Tag Archives: richard wooten

Associate district coordinator named for District 11

Ed Scott, an Extension educator who was MSU Extension’s first district coordinator intern, has been named associate district 11 coordinator, effective June 1.

In his newly created role, Ed will be assisting Richard Wooten, the district 11 coordinator. District 11 includes some of the most densely populated parts of the state (including Detroit), and we have known that extra support was needed in that area for some time. Ed will assist Richard with building relationships; procuring resources; coaching, mentoring and supporting educators with their programming efforts; and acting as a resource for project team leaders and institute directors.

As MSU Extension’s first district coordinator intern, Ed helped us determine how a district coordinator intern can best serve the organization and laid the groundwork for future interns. His internship experience and his work creating innovative programming in urban settings, make him a great fit for this new position.

Ed shared that he is thrilled to have the opportunity to continue building relationships with the multitude of partners in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties.

Thank you for your continued service, Ed, and congratulations on the new position!

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Coordinator named for District 11

Richard Wooten

Richard Wooten

Ever since Richard Wooten took over the interim district coordinator position in District 11 for Michigan State University Extension in August, he has exhibited a strong track record with stakeholders in southeastern Michigan. Because of the unique needs of the district, it was important that we could find an experienced leader to serve in this role for the long term. It has become clear that Richard is the right person for the job. He has accepted a direct appointment, effective April 1.

Richard began his tenure with MSU Extension as an educator with the Government and Public Policy Team in the Greening Michigan Institute. It was his decade of experience in land use planning, community and economic development, public policy, and economic development, which set him up to be a great candidate to fill the space. Marie Ruemenapp, outgoing district coordinator, and Edward Scott, district coordinator intern, assist him in building strong relationships with staff members, county officials and stakeholders.

District 11 serves the three most populated counties in Michigan. Richard’s experience, expertise and knowledge in the district will help us further our mission. Richard told us that he is excited to have the opportunity to continue building relationships within the district with county government, industry, human service organizations, agribusiness, youth-serving organizations and other potential partners of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties. In this new role, he will also have an opportunity to provide guidance, encouragement and support to the work of MSU Extension faculty educators and staff members as they enhance Extension’s mission and programs.

Please help me officially welcome Richard to his new position, and thank Marie and Ed for continuing their supportive roles!

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PlacePlans initiative leads to passage of Allegan riverfront proposal

More than 70 percent of Allegan voters approved a proposal Nov. 5 to take $500,000 from the city’s sinking fund to support a riverfront plan.

The plan is a collaborative effort of the Michigan State University School of Planning, Design and Construction (SPDC), MSU Extension and the Michigan Municipal League (MML). The concept is built around Gov. Snyder’s MI Place initiative that focuses on placemaking – creating vibrant, walkable places where people want to live and work. The three parties worked together through PlacePlans, a MI Place partnership that helps communities design and plan for transformative placemaking projects with the support of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). MSU received a grant from MSHDA to develop design proposals around placemaking.

Warren Rauhe, SPDC associate professor, said, “The passing of the proposal is an outstanding first step. This is seed money. Other grants and funds could double or triple that amount.”

“One of the main tenets of PlacePlans was to build local consensus resulting in a shared local vision and tangible outcomes,” said Wayne Beyea, outreach specialist in the SPDC. “The community got together and there was real action that happened right on the heels of the proposal’s unveiling.”

The Allegan riverfront plan involved three components: 1) the plan and the illustrations 2) the audit of the assets that the community already had to support the plan and 3) the actual process itself involving hundreds of people including a design charrette. A charrette is an intensive multi-day, collaborative design workshop resulting in shared guiding principles for physical improvements.

The primary role of the SPDC, led by Wayne and Warren, was to develop planning and design recommendations and offer technical assistance.

Luke Forrest and Heather Van Poucker of the MML coordinated and audited the community’s assets.

MSU Extension field staff played a key role in guiding the charrettes following the National Charrette Institute’s Charrette System. They interacted with key stakeholders and assisted with facilitation of interviews. MSU Extension educators involved are part of the government and public policy work group in the Greening Michigan Institute. They include Brad Neumann, Julie Pioch, Dean Solomon, Michelle Walk and Richard Wooten.

“The collaborative approach using Extension expertise around design charrettes is what makes this project unique,” said Wayne. “Warren and I worked in concert with students, faculty, MSU Extension educators, MML and state agency partners, using funding from MSHDA. The effort went so well that the same three partners are under contract to do this again.”

Allegan is one of four cities that were part of MI Place placemaking projects and collaborative efforts by MSU SPDC, MSU Extension and the MML. The others include Alpena, Sault Ste. Marie and Dearborn.

“The projects involved more than 1,400 local participants among the four communities – extensive public involvement,” said Warren.

“PlacePlans strives to reach the goal of attracting vibrant talent to the state,” he said.

The work of the SPDC, Extension and the MML should help that goal become a reality.

Read the Downtown Allegan Riverfront Development Project PlacePlan Concept Report:


Read an article and watch a video about the proposal on this WZZM 13 webpage: http://www.wzzm13.com/news/article/272417/2/Riverfront-proposal-on-Allegan-city-ballot

Read more here in this MLive article: http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2013/11/allegan_city_voters_xxxx_50000.html#incart_river_default

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Extension connects on ballot issues

In an article in last week’s Spotlight, I drew your attention to Bulletin GE 49, written by Michigan State University Extension specialist Claire Layman. The bulletin supplies non-partisan objective information allowing Michigan residents to make informed decisions on the six proposals appearing on the ballot Nov. 6.

Besides writing the bulletin, Claire was busy using technology to educate further about the proposals. With help from ANR Communications multimedia production team leader Steve Evans, Claire led two Adobe Connect sessions on campus with leading experts on the ballot issues. On Oct. 22, the group hosted fora, reaching out to four locations: Harrisville, Lawrence, Sault Ste. Marie and Wayne. On Oct. 24, the fora involved five locations: Clinton Township, Flint, Hastings, Houghton and Traverse City.

Attendees read over the bulletin and watched three pre-recorded video interviews with policy experts who covered both sides of the proposal issues. Afterward, they asked questions of the experts through Adobe Connect.

Experts included MSU Extension specialist and professor of economics Eric Scorsone, professor in the MSU School of Human Resources and Labor Relations Peter Berg, marketing economist in the MSU Product Center Bill Knudson and senior associate director of the Land Policy Institute Mark Wyckoff.

A total of 149 people participated in the fora with the most attending at Harrisville in Alcona County with 53 participants.

Extension educators hosting the forums included Darren Bagley, Ann Chastain, Terry Gibb, Ginger Hentz, Brad Neumann, Julie Pioch, Bethany Prykucki, Mike Schira, Bonnie Witchner-Zoia and Richard Wooten. Terry Gibb helped write Bulletin GE 49 and helped to organize the overall registration.

In addition, Extension specialist Georgia Peterson helped out by wrangling questions as they came in one evening from the four live sites. She quickly figured out the best method to do so within Adobe Connect.

Organizations that partnered with us in this endeavor included the League of Women Voters, the Lake Superior State University Political Science Club, the Northwest Council of Michigan Governments and the District 13 Extension Council. Partner organizations served to recruit and market the forums, and served as table facilitators at small group discussions.

Claire reports that all evaluations have not been tabulated yet but those that have come in so far have been generally very positive. In Alcona County, 82 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “Because of tonight’s event, I am better informed to make decisions on Michigan’s proposals in the upcoming election.” One hundred percent of Alcona County respondents agreed or strongly agreed that events such as the fora are valuable for our democracy, and 79 percent of them agreed or strongly agreed that they’d like to be a part of similar events.

Associate professor Luke Reese has been instrumental in leading us in the use of Adobe Connect technology. He continues to offer monthly online workshops and is largely responsible for our organizational competency in Adobe Connect meetings and webinars.

Thanks to Claire for making innovative use of technology and to Luke and Steve for continuing to teach, lead and support us in technology efforts. And thanks to our Extension educators for hosting and our partners for their contribution to the events.

We have further signs that people look to us when they want to make informed decisions based on expert opinion. As of Oct. 31, we had more than 400 page views for the forum event listings and nearly 1,400 page views on Extension educator Terry Gibb’s article “November Ballot Issues Could Mean Changes for Michigan Residents.”

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Contact information for MSUE ombudsperson

Richard Wooten, Michigan State University Extension educator in the Greening Michigan Institute, is our new ombudsperson for MSUE. You can reach him at wooten@msu.edu or by phone at 734-727-7234. You can hear Richard’s explanation of how he will be initiating his work as ombudsperson beginning July 1 at the beginning of this week’s MSUE Update Webinar. Thanks to Richard for his leadership and his willingness to serve our organization in this important way!

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Extension helps educate public about Detroit consent agreement

Helping the public and our stakeholders understand the issues that directly affect their quality of life is one of the pinnacles of MSUE. And one of the biggest and best recent examples of this is Extension’s work in educating the public about the recent Detroit consent agreement.

MSUE Public Policy and State Government Team members Eric Scorsone, James Ribbron, Terry Gibb, Nickie Bateson and Richard Wooten are working on a series of Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) bulletins that examine the complicated structure of the agreement, the functions and powers of many key players and context for key date, terms and issues.

The first two bulletins, an FAQ and a follow-up FAQ, were linked to and written about in MSU Extension News articles, a quick and easy way for Extension staffers to push out information to the public quickly and effectively. It is a great example of Extension taking a fast-evolving issue and mobilizing quickly to leverage the wealth of knowledge and experience its educators and specialists have on an important topic.

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MSU Extension Wayne County moves to new locations

Kudos go to the Michigan State University Extension Wayne County staff for their rapid response in moving their offices from their historic downtown Detroit location on Temple Street. Staff members have been busy with the big job of moving all this week and should be settled in by the first week of October. Staff are moving into smaller, community-based offices to better connect to people and neighborhoods.

 Wayne County MSU Extension staff will continue to work out of the 4-H Community Center on the eastside of Detroit and the western Wayne County location in Wayne on Venoy Road. The Venoy Road location will become the new main MSU Extension office. Some MSUE staff will be working out of the MSU office at YouthVille, Detroit; and the MSU Tollgate Education Center, Novi. New MSUE offices will be established with Focus Hope, Detroit, and in a storefront in Lincoln Park. In 2012, an MSU Extension office will also be established in Eastern Market, Detroit.

 Marie Ruemenapp, District 11 coordinator, and Richard Wooten, Extension educator, are coordinating the move. Staff members at the Temple Street location have spent the last few weeks cleaning, packing and organizing. It’s quite a huge undertaking – they received their “moving notice” in late August! – but I’m confident that the MSU Extension Wayne County staff is up to the challenge. And Erica Ciupak, ANR Technology Services director, and her staff have been really helpful in making sure that the Wayne County staff are still connected to our central IT system from their neighborhood-based offices. Thanks go out to all who have pulled off a major miracle in getting this done! They really are an inspiration for all of us.

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