Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pro-gun Ohio group raises more than $12,000 to replace George Zimmerman's handgun

After raising more than $12,000 to replace a handgun for acquitted shooter George Zimmerman, the Buckeye Firearms Foundation found itself to be a cyber victim.

Zimmerman, of course, is the Florida block watch participant who shot and killed Tryvon Martin, a 17-year-old black during an altercation that generated a national debate on the so-called “stand your ground” laws adopted by Florida and other states. Among them being Ohio.

Charged with second-degree felony murder, Zimmerman was later acquitted by all-female jury. Some jurors that have spoken publicly said there was insufficient prosecutorial evidence to convict Zimmerman.

The verdict touched off an even larger groundswell of both outrage over the decision on one side and support for Zimmerman on the other.

Such support only heightened when the U.S. Justice Department seized all evidence in the case. This included Zimmerman's handgun, which by Florida law was to have been returned to him because of the acquittal.

That is when the Ohio-based Buckeye Firearms Foundation sought monetary donations to pay for a replacement.

In short order, says the Foundation, the non-profit, pro-Second Amendment organization raised nearly $13,000, coming from 774 individuals in 48 states as well as several countries.

Initially the Foundation anticipated it would raise only a couple thousand dollars to buy a replacement handgun, flashlight, holster and other related accessories.

Even so, during the fund-raising process a successful cyber attack on the Foundation's hosting company shut down its site as well as those of thousands of other domains, the Foundation says.

“We've been asked by local and federal authorities not to reveal specifics before they complete their investigation, however we can say that we quickly identified the culprit and his motive. The attacker wanted to stop our fundraiser for George Zimmerman,” said the Foundation on its web site, posted July 29.

As for the money, a check for $12,150.37 (after PayPal expenses) was sent via FedEx to Zimmerman's attorney for delivery to the acquitted man.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Lake Metroparks opens new unit to controlled archery deer hunt; application process starts Aug. 1

Moving into its third year, Lake Metroparks' controlled archery deer hunt program is expanding to include one additional property.

Besides allowing controlled archery hunting at its River Road Reservation in Madison Township the agency is also setting up an archery hunt for a portion of Indian Point Park in Leroy Township.
This parcel is bordered on the west by Vrooman Road, to the south by I-90 with a steep hillside delineating the remainder of the controlled section.

Here the parks system will make available four sections, each ranging in size from 16 to 20 acres.
While the parks system will provide electronic game feeders at each of the four locations – just as it has always done at River Road – selected hunters will be allowed to set up their own either commercially made tree ladder/climber or ground blind anywhere within that person's designated hunting unit.

The parks system will again at River Road provide commercially made two-person stands near maintained electronic feeders along with one-handicapped accessible ground blind.

Each location traditionally seen little human intrusion, both being historically closed to public access.

Lake County residents and Lake County business owners only are eligible to apply. The on-line and in-person lottery-only application process begins tomorrow, Aug. 1, says Tom Koritansky, Lake Metroparks' Natural Resources Manager.

“We're looking forward to a good third season, especially in light of this expanded hunting opportunity,” Koritansky said. “But the program is essentially open only to those who pay property taxes in Lake County.”

Tom Adair, the parks system's Park Services Director, notes as well that this new hunting zone is home to a small band of self-sustaining sika deer, the offshoot of a tribe of such animals that had escaped years ago from a nearby private sanctuary.

Hunters will be permitted to take a sika deer.

The application process (once again) begins Aug, 1 and continues through Aug 25, A drawing to determine those selected to hunt is scheduled for Aug, 27 with on-line notification set for Aug. 30.

As has been the case for those picked to hunt River Road in the past, selected hunters for each property must successfully pass an archery proficiency test, available at either Great Lakes Outdoor Supply in Madison Township or else Gander Mountain's Mentor store.

This test can be taken beginning Aug. 1 but must be completed no later than Sept. 13.

“We encourage hunters who are interested in participating to get proficiency test out of the way so you're ready to go if picked,” Adair said.

Likewise, all selected hunters will once again need to attend a mandatory pre-hunt rules and regulation meeting. The parks system will establish times, dates and locations for these required meetings.

Returning is last year's well-received rule change that allows a lottery applicant to name a designated partner. Such a set-up will mean that on days in which the primary selected hunter is unable to participate than the back-up partner can take over, though both persons are not allowed to hunt at the same time.
“We're really trying to promote this partner program because we want to see bodies in stands; people hunting,” Koritansky said.

Both Adair and Kortansky said a primary hunter can name a partner on an application, and vice-verse, increasing the odds of being selected.

That said, any one person can hunt just once during the duration of the program with all those persons being selected having a two-week predetermined slot.

Similarly a hunter may request a park preference, though no guarantee is promised, Adair says.

“Applicants may indicate their preference but any assignment is dependent upon the order in which the applicant's number is drawn in the lottery,” Adair says. "That's because the number of available slots – four for Indian Point and eight for River Road – are limited.”

And as in the past a selected hunter is permitted to “buddy up” with a non-hunting observer, Koritansky says.

An electronic set of rules and application package will be available beginning Aug. 1 by accessing Lake Metroparks' web site Go to the “Conservation/Wildlife Management” link.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Kahr Arms moves from gun-unfriendly New York; Beretta stays (for now) in gun-unfriendly Maryland

Not enthralled with the anti-firearms rhetoric coming from politicians in their home states, firearms companies are beginning to make their exit.

The latest to leave is Pearl River, New York-based Kahr Firearms Group.

This firm has set its sights instead on Blooming Grove Township, Pennylvania.

Reports Kahr will acquire 620 acres in order to build a new manufacturing plant along with a corporate office center.

While Kahr will continue to manufacture firearms at its Pillager, MN facility it also will do the same at its Worchster, MA plant.

And though New York has created an environment hostile to firearms ownership at least equal in toxicity is Massachusetts.

In announcing the company's move, Kahr's vice president of sales and marketing Frank Harris said in a statement posted on the company's web site:

“We are grateful for the warm welcome and the business opportunity extended by the Pike County (Pennsylvania) Industrial Park Development Group/Business Development Corporation to expand our company and relocate its headquarters office.

“The Pennsylvania group has demonstrated tremendous support of our operations, and Kahr looks to move forward with the project without delay. It's good for our business and also for other businesses in the area as we build a long-term mutually beneficial relationship with the community.

“We anticipate generating significant numbers of revenue and jobs for the local Northeastern Pennsylvania economy with the construction of facilities, expansion of manufacturing and need for local vendors.”

Kahr Arms is a major manufacture of quality semi-automatic pistols.

It is a frequent advertiser in firearms-related magazines and often uses attractive young women as models dressed in seemingly suggestive clothing and assuming poses that hint of World War II-era Hollywood starlets.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms' 2011 (the last year for which statistics are currently available) says that Worchster, MA-based Saeilo Manufacturing Industries built 55,060 semi-automatic handguns.

Saeilo's web site is directly linked with that of Kahr Arms.

Meanwhile, Beretta has turned down an offer to relocate to West Virginia, the company presumably doing so because of recent activity by that state's junior U.S. Senator Joe Manchin's efforts to enact more stringent gun control laws.

For the moment anyway Beretta will remain in decided firearms-unfriendly Maryland.
However,  the firm has said it wants to move because of Maryland's hostile legislative actions in the form of passing some of the nation's most intrusive gun control laws.

Based on statistics found within the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm's 2011 firearms manufacturing report, Beretta's Accokeek, MD plant built 101,757 semi-automatic pistols and 7,204 shotguns.

In a May 17 statement found on Beretta's web site the firm said:

Prior to introduction of this legislation the three Beretta Holding companies located in Maryland were experiencing growth in revenues and jobs and had begun expansion plans in factory and other operations.

The idea now of investing additional funds in Maryland and thus rewarding a Government that has insulted our customers and our products is offensive to us so we will take steps to evaluate such investments in other States.

At the same time, we will continue our current necessary operations within Maryland and we are thankful for and welcome the continued support of our employees as we do so.”

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Saturday, July 20, 2013

BREAKING: Night's storm releases 3 million gallons of sewage into Grand River, closes parks, damages trails

The last Paul Palaygi saw of the popular Pickle Bill's Restaurant party barge was of the structure being carried by heavy currents past the equally iconic Fairport Harbor West Breakwater Lighthouse on its way into Lake Erie.

Palaygi is the executive director of Lake Metroparks and this morning was on an inspection tour of the agency's properties following last night's summer storm event.

Yet the unintended breaking loose of the party barge was the less serious side to the overnight storm event. An over-whelmed waste-water system resulted in the release of three million gallons of untreated swage into the Grand River.
Heavy rains after midnight choked ditches and small feeder streams along with both the Chagrin and Grand rivers. Up to six inches of rain fell in a matter of little more than six hours over portions of Lake County.

That amount of rain falling in such a short span atop ground all ready well saturated from a near steady diet of showers this summer had no where else to go but into every watery course it could find.

In turn that raised by a considerable degree the levels of both the Chagrin and Grand rivers, the latter of which was where the party barge had been anchored approximately one mile upstream from Lake Erie.

And Palaygi was there to capture the moment with his cell phone's camera mode as the barge slipped out of the Grand River Harbor and into Lake Erie.

Yet while the sight and thought of Pickle Bill's floating party barge once again being torn from its Grand River roots may seem a bit humorous – and let's face it, it is – far more concerned were the boat owners, marinas and residents who live along the two Lake Erie tributaries.

After all, last night's deluge comes just one week shy of the historic July 27, 2006 Lake County storm event that ultimately cost $30 million in property damage, displaced 600 people and altered the course and banks of not only the two rivers but their feeder creeks as well.

Last night's heavy rains likewise overwhelmed waste water systems. Up to three million gallons of raw sewage bypassed the normal containment and treatment process and was diverted into the Grand River at the Painesville waste water treatment plant just upstream from North St. Clair Street.
“We were asked by the Lake County Health Department to post an advisory for Fairport Harbor beach because of the sewage release,” said Brian Fowler, the agency's chief of outdoors education.

Once daylight came this morning and the rains eased, property owners, boaters, marina operators, city, county and state road departments along with Lake Metroparks were better able to assess damage and disruption.

Which, as things are turning out, weren't nearly as severe as initial worries played on peoples' minds.

On the Chagrin River by late morning the water level at the Lake Shore Boulevard bridge in Eastlake had dropped by about 30 inches, said one boat owner who keeps his craft tied to the docks at East Bank Marina.
“I didn't lose anything and once the water dropped we were able to wash the mud off the docks and walkways,” the unidentified boater said as he continued to up following the river's rise and subsequent fall.

And boat owners along with marina operators on the Grand River were conducting similar reconnaissance and assessment missions.

So was Palaygi who notes the agency has temporarily closed several parks due to flooding. Among them are Mason's Landing in Perry Township, Beaty Landing in Painesville, Helen Hazen Wyman Park in Concord-Painesville Township, Indian Point Park-Lower Lot in Leroy Township (owing to flooding of Vrooman and Seeley roads), and the picnic pavilion area at Gully Brook Park in Willoughby-Willoughby Hills

Of more concern to the parks system is expected trail damage. Such destruction came from wash-outs, felled trees and debris that gathered itself along impacted trails, says the agency's director of operations, John Grantham.

“We have a lot of washed-out trails, and that's going to keep our crews busy for a while in repairing them,” Grantham said.

Also shut closed at the moment is Willoughby's Daniels Park as well as Headlands Beach State Park.

While the bulk of the state park is located in Painesville Townhip its entrance is found in Mentor.

And here Blackbrook Creek flows through a couple of culverts which are unable to handle the excess run-off. As a result, the low-lying park entrance and adjacent parking lots are under water.

Similarly Coast Guard Road that runs parallel to the park on the east side is flooded at a particularly low-lying area opposite the entrance to the Morton Salt mine. This flooding is prevent civilian access to the Coast Guard station though one of the unit's heavy-duty 4-wheel drive truck did plow its way through the inundated roadway, the water creeping up almost to the vehicle's grillwork.

“Well, you could always go out and get Pickle Bill's party barge,” a Coast Guard member said from the cab of the truck.

No thanks. I'll let Paul Palaygi take care of that mission. I had enough fun for the day, especially since National Weather Service radar is indicating the possibility of more rain arriving from the southwest.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, July 19, 2013

Ohio-based group seeks to buy a replacement handgun for George Zimmerman

Outraged that the U.S. Justice Department has ordered Florida to hand over the weapon own by George Zimmerman, the Buckeye Firearms Foundation is looking to buy a replacement handgun for the jury-acquitted man.
The order to seize and turn over Zimmerman's handgun was done at the behest of U.S. Attorney
General Eric Holder.
His order came following Zimmerman's second-degree murder trail in which the one-time community block watch volunteer was found not guilty earlier this week by six female jurors who were impaneled to hear the case.
Yet while Florida state law dictates that since Zimmerman was found not guilty the pistol he used in self-defense to shoot Trayvon Martin the U.S. Justice Department is currently investigating the incident for any possible federal civil rights violations.
Thus, Zimmerman's semi-automatic pistol – and all other evidence collected in the case – has been impounded by the federal government.
Outraged, Second Amendment Rights proponents say Zimmerman has every right to regain physical custody of his firearm.
However, since the federal government says “no” the next best thing is to offer Zimmerman a replacement via providing him with the funds necessary to legally acquire a second handgun.
Here is the test of what the Ohio-based Buckeye Firearms Foundation organization says on its most recent e-edition newsletter:

"Whatever you might think about the Zimmerman verdict, the fact remains that we are a nation of laws, not mob justice.

"George Zimmerman was tried in a court of law and found NOT GUILTY. And that entitles him to continue exercising all his rights, including his Second Amendment right to own a firearm.
"But now Eric Holder and the U.S. Justice department have stepped in to stop Zimmerman from taking possession of his property.

" 'Here's the story from the Daily Mail:
" 'The U.S. Department of Justice, overseen by Attorney General Eric Holder, has ordered the Sanford, Florida police department to keep possession of all the evidence from George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial - including the exonerated neighborhood watch volunteer's gun.
" 'Sanford police confirmed on Thursday that the DOJ asked the agency not to return any pieces of evidence to their owners. Zimmerman was expected to get his firearm back by month's end.
" 'The development is a sign that the criminal section of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division is seriously investigating Zimmerman to determine if federal civil rights charges should be filed.' "
"This is outrageous. Mr. Holder is this nation's chief law enforcement officer. It is his job to uphold the laws, to support and defend our system of justice.

"This move to prevent Mr. Zimmerman from claiming his property is an unacceptable abuse of power. And the threats of federal charges on civil rights grounds is little more than blatant pandering for political gain.

"Moreover, based on statements he and others have made recently, Holder hopes to use this as the first step toward renewing this administration's attack on gun rights. 

"To be fair to all concerned, we have remained silent on the Zimmerman trial. We allowed the evidence to unfold and the justice system to run its course.

"Now the jury has spoken and that should be the end of the matter.

"George Zimmerman has every right to get his property back.

"And if Eric Holder chooses to deny Mr. Zimmerman that right, Buckeye Firearms Foundation will remedy the matter by purchasing a NEW FIREARM for him, including a holster, flashlight, and any other gear he wants.

"This is about more than mere principle. Zimmerman and his family now face daily threats on their lives. More than ever, he has a right to defend himself against those who would seek to do him harm.

"Gun owners must stand together and refuse to allow an injustice like this to go unanswered.

"If we choose to sit idly by while the full force and weight of the federal government descends upon a free man, it will embolden others to take liberties with our rights.

"We know what some will say about this. We know we will be reviled for taking this stand. Our motives will be impugned and our words will be twisted. But that happens already.

"Those who work against our rights will always do this. It hasn't stopped us before and it won't stop us now.

"We have created the Zimmerman Second Amendment Fund. We encourage you to donate whatever you can afford, $100 ... $50 ... $25 ... even just $10.

"We will provide Mr. Zimmerman, who has no current source of income, with the funds he needs to replace his firearm, holster, and other gear.

"The rest will be set aside to fight similar injustices ... and they happen all the time.

"Buckeye Firearms Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and your donation is tax-deductible. Every penny will be used to fight for Second Amendment rights.

"We are all volunteers who give our time freely to fight for what we believe in.

"Forward this message to your friends and family.

"Don't let this already tragic situation turn into a travesty of justice."

Anyone interested in donating, contact the Buckeye Firearms Association and Foundation at

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn


Thursday, July 18, 2013

UPDATED THROUGHOUT: Expect mixed bag of conditions at Ohio's managed dove-hunting fields

It takes a lot of gumbo to bury a 17,125-pound, four-wheel-drive John Deere 7730 tractor.

Yet that's just what happened when the 9,021-acre Mosquito Creek Wildlife Area staff attempted to till the ground this spring.

As a result, prepping this area's popular dove-hunting fields was almost all but abandoned. Only a light salting of wheat planted last fall is maturing in spite of the seemingly constant onslaught of heavy rains.
In some extreme Northeast Ohio locales rains fell for 16 consecutive days between late June and early July.

In turn, prospective dove hunters won't find either much grain or hiding cover at Mosquito.

“We've had to pull out of the mud all of our tractors at one time or another,” said an exasperated Lou Orosz, the area's manager.

The situation is marginally better to the west at the 7,453-acre Grand River Wildlife Area. Here, wheat has emerged and which will provide some grain as dove food at two of the area's three designated dove-hunting fields.

“The fields off Stroup-Norton Road should be best, and we'll kill off the weeds and wheat there with an herbicide and then burn it just before the dove season starts,” said Ron Ferenchak, the area's manager. “You don't want to burn too early because the doves will eat all the grain before opening day.”

Elsewhere in Wildlife District Three (northeast Ohio) better dove-hunting conditions are expected at the justly popular 2,265-acre Highlandtown Wildlife Area.

And if this area's manager, Jeff Janosik, has anything to say then he and his two-person staff has created some of the finest dove-hunting fields anywhere in Ohio.

"The corn, the millet, the sunflowers; everything is excellent this year," Janosik says. "It's going to be a heck of a draw for the birds and the hunters."

Janosik says also that is terrific news since Highlandtown draws dove hunters from far and near, magnetizing interest from gunners living in Youngstown, Akron, and Cleveland.

"We even have hunters from as far away as Sandusky," Janosik says..

All that being said, one uncertainty still remains, That being, this year's dove season opener – September 1 – not only falls on a Sunday but on a holiday Sunday as well.

Consequently, with a holiday weekend start coupled with fewer successfully planted fields, more than a few Northeast Ohio dove hunters may find themselves boxed in more tightly than usual.

That's not so much the case elsewhere around the state, though. Largely, only a scattering of the Wildlife Division's 37 wildlife areas with one of more managed dove-hunting fields also have experienced crop-damaging heavy rains.

In Wildlife District One – Central Ohio – are found four wildlife areas that have managed dove-hunting fields.

District One wildlife biologist Donna Daniel says for the most part, two or three of the designated wildlife areas are showing good dove-attracting crop maturation.
That thumbs-up includes the manicured sites at the 8,662-acre Deer Creek Wildlife Area. This area arguably is one of the most popular locations in the state for dove hunters, says Daniel.

So attractive are Deer Creek's managed dove-hunting plots, in fact, that hunters are known to stake a claim the night before the season opener, sleeping on the ground until Zero Hour, says Daniel.

“It's only 45 minutes south of Columbus,” Daniel said of Deer Creek's near-urban setting. “We should be in pretty good shape in spite of all the rains and some flooding we've seen there.”

On the downside, however, are the managed plots at the 7,018-acre Delaware Wildlife Area.

“Delaware traditionally doesn't see a lot of doves or dove hunters,” she said. "And half of the fields have been flooded out."

A question mark, though, says Daniel, is the 5,722-acre Big Island Wildlife Area.

“That's a real tough place to farm,” Daniel says. “The sunflowers did not do well but the wheat is looking good."

Even so, says Daniel, hunters can't just look at how well the dove-attracting crops fared this growing season. No less important is ensuring that the designated sites have bare ground upon which doves can forage along with trees for roosting and water nearby for when they're thirsty, Daniel says.

Moving northwest into Wildlife District Two, this farming-rich section may wind up wearing the crown as the best location to hunt doves in Ohio this year.

John Windau, the district's media relations spokesman, says the region's five wildlife areas with managed dove-hunting fields are in “generally good shape.”

“In some cases they are the best-looking that some of the managers have ever seen,” Windau says.

Prime locations come this dove season opener include the 2,272-acre Resthaven Wildlife Area as well as the 3,200-acre Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area.

Which is a little bit of a surprise. The reason being northwest Ohio has experienced erratic weather patterns that sometimes poured out its wrath in the form of heavy rain showers over these two locations.

“There were issues with growing sunflowers at first when some of the fields became too wet so the crews replanted with buckwheat, and that did come up,” Windau said. “We also left the corn standing from last year, and we'll chop that and then burn it all along with the wheat that was planted.”

Tucked in the extreme northwest part of the state sits the 2,430-acre Lake La Su An Wildlife Area.

Here, says Windau, may exist some of the finest emerging grains found at any of the state's wildlife areas. Highlandtown, excepting perhaps.

“The corn, the wheat, the buckwheat and the millet are all doing well there,” Windau says.

In Wildlife District Four (southeast Ohio), the conditions dove hunters will see as a result of this rain-soaked growing year should be better than what they encountered during the 2012 drought-deprivation growing season.

“But not by much,” said District Four wildlife biologist Chris Smith.

At some of  District Four's nine wildlife areas with managed dove-hunting fields the Wildlife Division might even have to fine-tune the crops. This work could involve going back in, planting some fast-growing millet and hope it matures in time for at least a portion of the state's dove-hunting season, Smith says.

“Most of the area managers are confident about what they've planted, so while the crops won't be a bust they won't be ideal, either,” Smith said.

The district's two most popular wildlife areas with managed plots include the 12,000-acre Salt Fork Wildlife Area and the 19,050-acre Woodbury Wildlife Area, says Smith.

Normally Wildlife District Five (southwest Ohio) collects the most bravos from dove hunters.

Alas, there could be fewer of those accolades coming forth from there at the start of this dove-hunting season.

“We've had some of the same heavy rain issues seen up in northeast Ohio,” says Brett Beatty, District Four's wildlife management supervisor. “Fortunately down here we do have a larger margin for error in planting.”

Thus, while Orosz and Farenchak were forced to endure not only a cool spring but a wet one with snow falling as late as April 29, their southwest Ohio-located counterparts saw acceptable farming conditions stretched over a longer time frame.

“At our (1,174-acre) Rush Run Wildlife Area some of the planted sunflowers haven't done well and the millet's been just mediocre, but the wheat's been very good,” Beatty said.

Having issues, too, is the grain production at the 1,382-acre Fallsville Wildlife Area's managed dove-hunting fields, says Beatty.

“Especially in the low-lying areas,” he said.

Better news exists for the dove-hunting fields found at the district's 842-acre Spring Valley Wildlife Area, the 10,186-acre Caesar Creek Wildlife Area, and the 11,024-acre Paint Creek Wildlife Area.

The latter because of exceptional drainage that helps feed growing things but doesn't allow so much standing water that the emerging plants die, Beatty says.

“Most years we don't have an issue with too much water, except for (1,799-acre) Indian Creek, which is always bad there,” Beatty said.

Beatty said as well that the special dove-hunting lottery drawings for Fallsville, Spring Valley, the St. Marys Fish Hatchery, Rush Run, and Indian Creek are still a “go.”

And yet one uncertainty remains regardless at which point on the compass an Ohio dove hunter look. That being, this year's dove season opener – September 1 – not only falls on a Sunday but on a holiday Sunday as well.

Consequently, with a holiday weekend start coupled with fewer successfully planted fields, more than a few dove hunters may find themselves boxed in more tightly than usual.

Even so, says Daniel, hunters can do more than just throw up their hands in surrender because of possibly marginal grain production and elbow-to-elbow hunting traffic jams.

As much as anything, says Daniel, is ensuring that a chosen designated site has bare ground upon which doves can forage along with adjacent trees for roosting and water nearby for when the birds are thirsty, Daniel says.
Likewise, hunters are encouraged to visit the Wildlife Division's web site ( and then connect to the dove-hunting link where maps of each wildlife area can be downloaded.

Similarly, the dove-hunting link includes a portal to Google Earth where topographical photographic views of each wildlife area and associated dove fields and which are available for downloading as well.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, July 15, 2013

A good grump not wasted: Do TV outdoor show hosts ever smile?

Not much is happening today because it's too hot to exercise the Labs and it's too far to travel to the gun range just to go brass-picking (more on that subject some other time).

What's more the archery shop where I ordered a spare string for my now-no-longer-made Horton Vision Crossbow didn't come in as promised. And the shop's archery expert won't be in until Wednesday.

So I'm unhappy, and when I am unhappy I become, well, surly.

I just wished others wouldn't, however.

I'm talking about today's television outdoors hosts and the way their mugs appear in various outdoor magazine adverts, or advertisements.

Considering these guys and gals get paid to catch and kill things all over creation, enjoy the fawning attention of fans, and hunt plus fish with the latest in gear, they ain't got no right to look so sour-pussed.

In the most recent Peterson's Hunting magazine copy I have is an advert for the Sportsmans Channel corral of TV hunting hosts.

You think these grungy-looking, foul-tempered-appearing gentlemen had learned a thing or two from the days when their mothers took out the Instatmatic camera and shot a photo of their first day of school.

In fact, I'll do you one better.

Go visit the Sportsmans Channel's web page. You'll see a whole line-up of grumpy old men. Even Ron Spomer appears to be suffering from an infected wisdom tooth.

And that Brian Quaca, a.k.a., “Pigman,” scowls so serious-like that I swear he must quaff a pitcher of cider vinegar when he wakes up. And maybe even before he goes to bed.

Digging a little deeper this dark-cloud persona appears on the faces of a couple of the network's female hosts as well.

Geeze, are these hosts THAT unhappy with their lot in life where they must grimace with the look of having had to eat all their vegetables first before being photographed?

Now, not all of the hosts' promotional photos were sullied by frowns. Most it seems, but not all.

“Priefert's Backwoods Bloodline's” co-host Dace “Bossman” Henry is seen wearing a respectable smile; something the show's other co-host, Eddie “El Presidente” Priefert, could stand to use as an example.

Of course such thoroughly unnecessary stern dispositions aren't entirely new. Maybe it's the in genes.

I recall a few years back watching a well-known host of some well-known archery television outdoors show. The guy makes this pretty cool shot on a deer, a white-tail, if I recall correctly.

Only the moment of exuberance is wasted when the host turns to the camera and says through clutched teeth “Now that's what I'm talking about.”

It's a deer, for crying out loud; you didn't declare war. Any other (normal) hunter would have been doing cartwheels had he or she taken a book-class animal.

And I guess I could go on about how the vast riot of TV outdoors show hosts are letting themselves be photographed in less than flattering hygienic condition, too.

One supposes I could thus address how slimy, dirty, and unshaven (presumably just the male hosts) appear in the adverts; something that is a no-no when actually trying to hunt an olfactory-endowed white-tail, elk, moose, bear, or whatever.

Maybe, but I won't.

Seems I've gone and got my own peevishness out of my system. Nothing like a good grump to do that, too.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, July 12, 2013

UPDATED Part II, Sept. 6, 2013: TenPoint Crossbows buys Horton's assets; won't service the latter's equipment

It seems that many people are reading this updated version but have yet to visit my blog site for further details that appear in a subsequent follow-up story. I urge all readers of this blog posting to do so in order to better evaluate the subsequent additional information.

The follow-up story is called "UPDATED: TenPoint helps Horton crossbow owners as liquidation firms looks to sell off repair parts." This follow-up blog story was posted August 22 and includes material furnished by officials with TenPoint as well as the Akron, Ohio-based liquidation firm.

Thank you both your interest in this story and your comments. - Jeffrey L. Frischkorn.

A full circle of sorts has come about for Rick Bednar as the former Horton Crossbow executive who left that first to start up TenPoint Crossbow Technologies has returned to own both Akron-area companies.

Yet while untold number of Horton crossbows are in the hands of devoted archery deer hunters the devices will not be serviced by TenPoint.

That point was made clear by Bednar who noted as well that Horton's entire cache of employees were dismissed in Apri when Horton – for whatever reasons – could not sustain itself in a market that continues to experience growth.

“...TenPoint will not continue making or servicing any of Horton's current or past bow models,” Bednar is quoted as saying in a bevvy of crossbow/archery-related electronic chat rooms and news accounts.

The sale of Kent, Ohio-based Horton Crossbows to Bednar was effective July 1.

Bednar was one of Horton's original financial backers in 1985, rising to become the firm's Chief Operating Officer.

He left Horton in 1991 and helped create Hunter's Manufacturing in 1994, the firm eventually morphing into today's TenPoint Crossbow Technologies, headquartered in Mogadore, Ohio.

TenPoint builds a line of premium quality crossbows with prices to match.

Yet the firm recognized early on that it needed a quiver of more moderately priced crossbows. As a result, TenPoint developed its Wicked Ridge line of more price-point crossbows without also unduly sacrificing quality.

During the time Bednar's TenPoint was establishing itself as one of the industry's most innovative and progressive companies, Horton struggled to survive.

Bednar is quoted as saying that Horton's lean times could be blamed at least in many respects to a lost vision of customer service as well as out-sourcing crossbow component manufacturing to overseas companies.

And Horton went through no fewer than three incarnations, emerging lastly from bankruptcy when well-known hunting personality Gregg Ritz, his Wild Communications business along with the private equity firm TVG Partners assumed ownership of Horton in June, 2009.

Other archery industry officials wondered how the Adam of modern-day crossbow making could ever fall so flat, so fast when state after state approved the use of crossbows during their respective archery deer-hunting seasons.

This liberalization has seen – continues to see - huge and dynamic growth in the crossbow industry as sales soared with the ever-increasing chances to use such archery tackle.

All of this is now history.

Bednar says his acquisition of Horton's physical assets such as crossbow-making tooling and equipment will sometime in the near future construct a new line of crossbows bearing the Horton name.

Unfortunately for owners of current Horton crossbows (myself very much included) that means when something mechanical goes “bong” finding a replacement part or having the unit serviced/repaired will probably become all but impossible.

Then too any attempt at recouping a good trade-in for another crossbow of current manufacture by TenPoint, Wicked Ridge or any other crossbow manufacturer will likely result in a chuckle and a smirk from an archery shop dealer.

At least owners of a Horton crossbow can look to an after-market manufacturer of crossbow strings and cables, though someone in need of a replacement limb is likely out of luck.

October Mountain Products - - offers a wide range of replacement crossbow strings and cables not only for Horton Crossbow-brand products but for several other popular crossbow manufacturers as well. Among them being TenPoint, Wicked Ridge, Parker, Excalibur, and Barnett.
October Mountain Products' address is 1660 Steel Way Drive, Mt. Joy, Pa. 17552-9515, phone number is 800-366-4269.

Still, the bottom line ia: “The king is dead; long live the king.”
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ohio's new "Boater Freedom Act" has some pretty big loopholes

Perhaps as concerned about votes as much as he is about boaters' rights, Gov. John Kasich has christened a new law designed to prevent harassment on the high seas.

Or at least Lake Erie, the Ohio River and all the waters between these two popular recreational boating waterways.

As is his custom while attending the annual Fish Ohio Day, Kasich on Wednesday addressed an issue related to boating or fishing. In this case Kasich signed into law House Bill 29, more popularly called the “Boater Freedom Act.”

Now while being stopped repeatedly by waterways law enforcement officers is a royal pain in the neck, calling the measure the “Boater Freedom Act” is a bit of a stretch.

True, the past has seen a watery trail of overly eager officers hailing boats over so the long arm of the law can do spot-checks.

The goal of the officers was to see if the vessel had enough life jackets for everyone on board, that a functional fire extinguisher was present along with the required audio and visual alert apparatuses.

Some recreational boaters using Lake Erie have complained they've been stopped three or more times in the same day by different waterways authorities, all demanding a safety check.

And some licensed Lake Erie charter captains have likewise said they've been keel-hauled into random safety inspections while out trying to lead their clients into walleye or yellow perch.

Thus Kasich put his pen to the document that at least limits local and state law enforcement agencies (read the Ohio Division of Watercraft, county- and municipally run harbor and marine patrols) from conducting boat-safety inspections just for the sake of conducting a boat-safety inspections.

Instead, a waterways law enforcement authority better have a pretty good reason to do so, the new law says.

Of course those reasons have large enough loopholes that even the Titanic could sail easily enough through them.

If a watercraft or other waterways patrol officer believes he or she sees an open container of “joy on the water” so to speak, or believes another local or state waterways law is being broken, the operator requests an inspection (yeah, like that's going to happen), or the hail is part of an organized check point, then, yes, a safety inspection is allowed.

Maybe the best thing the new law does is protect charter skippers from being forced to stop in their pursuit of fish for paying customers.

If a charter boat displays the required Coast Guard licensing certificate then it cannot be stopped just in order put up with an almost certainly useless safety check.

After all, these vessels and their owner/operators all undergo a whole lot of serious federal scrutiny. So much so that the threat of violating a federal requirement could very well cost the charter skipper his – or her – license to operate.

To think such a vessel would have an out-of-date fire extinguisher or not enough approved life jackets is more than logic can accept.

However, before any boater thinks that smooth sailing is now assured the new law comes with an important caveat. That being, the federal government has its own set of rules.

Consequently, Ohio's new law does not apply to the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Boarder Patrol or any other federal organ that has law enforcement authority.

So while the bottom line is that some boaters will assuredly avoid being stopped for a boat safety check, there is still all the power and might of the federal government to deal with as well.

Oh, and don't forget, there's nothing in the law either to keep an Ohio Division of Wildlife officer from stopping a vessel in order to check for fishing licenses.

And if that officer “just happens” to find a waterways safety violation while checking everyone's fishing license, well then, that's just a bonus for doing a good job.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Lake Metroparks' care of two bobcat kittens paying off

Lake Metroparks care of two orphaned bobcat kittens as paying off as the pair of felines work on developing the skills they'll need to survive in the wild.

The agency was selected by the Ohio Division of Wildlife to attend to the bobcats, each animal coming to the parks system's Kevin P. Clinton Wildlife Center. The center is a component of Lake Metroparks' Penitentiary Glen Reservation in Kirtland.

Lake Metroparks was awarded the care of the first kitten in early May when it was found alongside a road in Muskingum County. A dead adult female bobcat was located nearby, almost certainly the kitten's mother.

The second orphaned bobcat was discovered about one week later, this time in Noble County, and by a person out mowing his lawn. The mother could not be located, prompting the Wildlife Division to seek the parks system's help with that animal as well.

Utilizing a local veterinarian with experience in caring for wildlife, the parks system determined the two kittens were healthy, suffering only from some minor malnutrition as well as parasitic issues.
Initially the bobcat kittens were receiving round-the-clock care including hand-feeding every couple of hours. The kittens are now on solid food.

Introduced to each other the fast-growing bobcats are doing what bobcat kittens do best, that being rambunctious bobcat kittens, says Tammy O'Neil, the Wildlife Center's manager.

“They're becoming very brave and curious, climbing and jumping on everything, and are starting to move and act very 'cat-like,' ” O'Neil says.

By keeping the bobcats sequestered and away from nearly all human contact the animals are beginning to become more defensive when a person does have to enter the cage, O'Neil said as well.

“They are hiding from us, growing and running away; all of which are good signs of healthy development and instinctive behavior,” O'Neil said.

O'Neil says the bobcats particularly enjoy eating venison, provided via a specially built “feeding chute that also helps to minimize human interaction.

One worry early on was that one of the bobcats appeared to have some serious vision problems. Such a situation could prove a game-changer in the intended release of the bobcats back into the wild.

However, the bobcat's vision shows signs of strengthening and improving, lessening the fears of Wildlife Center staff, says Lake Metroparks' executive director Paul Palagyi.

“They fight and play and when they sleep they often curl up together,” Palagyi said.

So interested in the welfare of the two bobcats that about 200 people have stopped by the Wildlife Center to inquire about their condition along with the agency fielding nearly four dozen telephone calls requesting the same status information.

To that end the Wildlife Center has set up a display in its lobby that provides updated information and photos on the bobcats.

And the fund-raising appeal from the Lake Parks Foundation for the care of the bobcats has thus far resulted in donations of $1,500. The hope is to raise $10,000 for the project.

Actually, make that considerably more, Palagyi says.

Palaygi said that a man walked into the Wildlife Center not too long ago, handing over a check for $5,000 to help defray the expected long-term care of the bobcats.

The donor said the money was in memory of his late sister who would have approved of Lake Metroparks' care for the now fast-growing bobcat kittens, Palaygi said.

For further information about making a contribution for the care of the bobcats, contact the agency at 440-709-6205.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Mentor readies controlled archery deer hunt program; Lake Metroparks to follow

With a little more than two months to go before the first arrows can legally fly, the city of Mentor is gearing up for its second-ever controlled archery deer hunt.

Prospective participants can stop by Mentor City Hall and visit the recreation department for the required packet of information and forms regarding the controlled hunt.

These packets also will become available via Internet PDf downloading in the near future, says Nicholas Mikash, the city's natural resources specialist.

Mikash says the program also has undergone some tweaking that will aid hunters in helping to reduce the city's substantial deer herd.

Meanwhile, Lake Metroparks is currently fine-tuning its own controlled archery deer hunt. The agency's three park board members will be fully briefed on the program as presented by the executive director, no later than at their August park board meeting.

As for Mentor, this is the second year for the city's controlled archery deer-hunting program, which has been praised by many participants for its thoroughness and fairness.

In all, permitted hunters killed 131 deer in Mentor during last year's program.

And city sharpshooters shot another 210 or so more deer in a culling operation where allowing archery hunting was not practical such as some parks.

For this year, permitted hunters will have the opportunity to hunt more than just one pre-approved parcel that meets the program's criteria, Mikash says.

Too, City Council will likely take up some other regulatory changes that, if approved, would also prove beneficial to permitted hunters, Mikash says.

Requirements established last year impacted who, how and where a permitted hunter could establish himself – or herself.

This year's requirements will largely mirror those followed last year as well.

Among the stipulations created last year was that all prospective hunters had to first successfully pass a proficiency test, given at one of several area outdoors supply stores which maintain an archery tackle shooting  range.

Prospective hunters had up to three attempts in order to qualify, using the archery equipment the participant planned to use during the hunt.

Successful applicants were likewise required to notify the city within 24 hours of any animal killed, though police inspection of the deer was not required. At least one other Lake County community does require visual inspection of a killed deer by a police officer.

Other rules included that each longbow, compound bow, or crossbow arrow had to have the hunter's permit number written on it with indelible ink.

In order to participate a hunter needed a minimum of five acres made up of no more than three contiguous parcels.

Also, hunting on Sunday was prohibited, hunters had to position themselves on an elevated stand at least eight from the ground, were required to request a police officer to assist should an animal run off the approved hunting site, which itself needed inspection prior to being used, hunters had to be a minimum of 18 years old, and the first deer taken had to be an antlerless animal.

The hunts were open to both Mentor residents and non-residents.
For more information regarding Mentor's controlled archery deer hunt, contact Mikash at 440-974-5717 or visit the city's web site at

This year's Ohio statewide archery deer-hunting season will run Sept. 28 through Feb. 4, 2014.
Hunting hours are one-half hour before Sunrise until one-half hour after sunset.

Several significant changes were made by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Wildlife related to the various up-coming deer-hunting seasons. Among them is the abandonment of the Urban Deer Hunting zones which saw very liberal bag limits and which had included all of Lake County in one such enclave.

In its place, hunters may kill up to four deer anywhere in Lake County but only one of which can be an antlered animal.

As for permit requirements those too have undergone revision. For the Wildlife Division's Four-County Deer Zone – which enfolds all of Lake County – a hunter can use up to three either-sex permits but just one antlerless-only tag and which is not valid after Dec. 1.

There has been some discussion within the Wildlife Division of liberalizing regulations in special cases like that of Mentor, but as of now no such easing of restrictions has officially surfaced.

For further details on this year's up-coming hunting seasons, visit the Wildlife Division's web site at

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, July 8, 2013

Nanny State rules go beyond firearms, ammo restrictions

If paranoia rages through the collective minds of local and state legislative bodies when it comes to firearms, guns aren't the only things that gets lawmakers swooning.

Of course these officials are no less thumping their chests in every effort possible to reign in sales of ammunition; and it doesn't matter if that fodder is calibrated for firearms associated with AR-platform rifles or semi-automatic pistols, either.

Even you garden-variety shotshells intended for breaking clay targets or bagging mourning doves and cottontail rabbits installs fear in the all ready-wobbling knees of politicians who reflexively knock them together in nervous fits of terror.

So if you think hunting household appliances such as hunting knives, bear pepper spray and even hearing enhancers/sound suppressing ear buds are tame stuff beyond the scope of legislative fiat, well, it ain't so, brother.

Take note, please, of the latest 108-page copy of the Sportsman's Guide, which proudly boasts of having “THE LARGEST SELECTION OF HUNTING SUPPLIES at DISCOUNT PRICES!” Every word but “at” being laid out in bold, screaming letters.

I like the Guide's catalogs and have donated portions of my paycheck (now Social Security checks) in buying goods found within their pages.

Toward the middle of the latest catalog's new hunting sale issue on page 54 is a list of 56 different ordering taboos and a couple of special shipping requirements.

You can pretty much guess that places like California, New York and New York City, Chicago, Delaware, and Massachusetts would have in place some pretty nasty restrictions on ordering ammo, and muzzle-loading rifles.

Yet those states have pitched a legislative fit on other hunting related articles as well.

I offer up as examples the various forms of hunting-skinning knives and game saws found on pages 38 and 39.

Yep, right there with the “Kissing Crane Burnt Bone Fixed Blade Rustic and traditional” hunting knife that costs $35.99 ($39.99 for non-Sportsman Guide members) are five semitrailer icons. The explanation for these icons is found on page 54 and inform potential buyers whether ordering a particular item is legal in their respective jurisdiction.
Among the hometowns where a hunter lives but can't order this so-very-obvious hunting knife are four California counties, anywhere in Colorado, as well as Florida's Dade-Miami and Sarasota counties.

It's a little better for Browning's Semi Skinner Knife that is found on page 41 and costing $29.69 (or $32.99 for non-members.)

Testy, too, are the prohibitions on ordering any one of the several very popular Outdoor Edge game-processing tools.

Why legislators in Colorado, Connecticut and Tennessee believe an Outdoors Edge “Wild-Pak Game Processing Kit” with their plastic blaze orange handles are serious criminal tools defies logic.

Maybe the legislators think these tools are some sort of "assault knives" or other such nonsense.

In any event, if you're a Canadian don't even think about ordering any crossbow or longbow arrows or broadheads from Sportsman's Guide much less the actual archery implements themselves.

Maybe a case could be made against allowing Chicago residents being permitted to order a can of “UDAI Pepper Power Bear Deterrent” given how their beloved football team collapsed at the end of last season but why Dennison County, Iowa?

We'll travel this very strange legislative no-no road a little further.

In New York City a gun-owning resident there (and I suspect there are some legal gun owners in the Big Apple but for the life of me I don't know why) you can't order the $26.99 ($29.99 for non-members) Bushnell Laser Boresighter.

And once again we go back to Canada where Sportsman's Guide won't ship from its stock a “Self-Illuminating Meprolight” fiber-optic sighting device.

For that matter a Canadian can't even order any of the four Pentex “Gameseeker 30” rifle scopes, which do nothing but sit there atop a hunting rifle. Best as I can determine the only sin these rifle scopes have is that they include mil-dot or similar range estimating reticles.

And Nanny State – otherwise known as California – prohibits the shipping of any Walker Game Ear's “Ultra Ear” enhancement/noise dampening listening aid to any resident foolish enough to remain a resident in that state. For the really decent rock-bottom price of $35.99 for two (or $39.99 for non-members), too.

My best guess is that California believes its citizens are incapable of making rational decisions on matters affecting hearing enhancement and suppression. Thus, such addle-brained people must therefore first visit an expensive audiologist and then fork over more big bucks for a genuine government-approved hearing aid.

I could go on but what's the point?

We all know that legislators too often become uppity in their role as gate-keepers to good governance, getting carried away with bugaboos both real and imagined.

The thing is, sportsmen of all stripes need to be diligent as to what their elected officials are up to. And that includes proposals impacting not only firearms and ammunition but also hunting knives, arrows, rifle scopes and one would assume, bear repellent spray in a can.

At least I didn't see any restrictions on at least one item found within the Sportsman's Guide latest catalog.

You still can order a “Handy Port-A-John Traveling Urinal!” for $7.19 (or $7.99 for non-members) without first securing permission from a local, state or federal agency.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, July 5, 2013

Battling wildfire a hazardous occupation for past 100 years

The tragic death of the 19 Arizona wildfire specialists on Sunday underscores the oft-time dangers and difficulties their profession encounters.

Even Ohio wildfire/forest fire fighters have died in efforts to subdue what some Plains Indian tribes called “the Red Buffalo.”

In fact, statistics provided by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and compiled by the federal government, shows that from at least 1910, some 1,043 volunteer and professional firefighters have died battling wildfire/forest fire blazes.
This figures also does not include the 19 persons killed Sunday battling the Yarnell, Arizona wildfire.

However, the 1,043 figures does include seven such wildfire-related fatalities in Ohio. Among this second figure were two separate deaths occurring in 2010; both representing the latest such incidents in the state.

Far and away the state experiencing the highest number of firefighter deaths related to battling wildfire/forest fires is California. In that state since 1928 a total of 327 fatalities involving people fighting wild fires has been documented.

This figure includes 33 persons killed in one 1933 incident, the documentation notes.

The greatest number of firefighters to die while handling a wildfire was the 78 persons killed in Cor d' Alene, Idaho in 1910.

Tragically the 19 deaths on Sunday represented only the ninth time since statistics have been kept and are available when fatalities numbered 10 or more in a single wildfire/forest fire incident.

On Sunday, 19 members of the Arizona-based 20-member Granite Mountain Hotshots were killed as they battled a wildfire in Yarnell, Ariz. The blaze was sparked by lightening and the crew was caught when the fire rapidly changed direction.

An initial on-site investigation revealed that while some of the 19 members managed to deploy their fire-resistant shelters – described as a last-ditch life-saving tool – the remains of other members were found outside of their specially fabricated safety bags.

Such a scenario has led investigators to speculate on how quickly the fire overcame and killed the crew.

Only Granite Mountain Hotshot member Brendan McDonough, 21, survived, and this owing to the fact he was assigned the job of lookout and communicator.

Ohio Division of Forestry forester Aaron Kloss annually performs drills with these fire shelters, practicing to deploy them and get sealed up as quickly as possible, saying the devices do work.

The 10-year-Forestry Division specialist also says the one-time-use-only shelters work best with radiant-type heat, reflecting up to 90 percent of this form of heat.

However, the shelters are much less effective against direct heat: Flame and hot gases, Kloss says.

“The shelters are engineered and made to provide as much protection as possible,” Kloss says.

That such a tragedy could happen reverberates throughout the forestry community and those persons designated to fight blazes.

Which helps explain why Ohio's forestry division has since the 1980s sent crews and equipment out West on two-week rotational shifts to battle wildfire and forest fires.

Kloss himself has gone out on fire-fighting missions in all but one of the 10 years he's been with the Forestry division along with each of the three years he worked for the U.S. Forest Service.

Presently Ohio's forestry division has one employee assisting wildfire-fighting iniatives in Colorado in a logistical capacity.

“At this time our thoughts are with the families and friends of the 19 brave firefighters who lost their lives battling the Arizona wildfire,” said Natural Resources Department spokesman Matt Eiselstein on behalf of the entire agency. “This tragedy will hopefully serve as a reminder to everyone of the dangers these brave men and women face protecting all of us.”

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Lots of crazy talk on latest gun control front

On this special day when America celebrates the 237th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence a key point is often lost, ignored, forgotten or not even known.

That being, of course, that independence was solidified only with the conclusion of the American Revolutionary War in 1783, some seven bloody years and 25,000 patriot souls later.

And, by the way, at the-then astronomical cost of $151 million to the fledgling federal government and the 13 colonial governments. Which, by the way a second time, mostly came in the form of loans from European states which viewed any enemy of their enemy as a friend.

Okay, we got those important details out of the way.

Now comes the second part that really establishes the bulk of this piece.

Surely many (maybe, most) of the patriots were riflemen, likely possessing their own flintlocks originally intended to “tame the wilderness” and fend “off the savages.”

So important were the colonial assemblies that were then called militias they were eventually codified into federal law and the ownership of weapons by individuals became a Bill of Rights' plank.

Of course the meaning of a militia, what constitutes “well regulated” and what arms a person can and cannot own as well as a myriad of other related and sometimes arcane issues is more hotly debated today than it was when the country was still taking shape.

In the process we've pitted once friends against each other, egos standing in the way along with allowing such nebulous statements as “common sense” and “reasonable” gun laws to stumble their way onto the debate platform.

It's sad but true. And as a proud member of the National Rifle Association I can say that much of what it says (make that VERY much of what it says) I agree with. So does my wife, Bev, who has been an NRA member even longer than have I.

That being said I now am going to crawl my way out of the foxhole and into no-man's land.

I view with a disappointing chuckle the NRA's rant against West Virginia's junior U.S. Senator Joe Manchin.

Manchin – along with moderate-conservative Pennsylvania Republican U.S. Senator Pat Toomey – cabled together what many called a bipartisan proposal regarding a variety of firearms-related rules. The chief of these being enhanced background checks via the Internet and at gun shows.

Look, I've read the proposal, and I'm here to say it really ain't all that bad.

In fact, it solidifies some excellent elements in favor of gun owners.

For starters the measure would allow those of us with concealed carry permits to buy a firearm without going through the hassle of filling out the BATF long-form required when purchasing a weapon from a licensed dealer.

Too, if I were to sell a firearm to an individual after that person goes through the enhanced background check I am in the clear if that weapon is later used in a crime. That's the same exemption now enjoyed by firearms dealers.

I also can sell or give away to my daughter, son-in-law, grandchildren, wife, brothers, and friends any of my firearms without jumping through the enhanced background check hoops.

But to listen to the NRA you'd think Sen. Manchin has gone over to the darkside.

The NRA has cut an advert in which it attempts to dump Manchin into the same anti-gun sinkhole as President Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

That's going too far. Or maybe not, as the tide of the gun control issue continues to ebb and flow until saying where the shore meets the water is blurred.

And if the NRA is wrong in attacking Manchin (and it is, at least at the moment) than the good senator from the great state of West Virginia has some 'splaining of his own to do.

You see Manchin has – and I am still totally at a lost to explain or justify why – agreed to allow Bloomberg to host a fund-raiser for the senator, who isn't even up for reelection for another five years.

This fund-raiser is set for 6:30-8 p.m., July 22 at the mayor's presumably plush and heavily guarded New York City home. There are three levels of donations: $1,000, $2,500, and $5,000, writes BuzzFeed Politics in a July 2 on-line story.

If you think this was all done behind Manchin's back please note the fund-raising reception includes the disclaimer “Paid for and authorized by the Manchin for West Virginia.”

Huh? Did I get this all correct?

Yep, and so what we have are two sides – let's properly call them Dumb and Dumber – in a slug-fest that certainly does neither side justice and which never would have remotely appeared on the radar less than one year ago.

I guess I could stop here but I pray stick with me a while longer, please.

Manchin is not the only one who – and I really do believe he does – says he or she supports the Second Amendment but seeks some legal methodologies to help ensure that firearms are kept out of the wrong hands.

That leads us to former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords and her husband, retired Navy pilot, Iraq War veteran and astronaut Mark Kelly.

Without boring you regarding the details following an attempted assassination on her life that left her seriously wounded, Giffords has taken up the cause of what she and her husband consider to be reasonable, fair and effective gun control laws.

They've even formed a 501(c)(3) charitable group called “Americans for Responsible Solutions.”

The couple is now on its self-described seven-day “Rights and Responsibilities Tour,” with a stop today (July 4) in Cincinnati.

A look at ARS's web site details the group's “solutions,” among them being an enhanced background check system, a ban on high-capacity magazines, restrictions on the sale and ownership of “assault weapons” (their words, not mine), tougher firearms trafficking laws, and increasing mental health awareness so that such diagnosed persons can be helped before they can “commit heinous crimes.”

Now, after the long discourse, I come to the heart of the matter.

My rub – the rub – is exactly how far do Manchin, Giffords, Kelly, Toomey, et. al. intend to travel down the firearms restriction/control/responsibility road?

In short, when is enough, well, enough?

In saying they want a ban on high-capacity magazines do Giffords and Kelly stop at the number 17, 15, 12, 10, or 8?

In saying they want restrictions on “modern sporting rifles” (my words, not theirs) does this imply a total ban so that National Rifle and Pistil Matches competitors become law-breakers, or a homeowner who believes such a weapon is a good, front-line tool of self-defense becomes persona non grata?

I also wonder if these are Ms. Gifford's and Mr. Kelly's only objectives.

That raises the possible specter of whether at some point their organization will also support other often-talked-about firearms control issues. Among them being micro-stamping, licensing of owners, registration of firearms, or background checks on ammunition buyers.

We don't know the answer to any of these questions because the Giffords and Kellys of the firearms control movement have never, ever said where they intend to draw the line in the sand.

And that, most assuredly, hurts their movement.

If they are unable or are unwilling to spell out in plain English just how far they will go than gun owners have the right to stop them at the gate until they are prepared to give an account of all their intentions.

As for the Honorable Joe Manchin; Sir, your enhanced background check does fall within my and my wife's prevue of common sense; but by what strength of West Virginia moonshine were you and your campaign aides drinking when you all decided to climb into the political bed with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg?

By doing so you have only eroded gun-owners' faith in your stated support of the Second Amendment.

As for MY NRA: Please stop acting like the Titan god Cronus by eating your young. It's embarrassing and unsavory.

Enough said for tonight. Now back to my latest copy of “Guns and Ammo” magazine.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

No relief in sight for declines in Great Lakes water levels

What goes up must come down and for Lake Erie there hasn't been much of that from its upstream, larger siblings.

After a lengthy period of climatic dryness and warmth, the Great Lakes are all suffering from low water levels, in some cases, historical low levels, government statistics demonstrate.

Covering 100,000 square miles the Great Lakes combined are easily the world's largest fresh-water reserve, a system long coveted by water-thirsty states to the south and west.

Thing is, the Great Lakes' low water levels are hampering everything from commercial shipping to recreational boat launching to sport fishing.

Even the Leviathan of the system – Lake Superior – has seen its water level drop below its long-term average for the past 12 months.

And in December of last year lakes Huron and Michigan saw their collective water level plummet to an all-time low. This water level drop also was the 14th consecutive year in which the lakes Michigan and Huron basin experienced below average levels.

While lakes Michigan and Huron are independent water bodies they are twins in respect to the fact their elevations are identical and are co-joined at the hip at Mackinac, Mich.

Associated problems for all of the Great Lakes has not just been a long-term lack of snow that produces water-recharging run-off but also longer stretches in which the lakes are exposed to evaporation due to a general shortening of winter-time freezing and the resulting ice cover, water experts say.

What's even more alarming is that evaporation rates are climbing while precipitation rates generally are not, says scientists, including those with AccuWeather, the world's largest private weather-forecasting company and others.

“The water loss due to evaporation was a huge factor in the declining water levels of 2012,” said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in its Great Lakes Update for 2012.

This evaporation rate cannot be dismissed, either, reflects the Corps report.

Individual markers for each of the Great Lakes demonstrate a slow but steady rate of evaporation for each of the past five decades with the projection for the current decade indicating not only continued evaporation losses but potentially some acceleration, notably so for lakes Superior and Erie.

And the comprehensive data collected and maintained by the Corps is reflecting continued low water conditions for at least four of the five Great Lakes over the course of 2013.

This, in spite of the fact that in early spring the Superior and Michigan-Huron basins each experienced good water recharge.

That being said, the news remains less than encouraging.

Lake Superior continues its 14-year stretch of below (long-term average) water levels, the longest period of below average levels in its recorded history dating back to 1918.

Precipitation on the Lake Superior basin was well above average in May at 158 percent; however, precipitation has been below average over the past 12 months,” says the Corps' latest Great Lakes Water Level Summary.

Only a glimmer of good news is to report for Lake Superior this year as water levels will be as much as nine inches above where they were last year at the same, though still up to seven inches below their long-term averages.

The situation is much, much worse for the combined lakes Michigan-Huron basin, however.

For this massive natural bathtub the immediate water levels will run 17 to 20 inches below its long-term average, says the Corps in it latest Great Lakes Water Level Summary.

And that spells problems for its down-stream dependents, lakes St. Clair and Erie.

Over the next six months Lake St. Clair will remain nine to 11 inches below its long-term average, Lake Erie will be stuck at six to eight inches below its long-term average.

Only Lake Ontario may be spared in the six-month period where the Corps' best guess is that the water level may range from two inches below to five inches above its long-term average.

Lake Ontario also may see its level rise 15 inches above where it was last year at the same time through at least November.

However, the Corps notes, Lake Ontario's basin has been receiving less than average amounts of precipitation.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Data on Monday's offshore Fairport Harbor earthquake gets tweaked

Tweaking the data on Monday's small earthquake off Fairport Harbor Village is placing the event a tad closer to the shoreline but at the same relative depth as first determined.

The 3.2-magnitude temblor occurred at 3:48 a.m. with its epicenter located 3 kilometers – or 1.86 miles – due north of the village at a depth of 5 kilometers, or slightly more than 3 miles, says state geologist Mike Hansen.

Hansen is in charge of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Geological Survey's Ohio Seismic Network.

This network consists of 29 automated seismic detection units maintained by a corps of volunteers.
Area installations include units at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, the Geauga Park District's Observatory Park in Montville Township, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in Cleveland, and the Ashtabula County Emergency Management Agency in Jefferson Village.

Hansen said the U.S. Geological Survey took note of 18 felt reports from Northeast Ohio residents who said they were aware of the incident.

That is a rather large number given the early morning hour of the event, Hansen said also.

“As earthquakes go it was a pretty small event,” Hansen said. “And it's been pretty quiet up there, too.”

Which has not always been the case, however.

A look at the Geological Survey Division's earthquake data demonstrates the region underneath Lake Erie and offshore from Cleveland to Conneaut Harbor has encountered a goodly number of similar-size minor tremors in recent years.

From 2002 to the present this just-described region has experienced 42 or 43 minor earthquakes, the bulk of them close to Monday's event.

Nor was Monday's earthquake the only one recorded from this area within the past few months.

A 2.7-magnitude earthquake was detected on March 8 from very near Monday's earthquake.

Yet scientists are unsure why this zone has experienced so much seismic activity over the past decade or so, says Hansen.

“That's one of the mysteries we'd like to see answered,” Hansen says. “There are obviously some fault lines out there.”

Of course, Hansen also says, a good part of the challenge is that the events are happening offshore and underneath Lake Erie. Such a remote and challenging location makes it difficult to conduct good research the way scientists can when dealing with a land-based event.

Hansen does offer assurances that all of the events happened well below the active rock salt mining operations on-going underneath the lake.

In no way did this mining cause the events anymore than the salt dome is in danger of being compromised, Hansen says.

Also, these underneath Lake Erie earthquakes excludes those that have occurred inland in Northeast Ohio. Among them was the 5.0-magnitude (4.96-magnitude in actuality) that was keenly felt in many locations on Jan. 31, 1986 and resulted in two minor injuries.

Its epicenter was on the Leroy Township-Montville Township line near Rt. 86. This was the state's third strongest-ever earthquake.

A total of 13 aftershocks were detected following the Jan. 31 event as well.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn