Friday, July 29, 2011

LaTourette has it both ways

Gotta’ give credit where credit is due.

U.S. Rep Steve LaTourette, R-Bainbridge Township, is enjoying both sides of the coin flip.

A couple of weeks ago he championed a House voice vote that pulls U.S. Environmental Protection Agency support from states like New York and Michigan which have designed stricter rules governing ballast water discharges into the Great Lakes.

LaTourette was heralded by the maritime industry and labor as being a job saver.
However, what New York and Michigan have done is to do what the federal government has foot-dragged on: Namely, come up with tough regulations that seek to keep out such invasive species as zebra mussels, round gobies and Asian carp.

Now LaTourette is crowing that he was able to secure an amendment that rebuilds the EPA’s Great Lakes funding budget by $50 million, taking the money from elsewhere in the agency’s proposed fiscal profile.

And just where will this additional money go? Why to “..mitigate toxic substances in the Great Lakes, reduce the impact of invasive species like zebra muzzles and Asian carp...”

Note that LaTourette’s measure is not intended to keep out any additional invading pest; only to “...reduce...” their impact.

I wish I was that smart.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wildlife Division says its benefits from Social Networking sites

The Ohio Division of Wildlife is meeting-grinning-and-gripping its way along the social network entrance ramp to the Internet Super Highway.

On Facebook alone the agency saying that it "peaked at 2,000 daily active users when tracking for the past month."

That number, however, is dwarfed by contacts via the Wildlife Division's web site. During the same period the agency says it saw as many as 240,000 visits.

However, says the Wildlife Division also, the comparison is more apples to oranges (or walleye to white-tails) than in direct linkage.

"There is no way to compare these numbers to each other as the experience is so different. But, this 2,000 (figure) far outweighs calls to our call center or emails to customer service," a Wildlife Division spokesman said.

Via Facebook, I hasten to add.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Trash to Marine Engineering/Great Lake Erie Boat Float

In preparation for the Third Annual Great Lake Erie Boat Float, The Cleveland Museum of Natural History will present a boat building workshop on 6 to 8 p.m., Aug. 3, at the Museum. The event is free with Museum admission.

Dr. Marcus Eriksen, director of project development for the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, will share hints for attendees to build their own boats out of recyclable materials to float in the Sept. 10 Great Lake Erie Boat Float.

Eriksen built The Cola-hoga, his 13th plastic boat, for the 2009 Great Lake Erie Boat Float and is best known for sailing across the Pacific Ocean on junk built out of 15,000 plastic bottles.

This event is co-sponsored by the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo/Cleveland Zoological Society.

Ericksen will demonstrate techniques and discuss materials he has used to make the 13 plastic boats he has created in the past, including Bottle Rocket, which he sailed down the Mississippi River, and "JUNK" which he created to sail across the Pacific Ocean. Previous participants of the Boat Float have also been invited to share their hints and tell about their experiences in the Boat Float.

Eriksen will also do a buoyancy test for participants.

Wednesday evening admission to the Museum is free for Museum members and $6 for non-members. The Museum is located at 1 Wade Oval Drive in University Circle.

The Third Annual Great Lake Erie Boat Float is a fun and unique event with an important message about the impact of plastics on the environment. The Boat Float will be held on Saturday, September 10 at Lower Edgewater State Park Beach.

Boat launch is at 10 a.m.

All boats must be made from post-consumer recyclable materials and be family friendly. Registration is required but there is no registration fee.

A beach clean-up follows the Boat Float.

To learn more about the Boat Float, visit The Boat Float is sponsored by The Cleveland Museum of Natural History and Cleveland Metroparks.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

NRA stands up to U.N. on small arms issue

The National Rifle Association is not keen on United Nation's pale blue when it comes to small arms prohibitions.

Scolding the U.N., the Nra contends that the "latest attempt by the U.N. and global gun banners to eliminate Second Amendment freedoms is to include civilian arms in the current Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which will be finalized next year."

In order for any treaty to take effect, however, it must be ratified by two-thirds of the U.S. Senate, the NRA says.

To ensure that any ATT that includes civilian arms is "dead on arrival in the Senate", the NRA has been working to get as many U.S. Senators as possible to publicly oppose any ATT that includes restrictions on civilian arms.

To date, 50 members of the U.S. Senate have signed letters to President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton saying they will oppose any ATT that includes civilian firearms ownership.

These strongly worded letters caution the President and Secretary of State to uphold the Constitution of the United States. As Senator Jerry Moran's letter warns, “(A)s the treaty process continues, we strongly encourage your administration to uphold our constitutional protections of civilian firearms ownership. These freedoms are non-negotiable, and we will oppose ratification of an Arms Trade Treaty presented to the Senate that in any way restricts the rights of law-abiding U.S. citizens to manufacture, assemble, possess, transfer or purchase firearms, ammunition and related items.”

Thanking the NRA for its long-standing work on this issue, Senator Moran also remarked, "I appreciate the NRA's partnership on this important effort to defend the rights of American gun owners. I want to thank them for their active support in sending a strong message to the Obama Administration that our firearm freedoms are not negotiable."

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, July 22, 2011

Plants, animals work to beat the heat

Heat may be delightful for mad dogs and Englishmen but for wildlife anything above the average can disrupt normal routine.

And yet animals typically are well appointed to deal with the heat, just as they are with below seasonal average cold weather, biologists say.

Some animals - such as elephants - radiate heat via their large ears. The same for hares and rabbits, notes the National Wildlife Federation.

Other animals shed heavy hair, or their “winter coats.”

Seeking shelter from the sun and staying hunkered down there until the cool of the evening is a trademark for lizards, sinks and snakes while amphibians and other species go through a process can “estivation,” the reverse of hibernation, the Federation says.

In this process toads and such become dormant, even burrowing into mud.
Whatever the mechanism, wildlife doesn’t moan and complain. Neither can they install all-room air conditioning. For them, it is adapt to the stressors or die.

Even fishes have ways to ajust, moving from locations that are too warm to those that are just right.

“Fish do move to cooler water and try find a place that is more comfortable and with more oxygen,” said Phil Hillman, fish management supervisor for the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s District Three office in Akron.

“Like northern pike at Mosquito, which will sit just above the thermocline and not even eat. That would take too much of their metabolism.”

Meanwhile, terrestrial wildlife are suited to life in the bush, even if that bush is stormed by troops of biting insects and impacted by hot temperatures.

However, in some places the heat and the bugs can be a problem. Moose and deer and other ungulates can suffer from being hammered by an infestation of ticks and other blood-sucking insects.

And in Texas the recent oppressively severe and extended heat has caused many doe deer to abandon their fawns.

Fortunately for Ohio, these situations are rare or nonexistent, biologists say.

“Since deer are crepuscular - a scientific term that means moving mostly at dawn and dusk - they avoid the heat of the day by default,” said Mike Tonkovich, Ph.D., the Wildlife Division’s deer management administrator.

“Deer that are in good health will get through this heat wave just fine. And the accompanying rains should be helping to keep summer foods, including crops, available, which is essential regardless of the weather.”

Much the same applies to smaller critters, even those whose pelts are cherished by trappers for their winter-warming characteristics.

“Most fur bearing species also are nocturnal, so they avoid the heat of the day,” said Suzanne Prange, Ph.D., a Wildlife Division wildlife research biologist involved with fur-bearing animals.

“As for flies, mosquitoes, and ticks, they are something that fur-bearers must deal with every year. Unless an animal is otherwise debilitated from disease, starvation, and the like, they are little impacted by these common pests.”

Heat can impact plants, though. When hit hard by the heat, prairie grasses turn the margins - or edges - of their leaves inward to conserve their moisture.

“That’s much the same as what corn does, and most other plants are adapted to the heat as well,” said Guy Denny, formerly of Willoughby and a retired chief of the Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves.

Among the tree species where heat has all ready reached out and touched are Eastern cottonwoods, Denny said.

“They are actually prairie trees that are exposed to the heat and the wind so this is a mechanism whereby the tree can conserve moisture,” Denny said. “I’ve seen my own cottonwoods begin dropping their leaves.”

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Lyme Lake may see new bass regs

Secluded and little known, New Lyme Lake in Ashtabula County may be in store for some fish regulation changes.

Being proposed by the Ohio Division of Wildlife is a “two-fer” for New Lyme, a tree-line gem in Ashtabula County’s New Lyme Township.

Under a proposal advanced by the state, anglers here could keep two largemouth bass under 15 inches and two fish in excess of 15 inches. Presently the daily bag limit for New Lyme is five bass, each of which must be at least 15 inches long.

Based on survey work conducted by the Wildlife Division, New Lyme has many more of the shorter-size fish and much fewer numbers of the longer bass.

“The idea behind this is to allow some harvesting of smaller fish,” says Phil Hillman, fish management supervisor for the agency’s District Three (Northeast Ohio) office in Akron.

“New Lyme does have a lot of small bass, and bass can be just like bluegills where they can become over-abundant and then the size structure suffers and you don’t get any big hawgs.”

New Lyme is 43 acres in size and was created in 1989-1990 when fill was removed to build a cap of clay for an adjacent hazardous waste site.

A problem with New Lyme, however, is thatits waters are largely infertile, without many nutrients being fed into its small watershed, Hillman says also.

“We see this with West Branch Reservoir, too, and which makes fish growth more difficult,” Hillman said.

Hillman did say that anglers should not have difficulty catching small bass at New Lyme with a reasonable population of this species being present along with a respectable community of bluegill-sunfish of “decent-size.”

The lake also has a good channel catfish population as the Wildlife Division stocks New Lyme every two years with this species, Hillman said.

“There are plenty of them,” Hillman said.

New Lyme Lake is an odd-shaped body of water that includes three islands and has a maximum depth of 12 feet. There are two access points: One off Brownville Road and the other off Dodgeville Road. Each can be approached from Rt. 46 and south of Rt. 6.

The Lake is part of the 693-acre New Lyme Wildlife Area which offers seasonal opportunities for deer, wild turkey and waterfowl on the lake.

Fishing pressure is generally light, particularly from a boat. Electric motors only are permitted and there is a gravel boat launch from the Dodgeville Road access portal.

Besides New Lyme a number of other Ohio lakes likewise are being considered for length- and bag-limit changes, each incorporating some form of slot size limitations, Hillman said.

A set of public hearings and a decision on adopting proposals is scheduled for this autumn.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wildlife Division seeks case of alleged unlicensed fishing guide

A Windsor Township man is in legal trouble with the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

John Troyer, Huntley Road, has been charged with operating an unlicensed fishing guide service and also for using too many fishing rods.

It is alleged that Troyer operated this service out of Grand River Village.

In Ohio, persons operating a for-hire guide service are required to have an Ohio license while those functioning on Lake Erie must also possess an U.S. Coast Guard license.

And persons are restricted to using no more than two rods at any one time.

It is alleged that Troyer charged $600 for a fishing trip that was taken June 23 by undercover officers with the Wildlife Division.

Under the Ohio Revised Code a matter involving an alleged charter operation without the appropriate license is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 fine plus court costs.

The too-many-rod violation is a misdemeanor of the forth degree, punishable by a fine of up to $250 and up to 30 days in jail.

“I have a small stack of complaints that he has been operating a guide service without a license,” said Gino Barna, head of the agency’s Lake Erie Law Enforcement Unit.

Also, says Barna, in 2005 Troyer was charged with displaying an expired guide license sticker on his vessel. The sticker is used to identify a properly licensed guide.

The most recent matter is set to go to trial before Painesville Municipal Court, though the Wildlife Division does not expect that will happen, Barna said.

“We’re not looking for any maximum,” he said.
Barna says it is the Wildlife Division’s contention that Troyer did accept the $600 and which was recovered.

“There’s more that I can’t talk about because it’s still under investigation but the money was recovered,” Barna said.

“If everyone pitches in for gas that’s not a problem; if it’s for profit, that is a different situation,”

Barna said that Troyer did not list a telephone number on the documents he has

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, July 18, 2011

Great Lakes' environment gets knocked around again

I'm not so sure this is a good idea.

In fact, I think what my U.S. representative has done legislatively is a bad idea; and I almost always agree with Steve laTourette.

However, his latest activity in the House has me concerned, and as expressed in an emailed press release.

The release starts out like this:

"U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette (R-OH) today announced that an amendment he offered to help Great Lakes shippers was approved and is now in the House spending bill that funds the EPA and Great Lakes programs.

The LaTourette amendment prohibits states from receiving EPA funding if they have adopted ballast water requirements that are more stringent than federal requirements. The amendment was adopted by voice vote, meaning no recorded vote was necessary. Ships take in or discharge ballast water as they load or unload cargo to maintain the ship's stability.

LaTourette said a hodgepodge of state ballast water standards would cripple Great Lakes waterborne commerce, and was very pleased that his amendment was successful.

LaTourette added a provision to the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill prohibiting the EPA from sending any federal funds to states that enact ballast water management regulations that exceed existing International Maritime Organization (IMO) guidelines and soon-to-be-announced U.S. Coast Guard standards. The full House could vote on the measure as early as next week.

The state of New York set up its own ballast water regulations for existing ships that are 100 times more stringent than current standards, and new ships will face standards 1,000 times more strict, LaTourette said. The New York standard has been delayed until 2013 because there is no technology currently available to comply with the standards."

Well, yeah, New York and Michigan have set their own standards because the federal government - at the coaxing and coaching of the maritime shipping industry - has pulled everything out but the eye teeth to weaken proposals to safeguard against the appearance of any more invasive species.

You know, tiny critters like the spiny water flea, the round goby and the zebra mussel. To name but three creatures that have not exactly been friendly to the Great Lakes but all of which have (likely) hitched a ride on an ocean-going vessel.

Just as the threat from Asian carp lies with Illinois refusal to do much to prevent their very possible likely entry into the Great Lakes, the threat imposed by liberal and lax ballast water rules also threatens the resource.

Alas, no where in LaTourette's 14 paragraph long release does it even bother to touch on the importance of the Great Lakes' ecosystem and environment as well as economic vitality beyond transporting more televisions from China and cars from Korea; only what may or may not cause problems to the shipping industry.

And that is just plain very, very wrong.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, July 15, 2011

NRA takes on U.N.'s anti-gun agenda

Not taking lightly gun control efforts at the local and state level the National Rifle Association views with disdain such efforts at the national level.

But when international proposals are present at a United Nations forum, the NRA - as a non-governmental organization (NGO) becomes far more suspicious.

The NRA's Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre addressed the United Nations earlier this week during the international discussion on ways to stop the illegal trade in small arm weapons.

However, as the NRA points out, virtually all of the proposals would gut the heart and soul of the United State's Second Amendment right to buy, own and use firearms, including for self defense.

Thus LaPierre informed the U.N. to "not interfere with the Second Amendment freedoms of Americans" and further pledged to continue the fight to preserve civilian ownership of firearms in the U.S.

He said the NRA will oppose any U.N. provision that seeks to prohibit or regulate U.S. civilian firearm ownership.

LaPierre said in his remarks, "The cornerstone of our freedom is the Second Amendment. Neither the United Nations, nor any other foreign influence, has the authority to meddle with the freedoms guaranteed by our Bill of Rights, endowed by our Creator, and due to all humankind."

He then went on by a point-by-point look at the various proposals and why the U.N. cannot be trusted on this issue.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

GPS reliability threatened, boating group says

In what the nation's leading recreational boat lobbying group says is an assault on GPS reliability, the federal government is on a fast track to allow broadband access right next door to the GPS signal.

BoatUS says boaters could have a hard time "avoiding treacherous shoals or simply finding their way home" if GPS signals are interfered with, and is urging boaters to speak out during a 30-day comment period.

"This is a remarkably short comment period for an issue that has such dire consequences for America's boaters and every other GPS user in the country," said BoatUS Vice President of Government Affairs Margaret Podlich.

At issue is an unusual conditional waiver granted in January by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to a broadband wireless communications provider, LightSquared, to permit the dramatic expansion of land-based use of mobile satellite spectrum.

This spectrum, or frequency bandwidth, is directly adjacent to the frequencies used for Global Positioning System (GPS) communications.

The company has proposed to build 40,000 ground stations.

LightSquared's high-powered ground-based transmissions from these stations have shown to cause interference in hundreds of millions of GPS receivers across a wide range of uses, including aviation, marine, emergency response and industrial users such as delivery and trucking companies, Boat US says.

A new report requested by the FCC says, "all phases of the LightSquared deployment plan will result in widespread harmful interference to GPS signals and service and that mitigation is not possible."

Boaters rely on GPS-enabled chart-plotters to steer clear of navigation hazards, keep them in the safety of deep-water channels, or even get them home when storms shut down visibility.

"They are a critical piece of safety gear," said Podlich. "What will boaters do if they are unreliable, and how will the US Coast Guard's new emergency search and rescue system that stands watch over 36,985 miles of coastline, Rescue 21, remain effective, since it relies on GPS?"

Boaters and other GPS users are urged to speak up now by going to to send their comments to the FCC and their members of Congress.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

NRA expects to file suit against Obama Administration's gun control move

Not one to share a Christmas card with President Obama, the National Rifle Association is even less likely to send one now that the president has invoked an executive order.

The order - which has the weight of law under certain circumstances - orders all gun shop owners in states edging Mexico to supply the government with the names of people who buy two or more rifles at one time.

Obma's reasoning is reduce the alleged illegal traffic of firearms into troubled Mexico, plagued by drug cartels.

However, the NRA calls the move illegal with there being an act of Congress. In effect, the NRA says, what Obama has done is a backdoor effort at gun control, and a not very effective one at that.

Notes the NRA:

Last fall, the reporting procedure was proposed as an “emergency" measure by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The procedure specifically calls for all of the firearm retailers in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to report multiple sales, or other dispositions, of two or more .22 caliber or larger semi-automatic rifles that are capable of accepting a detachable magazine and that are purchased by the same individual within five consecutive business days. For example, a dealer would have to tell the government every time a deer hunter in Sacramento or Amarillo finds a good deal on a pair of semi-auto .30-06s like the popular Remington 7400.

The BATFE has no legal authority to demand these reports, and the flood of new paperwork (BATFE estimates 18,000 reports per year) will waste scarce law enforcement resources that should be spent on legitimate investigations.

As anyone who watches the news is aware, the BATFE has recently come under intense scrutiny due to its involvement in, and handling of, the ill-conceived and ill-fated “Fast and Furious” operation. "Fast and Furious" was a part of the five-year-old "Project Gunrunner" program and encouraged Arizona gun stores to sell thousands of guns to suspicious buyers, despite objections from dealers and BATFE field agents alike.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) called the new policy "the height of hypocrisy," and said the Obama administration is restricting the gun rights of border state citizens "when the administration knowingly and intentionally allowed guns to be trafficked into Mexico.”

Smith went on to say, “Limiting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens is not going to solve the problem."

Commenting on the DOJ announcement, NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox said, “$40 billion transnational criminal enterprises don't fill out paperwork and are not deterred by paperwork violations. This is a blatant effort by the Obama administration and ATF to divert the focus of Congress and the general public from their gross incompetence in the 'Fast and Furious' scandal. This scheme will unjustly burden law abiding retailers in border states. It will not affect drug cartels and it won't prevent violence along our borders. The BATFE and the Administration lack the statutory authority to do this and the NRA will file suit as soon as BATFE sends the first demand letters.”

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Willoughby father-son hope to repeat tough Lake Michigan sailing victory

Joe and William Palmer are attempting their third consecutive win in the Cruising Division of the 103rd Chicago to Mackinac Island 335 Mile Sailboat Race to be held this weekend on Lake Michigan.

The father-son team began their winning streak in 2009.

They sail on a Tartan 3700, designed and made in Fairport Harbor.

The boat is called the “Intangible” and which is berthed in Chicago Illinois.
Its owner is Tom Falck, Hinesdale, Illinois.

There will be four other crew members, including Joe Palmer’s brother, John, of Libertyville, Illinois.

“Last year we finished in 54 ours and the year before that in 67 hours,” says Joe Palmer. “There has not been a consecutive three time winner since 1910 so the chance are very slim but the boat is ready, the crew is ready, all we need is lots of luck and fair winds.”

Palmer said this is his fifth run with this course and his son’s third.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Duck numbers show big gains

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released its preliminary report on breeding ducks and habitats, based on surveys conducted in May and early June.

Total duck populations were estimated at 45.6 million breeding ducks on the surveyed area. This estimate represents an 11 percent increase over last year's estimate of 40.9 million birds and is 35 percent above the 1955-2010 long-term average.

This was only the fifth time in the survey's history that the total duck population exceeded 40 million.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, July 8, 2011

Oral arguments heard in "Brown County Five" case

Both sides in the so-called “Brown County Five” incident presented their oral arguments Wednesday before the Ohio 12th District Court of Appeals in Middletown.

Jessica A. Little, the prosecutor for Brown County, said both her and the defense were given 25 minutes to present their arguments. Normally the court allows just 15 minutes for such arguments, Little said Thursday.

“It’s a novel case and I wouldn’t want the job of deciding this case,” Little said.

As issue is a legal point of law called the Garrity Rule. This legal fiat protects at least some civil servants from making potentially self-incriminating statements to an investigating agency such as the Ohio Inspector General.

While attorneys for the five felony-indicted Ohio Division of Wildlife officials have maintained that the Garrity Rule applies to their clients, Little just as steadfastly believes that they do not.

Among the five indicated officials include a now-retired agency chief, a now-retired assistant chief, a district supervisor, the agency’s law enforcement administrator, and its human resources manager. Each person is charged with two fifth degree felony counts, the filing going back about 15 months.

The indictment stems from an incident in which the state wildlife officer assigned to Brown County - Allan Wright - allowed a South Carolina wildlife officer to use his Ohio address in order to obtain an Ohio hunting license on Nov. 5, 2006.

Wright is soon to be reassigned to an at-large agent posting, a Wildlife Division officials said Thursday.

It is alleged that the five high-ranking Wildlife Division officials should have handled the Wright incident as a criminal matter and not as an administrative matter that resulted in a verbal reprimand for Wright.

However, the officials’ attorneys were successful with the first court round, a ruling that was made in their favor last September by Brown County Common Please Court Judge Scott T. Gusweiler.

Little then presented her position in briefs before the court. Subsequently, the defense moved for the court to hear arguments orally, which the justices granted.

“We’re now waiting for a ruling from the court, which could take several months,” Little said.

Little said it was difficult for her to gauge any reaction from the justices though
she said it appeared that she was tossed “a couple of softball questions.”

“But it’s just too difficult to say what is going to happen,” Little said. “You never know what (the justices) are going to do but I am cautiously optimistic.”

Still, should the justice rule in favor of the defendants then almost without question Little intends to appeal to the state Supreme Court, she said.

Little said also that she would expect the defense to do the same.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, July 7, 2011

UPDATED: Wildlife Division to transfer Brown County's Allan Wright

The Ohio Division of Wildlife is preparing to transfer duties now being handled by officer Allan Wright in Brown County.

Wright is being moved from his Brown County position to that of an agent at-large, said a Wildlife Division official.

Wright is at the apex of a matter involving the so-called “Brown County Five,” a pentarchy of current and now-retired Wildlife Division officials who are each under indictment for alleged felonies.

The indictment against the five officials stems from an incident in which Wright allowed a South Carolina wildlife officer to use his Ohio address in order to obtain an Ohio hunting license on Nov. 5, 2006.

It is alleged that the five present and former high-ranking agency officials should have handled the Wright incident differently as a criminal matter and not as an administrative matter that resulted in a verbal reprimand for Wright.

While these five officials’ cases are still be debated through the courts, Wright returned to his job last year in Brown County following the dropping of charges against him.

A separate special prosecutor was appointed to review Wright’s activities - if any - but that matter remains unknown at this time with no information coming from the
special prosecutor.

David B. Lane, chief of the Ohio Division of Wildlife, did say the agency wants “justice to be served, and sooner is better than later.”

Partially for that reason Lane said it was his decision to move Wright into the at-large position.

However, Lane says also, in no manner does the change represent a demotion, “being a lateral transfer.”

Still, Lane said that he cannot recall when an agent left a county to take an at-large position.

“I decided that with everything going on down there I thought taking him out of the day-to-day operations would be good for Allan and his family,” Lane said. “We decided it would benefit Allan and the constituents of Brown County. If there are
issues that need to be looked at, we will.”

Lane said also that depending upon how the matter involving the legal management and regulation of dangerous and exotic animals shakes out, that Wright could incorporate some of those duties to where “he might be enrolled” in that project.

A message was left with Wright on Thursday, July 7, but no response has yet been received. Check back periodically for any changes that might appear.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

DeWine's gun crime group meets, Part II

The first meeting of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's "Violent Crime with Guns Advisory Group" met this afternoon.

This advisory group was established to focus efforts on removing guns from repeat violent criminals and includes members representing local, state, and federal law enforcement, prosecutors, and a victims advocate, noted DeWine in a prepared electronic press release.

Also a member is an Ohio attorney with ties to the pro-Second Amendment Ohioans for Concealed Carry, which has long advocated for the right of citizens to possess concealed firearms outside their homes.

"The reality is that you are seeing the same people day after day after day committing violent crime with guns," DeWine is quoted in the release.

"We need to get serious about going after the criminals with guns. The repeat violent offenders, who shouldn't have guns in the first place and who are most likely to cause violence with a gun in the future, have to be our target."

The advisory group's goal is to provide guidance to law enforcement and the Ohio General Assembly and how to best prevent gun crimes and keep repeat offenders in prison, the release says and which then went on to cite state government figures.

According to data from the Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification (BCI), arrests of repeat firearm offenders have increased 1400% in the past 40 years.

Among those under the age of 20, BCI reports a 236% increase in persons with multiple firearm arrests over the past ten years, DeWine's release says.

Attorney General's group to explore firearms violence, concerns exist

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is seeking to keep firearms out of the hands career criminals.

In so doing DeWine has created an ad hoc committee to review the situation and then focus on ways to facilitate keeping the two at polar extremes. But Second Amendment tights advocates are concerned, wondering what the group will explore and then recommend.

The 16-member committee’s first meeting is scheduled for 2:30 p.m., today at the Rhodes State Office Tower in downtown Columbus.

This group’s official name is the “Ohio Attorney General’s Office Gun Advisory Group.”

Among its members are three representatives from the Attorney General’s office, three representatives from the federal government such as the U.S. Attorney General as well as the ATF, various police officials and county prosecutors, and a victims rights’ advocate.

Also on the committee is attorney Ken Hanson who has represented the Ohioans for Concealed Carry, a pro-Second Amendment Rights group that has scored major victories both in the courts and on the floor of the state legislature.

In an earlier press release DeWine is quoted as saying “From the time I was Greene County Prosecutor and an Ohio Senator, I have been concerned about getting repeat offenders who use guns to commit crimes off our streets... When I was in the Ohio Senate, I wrote S.B. 199 to increase the penalties for felons using guns in the commission of a crime. We need to get and keep these people behind bars.”

DeWine’s release also cited a story that had appeared in the Columbus Dispatch that was widely criticized by Second Amendment advocates as being partial toward additional gun control, noting a connection with a known anti-gun grant-funding foundation.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Touching 4th July memorial wake for Ron Johnson

Seemingly excited with the enthusiasm of a colt, “Thumper” strained at her moorings, tugging against its restraining ropes and bouncing about the water with the will and whim of winds and waves.

It was a first for the charter fishing boat that had long been skippered by the late Ron Johnson who died from lung cancer some six months ago.

And now the boat was tied up where she belonged: Between a pair of former stablemates that she shared space with at Grand River Marina in Grand River Village.

There would be no charter this day, the July 4th holiday. And possibly there would never be another charter for the vessel.

On this day the boat was to have a much more somber mission, that being to take friends, family members and a minister out onto the lake for a final soiree for the boat and her captain. Plus a half-share portion of Johnson’s ashes.

But for two hours prior to their last journey together there was a fisherman’s wake of sorts for Johnson and in a way, for Thumper as well.

Food was in abundance, from fresh sweet corn donated by the Ashleys of Mentor whose Geauga County “farm” is maintained by savvy Amish growers to some of the best burgers, hot dogs, and pot-luck sides this side of Gorden Ramsey’s kitchen.

On the Thumper were tacked the vessel’s array of fishing poles and reels, each strung as if ready for action, respectively cleaned of crusted fish slime and scales. Along with the vessel’s deck and trim.

As one attendee said of Thumper; “It was never more clean.”

True, perhaps, but the old girl deserved to be tidied up a bit and made to look sharp and beautiful. In for nothing else than for the memory of a charter captain, friend, father, brother and colleague.

That July 4th was pegged for the memorial was fortuitous. For me and my wife for sure. For several years on July 4th Johnson would give my wife and me a go at Lake Erie walleye and steelhead, he knowing that the morning was our time together in an informal fishing trip.

That evening Ron would turn about the boat and take his son, Steve, daughter-in-law, Kathy, and granddaughter, Jordan, out to lay at anchor near the Grand River’s mouth. There the family would together watch the annual Fairport Harbor Mardi Gras July 4th fireworks show.

Others at the wake/picnic reflected on their life experiences with Ron, too, many humorous but all poignant.

Among the many comments were those directed at Johnson’s much beloved daughter, Meaghan. Once Johnson’s right-hand first-mate, Meaghan, is now a marine biologist studying coral reefs in Key West, Florida.

After everyone’s bellies were beginning to burst with way too much food, the low-key conversations were finished and the clock had slipped to the appointed hour, the crowd climbed aboard the various assembled boats for the ride to the lake and the final memorial for Johnson.

They didn’t go far, though. That was not Johnson’s way who frequently noted that it’s always best “not to burn the gas.”

It was the bitterest of sweet for everyone, knowing that they would each have to take back home with them the individual memories of a man they called “father,” “grandpa,” “brother,” and just as importantly, “friend.”

Time may very well diminish the pain each person felt though time won’t fade the fond collective recollections.

One of Johnson’s favorite sayings, it was told in the wake/picnic’s memorial tribute, was “Well, did you learn anything?” to which everyone could nod an unqualified “yes.”

So to each of Ron’s extended family, one can only say “fair skies and following seas."

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, July 1, 2011

UPDATED This, that and the other: Holday weekend outdoors notes

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released a final revised recovery plan for the threatened northern spotted owl, stepping up actions that so far have helped stem but not reverse the old-growth forest raptor’s decline.

The revised plan identifies three main priorities for achieving spotted owl recovery: protecting the best of its remaining habitat, actively managing forests to improve forest health, and reducing competition from barred owls, a native of eastern North America that has progressively moved into the spotted owl’s range in Washington, Oregon, and northern California.

Concerns over increasingly confusing and restrictive gun laws along with the common bond firearms create among shooters and hunters across the entire spectrum of outdoor sports appears to be a driving force in why so many people are members of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Who we stand behind - In a recent survey conducted as part of Southwick Associate’s monthly Hunter Survey, more active hunters and shooters claim membership in the NRA than any other organization.

The organization that received the next highest nod was the North American Hunting Club, while the dedicated conservation organization that received the next highest membership claim was Ducks Unlimited. The National Wild Turkey Federation and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation were next, respectively.

The survey findings basically mirror each group’s actual reported membership with the NRA claiming as many as 4.3 million members, while the NAHC has more than 850,000 and Ducks Unlimited close to 780,000.

Casting For Cash - When anglers were asked in a recent survey if they participated in fishing tournaments, it was discovered that for every one competing professional angler there are roughly nine fishermen who compete at least occasionally in amateur tournaments, says the Angler Survey.

Among those anglers who reported competing in tournaments in the past year, for every full or part-time angler that competes at the professional level, there are approximately three anglers who compete regularly in amateur tournaments and just over six who do it at least occasionally.

“Fishing tournaments are a great way for anglers at every skill level to compete and have a lot of fun. Looking at some of the more storied tournaments held around the country, purse winnings can be quite large for some of these events, which I am sure is a big draw for many anglers,” said Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates, which designs and conducts the surveys at, and

Just Ducky - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released its preliminary report today on breeding ducks and habitats, based on surveys conducted in May and early June.

Total duck populations were estimated at 45.6 million breeding ducks on the surveyed area. This estimate represents an 11 percent increase over last year’s estimate of 40.9 million birds and is 35 percent above the 1955-2010 long-term average.

This was only the fifth time in the survey’s history that the total duck population has exceeded 40 million.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Even in summer, home is on the (shooting) range

It was an itch that only one kind of scratch could relieve, and that was to spend some quality time on the shooting range.

Oh, sure, hunting season is out there a ways on the calendar, although not really all that far.

Just ask Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, Midway USA, and Cheaper Than Dirt. All of these mail order catalog firms - and others - have been flooding my mail box with a slew of shooting-related fliers.

No wonder, now is the best time to begin tuning up and checking out muzzle-loaders, high-powered rifles, varmint guns, squirrel-hunting rifles and all of the rest that go “bang” and “boom.”

So I did, a few days ago anyway. And with the expectation that at least two more visits to The Club’s 100-yard range would be necessary.

I needed to check and possibly tweak the sight picture on my scoped Norinco bull-barrel .22-caliber squirrel-hunting rifle. And I wanted to see what my 03-A3 Springfield would behave by shooting Remington’s Managed-Recoil loads.

Not lost is whether a newer form of Lightfield’s sabot slugs for my 16-guage Ithaca shotgun would behave differently from its 1/16 ounce lighter and older sibling.

More than two hours were spent on a cool and practically windless morning. Hitting the range shortly after full sun-up, I laid out a humongous array of shooting paraphernalia. That included various shooting bags, ammo boxes filled with a shopping list of different loads, spotting ‘scope, and, well, all of the other truck that filled the cavernous hold of my SUV.

Necessary equipment since the object is to try and eliminate the variables that can go wrong; reducing the process to firearm and ammunition performance only.

The .22-caliber shot where it was supposed to, a 20-round string producing a group small enough to be covered with a nickel. And when I had finished shooting some lollypops taped to the target board I then went after their cardboard stickers.

The Springfield did just dandy as well. The reduced loads were a dream to shoot with very little felt recoil. The older I become the more sensitive I also get to the brunt force trauma of a nasty “kick” from a fully charged cartridge.

The Remington’s 125-grain reduced load will fill the need on an expected Florida wild boar hunt. I’ve been wanting to do something different for a boar hunt and I figured an old military rifle firing a civilian round would meet that definition.

As for the Lightfields, unless I had spent the time on the range I never would have expected so much difference that just 1/16 ounce of lead could produce. The lighter, older generation shot much higher and a tad to the left of the new version.

That led me to believe that I’ll stick with the present model of Lightfield.

The only thing is that I discovered how increasingly difficult it is for my aging eyes to pick up the shotgun’s open, “iron” sights. But the shotgun is intended for use during deer drives when a fast pick-up of a moving target is paramount.

My older brother Rich had visited the same range the day before, piloting his .50-caliber muzzle-loader to a test of a new Barnes bullet sabot. My goodness, at 50 yards he was able to fire a three-shot string that could be covered also with a 5-cent piece.

Once again, such work demonstrates the importance of range time. This way a shooter can sort through which fodder is best suited for his firearm and maybe find something even better and possibly less expensive.

Besides, it’s a good excuse to spend a day besides reaching for the fishing pole and catching a farm pond bluegill. There’s plenty of enough time for that during the summer, too.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn