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August 2013

In This Issue

Greetings from the Editor
Dastina Wallace

Welcome to the August edition of the eLink. I am so excited to share with you all some noteworthy happenings and activities from Organization members across the country. We hope that you enjoy this edition of the eLink and look forward to keeping you updated with the latest and most relevant news for our membership.

Also, if you have news you'd like to share in a future eLink, please send to news.nopbnrcse@gmail.com.

Sincerely,

Dastina Wallace
Communications Chair, NOPBNRCSE


Hotel Information is Now Available -- Please Book Your Rooms!

Hotel: Atlanta Airport Marriott, 4711 Best Road, Atlanta, GA 30337

Special Rate: $88.00 + Tax / night - Cut-off date: 5pm, Wednesday, November 6, 2013 (After 11/6, the rate will increase.)

Website: http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/atlap-atlanta-airport-marriott/

Reservations: 404-766-7900 or 1-800-228-9290; Reference group name, "NOPBNRCSE National Organization of Professional Black NRCS Employees" REFERENCE# M-UUQG87/M-UPGEZN


NOPBNRCSE Member Receives USDA's Drum Major for Service Award

As a “Drum Major,” Jolene contributed personal time and personal expenses as an active member of the Pacific Ocean Chapter of Blacks in Government (BIG). Since 2009, what initially started as a guest speaker at a BIG meeting, Jolene soon became actively involved with BIG’s community service projects. In addition to the monthly evening meetings, Jolene volunteered with BIG at Martin Luther King, Jr. parades and fairs, Juneteenth fairs, Heritage Month events, Youth Poetry Contests, carwash fundraisers, two US Ambassador networking events, winter toy drives, Thanksgiving canned good drives, adopting a family through the Good Neighbor Fund, and was instrumental in assisting the BIG’s Region IX Council’s Training Seminar.

Jolene started with the Soil Conservation Service in 1991 in Honolulu, HI. Her Public Affairs career with the agency also took her to California from 1998-2003. She has had PAS details in New York (2008) and Washington, DC (2010). Jolene served as the Pacific Islands Area(PIA) Black Emphasis Program Manager from 2008-2011 and is currently PIA’s Civil Rights Chairperson. In addition, she currently serves on the Communications Committee of the National Organization of Professional Black NRCS Employees. Jolene’s achievement and dedication reflects NRCS’ commitment to public service nationwide. We are proud of you! Congratulations and thank you!

Photo caption: Jolene Lau, Public Affairs Specialist, PIA with NRCS Chief Jason Weller.


Keeping Up with the MN-WI Chapter

The MN-WI Chapter isn’t just talking about helping students. They’re doing it. Over the last seven years, the MN-WI Chapter has reviewed many applications and awarded $37,000 to 37 students in partnership with the Greg Payne family. All scholarships were awarded to students at Prairie View A&M majoring in agriculture and natural resources subjects. In 2012, the chapter awarded students eight students $8,000 in scholarship funds. Already in 2013, the chapter approved $5,000 in scholarships to students with hopes to award an additional $3,000 by December 31. If awarded, this would bring the total scholarships awarded by the MN-WI chapter total to $45,000 for 45 students in the last eight years.

Photo caption (above): Alton B. Johnson, Dean and Director of Land-Grant Programs, PVAM (far left) and Horace Hodge, 1890 PVAM 1890 Program Liaison (far right) with five receipients of the fall 2012 Greg Payne Scholarship.

Among the chapter’s other notable events (networking picnic and race & racism training session), the chapter formally participated in “Juneteenth” Black Independence day activities by purchasing T-shirts with the Juneteenth logo and individual southern states liberation dates printed on the back. The front shows June 19, 1865 as the Texas liberation date. That is the date Major Gen. Gordon Granger delivered the U.S. government General Order No. 3 in Galveston, Texas informing all black slaves that President Lincoln had freed them by his signed Emancipation Proclamation two and a half years earlier (Jan. 1, 1863).

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States and is a legal state holiday in Texas. For years, two of the largest Juneteenth celebrations in the U.S. have been held in Minneapolis, MN and Milwaukee, WI.

Check out Tom Jackson (left) and Bill Hunt below modeling their Juneteenth shirts.



Rural America Rally

Stacey Domingue, LA Chapter

On March 11, 2013, Frank Taylor and the Wilkinson County Self Help Cooperative came to Amite City, LA on a cold rainy day with fire in their bellies ready to spread like a wildfire and ignite the bellies of other rural Americans.

The following agencies were invited to provide information for local customers: the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Rural Development (RD), Southern University A & M Agricultural Research & Extension Center and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture. Taylor also broadcasted live from the rally, while participants got the chance to walk around and speak directly to the representatives of each agency present. During the broadcast, he invited several agency representatives to join in on the show.

Following the radio program, Taylor, fire bellied and all, began the rally with prayer. With green and yellow palm shakers in hand, “Save rural America!” was chanted to spark the fire and declare why we had gathered in such dreary conditions.

Speakers of the respective organizations stood in front of the crowd and briefly described what their organization provided and expressed support for the development and sustainment of rural America. Several rally participants were able to express their appreciation for the event and what it meant to them.

The rally concluded in the way it began, in prayer. The Wilkinson County Self Help Cooperative’s Save Rural America Rally helped more people better understand what outlets of assistance and services are provided in their local communities. Hopefully the participants will tell others to help save rural America.

If Taylor’s fire filled belly is as contagious as it seemed to be on this day, rural America will have a rich history and a promising fruitful future!


Membership Spotlights

Homer Wilkes is the new Director of Gulf Restoration

Leonard Jordan is the new Associate Chief for Conservation

Astor Boozer is acting as the Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources & Environment (NRE).

Melvin Womack, Director, Conservation Technical Assistance Division

Jon Hall is Acting Director of the Civil Rights Division

Lillian Woods, is Acting Director of International Programs Division

Edward Biggers is Acting Chief Acquisition Officer

Terry Cosby is acting as the Southeast Regional Conservationist

Tim Beard is the new State Conservationist in North Carolina

Russell Morgan is the State Conservationist in Florida

Kasey Taylor is acting State Conservationist in Nebraska

Dastina Wallace has been selected as one of three PAS coordinators for the Public Affairs Modernization Pilot

Melvin Westbrook, Director of International Programs Division has retired.

If you have accomplishments, you’d like to share with membership, please send an email to news.nopbnrcse@gmail.com.


Copyright © 2013 National Organization of Professional Black NRCS Employees. All Rights Reserved.

Questions or comments? E-mail the Communications Chair at: news.nopbnrcse@gmail.com.


For questions or comments about the eLink newsletter, contact Dastina Johnson, National Communications Committee Chair, at news.nopbnrcse@gmail.com. Click here to subscribe or unsubscribe from our mailing list.

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Comments about the eLink newsletter, contact Dastina Johnson, National Communications Committee Chair, at news.nopbnrcse@gmail.com. Click here to subscribe or unsubscribe from our mailing list.

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