Ohio Extension honors 100 years

SMITHFIELD – At the same location where Jefferson County 4-H programs and various events have been held since the mid-1980s, a 100-year celebration of the Ohio State Extension, created by the Smith-Lever Act, was observed Saturday.

The location was the building that once was the 4-H kitchen and now belongs to the fair board at Friendship Park.

Despite the rainy weather, the Extension advisory committee, county 4-H committee, many adult leadership members and 4-H youth leaders carried on.

Janine Yeske, Extension educator-4-H, served as the master of ceremonies and named three employees with the Extension service who had served for 30 or more years.

Pop Taylor was first. He worked with the Extension program from 1930-60 and at one time was famous enough to have a Pop Taylor Day in his honor. His work was in agriculture and he put contour strip farming on the map in Jefferson County. Taylor had radio programs on WSTV-AM, WWVA-AM and KDKA-AM radio.

“He spent so much time on the radio that a radio was put in his car, a rarity for that time,” his son, Hugh, said. Taylor died in 1977 but was represented by his family of Belinda, Susan, Paul, Phyllis, Fay and Hugh Taylor from the East Liverpool and Painesville areas.

Ken Simeral was another staff member who was with Extension from 1968 to 2008. He was 4-H agent in Jefferson County from 1968-72, served as agricultural agent in Noble County from 1972-74 and came back to Jefferson County and served as ag agent until his 2008 retirement.

Jamie Bell was program assistant from 1971 through 2008. She was the “answer person” when someone called in with a question. Her time of service was 37 years.

Saturday’s event included a spaghetti dinner fundraiser; a Chinese auction and acknowledgment of 4-H and ag agents who had served over the years, junior fair royalty, fair board committee and 4-H helpers.

Rachel “Maxine” Bonecutter Milligan, the 1960 junior fair queen, was named. Others were Bev Huffman Riddle, 1966; Heather Pruneski, Saiter, 1990; and Erin Saiter Best, 1992. Junior fair kings in attendance were Clint Finney, 1998; T.J. Arnett, 2007; and James Wood, 2009.

Katherine Whinnery, 2013 Jefferson County Fair queen, with a new title now as 2014 Ohio Fairs’ Queen, was present at the event. She has been traveling to organization meetings but will start her visits to all 88 county fairs and six independent fairs on June 9, with the Paulding County Fair.

(McCoy can be contacted at emccoy@heraldstaronline.com.)