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Educational service celebrates 100 years in Clare County

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Officials in Clare County are celebrating a centennial this year.

100 years of the Cooperative Extension.That’s the program that offers information on agricultural issues and homemaking skills, think: canning and gardening.

Abraham Lincoln said knowledge and education should be available to all Americans without having to go to an ivy league school. Lincoln started land grant universities to provide that access.

In the early 1900’s Michigan State University, a land grant university, became a Cooperative Expansion member.

Michelle Neff is the Extension Educator for the Clare Extension.

She said in 1917 amidst World War I there was a lot of need in the community to have the services extension offered.

“Home economists would come back in the thirties and they would come teaching how do you present a table for a family -- a gathering. How do you stock your shelves in your cupboards. Some of the things that we think of now, but back then that was really important. So, home demonstration was really big in Clare County as well”.

Neff said today the extension has expanded beyond its original mission.

“We also have a strong housing and foreclosure prevention worker who helps clients who are maybe a little down on their times or behind on their payments and helping them understand how to get better and stay in their homes”.

Neff says since the cooperative extension service is affiliated with Michigan State University and researched-based it is able to give an unbiased information on many issues.