There's little doubt last year's season-ending substate defeat at the hands of conference and proximity rival Spirit Lake left a bad taste in the mouth of the Tiger boys basketball team a year ago. Despite having lost to the Indians by 20-plus their first two encounters, Spencer pushed their opponent to double overtime behind a 28-point effort from Jake Kluender, but a 34 to three discrepancy in free throws and a minus-10 showing in the turnover differential left the Tigers on the wrong side of a 74-66 game.. ...
Elk shot in Monona County
DES MOINES -- An elk of unknown origin in west central Iowa was shot at the request of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Sunday morning (Nov. 8) to protect the Iowa deer herd and domestic livestock from the potential impacts of chronic wasting disease and other diseases...
Fall is trout spawning time
DES MOINES -- Hundreds of yellow ovals offset the brown and green coloration of each female brown trout ready to spawn at the Manchester Fish Hatchery. The splashes of color are signs that trout spawning season is in full swing. Brook trout, Iowa's only native trout, already gave up their eggs in October. A domesticated strain of brook trout is maintained at the Manchester Fish Hatchery. Over 453,000 eggs were collected this year...
Become a FeederWatcher to help the birds
ITHICA, N.Y. -- Watching birds is a joy unto itself -- but you can easily make it mean so much more just by reporting the birds you see to Project FeederWatch. This popular citizen-science project from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology launched its 29th season on Nov. 14. Whether you're already a dedicated bird watcher or would like to give it a try, sign up now at FeederWatch.org to support the scientific study and conservation of birds with your observations...
Memorable trips from this past open water season
Open water season in my part of the world is winding down. There might be a couple more trips in the boat, but I'm getting the ice fishing stuff ready to go. It's at this time of year that I like to look back at the season just completed. Every year has trips that are more memorable than others, for one reason or another. Following are a couple of very memorable trips from this past open water fishing season...
We have waited long enough
It's been over five years since Nov. 2, 2010, when the people of Iowa voted to amend the Iowa Constitution to create the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. As I write this column in mid-November ... that is over 1,840 days that we have been waiting for the funding to be approved. Why the wait? There are so many ways to make this happen. Yet, we sit waiting...
Indians, Mustangs set sights on title tussle
CEDAR FALLS -- Spirit Lake is no stranger to the state's biggest stage. Neither are names like Brown, or Poock. With a 49-34 defeat of defending state champion North Fayette Valley in the semifinal round of the Class 2A football playoffs, the Indians advanced to their third state championship in five years. ...
18 Tigers earn postseason honors
The Tiger football team and head coach Jim Tighe have announced this season's individual player awards from the team as well as the Tigers achieving recognition from the district (Class 3A, District 1) after a 5-5 season that ended in the first round of the playoffs to semifinalist and district champion Sergeant Bluff-Luton. ...
Sent Dome packing
CEDAR FALLS -- With the chance to head to the state title game and repeat as 8-man champions, the Newell-Fonda football team ran into a brick wall named Don Bosco Thursday morning at the UNI-Dome. The two teams last met a year ago in the state quarterfinals, where the Mustangs beat the Dons 37-36. Don Bosco, 2013 state champions, was able to enact some revenge this time around, toppling Newell-Fonda 30-7...
Reflecting on pheasant hunt at Hole N the Wall Farm
Last Monday and Tuesday, I had the opportunity to experience first-class pheasant hunting in western Iowa, outstanding accommodations and participate in an extremely beneficial "Private Lands Conservation Tour." It all came through an invitation from Kristyn Brady representing the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP). Two other outdoor writers (both from Minnesota) and I were invited to the outing...
DNR works to restore rare, but historically important habitat
RUTHVEN -- An ambitious effort to restore one of Iowa's rarest natural habitats is being undertaken throughout northwest and north central Iowa. Known as a bur oak savanna, these grasslands are dominated by large bur oak trees that once grew with little competition from neighboring trees. This complex network of sun and shade patches created by an overstory of primarily open-grown oak trees leads to an amazing diversity of grasses, sedges, and flowering plants...
Iowa's popular furbearer season now open
DES MOINES -- Iowa is at the top of another national list, ranking in the top five in the country for the number of furharvesters. "We have quite a few active trappers here," said Vince Evelsizer, furbearer biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. "We have a good thing going in our state and want it to continue. Our trappers represent the activity in a positive light and we appreciate them for it."...
Enjoying the fall migration
The cool, crisp days of fall are here. I have been enjoying signs of the changing season: the bright red, orange and yellow of leaves; salamanders and wooly bears crossing the road; an abundance of acorns and walnuts on the ground; and flocks of flickers gathering for their journey south...
Time to make some plans
There was snow in the air last week. Not much, but enough to remind me of something that I didn't need to be reminded of: winter is getting closer. We could be ice fishing on small ponds and lakes in less than a month. Strangely, I enjoy ice fishing more now than I did in the past. I am planning some of my ice fishing trips for the upcoming season right now. Following are some locations you might want to consider if you want to get in on some outstanding ice fishing action this year...
Laker volleyball receives postseason recognition
The 2015 Iowa Community College Athletic Conferene Division-II Volleyball regional tournaments concluded last weekend with Des Moines Area Community College and Kirkwood Community College taking their respective tournament crowns. Both teams will advance to the NJCAA D-II Volleyball Championships in Phoenix, Arizona on Nov. 19-21. The top-seeded DMACC Bears took down Northeast in straight sets while the Kirkwood Eagles persevered over Iowa Central in five sets...
Indians punch UNI-Dome ticket with 35-13 win over Lions
SPIRIT LAKE -- After a two-year hiatus, the Indians are heading back to the dome. With a 35-13 win over Central Lyon/George-Little Rock on Friday night, second-ranked Spirit Lake clinched its first trip back to Cedar Falls since winning the state title in 2012...
CC-E athletes given postseason recognition
Seven Clay Central-Everly athletes received postseason recognition this week for their involvement in the fall sports season. Honors for the football team were given by the district as follows (from left): Judge Altenburg (honorable mention), Ben McClain (second team), Nelson Findling (second team), Bailey Stimson (first team), Logan Heissel (first team) and Henry Rinehart (honorable mention -- not pictured. Katrina McCarty was the lone Maverick volleyball player to earn War Eagle Conference recognition with an honorable mention. (Photo submitted)
Geelan signs with Chargers
Andy Geelan, the son of Pat and Kristi Geelan and a senior at Ruthven/Ayrshire High School, signed a letter of intent Monday to play basketball at Briar Cliff University in Sioux City. Present at the signing in Ruthven were: (back) head coach Randy Hough of the GT/RA Titans and BCU Chargers head coach Nic Nelson along with Andy's parents. "We're very excited to have Andy join us. We just think he is a terrific player and will be a great fit with our program and fit in well with the guys," Coach Nelson said. "We just like the way he plays and handles the ball and the way he can pass and shoot it." When asked why he chose BCU Andy replied "I just really like the players a lot and the campus, and I'm just excited to move on to the next level of play and continue playing basketball." But, Andy has one season left as a Titan -- and what does Coach Hough expect; "Andy has had three good years so far. His freshmen year he was laid up a little bit with a concussion but sophomore and junior years he played really well, and I'm expecting big things out of him his senior year." (Photo courtesy of Jay Schoning, The Ruthven Zipcode)
Tigers tie for 15th at state
MARSHALLTOWN -- Spencer's girls wrapped up the 2015 season Saturday at the IGHSAU State Swimming and Diving Meet held at the Marshalltown YMCA. A total of 33 teams had at least one individual or relay team qualify for one of the 12 events at the meet. The Tigers performed well enough in their five events to put 46 points up on the board to tie Cedar Rapids Washington in 15th place...
Headin' down to Marshalltown
This fall opened with a couple of question marks for the Spencer's girls swim team. After two straight seasons with perfect dual records, how would the Tigers handle a change at the helm as Amie Lawrence took over the program? Furthermore, how well would the team be able to replace the athleticism of current Kansas Jayhawk swimmer Taylor Sieperda and additional standout Emma Dau who is starting her first season of D-1 basketball at Wisconsin-Milwaukee this year -- two swimmers with fingerprints on eight of Spencer's 11 available records?. ...
Mustangs dominate Colo-Nesco 49-0, face Don Bosco in semis
NEWELL -- Without two injured senior leaders, Newell-Fonda dominated Colo-Nesco Friday night in the 8-man state playoff quarterfinal. "It was the battle up front that was the key," Mustang football coach Brian Wilken said. "Our offensive and defensive lines opened up holes for us when we had to make plays."...
Northeast outlasts Lakers, ends ILCC season
NORFOLK, NEBRASKA -- The Iowa Lakes volleyball team saw its season come to a heartbreaking end Wednesday night in a 3-2 loss to Northeast Community College in the semifinal match of the regional tournament. "Tonight was a really tough loss for us. It is always difficult to see a season come to an end especially when we played so hard. We just couldn't finish at the end of sets," Laker volleyball coach Megan Bezdicek...
Indians knocking on UNI-Dome door with back-to-back playoff wins
SPIRIT LAKE -- With wins over Sioux Center and Estherville Lincoln Central in the first two rounds of the Class 2A playoffs, the Spirit Lake football team is one win away from a trip to Cedar Falls. The second-ranked Indians topped Sioux Center -- who eliminated Spirit Lake in the quarterfinals a year ago -- in the opening round in a 35-0 rout before outscoring ELC 49-0 to open a 49-20 win on Monday...
Spencer 13th at state
FORT DODGE -- The final five kilometers are always the toughest of the cross country season, especially when they come at Lakeside Municipal Golf Course for the Iowa State Cross Country Meet. Saturday's a.m. showers and blustery, 40-degree afternoon didn't make for the smoothest course in the world, but the Tiger girls still posted some personal bests while turning in a team score of 231 to finish in 13th -- exactly 100 points behind champion Davenport Assumption...
Tigers advance 5 events to state
FORT DODGE -- Six individuals who make up five of the Spencer swim team's events punched their tickets to the IGHSAU State Swim Meet Saturday afternoon at the regional meet in Fort Dodge. All three of the Tiger relays (200 medley relay, 200 free relay, 400 free relay) made the cut, and Emma VerSteeg and Madison Sieperda advanced individually in the 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard freestyle respectively. The state meet will be held this coming Saturday at the Marshalltown YMCA...
Iowa Lakes women defeat Minnesota West
ESTHERVILLE -- The Iowa Lakes women's basketball team defeated Minnesota West Saturday afternoon by a score of 87-48. The Lakers built a 36-27 lead at the half and outscored the Bluejays 28-8 in the third quarter to open the game up. The win pushes Iowa Lakes to 6-2 on the season...
Ruddy places 29th at half marathon championship
LEVALLAND, TEXAS -- A pair of Iowa Lakes runners traveled to Levalland, Texas to compete in the National Half Marathon Championship this past weekend. Both Rachel Ruddy and Mercedes Jochims would be running their last meet as a Laker. "We had hoped to get Rachel into the top-20 and get national recognition as well as the school record, and we wanted to get Mercedes under two hours," Laker cross country coach David Peterson said. ...
Lakers roll past Bluejays
ESTHERVILLE -- The Iowa Lakes men's basketball team moved to 7-1 on the season with a 91-69 win over Minnesota West Saturday in Laker Gymnasium. The Lakers had five players score in double figures. Cody Cox led the way with 19 points. Also scoring in double figures were Tywon Bressler Jr with 15, Blake Wilder with 14 points and 11 rebounds, Chris Jones with 13 and Demetrius Woodley with 11...