Gov. Abbott Proclaims Saturday, Sept. 24, National Hunting and Fishing Day in Texas


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AUSTIN – In recognition of the 45th annual observance of the conservation successes of hunters and anglers, Gov. Greg Abbott has proclaimed Saturday, Sept. 24, as National Hunting and Fishing Day in Texas.

“Hunting and fishing are family traditions in Texas that have been passed down through generations. I am proud that, just last year, we forever enshrined the right to hunt and fish in the Texas Constitution,” said Gov. Abbott. “As we celebrate Hunting and Fishing Day, I encourage all Texans to learn more about ways we can continue to conserve our natural resources so that future generations can protect our connection with the land.”

It has been more than a century since America’s first environmentalists — hunters and anglers — established the conservation tradition in our nation. These early environmentalists warned that the population growth and industrial development that offered prosperity for our nation also created serious threats to the future of our wildlife resources. Hunters and anglers fought for the laws and regulations that created a new system of wildlife management that would rescue many species of wildlife from near extinction and would set aside millions of acres of important habitat to help ensure future wildlife abundance.

In Texas, efforts by anglers helped create protection of red drum and other aquatic resources from commercial over-harvest, as well as conservation of aquatic habitat such as seagrasses and the control of invasive exotic aquatic vegetation.

National Hunting and Fishing Day, formalized by Congress in 1971, was created by the National Shooting Sports Foundation to celebrate conservation successes of hunters and anglers. From shopping center exhibits to statewide expos, millions of citizens learned to appreciate America’s sportsman-based system of conservation funding. That system now generates more than $1.7 billion per year, benefiting all who appreciate wildlife and wild places.


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Upshur votes to fix library’s leaking roof


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GILMER–Upshur County Commissioners Court, meeting in special session, voted 3-0 with one abstention last Thursday afternoon to approve approximately $3,000 worth of repairs to the leaky roof of the Upshur County Library.

Pct. 3 Commissioner Frank Berka told this newspaper after the meeting he abstained because there is a “question on who has ownership of the building.” He did not elaborate.

Commissioners Mike Spencer, Don Gross and Paula Gentry approved the repairs recommended by county building maintenance supervisor David Womble. Womble said work would begin after Oct. 1 (the beginning date for the county’s new 2016-17 fiscal year budget) because the current 2015-16 budget lacks funds for the repairs.

Womble also warned the court that the roof has rust spots, and that $50,000 would be required to repair the roof overall, perhaps in two years.

In other business, the court approved three resolutions concerning potential state legislation.

One of the resolutions, which County Judge Dean Fowler said were prepared by the Texas Association of Counties for forwarding to the state legislature, opposes placing caps on appraisals and revenues.

Another opposes unfunded mandates from the state (ordering the county to do certain things without providing state funding.) The third supports providing state funds for indigent defendants’ attorneys in criminal cases rather than using county funds.

The court also Thursday:

–Named County Emergency Management Coordinator Marc Nichols to the additional post of county fire marshal at a monthly salary of $500.

–Canceled a scheduled $40,000 payment for an asphalt zipper machine. County Road Administrator Andy Jordan told this newspaper he decided to use the funds for three loads of oil instead.

–Approved amendments to the 2015-16 budget.

–Changed dates for the “county dump days” to Sept. 24 alone.

–Approved using Courthouse Security Funds to re-key a fourth floor office in the courthouse. After the meeting, Fowler said the move would cost less than $100.


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Heart of Gold 5K & Fun Run to Honor Gladewater Child Fighting Cancer


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DALLAS  – Brock Gumm – a young cancer fighter from Gladewater will be honored this Saturday at Heroes for Children’s annual Heart of Gold 5K and Fun Run in honor of National Childhood Cancer Awareness month in September. Heroes for Children is a unique Richardson-based nonprofit that provides financial and social assistance to families with children who are battling cancer – is hosting the 12th Annual Heart of Gold 5K & Fun Run on Sept. 24, 2016. The event is held each year in September in honor of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month to help raise funds and awareness for Texas children battling cancer.

Heroes for Children is  honoring Gumm and posthumously honoring  Baylee Myers as the grand marshals for this year’s event.

The two grand marshals represent the hospitals that HFC serves in Dallas-Fort Worth. Brock Gumm represents Medical City Children’s and Baylee Myers represents Cook Children’s. HFC partners with social workers in these hospitals to find families who could benefit from financial and social help from HFC.

Brock was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma when he was 6 years old and has been fighting ever since. As a part of his diagnosis, he underwent limb salvage surgery to remove the tumor and the bone it was attached to. After surgery, Brock went through months of physical therapy and occupational therapy. He underwent chemotherapy until May 27, 2015, and was soon declared cancer free. A year later, he relapsed and underwent surgery to have his arm amputated and four swollen lymph nodes removed. Brock has completed chemotherapy and is undergoing scans every three months, but there doesn’t seem to be any cancer anywhere else in his body.

“Brock’s diagnosis has affected our life in so many ways. It’s made us stronger in our faith and has taught us to live in the moment and cherish everything,” says Paige Gumm. “We don’t know what tomorrow holds, but no one does. The hardest part for me is seeing my son go through everything he has been through and still be strong and brave and fight on. He is my hero!”

After Brock’s relapse, HFC was able to lift a huge burden off of the Gumm family by providing financial assistance. The family was able to focus on being there for Brock as he battles cancer.

At age 3, Baylee was diagnosed with stage 4 Neuroblastoma, which spread to all of her long bones, including four bone lesions, and 100 percent Neuroblastoma in her bone marrow, causing a lot of pain that limited her ability to walk.  She bravely underwent five rounds of chemotherapy and successfully completed two stem cell transplants. After the second transplant, Baylee contracted rhino virus which infected her lungs. She bravely fought the virus for three weeks before passing away on September 13, 2016.

“Heroes for Children made a huge difference. Baylee’s diagnosis has impacted the entire family – both physically and emotionally,” Stephanie Myers says. “Heroes for Children helped us on two different occasions when we weren’t sure how we were going to pay our mortgage.”

Heroes for Children understands how isolating a cancer diagnosis can feel for the entire family. It is the vision of the organization that no family with a child battling cancer will fight alone.

The Heart of Gold 5K & Fun Run will be held on Saturday, Sept. 24, at The Plaza at Galatyn Park in Richardson, Texas. The event begins with the annual commemorative balloon release led by co-founders Jenny and Larissa, followed by the Family Fun Run and 5K. There will be a live DJ and kid’s Adventure Zone with games, rock climbing wall, activities, bounce houses and a special area to honor and remember children who have been affected by cancer. The event also includes fantastic prizes, awards, giveaways, food and more. Register at https://thedriven.net/heroes5k.

 


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BIG TIME TEXAS HUNTS DEADLINE APPROACHING FAST


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AUSTIN— Hunting seasons are in full swing in Texas and more opportunities are on the horizon, including chances at premium guided hunt packages through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Big Time Texas Hunts program. Deadline to apply for these top shelf hunting adventures is Oct. 15.

Big Time Texas Hunts provide opportunities to win one or more of nine premium guided hunt packages with food and lodging provided, as well as taxidermy in some cases. The crown jewel of the program is the Texas Grand Slam hunt package, which includes four separate hunts for Texas’ most prized big game animals — the desert bighorn sheep, white-tailed deer, mule deer and pronghorn.

In addition to the Grand Slam, there are several quality deer hunting packages available, as well as opportunities to pursue alligator, waterfowl, upland game birds, wild hog and exotics. Check out this video documenting last year’s Ultimate Mule Deer Hunt, the latest addition to Big Time Texas Hunts http://bit.ly/MuleDeerVideo .

For more information about this year’s Big Time Texas Hunts and to purchase entries online for $9 each visit www.tpwd.texas.gov/buyentry . Entries are also available for $10 each at hunting license retailers or by phone (800) 895-4248. There is no limit to the number of entries an individual may purchase and all proceeds benefit conservation, wildlife management and public hunting. To learn more about the programs supported through Big Time Texas Hunts, visit http://bit.ly/ProjectsSupported .


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TOYOTA SHARELUNKER SEASON BEGINS OCT 1


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TPWD implementing program changes to optimize spawning success

AUSTIN – For over 30 years, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) Toyota ShareLunker Program has created awareness of the value of catch-and-release fishing, provided 13 pounds or heavier largemouth bass to support Texas’s selective breeding program and generated nationwide interest in Texas bass fishing. This year, TPWD is implementing changes to  fully incorporate ShareLunker offspring into hatchery brood stock.

While the ShareLunker season will continue to run each year from Oct.1 through April 30, only those entries collected between Jan. 1 – March 31 will be accepted as brood stock for spawning.

“Our analysis of spawning results has determined that January-March provides the greatest opportunity to obtain good candidates for spawning,” stated Todd Engeling, TPWD’s Chief of Inland Hatcheries. “For all ShareLunkers caught outside of that timeframe, TPWD staff will weigh and measure each fish and obtain a fin clip for genetic analysis. The fish will then be returned to the angler.”

During January through March, every ShareLunker that TPWD staff determines to be capable of spawning will be transported to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens. In recent years, pure Florida largemouth bass have been primarily used for spawning due to limited hatchery space. Starting this season, TPWD staff will attempt to spawn all ShareLunker bass regardless of genetics. However, only pure Florida ShareLunker offspring will be incorporated into the hatchery brood stock program.

“Pure Florida largemouth bass make up nearly half of all ShareLunkers entered while they typically make up less than 10 percent of bass in the wild. That means they likely provide the best chance to reach trophy size,” said Engeling. “TPWD will begin converting hatchery largemouth bass brood stock so that eventually all will be descendants of pure-Florida ShareLunkers.”

In addition, although ShareLunker entries will still be accepted from private waters, ShareLunker offspring will not be stocked back into private water bodies even when the ShareLunker is donated from private waters.

The changes announced for 2016-17 season are part of a long-term strategy being developed for the Toyota ShareLunker program, according to Kyle Brookshear, Toyota ShareLunker Program Coordinator. A team of hatchery scientists, fisheries managers and education and outreach experts is evaluating the program’s long-term goals and strategies. Additional improvements will be incorporated into future seasons with the goal of increasing angler participation.

“As a competitive angler and fishing advocate, I am thrilled to be part of the ShareLunker program and to contribute to its new direction,” said Brookshear. “We want to continue to reward our anglers for not only catching a trophy largemouth bass but also for helping us manage our fisheries to enhance trophy bass fishing in Texas.”

ShareLunker catches can be reported 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling (903) 681-0550. For complete information and rules of the ShareLunker program, tips on caring for big bass and a recap of last year’s season, see www.tpwd.texas.gov/sharelunker/. The site also includes a searchable database of all fish entered into the program.

The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible by a grant to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation from Gulf States Toyota. Toyota is a long-time supporter of the Foundation and TPWD, providing major funding for a wide variety of education, fish, parks and wildlife projects.


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