Clubs Master Gardeners learn about vegetable growing

The Clay County Master Gardeners met on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. at the 4-H center. We held a short business meeting followed by a program presented by Dave and Elaine Roetman. They discussed their approaches to successful vegetable production and shared the names of their favorite plants.

They use a mulch of grass clippings in the summer to retain moisture and reduce soil compaction. In the fall they incorporate leaves into the soil to decompose over the winter. Tomatoes are planted on six-foot centers, caged and planted at two-week intervals for a longer harvest period. Onions are planted in rows raised up about 4 inches high and 20 inches wide. Two rows of onions are planted in this "running hill," spaced about 4 inches from the edge and 12 inches apart.

Members were reminded of the tree and lawn workshop to be presented on March 13, at 6:30 p.m. by Drs. John Ball and Marty Draper at the 4-H center.

This is open to the community.

A reminder was also given to bring extra pots and transplant mix to the next meeting for the plant sale scheduled for May 3 at 9 a.m. Also on May 3 the Farmer's Market will have their first sale in the vicinity of the 4-H center.

Our volunteer "Ask the Gardener" phone answering service at the Extension office is going to be renamed, "Master Gardener Hotline." We have not decided what days, hours, etc. to offer this service.

The master gardener training schedule for 2003 was discussed. Classes will be held in Redfield (April 29-July 8), Madison (April 14-June 30) and Rapid City (March 27-June 5). Interested persons should contact April Borders, Clay County Extension Educator.

Air crane pilot addresses Rotarians

The Vermillion Rotary Club with Barry Vickrey presiding, met March 4 for our weekly lunch at the Silver Dollar. No guests today from Vermillion High School; they�ve got a brief vacation and are probably busy playing in the snow, or, for those less frolicsome or more entrepreneurial, shoveling the snow from the sidewalks of the elderly or lazy among us.

But Kelly Kim, a VHS student who is here this year as an exchange student from South Korea, did join us. Other guests were Clem Powers, Anna Kerner, and Ray and Larry Pravecek. Rotary officers for this next year were announced: Dan Van Peursen, president-elect; Kent Scribner, VP; Pat Pravecek, treasurer; Al Pravecek, sergeant-at-arms; Kathy Chandler, secretary; Rikesh Patel, new board member.

For our program, we were taken aloft for a video ride by Larry Pravecek, a long-time pilot (though now safely retired) of a truly impressive flying machine, a �sky crane� built by Sikorsky Aircraft, that has got to be the nicest helicopter you�d ever want to meet.

This helicopter is not used just to drop off high and mighty people near their digs or to serve as a strafing platform. It has some magnificent peaceful uses.

It was put to work starting in 1971 by the Erickson Air-Crane Corp., headquartered in the heart of logging country in southern Oregon. No logging road? No problem. With this rig you can hoist tons of trees up and out and be back shortly for the next load. Got a fire? this monster can carry a 2,500 gallon tank of water to exactly where you need it. Need more water? This copter can refill its tank with a snorkel in less than a minute from any nearby body of water.

Got only salt water handy? They�ve developed a new kind of snorkel that will pick up sea water on the run (with the salt water spray coming up behind the engines where it won�t gum up, or salt up, the works) also in under a minute. And this lumbering (good pun, no?) giant is fast. It can shuttle back and forth moving at 30 knots or so (not that many of us have a clue what a �knot) is) and deliver many a load of whatever in its day�s work. A great machine if you�ve got lots of work to do.

Now it does cost approximately $10,000 per hour so you wouldn�t want to use it as your �sky hook� for reaching out to paint that outside eave on your house. But if you�re a logger or a power transmission tower builder or a firefighter or some such, this is the rig for you.

We saw a video clip showing how this helicopter was used to take down and then replace the statue on the top of the Capitol dome in Washington, DC recently. This 16,000 pound statue had been hauled up there somehow in five separate pieces back when Abe Lincoln was president. It needed a little refurbishing and polishing so the �sky crane� took it off and set it down on the ground near the Capitol.

After restoration, our guest, Larry Pravecek, hopped in his rig, picked it up and set it down ever so gently at the top of the dome again. Within not very many minutes.

Someone asked Larry whether piloting this friendly giant was dangerous. Of course not, he answered, though the insurance companies have never exactly agreed with that and he admitted to a couple of tense moments like once in Wyoming when a back up system failed and the rig lost power at 300 feet and came pretty much straight down (as copters will, not being such great gliders). But he walked away from that one and lived to tell us some tall but true takes about a great machine.

Catholic Daughters hold silent auction

St. Agnes Court #618 of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas assembled at St. Agnes School Feb. 25 for their regular business meeting and silent auction. Laura Zimmerman, vice regent, conducted the meeting in absence of the court regent, Theresa Wingen.

Reports were given by Lucille O�Connor on her weekly visits to the nursing home; Education Director Mary Geffre Johnson reported on the education contests, poetry, art, poster and computer art. Winners will be announced in April. Mary Bartels, legislative chairman, reported on the issues at the state capitol.

The court voted to say the rosary before the weekend Masses during Lent for peace in the world and for our military troops and their families called to serve.

Robin Eisenmenger�s name was drawn for the cash drawing, but she was not present.

A silent auction followed with $79 for the convention fund. Mary Kay Zimmerman and her committee served a tasty lunch to members in attendance.

The court sponsored a Mardi Gras Ball March 1 at the St. Agnes School auditorium with Kenny Carlow�s Band providing the evening�s entertainment. Lucille O�Connor was crowned queen of the Mardi Gras for 2003 with her king, Berwyn Svoboda. A grand march was held in their honor.

Several door prizes donated by merchants were given throughout the evening. Don Benson won the �1989 Covered Wagon� print and Eleanor Offerdahl was the recipient of the weekend at the Super-8 Motel.

A bountiful lunch was served to nearly 60 people in attendance to celebrate the Magic of Mardi Gras 2003 before Lent begins.

The next meeting of the Catholic Daughters will be held at the Vermillion Care Center March 25. Members are requested to bring items for the �Comfy Bags� to be distributed to the abused and neglected.

Eta chapter meets with Schafer

Eta chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma met at the lovely new home of Janet Petersen, 305 South Yale, Feb. 15, 11:30 a.m. for a potluck lunch. Preceding the lunch, members assembled at the fire hall for the Cracker Barrel session where they served refreshments to the District 17 legislators and visitors attending.

Donna Schafer, state representative of District 17, attended the chapter�s meeting. She informed the members of her committee duties at the state capitol. She encouraged members to contact her if they had concerns on certain legislative isues.

Corinne Rath, chapter vice president, presided at the business meeting. The chapter will make a donation to the Vermillion Public Library for their Summer Reading program, and the �After Prom� held at Vermillion High School. Brenda Martens was nominated for the Eta chapter achievement award and her name will be submitted to the State Alpha Pi Contest.

Susan Gapp, Reading Recovery teacher, leader and instructor at USD, presented an informative program on �Retention.� She answered several questions directed from the membership.

The next meeting will be held at the St. Agnes School, March 18 at 7 p.m. with the program presented by Janet Petersen, on �Rural Schools.� Hostesses for the evening will be Helen Kephart, chairman, assisted by Eleanor Offerdahl and Diane Smidt.

Alpha Pi�s state project is �Literacy and Numeracy for Lifelong Learning� and members are encouraged to carry the theme in their classrooms and daily life.

The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International promotes professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education.

Monthly card party hosts 20 players

The monthly card party was held Monday afternoon, Feb. 24 with a small, but enthusiastic, group of 20 players. There were eight bridge players with Jim Prosser high; Shirley Raab, second; and Barb Kronaizl, low. The six pinochle players had some happy faces and some sad faces, with wins and losses on each side. The six pitch players battled all afternoon to win a game with �Ponca� Wes winning four games. Refreshments were by Barb Kronaizl.

Dominoes proved to be very interesting Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 25 with 11 players � two tables. Jayne Merrigan and Pat Olson tied for low, Marlene Amundsen was high (caught with the double aught twice) while Babe Manning didn�t win a single round for table one. Mary and Fritz Bartels were low and high for table two but it was a tough game � there was only a 20 point spread between all players going into the 12th round. Verle Lawrenson and Robin Eisenmenger tied for second high. Winning the most rounds proved to be the big factor in the low scores at each table as Merrigan and M. Bartels each won five rounds.

A grand total of 55 enjoyed a fun time Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 26. Bridge had 26 with prizes going to Marlys Miller, first; Barb Kronaizl, second; Lovella Matson, third; Phyllis Christol, fourth; Jim Prosser, bogie; and Lola Christensen, low. There were sets and wins among the 25 pitch and four pinochle players.

Refreshments were served by Roberta and Don Benson and Glennis and Jack Stewart.

The place to go for fun, fellowship and food is the Senior Citizens Center! Come and join us!

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