Month: December 2014

Mystery Loves Company: The Zanesville Community Theatre

Mystery Loves Company: The Zanesville Community Theatre

The stage is empty and guests have yet to fill their seats. The front house of the Zanesville Community Theatre is quiet, but the back dressing room is bustling with commotion and laughter. The actors are getting ready for their fourth performance of Agatha Christie’s […]

Haunted Hocking Investigation Team explores the supernatural

Haunted Hocking Investigation Team explores the supernatural

The cover of the second in a series of seven books about the paranormal in Ohio features a photo of a young girl holding a candle and gazing ominously at the camera. The image conjures up a creepy Poltergeist feeling. But the young girl isn’t […]

Where Doves Fly

Where Doves Fly

People have been squabbling about dove hunting in Ohio for more than 50 years. But since the controversial practice was approved by voters in 1998, it has been increasing in popularity—especially in rural areas.

As early as 1963, the Ohio Legislature tried to reclassify the mourning dove as a game species, legalizing dove hunting, but all attempts have been thwarted without majority support. Then the Ohio Department of Wildlife joined the fray, establishing the state’s first dove hunting season in 80 years—only to have a court order take it away a couple of years later. Finally in 1994 the Ohio General Assembly passed a house bill to allow dove hunting. But anti-hunting groups collected more than 100,000 signatures on a petition to make dove hunting a ballot issue in November 1998. 60 percent of voters cast ballots to allow mourning dove hunting, settling the battle between activists and hunters.

Those who hunt mourning doves enjoy it for its simplicity. “There is nothing real sophisticated to it,” Belmont County Game Warden Brian Baker says. Baker, who is both the game warden and a dove hunter, says one of the most challenging parts of dove hunting is finding a good spot to hunt, which “requires a little scouting.”

Julie Zickefoose, a naturalist, author and artist who opposes dove hunting, objects to the practice because there’s little meat provided by slain doves. “I always felt that hunting doves has a little more to do with target practice than food,” Zickefoose says. “I just don’t think that the mourning dove is much of a game bird. It just doesn’t have much meat on it.”

There are many regulations governing mourning dove hunting. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife, because the mourning dove is a migratory bird, a bird that travels with the seasons, mourning dove hunting is regulated by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Goose and duck hunting are also regulated under this act.

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One national regulation is that hunters can only use shotguns that hold three or fewer shells. The other major regulation is that hunters cannot hunt on a baited field. Federal regulators define baiting as placing on lands unschucked corn, wheat or other types of food the migratory birds feed on to lure doves. Hunters get an unfair advantage if doves are feeding on deposited foods: they’re easy targets. However, hunters can hunt fields on which items were previously scattered for agricultural purposes.

Though the rules and regulations for dove hunting start at the national level, states can develop their own guidelines. States cannot loosen guidelines but can make them stricter. Ohio, for example, also prohibits the shooting of doves from wires, buildings and utility poles.

Each year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates how many doves are in the U.S. and then it develops dove hunting protocol for the season to ensure that population maintains stability.

Though some against dove hunting fear that the dove population will decline and the species will become extinct, experts say that hunting doves has little to no effect on the population. “The population has been stable for decades,” Olentangy Research Station Project Leader and Supervisor of Wildlife at the Olentangy Research Station, Nathan Stricker, says. “We only harvest about 5 percent of the population in any given year.” Doves usually live for just two years. However, they typically lay three eggs each time they nest. Stricker says the high rate of turnover is why the dove population is not endangered by hunting. “Doves have a high reproductive rate and this helps keep the population stable,” Stricker says.

Baker, the game warden, said he agrees dove hunting does not affect the population of doves. “The effect on the population would be almost nil, especially in Ohio,” Baker says. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in the past ten years—during which dove hunting was legal in the state—there has not been a statistically significant change in state dove population.

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Others who opposed the legalization of dove hunting were vegetarians who stood in principle against eating meat. But Zickefoose, who lives on a nature reserve in Appalachian Ohio and is regarded as a national expert in birding and natural history, also objects to dove hunters putting other birds in harm’s way. She says her concern is that hunters may not be able to tell whether they are actually shooting at a dove. “They are very, very fast flyers and they can look like a lot of different things on the wing,” Zickefoose says. “They are sort of shape-shifters.” She believes that other birds, such as robins and jades, could be misidentified by an inexperienced hunter and become victims of collateral kill.

Dove hunting is more popular in southern states because there is more seasonal stability in the south. With Ohio’s four seasons and eccentric weather, dove hunting is hindered by the elements. Baker says the prevalence of doves in any given hunting season depends on the weather. “During the first part of the season [Sept. 1-Nov. 9], they are abundant as we usually get a push of them while the weather is warm,” Baker says. Baker emphasized how cold fronts affect the dove’s migration—a cold front from the northwest part of the U.S. in the second part of the season, from Dec. 13 to Jan. 1, usually pushes more birds eastward.

ODNR is trying to promote dove hunting to increase its popularity. The department holds controlled hunts in wildlife areas, such as Rush Run in southwestern Ohio and Salt Fork State Park east of Zanesville, to help hunters become acclimated and gain experience with dove hunting. These controlled hunts allow beginners to develop their skills and help more seasoned hunters practice their aim.

Attempts to gain traction may reverse a decline in popularity in dove hunting in Ohio. From 2011 to 2012, U.S. Fish and Wildlife statistics estimate that active dove hunters in Ohio dropped from 14,200 to 8,600. Dove hunting’s best chance of survival in Ohio may be nested in the activity’s relative ease and low barrier of entry. “The equipment is very simple,” Baker says. “A chair, a gun, some shotgun shells and a little bit of scouting can put you on a pretty good dove hunt.”

by Cody Linn

One woman show

One woman show

Barbara Summers is no stranger to putting on productions. As a retired stage manager for Broadway and off‐Broadway shows, it’s no wonder she performs with precision and passion in her current role as executive director for the Southern Hills Arts Council in Jackson. This past […]

Licking’s Favorite Flavor

Licking’s Favorite Flavor

In 1914, Joseph Dager started making ice cream in the basement of a confectionary in Utica with the hope of finding “the American dream.” He started with only three flavors: chocolate, strawberry, and, of course, vanilla. A Century Long Practice Dager emigrated from Lebanon in […]

Gallipolis in Bloom

Gallipolis in Bloom

Karen Smith and Lori Kelly were looking to come up with a unique way to set Gallipolis apart from its surrounding cities.

Smith and Kelly came up with an organization called Gallipolis in Bloom. In 2005, Gallipolis began promoting its new organization. 

Residents of Gallipolis were encouraged to make their yards look as attractive as possible. Homes in the area have hanging baskets, which help raise awareness for the organization.

In 2006, Gallipolis in Bloom, which is a subsidiary of America in Bloom, was in full effect.

The organization wants to improve community involvement, raise environmental issues and enhance the community.

Gallipolis in Bloom

Gallipolis in Bloom is doing all it can to get the community interested in the organization.

It has:

  • Used social media, including Facebook.
  • Alerted the local newspaper.
  • Placed signs in yards.
  • Gotten in touch with the local radio station, which has released announcements.
  • Created competitions like yard of the week and business of the week to encourage community members to take part.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Gallipolis has 3,644 residents. Any of those residents can volunteer for the organization. Gallipolis in Bloom’s meetings are held on the fourth Wednesday of each month.

In 2013, Gallipolis in Lights was created. It’s the same concept as Gallipolis in Bloom, but it takes place in winter. The main attraction is Christmas lights, which are placed on trees in Gallipolis City Park.

Gallipolis in Bloom

The Symposium

One major event the organization was invited to was the National America in Bloom symposium, which was held in Philadelphia on Oct. 2-4. 

Kim Canaday, who is Gallipolis in Bloom’s volunteer coordinator, Bev Dunkle, who is Gallipolis in Bloom’s president, and others were in attendance. 

During the event, members of each participating community interacted with each other, and on Oct. 4, Gallipolis in Bloom and the other communities found out the results from the judges. 

In June, judges from the symposium graded Gallipolis on the job Gallipolis in Bloom did to promote and execute its mission. The judges graded Gallipolis in Bloom on six criteria, including floral display, which Gallipolis in Bloom won in 2006 and 2013.

Gallipolis in Bloom

What’s Next?

In the future, Dunkle is hopeful that fresh faces will get involved and lead the organization to new heights.

“I’d like to see growth in the organization,” Dunkle says. “I also want to see more members because I’ve seen a lot of the same faces for the last nine years.”

Gallipolis in Bloom does more than encourage people to plant flowers and keep their yards clean. It’s also raising the morale of everyone who is associated with Gallipolis.

“It’s been a wonderful addition to our community,” Canaday says. “This organization has increased the environmental effort, which helps make the city neat, tidy and clean. It gives people who visit the city a good first impression.”

by Bez Saciri

Feline Fine

Feline Fine

Lynx rufus, otherwise known as the bobcat, is a feral cat native to Ohio. Bobcats, however, are hard to spot statewide, because they are solitary and territorial animals. But Suzie Prange, a Wildlife Research Biologist for the Division of Wildlife, says that Southeast Ohio is […]

The Buzz at Busy Bee

The Buzz at Busy Bee

Family ties and a long history in Marietta make Busy Bee Restaurant the ideal place for old-school diner food at old-school prices. Current owner Donna English began her career at the Busy Bee Restaurant as a teenager. She was a waitress alongside her sister Georgeanna […]

Small Town Mortuary Museum a Treat

Small Town Mortuary Museum a Treat

At the mention of the words “mortuary museum,” one might think of a haunted house or a horror film. But Bill Peoples, the owner of Marietta’s Cawley & Peoples Mortuary Museum, will tell you his livelihood is more than a horror-movie cliché.

Peoples, who also owns the Cawley & Peoples Funeral Home on the same land, is dedicated to educating others on the practices and history of mortuary science.

“My dad had the [funeral home] ten miles from here; he’s since deceased,” Peoples says. “I came back to Marietta and worked for Mr. Cawley and bought the funeral home here and bought my dad’s.”

A museum takes shape

When Peoples and his wife bought Cawley’s funeral home in 1973, they decided that they needed something that would set them apart from other funeral homes. Their “something different” came in the form of a pre-World War II hearse. But Peoples did not stop there; he began to collect everything from coffins to embalming fluids, displaying them in a spare building originally designed to be a multi-car garage.

“These are [pieces] that either [my father] had, or when I bought the funeral home here they had some bottles of things downstairs or up in the attic,” Peoples says.

As Peoples began to flesh out his collection, public knowledge of the museum spread. It seemed as if everyone had a tip for the next piece he should look at.

“I got them in different places from individuals,” Peoples says. “If you just start searching around, you can find things and people know I collect these, so people get ahold of me.”

The museum currently features five antique hearses, including a horse-drawn hearse from 1895. Most of Peoples’ hearses are Packard and Henney brand. With the exception of the horse-drawn vehicle, Peoples actually uses some of the cars for funerals today, upon request.

“But only if people want to use it and we don’t do it for show, but if they have a serious interest in antique cars and maybe their dad or granddad used to own a Packard,” Peoples says. “We still get out and use them.”

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A call from Hollywood

Perhaps the most excitement that any of these cars have seen started with a call from Hollywood. Peoples was contacted in 2009 by the producers of an upcoming film, Get Low, featuring Sissy Spacek, Bill Murray and Robert Duvall. The film’s script called for an early-20th-century hearse and Peoples was the only owner of such a rare item.

Reluctant at first, Peoples turned the producers down several times before finally allowing the filmmakers to take his 1927 hearse, which he calls “Miss Henney,” out for a spin.

“They sent me the script and they all signed it and I realized there weren’t any chase scenes or bullets or anything,” Peoples says. “Plus they used my car throughout the movie from start to finish, so I decided to go ahead and do it.”

Peoples has a section of the museum dedicated to Miss Henney’s starring role in the film, including photos of himself and his family with the stars of the film, as well as the original script. He also plays the film in the museum for visitors to watch as they tour.

A diverse crowd

Hollywood producers are not the only ones interested in Peoples’ collection. Though Peoples does not do any traditional advertising, the museum attracts visitors of all types.

“It’s pretty varied,” Peoples says of his guests. “We’ve got a church group that’s coming through next week. We’ve had Boy Scout troops, chamber of commerce people. With more tourism in Marietta, we’re seeing more people come in on buses, different groups.”

Marietta Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Charlotte Keim first experienced the museum when the chamber booked Mr. Peoples for a “Chamber After Hours” event, during which chamber members visit one local business for the evening.

“When I first heard about it, for our Chamber After Hours, I thought, ‘Well that doesn’t sound like something I’d be interested in’,” Keim says. “Going to a funeral home is not my thing so I didn’t even walk into the museum. But everyone kept walking into the museum and they were enthralled.”

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Once Keim saw how impressed her colleagues were, she decided to give the museum a chance and was pleasantly surprised

“There’s a first-class museum in a garage,” Keim says. “It’s not at all what you think it is. It’s not scary, it’s not gruesome. You wouldn’t know that you weren’t in one of the top-class museums in the world.”

The museum is free of charge and averages about three to four tours per week. Peoples says that visitors often expect something a bit creepier than what he has to offer.

“We get some college kids and some who are into the gothic world. They don’t appreciate what I’ve got. They’re looking for more ghoulish kinds of things. That’s not what I’m into.” Peoples says. “We don’t do that. Everything’s tasteful in here and tastefully displayed. We’re just telling them what the history of our business has been over the years.”

Apart from the National Museum of Funeral History in Houston, Texas—which Peoples says he hopes to visit—and a few small collections, Peoples’ museum is a one-of-a-kind experience. Peoples hopes that visitors who may expect the museum to be creepy will instead take away an understanding and appreciation for mortuary science.

To meet “Miss Henney” and the rest of Peoples’ collection, call (740) 373-1111.

by Hallie Rawlinson

Local College Student Strives to Raise Awareness About Cystic Fibrosis

Local College Student Strives to Raise Awareness About Cystic Fibrosis

Danie Dane doesn’t have much free time. In the past year, she’s earned her EMT paramedic certificate from Hocking College, trained for a bodybuilding competition and entered her last semester of college, all while working two jobs. Last May, however, Dane found time to organize […]