District one, including Boonville and Blackwater, has three open seats to fill and four candidates running. District two, which includes all other areas of Cooper County, has three candidates for one seat.
Four of the nine elected seats on the Cooper County Extension Council are up for election starting Monday.
The election will be open from Monday until 5 p.m. Friday. Registered residents can fill out an online ballot at the Cooper County Extension website or call the office at 660-882-5661 to request a paper ballot. The ballots must be in to the office by 5 p.m. Friday to be counted.
The council is split into two districts. District one includes anyone in Cooper County who lives in the Boonville or Blackwater zip codes, 65233 and 65322. District two includes all other areas of the county.
District one has three councilmember whose terms are expiring — Paula Sims, Dawn McDowell and Carol Norman — so voters in that district have three seats to fill. Norman is running again, and Sarah Friedrich, Bryan Larm and Mary Barile are also running in district one.
District two has one council member leaving and three running for the open seat. One of Chasity Dawn Case, Marsha Vernon-Farrugia and Joshua Siegel will replace Robert Gander as a district two councilmember.
Elected council members serve two-year terms and join five appointed members to make up the 14-seat council. The council is responsible for overseeing the Cooper County Extension office, which includes three main responsibilities, according to its website:
Determining the educational needs of the county and working with Extension staff to plan educational programs.
Working with the Cooper County Commission to prepare the Extension budget.
Approving the Extension specialists assigned to work in Cooper County and hiring other staff.
The Daily News reached out to all the candidates, and was able to reach four. We relied on the short biographies provided by Extension for the three we could not contact: Bryan Larm and Chasity Case.
Mary Barile grew up on Long Island, New York, back when it still had a lot of farmland. She became involved in the extension program through her mother, who taught cooking, nutrition and crafts. She’s been involved with the Cooper County Extension in some way since she moved to Boonville and was asked her to write a book about James Milton Turner, a freed slave who established over thirty schools for African-Americans in the late-19th century.
Barile said she has taught at the University of Missouri, Stephens College, Central Methodist University, and State Fair Community College. She has written books about Cooper County and the Boonslick region, and said she would focus on developing more educational publications. She said it’s especially important to teach the local history of agriculture and economics in the Boonslick area.
Sarah Friedrich is a Billingsville area resident who has lived in Cooper County most of her life. She is a retired teacher who taught for 31 years in the Boonville R-1 School District. She is now the deputy recorder of deeds for Cooper County. She earned a bachelor’s of science in education from the University of Missouri and a master’s of arts from Lindenwood University.
Friedrich said she was involved in 4-H when she was younger, and that her children have also been involved. She said she also wants to focus on outreach programs for Cooper County farmers.
Bryan Larm is a self-employed carpenter who lives in the Boonville area. He has lived in Cooper County for 38 years.
Carol Norman is running for her second term on the council. She is a lifelong resident of Cooper County and said she is the sixth generation of her family to reside in the county.
Norman is a registered nurse at Pinnacle Hospital, formerly Cooper County Memorial Hospital, where she has worked for 45 years. Norman said she supports extension’s youth programs, especially 4-H, in which her four daughters have participated. She said she also supports the Stay Strong, Stay Healthy and Master Gardener programs.
Chasity Dawn Case is a patient care technician and clinical support associate at Boone Hospital. She lives 7 miles south of Boonville and has lived in Cooper County for 33 years.
Joshua Siegel grew up on a cattle and row crop farm in northern Morgan County, and graduated from Otterville High School. He’s now the state sales manager for Crop Risk Services and runs a cow-calf operation with his wife and three children in southeast Cooper County.
He said he frequently uses Extension programs, like one’s on soil health and livestock nutrition, and his children are active in 4-H. As the husband of an educator, Siegel said he understands the importance of promoting agricultural and educational opportunities to young people. Along with providing more informational resources, Siegel said he wants to share the story of the local agricultural community and teach others about the sources of their food.
Marsha Vernon-Farrugia has lived in Bunceton for more than 25 years and served on the Bunceton City Council and as mayor of Bunceton. She is currently a special education teacher at the Bunceton R-IV school, and said she taught special education to the children of American servicemembers at Department of Defense schools in Japan.
Vernon-Farrugia said she is running for the council, because she likes to help her community and help people make changes. She said she doesn’t think a lot of people know about all the classes offered through extension, and she would like to learn more about them and spread the word.