Chilton — Starting on Jan. 3, 2017, several staffing changes will occur at the University of Wisconsin Extension Service office at the Calumet County courthouse.

These changes are due to a combination of the pending state-wide restructuring of the Extension Service and the resulting decisions made by the Calumet County board of supervisors on local staffing for the new year.

Longtime Extension Service full-time program assistant Connie Leonhard will have her time reduced to 50 percent in that office. The remainder of her time will be with the county's department of administration.

In making that announcement, Extension Service department chair Mary Kohrell pointed out that Leonhard's duties will include support of the 4-H, agriculture, and family living programs. She added, however, that volunteers will be required for some of the related activities that Leonhard has handled for many years.

A related change will have Cindi Goebel moving from the Extension Service to the department of administration as a communication and project specialist. Kohrell pointed out that the “high priority education programs” once conducted by Goebel will be picked up by Leonhard, others on the Extension staff, and volunteers.

One change that took place on December 12 was the appointment of Brillion resident Tami Gasch as the interim 4-H and youth development agent. Pending the timing on the state-wide restructuring, this position is set to run through mid-summer of 2017. Gasch had already been serving as a part-time assistant for the county's 4-H program.

The only remaining full-time Extension Service educator in the county office will be family living agent Paula Hella, who will also become the department chair. Kohrell left her position as chair and community development agent on Dec. 20. In what's a new position, she will become the county's community economic development director as of Jan. 3.

Kohrell's announcement also noted that the county's agriculture agent position, following the departure of Eric Ronk in October, is likely to remain vacant through most of 2017. When possible, she explained that requests coming to Leonhard will be referred to agriculture agents in neighboring counties.

Because of the significant role that the Extension Service staff has traditionally served in the preparation and conducting of the annual county fair on Labor Day weekend, Kohrell also addressed that point. She said reductions in that involvement are “highly likely” but how significant those will be is not yet known.

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