Red Cross, which both provide additional information about finding shelters, providing first aid and seeking assistance.

For additional resources on winter preparedness, visit ext.wvu.edu or contact your local [insert county name] County WVU Extension Service office at [insert phone number] or [insert email address].

WVU
12/14/15/bd

For CommENEWS:

Insert text for CommENEWS here. View the customizable article.

Agents – this release is designed to be customizable for use in your county publications. Please personalize and use as appropriate.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Traditionally, the holidays are a time to slow down, gather with family and unwind as a new year approaches.

But if you’ve ever felt stressed or anxious as the holidays approach, you’re not alone, according to WVU Extension Service [insert County Name] County agent [insert agent name].

“Whether it’s worries over finances, work responsibilities, travel obligations, gift shopping or holiday meal planning, research shows that many Americans feel more stressed around this time of year than any other,” said [insert agent last name]. “Luckily, both individuals and families can take steps toward preventing holiday stress and focusing on enjoying the season with loved ones instead.”

[insert agent last name] says it all boils down to setting expectations, planning in advance and establishing boundaries to avoid last-minute holiday meltdowns:

Set expectations

It may seem hard to let go of the idea hosting that perfect holiday get-together, but sometimes the execution doesn’t always go as planned—and that’s okay. With ample communication with friends and family members, it’s possible for plans to run smoothly even if it’s not the exact vision everyone expects.

If you’re hosting a meal and know you could use some help, let guests know ahead of time that you’re open and willing for them to bring a side dish or come early to help prepare, which may help lift some stress off of you. Or if you have several dinners to visit, let hosts know ahead of time if you’ll be arriving late or leaving early to avoid any potential disappointment.

Set a game plan

Planning in advance applies to a variety of situations that could trigger stress during the holidays. From shopping for gifts to creating holiday menus to coordinating travel plans, planning ahead of time helps lessen stress and anxiety as festivities draw nearer.

Planning ahead can especially save a lot of trouble for families who need to divide time. Whether it’s a traditional, blended or separated family unit, the essential thing to remember is to plan ahead and know that juggling time can be an issue.

Set boundaries

Couples and families should communicate first before making commitments to dinner hosts. This helps show both sides of the family that decisions are always made as a unit, helping to set a precedent for years to come.

When discussing holiday plans with a partner, it’s important to take note of traditions that mean the most to him or her. That doesn’t mean neglecting your own family traditions, but finding a middle ground between the two to reach a compromise is a key priority to keeping holidays stress-free.

Whatever your plans, try to keep stress at a minimum when possible. The holidays are meant to be full of cheer, not worry and fear—so apply these tips and aim for a happy holiday.

For questions, recipes and all other things holiday-related, visit ext.wvu.edu.

WVU
11/14/16/bd

Agents – this release is designed to be customizable for use in your county publications. Please personalize and use as appropriate.

Interested in sharing health information at your worksite, community group or organization? The West Virginia University Extension Service encourages individuals in [insert county name] County to become health role models within their communities through the 2017 Health Motivator program.

Health Motivators lead their community groups through monthly education, fun activities and support. Health Motivators will be provided with free materials including calendars, tips, monthly activity suggestions and training outlines.

“We have had a lot of successful Health Motivator participants throughout the years who have improved their health,” said Elaine Bowen, WVU Extension Service health promotion specialist. “Becoming a Health Motivator is a great way to connect with your community and learn leadership skills while exercising and promoting a healthy lifestyle.”

The theme of the 2017 Health Motivator program is brain health. Many of the Health Motivator materials include facts about the brain and tips for maximizing brain health. Monthly activities will encourage brain health and exercise.

To become a Health Motivator, simply call your [insert county name] County WVU Extension Service office or contact Elaine Bowen at Elaine.Bowen@mail.wvu.edu or 304-293-8584.

Learn more about the program by visiting the Health Motivator page on the WVU Extension Service website at ceos.ext.wvu.edu/health/health-motivator.

The WVU Extension Service serves as an outreach division of West Virginia University. Extension has offices in all 55 counties, which provide citizens with knowledge in areas such as 4-H and youth development, agriculture, family and consumer sciences, health, leadership development and community and economic development.

To learn more, visit www.ext.wvu.edu, or contact your local office of the WVU Extension Service.

*- WVU – *
11/07/2016/adc

For CommENEWS:
Insert text for CommENEWS here. View the customizable article.

Agents – this release is designed to be customizable for use in your county publications. Please personalize and use as appropriate.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ready or not, the holidays are fast approaching. And while this time of year is often filled with food, festivities and opportunities to spend time with loved ones, it’s also met with the challenge of holiday shopping.

Luckily, according to WVU Extension Service specialists, holiday shopping doesn’t have to be overwhelming. There are ways that even inexperienced shoppers can save time, money and stress when it comes time to hit the stores.

“It all starts with proper planning,” said WVU Extension Service [insert county name] County Agent [insert agent name]. “Know your budget, know who you’re buying for and do your research ahead of time—no one wants to spend a ton of time and money shopping when they could be spending it with friends and families during the holidays.”

Follow [Insert agent last name]’s tips below to cut down on stress levels as the holidays approach.

Make a list of gift recipients

Make a comprehensive list of what friends and family members you plan on shopping for. Write down ideas for gifts and research where you can find your must-have items, whether it’s online or in-store—and don’t forget to take shipping time into account for online orders. This is a strategic way to save time in stores and instead use it for celebrating with loved ones.

Set a budget and stick to it

Figure out where you stand with your finances and what you can realistically afford. If you aren’t already, track your monthly expenses and income and then base your decision on what gifts to purchase from there. The earlier you do this, the longer you have to save up for items you may not be able to afford right away.

Gather coupons and scout for sale items

Retailers are notorious for inflating prices during the holidays. Do your research before shopping to compare prices between stores. You can also find coupons online, in newspapers or in catalogs to save extra when it comes time to purchase.

Consider shopping early

The biggest benefit of getting in the holiday spirit early? Having the ability to prepare your finances for the biggest spending season of the year, according to [Insert agent last name]. You also have the added benefit of skipping last-minute holiday shopping crowds and relaxing as the season draws nearer.

Try your hand at DIY gifts

With inspiration-sharing sites like Pinterest now available, do-it-yourself holiday gift ideas have never been more accessible. If you’re having trouble deciding what to buy for a picky gift recipient or are on a tight budget, search for handmade gift ideas online. Whether it’s a holiday wreath or layered cookie mix in a mason jar, DIY gifts are a personal, sentimental way to say “happy holidays” while keeping costs to a minimum.

For more money-saving tips, visit ext.wvu.edu/home-family/finances or contact your local WVU Extension Service office at [insert office phone number] or [insert office email address].

WVU
10/26/16/bd