Sports and Outdoors

Friday, December 30, 2011

Work for the TinCaps

The Fort Wayne TinCaps food and beverage department at Parkview Field is now accepting applications for the 2012 baseball season.

The TinCaps are currently looking to fill the following part-time, seasonal positions:
- Bartender (must be 21 or older)
- Concession Cashier
- Cook
- Food Runner
- Server
- Vendor

Interested candidates may pick up an application at the Parkview Field administrative office or by logging on to the Fort Wayne TinCaps website (Click on "CLUBHOUSE" on the main navigation and then click on "EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES").

Applications may be submitted in person to the TinCaps Administrative Office located on the west side of Parkview Field, with an entrance up from Ewing Street. The TinCaps office regular business hours are from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. The team's administrative offices will be closed for the holidays, beginning December 23rd through January 2nd.

For more information in regards to these positions please contact Dan Krleski with the TinCaps at (260) 407-2827.

Change in location

From the Bluffton High School Athletic Department: The boys' basketball game vs. Winchester will be played in the Winchester Fieldhouse in downtown Winchester and not at Winchester High School. The jv game will begin at 6:00 pm.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

State parks offer two nights for the price of one

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Spend 2 nights with us at any of our 7 locations, and pay for only 1. Available Nov. 28, 2011 - March 1, 2012. Must stay two consecutive nights, valid Sunday through Thursday only.

(not valid Dec. 23 - Dec 31, 2011, subject to availability, and cannot be combined with any other discount or used for groups.)

Reservations can be made by calling 1.877.LODGES 1 or ONLINE at any location by using the "2 for 1" rate code. Click on your favorite location above to make a reservation.

To learn more, click here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

N-B Video: 2011 boys' basketball — Bluffton vs. Norwell

The Bluffton Tigers take on the Norwell Knights in regular season boys' basketball action. Learn more in the Wednesday, Dec. 28, News-Banner. (Photos and video by Glen Werling)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

4-H Extension calendar

  • December 30 — Wells County 4-H Jr. Leader Officers & Directors, noon to 2 p.m., Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton
  • January 2 — New Year's Holiday — County Offices Closed
  • January 3 — Extension Homemakers Executive Council, 12:30 p.m. Extension Homemakers Presidents' Council, 1:30 p.m.
  • January 6-8 — Indiana Association of Fairs, Festivals & Events, Marriott East, Indianapolis
  • January 7 — State 4-H Poultry Workshop, Boone County Farm Bureau Community Building, Boone County 4-H Fairgrounds, Lebanon, I-65 at exit 138
  • January 8 — Wells County 4-H Horse & Pony Club, Wells County Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 5 p.m.
  • January 8 — Wells County 4-H Horse & Pony Advisory Board (after 4-H Club meeting), Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton
  • January 16 — Martin Lutheran King Day — County Offices Closed
  • January 17 — 4-H Scholarship & Resume Forms due at Wells County Extension Office
  • January 17 — State P-CARET Legislative Luncheon, Hyatt Regency Hotel, Indianapolis, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

13th annual Aqua Systems New Year's Day bash set for Sunday afternoon at Anderson Speedway

ANDERSON, Ind. – Anderson Speedway begins the 65th season of racing action on Sunday afternoon, January 1 with the 13th Annual Aqua Systems New Year’s Day Bash. Featured divisions include Figure 8’s, ThunderCars, Mini Cups along with Front Wheel Drives on the Oval and Figure 8.

The Aqua Systems New Year’s Day Bash annually draws nearly 100 cars that compete on the World’s Fastest Quarter-Mile Oval on January 1. In the most recent Aqua Systems New Year’s Day Bash in 2010 feature winners included Ronnie Rose (ThunderCars), Jeff Williams (Front Wheel Drive Oval) and Nick Warner (Front Wheel Drive Oval Figure 8’s).

On Sunday, spectator gates open at 11 a.m. with the racing program going green at approximately 1 p.m.

General admission tickets will be priced at $10 for adults, $4 for children 6-12 with kids five and under admitted free.

For additional information on Anderson Speedway, visit or contact Anderson Speedway at (765) 642-0206.

Friday, December 23, 2011

N-B Video: County schools compete at wrestling tournament

Wrestlers from Northern Wells, Bluffton-Harrison and Southern Wells compete in the East Central Indiana Classic wrestling tournament Thursday, Dec. 22. Featured here are Norwell wrestler Mitchell Wilson, Southern Wells wrestler Seth Biberstine and Norwel wrestler Kyle Short. Learn more in the Friday, Dec. 23, News-Banner. (Video by Paul Beitler)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Get away for the weekend

Looking for a little winter vacation during a weekend next year? The Indiana Department of Natural Resources offers the following escapes for the new year.

  • Join McCormick’s Creek staff and people all across the country for a First Day Hike on New Year’s Day in a state park.
  • Take Brown County’s Annual Winter Hike on Jan. 14. Go sledding at Fort Harrison’s sledding hill, which is open during park hours when snow cover and weather permit. Call (317) 591-0904 to check on the status.
  • Experience the Battle of the Bulge re-enactment on Jan. 7 at Fort Harrison. A Battle of the Bulge exhibit is available on weekends through January.
  • Register in advance by Jan. 10 to build an Eastern screech owl nest box on Jan. 15 at Monroe Lake.
  • Check out the Indiana Dunes Geocache Adventure on Jan. 2. Get site-specific geocaching information here.
  • Cross-country ski at Pokagon. The ski rental is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekends. When there’s a base of five to six inches of snow, a variety of trails for varying levels of expertise are available.
  • Become a “Road Scholar” (formerly Elderhostel) at Pokagon’s Potawatomi Inn, Jan. 29-Feb. 3. Road Scholar is a non-profit, educational organization that provides short-term, non-credit, residential learning opportunities for people 55 years of age and older.
  • Go tobogganing at Pokagon. Gift certificates are available for friends and family.
  • Cure the cabin fever blues with “Old-time Winter on the Farm” at the O'Bannon Woods nature center on Jan. 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Experience life on the farm, from the cross-cut saw to the open fire of the summer kitchen. Call ahead in case of inclement weather, (812) 738-8234.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Randy Davis Named A Bob Cousy Award Candidate

From the Ball State Athletic Department:

For the second year in a row, Ball State senior point guard Randy Davis (Plymouth, has been named one of 59 candidates for the 2012 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts announced Monday. The annual honor, named for Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic Bob Cousy, recognizes the top point guards in college basketball.

Davis is one of just two players from the Mid-American Conference (D.J. Cooper, Ohio) among the 2012 nominees and is just one of 12 players in the country that has made the exclusive list for two straight years. Additional multiple nominees include Keegan Bell (Chattanooga), Chris Wroblewski (Cornell), Scott Machado (Iona), Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas), Casper Ware (Long Beach State), D.J. Cooper (Ohio), Zach Rosen (Pennsylvania), Lewis Jackson (Purdue), Hank Thomas (TCU), Jordan Taylor (Wisconsin) and Tu Holloway (Xavier).

Davis leads the Mid-American Conference and ranks third in NCAA Division I in assists per game at 7.75 as he has handed out 62 through the first eight games this year. He ranks fifth in the nation in assist/turnover ratio at 3.875, which is also tops in the MAC. His play has the Cardinals ranking first in the league in assist/turnover ratio as a team at 1.20 and second in assists at 14.9 per game.

Davis, a preseason All-MAC West selection, tied his career-high with 11 assists in the season-opener against No. 16 Arizona. He ranks fourth on the team in scoring at 7.8 points per game and has scored in double figures on three occasions this season.

This original list of candidates will be narrowed down to a final 20 by January 1st, final ten by February 1, and final five by March 1. A premier Selection Committee will be appointed by the Hall of Fame to review the final five candidates in contention for the nation’s top collegiate point guard award. These Hall of Fame committees are made up of top college basketball personnel including media members, head coaches, sports information directors and hall of famers. The winner of the 2012 Bob Cousy Award will be presented at the Hall of Fame’s Class Announcement on Championship Monday in New Orleans as part of NCAA Final Four weekend.

Previous winners of the Bob Cousy Award have included Jameer Nelson (St. Joseph’s), Raymond Felton (North Carolina), Dee Brown (Illinois), Acie Law (Texas A & M), DJ Augustin (Texas), Ty Lawson (North Carolina), Greivis Vasquez (Maryland) and last year’s recipient Kemba Walker (Connecticut). For more information on the 2012 Bob Cousy, log onto

Park hunts make inroads on habitat recovery

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Controlled deer hunts at state park properties are achieving the intended result of habitat recovery, but analysis of information collected this year indicates deer numbers remain above desired levels at many locations.

Volunteer hunters harvested 1,546 deer during four days of controlled hunts at 21 state parks in November. That’s only the 10th highest total in 18 years of state park hunts, but resource biologists say harvest numbers alone have limited value in determining success.

Instead, their research shows a better indicator is harvest-to-hunter effort (H/E). When the H/E ratio nears .22 to .20, vegetation and habitat begin to recover from deer overbrowsing. Another reliable target is a harvest of 12 to 16 deer per square mile.

The mean H/E ratio for all participating parks this year was 0.27—the second most successful on record. Seventeen parks experienced H/E ratios above target levels, and most parks also were above the harvest per square mile target.

“Although some parks are more successful than others at achieving a maintenance phase, data continue to indicate habitat recovery as well as sustained deer populations,” said Mike Mycroft, chief of natural resources for the DNR Division of State Parks & Reservoirs.

“It’s worth reiterating that park reductions are not intended to manage deer populations for optimal recreational hunting,” he said. “The goal is to reduce the impact of browsing to a level that allows some of Indiana’s rarest and most unique natural communities to thrive.”

Mycroft noted that although abrupt browse lines and emaciated deer are a thing of the past at state parks, less obvious damage persists throughout the park system, and deer continue to impact rare and endangered flora, as well as valuable habitat such as oak forests.

Mycroft’s full report on the 2011 controlled hunts is available at Look for the 2011 Deer Reduction Report link below the photographs.

The first two-day hunt was Nov. 14-15, and the second was Nov. 28-29. State parks included were Brown County, Chain O’Lakes, Charlestown, Clifty Falls, Fort Harrison, Harmonie, Indiana Dunes, Lincoln, McCormick’s Creek, Ouabache, Pokagon, Potato Creek, Prophetstown, Shades, Shakamak, Spring Mill, Summit Lake, Tippecanoe, Turkey Run, Versailles, and Whitewater Memorial. Cave River Valley, a satellite site at Spring Mill, also was included.

Weather was marginal statewide for both sessions. Temperatures were warm on the first two-day session with high winds, rain and thunderstorms scattered across much of the state. Second-round weather was cooler with gusty winds and a mix of rain and snow.

Another influencing factor was no-shows, meaning hunters who were drawn for participation but did not participate at all, or participated only one day. Just over 6,000 hunters were selected in the initial draw. Standby drawings were conducted at four parks on a trial basis to fill spots left vacant by originally drawn hunters. The standby drawings reduced what would have been a combined 59 percent four-day average of no-shows at those four parks to 49 percent.

Parks requiring reductions in 2012 will be listed and made available along with online applications in July 2012 at

Friday, December 16, 2011

N-B Video: Officials announce ACAC basketball tournament

People wait to hear who will play whom in the annual Allen County Athletic Conference boys' and girls' basketball tournament. Officials held this year's draw on Thursday, Dec. 15, at Decatur. Learn more in the Friday, Dec. 16, News-Banner. (Video by Paul Beitler)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Athletics announces television package for MAC games

MUNCIE, Ind. — The Ball State athletic department has announced the television schedule for the upcoming men’s and women’s basketball Mid-American Conference seasons. The men’s basketball team can have up to 12 MAC games broadcasted and the women’s basketball team will have five games televised on the Ball State Sports Network (BSSN), BSU Sports Link, SportsTime Ohio (STO) and ESPNU.

The Ball State Sports Network package for the MAC season includes three men’s games and a women’s game. The men’s games scheduled for broadcasts are Jan. 7 vs. Western Michigan, Jan. 21 at Northern Illinois and Feb. 25 at Eastern Michigan. Affiliates for BSSN include WIPB-TV (Muncie), HTSN 6.2 (Indianapolis), Comcast Indianapolis (Ch. 420), Brighthouse Indianapolis (Ch. 164), WANE-TV 15.2 (Fort Wayne), WJTS-TV (Jasper), WNDA-TV (Jeffersonville), WKYI-TV (Louisville, KY) and WHME-TV (South Bend).

BSSN will broadcast the women’s basketball game Jan. 11 vs. Northern Illinois at Worthen Arena. The women’s broadcast will be televised on WIPB-Muncie.

BSU Sports Link, an immersive learning student program, will broadcast three games in 2012. The program will produce the men’s game Feb. 8 vs. Bowling Green, as well as women’s contests Jan. 25 vs. Bowling Green and Feb. 22 vs. Western Michigan. All Sports Link broadcasts will be available for free at

The Ball State men’s program will have three games guaranteed for SportsTime Ohio broadcasts including Jan. 10 at Toledo, Jan. 24 vs. Akron and Feb. 22 at Western Michigan. The Cardinals have five games in the ESPNU flex-schedule which allows for a 21-day advance notice of the broadcast. Men’s games on the flex-schedule include Jan. 14 vs. Eastern Michigan, Jan. 28 at Ohio, Feb. 11 at Kent State, Feb. 29 vs. Central Michigan and March 2/3 vs. Northern Illinois.

The women’s team will have two games broadcast as part of the MAC television package. The Cardinals will play on STO Jan. 28 at Miami and Feb. 19 against Central Michigan.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

HU tennis camp slated for December 27-29

From Huntington University:

HUNTINGTON, IN—The Huntington University men’s tennis team will host their first annual holiday tennis tennis camp December 27-29 at the Merillat Complex for Physical Education. Cost to attend is $20 for K–5th grade (10am-11am), $30 for 6th-8th grade (11am-12:30pm) and $40 for 9th-12th grade (1pm-3pm).

Registration forms for the camp are available at the Huntington University Athletic Office or campers can print off a registration form at Questions? Contact Coach Kreg Eckert at (260)433-1323.

The Huntington University Foresters compete in 14 intercollegiate sports for men and women. In the past decade, Huntington has produced 53 NAIA All-America honors and 187 All-America Scholar Athlete honors. Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S.News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest.

Monday, December 12, 2011

4-H Extension calendar for December

  • December 12 — Wells County 4-H Association, Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 6 PM. Carry-in meal.
  • December 15 — 4-H Scholarship Workshop, Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 7 to 8 PM
  • December 19 — 4-H Scholarship Workshop, Adams County Extension Office, Decatur, 7 to 8 PM
  • December 19 — 4-H Shooting Sports Leaders Meeting, Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 7 PM
  • December 23 — Christmas Holiday. County Offices Closed
  • December 26 — Christmas Holiday. County Offices Closed
  • December 30 — New Yearís Holiday. County Offices Closed
  • January 2 — New Yearís Holiday. County Offices Closed
  • January 6 to 8 — Indiana Association of Fairs, Festivals & Events, Marriott East, Indianapolis

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ball State player named Academic All-American

From the Ball State Athletic Office

Briggs Orsbon, a senior member of the Ball State 2011 football team, has been named to the Capital One Academic All-America First Team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

Orsbon, who owns a 4.0 grade-point average on Ball State’s 4.0 scale as a risk management and finance major, is the first Ball State football player selected to the Capital One Academic All-America First Team since Travis Barclay was named to the squad in 2002 and 2003. Orsbon becomes only the eighth football student-athlete in school history to earn first-team honors.

"We could not be happier for Briggs to be the recipient of this prestigious honor,” Ball State first-year head coach Pete Lembo says. “He is a model student-athlete and a tremendous competitor. Briggs was a great leader and a major contributor to our team's success this year. We are confident he will continue to be an asset to the University as an alum of our football program."

A 2011 All-Mid-American Conference Second-Team selection, Orsbon was also a candidate for the 2011 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award. He is a two-time Capital One Academic All-District choice and a two-time Academic All-MAC recipient.

Orsbon, one of Ball State’s team captains in 2011, led the Cardinals with 66 catches for 649 receiving yards and four touchdown catches this season. In addition to his pass catching skills in 2011, Orsbon tallied a 19.9 yards per kickoff return average.

With his five catches at Northern Illinois this season, Orsbon became only the second player in Ball State history to tally 200 or more career receptions. He completed his career with 204 catches and ranks second in the Cardinals record books behind only Dante Ridgeway’s 238 receptions from 2002-04. With his 103 receiving yards at Western Michigan, Orsbon became only the sixth player in Ball State history to post over 2,000 yards receiving in a career. He completes his collegiate career with 2,218 receiving yards, which ranks fifth all time in Ball State history. Orsbon set MAC Championship Game records with a career high 13 catches for a career best 141 yards vs. Buffalo in the 2008 league title game.

Ball State entered the 2011-12 academic year ranked 32nd in the country all-time in Capital One Academic All-America selections.

The Cardinals finished the 2011 season with a 6-6 overall record and a 4-4 MAC mark. Ball State was bowl eligible for the first time since the 2008 season and won six games for the fourth time in 10 seasons.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

N-B Video: A new role on the court

The News-Banner's Paul Beitler interviews Norwell boys' basketball player Caleb Featherston, the new senior on the team. Learn more in the Wednesday, Dec. 7, News-Banner. (Video by Paul Beitler)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

TinCaps holds shopping spree

The TinCaps are giving fans the opportunity to win a $250 shopping spree to The Orchard Team Store this holiday season. All TinCaps fans are eligible to win by following the TinCaps on social media!

Official Rules

  • No purchase necessary. Entry can be completed on the Fort Wayne TinCaps fan page on Facebook.
  • Void where prohibited.
  • One prize is awarded for the sweepstakes consisting of a $250.00 Orchard Team Store shopping spree. Odds of winning depend on the number of entries.
  • Drawing is held and prize is awarded within a few days following the end of the sweepstakes entry period. The sweepstakes for the $250 shopping spree ends at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 16. Drawing will consist of a randomly picked entry from all the entries received in the entry period. Winners will be contacted by email using the email they provided. If no response is received within two days, a new winner will be randomly chosen.

Sponsor reserves the right to cancel a sweepstakes before the entry period begins

Monday, December 5, 2011

Crafts program for preschoolers at Salamonie Lake, Dec. 14

Children ages 2 to 5 can create a variety of crafts on Wednesday, Dec. 14, at the Salamonie Interpretive Center.

The program runs from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Children and their parents will have the opportunity to take an outdoor hike and make crafts for display or to give as gifts.

The program is planned to be both indoors and out, starting at the interpretive center. Participants can bring a lunch to eat together after the event. Parents are expected to stay with their child throughout the program.

There is a $2 fee per child for the program. The standard property entrance fee will be waived for program attendees.

Register by calling (260) 468-2127 or visiting the interpretive center at 3691 S. New Holland Road, Andrews, 46702.

The interpretive center and Otter Run Tradin’ Post is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. This barrier-free building features exhibits, floor-to-ceiling windows in the wildlife viewing area, and staff to answer your questions.

Visit or for more information.

Friday, December 2, 2011

4-H Extension calendar for December

  • Dec. 2-4 — Hoosier Beef Congress, State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis
  • Dec. 9 — Ag Outlook Breakfast and Program, Community Center 4-H Park, Bluffton, 7:00 AM. Call 260-824-6412 for reservations. No fee.
  • Dec. 9 — Pesticide Applicator Recertification Program, Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 9:30 AM. $10 Fee. Call 260-824-6412 to reserve space.
  • Dec. 10 — State 4-H & FFA Forestry, Crops & Entomology Judging Contests, Purdue University, 8 AM – 4 PM

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Local parks plan a year's worth of activities

The Upper Wabash Interpretive Services has announced multiple events at its various parks in 2012. You can download them here.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Salamonie Lake to hold day camp

Salamonie Lake is holding a winter day camp for children ages 7 to 11, Dec. 27-29.

Each day provides a variety of activities during the 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. camp. People can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, movie time, snacks, crafts and games.

Activities include building a life-size replica of an Eastern Woodland wigwam, learning to shoot a bow and arrow, discovering how to track an animal through the woods, starting a campfire with a bow and drill, daily crafts, hikes and more. Participants should bring warm play clothes, an extra pair of shoes and gloves.

Activities are guided by interpretive naturalists trained. A snack will be provided. Children need to bring a sack lunch with drink each day.

The camp requires a $45 participation fee. Fees will be adjusted for families with multiple children attending. Parents will be asked to fill out a participation form.

Call Upper Wabash Interpretive Services at (260) 468-2127 to register. Visit for more information.

Salamonie Lake is at 9214 West-Lost Bridge West, Andrews, 46702

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Nascar champions from Homestead weekend share Eldora speedway connections

Rossburg, OH – Tony Stewart’s drive to victory at Homestead Miami Speedway and the resulting NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crown Sunday night, capped off an exciting NASCAR championship weekend that resulted in a trio of title holders sharing an Eldora Speedway connection.

As owner of the southwestern Ohio speed plant, as well as a frequent competitor and victor on the one-half mile clay oval, Stewart was quick to point out that Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (Nationwide Series) and Austin Dillon (Camping World Truck Series) have also made their presence known at Eldora.

Stenhouse’s name was etched into the Eldora Speedway history books in 2007 during the annual Four Crown Nationals when he bested the United States Auto Club (USAC) Midget field, while Dillon’s claim to fame came during the 2010 World 100 for Late Models. At that time, in only his second appearance on the Eldora clay, Dillon topped the 134 car field with quick time honors. He eventually finished 13th in the 100-lap chase.

Race officials say Stewart’s accomplishments as an Eldora driver are even greater with victory stage appearances as the result of feature wins in Sprint Cars (winged and non-winged), Midgets, Modifieds and Late Models. Additionally, they say, Stewart has prevailed over Eldora’s marquee Prelude to the Dream three times since its inception in 2005.

It may very well be that the Prelude event could offer an opportunity for the trio of NASCAR champions to return together as Eldora competitors in 2012. While Stewart has not released invitations to the annual June charity event as of yet, Stenhouse, Jr. and Dillon have to be considered as likely candidates to get mail from the three-time Sprint Cup champion as invitees.

In addition to the talent-laden Prelude to the Dream invitational (June 6) and World 100 (September 7 & 8), Eldora’s key events in 2012 include the Dirt Late Model Dream (June 8 & 9) and the Kings Royal weekend (July 13 & 14). The ticket sale campaign for these events begins Saturday, December 3, 2011 at 10 a.m. by going online to

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Baer Field Speedway to hold awards ceremony

The Speedway will hold its award ceremony at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2, at the American Legion Post 241, 7605 Bluffton Rd. Dinner will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., and music and door prizes will follow the ceremony. Cost is $15 per person. To register, click here. Register by Nov. 23.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

TinCaps coaching staff revealed

From the Fort Wayne TinCaps:

The Fort Wayne TinCaps, in conjunction with their major league affiliate San Diego Padres, announced the 2012 Field Staff today.

Former major leaguer Jose Valentin was named manager of the TinCaps, replacing Shawn Wooten in the dugout. Valentin was drafted by the Padres organization in 1986 and traded to the Milwaukee Brewers organization in 1992. Included in the deal was former major league slugger Gary Sheffield. Valentin made his major league debut on September 17, 1992.

Valentin, from Manati, Puerto Rico, played for 16 seasons in the major leagues, finishing his career with a .243 batting average, 816 runs batted in and 249 home runs. In addition to the Brewers, Valentin also spent time with the Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets, before retiring in 2009.

"Jose Valentin will join a long list of successful Fort Wayne managers that includes Gary Jones, Randy Ready, Doug Dascenzo and Shawn Wooten," said Randy Smith, Vice President of Player Development and International Scouting for the Padres. "I am excited about what Jose will bring to the TinCaps and Padres organization. I have known Jose since he was 16 and was first beginning his playing career.

In 2004, Valentin became owner of the Santurce Crabbers of the Puerto Rico Baseball League and he has spent the last several years as an instructor at the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy and High School in Gurabo.

Valentin will be joined in the dugout by pitching coach Willie Blair, who was in the same role with the TinCaps in 2011. Blair spent 12 seasons in the major leagues with eight different teams, finishing with a career mark of 60-86. The hitting coach for the TinCaps is still to be determined.

"Jose played with passion and terrific instincts for 16 years at the major league level and I am confident he will develop our young players in the same mold," Smith added. "Jose and Willie give us a great tandem and represent the organization well."

Last year, under Blair's guidance, the TinCaps pitching staff finished with a 3.99 earned run average during the regular season, 1,117 strikeouts which was fourth-best in the Midwest League and the 11 shutouts hurled by TinCaps pitchers was third-best in the league.

In addition to Blair, the Padres announced that Dan Turner will return to Fort Wayne as the TinCaps trainer. Turner will be in his second full season in Fort Wayne and fourth in the San Diego system.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hunters asked to complete online state forest survey

Hunters can help monitor the abundance and distribution of deer and other wildlife species in State Forests by completing an online survey after each hunting trip to a State Forest this year.

“Hunters are uniquely skilled observers in the outdoors and are in a position to provide feedback that can help us better manage the resources of our State Forests,” said John Seifert, director of the DNR Division of Forestry.

Hunters are asked to go to every time they return from a hunting trip. Multiple hunting trips made on the same day would ideally warrant separate visits to the website to complete a survey. State Forests in Indiana are listed at

This anonymous survey will be available all year online and is open to all hunters who hunt in the State Forests. Completion will take a hunter a few minutes.

More instructions are listed at the website.

Note: The DNR Customer Service Center and the DNR Deer Hotline, (812) 334-3795, will not be open on Friday, Nov. 11, in observance of Veterans Day.

For more information: Scott Haulton, Forestry Wildlife Specialist, (317) 234-5725.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

November extension calendar

  • November 14 — Northeast Indiana 4-H & FFA Career Development Event (Forestry, Crops & Entomology), Whitley County Fairgrounds, Columbia City, Registration, 5 PM; Judging, 5:30 PM
  • November 15 — Holiday Happenings entitled A Safe & Happy Holiday, program sponsored
  • by Wells County Extension Homemakers, Community Center, 4-H Park, 6:30 PM. Pre-registration appreciated. Cost is $5.00. Local artist Nancy Wagner will be painting an autumn scene on slate which will be auctioned off at the end of the evening. Holiday candy making by Kay Prosser and holiday safety tips from Bluffton Police Department and Bluffton Fire Dept. Call Wells County Extension Office 260-824-6412 for registration form.
  • November 16 — Career Expo Set Up, Wells County Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 2:00-4:30 PM
  • November 17 — Wells County Career Expo, Wells County Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 8 AM-2 PM
  • November 17 — Wells County Extension Advisory Board, Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 6:30 PM
  • November 21 — Wells County 4-H Association, Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 7 PM

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Salamonie Interpretive Center to offer day camp

The Eastern Woodland Indians Salamonie Winter Day Camp will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 27, Wednesday, Dec. 28, and Thursday, Dec. 29. Children ages 7 to 11 are invited. Features include games, crafts, movies, hikes, archery, and artifacts. Participants should bring their own lunches. Hats, gloves, coats and an extra pair of shoes or boots are necessary.

Cost is $45 per child. Pre-registration is required, and a 2011 health/media release form is required. The forms are available at

To register, call 260-468-2127.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Large deer harvest forecast for 2011 season

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Firearms season for white-tailed deer in Indiana opens Nov. 12, and a DNR wildlife expert predicts another year of near-record harvest numbers.

Hunters are coming off a third straight record harvest, having tagged 134,004 deer in 2010. DNR deer biologist Chad Stewart said conditions for the 2011 season are shaping up similarly to the 2010 season.

“I’d hate to predict a record, but we should be close to it” Stewart said. “It’s almost guaranteed to be a top-three harvest.”

Firearms season generally accounts for about 65 percent of the overall deer harvest. Legal firearms for firearms season are shotguns, muzzleloaders, handguns and center-fire rifles of specific cartridge dimensions.

The 16-day firearms season ends Nov. 27.

Hunters on opening weekend of firearms season last year harvested 37,525 deer.

Steuben County led the state in overall number of deer harvested last year with 3,948. The harvest exceeded 1,000 deer in 64 counties; exceeded 2,000 deer in 17 counties; and exceeded 3,000 deer in five counties. Counties with high harvests tend to have a good mix of woods and farm ground.

“For a deer hunter, Indiana is great because it can sustain a very high population and a very healthy population,” Stewart said.

The number of antlered deer harvested in 2010 was 53,007, or about 40 percent of the overall harvest.
Muzzleloader season starts Dec. 3 and lasts through Dec. 18. Early archery season, which is already underway, lasts through Nov. 27. Late archery season opens Dec. 3 and lasts through Jan. 1, 2012.

Unless otherwise exempted, a license is required to hunt deer during the firearms season. The DNR is encouraging hunters to buy their licenses early and avoid waiting until the last minute. The DNR Customer Service Center and the DNR Deer Hotline will not be open on Friday, Nov. 11, in observance of Veterans Day.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Jayden Liechty, 11, daughter of Luke and Amy Liechty of Ossian, poses with her first deer, shot while hunting with her dad.

4-H November extension calendar

  • November 5: Indiana 4-H Congress, State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis, 9 AM-3:30 PM
  • November 7: 4-H Association Budget Committee Meeting, Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 6 PM
  • November 8: Election Day. County Offices Closed
  • November 11: Veterans Day. County Offices Closed
  • November 14: Northeast Indiana 4-H & FFA Career Development Event (Forestry, Crops & Entomology), Whitley County Fairgrounds, Columbia City, Registration, 5 PM; Judging, 5:30 PM
  • November 15: Holiday Happenings entitled A Safe & Happy Holiday, program sponsored
    by Wells County Extension Homemakers, Community Center, 4-H Park, 6:30 PM. Pre-registration appreciated. Cost is $5.00. Local artist Nancy Wagner will be painting an autumn scene on slate which will be auctioned off at the end of the evening. Holiday candy making by Kay Prosser and holiday safety tips from Bluffton Police Department and Bluffton Fire Dept. Call Wells County Extension Office 260-824-6412 for registration form. 
  • November 16: Career Expo Set Up, Wells County Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 2:00-4:30 PM
  • November 17: Wells County Career Expo, Wells County Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 8 AM-2 PM
  • November 17: Wells County Extension Advisory Board, Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 6:30 PM
  • November 21: Wells County 4-H Association, Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 7 PM

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ball State to induct members into Hall of Fame

From the Ball State Athletic Office:

Ball State athletics will induct Bryan Bullington (baseball), Amy Doyle (softball), Laura Szcepanski Scudder (gymnastics), Bonzi Wells (basketball) and the 1949 Football Team into the Athletics Hall of Fame Feb. 3-4.

The induction ceremony will take place Fri., Feb. 3, at the Ball State Alumni Center, and the inductees will be introduced at the men's and women's basketball doubleheader Sat., Feb. 4. To attend the event, please call the Cardinal Varsity Club office at 765.285.8120 or email

Bullington was the No. 1 pick in the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft after completing his junior year at Ball State. He was a 2002 Collegiate Baseball All-American, the 2001 and 2002 Mid-American Conference Pitcher of the Year and a three-time All-MAC First-Team choice after setting Ball State and MAC records with 357 career strikeouts. Bullington led the MAC with a 2.84 earned-run average as a junior and set the school and league record with 139 strikeouts in 2002. Bullington tallied an 11-3 record as a junior and was 9-4 as a freshman and a sophomore. He set the Ball State career record for wins with 29, while compiling a 3.36 career ERA. Bullington was a member of the 2001 USA National Team, and was the 2000 MAC Freshman of the Year. He was named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America Team and was selected to the Baseball America Freshman All-America Second Team.

Doyle, a four-year letterwinner in softball from 1996-99, was a 1998 Academic All-American and earned second-team honors in 1999. She graduated with honors as a secondary education and history major and was a four-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America Scholar-Athlete. Doyle helped the Cardinals to its first-ever Mid-American Conference Championship in softball and its first-ever berth in the NCAA Tournament in 1998. At the completion of her career, Doyle's name appeared 22 times on the school's single-season and career top-five lists. She set the Ball State single-season record with 38 RBI in 1998, and in total bases with 93 in the same season. Doyle was drafted in the sixth round by the Tampa Bay Firestix of the Women's Pro Softball League after her college graduation. She posted a career .308 batting average, including a .366 mark as a junior and a .339 average as a senior.

Szczepanski, a four-year letterwinner for the gymnastics team from 1997-2000, was the first Ball State student-athlete to ever be named the Mid-American Conference Gymnast of the Year. She was selected to the All-MAC First Team as a senior after winning the conference beam title, serving as co-champion on the bars and registering runnerup honors in the all-around. Szczepanski became just the second gymnast in school history to earn an at-large berth in the NCAA Regional, where she placed 11th in the all-around as a senior. She set MAC and Ball State records with a 9.90 score to win the conference beam title as a senior. Szczepanski was ranked the entire 2000 season in the national all-around rankings and completed the year 46th in the nation. As a junior, she helped the Cardinals to the school's first-ever national ranking and their first-ever team appearance in the NCAA Regional.

Bonzi Wells, who completed his career as the Mid-American Conference's all-time leader in points and steals, was a four-year letterwinner for the Cardinals' basketball team from 1994-98. He completed his career with 2,485 points to surpass Ron Harper of Miami University, who tallied 2,377 career points. Wells' 347 career steals set the Ball State and MAC records plus was the second highest career total in NCAA history behind only the 376 by Eric Murdock of Providence from 1987-91. Wells also set Ball State career records for most field goals, most three point field goal attempts and most free throws. As a senior, Wells was named to the Basketball Weekly All-America First Team and the Associated Press All-America Third Team. He was the MAC Player of the Year in 1995-96 and 1997-98 after earning the league's Freshman of the Year award in 1994-95. After completing his Ball State career, Wells played 11 years in the National Basketball Association. Wells was selected with the 11th pick of the first round of the 1998 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons.

Ball State's 1949 football team is the first team to ever be inducted into the school's Athletics Hall of Fame. The 1949 squad is the only undefeated football team in the 87-year history of Ball State's football program. The 1949 squad posted an unblemished 8-0 record under the tutelage of head coach John Magnabosco. The Cardinals outscored their eight opponents by a 276-61 margin. Ball State's 1949 team is still a part of the longest winning streak in school history. The record winning streak is 14, the last six in 1948 and all eight in 1949. Twenty-two of the team's players and coaching staff assembled at Ball State in 1999 for the 50th anniversary of the team's achievements. Included on the 1949 team roster are Ball State Athletics Hall of Fame members Fred Kehoe, William King, Wave Myers and Magnabosco.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

N-B Video: Chandler Harnish on his team's victorious plan

Chandler Harnish led the Northern Illinois Huskies to a 63-60 victory over Toledo. Learn more in the Wednesday, Nov. 2, News-Banner. (Video by Paul Beitler)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Rabbit, quail, pheasant season opens Nov. 4

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Hunters awaiting the Nov. 4 opening of rabbit, quail and pheasant seasons might have to work a little harder this year than in the past, but with a little effort they can still enjoy quality hunting.

Due to losses in early successional habitat, rabbit, quail, and pheasant populations across Indiana have steadily declined from highs a half-century ago but good small game numbers can still be found. According to Budd Veverka, DNR farmland game research biologist, hunters during the 2010-2011 hunting season harvested an estimated 246,000 rabbits, 19,500 quail, and 9,300 wild pheasants.

The 2011-2012 rabbit, quail and pheasant hunting dates and daily bag limits are as follows:

Game species                       Hunting dates                       Daily bag limit
Rabbit                                    Nov. 4, 2011 - Feb. 15, 2012           5
Pheasant (cock only)              Nov. 4, 2011 - Dec. 18, 2011           2
Quail (north of Indiana 26)     Nov. 4, 2011 - Dec. 18, 2011           5
Quail (south of Indiana 26)     Nov. 4, 2011 - Jan. 15, 2012            8

Season dates and daily bag limits may vary on state-owned properties. Please contact each property for specific information.

To hunt rabbit, an individual must have an annual hunting license, or a lifetime hunting or youth comprehensive hunting license. To hunt quail or pheasant, an individual must have an annual hunting license and a game bird habitat stamp, or a lifetime comprehensive hunting or youth comprehensive hunting license. Individuals with a lifetime basic hunting license must buy the game bird habitat stamp annually.

While hunting rabbit, quail, pheasant, and squirrel, hunters must wear one outer garment exposed at all times that is solid florescent orange. Please gain permission before hunting on privately owned land.

For additional information, please see the small game hunting guide at:

Monday, October 31, 2011

Parks closed for hunting

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Select Indiana state parks will close temporarily for two rounds of controlled deer reduction hunts in the coming weeks.

The first reduction is Nov. 14-15. The second round is Nov. 28-29. The participating parks will close to the general public the evening before each of the two efforts and will re-open the morning after each two-day reduction.

The state parks closing temporarily this year for deer reductions are Brown County, Chain O’Lakes, Charlestown, Clifty Falls, Fort Harrison, Harmonie, Indiana Dunes, Lincoln, McCormick’s Creek, Ouabache, Pokagon, Potato Creek, Prophetstown, Shades, Shakamak, Spring Mill, Summit Lake, Tippecanoe, Turkey Run, Versailles, and Whitewater Memorial.

Each year, DNR biologists evaluate which parks require a reduction based on habitat recovery and previous hunter success at each park. The state parks are home to more than 32 state-endangered plants and numerous significant natural communities. The reductions help control browsing by deer to a level that helps maintain habitat throughout the state parks.

Though the parks have had much success since the first reduction in 1993, a high no-show rate of those drawn and over-selective hunting remain a challenge for the program.

Only individuals and those listed on their applications drawn last September may participate at any park, besides Indiana Dunes, Turkey Run, Fort Harrison, and Spring Mill state parks. A public standby drawing to fill spots left vacant after 7:30 a.m. local time will take place at Indiana Dunes (firearms hunt), Turkey Run (firearms hunt), Spring Mill (firearms hunt), and Fort Harrison (archery hunt) state parks each morning.

To be eligible for the standby drawings, the candidate must be an Indiana resident (or possess an Indiana lifetime license to take deer), be 18 years old by Nov. 14, 2011, and possess any valid deer license for Indiana. You must present a photo ID and any valid filled or unfilled license to take deer. Standby drawings will take place at 8:30 a.m. local time. Potential standby participants can apply onsite between 7:30 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. local time but cannot enter the park before 7:30 a.m. Applications can include up to three individuals. This is a drawing based on how many unclaimed spots there are for each day. It is not first-come, first-served. Spots will be limited as they are based on the number of no-shows each day. The need for stand-in hunters increases with each hunt day. If you have questions, please call the property of interest.

Information regarding 2012 state park deer reductions, including applications, will be available next summer at

The DNR will conduct controlled Canada goose reduction hunts at Ouabache, Shakamak, and Whitewater Memorial state parks in November.

Similar reductions have occurred since 2007 and are part of a management plan that includes non-lethal methods also.

Goose reductions will take place Nov. 28-29. These dates coincide with goose hunting season and annual deer reduction efforts at Ouabache, Shakamak, Whitewater Memorial and several other state parks. The parks will close to the general public the evening of Nov. 27 and will re-open the morning of Nov. 30.

Large amounts of goose waste at park beaches, picnic areas and in bank-fishing locations have raised health concerns, adversely affected visitor enjoyment, increased erosion, and resulted in increased operating costs.

Reduction hunts are only one aspect of DNR’s approach to managing Canada geese, according to Mike Mycroft, chief of natural resources for DNR State Parks & Reservoirs.

“The high recreational demand on the parks during periods of more optimum goose hunting has caused us to combine the reduction effort with other techniques, including ongoing harassment and nest management,” Mycroft said. “Combining these techniques is beginning to show favorable results and fewer parks needing reductions this year.”

Participation will be allowed on a daily first-come, first-served basis until available spots are taken. Spots will become available again throughout each day as hunters leave. Potential participants can arrive starting 90 minutes before sunrise local time. Shooting hours will be one-half hour before sunrise to 4 p.m. local time. Though hunting parties of two to four are desired, individuals are allowed. Questions should be directed to the park of interest.

Participants must be Indiana residents and 18 years old by Nov. 28, 2011. Hunters must present a valid hunting license, state waterfowl stamp, HIP number, and federal duck stamp on site on the day of the reduction. Apprentice licenses are not applicable. Dogs, boats and temporary blinds are allowed. Though Canada geese are the only harvest permitted, all state and federal laws pertaining to waterfowl hunting apply.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fort Wayne Children's Zoo Halloween events start tonight

From the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo:

The zoo’s Halloween event has a new twist – it’s now the WILD Zoo Halloween.

Kids will get candy, participate in a daily costume parade, visit the Mummy’s Kitchen and the Beauty Shop of Horrors, meet Broomhilda the witch, navigate a corn maze, pick a pumpkin, dance the Monster Mash, and more.

Wild Zoo Halloween activities are located in the Central Zoo and portions of the Australian Adventure. The African Journey and Indonesian Rain Forest will not be open during the Wild Zoo Halloween.

Daily Activity Schedule

12:30 Meet K’Zoo
1:00 Costume Parade
1:30 Creatures of the Night Live Animal Show
2:00 Meet K’Zoo
2:30 Monster Mash Dance Party
3:00 Sea Lion Feeding
3:30 Creatures of the Night Live Animal Show

All activities (except Sea Lion Show) are held on the Australian Adventure Plaza

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Athletic awards tonight

Bluffton High School will hold an athletics award ceremony at 7 p.m. tonight at the high school.

Friday, October 21, 2011

November extension calendar

  • October 29 — Wells County Health Fair, 7:00 – 11:00 AM, Lancaster Elementary School
  • October 30 — Wells County 4-H Achievement Program, Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 4:30 – 6:30 PM. Carry-in meal at 4:30 PM
  • November 3 — Council on Agriculture, Research, Extension and Teaching (CARET), Beck Center,
  • West Lafayette
  • November 3 — Wells County 4-H Council, Wells County Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 7:00 PM
  • November 5 — Indiana 4-H Congress, State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis, 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM
  • November 6 — 4-H Association Budget Committee meeting, Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 6:00 PM
  • November 8 — Election Day – County Offices Closed
  • November 11 — Veterans Day – County Offices Closed
  • November 14 — Northeast Indiana 4-H & FFA Career Development Event (Forestry, Crops & Entomology), Whitley County Fairgrounds, Columbia City, Registration 5 PM, Judging 5:30 PM
  • November 15 — Holiday Happenings entitled A Safe & Happy Holiday, program sponsored by Wells County Extension Homemakers, Community Center, 4-H Park, 6:30 PM. Pre-registration appreciated. Cost is $5.00. Local Artist Nancy Wagner will be painting an autumn scene on slate which will be auctioned off at the end of the evening. Holiday candy making by Kay Prosser and holiday safety tips from Bluffton Police Dept. and Bluffton Fire Dept. Call Wells County Extension Office 260-824-6412 for registration form.
  • November 17 — Wells County Career Expo, Wells County Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Thursday, October 20, 2011

ESPN 3D’s college basketball schedule announced

ESPN 3D will present 43 college basketball games this year, increasing the network’s coverage in its second year. The schedule includes ESPN 3D’s first-ever women’s basketball game – Kentucky at Tennessee on February 13 -- as well as the first 3D editions of College GameDay Driven by State Farm, televising four editions of the Saturday morning show during the season.

College basketball fans will see some of the best teams compete again this year when ESPN 3D televises several top matchups. The action tips off Friday, Nov. 11, with the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic featuring Michigan State vs. North Carolina at 7 p.m. ET. The game is the first men's college basketball game to be played on the deck of a United States military aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson. This unique Veterans’ Day event will honor the men and women in the armed forces and will take place in the San Diego harbor.

From Nov. 24 – 27, ESPN 3D will once again televise all 12 games from the Old Spice Classic at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World. Other upcoming basketball highlights include the return of the men’s Jimmy V Classic Presented by Corona Extra on Tuesday, Dec. 6 and the BIG EAST Championship Presented by American Eagle Outfitters in March.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fan Jam set for October 27 at Worthen Arena

From Ball State University:

MUNCIE, Ind. – Ball State basketball fans will get a chance to kick off the 2011-12 seasons at the school’s annual Fan Jam with the men’s and women’s teams at Worthen Arena Thursday, October 27 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Admission is free and basketball sling bags will be given out to the first 250 kids in attendance. The Fan Jam gives all fans the chance to meet the coaches and players, plus receive your 2011-12 autographed basketball posters.

There will be plenty of games, contests and prizes including chances to play with players at interactive basketball stations and inflatables on the arena floor. A special appearance will be made by Charlie Cardinal, the Ball State Cheerleaders and the Code Red Dance Team.

Free food and drink will be provided courtesy of Ball State athletics and participating sponsors, including Marsh Supermarkets, Papa John’s Pizza, Sports Clips and Texas Roadhouse.

Additionally, fans attending Fan Jam will be eligible for a special season ticket offer that night only. If you buy one season ticket, you will get a second season ticket free (offer not valid for ticket renewals).

The Ball State men’s basketball team opens the season November 7 as it hosts Taylor in an exhibition game at 7 p.m. while the women’s basketball team will host St. Joseph’s November 3 in an exhibition game at 7 p.m. Admission is free for both games.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Burning yard debris is harmful to health and the environment

From the Indiana Department of Environmental Management:

Leaves, branches, twigs and other yard debris have started to accumulate in Hoosier yards, and there are ways to get rid of these unwanted wastes without burning them. Mulching, composting and chipping dispose of yard waste without creating harmful smoke.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) reminds Hoosiers that all smoke is harmful to human health and the environment. Smoke from wood contains carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, fine particles and ozone-forming chemicals. Burning leaves, grass clippings, weeds, wet wood and other high-moisture wood products will increase the volume of these chemicals in the smoke and the harm to human health.

IDEM Commissioner Thomas Easterly recommends safer, healthier ways to get rid of yard waste this fall. “There are so many good, environmentally-friendly alternatives to burning, it just makes sense for Hoosiers to put away their matches,” said Commissioner Easterly. “Alternative debris disposal creates mulch and wood chips that can be used on your lawn and in your garden.”

Alternatives to open burning include:

  • Mulching – Mulch leaves and twigs by chopping them up with a lawnmower. This returns nutrients to the grass.
  • Composting – Pile grass clippings, leaves, branches and weeds in a container or on the ground. They will break down naturally into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. Cities, townships and counties have leaf collection programs if you don't have the yard space for composting.
  • Chipping – Borrow or rent a chipper to chip up large branches and small trees. The wood chips can be spread around trees and flower beds to retain soil moisture and control weeds.

More information about yard debris disposal can be found on IDEM's website at

About Open Burning

It is always illegal to open burn trash. Clean wood products, such as leaves and twigs, may be burned under conditions allowed by state rules and local ordinances. This includes burning clean wood products in an elevated, well-ventilated container with a mesh cover and with adequate fire extinguishing equipment nearby. Burning of any kind is prohibited in Lake, Porter, Clark and Floyd counties. Visit to see Indiana’s open burning requirements and to view IDEM's open burning brochure.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Youth rabbit hunt at Salamonie Lake, Oct. 29

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

DNR staff from Salamonie Lake and the Indiana Beaglers Alliance invite youth between ages 11 and 17 to participate in a special rabbit hunt Oct. 29 at Salamonie Lake.

The event begins at 7 a.m. at the property’s visitors center and ends at noon. A free lunch will be provided after the event.

Advance registration is required by Oct. 27. Call Jack Hyden at (574) 551-4067.

Participants must have either a valid Indiana Youth Hunting License or Apprentice License. Youth Hunting Licenses are $7 and will be available at the visitor center the morning of the hunt. Licenses are also available at

Participants are encouraged to have attended and passed a Hunter Safety Education Course. Find hunter education information at

Each youth hunter will be supervised and assisted by an adult mentor during the hunt. Adults wishing to volunteer as dog handlers or mentors also must register in advance by calling (574) 551-4067. Shotguns will be provided for youth who do not have their own. Parents are encouraged to accompany the youth.

Salamonie Lake is at 9214 West Lost Bridge West, Andrews, 46702

For more information: Justin Harrington, DNR State Parks & Reservoirs, (260) 468-2125,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hunters and landowners can work together

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Landowners experiencing deer damage to crops, forest regeneration or landscaping can get help from hunters in protecting their property through the DNR’s Hunters Helping Farmers program.

In order to minimize such damage, the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife recommends that such landowners start a hunting program during the regular deer hunting seasons, which are quickly approaching. Archery season has already begun, and firearms season begins Nov. 12.

Each district DNR wildlife biologist maintains a list, by county, of deer hunters who want to participate in the program. Landowners having difficulty finding hunters may contact their district’s biologist for a copy. Contact information for district biologists is at

A helpful Hunting Permission Form for landowners to use is available at by scrolling to General Hunting Regulations and clicking on “Trespassing” at the bottom of the page.

More information on managing deer is available at

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

N-B Video: IHSAA girls' cross country sectional

Learn more in the Wednesday, Oct. 12, News-Banner. (Video by Paul Beitler)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fall events at Ouabache State Park

From the Upper Wabash Interpretive Services:

Friday, October 28, 2011

  • Evening Roving Interpreter — Be on the lookout for your Interpretive Naturalist, Jennifer. Find out what she’s carrying and get event fliers.
  • 8:30 pm “Creepy” Creature Campfire — “Fall” in love with some otherwise misunderstood night time creatures. Join us around the campfire as we discuss bats and owls. There will even be a “creepy” creature guest appearance. Bring a lawn chair and/or blanket. Meet outside the Campview Shelter in the middle of Campground A.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
  • 9:00 am Bison Breakfast Buffet —Get an up-close look at our resident bison while they eat. Meet at the Bison Pen Shelter.
  • 1:00 pm Fall Color Hike — Why do leaves turn different colors? Which leaves change to yellow, orange, red, and brown? Join us on a short hike to marvel at the autumn colors. Meet at the Campview Shelter in the middle of Campground A.
  • 1:00 pm Leaf Man — Inspired by the book Leaf Man written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert, kids will search for nature findings to create their own Leaf Man or critter to take home. Meet at the Campview Shelter in the middle of Campground A.
  • 2:00 – 4:00 pm Fabulous Fall Festivities — Come and go as you please to the Campview Shelter in the middle of Campground A to decorate a Picture-Perfect Pumpkin for the Pumpkin Decorating Contest or to enjoy an assortment of nature-related fall activities.
  • 5:00 – 6:00 pm Trick-or-Treating — Put on your silliest, most original, or classic costume and trick-or-treat around the campgrounds. Campers – be on the lookout for some trick-or-treaters in search of tasty treats. Please be cautious as you enter and exit the campground area during this time. The safety of our children is top priority!
  • 7:00 pm Straw Rides — Take a short straw ride around the campground to see all the decorations. Meet at the lawn outside the South Comfort Station between Campgrounds A and B.
  • 7:00 pm Campsite Decorating & Picture Perfect Pumpkin Judging — Put on those finishing touches! Campsite judging begins in Campground A then moves to Campground B. Pumpkin judging will be held in the Campview Shelter.
  • 8:00 pm Cider & S’mores Award Ceremony — Cuddle up around the campfire with a delicious treat. Campsite and Pumpkin Decorating winners will be announced! Picture Perfect Pumpkin participants may pick up their pumpkins after the ceremony. Meet at the Campview Shelter in the middle of Campground A.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Waterfowl hunting season opens in the North Zone Oct. 15

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Dust off the calls and decoys, Indiana’s waterfowl hunting season begins Saturday, Oct. 15 in the North Zone; Oct. 22 in the South Zone; and Oct. 29 in the Ohio River Zone.

Waterfowl hunting season in Indiana is divided into three zones: North, South and Ohio River. Each zone has different a season for ducks and Canada geese. Light (snow/Ross) geese, brant and white-fronted geese are regulated statewide.

The North zone is defined as that part of Indiana north of a line extending east from the Illinois border along Indiana 18 to U.S. 31; north along U.S. 31 to U.S. 24; east on U.S. 24 to Huntington; and southeast on U.S. 224 to the Ohio border.

The South Zone is that portion of the state south of the North zone boundary and north of the Ohio River zone.

The Ohio River zone is that portion of the state south of a line extending east from the Illinois border along Interstate 64 to New Albany; east on Indiana 62 to Indiana 56; east on Indiana 56 to Vevay; along Indiana 156 along the Ohio River to North Landing; north on Indiana 56 to U.S. 50; and northeast on U.S. 50 to the Ohio border.

View the hunting dates for each zone at

The daily bag limit for ducks is six. This includes any combination of goldeneyes, ruddy ducks, ring-necked ducks, buffleheads, gadwalls, long-tailed ducks, scoters, teal, wigeon and shovelers. There are additional bag limit restrictions on numerous duck species. Review these restrictions online at The possession limit for Canada geese, white-fronted geese and brant is two times the daily limit. There is no possession limit for light geese.

The youth waterfowl seasons are also zone specific. The North zone youth waterfowl season is Oct. 8-9, South zone youth waterfowl season is Oct. 15-16, and Ohio River zone youth waterfowl season is Oct. 22-23. The youth seasons are open to hunters 15 years of age or younger. To participate, youths must be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years of age. An adult may accompany more than one youth. The licensed accompanying adult may hunt only snow geese, brants, and whitefronted geese (if those species are in season). If the accompanying adult does not intend to hunt and does not possess a firearm, the adult does not need to be licensed. Bag and species limits are the same as those allowed in the regular season.

A hunter must possess a hunting license, resident youth consolidated hunting license, or disabled American veteran’s hunting license, in addition to a state waterfowl stamp privilege and HIP registration number. Any hunter 16 years or older must have a signed federal duck stamp when hunting ducks and geese. Those that possess valid lifetime hunting or lifetime comprehensive hunting licenses do not need the Indiana waterfowl stamp; however, they still need to have a HIP registration number and a federal duck stamp if 16 years old or older. Resident landowners or lessees, hunting on farmland they own or lease, are exempt from the state license requirement except that a federal duck stamp and HIP registration are still required.

See for additional waterfowl hunting regulations.

Friday, October 7, 2011

4-H Extension calendar for October

  • October 8: Northeast Indiana 4-H & FFA Soils Judging Contest, Adams County
  • October 14: Girls' Night Out, 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m., 4-H Park
  • October 17: Wells County 4-H Association, 7:30 p.m., Community Center, 4-H Park
  • October 29: Wells County Health Fair, 7-11 a.m., Lancaster Elementary School
  • October 30: Wells County 4-H Achievement Program, Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 4:30-6:30 PM, Carry In Meal at 4:30 PM

Thursday, October 6, 2011

More photos from the Norwell boys' sectional soccer match

Learn more in the Thursday, Oct. 6, News-Banner.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Squeeze in one more weekend of camping

Though the temperatures are rapidly dropping, the campgrounds are still open, and the Mississinewa Lake area is holding aweekend's worth of fall activities for those looking for one more weekend escape before hibernating.

6 p.m. — Sign-up for campsite decorating and trick-or-treating and pick up shirts. If you've ordered and paid for a shirt, it will be available at the program shelter. Sign your campsite up for trick-or-treating and the decorating contest by noon on Saturday. Pick up your program passes at this time.
7:30 p.m. — Welcome and kettle corn distribution. We'll have announcements and popcorn. Bring your own drink and bowl.

9:30 a.m. — Sign-up for campsite decorating and trick-or-treating and pick up shirts. If you've ordered and paid for a shirt, it will be available at the program shelter. Sign your campsite up for trick-or-treating and the decorating contest by noon on Saturday. Pick up your program passes at this time.
10 a.m. — Pumpkin carving contest. We'll provide one pumpkin per registered family. Additional pumpkins may be purchased while supplies last.
11:30 a.m. — Pumpkin judging. Award certificates given out after judging.
1:30 p.m. — Lawn game tournament. Bring your team of two to play bean bag horseshoes or compete in the ladder game using tethered tennis balls.
4:30 p.m. — Trick-or-Treat time for children. Roads will be closed to vehicle traffic through 5:30 p.m. for trick-or-treat time. If you choose to participate, hang up a sign and the kids can visit your site during this hour to collect candy.
7p.m. — An Evening of music at the amphitheater.
8 p.m. — Campsite judging. Decorated campsites that registered for the contest will be judged at this time and awards will be distributed Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m.

8 a.m. — Nondenominational worship.
9:30 a.m. — Awards program. Meet at the Interpretive Shelterhouse for the campsite decorating awards. The campsite in first place wins three free nights of camping; second place wins two free nights, and third place wins one free night of camping at Mississinewa Reservoir in the future. Holiday weekends, autumn camping weekends, cabins and AA sites are excluded.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Photos from the Norwell boys' tennis sectional win

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

NRC approves rule changes for 2012 deer season

The Indiana Natural Resources Commission on Tuesday approved a package of changes to deer hunting rules that will go into effect in the 2012 season.

None of the changes will be in effect this year.

The final adoption vote came after preliminary approval by the NRC in January and a six-month public comment period that included hundreds of written comments and two public hearings.

The rule changes include creating a crossbow license and authorizing its use during the entire archery season; extending the archery season without interruption from Oct. 1 through the first Sunday in January; extending the urban zone season from Sept. 15 through Jan. 31; requiring hunters in urban zones to harvest an antlerless deer before harvesting an antlered deer; establishing a special antlerless season from Dec. 26 through the first Sunday in January in designated counties; adding the non-resident youth licenses and a new deer license bundle; requiring display of hunter orange on occupied ground blinds; and extending the rifle cartridge length that can be used in the firearm season to 1.8 inches.

These changes must still be approved by the Attorney General’s Office and Governor’s Office and published in the Indiana Register before taking effect.

In other actions, the NRC:

–Approved the dedication of four nature preserves at Fort Harrison State Park totaling approximately 670 acres or more than one-third of the park. The sites are named Bluffs of Fall Creek, Chinquapin Ridge, Lawrence Creek and Warbler Woods.
–Authorized State Park Inns to increase lodging fees from Jan. 28 through Feb. 12 to coincide with the Super Bowl in Indianapolis.
–Approved final adoption of rule amendments governing logjam removal from floodways and navigable waters.
–Turned down a citizen’s petition to allow high-speed boating on Shipshewana Lake in LaGrange County.
–Approved preliminary adoption of rules governing the sale, distribution and transportation of invasive aquatic plants, and a rule to regulate thousand cankers disease in walnut trees.
–Removed the four-toed salamander from and added the plains leopard frog and mole salamander to the state endangered species list.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

TinCaps end season

TinCaps news release:

LANSING, MI - A bases-loaded walk issued to Michael Crouse with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning scored Oliver Dominguez from third base with what turned out to be the winning run, as Lansing defeated Fort Wayne by a score of 8-7 on Monday night, sending the Lugnuts into the Midwest League Championship Series, and ending the season for the TinCaps.

Crouse's walk came on a 3-2 pitch thrown by Fort Wayne closer Kevin Quackenbush, and it came; following a lead-off ground rule double by Dominguez, a successful sacrifice bunt by Jonathan Jones, an unintentional walk to Peter Mooney, and an intentional walk issued to Jake Marisnick.

The TinCaps opened the scoring in the top of the second inning against Lansing starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez, when a two-out triple by Justin Miller scored Luis Domoromo from second base to give Fort Wayne a 1-0 lead.

A run-scoring single by Rymer Liriano in the top of the third inning increased the TinCaps' advantage to 2-0.

Control problems by Fort Wayne starter Zach Cates in the bottom of the fourth inning allowed the Lugnuts to not only get back into the game, but to take the lead as well.

Cates struck out Crouse to begin the inning, then, issued walks to Michael Knecht, Carlos Perez, and K.C. Hobson; to load the bases.

Robert Lara came in from the bullpen, and promptly uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Knecht to score. Matt Nuzzo then singled off the glove of third baseman Chris Bisson, the hit scoring Perez from third base and tying the game at 2-2.

After throwing one pitch to Dominguez, Lara was replaced by Adam Dominick.

Dominguez jumped on the first pitch he saw from Dominick and belted a three-run home run over the 23-foot-high wall located down the right field line, the blast giving Lansing the lead for the first time at 5-2.

The Lugnuts increased their advantage to 6-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning, when Nuzzo followed a lead-off triple by Perez with a one-out single of his own off Dominick.

The TinCaps mounted a comeback in the top of the seventh inning.

They scored three runs off Lansing reliever Brandon Berl to close to within 6-5, with the key plays being an RBI-single by Bisson, a sacrifice fly off the bat of Rico Noel, and a run-scoring single by Rymer Liriano.

Fort Wayne tied the game at 6-6 in the top of the eighth inning, when Connor Powers walked, went to second base on a single by Rocky Gale, moved over to third base on a successful sacrifice bunt, then, scored when B.J. Guinn hit into a fielder's choice.

The tie didn't last long, as Perez led off the bottom of the eighth with his second triple of the game, and scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Hobson, the run giving the Lugnuts a 7-6 lead.

Down a run heading into the top of the ninth inning, the TinCaps once again fought back to tie the score.

Noel tripled off Lansing relief pitcher Brandon Webb, and came home on a single by Cory Spangenberg to make the score 7-7.

That set the stage for the bottom of the ninth.

Webb (1-0 in the playoffs) picked up the win, while Quackenbush (0-1 in the playoffs) suffered the loss.

Counting the playoffs, Fort Wayne finished the 2011 season with an overall record of 71 victories and 72 defeats.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Baer Field Speedway season champions to be decided

FORT WAYNE — The Baer Field Speedway racing season will come to an end Saturday night, Sept. 17, with the Sunoco Season Championships.

The racing program will feature two 50-lap races for the NAPA Late Models and Modifieds, plus races for street stocks, mini stocks, front-wheel drives and fun stocks.

Although three of the six titles have been decided, five drivers stand poised to claim their first-ever track championships.

Pete Wormcastle takes a 15-point lead over Jeremy Wallen into the Modified action. John Gatton Jr. is third ahead of Ron Stine with Mike Mayes, Russ Miller, Mike Bufink, Scott Coe, Mike Miller, and Ralph Baxter III rounding out the top 10.

The NAPA Late Models look to have a new champion as 2010 runner-up Dean Cook takes a 117-point lead over Justin King into the season championships. Derek Hoffman, the 2009 champion, is third, ahead of 2006 champion Neal Richardson with Oliver Fitzwater, Al Cook Jr., Alex Vonderau, Tim Howard, Jim Stovall and Nate Goodman rounding out the top 10.

In the street stocks, veteran Larry Vandall locked up his first-ever track championship in style by winning the 20-lap feature last Saturday.

In the mini stocks, Jake Hinton saw his winning streak stopped at 10 races by teammate Cory Nuttle. Despite the rare loss, Hinton still holds an 114-point lead over Brad McBride with Kevin Howard, Kameron Lindlag, and Dale Moses completing the top five.

In the front-wheel drives, Bobby Smith clinched his second-consecutive track championship. Tristan Crago holds down the runner-up spot. The fun stocks saw Jim Long Sr. clinch his first-ever championship over Joshua Kelley.

The spectator gates will open at 4 p.m., with qualifying at 5:30 and racing at 7:30 p.m. Admission for adults is $15, children 7-12 $5 and children 6-and-under no charge.

The speedway is located south of Fort Wayne International Airport on Winters Road, west of Ind. 1. For more information on race cay call 260-478-7223 or visit the speedway website at

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New liability law, DNR program combine to help landowners experiencing deer damage

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

A new landowner liability law combined with the DNR’s Hunters Helping Farmers program can help landowners experiencing deer damage to crops, forest regeneration or landscaping get deer populations under control on their property.

The DNR has liberalized hunting regulations in most counties to address deer populations by strategically targeting antlerless deer, but effectiveness depends on landowner participation because 94 percent of the state is in private ownership.

In the Hunters Helping Farmers program, each DNR district wildlife biologist maintains a county-by-county list of hunters who are looking for places to hunt and willing to harvest antlerless deer during the hunting seasons. Landowners having difficulty finding hunters for this purpose may contact the DNR district biologist in their area for a copy. Contact information for district biologists is at

The Indiana General Assembly took steps this year to protect landowners from liability associated with allowing sportsmen and sportswomen to recreate on their land. Indiana Code 34-31-9 was created to limit liability associated with agritourism related activities such as field days, self-pick farmers, corn mazes, animal exhibitions, and agricultural fairs, but also includes natural resource based activities such as hunting, fishing, hiking and trail riding.

The law, which went into effect July 1, states that landowners who provide access to their land for natural resource based activities is not liable for the injury or death of a participant resulting from the inherent risks of such activities. Also, a participant or the participant’s representative cannot make claim, maintain an action against, or recover from the landowner any loss, damage, or death resulting from the inherent risk of the natural resource based activity.

Inherent risks include conditions, dangers, or hazards that are an integral part of the activity, including surface and subsurface conditions and natural conditions of the land, vegetation and waters, the behavior of wild or domestic animals on the land, the ordinary dangers of structures or equipment on the land, and negligent acts of a participant that may contribute to the injury of that participant or others.

However, the law does not prevent or limit the liability of a landowner who has knowledge of a dangerous condition that exists on the land and does not make the danger known to the participant, who commits and act or omission that constitutes willful or wanton disregard for the safety of the participant, or who intentionally injures the participant.

The new law also protects landowners who charge a participant a fee for providing natural resources based activities, as long as they provide the participant with a specific warning notice specified by the law. The warning notice can be printed on a sign, posted and maintained in a clearly visible location at the main entrance to the property where the natural resources based activity is to occur, or included as part of a signed release or written contract between the landowner and the participant. The actual language of the new law can be found at

More information on managing deer damage is at

The 2011-12 Deer Hunting Guide is at

For more information: Phil Bloom, DNR Communications, (317) 232-4003,

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ossian Days Dash 2011 results

1.) CASEY SHAFER (30) 16:37
2.) ROGER KINGSBERY (62) 20:33
3.) ED REINHARD (53) 20:35
4.) DAVE MCCOMB (42) 20:37
5.) JARED HEYERLY (35) 22:00
6.) CALE GRZYCH (26) 22:02
7.) TOM DREW (51) 22:27
8.) BRIAN BILLS (47) 22:39
9.) SKIP STINSON (46) 22:43
10.) SEAN SERAFINI (35) 23:35
11.) AMY MOWERY (32) 23:41
12.) BRAD ZEDDIS (41) 24:08
13.) WENDY WOLFERT (31) 24:27
14.) PHIL SHAFER (62) 24:32
15.) JAMES SIMS (40) 24:47
16.) BRIAN MACKE (49) 24:55
17.) SCOTT HOLLIDAY (39) 25:33
18.) MOLLY KURTZ (30) 25:40
19.) CHRIS STOLLER (34) 25:07
20.) LISA IMBODY (42) 26:16
21.) KATHRYN GENTZ (27) 26:45
22.) CHARLES BRACKE (23) 26:46
23.) LUKE ZEDDIS (11) 26:49
24.) LOGAN HOUSE (10) 26:50
25.) PAT SULLIVAN (53) 26:55
26.) ANGELA SERAFINI (40) 27:38
27.) CHAD MCQUADE (35) 28:01
28.) FLO SMITH (51) 28:04
29.) MATHEW CAPOZZA (42) 28:09
30.) AMANDA SULLIVAN (38) 29:00
31.) VANESSA BILLS (45) 29:11
32.) BARBIE SCROGHAM (64) 29:16
33.) SARA NORRIS (27) 29:40
34.) RAY PAXSON (57) 29:48
35.) SAM SHAFER (23) 29:50
36.) MICHELLE FORD (35) 30:10
37.) DANIEL JOHNS (44) 30:22
38.) MISSY NORRIS (34) 30:39
39.) CORBIN BLOHMKE (13) 30:46
40.) KELLY HARTUP (28) 31:35
41.) ANGEL HEYERLY (33) 31:40
42.) JENNIFER MCCOMB (42) 31:41
43.) JOHN AMOS (34) 31:48
44.) KELLY CADY (36) 32:20
45.) JENNIFER DELANEY (34) 32:20
46.) CARLA BREGE (33) 32:36
47.) DANA BUDD (57) 32:43
48.) NIKI ECKHART (32) 33:08
49.) DEB ECKHART (52) 33:14
50.) KATE FEHER-TANNER (40) 33:51
51.) AMY WILLS (41) 34:01
52.) JULIE FRAZE (40) 34:02
53.) AARON CARNALL (9) 34:36
54.) ANDY CARNALL (47) 34:42
55.) RACHEL MAGGARD (31) 35;06
56.) JOSH WHITNEY (11) 36:33
57.) ADDISON DIRIG (8) 36:59
58.) NICK WHITNEY (13) 37:00
59.) AMY EGLY (33) 37:17
60.) KRISTINA BLOMEKE (33) 37:27
61.) JESSICA BESTE (26) 37:30
62.) KATE JONES (36) 37:42
63.) ELLIE PERRY (13) 38:38
64.) LISA BECK (36) 38:47
65.) JEREMIAH GARRETT (32) 40:03
66.) ANDREA GARRETT (31) 40:03
67.) TERI ORTIZ (47) 40:18
68.) GIL ORTIZ (47) 40:19
69.) STEPHANIE BEXTEN (30) 42:03
70.) CHASITY PLUNKETT (31) 42:03
71.) SHERI WHITNEY (44) 42:50
72.) DIANE SHUTT (68) 42:51
73.) SUSAN HARTUP (64) 42:52
74.) TARA HOLLIDAY (36) 43:32
75.) SHELLY TURMAIL (39) 43:46
76.) PAIGE MACKE (15) 44:04
77.) KALEY GRZYCH (24) 45:08
78.) VICKI ZEDDIS (42) 45:16
79.) BECKY CAPTAIN (30-39) 45:35
80.) JAN KRICK (60) 46:07
81.) JACKIE BOLINGER (55) 50:14
82.) PATTY MACKE (46) 50:15

Monday, September 12, 2011

Indianapolis Motor Speedway photographer retires

From the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Ron McQueeney stood adjacent to Turn 4 on Opening Day for the 1972 Indianapolis 500, snapping pictures of cars with a sleek, new 35-millimeter motorized Minolta and a boxy, traditional 3 x 5 Speed Graphic camera.

He was on top of his world on his first day as an Indianapolis Motor Speedway track photographer, seemingly at the peak of his creative abilities as a racing photographer.

Then he was assigned to shoot the Garage Area on Race Day, away from the action on track. McQueeney, who took up photography as a U.S. Army motorcycle policeman in Okinawa in the 1960s, was mad.

"First of all, I thought I was better than that," McQueeney said. "Secondly, I thought it was not a very good assignment because not much goes on after the race in the garage area other than people being not too happy."

Veteran IMS photographers Chuck Duffy and Bob Scott told McQueeney that he needed to improve his technique and buy better equipment if he wanted to stay on the job for the 1973 Indianapolis 500.

"It turned out that I look back on the photography that I did earlier in my career, and it wasn't quite as good as I thought it was," McQueeney said. "They obviously saw that. But they also saw potential."

So McQueeney got to work. He bought expensive, top-of-the-line Nikon equipment and traveled extensively through the summer and fall of 1972, shooting races featuring USAC Champ Cars, Can-Am, Formula 5000 and more.

McQueeney returned to the track in 1973 with better gear and improved skills, and he was hired in 1974 as a full-time IMS photographer.

That driven, focused work ethic during 1972 and 1973 paid off. And it hasn't stopped for McQueeney at the Speedway - until now.

McQueeney, 66, retired Sept. 9 after a legendary, 40-year career behind the lens at IMS, including serving as director of photography since 1977. He will continue to shoot races and selected other events, and participate in various historical photography projects at IMS.

He has been seemingly omnipresent and tireless during his Speedway career. Look high above Turn 1 in the crow's nest above the grandstands at the start of the Indianapolis 500 - you'd see McQueeney. Look at the starter's stand during the Brickyard 400 - you'd see McQueeney. Look at a guy with four cameras slung over his back, scurrying around Gasoline Alley to shoot drivers and teams or climbing the grandstands at sunset to capture a perfect shot after a test session at the track - you'd see McQueeney. Look into the photo shop or photo office in the Media Center from sunrise to often after sunset - you'd see McQueeney.

It has added up to what he estimates are more than a million presses of the shutter button at IMS. He has photographed Indy cars. NASCAR. IROC. Formula One. MotoGP. Sports car tests. Celebrity visits to the IMS Hall of Fame Museum. Various scenes and landmark Speedway structures.

"I would say almost every event that I've been to here at the Speedway, I've enjoyed one way or the other," McQueeney said. "For me, this has just been a labor of love."

It's an apt description. McQueeney will be the first to admit that there's nothing like the thrill and inside access of shooting pictures of racing vehicles at speed or shooting legends of the sport at the most iconic track in the world.

But there's also been an endless amount of work that doesn't involve lenses, camera bodies and flash bulbs. McQueeney has organized and led teams of photographers for IMS events since the mid-1970s and all INDYCAR events from 1996-2010. He also has spent hours with his staff placing slides and negatives into a detailed organization system and also has led an ongoing project to convert approximately 5 million negatives in the IMS photo archives into digital images.

"These are things people don't see," McQueeney said. "It's behind-the-scenes work."

But McQueeney and his staff have stayed on top of every major project during his tenure. And they've also adapted to the ever-evolving technology of photography.

McQueeney created a huge technological leap in his photography career when he upgraded from his $300 motorized Minolta - still a very pricey camera in 1972 - to professional-grade Nikon gear early in 1973. That risky investment helped him flourish in May 1973 during the Indianapolis 500 and led to full-time employment at the Speedway.

But perhaps the biggest overall technological change during his 40 years at IMS came in the transition from film to digital photography from the late 1990s through the early 2000s.

McQueeney first shot digital images at IMS in 1998, with a Canon camera that cost $20,000. It shot 1-megapixel images, lower quality than photos from a typical cell phone today.

From 1998-2002, McQueeney carried three or four different kinds of cameras in a juggling act as the tectonic plates of photo technology collided. He shot slide film for magazines, negative film for photos to sell to the public from the IMS Photo Shop and digital images for the rapidly emerging World Wide Web.

IMS abandoned film photography and shot all-digital starting in 2003. That eliminated the camera shuffle for McQueeney and his staff, but it created other challenges.

"Always before we had a delay of a day or two between when we turned our film in and we got to see the images," McQueeney said. "Now you could see the images not only in the back of the camera, but you could work with those images and send them to the magazines and people who needed them around the campus here almost instantly.

"So it came to where they expected that instant gratification. We were out shooting, we'd have to come in more often, download them to the computer and upload them to the media sites and the websites where people could see them."

While technology is an important marker to frame the eras of McQueeney's career at IMS, he savors the personal relationships he has made as much as any discussion of ISO speed, depth of field or color saturation.

He has been a part of the fabric of the Speedway since the days when winged Indy cars were still considered a new trend. He is a familiar face to everyone around the grounds and in Gasoline Alley, even if his desire to get that next great picture caused him to never stand still in one place for very long.

"These people are my co-workers," McQueeney said of race drivers and team members. "They're my friends. I don't know many people in my neighborhood, but I know all of these people. At least if they don't know me real well, they know me by name. That's always a thrill to me, that I have this relationship with not only the drivers but the team members and the people involved in the sport.

"I cherish all of that and the 40 years of memories I have from that, too."

McQueeney has shot 40 Indianapolis 500s, 18 Brickyard 400s, eight United States Grands Prix and four Red Bull Indianapolis Grands Prix at IMS. He has photographed hundreds of the world's most famous motorsports competitors. He also has shot CART, INDYCAR and USAC races, and drag racing, motorcycle racing and boat racing - more than 1,000 events overall.

Yet he is coy about choosing any favorite races or drivers. But his pride as a longtime Hoosier eventually seeps through.

"I would say that my favorite race of all time would be any Indy 500 that I've been involved in," McQueeney said. "That's where I shine, and that's what I feel I do best. I've been fortunate that I've been to a lot of events around different parts of the world and seen a lot of things, and I still come back here and you can't express what the enjoyment is and how I feel about this place.

"There is no other place like Indy."

And anyone who knows Ron McQueeney understands there's no way he will get Indy out of his blood or his camera lens any time soon, even in retirement. He's only traveled on three vacations during his 40 years at IMS, the last in 1987.

There's been too much work, too much sweat, too many pairs of worn shoes and too much joy at the Brickyard to simply put the place into the rear-view mirror of his life.

"I have no hobbies," McQueeney said. "This was my hobby before it became my career. One of the reasons I think I stayed around long enough was that I was afraid of what the heck I was going to do after I retired because I have no hobbies."

He plans on visiting a few car shows with his wife, Marsha. He might even enter his beloved 1998 Chevrolet Corvette Indianapolis 500 Pace Car into a few shows.

But IMS still will fill the shutter of his life's eye as large as ever. Not just every day.

"I couldn't think of anything I'd rather been doing with my life," McQueeney said. "It's been wonderful for me. The people. I've been blessed with good health and blessed with a place to come every day where it doesn't feel like a job."