Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Indiana Libraries are not alone in the fight against consolidation

I am preparing to meet with State Senators and Representatives regarding my opinion about library consolidation.

It seems that a few of our friends in New York are also gearing up to retain local control of their public libraries. In my research I have found that they have some excellent ideas about inter-library cooperation that deserve serious investigation.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Because Democracy is not a Spectator Sport

We are EXTREMELY fortunate to have a St. Joseph County Chapter of the League of Women Voters! DO visit their site for voting information.

Organic Food with Community Support



For more information contact:

North Central Region – Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program

(402) 472-7081

Organic Food with Community Support

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) ventures are relatively new in the United States, and not much is known about designing them for rural areas. That is until now.

Thanks to a North Central Region – Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR-SARE) grant, Michael Hollcraft of New Carlisle, Indiana plans to test develop an organic CSA marketing model that is convenient for rural consumers and profitable for farmers.

CSAs allow members of the community to become shareholders in a farming operation in return for fresh produce. This provides fresh local food for the shareholder and helps the farmer cover the upfront production expenses. Shareholders also help share the risks of farming when weather or other difficulties arise.

Hollcraft will use his sustainable agriculture grant to explore the best way to operate an organic CSA in a rural community. He will conduct market research to determine consumer food preferences and price points, which membership options work best, and customers’ willingness to use the Internet for membership payments and placing orders.

For more information or to participate in the upcoming CSA Marketing Survey, you may contact Michael Hollcraft at and/or (574) 993-3008.

Hollcraft plans to look at other CSA operations to determine which practices work well, and how he can improve upon them. He also plans to do a literature search to uncover Best Practices for creating a profitable, organic CSA. Hollcraft explains that a Best Practice is a technique or practice that, through experience and research, has been proven to reliably lead to a desired result.

Once the research is done, Hollcraft will put together fact sheets that can be used by other producers who are facing the same marketing problems he faces. He will also offer to share his expertise on the subject through workshops and Extension events.

Research results of all past NCR-SARE funded projects can be reviewed on the national SARE web site located at by clicking on the Project Reports tab. For individuals looking to do their own on-farm research projects, more information is available at the North Central Region web site located at

"Wander" Indiana!

Remember that slogan from what seems to be a million years ago??? I guess alot of people complained (what's new?), but I liked the television ad with the old Studebaker cruising around.

Anyway...back on's a fantastic link for "wandering" around Indiana:

I've shamelessly stolen the following from the Indiana State Library:


Thinking about vacationing close to home this spring and summer? Hiking, bicycling, camping, sight-seeing, road rallies…whatever your pleasure, Indiana has it. To start planning an Indiana-based trip, visit the Office of Tourism’s brochure page. Travel brochures are available for order without charge. Be sure to request a Play Pack for coupons and package deals for travel all over the state. The Travel Guide is available to download for immediate use. Also be sure to take a look at the Visit Indiana page on to see and comment on photos of some of the state’s best known destinations.

The Department of Natural Resources website has a new look, and you can still find all the information you need to plan a trip to any of the state’s 24 state parks, 9 reservoirs or dozens of recreation trails. The State Park Division website links visitors to maps of the parks, information about camping and Inn facilities, and admission information. The Outdoor Recreation Division Trails Inventory provides information about hiking, biking, horseback, wheelchair accessible and many other types of trails. Users can view a list of trails by activity or use the interactive map to find a trail that matches their interests. Information on canoeing, off-roading and skiing is also available from the Outdoor Recreation Division.

If visiting the state’s many historic sights is what you prefer, visit the Indiana Historical Bureau’s Historical Marker Program website to find historic locations by topic or by county.

Older tour guides can be useful even today. The State Library owns publications called “Indiana fuel-saving trips and tips: scenicircle drives” which describe driving routes planned to use a minimum of gas for a maximum of scenic enjoyment and educational interest. Some information, such as admission prices, may not be up-to-date, but fuel economy never goes out of style. Contact the Indiana Division of the Indiana State Library for information from this resource. Another way to see the state by car is to participate in one of DNR’s 2008 Road Rallies. Find more information about these events and see photos from previous years’ rallies at the Indiana Road Rally website.

Wherever you go, enjoy the roadside wildflowers. INDOT’s native flower plantings are designed to require minimal maintenance, cost less and beautify the state’s highways. Visit the INDOT Hoosier Roadside Heritage Program website to learn more about the program and take a survey to let INDOT know what you think.

Indiana Office of Tourism travel brochures:
Visit Indiana on
DNR State Parks:
DNR Outdoor Recreation Division:
Indiana Historical Bureau Marker Program:
Indiana Road Rally:
INDOT Roadside Heritage Program:

IND 917.72 I385s

If you really want to save money, use the clothesline behind your house! Why pay to use gas/electric when it's free outside. If you are in one of those subdivisions that snub their noses at clotheslines, you'd better get that rule changed!

Still open Saturdays...for now.

Our Friends at the St. Joseph County Public Library are being forced to close on Saturdays due to projected budget shortfalls. OUCH. Saturdays are sometimes the only days for working people to visit the library. This was definitely NOT the fault of SJCPL, this is the fault of HB 1001 and the effect it will have on public libraries all across the state.

The link below with generate a .pdf file. The word "credit" should read "lost funds."

Circuit Breaker effect on Indiana Municipalities and Libraries

Standard "SNAFU" for property tax bills

The South Bend Tribune reported in an article dated April 23, 2008 that tax bills for a majority of Indiana Counties will be delayed due to reassessment and the carry-over from last year. The article reported this will cost Marion County between $30 and $50 million.

At the moment NCPL is on okay financial ground. Just how long this last is anyone's guess. We have yet to receive our approval for our 2008 budgets (we received approval for our 2007 budgets late in 2007). We have enough for our June mortgage payment, but paying the December payment could be dicey. Article is here (archived after 7 days):