August 21, 2014

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Local Columnists

Watershed: Understanding what is and its purpose
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 8:38 PM

By Mark Holtsberry

Education specialist Paulding SWCD

The general population has heard of this term, or have they? This word seems to be the main topic of interest these days in Paulding County.

A watershed is all the land area that contributes runoff to a particular body of water. It is a catch basin that guides all the precipitation and runoff into a specific river system. A watershed is the geographic locus of a water-driven dynamic that affects all living and nonliving things within its boundaries.

Elnora brings the gift of a special mother moment
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 8:37 PM

By Jim Langham

A few days ago, when I got out of my car in the parking lot in the beloved Limberlost Loblolly where I find solitude nearly every day now, I heard a cry somewhat foreign to marsh life.

The howling of a cat was coming from beneath the canopy of flowers on Trail One. Suddenly, a tiger-striped rustic brown cat appeared, crossed the parking lot and came to me like I was a long-lost friend.

It was very obvious this cat was fond of humans. It immediately started to nuzzle its face against my leg and rub its body against my ankles. I was startled with many quick questions such as, “Who are you? Where did you come from? Why did you come to me in such a friendly manner?”

Being a responsible gardener
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 8:37 PM

By Kylee Baumle

Once upon a time, I grew a pretty violet-pink plant in my garden. It was given to me by a fellow gardener and I was happy to have it when I was building the repertoire of plants in my new garden.

When gardeners and gardens are young, it’s helpful when others share the abundance from their own plots. Buying all new plants can be expensive. Usually the passalong plants are those that reproduce well, and while most of them are beautiful and useful, sometimes it’s not a great idea to plant others.

That pretty pink plant that once grew in my garden is a great example. It was purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria). You may have it in your own garden, not even aware that it really shouldn’t be there.

Getting up close and personal in the garden
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 9:40 PM

By Kylee Baumle

With the gardening season in full swing, I’m not the only thing that gets a workout in the garden; my camera is right there with me. I’ve always enjoyed photography, and when I began gardening with gusto, a whole new world opened up to me with endless subject matter.

There weren’t just flowers to capture, but also birds, butterflies, and other insects. I’m often asked about my camera and while having a decent one helps, you don’t have to spend a fortune to be able to capture the beauty in your gardens.

I’m a huge fan of macro photography, especially fond of capturing the details of flower blooms. I visited our local botanical conservatory a few years ago when they had an orchid display, and I was blown away by the intricacies of the tiniest blooms – so tiny that you nearly needed to use a magnifying glass to really see the details.

Child’s passing leaves caregiving mother with a broken heart
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 9:39 PM

By Jim Langham

Several weeks ago I wrote a column about a special situation a few miles away in Decatur, Indiana. It involved a mother who purposely adopted a little girl with cancer in order to give tender love and care to her during her time of illness.

That was four years ago; Beth Ann Fawcett took little Ebony into her arms and cared for her as an “angel-mother” during the duration of her fight with cancer. During that time, Beth Ann lost her job and made major sacrifices on behalf of Ebony, who just celebrated her ninth birthday. But none of that meant anything compared to the heart full of love she poured out on her little girl.

On July 8, at 1:08 p.m., Beth Ann’s arms were emptied of her bundle of joy when her daughter and best friend passed in her presence in Decatur. Since then, it has not only been Beth Ann who has grieved the loss of Ebony, an entire community and surrounding area who knew this special bond has mourned the loss of Ebony and sought to bring comfort to a mother’s broken heart.

The word ‘caring’
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 9:37 PM

By Nancy Whitaker

Caring what others think of us is just one aspect of the word “CARING.” The Bible teaches us to love our neighbor as ourselves and to care about each other. Did you know the flocks of birds in the air care about each other?

The other morning when walking back from the post office, I saw two birds at the side of the road. One bird wasn’t moving and so I assumed it was deceased. The other little bird looked like it was tending to the dead one attempting to give it “beak to beak.” As I stood there and watched the one little bird took the dead one and began to carry it, moving it with his beak. He had the main street to cross with tractors and cars coming, but he made it safely to the other side. I was amazed to see how those animals cared about their own and how tenderly he moved and probably grieved over his unfortunate feathered friend.

Poison hemlock or wild carrot?
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 9:37 PM

By Mark Holtsberry

Education specialist Paulding SWCD

This invasive weed is a member of the carrot family, so it shares many characteristics with other weeds found in Ohio including native wild carrot, also called Queen Anne’s lace. The hemlock has a biennial (two year) life cycle.

Poison hemlock may be distinguished from wild carrot flowers by looking at the stem. Poison hemlock has purple spots or blotches an no hairs along the flower stem. Wild carrot has blotches and is usually covered with hairs. All growth stages of poison hemlock have bluish-green leaves that are fern like and wild carrot has more rounded that sharp pointed leaves. Poison hemlock is a highly visible plant reaching five to seven feet tall this time of year. The favored location is along streams, ditches and old barn lots although it can be found about anywhere.

Take the politics and politicians out of education
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 9:36 PM

By Brian Gerber

Superintendent, Western Buckeye ESC

Educators should drive educational policy, not politicians. Education in America has been under constant attack since politicians started to drive educational policy in this country. Every decision governing education is made with political agendas in the forefront. How many of these politicians are putting students above their own political advanced agendas. I bet the percentage is fairly high.

Palmer amaranth management tips
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 5:52 PM

By Mark Holtsberry

Education specialist Paulding SWCD

Palmer amaranth is one of the most dangerous weeds for Ohio agriculture. It is one of the fastest spreading weeds that is trying to get a foothold in the corn belt. It can spread quickly unless stopped in its tracks. Check out the following facts:

Palmer amaranth is an annual broad leaf and is related to other amaranth species like pigweed, waterhemp and redroot.

It grows faster than other pigweed species and can grow 2-3 inches per day. Some studies have reported it can reduce corn and soybean yields by 70-80 percent, if not controlled.

Summertime tomato talk
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 5:50 PM

By Kylee Baumle

Midsummer has arrived, and with it, the beginning of the harvest of true summer fruits and vegetables. These edibles love the hot weather and won’t bolt like those early bird fans of cool spring would.

If there’s one vegetable that nearly every gardener grows, it’s the tomato. That’s not to say that everyone loves tomatoes though. I know this will be shocking to many of you, but I’m not a fan of a ripe, juicy, fresh tomato from the garden.

I also know that my distaste for fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes is looked upon as a character flaw, but I have to tell you that I simply do not care. That, of course, means more fresh tomatoes for the rest of you!