Sandhill Crane Event At Wildlife Refuge Saturday

A ”Celebration of Cranes” event will be held at the Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge this Saturday, Feb. 10. “Mid-February is usually a big migration time for Sandhill cranes through Jackson County and there should be many thousands of birds in the area,” said Donna Stanley, park ranger. “Everyone who enjoys birds is invited to come out and join Refuge staff and volunteers for an afternoon of learning about the visiting ‘Gray Ghosts’.”
During the event there will be free bird crafts for children at the Muscatatuck Visitor Center from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. Self-guided tour information will be available for those who would like to view cranes on their own.
Two guided, car caravan-type, crane tours will be held during the day, one at 10 a.m. and the other at 2 p.m. Both tours will leave from the Visitor Center and no advance registration is needed.
A program about sandhill cranes will be held at the Visitor Center at 1 pm. For more information: Muscatatuck@fws.gov or 812-522-4352 x 12.

Local Postmaster Transitions To Retirement

 

Crothersville Postmaster Carolyn King will close her 37-year career with the local post office Friday. A reception honoring her will begin at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 2, in the post office lobby.

 

 

Carolyn King, Crothersville’s postmaster for nearly 20 years, will retire this Friday.
King began working at the local post office as a city carrier in December 1980 delivering mail and packages to homes in Crothersville. In 1985, she was elevated to clerk but still helped carry daily mail deliveries when needed.
In September 1998, she was named postmaster replacing the retiring Cheryl Trisler.
What will she miss about not being at the post office lobby window? “Oh, the customers,” she said. “The post office in a small town is a social place. An unofficial meeting area where friends share what has gone on in their lives. I will miss that friendly, caring atmosphere.”
While postal customers could conduct business at Crothersville beginning at 8 a.m. when she opened the roll-up door at the lobby window, King’s day always began at 6:30 a.m., when she’d sort, case, get mail ready for carriers to deliver before opening to the public.
There have been many changes with small town post offices over the past 20 years. Some post offices have closed; others, like Crothersville, are open fewer hours.
“Probably the biggest change I have been a part of is the implementation of automation,” said King. Prior to that it took two clerks an hour and a half to sort the mail for delivery. “Now it comes in from Indianapolis already sorted to carrier route and in the sequence it is to be delivered.” That’s the barcode—those tiny lines below an address or mailing label—that helps to get the mail delivered more efficiently.
Another change King observed is that the volume of mail—letters and flats— has decreased as more people receive and pay their bills—as well as read magazines and newspapers—online.
“But, because of the internet…specifically internet shopping… the number of packages we deliver has increased,” King said. “Amazon has been a good thing for the postal service.”
And because of the increase in package delivery, the post office is now a partner with UPS, a former competitor.
Her most memorable experience with the post office? King said shortly after becoming postmaster there was a wooden building—originally the old Lewis Lumber Company— just east of the post office across the alley that caught fire.
“The fire department worked at putting out the fire and kept spraying the post office with water to keep it from catching fire while we anxiously worked inside at preparing the mail for delivery,” said King. “Finally, the fire chief said that we needed to evacuate.”
“But we had all of this mail that had been partially sorted and we couldn’t just leave it in the building,” recalled King.
“Everybody pitched in and we started pulling all the mail, putting it in totes and placing it in our mail delivery vehicle. It took us 15 minutes to clear the post office of all the mail, get it into a the truck, and then we secured the vehicle offsite.”
“Before long the fire department gave us the ‘all clear’ and we brought the truck back to the post office, called in some substitute carriers to help re-case the mail. It was hectic but because everyone pitched in, it all got delivered that day just a little later than usual,” King said.
After that frenetic time, King said she stepped out to buy a soft drink. During her break, her supervisor, who had been notified of the fire emergency, called to see how things were going.
“The clerk who answered the phone told him, ‘Everything is fine. We’re delivering the mail. Carolyn is out getting a drink.’ He reportedly replied, ‘Well, I guess I can’t blame her’,” the postmaster said with a giggle.
What will she be doing in her new non-post office life?
“Oh, I have a lot of things to do at home that have always been placed on the back burner,” she said. But first, she may visit her parents and brother at their Florida homes as a transitional respite.
“I’m sure that there will be things to come up to occupy my time,” she said.
Troy Lovegrove, a North Vernon resident, who was a city carrier in Crothersville for a period of time, has been named Officer In Charge of the Crothersville Post office until a new postmaster is named.

Man Arrested For Theft Of Over $50,000 From Family’s Children

Indiana State Police arrested Larry L. Paul, 45, from Scottsburg, last Friday evening, after an arrest warrant was issued out of the Scott County Circuit Court. The arrest warrant was the result of an investigation by Detective David Makowsky from the Sellersburg State Police Post.
In June of 2017, Makowsky was assigned a case in which the Paul had allegedly stolen over $50,000 from two juvenile family members who were left in his custody after the death of the children’s parent. According to ISP Sgt. Jerry Goodin.
The investigation revealed Larry L. Paul, allegedly stole monies left to the children as part of the children’s inheritance from the death of their parent.
Paul was taken into custody and incarcerated at the Scott County Jail at 5:23 p.m., Jan. 26, charged with two counts of theft.

3 Bag Limit On Weekly Trash

Crothersville residents are reminded that Rumpke will only pick up three bags of trash from each residence during weekly trash pick up. The bags can be up to a 30 gallon size.
If you have more than three bags, you can purchase special tags for 75¢ each at Town Hall and attach them to each extra bag and Rumpke will pick those bags up, said clerk-treasurer Terry Richey.

Snowy Owls Heading South For Food

Snowy Owls, native to the Arctic and northern Canada, are being seen with more frequency as far south as southern Indiana. A changing climate may be one of the reasons. Wildlife experts observe that as populations increase in the frigid northern climes the owls migrate south seeking food—small rodents small rodents which they find in abundance in the Hoosier State.
A Snowy Owl was observed sitting on an electric pole west of the Muscatatuck Wildlife Refuge last month.
~photo by Tracie Kovener

Nope, Sorry: Harsh Winter Doesn’t Decrease Summertime Insects

As temperatures plummet into the single digits, people will often seek any silver lining in the cold, cold days and nights.
A common theory is that bitter cold winters lead to fewer bugs — pests like gnats and mosquitoes — come summertime.
But Tim Gibb, a professor of entomology at Purdue University says that’s nothing more than an old wive’s tale.
“We hear that all the time,” he said with a chuckle. “But if it were really true, that a hard freeze kills off bugs and pests, then wouldn’t there be some years we didn’t have any at all?
“Because we always have hard freezes,” Gibb said. “It’s just not true.”
Gibb said the real truth about bugs and wintertime is quite the contrary.
Gnats and mosquitos are ectothermic, meaning their bodies adapt to the cold weather quite well. Bugs actually enter a cold-appropriate physiological state in which their bodies don’t form ice crystals, a process that protects them from the bitter cold weather.
“In almost every case,” Gibb said, “insects have found a way around a hard freeze. If an insect can keep from forming ice crystals in its body, it can undergo real, subzero weather.”
What pesky insects can’t adapt to, however, is a winter that brings with it a “roller coaster” of temperatures, a trend similar to what the area has experienced so far this winter.
“What really causes them trouble is when we get into a pattern of seeing low temperatures and then coming out of them only to plunge back into (the single digits) again,” Gibb said. “Physiologically, an insect is going to have real difficulty in dealing with that. They just have to change too much.
“They can’t adapt to the roller coaster,” Gibb said, “and if we have a lot of that, then insect populations do begin to suffer.”
That said, ups and downs in temperatures experienced so far this winter haven’t been extreme enough — at least not yet — to harm pest populations.
What does, without a doubt, affect the number of bugs seen in the hot summer months, however, is the amount of precipitation that falls in the springtime, Gibb said.
“The more rain we see in the spring means (a greater) potential for mosquitoes and gnats,” Gibb said. “In the cold, bugs, their larvae and eggs, they’re hearty. They actually do really well.
“But in the springtime, once the warmer weather and water gets to them, that’s when they hatch and we see those huge populations.
“So a lot more goes into bug populations besides what happens in the winter months,” he said. “It’s something we just won’t know more about until springtime.”
Jenny McNeece
Vincennes Sun-Commercial