April 21, 2014

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Should the county emergency management agency office duties be a separate office?
Local Columnists

Where did they go?
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 8:42 AM

By Mark Holtsberry

Education specialist

Paulding SWCD

As most of you know, birds are able to migrate south until the warmth of spring invites them back to their homes. Bats, which are flying mammals, also migrate; but once they reach their destination, typically the states just south of Ohio, they will hibernate in caves that their ancestors have occupied for generations.

Steps in snow represent full circle
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 8:41 AM

By Jim Langham

On one of the snowy days last week, I decided to soak in nature’s beauty with a walk in the beautiful Flat Rock Reserve located along Ohio 500 between Payne and Paulding. As has been the case in all of my trail walking recently, this experience became a time to listen and reflect.

As I stepped on to the trail, my heart was immediately captured by the beauty of the soft snow on “seed flowers” from the various aster plants, thistles and other winterized seeds waiting for the spring warmth. It is always amazing to me to realize that as brown as things may look, all plants are very much alive, protected, but living and ready for their spring emergence.

On this occasion, there was something intriguing, almost mystifying, about the footsteps left behind as I walked down the snow-covered trails. I looked behind myself several times with a spiritual realization that every step I took left another footprint in the freshly fallen snow.

My car has a story
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 8:40 AM


By Nancy Whitaker

Around the holidays, as people are out doing their shopping, there is a lot of traffic on the roads and highways. Sometimes, I know I get frustrated and say a few choice words, because either someone turns in front of me, or shines their bright lights in my face.

One evening when driving home from work, it was dark and there was quite a bit of traffic on the highway. There were fast moving cars, big semi trucks and slow moving swaying tractors and wagons.

I thought to myself, “Where is everyone going? What are their plans?” Then it came to me that inside every one of those vehicles, whether it is slow or fast, a truck, car, motorcycle or a tractor that they each have their own story to tell.

A chicken in every pot?
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 8:06 AM


By Nancy Whitaker

Have you ever thought what you would do with the money if you won the lottery, Publishers Clearing House or get some kind of windfall of money? Money has always been influential and plays an important part in our lives. It always has and always will.

How times have changed. Yes, money is still right at the top of the list of what we all want more of, however, the question arises, “Just how much money do we need?” I have to remember, too, that wants and needs are two separate things.

Birding through the eyes of a child
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 8:05 AM

By Mark Holtsberry

Education specialist

Paulding SWCD

You never know what will turn a young person on to nature and the out-of-doors. It is something that can’t be forced, only encouraged. Here are four simple suggestions for getting young people interested in birding.

Monarch butterfly progress report
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 8:04 AM

By Kylee Baumle

Earlier this year, I mentioned the plight of the monarch butterflies. I encouraged you to plant more milkweed in your gardens and to consider not cutting it down. Apparently, some of you took it to heart, as I had several people stop me when I was out and about and tell me they’d planted some. I also noticed several roadsides where milkweed is now dispersing its cottony seed. Mother Nature is doing her part, too.

Please don’t stop. The reports are coming in from the overwintering sites in Mexico, where most of the monarchs east of the Rockies have now arrived and the news is not good.

The numbers are lower than ever, dropping from an average of 350 million to 60 million. The colonies where they congregate normally take up a space of about 52 acres but they now only occupy a little less than three acres. THREE.

Fall gypsum may not boost spring sulfur
Wednesday, December 04, 2013 9:36 AM

By Mark Holtsberry

Education specialist

Paulding SWCD

Corn growers looking for an additional spring growing boost of sulfur from adding applied gypsum to their soil in fall shouldn’t expect to see any lasting sulfur in spring. While fall application of gypsum, which is calcium sulfate, can be utilized by a fall-planted crop, growers shouldn’t expect it to be available for future crops according to Ed Lentz, an Ohio State University Extension agronomist.

Thanksgiving brings homelike atmosphere in strange surroundings
Wednesday, December 04, 2013 9:33 AM

By Jim Langham

It might have been unfamiliar surroundings in a strange house with very few people I’ve met before, but within 15 minutes, Thanksgiving 2014 seemed like the old fashioned ones at our rural home in Indiana.

Oh, geographically, it was anything but that. It was actually in a townhouse apartment in the close neighborhood on Chicago’s north side, not far from the Swedish neighborhood of Andersonville and just a stone’s throw from Wrigley Field.

Poinsettias: It's all about the leaves
Wednesday, December 04, 2013 9:31 AM

By Kylee Baumle

You can’t hardly go anywhere these days without seeing poinsettias of all kinds, red, pink, white. Purple? Blue? Glittered? Those last three are just wrong, in my book. If you like them, fine, but I get a little twitchy when I see them.

I feel the same way about those blue orchids that have been sold for the last couple of years. There is no such thing as a blue orchid and if you buy one, you’re going to be disappointed with subsequent blooms, because I assure you, they won’t be blue. Those are white orchids that have been injected with a dye to make the blooms look blue and unless they’re injected again, the plant’s next blooms will be white, their natural color.

Strange and weird facts
Wednesday, December 04, 2013 9:29 AM



By Nancy Whitaker

Are you constantly searching for weird, random facts to make you chuckle? I admit that I do love to hear and read about strange and unusual people, places and things. So, certain topics intrigue and fascinate me.

For some reason the other day, a friend asked me if I knew that a turtle could breathe out of both ends? I thought to myself, “Ha! Ha! There is no way I am falling for that.” However, inquiring minds want to know, so, I took it upon myself to “Google” the topic; sure enough, turtles have that unique ability.