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What’s Next Barbour?

“What’s Next, Alabama?” Forums to Improve Barbour County

Have you ever noticed something that could improve our quality of life in Barbour County?  Well, here’s your opportunity!  Barbour County Extension and the David Mathews Center for Civic Life (DMC) are hosting a “What’s Next, Barbour?” series of forums in which participants can gather and discuss their community’s economic past, present, and future.

All forums will be held at Eufaula Barbour Chamber of Commerce, starting at 7:30 A.M. and the Louisville Fire Department, starting at 5:30 P.M.  The first forum April 12, 2018 asks, “Where are we now?  What assets do we have in our community?  What is working and what isn’t working?”  There is no cost to attend.  Please RSVP to Merri Robinson no later than April 4, 2018 so we can plan the first forum meeting space.  RSVP Merri at 334-687-5688.

The second forum April 19, 2018 asks, “Where do we want to go? What do we want to change about our community?  What do we want to preserve?”  The third forum, April 26, 2018 asks, “How do we get there? How can we move from talk to action?”  We will have separate announcements and RSVPs for the second and third forums.

To help us prepare for the first forum and ensure all inputs are considered, please complete the short, anonymous survey at https://auburn.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3egU8l3cvEWzvsp.

While the forum series is centered loosely on topics of economic and workforce development, each community is able to define the topic in ways that make it relevant for them locally.  Any issue that affects a community’s quality of life is fair game for discussion.  “What’s Next, Barbour” encourages us to reflect on the assets we already have in order to leverage these assets to address local challenges, before making a plan for action.

The forums were first held in 2016 in Cullman County. The forums helped Cullman County residents identify and address salient community issues.  Out of 67 Alabama Counties, Barbour County was selected to hold the next series of forums – this is a great opportunity to improve our Barbour County quality of life!!!  Please RSVP, take the short Survey, and join your neighbors at the first forum April 12th.

As a nonpartisan nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening civic life in Alabama, the DMC will facilitate and moderate the three deliberative forums designed to give Barbour County residents the opportunity to have productive and respectful conversations about local issues.  Adults and youth of all ages are welcome.

If you have any questions, please call the Barbour County Extension office at (334) 687-5688.  Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M University and Auburn University) is an equal opportunity educator and employer.  Everyone is welcome!

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program seeks Volunteers in Barbour County

Take an active role in your community and become a tax volunteer — a chance to touch many lives

Are you looking for a volunteer opportunity in your community?  Here is your chance to lend a helping hand. You can learn to prepare taxes and make a difference at the same time by becoming a volunteer with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

You will receive quality training to provide free tax help for low-to-moderate-income families who need assistance preparing their tax returns.  Every filing season, tax volunteers make a huge difference in their communities by helping prepare millions of tax returns at thousands of free tax prep sites nationwide.  Although over 3.5 million returns were prepared last year, with your help, many more free returns can be completed.

As a tax volunteer, you will be assigned to work with a sponsoring organization. Once you complete your training, you will begin volunteering at a location in your community.  Tax sites are generally open various days, nights and weekends, and the hours are flexible. You will surely find a volunteer site close to you.

Interested?

For additional information and next steps, submit your inquiry now using the Volunteer Sign Up form and you will be one step closer to becoming a VITA or TCE tax volunteer and giving back to your community.  Additionally, you can contact Allie Corcoran, County Extension Coordinator at (334) 687-5688 or corcoja@aces.edu.

As a volunteer, you will get all the specialized training you need, so there is no need to worry if you have limited knowledge of tax law. You can also choose a volunteer role that does not require tax law certification.

There is something for everyone. Here are some of the volunteer roles needed at free tax preparation sites:

Greeter/Screener — as a greeter/screener, you will greet everyone visiting the site. This role is perfect for those who have no interest in preparing tax returns but love socializing and talking to people. You will screen taxpayers to determine the type of assistance they need and confirm they brought all the necessary documents to have their tax returns completed. Tax law certification is not required for this position.

Tax Preparer — after successfully completing your tax law certification, as a volunteer tax preparer, you will provide free tax return preparation for eligible taxpayers using electronic filing software. Tax law certification is required for this volunteer role.

Extension Office Moving to Eufaula

aces-new-logoThe Barbour County Extension Office will be relocating to the old TV McCoo School in Eufaula.

“When the opportunity for us to have a facility that provides enough office space, a meeting space and kitchen was presented we couldn’t pass it up. Currently, we are located in a space, while it is nice office space, it doesn’t allow us to provide our clientele with the resources we have to offer,” said Allie Corcoran, Barbour County Extension Coordinator.

This new space is easily accessible and will allow the office to hold after hours meetings.  Health, nutrition and food safety regional agents will be able to hold their cooking, preserving, and other classes at this space. We are also excited about having a space for 4-H that can be used for community clubs. We are looking into grants that will enable us to have an interactive classroom with technology and other resources for us to provide 4-H and other community programming. Once we are settled into the new space, we plan to have an Open House for everyone to see our new office and meet our Extension personnel.

We will continue to have a space in the Clayton Courthouse that our agents will use to meet with those who can’t make it to Eufaula. Once we get settled in the new space, we will advertise the days and time we’ll be in Clayton. We’ll continue to hold workshops across the county. Our agents are always just a phone call away.

We hope this move will increase awareness of the importance that the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service plays in our homes, schools, and communities. Our partnerships with the Barbour County Commission, City of Eufaula, and surrounding communities will help us meet our mission to deliver research-based educational programs that enable people to improve their quality of life and economic well-being.

For more information about the Barbour County Extension Office please go to www.aces.edu/barbour. You can sign up for the electronic newsletter. Also, like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.

 

Agri-Tourism in Alabama

zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, rhubarb, beans in the foreground, people buying and selling under umbrellas in soft focus in the background

Agri-tourism can take many forms. Roadside stands and farmers’ markets offer farm-fresh produce and interaction with growers. Farms may open to the public for wildlife watching and hunting. Ag tours, on farm bed-and-breakfasts, and dude ranches give tourists the fresh air, open space, and relaxation of country life.

U-pick operations, pumpkin patches, Christmas tree farms, hay mazes, farm-animal petting zoos, wine tasting, ag heritage museums, festivals, and fairs all attract visitors.

Find your Agri-Tourism destination today!