Monday, January 21, 2013

Knee replacement has me in writing hibernation

In an effort to heal from a total replacement of my left knee performed on January 16, I've been ordered by the paper's powers-that-are to hold off writing about anything and anywhere until the orthopedic surgeon gives the okay to return to work.


That includes keeping this blog updated.

Double rats.

Tentatively I'm expected to need four to six weeks for the left knee to heal sufficiently. That slides me up to when the steelhead will most likely be in the creeks, spawning.

And also when the gobblers start strutting their stuff in the woods of Ashtabula County.

It could be worse, of course. Not sure exactly how, but it is possible. If nothing else this becomes a motivating factor in wanting/trying to get well.

Until whenever, take care and we'll touch base again.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Thursday, January 17, 2013

UPDATED 01-18: Two former Wildlife Division officials punished for time-sheet misconduct

A pair of legally besieged Ohio Division of Wildlife officers were  not only fired by the agency they also won’t have the opportunity to hunt, trap or fish for one year.

Former Wildlife Division officers David Warner and Matthew Roberts plead “no contest” to charges they were hunting while on duty and then falsifying time sheets by writing they were working when they really were hunting.

Warner had been the field supervisor for the Wildlife Division’s District Five (southwest Ohio) Office, a position he was fired from by the Wildlife Division on Sept. 21.

Roberts was the state wildlife officer assigned to Clinton County.

In each case the separation was made after the Natural Resources Department determined the men had violated state policy governing conduct while on duty.

Originally, Roberts and Warner were each charged in July for theft in office, a fifth degree felony, and tampering with records, a third degree felony.

Warner was also originally indicted for dereliction of duty, a second degree misdemeanor.

The charges stem from the pair’s activity of hunting while on duty, and for turning in bogus time slips that supposedly showed they were on duty when they were allegedly hunting with former state wildlife officer Allan Wright, who had been assigned to Brown County.

Appearing in Brown County Court of Common Pleas on Thursday the two men saw the hammer of justice fall on their heads.

Warner received a 120-day suspended sentence, an one-year probation along with the loss of the opportunity to hunt, trap, or fish, for one year.

In Roberts case he receive one year of court-ordered probation, a 30-day suspended jail time and like Warner, Roberts cannot hunt, trap or fish for one year.

Also, both men must pay restitution to the state for the time they falsified being on duty when they were hunting.

However, this restitution applies only to the single day in which Brown County Prosecutor Jessica Little wrote in the indictment.

For Warner this restitution amounts to $708.73 and for Roberts his required obligation is $353.10, Little said.

“The (Ohio Department of Natural Resources) will have to seek restitution for the rest,” Little said.

Little said also she is “satisfied” with the outcome, believing the punishment was “an appropriate resolution.”

That being said, Little would like to see the Natural Resources Department conduct “follow up” investigations to help ensure no other similar situations are lurking in the legal shadows.

In a related matter, Little will appear before the Ohio State Supreme Court on Tuesday to argue her case against five former and current Wildlife Division officials - often referred to as the “Brown County Five.”

These past and present officials each face felony charges but insist they have legal protection against self-incrimination via a public sector fire wall called the Garrity Rule.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

NRA, Arms trade group ramping to oppose expected Obama gun-control measures

On the eve of President Obama announcing some of the most -sweeping and  controversial gun control rules, both the public face of the Second Amendment movement and the firearms industry's trade group are taking a pro-active campaign to explain their respective positions.

Here are the press release statements of the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the National Rifle Association.

Statement from the National Rifle Association of America In Response to President Obama’s Gun Control Proposals

Fairfax, Va. – Throughout its history, the National Rifle Association has led efforts to promote safety and responsible gun ownership.  Keeping our children and society safe remains our top priority.

The NRA will continue to focus on keeping our children safe and securing our schools, fixing our broken mental health system, and prosecuting violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law.

We look forward to working with Congress on a bi-partisan basis to find real solutions to protecting America’s most valuable asset – our children.

Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation.  Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy.
Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America's oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. Four million members strong, NRA continues to uphold the Second Amendment and advocates enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime.

The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services. Be sure to follow the NRA on Facebook at and on Twitter @NRA.
Statement from NSSF in Response to
Biden Commission Recommendations

All Americans share the goal of wanting to make our communities and children safer by reducing violence in our society, like the tragic incident that occurred last month in our community of Newtown, Conn.

We are reviewing Vice President Biden's recommendations with an open mind in hopes they will offer real means of achieving our shared goal.

The central issue involved in violence where a firearm is misused is the unauthorized access to the firearm.

We believe it is critical to first focus on the unauthorized access to firearms by irresponsible persons and those not legally qualified to possess them.

We support immediate improvements to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) that will bring all appropriate mental health and other records, such as restraining orders, into the NICS system.

Fixing NICS must be among the highest priorities in order to help further prevent illegal purchases of firearms from federally licensed retailers.

In order to help prevent unauthorized access to firearms in the home, we have long supported and are initiating an expanded safety campaign to promote the secure and responsible storage of all firearms and ammunition when not in use. 

We believe the personal responsibility of gun owners, especially if there are children or at-risk individuals in the home, is central to any meaningful discussion of the issues.

The NSSF will continue to lend its expertise to this important national conversation and the accompanying legislative and policy making processes. We do so respecting the various points of views represented in these discussions.
NOTE: The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) is the more than 8,000 member trade association for America's firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

State likes Mentor's deer-feeding ban, hunter protection laws

Ohio’s wildlife officials say they both understand and applaud the city of Mentor’s efforts to reduce the community’s swelling deer herd.

Likewise, the Ohio Division of Wildlife is encouraged by the city father’s actions to help ensure that properly permitted archery hunters there are not being harassed by those persons opposed to Mentor’s controlled archery-only deer hunt.

On Tuesday - Jan. 15 - Mentor’s city council approved a city ordinance that prohibits the feeding of deer.

In a related vote, the council members also passed a law that prohibits hunter harassment.

Last fall at the start of the statewide archery deer-hunting season Mentor approved a tightly controlled, regulated bow-only deer hunt.

Participants had to first pass a proficiency test, secure permission from one to three property owners with an aggregate minimum of five acres to hunt, hunt from an elevated stand only, have the site inspected, along with a number of other hoops to jump through.

In spite of some intense opposition the measure was largely supported by the community, as noted from the frequent comments posted on The News-Herald’s web site.

And the hunt has proven successful, too. At least 113 deer have been shot by approved hunters in the city. This figure is twice as many as one Mentor official believed would have been killed for the entire season.

Mentor also is engaged in a Wildlife Division-approved culling operation. This program employs sharpshooters from Mentors police SWAT team.

It is being conducted only on a few select city-owned properties where the controlled hunt was deemed impractical. Figures on the number of deer taken through this culling operation are not yet available.

Both aspects have earned high marks and praise from Scott Zody, the Wildlife Division’s chief.

“We are always willing to work with communities experiencing nuisance wildlife issues,” Zody says.
“It can be a challenge in urban/suburban areas where citizen perception of what constitutes a nuisance can vary widely.”

In Mentor’s case, also says Zody, ”it appears the city is taking reasonable steps to try to prevent well-meaning residents from artificially feeding deer and thereby encouraging rather than discouraging their over-abundance.”

“At the same time Mentor is also trying to ensure that legal hunting can continue as an approved method of deer control within the city limits,” Zody says.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

White House looks at 19 Presidential Exec actions on firearms

Biden: W.H. eying 19 executive actions on guns
By: Reid J. Epstein
January 14, 2013 06:49 PM EST
The White House has identified 19 executive actions for President Barack Obama to move unilaterally on gun control, Vice President Joe Biden told a group of House Democrats on Monday, the administration’s first definitive statements about its response to last month’s mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Later this week, Obama will formally announce his proposals to reduce gun violence, which are expected to include renewal of the assault weapons ban, universal background checks and prohibition of high-capacity magazine clips. But Biden, who has been leading Obama’s task force on the response, spent two hours briefing a small group of sympathetic House Democrats on the road ahead in the latest White House outreach to invested groups.
(PHOTOS: Biden over the years)
The focus on executive orders is the result of the White House and other Democrats acknowledging the political difficulty of enacting any new gun legislation, a topic Biden did not address in Monday’s meeting.
The executive actions could include giving the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authority to conduct national research on guns, more aggressive enforcement of existing gun laws and pushing for wider sharing of existing gun databases among federal and state agencies, members of Congress in the meeting said.
(Also on POLITICO: NRA releases shooting game for ages 4+)
“It was all focusing on enforcing existing law, administering things like improving the background database, things like that that do not involve a change in the law but enforcing and making sure that the present law is administered as well as possible,” said Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.).
The White House declined to comment on the details of what Obama will propose.
(Also on POLITICO: Poll: Gun background checks wanted)
But Biden did indicate that the remains of the Obama campaign apparatus may be activated in the effort.
“He said that this has been a real focus on the policy and that the politics of this issue, that a strategy on the politics of the issue hasn’t been undertaken yet,” Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) told POLITICO. “He did remind us that the campaign infrastructure is still accessible.”
Biden did not address two of the more significant issues in the gun debate: the appointment of a permanent director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the role violent images in the entertainment industry play in the nation’s gun violence.
Obama touched on his expected legislative guns agenda at his own news conference in the East Room on Monday, while stressing the power he has via executive order.
“How we are gathering data, for example, on guns that fall into the hands of criminals, and how we track that more effectively — there may be some steps that we can take administratively as opposed through legislation,” Obama said.
Even Democrats who back gun control concede that reinstating an assault weapons ban — the 1994 law expired in 2004 — will be a heavy lift for the White House. During his meeting with gun-rights groups last week, Biden mentioned only an assault weapons ban when telling the NRA and other organizations that Obama has “made up his mind” to support it.
“I think everybody acknowledges that the assault weapons ban is a challenge, but other things — like the size of the magazines, the background checks, straw purchases — are all things that have a good chance of passing,” Scott said.
Speier said she told Biden the White House should do as much as it can on its own.
“I urged him to do as much by executive order as possible,” she said. “Frankly, I don’t have a lot of confidence that this Congress is going to do anything significant.”
And Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Democrats’ Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, said the magazine ban and universal background checks would be far more effective than an assault weapons ban without the political cost.
“Probably the most recognizable thing you can say in this debate is ban assault weapons,” Thompson said. “But the other two issues” — forbidding high-capacity ammunition magazines and requiring universal background checks for gun purchases — “those two things have more impact on making our neighborhoods safe than everything else combined. Anytime you try and prohibit what kind of gun people has it generates some concern.”
Biden’s personal gun violence outreach now includes the families of the 26 victims of the Dec. 14 school massacre in Newtown, Conn. Biden told the Monday meeting that he’s been reaching out to the families. A White House official confirmed the vice president has been in touch directly with some of the families.
“The vice president mentioned that he has called every one of the families that has lost children in Connecticut, and that the conversations have lasted no less than 45 minutes,” Speier said.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misidentified one of the gun violence reduction measures supported by Rep. Thompson.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Ohio's Sen. Brown shares his views on proposals to further restrict semi-automatic firearms

With the debate over firearms accelerating as the Obama weighs what additional restrictions on the manufacture, selling and ownership of such products, I wrote to both of Ohio's U.S. senators, Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown.
Senator Portman's response was previously posted here and this is Sen. Brown's reply to my position as it relates to the posibility of further restrictions on various forms of semi-automatic firearms.
"Thank you for expressing your opposition to the Assault Weapons Ban. 
"From 1994 to 2004, Congress enacted a ban on semi-automatic assault weapons.
"The bill had three main components. The first section was comprised of a list guns that were banned by name, such as Uzi’s.
"The second section outlawed the future manufacture and sale of any new semiautomatic weapon with a detachable magazine and more than two of several assault-style features.
"The third section was an appendix which listed hunting rifles and shotguns that didn’t run afoul of the second section, and thus were exempted from the bill.
"In 2011, law enforcement leaders such as Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Back, Oklahoma Police Chief Bill Citty, and Brockton, Massachusetts, Police Captain Emanuel Gomes, all separately discussed how their officers were being outgunned with assault weapons possessed by criminals.
"While I have supported restrictions on the possession of semi-automatic assault weapons, and restrictions on the ability of criminals to possess handguns, I do not support an outright ban on guns or arbitrary restrictions on the right of law-abiding citizens to possess guns.
"When our children and families are no longer safe at our schools, in our malls, and in our movie theaters, then we as a country must take action.
"The shocking numbers of public shootings throughout the country last year, culminating in Newtown, Connecticut, demand that we engage in a serious national discussion about gun violence, not just in terms of weapons and bullets, but also including mental health access, public safety officers, and our responsibility both as individuals and a society.
"This is a complex issue and we must work together to uphold our Constitution while at the same time ensuring that our communities are safe.
"We can and must act to make such tragedies less likely in the future
"Should any legislation concerning a reintroduction of the Assault Weapons Ban come before the Senate, I will keep your thoughts in mind.
"Thank you again for contacting me.
                         "Sherrod Brown
                         "United States Senator"
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Ohio EPA grant to help Northeast Ohio environmental education

The Lake County-based Western Reserve Resource Conservation and Development Council has collected a $50,000 state environmental grant.

With the money the Council will have the resources to continue producing, promoting and airing so-named “Conservation Crusader” video and live segments on WKYC-TV.

“‘Conservation Crusader’ are short, live as well as video presentations on various conservation topics being promoted by Northeast Ohio’s nine soil and water conservation districts,” said John Niedzialek, the Western Reserve Council’s coordinator.

“What makes this program so exciting is that we not only reach a new audience with the message of water quality but also a much larger audience.”

Such topics as the need for healthy quality protection, watershed needs, and composting/taking care of yard waste are all fuel for the Crusader program, said Niedzialek.

“We’ve been trying to get this program started for five years and last year we were able to kick it off with grants from the Kent Smith Foundation and the James C. Storer Foundation,” Niedzialek said.

“This is an excellent way to get additional grant funding to build on what these two groups started, for which we are very grateful.”

Niedzialek said the money will come from the Ohio Environmental Education Fund, administered by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

And the Western Reserve Council is one of nine Ohio communities and organizations to receive a total of $350,000 to support environmental education programs throughout the state, said Mike Settles, Ohio EPA spokesman.

“Our Environmental Education Fund is a great program that can do better things for the community,” Settles said. “Each grant recipient must apply a 10-percent match, too.”

Settles also says the program is funded through civil penalties collected from air and water pollution violators.

“Typically we award grants twice a year, and given that we regulate thousands of facilities throughout the state, some of whom violate the law must pay civil penalties,” Settles said. “This way we can put those monies to better use, making something good happen out of something that was bad.”

Western Reserve RC&D is a nine-county nonprofit organization sponsored by soil and water conservation districts and county commissioners.

The organization emphasizes environmental education through regional projects, such as the highly regarded 2008 Entrepreneurial Farming and Environmental Sustainability in Northeast Ohio project, also funded through the Ohio Environmental Education Fund.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Thursday, January 10, 2013

NRA- Biden meeting all for show with no go

The meeting between Vice President Joe Biden and the National Rifle Association  on Thursday regarding the Administration's desire to ramp up gun control was the classic example of the cynical phrase "Dog and Pony Show."

In a press release issued later Thursday the NRA  said as much. This is the text of the organization's take on the meeting:

Statement From the National Rifle Association of America Regarding Today's White House Task Force Meeting

Fairfax, Va. – The National Rifle Association of America is made up of over 4 million moms and dads, daughters and sons, who are involved in the national conversation about how to prevent a tragedy like Newtown from ever happening again.

We attended today's White House meeting to discuss how to keep our children safe and were prepared to have a meaningful conversation about school safety, mental health issues, the marketing of violence to our kids and the collapse of federal prosecutions of violent criminals.

We were disappointed with how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had to do with an agenda to attack the Second Amendment.

While claiming that no policy proposals would be “prejudged,” this Task Force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearms owners - honest, taxpaying, hardworking Americans.

It is unfortunate that this Administration continues to insist on pushing failed solutions to our nation's most pressing problems. We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen.

 Instead, we will now take our commitment and meaningful contributions to members of congress of both parties who are interested in having an honest conversation about what works - and what does not.

Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America's oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. Four million members strong, NRA continues to uphold the Second Amendment and advocates enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services. Be sure to follow the NRA on Facebook at and on Twitter @NRA.

Ohio Sen. Portman says he's four-square behind the Second Amendment

In an electronic exchange between Ohio junior U.S. Senator Rob Portman and myself, the legislator made it clear where he stands on the Second Amendment and on recent calls for additional - and what many firearms owners would say are draconian - restrictions on firearms and ammunition ownership.

This is Sen. Portman's electronic reply to my inquiry:

"Dear Jeffrey,
"Thank you for contacting me  about our Second Amendment rights.   It is good to hear from you.
"I am a gun owner who believes in the right to bear arms in defense of self, family and property. 

"During my 12 years serving in Congress, I received an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association for defending our Constitutional Rights.  I opposed the so-called "assault weapons ban" and opposed the Brady Bill.

"I supported repealing both the Clinton gun ban and the Washington, D.C. gun ban.

"I voted to protect the private information of gun owners; to protect state gun laws; and to protect firearm and ammunition manufacturers, dealers or importers from lawsuits and damages related to criminal misuse by a third party. 
As a life-long hunter, I also believe the rights and freedoms of hunters must be guarded and I developed an executive order that the president signed to enhance hunting and fishing opportunities at wildlife refuges and national preserves. 

"As your Senator, I will continue to protect our Constitutional freedoms and will be a strong advocate for preserving these rights and traditions for future generations.
"Thank you for taking the time to contact my office. 

"For more information, I encourage you to visit my website at 

"Please keep in touch."

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

No deer, you say? Forty-four hours? Really?

Forty-four hours.

Forty-four hours and four counties (Lake, Geauga, Ashtabula, and Guernsey).

Forty-four hours, four counties and three firearms deer-hunting seasons.

Forty-four hours, four counties, three firearms deer-hunting seasons and Zero deer seen.

No, that’s not a misprint, typo or misrepresentation.

During Ohio’s seven-day, general deer-hunting season, the state’s two-day, so-called “bonus” gun deer-hunting season, and the just-concluded muzzle-loading deer-hunting season, I sat patiently waiting with the expectation that at any moment a deer wearing headgear - or even one without - would enter my sight picture.

Hour after hour, season into the next season, that expectation never diminished or wavered. Not until, however, the muzzle-loading season passed over the wooded tree to the west.

Oh, there were puzzled furrows plowed in my forehead as the hours rolled by and the deer-sighting
clicker never advanced, not even to “1.”

Eventually the head-shaking really took hold.

I mean, no deer seen in Lake County? Well, maybe.

What about Geauga County? Perhaps you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Okay then explain no deer being seen in Ashtabula County where you spent the bulk of those lonely hours of watching and waiting? Yes, that one is a bit puzzling, to be sure.

And Guernsey County with a recorded tour of eight hours? Now that one has me stumped.

Of course the Ohio Division of Wildlife will point to the stats, how the deer kill during the first part of the archery season was up. And they’re crowing about the increase in the kill during the muzzle-loading season.

All well, good and proper like when it comes to the black figures splashed on white paper.

Yet all a body has to do is ask around, query some deer hunters, request their thoughts on whether they saw as many deer this seasons as they have in the recent past.

The most recent copy of Ohio Outdoor News and its issue question posed to several hunters demonstrates that something is amiss.

An anomaly, perhaps because of EHD hitting harder than anticipated in more parts of the state than expected?

Maybe, maybe not. But something is gnawing away at the heart of Ohio’s long-standing regard by hunters who have come to expect seeing enough deer on an outing to keep interest at least simmering.

In my case, at least, the pilot flame went out after 44 hours hunting in four counties during the state’s three firearms deer-hunting seasons and failing to see a single animal.

A zero. Good heavens; a zero, for crying out loud.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn