Sports and Outdoors

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fort Harrison State Park WW II Days, May 16 & 17

Indiana DNR Release:

World War II Days are coming to Fort Harrison State Park, May 16 and 17, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

Featured events include weapons demonstrations, a simulated grenade toss for kids, an indoor display honoring Veterans, and a tactical battle re-enactment, May 16, at 2 p.m.

In case of inclement weather, activities may be moved inside the Visitors Center. Food will be available for purchase. The program is open to the public.

There is no fee for this program; however, park entrance fees of $5 per vehicle for Indiana residents and $7 per vehicle for non-residents will apply.

New Outdoor Indiana cover shot isn't Lake Michigan

Indiana DNR Release:

No. That is not a photo of a three-masted ship anchored in a Lake Michigan bay on the cover of the May-June issue of Outdoor Indiana magazine, which goes on sale Friday.

It's Lake Maxinkuckee. The ship's the R.H. Ledbetter, a square rigger that Culver Academies uses for teaching purposes. Learn more in the issue's photo essay.

The DNR Division of Nature Preserves, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, is featured in a full-length article that contains 36 color photos and tells the story of how the DNR safeguards some of Indiana's unique places and how to enjoy them.

Available at most Borders and Barnes & Noble's bookstores and many DNR properties, the 48-page bi-monthly magazine sells for $3 an issue. A subscription costs $12 for one year, $20 for two years. Single issues also can be purchased by calling (317) 233-3046. See to subscribe or call for more information.

Numerous fish await anglers in Lake Wawasee

Many opportunities to catch bluegills, largemouth bass, and yellow perch, as well as well as one of the largest northern pike populations in the state, await anglers in Lake Wawasee, Indiana’s largest natural lake.

The Department of Natural Resources Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) surveyed the lake last June and July. Sampling included 5½ hours of electro-fishing along the shore with a boat-mounted electrical generator that temporarily stuns fish. In addition, 18 gill nets and 15 trap nets were set at various locations throughout the lake.

Biologists caught 2,278 fish during the survey, 47 percent of which were bluegills. They also caught 269 largemouth bass and 186 perch.

Several bluegills were 8 inches long, some up to 9½ inches. Their growth rate is typical of northern Indiana natural lakes, with bluegills reaching 6 inches at age 4 and nearly 8 inches by age 6. Bluegills were captured during electrofishing at the rate of 140 per hour, a rate also typical of Indiana natural lakes.
Largemouth bass caught during the survey were 4 to 19½ inches long, including 35 that were legal size (14 inches or larger).
Most of the perch were 6 to 8 inches long, some up to 11 inches.

Eighty-six northern pike were caught during sampling in June. Another 22 pike were caught in July. The pike ranged from 14½ to 33½ inches long. Their combined weight made up 25 percent of the weight of all fish captured in the survey.

Based on comparisons to previous surveys dating back to 1975, biologists say the overall fish population in Lake Wawasee has been relatively stable, with the exception of the increase in white bass. Three white bass were captured in a 2004 survey; 18 were caught last summer.

“By most accounts, white bass were not native to Lake Wawasee,” said Jed Pearson, a DFW biologist who has worked on the lake since 1975. “An old document from 1875 says white bass were present, but no records after that ever verified it.”

Pearson said that white bass were probably stocked illegally sometime before 2004.

“If white bass continue to increase, they may eventually compete for food with other sport fish and could eventually affect the growth rate and size of other fish,” he said, "That's why permits are required to stock fish in a public lake."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pulliam grant to aid “Outdoor Experience”

The Indiana Natural Resources Foundation has received a $45,000 grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust to support the Hoosier Outdoor Experience at Fort Harrison State Park in September.

“The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust realizes that interaction with our natural environment is critical for a child’s development in every major way,” Department of Natural Resources director Robert E. Carter Jr. said. “We are honored to accept their investment in the Hoosier Outdoor Experience to help introduce and educate children and adults about the natural heritage that is their birthright.”

The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust was established in 1997 to support causes she loved in her home states of Arizona and Indiana. The Trust seeks to help people in need, especially women, children and families; to protect animals and nature; and to enrich a community life in the metropolitan areas of Indianapolis and Phoenix.

The Hoosier Outdoor Experience is an extension of the Urban Family Outdoors and Step Outside programs that the Trust funded in 2005 and 2006. Those programs paired families familiar with the great outdoors with underserved families.

The Hoosier Outdoor Experience expands on that model by partnering with outdoor recreation and conservation organizations to facilitate activities and further connect new users to the outdoors.

Presented by the DNR and the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation, the Hoosier Outdoor Experience is a first-of-its-kind opportunity for aspiring outdoor enthusiasts to experience, in a hands-on, interactive fashion, the full range of recreational opportunities available across Indiana.

The Hoosier Outdoor Experience is free and open to the public on Sept. 26-27 at Fort Harrison State Park.

Learn more about the Hoosier Outdoor Experience at

Courthouse Preservation Advisory Commission holds organizational meeting

The Courthouse Preservation Advisory Commission created by the Indiana General Assembly in 2008 held its organizational meeting in the Indiana Government Center, April 8.

Members of the commission include Chief Justice Randall Shepard of the Indiana Supreme Court, chairperson; Kathy Beumer, Randolph County commissioner; Brad Bumgardner, executive director of the Parke County Community Foundation; Honorable Stephen Cox, judge, Franklin County Circuit Court; Marsh Davis, Indianapolis, president of Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana; David Decker, representing the Association of Indiana Counties; James Glass, Indianapolis, director of the Indiana DNR Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology; Diana Hawes, architectural historian from Bloomington; Fritz Herget, Indianapolis, engineer; Ron Ross, Fort Wayne, architect; and David Terrell, executive director of the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. A representative for the Indiana Association of County Commissioners has not yet been selected.

The commission is charged with two main responsibilities: (1) providing technical assistance and recommendations to county officials upon request regarding the rehabilitation and preservation of historic courthouses and (2) providing a report to the Indiana General Assembly concerning the importance of historic courthouses to the identities and economies of communities and the need for preservation of such courthouses. The report is to be submitted by August 2011.

Members attending Wednesday’s meeting expressed their enthusiasm about the value to Indiana communities and the state at large of historic courthouses and their hope that the commission will be able to provide valuable assistance to county officials.

“Courthouses send an important message to society about what we value,” Herget said.
Bumgardner said that courthouses “say a lot about who we are.” Cox said he hoped that the commission could help county officials adapt the courthouses to meet the 21st century requirements of the users.

Commission members discussed ways in which they could provide education and helpful advice to counties, including written offers of assistance to counties; regional workshops on preservation of courthouses, presentations on courthouse issues at statewide conferences of county officials, press releases, and Web sites with information on courthouses. Shepard said that the commission should ask what it can do to help counties address the issues they face with their courthouses.

The commission will form committees to develop strategies for it to pursue, and the committees will present recommendations at the next meeting for Education, Technical Assistance, and Communications. The second commission meeting will be July 1, at 1:30 p.m., Indiana Government Center, South, in Conference Room 2.

For more information, please contact Frank Hurdis, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology, at (317) 232-3494 or

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Border Wars Classic Basketball

The following photos are scenes from Saturday's Nancy Rehm Border Wars Classic basketball games between Indiana and Ohio all-stars at the Hutzell Athletic Center on the University of Saint Francis campus in Fort Wayne.

The Indiana girls defeated Ohio 81-57, while the Ohio boys won 116-94.

* Norwell's Kylie Dial (left) checks into the game to replace Southern Wells' Meghan Prible.

* Kylie Dial draws a bead as she takes a foul shot. She was two for two at the free-throw line.

* Meghan Prible dribbles the ball around the perimeter.

* Meghan Prible (right) talks to Fort Wayne Bishop Luers' Kelsey Wyss (left), as Norwell's Haley Chaney listens during a timeout

* Southern Wells girls' basketball coach John Fouts (left) instructs players as Canterbury coach Scott Kreiger stands by.

* Bluffton's Brock Woodward battles Ohio's Brad Piehl of New Knoxville HS for rebound position during a free-throw attempt. Luke Kraus (2) of Findlay HS also keeps an eye on the free-throw shooter.
(Photos by Paul Beitler)

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Bear I Shot

I saw this black bear in the woods along 200N and had time to stop and get a quick shot.

Ok, obviously I'm kidding around here. But it makes me wonder, what's the biggest thing you ever caught?

For me, it was an 18 inch fresh water trout in the Banana River, just outside Cocoa Beach. It fought like heck but I managed. I was 12. It remains the highlight of my fishing career.

Now, tell me yours.

DNR on Facebook

Indiana DNR Release:

Sign up as a Facebook fan of Indiana State Parks and Reservoirs before May 31, and you'll not only get to share pictures and stories, suggest sites to visit, and find out what's coming up all across the state at DNR properties, you'll be eligible to win prizes valued up to $50.

Both those who have already signed up this year and new members will be entered in a drawing to win one of five 2009 annual passes, a $50 gift certificate to Indiana State Park Inns, or a $50 CampIN gift card, good for camping at a state park or reservoir.

To join, visit on the web and follow the instructions to create a personal profile. Search for the Indiana State Parks and Reservoirs page and click the “become a fan” link. Check out the event called “SPR Fan Fun” and rsvp to be entered to win.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Gun Safety Awards

The 4-H BB Gun Safety Club recently presented awards to members. Pictured left to right: Trey Harris; Gregg Palmer, 4-H Leader; Dakota Flowers, Jason Connett, Alexis Ramseyer, Georgia Barr, Cole Sheets and Mason Stevens (partially hidden) (Photo provided.)

Awards were recently presented to the 4-H Rifle Safety Club. Pictured above: front row, left to right: Jessica Bertsch, Dwight Pence, Eric Baumgartner, Lindsey Brown, Coby Gearheart, Naomi Mauger, and Jeff Fiechter. Back row, left to right: Jericho Kobryn, Jay-Ar Kobryn, Tim Hofstetter, Brandon Springer, and Nathan Fisher. (Photo provided.)

Connor Whitesell Basketball Game & Dinner Fundraiser

The Wells County Facebook Community is rallying around the Whitesell family, organizing an upcoming fundraiser to help a neighbor during a difficult time.

All proceeds will go directly to the Whitesell Family!!

Tentative Date: Sunday May 17th 2009-- 4 pm.
Tentative Location: Norwell High School Gym & Cafeteria

Bake Sale- We need some people to sign up to bake items for the bake sale!

Basketball Game- Teams of at least 10. We will play as many quarters as we can. Admission fee is Free Will, so bring your friends and family!

Dinner- In the NHS Cafeteria. (Meal TBA)

Get a group of friends together and come watch Connor's friends and teachers play basketball against the Wells County "Guns and Hoses" (Fire Department, Police Officers, and Paramedics!) There will be a Silent Auction and a raffle going on as well.

Anyone interested in playing basketball, helping with the dinner, donating items for the raffles, or baking items for the bake sale, please send the group a message or post a comment on the page!! Any help is GREATLY appreciated!

Find them on Facebook.

For more info, e-mail

Facebook UPDATE:

Hey everybody!

Just wanted to let you all know that THE YARD SIGNS ARE READY!!!! They are $10.00 each and they can be picked up at the EMS headquarters in Bluffton (140 W. Spring). Proceeds go to Connor! This is a great way to show your support for Connor as he continues to fight hard! Also, T-shirts are available at Hot Cakes. They are $10 each and the family gets a portion of the money. Various colors are available. If you have any questions, you can contact any of the Admins in Connor's Fundraiser Group.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Indiana inland trout season opener, April 25

Indiana DNR Release:

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has stocked 50,000 rainbow trout in 18 streams and 15 lakes in advance of inland trout season opening day, April 25.
Legal fishing hours begin at 6 a.m. (local time). Anglers must be in possession of a current Indiana fishing license and trout/salmon stamp to legally fish for trout.

In 2009, the DNR trout stock program include portions of the following inland streams: Pigeon River (Steuben and LaGrange), Turkey Creek (LaGrange), Little Elkhart River (LaGrange), Rowe-Eden Ditch (LaGrange), Curtis Creek (LaGrange), Solomon Creek (Elkhart), Cobus Creek (Elkhart), Little Kankakee River (LaPorte), Spy Run (Allen), Mississinewa River (Randolph), Big Blue River (Henry), Brookville Tailwater (Franklin), Harden Reservoir Tailwater (Parke), Mill Creek (Fulton), Crooked Creek (Porter), Fawn River (Steuben), Potato Creek (St. Joseph), and Jackson Creek (Brown).

Trout are stocked in the following lakes: Rainbow Pit (LaGrange), Island Lake (Sullivan), Little George Pit (Sullivan), Airline Pit (Greene), Oak Lake (Clark), Pine Lake (Clark), Wyland Lake (Kosciusko), Oliver Lake Chain (LaGrange), Fancher Lake (Lake), Sand Lake (Noble), Bethel Pit (Pike), Clear Lake (Steuben), Lake Gage (Steuben), Fairfield Pit (Tippecanoe), and Cedar Lake (Whitley).

Special regulations apply to some of the listed trout fisheries. A detailed explanation of each fishery’s regulations may be reviewed on page 16 of the 2009 Indiana Fishing Guide, or online at
The daily limit for trout is five per angler. No more than one may be a brown trout. Fish must be 7 inches long to be kept.

Lake Michigan and its tributaries are governed by a separate set of regulations. To review, see page 17 of the Indiana Fishing Guide, or online at

Ouabache SP seeks Rendezvous reenactors

Indiana DNR Release:

Ouabache State Park is accepting applications from reenactors interested in participating in this year’s Rendezvous on the Ouabache, June 19–21.

The Rendezvous on the Ouabache is a pre-1840s living history weekend. Events begin at 8 a.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The Rendezvous aims to educate visitors about an important period in the historical expansion of the United States. There will be a period encampment all weekend. A covered wagon conversation kicks off the event Friday morning.

Get an application at the park office during normal business hours, by calling (260) 824-0926, e-mailing, or downloading from

Natural-lake fish surveys set for the summer

Indiana DNR Release:

Indiana Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologists are scheduled to conduct fish population surveys at 19 natural lakes this summer.

Biologists use these surveys to monitor populations over time and to help identify fish management problems. The surveys provide biologists with information on the diversity of fish present, as well their abundance, size, and rate of growth.

Lakes to be surveyed include Everett in Allen County; Terry in DeKalb County; Dewart in Kosciusko County; Adams, Appleman, Cedar, and Wall in LaGrange County; Koontz in Marshall County; Big, Crane, Crooked, and Loon in Noble County; Long in Porter County; Loon and West Otter in Steuben County; and Goose, Larwill, New, and Old in Whitley County.

“Each summer we conduct standard fish population surveys at select natural lakes to help keep tabs on local fishing conditions,” said Stu Shipman north fisheries supervisor with the DNR. “The data are used to look at changes in fish populations over time and formulate management plans for each lake. The findings also provide valuable information to local anglers and lake residents.”

During the surveys, biologists will use electro-fishing boats, gill nets and trap nets to collect fish. Each fish will be counted and measured, and representative scale samples will be taken to determine the age and growth of abundant game species.

“Our goal is to get an overall picture of the lake ecosystem to help us make good decisions on how best to manage the resource,” Shipman said.

Get “INShape” for free at a state park or reservoir, May 2

Indiana DNR Release:

In support of Gov. Mitch Daniels’ INShape Indiana statewide health initiative, Indiana state parks and reservoirs will waive entrance fees for INShape Indiana participants on Saturday, May 2, and offer organized walks and other events for health.
Events, times and locations vary, but all sites offer the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise at the same time.

Hoosiers registered as INShape Indiana participants at will receive a coupon via e-mail by the end of April that entitles them to free admission to the state park or reservoir of their choice on the INShape Indiana DNR Day. The coupon must be presented at the entrance gate for free admission.
Participants in the walks and other activities will be entered in a drawing for one of ten annual passes to be given away across the state.

For a complete list of walk locations visit the Division of State Parks and Reservoirs Healthy Parks-Healthy People website at

Gov. Daniels launched INShape Indiana in 2005, challenging Hoosiers to make healthy choices. The free, Web-based program provides statewide information on physical fitness activities, nutrition and smoking cessation. INShape Indiana not only serves as a clearing house but provides quarterly activities such as 10 in 10 and Ready, Set, Walk!

“This is our fifth year for INShape Indiana DNR Day, and we are proud to continue our support of Governor Daniels in this important effort," said Robert E. Carter Jr., DNR director. Our Hoosier state parks and reservoirs feature great natural resources, ranging from giant sand dunes to deep, rocky canyons. It’s a great time to be outdoors in Indiana and a hike is a great way to burn off a few calories.”

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

MIS to offer lower concessions pricing in 2009; Americrown adds value meals to updated, repriced menus

BROOKLYN, Mich. — A refreshing beverage at a racetrack shouldn’t soak you. So Michigan International Speedway and Americrown, the racetrack’s food and beverage provider, have rolled back concession prices on many of its menu items.
MIS has added two value meals to the menu. Guests can choose from a hot dog, fries and a 20-ounce Coke for $8 — a $2 savings if purchased separately. A hamburger value meal is also available for $10 — also for a $2 savings.
A kids meal is available this season. For $4, kids can get a tasty meal of chicken nuggets, apple slices, juice box and a toy.
“Now, more than ever, it’s important for our guests to see a value for the money they spend at MIS,” speedway President Roger Curtis said. “In all our fan surveys, ‘affordability’ comes up time and again for race fans. This extends to ticket prices, to concessions and to camping. We want all our guests to know we are listening and we want them to continue coming to MIS.”
Fans don’t have to buy value meals to see pricing changes. Prices have been reduced on hamburgers (17 percent savings); hot dogs (25 percent savings); 20-ounce bottles of Dasani (25 percent savings); and 20-pound bags of ice (20 percent savings).
New to MIS is a souvenir ice bucket for $3. The re-usable bucket filled with ice is perfect for fans who want to replenish their coolers and keep beverages they bring from home cool.
“We are working closely with our tracks to tailor menus and concession prices to better serve their guests,” Americrown President Michael Gentry said. “The economic conditions have forced everyone to take a step back and re-evaluate the way we are doing business. In the end, the fans will be better served and our business will be more efficient because of the changes we make today.”
The food isn’t the only savings race fans will see at MIS in 2009. The track now has $40 general admission NASCAR Sprint Cup tickets available and allows children 12 and under free in those sections.
MIS will also continue its long-standing tradition of free parking on track property and allowing its guests to bring coolers through gates. All coolers must be 6 x 6 x 12 inches.
Lastly, MIS offers camping opportunities for every budget. Guests can stay up to a week, depending on the campground location and space size, for one low price. Campsites range in price across all of MIS’ sites from $130 to $2,100.
“For our guests, it’s as much about the experience at MIS as it is the race,” Curtis said. “Race fans’ wallets shouldn’t be squeezed when they are trying to have a good time.”
Tickets and camping are on sale now. For additional information, call the MIS Ticket Hotline at 800-354-1010 or visit

Michigan International Speedway — 2009 Schedule
Friday, June 12 ARCA RE/MAX Series Racing for Wildlife 200
Saturday, June 13 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Sunday, June 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LifeLock 400
Friday, Aug. 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Practice & Qualifying
Saturday, Aug. 15 NASCAR Nationwide Series
Sunday, Aug. 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Stocked fish still abundant at Hurshtown reservoir

An Indiana Department of Natural Resources fish population survey done last summer indicates that Hurshtown Reservoir has an abundant population of naturally reproducing smallmouth bass and walleye, despite neither being stocked recently.

Smallmouth bass have not been stocked in the 242-acre northern Allen County impoundment since 1992, yet represent the second most populous fish found in the survey. Green sunfish had the highest population. The largest smallmouth collected measured 17 inches long.
“Smallmouth bass were stocked from 1989 to 1992 to provide more fishing diversity for anglers and to feed on over-abundant green sunfish,” said Nate Thomas, DNR assistant fisheries biologist. “They have adapted to the reservoir well and remain a popular fish at Hurshtown.”

The Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department (FWPRD) stocked approximately 13,500 3-inch walleye fingerlings from 1998 to 2000 for the same reasons as the smallmouth stockings were done.

“Collecting walleyes was a surprise because they have not been stocked recently and all of the walleyes we collected were only 2 years old,” Thomas said.

Although the walleye collected were of the naturally reproducing variety, Thomas warned against depending solely on nature to sustain a walleye population in the reservoir. He said he doesn’t believe the reservoir can naturally sustain a walleye population over time.
“Successful natural reproduction among walleye in northeast Indiana is rare due to lack of suitable habitat and other fish likely feeding on walleye fry,” Thomas said.

For more information, including complete findings of the survey, go to, or call Thomas at (260) 244-6805.

Spring turkey season opens today

Indiana’s 40th annual spring turkey hunting begins Wednesday statewide, and DNR wildlife research biologist Steve Backs is expecting results similar to recent years.

“I expect hunters to take 12,000 turkeys, plus or minus a 1,000 in 2009,” Backs said.

The 2008 spring turkey harvest of 12,204 was the second-highest total since Indiana instituted turkey hunting in 1970. In 2006, a record 13,193 birds were taken.

Hunters can kill one male or bearded turkey in the spring season, which runs through May 10.

Hunters must posses either a turkey hunting license and a valid game bird habitat stamp, an apprentice license, or a lifetime license. An apprentice license is available to anyone, including hunters born after Dec. 31, 1986, who have yet to complete the requirement of hunter education. All persons, regardless of age, are limited to three apprentice licenses in their lifetime.

Legal turkey hunting weapons include 10-, 12-, 16-, or 20-gauge shotguns, muzzle loading shotguns not smaller than 20-gauge nor larger than 10-gauge, bow and arrow, or crossbow.

Turkeys may be hunted one-half hour before sunrise to sunset, except at all DNR fish and wildlife areas, J. Edward Roush, Mississinewa, and Salamonie lakes, where legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until noon CDT and 1 p.m. EDT.

All turkeys must be properly tagged and checked-in at an official turkey check station. A list of check stations is available in the 2008-2009 Hunting and Trapping Guide or at

California Dreamin': Baseball careers take Bluffton men out West

News-Banner Sports Editor

"Go west, young man," said famous newspaper editor Horace Greeley.

Two former Wells County high school graduates have followed
professional baseball careers to California.

Ironically, Bluffton High School graduate Luke Reiff, son of Linda
and Tony Reiff, and Norwell High School graduate Jarrod Parker, son
of Ranelle and Brent Parker, are associated with minor league
baseball programs in the high Class A California League.

Reiff is the assistant general manager of the Stockton Ports, an
Oakland A's affiliate, and Parker is pitching for the Visalia
Rawhide, an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The 2008 Ports won the California League championship, but in 2009
the Ports are struggling with a 1-11 start. Meanwhile, the Rawhide
currently is at the top of the California League North Division with
an 11-1 mark. The Rawhide was tied with the Fort Wayne TinCaps and
the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees as the only Minor League teams with
perfect records in 2009. Now, the TinCaps are the only unbeaten team.

Reiff emailed that "The Ports are struggling so far this year, and
have tied for the worst start that I've been a part of in my short time in Minor League Baseball. 1-11 is going to be tough to overcome, and I'm not sure we
have it in us. We did win the California League Championship last
season, so I guess we're just receiving a little payback now.

"I'm been waiting to see Parker for some time. They are in town next
week, so I'm hoping his spot in the rotation comes up while he's here.
If not, they'll be back 2 more times this season. It will be
interesting to see him throw," added Reiff.

Reiff got his start in professional baseball as an intern with the
Indianapolis Indians when they were still at Busch Stadium before
moving to Victory Field. Reiff was a student at Indiana University at
the time.

Reiff also would like to see the new Fort Wayne baseball facility
(Parkview Field). He has heard a lot of good things about Fort
Wayne's new digs.

Obviously, the word gets around through the baseball circuits.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Free state park, lake or state forest admission, May 3 … and maybe May 2, too

Get your carload of family and friends in the gate of any Indiana state park, lake or state forest without spending a dime on Sunday, May 3, as part of the annual Welcome Back Weekend, the traditional lid-lifter of the spring recreation season.

"This a great time to visit a DNR property," said Ginger Murphy, assistant director for stewardship in the DNR Division of State Parks and Reservoirs. "It's a chance for people who've never visited or haven't recently stopped by to discover a state treasure and save a few dollars at the same time."

Even veteran park-goers will notice something new or updated at most properties. Features include the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Plaza opening in June at Lincoln State Park, new electric campsites at Ouabache, comfort stations under construction at Clifty Falls and Lincoln, new Gus Grissom Memorial exhibits at Spring Mill State Park, improved mountain bike trails at several properties and more than 300 new interpretive wayside signs all around the state to help you enjoy and better understand what you see. For a complete list of improvements and additions, see

"We hope people will like what they see and buy a $36 Annual Entrance Pass ($18 for ages 65 and older), which will get their carload through any entrance gate for the rest of 2009."

Normal weekend gate fees for most properties are $5 per day for an in-state vehicle and $7 per day for an out-of-state vehicle. During the week, most fees are $4 for in-state and $7 for out-of-state. All other fees will be in effect. The only thing waived is the daily entrance normally charged for any car, truck, bicycle or pedestrian. The entrance fee for Historic Prophetstown at Prophetstown State Park remains in effect.

May 3 is the second consecutive day you can enter a state park or lake without paying a gate fee, but there's a condition. That's because May 2 is annual INShape Indiana DNR Day. Registered INShape participants will be e-mailed a coupon by the end of April. That coupon, when shown at the gate, gets the carload in free on Saturday, May 2 to participate in walks and other activities.

To register as an INShape participant, see To see scheduled walks and activities, visit Information about INShape Indiana also is available at 1-800-433-0746. The INShape coupon is not valid for entrance or camping on Friday night, May 1 or at state forest properties.

Please visit our sponsor!

Unprepared mushroom hunters can get lost easily

Two lost mushroom hunters were located and assisted in separate cases after searches that included Indiana Conservation Officers, showing that even veterans of the pastime who are familiar with the land need to take proper precautions.

"It's important to both know the area you are hunting and to always having a buddy with you," said Mark Farmer, public information officer for the DNR Division of Law Enforcement. "If you hunt mushrooms by yourself, make sure you have a map and compass or GPS unit with you."

Indiana Conservation Officer Angela Goldman, who is the public information officer for the district where the searches occurred, said it's also important to let someone know exactly where you're going and when you plan to return before heading out.

Sam Unsworth of Elkinsville, a longtime Brown County resident who said he is familiar with the terrain, was found safe at 11:30 a.m. today. He became disoriented yesterday while looking for mushrooms in Hoosier National Forest yesterday and walked in the wrong direction to get home, then spent a rainy night in the woods.
The successful search was carried out by Indiana Conservation Officers, the Brown County Sheriff’s Department, volunteers from the Nashville Fire Department, Van Buren Fire Department and Hamblin Township Fire Department, and the Indiana State Police Helicopter.

Another mushroom hunter, Nancy Prince of Bloomington, was located at Paynetown Recreation Area by the Indiana Conservation Officer K-9 unit's Jon Fennig and his K-9, Abby, yesterday morning.
Prince was separated from a group of fellow mushroom hunters in the area. Family members contacted Indiana Conservation Officers at approximately 12:30 p.m. yesterday. She was located shortly thereafter.
In addition to taking proper safety precautions, mushroom hunters searching non-public land must have permission from the property owner.

Get "bio-blitzed" at Brown County SP, June 5-7

A “bio-blitz”, an attempt to secure a detailed inventory of nature, will be jam-packed into one weekend at Brown County State Park, June 5-7.

The goal is to take stock of every living plant and animal species in the nearly 16,000 acres of Brown County State Park; you can help. A traditional bioblitz lasts 24 hours, but because the park is so large, the bioblitz is scheduled to run all weekend.

Brown County State Park needs volunteers to assist scientists and naturalists who will lead this inaugural event. Many volunteering will see areas of the park that are normally off limits to the public. The effort will yield a valuable record of common as well as rare, endangered and exotic (plant) species living in the park; it will help property staff to learn more about what resources are present and aid in better resource management decision-making.

"This will be a fun and important event," said Jim Eagleman, the park’s interpretive naturalist. "It will give us a snapshot of the biodiversity of Indiana's largest state park. We encourage anyone who enjoys nature and the outdoors to volunteer; learning from today’s scientists about their area of expertise will be a bonus!”, he said.

Those visitors concerned about the physical demands of volunteering may wish to attend a talk with a researcher. Public programs presented by the park interpretive staff will highlight species being discovered during the 3-day event; visitors can also learn what environmental demands are facing today’s botanists and biologists.

The park's Nature Center will serve as base camp, stocked with coffee, refreshments, field guides, computers, microscopes, and species’ tally sheets. All inventoried sites will be recorded with GPS coordinates.

Those interested in participating are asked to register online at Gate fee of $5 per in-state vehicle and $7 per out-of-state vehicle will be charged.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Closet Needs Boys Clothes!

The Closet at Wells County Family Centered Services is in desperate need of boys clothes for spring and summer, sizes 0 to 6X.
Donations may be dropped off at 123 S. Marion Street. Or call 824-8574 and ask for Keely.

Aquatic “weedroller” use may require permit

Indiana DNR Release:

Lakefront property owners using a device known as a “weedroller” to remove aquatic plants from Indiana lakes may need a permit from the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife, depending on the size of the affected area.
A weedroller is an electrically operated, mechanical device that attaches to a pier and rolls along the bottom, cutting off plants with a series of fins. It is often marketed as an alternative to chemical herbicides (

According to Indiana law, lake residents must obtain aquatic weed control permits if they remove more than 625 square feet of vegetation, including lily pads, submersed plants, and even algae. A permit is not required if the affected area is less than 625 square feet (25 feet x 25 feet).

A typical weedroller comes in three 7-foot sections and can clear an arc with a 21-foot radius, or 692 square feet, if mounted in a single position along one side of a pier.
“Moving a weedroller to multiple locations or adding sections could also easily exceed the 625 square foot limit,” said Jed Pearson, DNR fisheries biologist. “In that case, a permit would be required.
“The exemption from a permit is only to allow a lake resident to create a weed-free area around a pier or beach; however, aquatic plants are important to the ecology of a lake, so we want to provide some level of protection for them.”

An application for a weed control permit, which costs $5, can be found at

Although no permit is required for areas less than 625 square feet, biologists are concerned about improper operation of a weedroller, regardless of the size of the area.
“If the target plant is Eurasian water milfoil, cutting it could make the problem worse,” Pearson said. “Milfoil can reproduce from plant fragments. Every piece a weedroller cuts is a potential new milfoil plant.”
Plant fragments could also create drifting mats of vegetation that pile up and rot along neighboring frontages. As a result, anyone who uses a weedroller is responsible for picking up and disposing of plant fragments.
Plant fragmentation might be reduced if a weedroller is installed early and used continuously.
In some cases, a weedroller may also stir up sediment and cause water-quality problems.
“Reports on the product's Web site that no permits are required in Indiana are not true,” Pearson said. “Lake residents need to be aware of permit requirements before paying the expense to buy and operate one. Limits may also be placed on their use depending on the type of plant and the area where it is located.”

Kid's Fishing Derbies

Children ages two to 14 are welcome to participate in on of the Fishing Derbies at the three Upper Wabash Reservoirs — Roush Lake, Salamonie Lake, and Mississinewa Lake — June 6 during the statewide Free Fishing Weekend. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. with fishing from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Award ceremonies will follow.
Children will be divided into age categories two to five, six to 10 and 11 to 14. Each child will go home with a prize. Children should pre-register for the free events by calling 260-468-2127.

DNR Fish & Wildlife director takes job with Feds

Glen Salmon, director of the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife for the past seven years, has announced he is retiring after 32 years with the state agency to accept a position with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Washington, D.C.

“This is really exciting,” said Salmon, who will become deputy director for the federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. “This is a chance to do some stuff on the national level, to continue a great relationship between the states and the Service on this program, and hopefully just make that even stronger.”

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program provides oversight and administrative support for 10 federal grant programs that cover wildlife, sport fish, boating, coastal wetlands conservation, landowner conservation incentives, and tribal activities.
“It’s going to be different,” said Salmon, who will remain with DNR through June. “They have a great culture in the Service, but we have an incredible culture here (in DNR).”

Salmon managed a staff of 230 DNR employees that includes biologists, property managers, staff specialists, and natural resource educators. The division oversees 21 fish and wildlife areas, eight fish hatcheries, numerous other conservation areas, and hundreds of public access boat ramps.
The division also is responsible for the management of wild animal populations on both public land and private property.

“Glen is a positive, upbeat, consummate public servant who never sought to gloss over difficult circumstances,” DNR Director Robert E. Carter Jr. said.
Salmon joined the DNR in 1977. His first position was at Cikana State Fish Hatchery near Martinsville. He later worked at Mixsawbah State Fish Hatchery near Walkerton before returning to Cikana to become assistant hatchery manager in 1980. He moved to the DNR central office in Indianapolis in 1980 as a staff specialist and was promoted to assistant division director in 1998 before becoming division director in 2002.

Salmon cited the acquisition of Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area and a land-use agreement for Fairbanks Landing Fish and Wildlife Area as two of the highlights of his tenure.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mushrooom festival, Brown County State Park, May 2

Brown County State Park will celebrate a Hoosier delicacy with its third annual morel mushroom festival, one of it most popular nature events, May 2.

The festival features guided hikes to find the elusive fungus, as well as music, an arts-and- crafts fair, and children’s events. A cooking demonstration, a contest for the largest morel mushroom found in the park, and a geocache hike also will be part of the fun.
Live Indiana birds of prey will be featured at 5 p.m, with local wildlife rehabilitation specialists from Return to the Wild. After that, local rock musicians Jack Morel and the Spores will perform.

If you're not experienced at finding morels, you're still covered—The Friends of Brown County State Park group will sell them at the park Nature Center, starting at 1 p.m. Proceeds benefit the park.

No fee is charged for this program; however, normal weekend gate admission fees of $5 per in-state vehicle and $7 per out-of-state vehicle will be required.
For more information, go to or call (812) 988-5240.

Sports Round Up

River Runners to hold races
The Ouabache River Runners will be hosting the Spring Training 10- and 5-mile race on Saturday, April 18 at Ouabache State Park. Races will start at 9 a.m. Runners and walkers are asked to park at the swimming pool parking lot. For more information, call Mac McAvoy at 450-1071 or e-mail at

Basketball camp at Huntington
The Huntington University Forester Basketball Camp will be held July 6-10 in the university gymnasium for boys or girls entering grades K-9. Cost is $85 for K-3 and $90 for 4-9. Times are 1:30-3 p.m. for K-3, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. for 4-6, and 8-10 a.m. for 7-9. Sign up before June 1 and receive a $10 discount. Call 260-359-4292 for a brochure or register online at

Parker helps Silver Hawks gain split
Designated hitter Justin Parker doubled and scored in the second game of the South Bend Silver Hawks’ doubleheader against Lansing Wednesday night at South Bend to give the Silver Hawks a split. The Silver Hawks (2-4) won 4-2 in the nightcap.
In the first game, Parker played third base and had two hits, including a double, and drove in one run. However, the Silver Hawks lost 3-1. The Lugnuts are now 1-5.

Calumet wrestling coach named
WHITING, Ind. (AP) — Former Indiana high school champion and University of Minnesota All-American Leroy Vega has been named wrestling coach at Calumet College.
It’s the first college head coaching job for the 30-year-old Vega, who was an assistant at Minnesota for two years and then ran his own wrestling club in his hometown of Portage, Ind.
Vega was an undefeated state high school champion at 103 pounds in 1996 and at 112 pounds in 1997, compiling a combined 96-0 record over those two seasons. He was a captain on two NCAA champion teams at Minnesota.
Calumet is an NAIA Division II school of about 1,200 students.
Information from: The Times,
Evansville signs Anderson senior
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Anderson High School’s Troy Taylor has signed a basketball letter of intent with Evansville’s Aces.
The 6-foot senior was a three-year starter and averaged 21.1 points and 9.8 rebounds last season.
He also led the Indians to their first sectional tourney championship in six years and was an honorable-mention All-State pick by The Associated Press.

High School Sports Calendar

Thursday, April 16
GIRLS TRACK: FW South Side at Norwell, 4 p.m.
TRACK: Southern Wells at Blackford, 4:30 p.m.
BOYS GOLF: Blackford, Marion vs. Bluffton, postponed; Columbia City at Norwell, 4:30 p.m.; Mississinewa at Southern Wells, 5 p.m.
GIRLS TENNIS: Jay County at Bluffton, 4:30 p.m.; Norwell at South Adams, 5 p.m.
BASEBALL: Bluffton at Adams Central, 5 p.m.; Norwell at FW Snider, 4:30 p.m.
JV BASEBALL: Adams Central at Bluffton, 5 p.m.
SOFTBALL: Bluffton at Adams Central, 5 p.m.; FW Wayne at Norwell, 5 p.m.; Southwood at Southern Wells, 5 p.m.
JV SOFTBALL: Adams Central at Bluffton, 5 p.m.
Friday, April 17
GIRLS TENNIS: Columbia City at Norwell, 4:30 p.m.; Bluffton at Southwood, 5 p.m.
BASEBALL: Southern Wells at Blackford, 5 p.m.; Norwell at FW Elmhurst, 5 p.m. (rescheduled from Monday).
JV BASEBALL: Norwell at Huntington North, 5 p.m.; Southern Wells at Blackford, 7:30 p.m.
SOFTBALL: Jay County at Southern Wells (rescheduled from Tuesday), 5 p.m.
JV SOFTBALL: FW Elmhurst at Norwell, 5 p.m.
Saturday, April 18
BOYS GOLF: Norwell, Southern Wells at Bellmont Invitational, 8 a.m.
GIRLS TENNIS: Norwell at Mt. Vernon Invitational, 9 a.m.
BASEBALL: Oak Hill at Bluffton (DH), 10 a.m.; Heritage at Norwell, 10 a.m.
JV BASEBALL: Heritage at Norwell, following varsity game.
TRACK: Norwell at FW Bishop Luers Relays, 9:30 a.m.; Bluffton, Southern Wells at Churubusco Invitational, 10 a.m.
SOFTBALL: Wapahani at Southern Wells (DH), 9 a.m.; South Adams at Norwell, 11 a.m.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tree Cities dot Indiana map

Cities and towns of all sizes across Indiana are putting their knowledge of the benefit of trees to seed … or seedling.

The Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry (DoF) has recognized 64 Indiana cities and towns as Tree Cities USA, a program sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters.
The newest Tree Cities in Indiana are Alexandria, Fishers, Rensselaer and Rising Sun.

Others on the list include Anderson, Angola, Auburn, Avon, Beech Grove, Bedford, Berne, Bloomington, Carmel, Chesterton, Columbia City, Crown Point, Culver, Decatur, Delphi, Dyer, East Chicago, Edgewood, Elkhart, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Fortville, Fremont, Geneva, Goshen, Greencastle, Greendale, Greenfield, Grissom Air Reserve Base, Huntington and Indianapolis.

Rounding out the list are LaPorte, Lafayette, Madison, Michigan City, Middlebury, Mishawaka, Montpelier, Mount Ayr, Muncie, Munster, Nappanee, New Harmony, Noblesville, North Manchester, Richmond, Rochester, Russiaville, Salem, South Bend, Syracuse, Terre Haute, Tipton, Valparaiso, Vincennes, West Lafayette, Westfield, Whiting, Winamac and Zionsville.

In 2008, Indiana Tree City municipalities and non-profits planted 15,036 trees, removed 5,621 dying or dead trees, and pruned 20,792 trees.

"These communities are working aggressively to improve their environmental and economic health by caring for their urban forest,” said John Seifert, State Forester.

Electric utilities and universities were honored by two companion programs of the Tree City USA program. Tree Line USA recognizes electric utilities that perform proper tree care on trees in their area as they strive to remove tree and power line conflicts. Tree Campus USA is a new program for colleges and universities that recognizes campuses that have committed to managing their trees and involving students in the process.

Indiana’s Tree Line utilities are Indianapolis Power and Light, Mishawaka Utilities, Northern Indiana Public Service Company, and, most recently, Vectren Energy.
Indiana University and Indiana State University are the state's first Tree Campuses.
For more information on any of these programs, contact Pam Louks, State Urban Forestry Coordinator at (317) 591-1170 or

Indiana ranks 23rd out of all the states and the District of Columbia for number of Tree Cities. The first Hoosier tree city was Bloomington in 1984. The state's largest Tree City is Indianapolis. The smallest in the state is Mount Ayr, population 147.

Nationwide there are more than 3,300 Tree Cities, with more than 125 million combined residents.

National Volunteer Week and DNR opportunities

National Volunteer Week, April 19-25, is a great time catch the giving-back fever that's sweeping the country. Chances are there is a way to donate your interests, time and talents to benefit our natural resources and have fun in the process.

The DNR Division of State Parks and Reservoirs provides numerous types of opportunities, such as greeting interpretive center visitors, serving as a campground host, demonstrating a craft or skill, assisting with special events, maintaining trails, or monitoring bluebird boxes. Helping control invasive plants such as garlic mustard is another possibility.

If you don't like working outdoors but would like to help the natural resources in another way, many DNR properties need help entering computer data, to free up those whose specialties call them outdoors.
The Natural Resources Education Center at Fort Harrison State Park in Indianapolis seeks gardeners and painters to spruce up for its May 15 open house. From April 20-24, about 10 people will be needed each day. Call (317) 562-1338 or send an e-mail to if you can help.

If you have some free time and a willingness to work, chances are the DNR can use your skills and services.
“Volunteering can help you get to know other property visitors and staff," said Ginger Murphy, volunteer coordinator for the DNR Division of State Parks and Reservoirs. "Volunteering also gives you a great sense of accomplishment. You know you are helping manage and conserve our natural and cultural resources.”

A brochure describing volunteer opportunities at DNR properties is at Visit and click on “How You Can Help” to download a volunteer application form. For more information about volunteer opportunities at specific properties, call the office at a DNR property near you.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Goshen, IN, April 14, 2009. Skyhawks Sports Academy is proud to announce it has contracted with the Bluffton Parks and Recreation to offer sports camps for kids this summer. Rob Yoder, the Goshen-based franchise owner of Skyhawks Sports Academy announced that Bluffton Parks and Recreation will be offering the following sports camps for kids in the Bluffton community; Mini Hawk Multi Sport (Soccer, Basketball, and T ball) for ages 4-7yrs, Tiny Hawk Multi Sport (Soccer, Basketball, and T ball) for ages 3-4 yrs, SNAG Beginning Golf for ages 5-8 yrs. You can find a complete listing of Skyhawks summer programs at

“We are extremely excited to partner with Bluffton Parks and Recreation to offer fun and safe programs for the kids in The Bluffton area. Also, since we hire all of our staff locally, this creates a great opportunity for those people looking for summer coaching jobs who have a passion for working with kids,” says Yoder.
If you would like more information about Skyhawks visit them online @
or call 574-536-1733

B&G Soccer

B&G Club soccer will go through April 30
The Boys and Girls Club will offer soccer with Aldo from March 3 to April 30.
Those in grades first through third will practice from 5 to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays. Those in grades fourth through sixth will practice on Thursdays from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The club is located at 1410 Wayne Street. For more information call 824-1570.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Mighty Wrestlers

Wells County Wrestling Club members Draven and Prairie Filhart-Stoltz, who were competing in the intermediate and bantam divisions at the Norwell Open Freestyle wrestling meet on March 28, placed sixth in their respective weight classes. (Photo submitted)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Wells County High School Sports Calendar

Wednesday, April 8
BASEBALL: Bluffton at Bellmont, 5 p.m.; Southern Wells at Norwell, 4:30 p.m.
SOFTBALL: Bluffton at Bellmont, 5 p.m.
JV SOFTBALL: Bellmont at Bluffton, 5 p.m.
Thursday, April 9
BASEBALL: Blackford at Bluffton, 5 p.m.; FW North Side at Norwell, 5 p.m.; Southern Wells at Wes-Del, 5 p.m.
JV BASEBALL: Norwell at Oak Hill, 5 p.m.; Blackford at Southern Wells, 5 p.m.
SOFTBALL: Blackford at Bluffton (V/JV), 5 p.m.; Yorktown at Southern Wells, 5 p.m.
JV SOFTBALL: Southern Wells at Bluffton, cancelled.
TRACK: Madison-Grant at Bluffton, 5 p.m.; Marion at Norwell, 4:30 p.m.; Southern Wells at Eastbrook, 4:30 p.m.
Friday, April 10
SOFTBALL: Southern Wells at Blackford, 5 p.m.
Saturday, April 11
BOYS GOLF: Southern Wells at Triton Invitational, 8 a.m.
JV BASEBALL: Norwell at FW Elmhurst (DH), 11 a.m.
SOFTBALL: Norwell at Southern Wells (DH), 10 a.m.

Indiana youth turkey season, April 18 & 19

Indiana’s 2009 spring turkey youth season takes place April 18 and 19. The special season is open to hunters age 15 or younger. Youth hunters are limited to one bearded or male wild turkey.
To participate, a youth hunter must be accompanied in the field at all times by an unarmed adult who is at least 18 years old. The youth must be in possession of either a youth consolidated hunting license or an apprentice turkey license. The adult does not need a license.

An apprentice license is available to youths who have yet to complete the requirement of hunter education. All persons, regardless of age, are limited to three apprentice licenses in their lifetime.
Legal weapons include 10-, 12-, 16-, or 20-gauge shotguns, bow and arrow, or crossbow. All turkeys must be properly tagged and checked-in at an official turkey check station. A list of check stations is available in the 2008-2009 Hunting and Trapping Guide or online at

Youth turkey hunters killed 956 turkeys during the 2008 youth season and 736 turkeys during the 2007 youth season.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Extension Calendar

April 7 – 4-H BB & Rifle Club Awards Night, Community Center, 6:30 PM
April 8 – 4-H Frozen Foods Pick Up, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 2 - 5 PM
April 8 – “Gardening with Native Plants” presentation by Ben Hess, Community Center, 9 AM Open to the public
April 9 – 4-H Rabbit Workshop, Community Center, 7 - 8:30 PM
April 9 – Wells County 4-H Dog Obedience Club, Community Center, 6:30 - 8:30 PM
April 10 – Good Friday - County Offices Closed
April 11 – 4-H Park Spring Clean Up Day, Bluffton, 8:30 AM - 12 Noon
April 13 – Hunter Education, Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 5:30 - 9 PM
April 14 – Hunter Education, Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 5:30 - 9 PM
April 14 – Wells County 4-H Foundation, Community Center, 4-H Park, 7 PM
April 14 – Ag Tour for 4th Graders - 4-H Park
April 15 – Hunter Education, Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 5:30 - 9 PM
April 15 – Kids Health & Safety Fair, Bluffton Elementary School, 8:30 AM - 3 PM
April 16 – Kids Health & Safety Fair, Bluffton Elementary School, 8:30 AM - 3 PM
April 16 – Wells County 4-H Dog Obedience Club, Community Center, 6:30 - 8:30 PM
April 17 – Northeast Indiana 4-H & FFA Dairy & Livestock Judging Contest, Wells County 4-H Park, 8:30 AM - 3 PM
April 18 – 4-H Park Spring Clean Up Day, Bluffton, 8:30 AM - 12 Noon
April 20 – Wells County 4-H Association, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 7 PM

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sunrise Without Snow

This shot of the sunrise over Lake Michigan is provided by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources photo gallery. Obviously it was shot when there was no lake effect snow in the sky...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Ossian Conservation Club Events

Ossian Conservation Club Inc., a not for profit corporation located at 9950 N 100 E, Ossian, has announced the following April events. For more information call 622-4712 or 622-6810 or go to
April 18 — Nelson’s Port-A-Pit Chicken, Pork Chops and Ribs at Villa North in Bluffton from 11 a.m. till gone. No pre-sold tickets. Cost is $5.50 for half a chicken or pork chop, and $9 for a slab of ribs. For dessert try our old style sugar corn made in a cast iron kettle. Cost is $2 and $4 a bag. Proceeds will to go to the new furnace, window, and siding fund.
April 19 — Ossian Conservation Club Shotgun Shooter’s informal Shotgun Shoot from 12 p.m. till 4:30. Regular clays, middies, minnies and rabbit targets. Bring the whole family. Public is welcome.
April 26 — Ouabache Archers at Ossian Conservation Club from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30. Several new Rinehart 3-D targets. All are welcome.
Many of our supporters were disappointed that we didn’t have a raffle last year, so this year we will be selling raffle tickets on a Ruger 10-22 rifle. This is a “Distributor’s Special” Model GRL-THB with a MSRP of $545. Tickets will sell for $1 each or six tickets for $5, and will be sold at all of the fund raisers and events this year and also from club members. For tickets or more information call, Dave Saalfrank at 622-7107 or Rose Ann Barrick at 622-4733. The drawing will be at the Oct. 2 meeting at the Ossian Conservation Club.

DNR extends emergency flood relief rule

Indiana DNR Release:

DNR director Robert E. Carter Jr. has extended for another year an emergency rule that temporarily suspends permit requirements for certain construction activities and debris removal caused by flooding.
The original rule was issued last summer in the wake of extreme flooding in southern Indiana but was extended several times to aid flood-damaged counties.

The latest extension, which takes effect April 6 and expires March 31, 2010, was reauthorized for two reasons.

One is to allow time for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, a federal program, to complete dozens of flood-related projects it began under its Emergency Watershed Protection program. The other reason is to provide the DNR an opportunity to review and evaluate current rules to determine if changes are needed.

Under normal conditions, the construction activities and debris removal addressed by the emergency rule would require a permit under Indiana Code 14-28-1. The reauthorized emergency rule provides an exemption to that permit requirement for the following types of projects:

Reconstruction of bridges and culvert crossings damaged by floodwaters;
Removal of logjams and debris from the channel of a waterway;
Stabilization and repair of stream banks eroded by floodwaters.
Scenic Rivers and salmonid streams are not covered by this temporary rule, but projects can be authorized with additional review. Some of these projects also may require authorization from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, and possibly both.

Some conditions apply under this order in regard to the equipment and methods used in reconstruction, debris removal and stabilization. For example, replacement bridges or culvert crossings must be at least the same size and as effective as before the flood damage occurred; appropriate control measures must be installed to prevent the flow of sediment-laden water into the waterway; and certain plants may not be used for re-vegetation.
The original emergency rule was issued June 11, 2008, for 29 counties in southern Indiana. Extensions were authorized in July and August 2008, to add 21 more flood-damaged counties before it was extended statewide in October 2008. That final extension expired March 31.

A complete list of emergency rule guidelines is available at (click on the link marked Emergency Rule-Flood Extension or the link marked Logjam FAQs).

Thursday, April 2, 2009

New online DNR photo gallery serves public, media

Indiana DNR Release:

The Department of Natural Resources has launched a new online digital photo gallery of popular images as a service to the public and the news media.

Any of the 70 gallery images can be downloaded and used within guidelines listed on the site. Potential uses include computer desktop backgrounds, school reports, personal enjoyment and to support news media reports of DNR programs. For most personal or editorial uses, there is no charge.

To access the gallery, go to, click on Divisions in the left column, click on Communications, and then click on the DNR Photos link. The main photo page describes the legal uses of the images, and how and when to provide credit to the DNR. Directions are provided for requesting high-resolution images and for purchasing high-quality prints.

The site includes attractive shots of Indiana nature scenes, wildlife, people in outdoor activities, some state-endangered species and bald eagles.

Other timely highlights include images of the emerald ash borer and gypsy moth insects, the State Fair, the Brown County State Park mountain biking trails system, the banding of falcons, and sandhill cranes visiting the Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area.

The gallery will be updated periodically with fresh images.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Buy an adventure at a state park this summer

Indiana DNR Release:

Catch the adventure tourism craze at Indiana State Parks this season.
This season you won’t have to go far from home to experience a unique opportunity with your family or friends.

The Indiana State Parks offer five unique adventure experiences. These include everything from private tours through unique cave systems to having lunch with a raptor.

To learn more or to purchase, see