Sports and Outdoors

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Welcome Back Weekend at state parks and reservoirs, May 2-4

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Celebrate spring at Indiana’s 24 state parks and eight reservoirs during Welcome Back Weekend, May 2-4.

The weekend features outdoor programs, free admission for veterans and active duty military personnel on Saturday, May 3, free admission for everyone on Sunday, May 4, and an invitation to share pictures and tweet about your state park visit.

The free admission also applies to state forest recreation areas.

“Our properties are inexpensive places to relax, play, exercise and enjoy the outdoors,” said Dan Bortner, DNR State Parks & Reservoirs director. "This weekend is an invitation to shake out the tent or set up the camper and enjoy all that our state parks have to offer.”

Welcome Back Weekend events include:

— Morel Mushroom Festival at Brown County State Park
— A “Hound Hike” at Shakamak State Park
— World War I Weekend at Fort Harrison State Park
— Geocaching at Harmonie State Park
— Wildflower/fern program with DNR botanist Mike Homoya at Ouabache State Park
— Walking-stick workshop at Patoka Lake.

For a complete list and details, see
Visitors are encouraged to share their Welcome Back Weekend experiences via social media. They can:
— Use the hashtag #welcomebackIN and give us a shout-out on Twitter (@INdnrstateparks), Facebook (INdnrstateparksandreservoirs) and Instagram (@indianadnr).
— Take a selfie at their favorite state park and share it on social media with hashtag #welcomebackIN.
— Submit photos to the DNR Flickr page and photo contest. More information is at

Visitors will notice changes and improvements around the state. Caves at Spring Mill State Park are reopening to groups with permits this summer, and Wolf Cave at McCormick’s Creek State Park is reopening to everyone. See a list of updates for all properties at

Sunday, May 4, also kicks off Travel Indiana Week, sponsored by the Indiana Office of Tourism Development.

Most entrance gates will still be staffed Sunday, so visitors can purchase their annual pass, lake permit or horse tags for the season. An Annual Entrance Pass costs $40 for a state resident and $20 for state residents ages 65 and older. An out-of-state pass costs $60. Special SPR Go! Value Packages that include Annual Entrance Passes can be purchased at

Admission at most properties for non-veterans or non-military personnel on Saturday will be $5 per in-state vehicle and $7 per out-of-state vehicle.

On Saturday, veterans should show military ID, a V.A. card or Disabled Hoosier Veteran license plate, an Indiana veteran's driver's license or discharge papers with accompanying state photo ID. Free admission extends to anyone in the same vehicle.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Purdue Extension calendar

April 21: Wells County 4-H Association, 4-H Park, 7 p.m.
April 21: 4-H Dog Obedience Club, 4-H Park 6:30-8 p.m.
April 21: 4-H Archery (beginner members), Quonset Building, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
April 22: 4-H Archery (advanced members), Quonset Building, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
April 22: Wells County 4-H Foundation, 4-H Park, 6:30 p.m.
April 23: Wells Co. 4-H Junior Leader Club, Community Center, 4-H Park, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
April 24: Pond Management Workshop, Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 7 p.m.
April 24: Wells County Youth Leadership Forum, Bluffton Library, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
April 24: Northeast Indiana Purdue Council on Agriculture, Research Extension and Teaching, Noble Co. Extension Office, Albion, 7 p.m.
April 25: Northeast Indiana 4-H & FFA Dairy & Livestock Judging Contest, Whitley Co. 4-H Fairgrounds, Columbia City, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
May 5: Extension Homemakers Executive Council 12:30 p.m.
May 5: Extension Homemakers President's Council 1:30 p.m.
May 8: Final day for Wells Weighs In
May 15: ServSafe Recert Class, 8 a.m.-12:30. Exam at 1:00 p.m.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

DNR asks public help in finding Indiana’s largest trees

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Do you know of an extraordinarily large tree?

The DNR is accepting nominations for the 2015 Big Tree Register, a list of the largest known specimen of each native tree species in the state. The register is published every five years.

Nominations will be accepted through October.

The 2015 Big Tree Register nomination form is at . The form includes additional information on finding and measuring big trees.

The 2010 register is at

The biggest big tree in the 2010 Register is a 136-foot tall sycamore tree in Johnson County with a trunk more than 25 feet around.

The smallest big tree in the 2010 Register is an American hophornbeam (aka ironwood) in Vanderburgh County that is 12 feet tall and 3 inches around.

The register requires three measurements: trunk circumference, in inches, at 4 1/2 feet above the ground; total height, in feet; and average crown spread, in feet.

The total size of a tree is calculated using the formula: circumference + height + 1/4 average crown spread. The tree of each species with the highest total is Indiana's largest.

Each tree nominated is verified for species and size before acceptance in the register.

For more information about nominating a tree for the register or to receive a nomination form, contact district forester Janet Eger at (812) 247-2479 or email

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Extension Calendar released

April 4-6: Hoosier Horse Fair, State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis
April 6-12: National Volunteer Week
April 7: 4-H Rabbit Workshop, Community Center 7 p.m.
April 8-9: First grade Kids Health and Safety Fair, Bluffton-Harrison Elementary School
April 10: Wells Co. 4-H Council, Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 7 p.m.
April 12-13: Purdue Spring Fest, Purdue University
April 12: 4-H Dairy Feeder ID Day, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Bluffton Elks Lodge
April 12: 4-H Park Work Day, 9 a.m. to noon
April 12: 4-H Horse & Pony Port-A-Pit Chicken BBQ, Walmart, 11a.m. to 2 p.m.
April 12: Northeast IN 4-H & FFA Horse & Pony Judging Contest, Huntington Co., 9 a.m.
April 13: 4-H Alpaca/Llama Club, Zook Farm, 4 p.m.
April 14: 4-H Archery Club Sign-up, 4-H Park, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Opportunities for National Volunteer Week at Indiana’s State Parks & Reservoirs

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

From maintaining trails to entering computer data, Hoosiers can celebrate National Volunteer Week, April 6-12, by donating their time and talent to Indiana’s state parks and reservoirs.

"Volunteering gives you a great sense of accomplishment,” said Jody Heaston, volunteer coordinator for DNR Division of State Parks & Reservoirs. “You know you are helping manage and conserve our natural and cultural resources for future generations to enjoy.”

Heaston said she hopes many volunteers from National Volunteer week will “catch the giving-back spirit” and continue to volunteer with Indiana’s state parks and reservoirs.

Information about volunteer events and opportunities at specific properties is available at or by calling the offices at those properties.

Some examples of upcoming volunteer opportunities are:

— Mounds State Park: Prepare the wildlife viewing area for the recreation season, April 6, 10 a.m. to noon. For more information, call (765) 649-8128.

— Brookville Lake: Picking up litter, April 6-12. For more information, call (765) 647-2657

— Tippecanoe River State Park: Helping in the horse camp, April 12 at 9 a.m. For more information, call (574) 946-3213.

— O’Bannon Woods State Park: Cleaning up, April 6-11. For more information, call (812) 738-8234.

— Pokagon State Park: Removing invasive plants, April 6 and 12, at 2 p.m. For more information, call (260) 833-2012.

— Summit Lake State Park: Paint trail signs and markers, April 11 and 12, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call (765) 766-5873.

— Harmonie State Park: Spring cleanup, April 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, call (812) 682-4821.

— Indiana Dunes State Park: Help with the 18th Annual Friends of Indiana Dunes Plant Sale, April 12 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, call (219) 926-1390.

— Ouabache State Parks: Trail maintenance day, April 12 at 10 a.m. For more information, call (260) 824-0926.

— Versailles State Park: Trail maintenance day, April 12 at 10 a.m. For more information, call (812) 689-6424.

— Salamonie Lake: Spruce-Up Salamonie Day, April 12 at 10 a.m. For more information, call (260) 468-2127.

— Turkey Run State Park: Trails spring cleaning, April 12. For more information, call (765) 597-2654.

Friday, March 21, 2014

N-B Feedback: Still hysterical after all these years

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — Sometimes a team finds itself on the wrong side of history. Call them Goliath, call them a team from South Bend in the film “Hoosiers,” or call them what they were: the Muncie Central Bearcats, immortalized in arguably the greatest sports story to come out of Indiana.

It’s been 60 years since the Bearcats took the court at what was then Butler Fieldhouse to face Milan, the team from a 161-student school that made an improbable run to the single-class state title game. Central played the foil, the heavy favorite that couldn’t stop the magical season as Bobby Plump’s 14-footer in the waning seconds pushed those teams and that 32-30 game into the realm of lore.

Read more about reflections of the miracle moment in the Friday, March 21, News-Banner, and share your own sports memories in the comments section.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

N-B Video: Conquering Cougars come home to celebration

Norwell graduate Jenelle Wilson and her University of Saint Francis teammates returned to Fort Wayne Wednesday evening after going 38-0 in the season and winning the NAIA Division II Women's Tournament Tuesday night at Sioux City, Iowa. Norwell graduates Taylor Wilson and Paige Frisch didn't return with the team. Learn more in the Thursday, March 20, News-Banner. (Video by Paul Beitler)

Jenelle Wilson's family — father Jim, mother Debbie, sister Jordan, brother Bray and nephew Easton Wilson — wait for the team to file through the entrance of the Hutzell Athletic Center at the University of Saint Francis Wednesday night.