There was good and bad news for 2012

Last week, I said if we get some good weather in January, the fish stocking trucks could be moving. From looking at the forecast for the next few days, I really don’t think this will be happening soon. I have never helped out with any of the fish stockings; but from talking with some of those who have, they tell me that it is tiresome work. I will take their word for it.

It was about this time last year when I was reading the Elkins Inter-Mountain when they printed the top ten news stories for 2011. While I was reading all this, I wondered if 2012 was going to be just as interesting. Well, it certainly was, if not more so. The massive windstorm in late June , along with the super snowstorm in October, left thousands of West Virginia residents without power and other life essentials like food and water.

The knifing of a Tygarts Valley High School student, along with the wounding of a state trooper, a domestic shooting in the Coalton area, and an elderly man fatally shooting his wife in the Gilman area, were among the top ten news stories for this area. Some of my readers may think none of these shootings will ever affect them. Well, all of you had better think again.

It was two weeks ago I stated the heated “gun control” debate will be in the news for the next several weeks, maybe months. The gun ownership battle is not getting ready to start, it has already started, because of the massive grade school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, where twenty small children were murdered.

The nation’s President is eager to sign new restrictive gun-control legislation into law and certain members of Congress are trying to ramrod such legislation through Congress for a quick signature. Now is the time for all local sportsmen and gun owners to let their Congressional representatives and senators know how much they value their firearms rights that are guaranteed and protected by the “second amendment” contained in the “Bill of Rights.”

There is a bit of good news in this area’s top news stories for 2012: The completion of the Elkwater Dam and Watershed. This past August, the dedication of this new water supply was attended by United States Senator Joseph Manchin, Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, and West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Gus R. Douglas.

Congresswoman Capito said “she was happy to see this day come for those who were dedicated to seeing the dam built. . . . this dam is not just a structure for holding water . . . It will offer recreational opportunities for the economy and families.”

The surface of this reservoir will offer 54 acres of recreational enjoyment for the public that will include a fishing pier, boat ramp, and parking area. I am going to try to stay in touch with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources as to what kind of game fish they plan to stock in this new lake and hope I will be able to find the time to try it out sometime this Spring.

In other good news this past Christmas season, DNR Director Frank Jezioro presented a check to the Mountaineer Food Bank for $70,000 raised during the sixth annual Governor’s One Shot Deer Hunt held in October. This money goes to Hunters Helping the Hungry Program (HHH). This program allows hunters to donate their legally-harvested deer to certified food processors so the meat can go to soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, senior centers, churches, and community centers throughout the state.

The HHH program has been highly successful since it began in 1992. I know there are a few sportsmen and women who don’t think much of HHH, but they need to realize none of their license money goes into this program.

The money this program receives is from willful donations from state sportsmen and other thoughtful people throughout the state and nation.