Clare County to eliminate 4H program - WNEM TV 5

Clare County to eliminate 4H program

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A Mid-Michigan program focused on giving kids hands-on experience in agriculture and science may be in jeopardy.

A budgeting crisis is forcing Clare County to make some difficult cuts, including the Michigan State University Extension and 4H program.

Nicole Sharnetsky couldn't believe it when she heard the Clare County 4H may be no more. She said her nieces and nephews thrive on the activities the 4H provides.

"They're taking away all the things kids want to do," said Wesley, Sharnetsky's nephew.

The Clare County Board of Commissioners said they simply don't have the money to continue funding the MSU extension. So the future of 4H hangs in the balance.

Michelle Neff, with the MSU extension, said the program and 4H go hand in hand. However, she said the county stands to lose much more than 4H. Several other programs and about six employees could also go away.

"MSU extension has been in the county for 100 years next year. So this would be a devastating cut to the community," Neff said.

The Clare County Board of Commissioners said they had to make some very difficult financial decisions and it's unfortunate for the programs to discontinue.

A public forum is scheduled for Thursday morning. Neff hopes that will spark some change.

"This is a preliminary stage. So we hope to talk to the board of commissioners and work through the process to rescind the decision to eliminate us from the county budget," Neff said.

For Sharnetsky, she has no doubt in her mind 4H is something the county should fight to keep.

"How do they justify this? They're not showing kids to do something for the community when they take something of such vital and importance away from the community," Sharnetsky said.

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