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story.lead_photo.caption Ray Berry, at right, supervises volunteer workers from the county detention center who are working their community service hours required by local courts. They are improving the looks of the new office of the Cass County Extension Service at 107 Rush St. Photo by Neil Abeles / Texarkana Gazette.

Cass County Extension Service has moved into new offices in Linden and is quite happy about it.

From left, Cass County Extensions agents Jessica Rymel, Janice Porterfield and John Ferguson are happy in their new office building in Linden. A grand opening will be held Aug. 1.

The smiles on the faces of the agency's three service professionals are bigger than usual. The building was the site of the former county jail and is still where voting in elections will be held.

The CCES is now at 107 Rush St., a building that has also housed the offices of the district attorney and juvenile probation.

Those with offices in the building are John Ferguson, Jessica Rymel and Janice Porterfield, who perform. the essential work of the extension personnel. First, Rymel describes her job.

"I am an agricultural and natural resources agent, so I educate the community on conservation practices and best management practices for agriculture.

"We put on a lot of face-to-face programming, bringing specialists who, because we work for Texas A&M, are some of the most relevant and educated people in the program," Rymel said.

Ferguson is an agent for 4-H and youth development.

"My target audience is really the underserved, those with limited resources and underrepresentation here in the county," Ferguson said.

He gave as examples working with the local 4-H programs and a recent garden project involving more than 100 youth in schools.

"These are part of our emphasis on healthy living in which we address specific health issues in the county."

He further pointed out, "We are agents of Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension Service and Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension Service."

Porterfield is service secretary and coordinates the work of the office, making certain the preparation and assessment is done for the work to succeed.

The three said they are expecting more people to come to the extension office in its new setting. A grand opening is being planned for Aug. 1 and the community will be cordially invited.

"We want more people to come in our door," the three said, "And we expect they will now that they will not have to go through security, as was necessary at our former location, the Cass County Law Enforcement and Detention Center on State Highway 8."