4-H supporters pushing Aug. 7 millage - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

4-H supporters pushing Aug. 7 millage

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(07/28/12) - With just about a week to go until the Shiawassee County fair, there's a lot of work to get done at the fair grounds, like drilling new post holes.

Fair manager Rich Crawford worries if a millage fails on election day, it will have a domino effect ending right here. "If we lose 4-H here in Shiawassee County, the fair you see here, we wouldn't even need a fair."

Supporters are asking you to vote yes on a millage that would keep the Michigan State University Extension operating in Shiawassee County. The extension operates 4-H and other related programs.

"If there's no county funding, the extension program pulls out of your county. And with that we lose 4-H also," Crawford explained.

Crawford says 4-H students are the heart of the fair. This year there are around 800 members participating in the fair.

One of them is Kelsey Henderson. "I've been in 4-H for nine years. And really it's more like a family."

Henderson will be an Owosso High School senior this fall. Until then she's devoting all her time to get 'Andy' ready to show at the fair, and making sure 4-H survives another year. "This has been a really big thing this year. We've gone through town and we've tried to get businesses to put up signs and support 4-H."

Supporters say the 1/20th of a mill the initiative would bring in, would total over $80,000 a year. For the average taxpayer, that would come out to $2.50 a year.

Linda Purdy, a former 4-H member and club leader, believes it is well worth every penny. "This county is an agricultural county. And the youth we're seeing come through 4-H, are the future of this county."

And this isn't the first time supporters have had to fight to keep 4-H alive. Last November county commissioners barely kept the MSU Extension alive, giving it just $35,000 at a time when the budget was extremely tight.

Next year, they say that won't be the case. "Commissioners came to us and said we want you to know ahead of time, there will be no funding, 2013," Crawford said.

Election day, is Aug. 7.

For more information from 4-H and the MSU Extension, click here.

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