Plucking & Plunking

Curt-lineby Curt Kovener

There’s another battle raging in the wilderness. This one isn’t with stinging insects building nests where they are too close for human inhabitants of the woodlands.

I have a small fenced garden in the lower meadow. It is a decent walk from the house but it is one of the closest places that gets full sun.

And it is surrounded with 2”x4” welded wire fencing to keep the deer and turkey from sampling my vegetables.

Last week I went inside the enclosure to do some weeding and fertilizing when I saw really bare stalks on my tomato plants.

“How did deer get in here?” was my first response. But a closer inspection showed me the real culprit: tomato hornworms.

I paused gazing at the plants quiver as fat yellow-green worms chomped on the leaves. A few of the green tomatoes also had been gnawed on.

The large light green worms turn into the brown & gray hawk moth which we sometimes call the hummingbird moth.

I don’t like to use insecticides as frequently they indiscriminately do in beneficial bugs. So I opted for the pluck & plunk method: picking them off by hand and putting them in a small bucket.

It is reminiscent of my youth when my Dad put in a much larger garden with at least 10 rows of potatoes. It was my and my younger brothers task to collect the potato bugs. He would give us a small can with about an inch of kerosene or gasoline. We walked up and down those rows turning leaves looking for orange potato beetle larvae and sometimes find the striped adult potato beetle. Tapping or scraping the insects into the can quickly dispatched them and showing Dad the results of our hunt in the hot sun usually earned us a soft drink.

But picking tomato worms is a pit of a different strategy. They look like they have a stinger on their rear end but the hair-like projection is soft and harmless. They have several sets of rear suckers for feet that firmly affix them to the tomato stalk.

So I just grab them anywhere, tug until they let go on the plant and plunk them in the bucket.

They are tougher to find than the contrasting color potato bug as the horn worms are the same color as the tomatoes plants they are defoliating. So it takes some diligent looking to locate them.

When I first saw the damaged plants the worms were big and fat: about the diameter and length of my middle finger. Which, I suppose, is an appropriate way to describe how I felt about the creatures eating my tomatoes before I could.

But what do you do with a crawling bucket of green worms? Feed the fish.

When they are plunked in the pond the smaller worms float on the surface and a quickly grabbed and gobbled by bluegill. They come charging up to the big worms but abruptly stop to examine when they see the worm won’t fit in their mouth. Finally a brave bluegill grabs the worm a midships and starts to swim off with others with new found courage quickly following.

So this pluck & plunk is my daily process for a while I wage battle on the tomato hornworm. I do not know if this is a fight I can win…but at least the fish will be well fed.


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Former School Trustee Sentenced To 13 Years For Dealing Drugs

A former Crothersville School Board member and Republican Precinct committeeman was sentenced to 13 years in prison for dealing drugs in Jackson Circuit Court last Wednesday

Roger D. McIntosh

Roger D. McIntosh

Roger D. McIntosh, 56, of South Armstrong Street in Crothersville agreed to plead guilty as a part of a please agreement to a single felony count of dealing in controlled substance after he was arrested in June 2015 on five counts of dealing drugs, theft, and illegal possession of ginseng.

At the time of his arrest authorities found 10 prescription bottles and bundled packets of hydrocodone, oxymorphine, Alprazolan, Oxycontin, and Suboxone not in prescription containers labeled as prescribed to McIntosh.

At the time of his arrest, McIntosh was out of jail on bond from his arrest in March 2014 on an earlier five-count charge of dealing drugs.

As a result of the plea agreement, the additional charges were dismissed by Senior Judge William Vance.

At the sentencing last Wednesday, his daughter, Morgan McIntosh, 25, of East Crothersville Road in rural Austin, said, “My dad is a good guy, He’s always been there for me. He just got wrapped up in some drug stuff,” she told the court.

She said that her father was active in the Crothersville community serving on the school board, Lions Club, and was a Republican Precinct committeeman for 20 years.

“In 2003 he was named the Austin High School Outstanding Alumnus,” she said.

Under questioning by Deputy Prosecutor Herbert “Pete” Walker, she admitted having a drug problem in the past, obtaining drugs from her father.

Roger McIntosh’s daughter, Sara, died of a drug overdose in 2010, her sister said in court.

In asking the judge for leniency in sentencing, she told the judge, ”He won’t do it again. I think it (his facing time in prison) scared him enough.”

Walker called Christopher Ryan Taylor, 31, of Scottsburg to testify at the sentencing. Taylor is currently incarcerated in Scott County Jail on other drug charges.

He told the judge that he sold drugs for McIntosh in Scott County and Eastern Kentucky in 2013. He said his dealing in pills such as Xanax and Roxicodone brought from $800-$1,500 a day.

In addition to selling drugs for McIntosh, Taylor told the judge that he “acted sort of like security for Roger keeping people who wanted to buy drugs away from his home,” he said. “Roger didn’t want to deal from his home because he didn’t want to draw attention.”

McIntosh acknowledged his wrongdoing to the judge. “I’ve done some bad things. But I’ve done some good things, good things for my community. I hope they are taken into consideration,” he said. “I’m just sorry it has come to this.”

McIntosh’s attorney Bart Betteau, reminded the judge of McIntosh’s lack of a criminal record. “What he did was absolutely reprehensible. But for 50 years he was a good man doing good things in his community: served on the school board, 15 years in the Lions Club, 20 years as a Republican precinct committeeman.

“A lengthy prison sentence doesn’t benefit Roger, doesn’t benefit the community,” Betteau told the judge.

Walker reminded Vance that McIntosh “was dealing drugs while out on bond (on other drug charges). He had a very developed operation.”

Before handing down the sentence, Vance said that he engaged in smoking as a youth and that others in his circle did as well. “Today, it seems, if one person uses drugs others in his circle (are likely to) use drugs,” he said.

“But when you engage in the culture and business of selling drugs that is a different consideration,” said Vance. “I am disturbed by him (McIntosh) supplying drugs to his own daughter.”

Vance sentenced McIntosh to 13 years to the Indiana Department of Corrections and suspended three of those years. He was ordered to serve eight years and the final two years on house arrest.

CHS Anglers Rank In World High School Fishing Finals

online CHS fishing

Shown above are club members Chandler Niehause, Taylor Tatlock, Joseph Tatlock, David Ross, and Dillon Maschino. Other members of the club include. Jonathon Wiesman, Andrew Johnson, Jonathon Eldridge, and James Amos.

Members of the Crothersville High School Fishing Club, Joseph Tatlock and Dillon Maschino, participated in the High School World Finals in Florence Alabama at McFarland Park on Pickwick Lake June 29,30, July 1st. They caught a total of 5 bass, one weighing 2 lbs 9 oz, and 4 with a total weight of 6 lbs 15 oz ranking them 69th out of 184 teams from 22 different states.

The Crothersville club is a part of the SAF student angler federation. The boys said the experience and memories will last a lifetime.

Tatlock is the son of Nick Tatlock, and Cassandra Tatlock; Maschino is the son of Angela Schmelzle, and Ed Maschino II.

The club thanks their sponsors for the year: 5-C Auto Parts, Walmart Distribution Center, The Peoples Bank, Complete Construction, Tatlock Lawn Care, Wilson’s Equipment Company, Bob Poynter GM Seymour, Aisin Drivetrain, Inc.

Locals Are Fair Queen Pageant Participants

online fair queenTwo Crothersville teens will be taking part in this Sunday’s Jackson County Fair Queen Pageant.

Cassidy Mantz, daughter of Brian & Regina Huey and George Mantz, sponsored by the Crothersville Extension Homemakers, is one of the 17 contestants in the annual grandstand kick-off to the county fair.

Derrick Maxie, son of Ryan & Linda Begley and Dennis Maxie, will be one of the four escorts for the pageant.

~photo courtesy of Denise Maxie