YOUR PAYCHECK WITH NEW FLEXIBLE BENEFITS
WSU will offer a new flexible benefits program starting Jan. 1,
2004, that will help employees stretch their paycheck, take a bite
out of medical costs and reduce their federal taxes.
really want to draw your attention to this new benefit. And it is
easy to get all the forms via the WSU
Medical Flexible Spending Account Web site. Don't let this opportunity
pass. Sign up before November 30.
will be able to invest in medical flexible spending accounts (FSA)
starting Jan. 1, 2004. These accounts let you deposit money from
your before-tax salary and withdraw it tax-free as you incur eligible
medical expenses. Payroll deductions to your flex account are made
before taxes are assessed on your paychecks, so you save that money
tax-free. As you incur medical expenses, you complete a reimbursement
request form and mail it along with receipts and insurance information.
Your tax-free reimbursement typically is issued within five business
days. You can have a check issued to you or Direct Deposit.
reimbursed from a flex account cannot be deducted on your federal
tax return because they are already tax-free. WSU employees can
use flex account funds for a wide variety of medical expenses, for
themselves and eligible dependents. Some eligible expenses include
doctor fees, prescriptions, some over-the-counter drugs, birth control,
optometrist fees, ambulance service and, in some cases, vitamins,
acupuncture, contact lenses, orthodontic care, weight-loss and smoking
cessation programs. Services not covered include insurance premiums,
health club fees and some cosmetic surgery.
help employees gauge how much they might deposit in a medical flexible
spending account, there is a worksheet on the WSU Benefit Services
Web site mentioned above. If you have more questions, you can call
Jan Rauk at 509-335-2523 or Marie Weiss at 335-4580.
ADJUSTMENT ASSISTANCE FOR FARMERS
Jon Newkirk and staff continue to provide excellent leadership
to the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Farmers. This federal
program expands the traditional TAA to agricultural producers and
fishermen. The purpose of the Web site http://www.agrisk.umn.edu/taa/
is to provide information for producers and fishermen seeking technical
training assistance customized for each eligible commodity or fishery.
Categories on the Web site for more detailed information are:
Commodities - Available Technical Assistance
Information about Trade Adjustment Assistance for Farmers
Information and Resources for Extension Educators
FOUNDATIONS DONATE $12.45 MILLION IN NORTHWEST
Congratulations to Chris Fiese and the Center for Sustaining Agriculture
and Natural Resources on the large gift/grant from the Allen Foundation.
Here is some of the story, which appeared in the Seattle Times,
November 6. See another
news story from WSU news writer Denny Fleenor.
arts groups and health and education institutions have received
$12.45 million from the Paul G. Allen Foundations. The six foundations
were established by Microsoft cofounder Allen in the late 1980s,
and they support health and human services, the arts, medical research,
technology in K-12 education and environmental initiatives in Washington,
Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.
$12.45 million in current grants includes donations to more than
130 nonprofit organizations in the region, totaling approximately
$9.6 million from the Paul G. Allen Charitable Foundation, $1.8
million from The Allen Foundation for the Arts, $250,000 from the
Allen Foundation for Music, $300,000 from the Paul G. Allen Foundation
for Medical Research and $500,000 from the Paul G. Allen Virtual
the top of the list: $3.75 million to the Washington State University
Foundation, for "research and outreach related to agriculture
and dairy-farming practices."
Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times music critic, Local News: Thursday,
November 06, 2003
OF WSU EXTENSION INFORMATION SYSTEM
The need for a system of Friends of Extension is easily recognized.
As past conversations have highlighted, Extension needs support
on decisions affecting our ability to deliver educational programs.
Efforts to develop this system are based upon the belief that when
WSU Extension program stake holders are informed with respect to
pending decisions that will impact Extension programs these stake
holders, acting as informed citizens, will communicate their support
for Extension to decision makers.
our recent statewide County Directors meeting we agreed that our
beginning efforts to establish a Friends of WSU Extension Information
System could benefit from the development and sharing of a list
of talking points and actions which could be considered by County
Directors when contacting individuals about this opportunity. The
County Directors received an email from Blair Wolfley this week
detailing the implementation process. Friends of Extension need
to be identified and communicated to the Extension Directors office,
Christy Fitzgerald, by
TAKES INTERNATIONAL ASSIGNMENT IN GEORGIA
John Fouts, Spokane County, leaves November 16 for a 6-month assignment
in Georgia, former Soviet state. This is a project with USDA-CSREES,
similar to the projects our faculty are working on in Armenia.
PRESS EDITORIAL BOARD VISITS WSU PULLMAN
This past week the 10-member editorial board of the Capital Press
visited Pullman and heard presentations about the College of Agriculture
and Home Economics (CAHE) and Cooperative Extension. Based in Salem,
OR, and serving OR, WA and parts of ID, the Capital Press is one
of the few remaining family-owned newspaper publishing operations.
Joining us for lunch and presentations on behalf of Extension were
Janet Schmidt, Whitman County, Dave Baumgartner, Extension forestry
and natural resources specialist, Clive Gay, Director of the Field
Disease Investigation Unit, College of Vet Med and CAHE, and Linda
Fox, Associate Director. Thanks to Terry Day in the Information
Department for making all the arrangements.
SCIENCE EXHIBIT IN WASHINGTON DC CANCELED IN 2004: EFNEP 35TH ANNIVERSARY
2004 marks the 35th anniversary of the Expanded Food and Nutrition
Education Program (EFNEP). A celebration is being planned for Washington
DC location on March 2, 2004. Mark your calendar and start planning
instate celebrations as well.
annual science exhibit on Capital Hill that has occurred during
the first of March has been canceled in spring 2004. Instead, efforts
will be made to join the EFNEP anniversary celebration. This will
also coincide with the CARET meeting in DC. CARET is the Council
on Agriculture, Research, Extension and Teaching.
The University of Minnesota, Department of Soil, Water, and Climate,
Extension Unit has developed a comprehensive guide to backyard composting.
The interactive CD-ROM includes photographs, movies, and animated
diagrams to explain the key concepts of backyard composting. Two
levels of text will meet the needs of homeowners as well as master
gardeners, students, teachers, and others interested in composting.
The CD covers major topics from the history of composting to tips
on producing better compost in less time. The target audience ranges
from those trying composting for the first time to those with years
of practical experience. The price is $19.95 plus shipping and handling.
For more information or to order, see http://www.compost.umn.edu/.
Mike and Linda will be in Pullman next week. However, WSU is closed
on Tuesday for Veteran's Day.
Kirk Fox. Ph.D.
PO Box 646230
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164-6230