Week of January 19 , 2004

National

Regional

General

2nd Amendment issues

Illinois

Indiana

Michigan

Minnesota

Pennsylvania

Ontario

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National

IRS move threatens Second Amendment Newsletters, E-mail Alerts
Revenue Rule 2004-6 not limited to broadcast ads or 60 day limits. 

The ink is barely dry on the Supreme Court's devastating decision in McConnell v. FEC -- the so-called campaign finance case (McCain-Feingold Bill) that Gun Owners of America (GOA) was involved in.  That decision severely restricted broadcast communications, thus making it more difficult for GOA, NRA and others to hold legislators accountable on Second Amendment issues.

Now, the IRS is leaping forward to expand the Court's ruling to include newsletters, e-mail alerts, and other Second Amendment communications.

Put out for comment on December 23, 2003 -- when, presumably, no one would notice -- proposed IRS Revenue Ruling 2004-6 creates a broad new set of ambiguous standards which groups must follow in order to avoid losing all or part of their tax-exempt status. Under the proposed Revenue Ruling, the IRS would create a vague "balancing test" to determine whether such communications would be "permitted" by the government.

If the communication occurred close to an election, mentioned an officeholder who was running for reelection, and was targeted to put pressure on congressmen through constituents in each representative's district, all of these factors would push toward outlawing the communication.  Although the McCain-Feingold Incumbent Protection law was repressive enough, the proposed Revenue Ruling would go far beyond this anti-gun statute:

 

Restrictions included in Rule 2004-6:
  ► Unlike McCain-Feingold, the proposed Revenue Ruling would not be restricted to broadcast ads.  Rather, it would apply to newspaper ads, e-mail alerts, newsletters, and other communications by organizations such as NRA, GOA and NSSF.

 ► Unlike McCain-Feingold, the proposed Revenue Ruling would not automatically exempt communications which occurred more than 60 days prior to an election -- or which fell below a certain monetary threshold.

 ► Unlike McCain-Feingold, the proposed Revenue Ruling would contain no fixed standards for compliance. Rather every newsletter or alert would have to be published with the realization that the government, after the fact, could apply its vague criteria to determine that is was "impermissible."

For example, when GOA learned that an anti-gun rider had been placed on a Defense authorization bill in September 2000, GOA alerted its members to this provision which would have allowed the Dept. of Defense to confiscate and destroy any military surplus item that had ever been sold by the government. M1 Carbines, 1903 Springfields, Colt SAAs, uniforms, ammo, scopes -- and much more.  All these privately-owned items could have been confiscated and destroyed by the feds.

GOA generated a groundswell of nationwide opposition

against the confiscation attempt.  But they especially targeted their focus on the Senate Armed Services Committee. The message evidently got through, as the Committee Chairman's office called GOA to discuss this problem after he received hoards of calls, postcards and e-mails from our members.  The provision was removed, and Second Amendment rights were preserved.

 

But had this IRS regulation been in effect in 2000, the agency (which then was under Clinton's control) could have RETROACTIVELY punished GOA, stating that their activity would have been impermissible if just one of the targeted Senators had been facing reelection!

This new regulation by the IRS would allow lawmakers to load up gun bills prior to an election, secure in the knowledge that GOA and others won't be able to us know about them in time.

GOA has formally lodged a protest with the IRS regarding this expansion and abuse of power.  To read the GOA comments, go to http://www.gunowners.org/fs0403.htm on the web.

It is imperative that this rule be defeated!

ACTION: Contact your congressmen.  Ask them to write the IRS and demand that it withdraw proposed Revenue Ruling 2004-6.  You can contact your Representative and Senators by visiting the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center at http://www.gunowners.org/activism.htm to send them a pre-written e-mail message.

Your Representative and Senators must submit their comments to the IRS by January 26.

------ Pre-written message ------
Dear

The proposed IRS Revenue Ruling 2004-6 is an abomination.

It would put the government in charge of determining whether a broad range of newsletters, alerts, and other communications would be "allowed" by organizations such as Gun Owners of America and the National Rifle Association.

Unlike McCain-Feingold -- which was bad enough -- the proposed Revenue Ruling would not be limited to broadcast ads.  It would have no monetary threshold.  And it would not be automatically inapplicable to communications which occur over 60 days before a general election.

Please write the Internal Revenue Service by January 26, 2004 and ask it to withdraw this ill-consider ruling.  When submitting your comments to the IRS, please address your letter to the attention of Judy Kindell, T:EO:RA:G, 1111 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20224.

Sincerely,
Gun Owners of America E-Mail Alert
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151
Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408
http://www.gunowners.org

 


Farmed salmon loaded with chemicals, study confirms

Fresh properly fillet Great Lakes salmon are healthier

WASHINGTON — Farmed salmon contains far more toxic chemicals than wild salmon — high enough to suggest that fish-eaters limit how much store bought fish they eat, U.S. researchers said on January 8. The culprit is "salmon chow" — the feed given to the captive fish, the researchers report in this week's issue of the journal Science. 

 

The report also claims chemical contaminants in farm-raised salmon are at unacceptably high levels and may dramatically increase the risk of cancer.

 

Many health experts urge people to eat fish such as salmon because it contains healthy fats, especially the omega-3 fatty acids that can lower the risk of heart disease and perhaps have other health benefits, too. But the researchers said the findings in Science indicate that people should choose their fish carefully. They should also demand that salmon be clearly labeled to indicate whether it is farmed or wild so they can make informed choices about which fish to eat. 

 

The study presents a strong argument for recreational angling - especially in the Great Lakes region, and consuming the fish you catch.  Creels of angler caught Great Lakes salmon and trout certainly would qualify as wild salmon as opposed to farmed salmon. 

 

A previous study on farm-raised salmon used 40 samples and Alex Trent, executive director of Salmon of the Americas, an industry lobbying group then said "There is absolutely no reason to be concerned about PCBs in salmon any more than there is in any other food." However, this new study using 700 samples has more impressive numbers and data to substantiate science that farmed salmon do in fact contains far more toxic chemicals than wild salmon.

 

The team at Indiana U, Cornell, University at Albany, and elsewhere analyzed toxic contaminants in 700 farmed and wild salmon taken from markets in 16 cities in Europe and North America.  "We think it's important for people who eat salmon to know that farmed salmon have higher levels of toxins than wild salmon from the open ocean," environmental affairs professor Ronald Hites of Albany, who led the study, said in a statement.

They looked for 13 different chemicals known to build up in the flesh of fish, including PCBs, dioxins, toxaphene, dieldrin, hexachlorobenzene, lindane, heptachlor epoxide, cis-nonachlor, trans-nonachlor, gamma-chlordane, alpha-chlordane, Mirex, Endrin, and DDT. Some are pesticides, others are industrial by-products, and many are known or suspected cancer-causing agents.

 

Farmed salmon taken from markets in Frankfurt, Edinburgh, Paris, London, Oslo, Boston, San Francisco, and Toronto had the highest levels, and the researchers said consumers should eat no more than one-half to one meal of salmon per month. A meal was eight ounces of uncooked meat.

 

Farmed salmon from North American supermarkets fared much better in the study. The study shows markets in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Chicago, New York, and Vancouver had toxins high enough to suggest that people eat no more than two salmon meals a month, based on EPA standards. That's twice the allowable consumption of other world markets.  It was noted that walnuts, flaxseeds, and other non-fish sources are rich in omega-3s.

 

Many chemicals can build up in the body, staying for years or even a lifetime. But the body also processes some out, so experts can figure out a safe or acceptable level of intake. The study fits in with other research on chemicals in salmon. Two studies published in the journal Chemosphere last year found elevated levels of PCBs, certain pesticides, and flame retardants in farmed salmon. And last year the Environmental Working Group said it found elevated PCB levels in farmed salmon filets taken from 10 U.S. grocery stores.

 

"This unquestionably large, new study strongly confirms earlier research, and it leaves little room for the farmed fish industry to argue away the problems of polluted farmed seafood," the Environmental Working Group's Jane Houlihan said.

 

But Charles Santerre, a food and nutrition expert at Indiana's Purdue University, said the study in fact showed that farmed salmon is safe. "The study demonstrates that farmed salmon is very low in contaminants and meets or exceeds standards established by the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization," Santerre said in a statement.

 


Park Service wants Apostle Islands designated as Wilderness

Change would severely restrict boat, fishing and camping traffic

Recently the National Park Service has proposed designating the majority of the Apostle Islands in the Wisconsin waters of Lake Superior as wilderness.  While promising minimal impact on current motorized and non-motorized boat traffic, the change to wilderness designation, while seemingly a benefit to the overall protection of the islands, could prove to be just the opposite.

    

At issue is the authority the designation would give the Park Service to control access to the Islands as well as restricting boat traffic at a later date without needing to solicit further public input to do so. Currently the majority of the Apostle Island’s are managed as a National Park and the National Park Service has been doing extensive lobbying in both Government circles and with the public to develop support for inclusion of them in the Wilderness Act.

   

As an organization whose members love and respect the Apostle Islands as well as the pristine waters surrounding them, The Apostle Island’s Sport Fisherman’s Association (AISA.) since 1980 has worked to help protect and improve the Lake Superior fishery in the Apostle Island’s waters. The AISA's membership is comprised of sportsmen from Wisconsin and Minnesota that utilize and enjoy the Apostle Islands.   The Apostle Island Sport Fishermen’s Association recently unanimously voted to oppose this designation.

      

The following points are further reasons for our opposition:

Since even before European Settlement, the Apostle Islands have never been wilderness.

Even before European settlement both Oral and Archeological histories document a very concentrated population of Native Americans peoples and culture within the Apostle Island area.  Since European settlement, logging, quarrying, commercial fishing, and tourism have provided livelihood for the people who chose to live here. As the nature of economics and the American culture has changed so has the utilization of the islands to an area that is enjoyed primarily as a destination for recreational purposes, with a history of tourism in the islands that extends back over a century.

 

It is not needed.

Anyone who has spent any time in the Apostle Islands knows that the Weather, Nature, and the Lake itself protect the Islands from overexploitation better then any unnecessary legislation that the Park Service desires.  Indeed potential restrictions on the islands utilization under the Wilderness Act might very well serve to act to discriminate against certain groups in American society- such as the elderly and the handicapped, and their ability to access and utilize the Apostle Islands for recreation. Current utilization census methods to measure visitor counts overstate the use of the islands by counting people both coming and going and serve mainly as a tool to develop statistics to support the Park Service’s agenda.

 

The Wilderness Designation would give the Park Service authority over, and       

 the authority to prohibit in the future, traditional wildlife and fishery management practices and traditional recreational uses of the Apostle Islands as they so desire, with no checks and balances on Park Service Authority.

Issues in this regard have already happened.  A case in point is the prohibition by the Park Service on the planting of brown Trout from Park Service property on Little Sand Bay by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, on the basis that Brown Trout are considered an ”Exotic Species” by the Park Service.  Brown Trout were originally planted in Lake Superior in the late 1800’s at about the same time that Rainbow Trout were introduced in Lake Superior. To take the uninformed action of classifying them as an “Exotic Species” in the same league as Sea Lampreys and Zebra Mussels is an example of the potential abuse in the exercise of authority that could become commonplace under the Wilderness Act designation. 

    

 In addition, although they currently claim it will not be used, the Wilderness Act gives the Park Service the power to restrict the use of motors out to ¼ mile from any of the Islands under the Wilderness Designation with no further approval from other governmental bodies necessary.

   

 If that happens, will the Apostle Islands become a haven for the elite few that can journey to the islands by kayak or Park Service approved boat ferries?  Again, in the name of protection, the potential to discriminate against many citizens exists, and it would be dependent on the whim of the current or future Park Service administrations.

 

What we have now works quite well.

The Park Service claims the Wilderness Designation will make it easier to “protect” the Apostle Islands in the future.  From what - the Park Service?

 

In our Association’s collective 200+ years of experience in the Islands, we have not seen significant changes occur in the environmental health of the Islands.  Indeed the worst offender in that regard is often the Park Service and their efforts to “improve” on nature by soil stabilization, or dock building in areas known for high storm sedimentation, leading to even more sedimentation.

    

 Instead of spending so much time lobbying for increased protection, perhaps the Park Service would be better served by listening to the people who both use the Islands, and who’s economic livelihood depends on the Islands, as well as improving and refining their current management techniques.

     

The membership of the Apostle Islands Sport Fishermen's Association has requested of the appropriate elected officials that they oppose any legislation to designate the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore as wilderness. We ask that concerned members of the public add your voices to ours.

 

The Apostle Islands Sport Fishermen's Association is committed to a goal of improving the Chequamagon Bay/Apostle Island fishery so that all participants can equally benefit.

                                                                    

Sincerely

                                                                    

Alfred House, President, AISA,

On behalf of the collective membership,

Apostle Island Sport Fishermen's Association

P.O. Box 794, Ashland, WI  54806 

Alfred.House@aventis.com

 


Johnson Outdoors Wins Five-Year Military Contract

RACINE, Wis., Jan. 12 / -- Johnson Outdoors Inc., maker of Eureka tents, has been awarded a five-year contract for the Expanded Soldier Crew Tent (ESCT) by the U.S. military. The new government contract calls for annual orders of the seven-man all-weather tent, which provides billeting for combat vehicle crews, to range between $300,000 and $2 million. The orders will be produced by the Company's operation located in

Binghamton, NY.

 

The ESCT contract adds to Johnson Outdoors' growing list of government supply contracts, and follows closely behind receipt of an urgent need military order for modular general purpose tent systems totaling $42.9 million, announced in December, 2003. The company expects total military sales for 2004 to exceed 2003 record levels of $43.8 million, and continues to pursue other military contracts.


Regional

Tribe sues for Pennsylvania land

PHILADELPHIA —Reuters News Agency reports a native American tribe from Oklahoma filed suit January 15 claiming the right to ancestral land in Pennsylvania in an effort to establish a casino in the state.

 

The Delaware Nation from Anadarko, Okla., filed the lawsuit in U.S. district court here, seeking court recognition that it is the rightful owner of 315 acres in Forks Township, near Easton, Pa., currently occupied by private houses and a factory. The land was given to Chief Moses Tundy Tetamy, an ancestor of the tribe, in 1738 by a son of Pennsylvania founder William Penn. The Delaware Nation said in a statement there is no record of the tribe having relinquished title to the tract.

 

In an effort to generate revenue, more than 300 Native American casinos have sprung up since the late 1980s as smaller tribes won federal recognition as sovereign entities.

 

"This is property that belongs to the Delawares, and it is clear ... that the Delaware's title to the land was never validly extinguished," said Stephen Cozen, an attorney with the Philadelphia firm of  Cozen O'Connor, representing the tribe.

The tribe wants to establish its ownership of the land as part of a plan to obtain gaming rights in Pennsylvania because it can't get those rights without becoming a land owner. The tribe says it has no plans to build a casino on the Forks Township land because it does not wish to disturb residents there. Instead it hopes to build a casino elsewhere in the state.

 

The Pennsylvania General Assembly is preparing to debate legislation authorizing slot machines at some sites around the state, and the tribe is pressing for favorable treatment. Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell is named as a defendant in the suit as are the property owners on the disputed land and the state of Pennsylvania. A spokeswoman for Rendell said he would evaluate the case.

 

Many smaller tribes nationwide who were passed over for federal recognition in the 19th and early 20th centuries have won that status under federal legislation passed in the 1980s, which grants certain exemptions from state law and has helped fuel a boom in casinos on Indian land.

 


Great Lakes Water Levels for January 16, 2004

Current Lake Levels: 

Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron and St. Clair are 8, 18 and 1 inches, respectively, below their long-term average. Lake Erie is at its long-term average while Lake Ontario is 10 inches above its long-term average.  All of the Great Lakes are above last year’s levels except for Lake Superior, which is 1 inch below the level of a year ago.  Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie are 2 to 9 inches above last year’s level, while Lake Ontario is 19 inches above its level of a year ago.

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:  

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is expected to be below average during the month of January.  Flows in the St. Clair, Detroit, and Niagara Rivers are also expected to be below average, while flow in the St. Lawrence River is expected to be near average in January.   

 

Temperature/Precipitation Outlook:  

Snow showers and cold temperatures should continue around the 

basin through this weekend and into next week.  Cold air centered over Ontario will keep temperatures in the northern and eastern portions of the basin especially cold.

 

Forecasted Water Levels: 

Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron are expected to continue their pattern of seasonal decline over the next four weeks.  This past week Lake St. Clair experienced a short-term rise in water levels due to ice conditions on the Detroit River.  The levels are expected to decline approximately 2 inches over the next few days and continue a normal seasonal decline over the next several weeks.  The levels of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are not expected to change much over the next month. 

 

Alerts:

Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels.  Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.


General

Winning Warning Label

A five-inch fishing lure which sports three steel hooks and cautions users that it is, "Harmful if swallowed," has been identified as one

of the nation's wackiest warning labels in an annual contest sponsored by a consumer watchdog group.

2nd Amendment issues

Angry Citizens Back man Who Shot Intruder
Homeowner defended family but charged for violating handgun ban
In the aftermath of a decision to prosecute a homeowner who shot an intruder, a crowd of 200 citizens packed a town board meeting to voice opposition to a local ban on possession of handguns.

 

Hale DeMar, of the Chicago suburb of Wilmette, protected his family Dec. 29 by shooting Morio Billings, who is accused of entering the DeMar home twice within 24 hours, the Chicago Tribune reported. But DeMar was charged with violating a local ordinance banning possession of handguns and breaking a state law by failing to renew his Illinois Firearm Owner's Identification card (FOID). He faces up to a year in jail, a $2,500 fine or court supervision or probation if convicted on the charge of owning a handgun without a valid firearms card. The village's handgun ordinance carries a separate fine of up to $750. He is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 6 to face both charges.

 

On January 15, many at the meeting of the Wilmette Village Board booed and jeered when trustees and the police chief expressed support for the ban, the Chicago paper said. Several audience members loudly emphasized the words, "And justice for all," during the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

Wilmette Police Chief George Carpenter defended the handgun ban.  Voicing a minority opinion in a growing concern for homeland security ,  Carpenter said "My experience is handguns create a hazard in the home. "My experience is that handguns are far more likely to be stolen, to be used or threatened to be used in domestic situations, or to be used or threatened to be used in suicides."

 

Wilmette resident Jim Szczepanik, 51, was one of many gun-rights advocates who argued no homeowner should be punished for defending his family.  "My Plan A is to call 911 and keep the family upstairs," he said, according to the Chicago paper. "But my Plan B is to have a loaded firearm and put a bullet in the intruder."  Another resident, Ralf Seiffe, called it "a matter of freedom."

Trustee Bernard Michna was among the minority who defended the ban. "There could have been an outcome much more bleak for that family if more shots had been fired," Michna said. "I think it's close to unanimous there will be no change in the handgun ordinance."

 

DeMar said he had just tucked his two children into bed at about 10:30 p.m. when his home security alarm sounded. He found Billings in the kitchen and shot him four times, striking his left shoulder and left calf. Prosecutors say Billings crashed through the home's front window after he was shot then drove himself to the hospital in the family's SUV, which he had stolen the night before.

 

Billings, convicted last year of a similar home burglary in an affluent Minneapolis suburb, is now in the Cook County Jail with bail set at $3 million. The Cook County state's attorney's office decided not to file criminal charges against DeMar after determining he acted in self-defense.

 

Carpenter said he could not condemn DeMar's actions, because the homeowner was in a "situation where he did what he thought was appropriate." But the police chief advised residents facing a similar situation to "keep the family together, lock the door of the room they're in and call 911. Do not confront the intruder. The parent is the last line of defense for the family until the police arrive," Carpenter said.

 

Chicago and Morton Grove are other area municipalities that also ban possession of handguns.

 

Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, told the Chicago daily he believes handgun bans are outrageous.  "The right to self-defense is the right that all creatures on this Earth have, including Wilmette," he said. "What they do is they make the citizens in these villages and towns fair game."

 

If you have any questions, suggestions or comments for the Wilmette Police Department, E-mail them at police@wilmette.com    http://www.wilmette.com/police/


Illinois

State opens Hennepin Canal Parkway Bicycle Trail

SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich has announced the opening of the final 12.1-mile segment of the Hennepin Canal Parkway State Trail - a new north-south segment extending from the Hennepin Canal feeder line's Bridge 56 on Illinois Rt. 92 south to the Feeder Basin.  The new trail segment completes 93 miles of paved trail for bike riders and pedestrians that are part of an historic 104.5-mile linear parkway in Rock Island, Bureau, Henry, Lee and Whiteside counties in northern Illinois.

 

"The completion of the Hennepin trail system is a real plus for families, bicycle riders, runners and hikers of all ages looking for a safe place to enjoy spending time outdoors," Blagojevich said.  "Recreation and tourism are important components of my administration’s Opportunity Returns initiative, and the Hennepin Canal Parkway is truly one of our state’s premier recreation destinations, benefiting residents and visitors alike."

 

Built in the early 1900s as a commercial waterway, the 96-mile Hennepin Canal has for many years been a diamond in the rough for trail users.  The new 12.1-mile segment is the

last of a series of  five bike trail construction projects that now

connect, via the canal's  tow path, communities including Bureau Junction near the Illinois River, Colona near the Mississippi River, Rock Falls on the Rock River and Sheffield near canal’s Summit Pool. 

 

In all, more than $17.3 million in trail projects have been completed on the Hennepin parkway, all of which have included federal transportation enhancement funding administered through Illinois Department of Transportation.

 

The Hennepin trail system now includes 93 miles of surfaced trail for bicycles, 73 miles of equestrian trails, 172 miles of hiking trails, and 90 miles of snowmobile trails.  The main stem of the Hennepin Canal Parkway State Trail is part of the 500-mile Grand Illinois Trail and forms a segment of the northern Illinois route of the 6,800- mile coast-to-coast American Discovery Trail.

 

The new bike trail complements the Hennepin Canal Parkway's fishing, camping, boating, and canoeing opportunities, managed by the Illinois DNR. For more info on the Hennepin Canal Parkway State Trail, contact the site office in Sheffield at 815/454-2328.


Amateur Trapshooting Association Will Hold Its Grand Event in Illinois

Event at Sparta’s World Shooting Complex will generate millions for local economy

SPRINGFIELD, ILL - The Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA) has agreed to bring its Grand American event, the oldest and most prestigious shooting competition in the world, to Illinois beginning in 2006 to the World Shooting Complex in Sparta.  The World Shooting Complex is a key project in the Governor's Opportunity Returns economic development plan for Southwest Illinois that he unveiled in December.

 

The ATA's Board of Directors voted overwhelmingly to move the Grand American event, which first debuted in 1900, from Vandalia, Ohio, to Sparta, Illinois.  "We look forward to a great partnership with the state of Illinois and the Department of Natural Resources," ATA President Dave Kaiser said. "We believe the new, state-of-the-art facility to be built in Illinois will mean the grand traditions of the Grand American will continue and grow."

The Grand American is estimated to bring 150,000 people to the 10-day event in August 2006.  Along with other ATA events, the annual economic impact to Illinois is anticipated to be about $13.5 million.

 

The Governor announced the state's acquisition of 1,179 acres in Randolph County for the outdoor complex in August.  Cochran & Wilken, Inc., of Springfield has been developing a master plan for the site.

The World Shooting Complex will have about 120 trap shooting stations over a 3.5-mile course, skeet stations, sporting clays, rifle and pistol ranges and a 3-D archery range.  In addition it will have about 1,000 camp sites, 600 of which will have full-service hook-ups and another 400 that will have electricity only - three times larger than any existing Department of Natural Resources campground.  The site will offer traditional outdoor recreational activities such as fishing and picnicking.  Development of a large meeting facility and a full-scale camping/parking complex will allow the site to attract major motor home and camping rallies, car shows, conventions and entertainment venues, attracting thousands of visitors to the area.

 

"It is very gratifying and exciting to see our vision for this facility coming together.  Representative Reitz and I began working on this project three years ago when we served in the Legislature together and, with the Governor's strong support, we are making it a reality," said Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Joel Brunsvold. "We're pleased the ATA is bringing the Grand American to Sparta, an event that we believe will be a cornerstone at this landmark development project."

 

The ATA is one of several groups that have expressed interest in the expansive recreational complex.  The National Sporting Clays Association, the National Skeet Shooting Association and the Single Shooters Society also have said they would like to hold events at the park.


Indiana

Commission to consider rule changes

Indiana DNR officials will present administrative rule change proposals to the Natural Resources Commission on Jan. 20.  DNR is proposing more than 30 rule changes to protect wildlife while addressing enforcement, legal and social concerns.

 

Changes to deer and turkey hunting laws, fishing regulations, turtle regulations and state endangered species listings are being considered. The creation of a fall turkey season, extending the coyote season, and establishing new brown trout regulations at Brookville tailwater are a few of the rule proposals that hunters and anglers proposed.

The NRC meeting takes place Jan. 20, 10 a.m. at the Garrison Conference Center at Ft. Harrison State Park on the Indianapolis eastside.  The meeting is open to the public.  A public hearing will be scheduled in the spring for rules that are preliminarily adopted by the commission.

 

For a copy of the agenda and proposed rule language: http://www.in.gov/nrc/minutes/current_agenda 

For information on the rule review process and specific proposals: http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/about/rules.htm

 


Michigan

2004 state parks motor vehicle permits available

State recreation officials have announced that Michigan State Parks 2004 annual motor vehicle permits are now available at state parks and DNR Service Centers.

 

The resident annual MVP costs $24. A non-resident annual MVP costs $29. All vehicles registered in Michigan will qualify for a resident MVP. These permits allow vehicle access to any of the 97 Michigan State Parks throughout 2004, except the three Mackinac Island Historic State Parks.

 

Daily permits and discounted permits will be available later in 2004. Seniors with a vehicle registered in Michigan qualify for a $6 annual permit. Michigan residents who possess a Bridge Card qualify for an $18 annual permit. Daily passes for residents will cost $6 and non-resident passes will cost $8.

All permits will require proof of vehicle registration and additional documentation for discounted MVPs.

 

The Michigan Legislature increased fees for 2004 to provide revenue for park operations in light of continued state General Fund budget reductions.

 

The 2004 stickers bear the image of Michigan lighthouses and were developed by DNR graphic designer Darrell Hodge. Lighthouses are found in ten state parks and are preserved for their historic, cultural and scenic values. The lands surrounding these landmarks also merit special attention because they provide important habitat for the hundreds of animal, bird and plant species that rely on the Great Lakes ecosystem.


Minnesota

BOW teaching Firearms safety classes – Jan 31

Becoming an Outdoors Woman  offers three safety classes

The Becoming an Outdoors Woman program will offer the first of three women’s firearms safety classes, starting Jan. 31, 2004. The class will be held at the Burnsville Jaycees building on Saturday, Jan. 31 and Sunday, Feb. 1.

 

Participants in the class will receive the Department of Natural Resources certification if they successfully complete the course. Many states require certification to purchase a hunting license.

 

The firearms safety course teaches knowledge of various

firearms, safe ways to carry firearms in different situations and basic wildlife management information. "Participants receive hands-on instruction in how to check and see if a firearm is loaded and correct ammunition to use with each firearm,” said Jean Bergerson, coordinator, Becoming an Outdoors Woman. “If you have firearms in your home, you should have the basic information this course teaches.”

 

Cost for the course is $10. Pre-registration is required through the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll free at 1-888-646-6367.  Additional courses will be held in Lino Lakes in May and Grand Rapids in July.


Nelson named DNR Parks/Recreation Director

Minnesota DNR Commissioner Gene Merriam has announced the appointment of Courtland Nelson as the agency's new Parks and Recreation Director. The Minnesota native joins the DNR after serving as deputy director of Arizona State Parks and the State Park Director in Utah for the past eleven years.

 

"Parks in general and state parks in particular are invaluable in what they provide for the mental and physical health of our citizens," Nelson said. "Whether parks provide a location for physical fitness, spiritual renewal, love and friendship, appreciation of culture and history or a great outdoor experience, I am committed to improving the quality of life through parks and programs in Minnesota."      

           

In his new role, Nelson will oversee a system which includes:  72 state parks and recreation areas (66 parks and 6 recreation areas), 8 waysides, 1 state trail and 54 forest campgrounds and day-use areas.  "I am privileged to be the new director of such a storied and successful organization," he said.

Nelson was selected from a national search to replace Bill Morrisey who retired from the DNR after 30 years of service, the last sixteen as director of Parks and Recreation.

 

"Courtland comes to Minnesota with outstanding credentials," said DNR commissioner Gene Merriam. "He has a strong history of resource conservation and leadership initiatives and will be a welcome addition to our team."

 

Nelson was appointed Director of the Utah State Division of Parks and Recreation in February of 1993. He was responsible for the administration, planning and operation of Utah's 41 state park facilities and for the administration of the off-highway vehicle program, the non-motorized trail program and the Utah boating program. He supervised 300 full-time, 250 part-time employees and over 500 volunteers.

 

Nelson, who attended school in St. Francis and Forest Lake, Minn., graduated from Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD holds a Masters of Science in Outdoor Recreation Education from Utah State University, Logan Utah. He and his wife Mitzi, have one daughter, Megan, who is a college freshman.


Becoming An Outdoors Woman offers winter workshop - Feb 27-29

Celebrate winter in Minnesota by joining the Becoming An Outdoors Woman (BOW) program at its annual winter workshop. Whether the ground is white will not matter as women gather for a weekend of fun and outdoors exploration. Participants can master some new skills or polish ones learned in the past. The winter workshop will be Feb. 27-29 at Eagle Bluff Environmental Center in Lanesboro. The workshop will begin late Friday afternoon and continue until Sunday noon.

           

"Winter offerings vary considerably from our spring and fall workshop," said BOW coordinator Jean Bergerson. "Programs such as trapping and polar fleece mitten making are only offered at our winter event. Of course, the weekend will be filled with traditional winter activities such as snowmobile

safety, ice fishing and dog mushing.  Eagle Bluff overlooks the Root River Valley near the community of Lanesboro.

 

"Workshop space is limited to 75 women and I expect the spaces to fill quickly," Bergerson noted. Registration forms are available from Eagle Bluff by calling 888-800-9558 or by contacting the DNR Info Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367).

 

The workshop costs $145, which covers food, lodging, class materials and equipment. Some scholarship assistance is available.          

           

This is the 10th year the Becoming An Outdoors Woman has been in Minnesota. Events throughout the year will celebrate BOW's "10 years of helping women explore the outdoors."


Pennsylvania

Hatchery trout fed feed with toxins
Farm-raised salmon on the West Coast aren't the only ones that have received feed with high concentrations of toxic chemicals. Hatchery-raised trout in Pennsylvania have received it, too. "What they are seeing in farm-raised salmon is consistent with what we've seen with hatchery-raised trout," said Dan Tredinnick, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

The 1998 tests, and further tests in 2000, showed PCB levels above the threshold for issuing fish-consumption advisories under the Great Lakes standard. The agency has struggled with the issue of elevated PCB levels since 1998, when it first tested its hatchery-raised trout. The 1998 tests, and further tests in 2000, showed PCB levels above the threshold for issuing fish-consumption advisories under the Great Lakes standard.

The Fish Commission, the state Department of Environmental Protection and the state Health Department issued a blanket consumption advisory for all sport fish from Pennsylvania waters before the opening of the 2001 trout season, in part because of those test results.

A study of farm-raised salmon r published in the January 8, 2004 issue of  Science found that, on average, farm-raised salmon had PCBs and other cancer-causing contaminants at levels that were 10 times higher than salmon caught in the wild.  The study of farm-raised fish suggested

 consumers should limit their consumption of farm-raised salmon to no more than one meal a month.

 

But both the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the fishing industry took exception to that recommendation, claiming contaminant levels in farm-raised salmon do not represent a health threat. The feed provided to farm-raised salmon and the Fish Commission's hatchery-raised trout, both of which are used to stock area streams for sport fishing, is what causes the elevated contaminant levels.

"The results are not that surprising, particularly if they are using a fish feed similar to what we use, which is common," Tredinnick said. Fish feed is typically made from ground-up fish, primarily very oily species. PCBs concentrate in fatty deposits and therefore tend to be higher in species that are high in oil, Tredinnick said.

The study identified fish feed as the cause of the higher concentration of contaminants in farm-raised salmon, a popular part of the American diet. Fish Commission officials were initially puzzled when some hatchery trout first tested high for PCBs until tracing it to the fish food. Still, variations from year to year and from hatchery to hatchery remain a mystery, Tredinnick said.

The fish consumption advisory, a response to mercury levels and other contaminants found in wild fish as well as concerns over the hatchery trout, remains in effect, Tredinnick said.

 


Game Commission Meeting set for Jan 25-27

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners will hold its first meeting of 2004 on Jan. 25-27, in the auditorium of the agency's Harrisburg headquarters to collect recommendations on the 2004-2005 seasons and bag limits, and to conduct a workshop and formal meeting.  The headquarters is at 2001 Elmerton Ave., just off the Progress Avenue exit of Interstate 81 in Harrisburg.

 

On Sunday, Jan. 25, beginning at 1 p.m., the Board will hear public recommendations for the upcoming hunting and fur-taking seasons and bag limits.  On Monday, Jan. 26, the Board will hold a workshop meeting involving Commission staff reports.

 

On Tuesday, Jan. 27, beginning at 8:30 a.m., the Commission will, among other things, give preliminary approval to hunting and trapping seasons and bag limits for 2004-2005.  One of

the ideas that will not be considered is the concept of opening an antlerless deer season the week prior to Thanksgiving.

 

"There has been some discussion about opening an antlerless deer season prior to Thanksgiving as a means of increasing the doe harvest," said Vern Ross, Game Commission executive director.  "However, given the concerns about such a season's impact on the end of the turkey season and the statewide bear season - as well as other social issues about impacting family plans for the Thanksgiving holiday - the agency staff has decided against moving this idea forward as a formal proposal for the Board to consider."

 

All seasons and bag limits given preliminary approval by the Board at the January meeting must be adopted at the April meeting before taking effect.  The dates for the Board's meetings in 2004 will be set at January meeting.


Klinger Named Land Management Director for Game Commission

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Vern Ross has announced that Scott Klinger has been appointed the agency's new Bureau of Land Management director.  Klinger fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Greg Grabowicz, who has remained on contract with the agency pending the appointment of his successor.

 

Klinger has been with the Game Commission since 1995, when he returned from Virginia to his home state of Pennsylvania as a wildlife biologist in the Farmland Wildlife Section of the Bureau of Wildlife Management.  Since returning to Pennsylvania, Klinger is best recognized for his unrelenting efforts to implement the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) in Pennsylvania, which is designed to improve land, water and wildlife conservation on up to 200,000 acres of private lands in 43 Pennsylvania counties within the Susquehanna and Potomac river basins.

 

As a result of his work in CREP, in 2002, Klinger was awarded the Wildlife Management Institute's 2002 Touchstone Award, which recognizes persons in natural resources management whose ingenuity and initiative have resulted in a program or product that has notably advanced sound resource management and conservation in North America.

 

In his new position, Klinger will work with the agency's six regional offices, 38 foresters, 30 land managers and more than 200 Food and Cover Corps employees to implement the agency's multi-million dollar habitat improvement program on the 1.4 million-acre State Game Lands system.  In addition, he will be responsible for overseeing all timber, mining and mineral contracts on State Game Lands, and finding additional acres of State Game Lands to purchase.

 

As director of the Bureau of Land Management, Klinger also

will be responsible for administration of the agency's federal Pittman-Robertson program, which provides the Game Commission with its share of the federal excise tax collected on the sale of sporting arms and ammunition.  The Game Commission annually receives an average of $8 million from this program, which reimburses the agency for eligible habitat improvement projects completed on State Game Lands.

 

Klinger's other duties will include: overseeing the agency's engineering program for dams and buildings; environmental planning and habitat protection review program; and the agency's public access programs which help open an additional 4.5 million acres of private land to public hunting and trapping.

 

A native of Snyder County, Klinger received a bachelor's degree in forest biology from Penn State University and earned a master's degree in wildlife biology from Kansas State University. From 1985 to 1989, Klinger served as director of the Natural Resources Office for the U.S. Army at Fort Riley, Kansas.  From 1989 to 1991, he was forest administrator for the U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort McPherson, Georgia.   In 1991 and 1992, Klinger served as the regional wildlife planning biologist for the U.S. Forest Service in Atlanta, Georgia.  And, from 1992 to 1995, he was the forest wildlife biologist for the U.S. Forest Service at the George Washington National Forest in Virginia and West Virginia.

 

Klinger is a member of The Wildlife Society, and is president-elect of the Pennsylvania Chapter of The Wildlife Society.  He also is a member of the Society of American Foresters, Ruffed Grouse Society, National Wild Turkey Federation, Pennsylvania Society of Ornithology, Pennsylvania Biological Survey-Mammal Technical Committee, Northeast Habitat Technical Committee and numerous International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies committees.


Game Commission to present Annual report to House Committee

Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Vern Ross will present the agency's annual report to the House Game and Fisheries Committee on Feb. 11, tentatively scheduled for 10 a.m., Hearing Room 1 of the North Office Building in Harrisburg.

 

"Building on the changes implemented in the past two years,

the Game Commission continued to accomplish much in 2003," Ross said.  "We are pleased to have this opportunity to present our annual report to the members of the House Game and Fisheries Committee, the General Assembly and Administration, and the people of Pennsylvania."

 

The agency will post the report on its website (www.pgc.state.pa.us ) at 1 p.m., Feb. 11.


Parr named South-central Region Director

HUNTINGDON - Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Vern Ross today announced that Donald C. Parr Jr. has been appointed as the new region director for the agency's Southcentral Regional Office in Huntingdon, Huntingdon County.   He has been serving as acting region director since April.

 

As regional director, Parr will be responsible for all Game Commission information and education programs and law enforcement activities in the agency's 11-county Southcentral Region.  He also will oversee the habitat improvement projects and all other land management activities on more than 209,000 acres of State Game Lands in the region.

 

Parr's service with the Game Commission actually began as a

laborer in 1968, before he joined the U.S. Air Force as an aircraft mechanic specialist from 1969-72. In 1973, when he returned to Pennsylvania, Parr became a Deputy Wildlife Conservation Officer for the Game Commission.  A year later he was hired as a police officer at Edinboro State College until his enrollment as a Game Commission's Wildlife Conservation Officer trainee.

 

Parr and his wife, Susan, currently reside in Huntingdon.  They have two children.

 

The agency's South-central Region is comprised of: Adams, Bedford, Blair, Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Mifflin, Perry and Snyder counties.  The office is at 8627 William Penn Highway in Huntingdon.  The toll-free number is 1-877-877-9107.


Ontario

2004 Fishing Regulations Available Online

TORONTO — Anglers seeking information about regulation changes for 2004 can now obtain Ontario's Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary online from the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) publications web site at www.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/pubs/pubmenu.html .

 

"There will be increased fishing opportunities in some areas thanks to a number of regulation changes," said Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay. "Our goal is to improve fishing opportunities for anglers while protecting our fishing resources." Extended fishing areas and boosted limits on certain fish catches are part of what anglers can look forward to in 2004.

 

Highlights of changes for 2004 include:

●Yellow perch limits in eastern Lake Erie (Division 2) have been increased. Perch catch and possession limits throughout Lake Erie are now 50 for a Sport Fishing Licence and 25 for a Conservation Fishing Licence.

 

● Walleye season will be closed from March 15 to May 7 throughout Lake Erie (Division 2).

 

● Brown and rainbow trout fishing areas on the Credit River (Division 4) have been extended. Full details on these and other changes can be found in the Exceptions for

 Southwestern Ontario section in the Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary.

 

● New regulations have been put in place on Big Vermilion Lake (Division 22) and Red Lake (Division 31) to protect lake trout populations. Refer to the Exceptions for Northwestern Ontario section in the Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary for details.

 

● Anglers are reminded to be aware of regulations and regulation changes in areas where they fish. These changes are highlighted in red in the Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary. Anglers can also obtain copies of the fishing summary by visiting MNR district offices or licence issuing locations. Print copies of the summary are now available.

Ontario residents must have a valid Outdoors Card and fishing licence tag to fish, and non-residents must have a valid fishing licence to fish in Ontario waters.

 

As well, the Ontario 2004 fish and wildlife calendar is now available for sale. The calendar features 13 wildlife images and is full of helpful information from the ministry about Ontario's fishing and hunting seasons, deadlines and wildlife management messages. Proceeds from the calendar go towards managing the ministry's fish and wildlife program. For more information about the calendar, please call 1-800-667-1940.


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