September 2, 2014

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Local Columnists

Bobcats, coyotes and bears, oh my!
Wednesday, February 05, 2014 9:31 AM

Mark Holtsberry

Education Specialist Paulding SWCD

Earlier this month, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife proposed to the Ohio Wildlife Council removing the bobcat from the state’s threatened species list. The feline predator, which can weigh up to 40 pounds, has slowly been returning to Ohio and other Midwestern states since the 1970s.

The bobcat is just one of several larger mammal species making fresh inroads into Ohio these days.

I Love You
Wednesday, February 05, 2014 9:30 AM


By Nancy Whitaker

I have a secret. I seem to just love everybody. That doesn’t mean I am “in love” with everyone, but I am very fortunate to have a lot of different loves in my life.

Do you remember your first love? Well, I do. I was only in kindergarten and I really liked this one little boy. At recess, we both ran around the playground and tried to catch each other. I do remember one day I ran faster than he did, caught him and planted a big kiss on his cheek. I think he cried.

My definition of love is that it’s a warm feeling based upon knowing and accepting someone. This relationship often involves mutual learning, caring and growth. Also, when you love someone you generally want them to be happy.

One of those times when the worst brings out the best
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 10:58 AM

By Jim Langham

This past Saturday morning, I was in a situation where sudden winds came when I was traveling just outside of Payne on Ohio 49. I was stunned, within seconds I was totally blinded. Cars were sliding all over the road; one car slid into a yard and just missed a tree in front of my eyes.

When I stopped to check out the situation, I discovered a man, a pregnant woman who was totally scared and a small child in the back seat. Thankfully, all was well, but the car was buried in the snow.

At 65 years of age, I didn’t know what to do as the blizzard raged relentlessly. I made a couple of calls to seek help. Thankfully, that dilemma didn’t last very long.

Young men in pickup trucks started pulling off the road to come to our assistance. Within minutes, there were six pickups along the road, including one with the rope necessary to pull the car out of the yard.

Winter at the middle of the earth
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 10:57 AM

By Kylee Baumle

As I write this, I’m in Ecuador, with my mother, visiting Karina, the exchange student we had in 1993-94. Some of you might remember her and what a delight she was to our family. She’s all grown up now, married, and expecting her first baby.

We’re here in this stunningly beautiful country for two weeks and so far we’ve gone bird watching in the cloud forest, looked into a volcanic crater, stood on the equator, and visited a flower farm, just to name a few things. And not to rub it in as we read about the crazy cold weather in Ohio, but the climate here is pretty close to ideal.

This is my third trip to Ecuador, having gone in 1994 and then again in 2003, when Karina was married. Each time has brought new adventures, though the purpose of each visit was to spend time with her, as she is a much loved member of our extended family.

The Prize Winners of Van Wert County
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 10:57 AM


By Nancy Whitaker

With all the nasty weather we have been having lately, it seems as if the stores are packed with shoppers buying bread, milk, toilet paper and whatever else they may see.

Last Saturday, we went shopping in a department store and of course the parking lot was full of cars and the aisles were full of people.

All of a sudden an announcement came over the store speaker which stated, “In two minutes we are going to give away some prizes. Come over to the flashing red light and get a nice gift. Hurry, hurry, hurry!”

Groundhog: a perfect name for them
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 10:54 AM

By Mark Holtsberry

Education specialist Paulding SWCD

Groundhogs, also known as wood chucks, usually are viewed as a nuisance animal for homeowners and farmers. The major problems that they cause are the large holes they dig and the damage that occurs from this animal. Their holes can be 8-12 inches in size. This animal creates two, sometimes three holes, with a large tunnel system that runs from one hole to another. They usually will have a large mound of dirt in front of the hole called a porch. Groundhogs use this to stand high to get a good view of their surroundings before making their move to venture around.

Baby, it's cold outside
Wednesday, January 22, 2014 9:27 AM

Baby, it’s cold outside

By Bill Sherry

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is a song with words and music by Frank Loesser and although it is popular during the Christmas season, it is a romantic winter song. According to Wikipedia, Loesser wrote the duet in 1944. He premiered the song with his wife, Lynn Garland, at their Navarro Hotel housewarming party toward the end of the evening, signifying to guests that it was nearly time to end the party and go home.

Yes, you are right it is cold outside, and undoubtedly for me, I find great comfort being safe and warm, sitting next to the fireplace, reading a good seed catalog and dreaming of spring between short naps. But, did you not know? Have you not heard? It’s winter and baby its cold outside! Maybe, we should take some time, settle into the long nights with loved ones and a cup of hot cocoa or some warm apple cider.

Bow Wow!
Wednesday, January 22, 2014 9:25 AM


By Nancy Whitaker

Most of the dogs we have owned have been smaller breeds, live inside and I guess I could honestly say, “Our dogs have been and are spoiled.” The latest addition to our family is a Shih-Tzu named Baylee.

Baylee, at age 8, has always been a pretty good little dog. He loves his toys, especially those that squeak, his warm furry bed and laying in my recliner whenever he can.

He is basically “daddy’s dog” and goes outside with him to take out trash and do outside chores. Baylee has his own little personality and even though he can bark ferociously at a cat in the yard, he is scared of any loud noise such as thunder.

Grasslands get squeezed
Wednesday, January 22, 2014 9:21 AM

By Mark Holtsberry

Education specialist Paulding SWCD

1.6 million acres, that is about the area of the state of Delaware. That’s how much land was removed this year from the federal CRP (Conservation Reserve Program). This program pays farmers to keep land covered with native grasses or even trees. Most of that land now will produce crops like corn or wheat. It’s a sign of the shifting economic tides that are transforming America’s farming landscape.

Time to start on this summer's garden!
Wednesday, January 22, 2014 9:18 AM


By Kylee Baumle

It’s hard to believe that it’s time once again to start thinking about sowing seeds for new plants for this year’s garden. Not those that you might start inside; it’s way too early for that. But what’s this, you say? Surely I don’t mean planting seeds outside, do I?

Indeed I do. I’ve talked about this before and if you took my advice then and tried it, then you know I’m not crazy. It’s called wintersowing and it couldn't be easier. There are a number of annuals, perennials, and even shrubs that can be successfully started outdoors in January and February right here in Northwest Ohio.

First, decide what you want to plant. For a comprehensive list of all the seeds that do well with wintersowing, visit the website: A good rule of thumb is that anything that is known to self-seed, or need scarification or stratification to germinate will work.