WVU Extension Service


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 ).


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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.



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

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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].


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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.


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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.

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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].


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Summer has passed and that means it’s time to start preparing your lawn and garden for the upcoming winter months ahead. West Virginia University Extension Service experts have the information needed for an effective maintenance plan that will help reduce environmental damage to next year’s landscape.

Why Clean Up?

Cold weather doesn’t kill plant disease. It can survive through the winter months and become harmful to your plants in the spring. Fall is a perfect time to clear away all of the foliage from roses and other plants that could contain diseases. Watch for leaves with spots of various colors, shapes and sizes.

According to WVU Extension Service [insert county name] County agent [agent name], these plants should be bagged and put in the garbage.

“By gathering and removing all of the diseased leaves and plants, problems should be reduced for the upcoming gardening season,” said [agent name].

Mulching and Pruning

Fall is also a good time to prune plants. Once leaves fall, it is easy to identify problems with tree or shrub structure. Pruning removes the dead and damaged leaves or twigs that can be home to plant disease. Instead of raking and throwing out all of those dead and fallen leaves, save a little bit of time and shred them with the lawnmower. Move them to your garden, and follow up by spreading a light nitrogen fertilizer over the area.

Mowing the Yard

After spending all summer mowing the grass, you may think it is time to put the lawnmower away. However, it is beneficial to give your lawn one last good mow. Keep the blade low, so your grass is kept short. This helps reduce the risk of dead spots in the winter and allows the grass to get more oxygen.


Raking and removing the leaves creates a more positive physical and disease-free environment for plants. Having less debris and grass piled up around trees and shrubs may reduce wildlife feeding, or reduce bark cracking due to freezing and thawing during the winter months. Damp and wet conditions are reduced, which can result in trunk and shrub collapse over prolonged periods of time.

“[Insert quote about benefits of cleaning up your yard for winter],” said WVU Extension Service [insert county name] County agent [agent name]. “[insert rest of quote].”

Winter months does not mean gardens have to be deserted. Be sure everything is cleared away that needs to be, and bulbs or seeds that have to be planted before the ground hardens are in the soil. Give your yard and garden a good watering and check on it occasionally through the winter. This gives you the chance to prepare a checklist for what needs to be done in the spring.


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As kids prepare their costumes and gear up for a night of trick-or-treating, Halloween can be a source of worry for some parents.

Fortunately, according to WVU Extension experts, your family can enjoy a safe, healthy and happy Halloween with a little thought and preparation ahead of time.

Eliminate fire hazards

Remember that dried flowers, hay, cornstalks, crepe paper and other objects popular for Halloween decoration are highly flammable. Keep these items away from open flames and heat sources such as light bulbs and heaters. Also, use flashlights or battery-operated candles as alternatives to regular candles when decorating.

Be safe, stay seen

Trick-or-treaters should be supervised by an adult and walk in groups large enough to be seen by nearby drivers. Always remind children to stay on sidewalks, use crosswalks and look both ways before crossing the street. A great way for children to stay visible is by having them carry flashlights or glow sticks, or wear reflective tape on their costumes.

Teach children to stay with their group

Remind children to never enter the house or car of someone they don’t know. Children should stay in well-lit, populated areas, and stay with their trick-or-treating group.

Avoid accidents and injuries with practical costumes

Practicality is the name of the game for Halloween costumes. Your child’s costume should fit well and should not trail the ground. Comfortable shoes suitable for walking can not only help avoid foot pain, but also help to prevent tripping. Props should be made of plastics or foam to reduce the risk of an injury if a child falls.

If your child wears a mask, be sure the viewing area is big enough for the child to easily see where he or she is going. Choose a costumes that allows trick-or-treaters to see and hear perfectly—they should always have the ability to watch and listen for cars. Consider using makeup instead of masks.

For additional questions, contact the <insert county> County WVU Extension Office at <insert county office phone number> or <insert email address>.

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November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know that cancer is the leading cause of death in West Virginia, and that lung cancer tops the list of cancer deaths in our state?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that lung cancer rates are decreasing nationally as fewer people smoke cigarettes. But almost 27% of adult West Virginians smoke, helping to give West Virginia a higher rate of lung cancer than the nation as a whole.

About 80% of lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking cigarettes, cigars and pipes, and many others are caused by exposure to secondhand smoke. You can also develop lung cancer after being exposed to substances such as asbestos or radon at home or work, or having a family history of lung cancer.

As with any cancer, early detection saves lives. Screening is now available for lung cancer. Talk with your health care provider about whether you’re at risk for lung cancer, and whether you should be screened. Those at higher risk include people who are 55 to 80 years old who have a 30 pack-year smoking history. (Determine your pack-year by multiplying the number of packs per day times the number of years you’ve been smoking.) People who are current smokers or who have quit in the past 15 years are also at a higher risk.

Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of illness and premature death in the United States. Think of your loved ones, and don’t let it shorten your life.

The most important things you can do to lower your lung cancer risk are to quit smoking and to avoid secondhand smoke. If you need help quitting, there are a number of resources available. Your health care provider is a great place to start. You can also visit smokefree.gov, a site maintained by the National Institutes of Health. There’s a national quit line – 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669), and the West Virginia Quitline – 1-877-966-8784. West Virginia’s Division of Tobacco Prevention has a number of free resources to help tobacco users successfully make this important lifestyle change. Many employers also offer tobacco cessation programs and assistance.

The West Virginia University Extension Service is working with the WVU Cancer Institute to help West Virginians become educated and enabled to take charge of their own health. To learn more about ways WVU Extension uses trusted research and local experts to empower citizens to improve their health, contact the insert name County office of the WVU Extension Service at insert contact information.



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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and West Virginia communities are walking to increase awareness about the disease and raise money for the fight.

The Mountains of Hope Cancer Coalition, its partners, and volunteers are sponsoring thirteen regional “Walks for Women?Take a Step Against Breast Cancer.” The walk for our area will be insert info from below.

The Walks are intended to raise awareness about the need for breast cancer screening, honor breast cancer survivors and remember those who have died from the disease. The Walks, which will range from one to three miles long, will also raise donations from individuals and corporate sponsors to benefit the West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Diagnostic and Treatment (D&T) Fund.

The D&T Fund, created by the 1996 West Virginia Legislature, helps uninsured West Virginia women who are in need of diagnostic and/or treatment services for breast and cervical cancer.
Mountains of Hope raises money through donations to increase the amount of the D&T Fund. This allows more WV women to access the services provided. The West Virginia Bureau for Public Health administers the D&T Fund. Women must meet eligibility guidelines and be recommended by their health care provider.

Every dollar raised by the Walks for Women goes into the D&T Fund. Last year, the Walks raised over $70,000. To participate in a Walk for Women or to find out more information, call Cancer Prevention and Control, WVU Cancer Institute, at (304) 293-2370.

The complete list of 2016 Walk sites includes Clay, Falling Waters, Grafton, Hamlin, Hundred/Burton, Lindside, Man, New Cumberland, Princeton, Pt. Pleasant, Quinwood, Wheeling, and Williamson.

The West Virginia University Extension Service is working with the WVU Cancer Institute to help West Virginians become educated and enabled to take charge of their own health. To learn more about ways WVU Extension uses trusted research and local experts to empower citizens to improve their health, contact the insert name County office of the WVU Extension Service at insert contact information.


2016 Walk for Women Sites

Hundred/Burton: Thursday, September 29
East Wetzel Rail Trail
5:30 pm Registration
6:00 pm Walk for Women begins

Falling Waters: Saturday, October 1
Falling Waters River Lots and Campground
9:00 am Registration
10:00 am Walk for Women begins

Man: Saturday, October 1
Buffalo Creek Public Library
9:00 am Registration
10:00 am Walk for Women begins

Williamson: Saturday, October 1
Righteous Brew
11:30 am Registration
Noon Walk for Women begins

New Cumberland: Saturday, October 8
Hancock County Health Department
9:00 am Registration
10:00 am Walk for Women begins

Quinwood: Saturday, October 8
Crichton Cottage
9:00 am Registration
10:00 am Walk for Women begins

Grafton: Saturday, October 8
International Mother’s Day Shrine
10:00 am Registration
11:00 am Walk for Women begins

Princeton: Saturday, October 8
Four Seasons Pharmacy
10:30 am Registration
11:00 am Walk for Women begins

Wheeling: Sunday, October 9
Howard Long Wellness Center (Janie’s Walk)
Noon Registration
2:00 pm Walk for Women begins

Lindside: Sunday, October 9
Monroe County Senior Center
1:00 pm Registration
2:00 pm Walk for Women begins

Pt. Pleasant: Sunday, October 9
Mason County Court House
Annex Parking Lot
1:00 pm Registration
2:00 pm Walk for Women begins

Clay: Saturday, October 15
Clay County High School
9:00 am Registration
10:00 am Walk for Women begins

Hamlin: Sunday, October 16
Lincoln Primary Care Center Walking Track
1:00 pm Registration
2:00 pm Walk for Women begins