Those familiar with Warrick County’s trails, parks and other natural amenities and infrastructure may be aware of the Warrick Trails and the Warrick County Parks Foundation. Laurel Meny, head of the Warrick Parks Foundation, sat down to discuss the plans of function of the organization and what it means for Warrick County.
The foundation began in January of 2020 as a subdivision of Warrick Trails, an organization which was created to expand Warrick County’s bike and trail infrastructure after it became clear that what currently existed was insufficient. Howard Nevens, Warrick Trails’ founder, attempted to rally the local government for trails, but when it became clear that their coffers would not allow it he began to raise the money himself.
Most of the money that the Warrick Parks Foundation has it raises through events they organize, most recently the Run Victoria 5k, but also upcoming events such as this year’s Party in Paradise, a 21 and up event in September that Meny expects will be attended by roughly 3000 people this year, up from last year.
Currently, the Warrick Parks Foundation operates three parks around the county, Vann Park, Scale Lake and Friedman Park. However, due to a lease with the youth baseball and softball leagues their management of Vann Park is mostly hands off and the organizations take care of things for themselves. This allows the parks foundation to focus their efforts on improving the other two parks.
For the time being, the main interest of the foundation is in finishing up work on the Dog Park, which will be adjoined with Friedman Park. The project is currently waiting for fences to be installed, as the money has already been raised. The fence is expected to be up in the next two to four weeks, followed by benches, water fountains and a shade structure. After this point, the park will be open with the general layout being a larger section for big dogs and a section for small dogs that is scaled down.
Upon completion of that project, the foundation is already discussing their next move: a major overhaul to Scales Lake.
“Our vision for scales lake is simple: it is a staple of the county and has been in the community for decades,” Meny said. “The cabins were built in the 80s and need new furniture and updates. They also need a facelift to keep them up. New playgrounds and a shelter house facelift are also needed to keep things in this decade. The goal is to beautify and keep it up to date with Friedman Park. Friedman is brand new so it will be a long project to keep it up to date.”
Meetings took place this week to discuss how to approach the lake updates.
Some small events that the foundation hosts include food truck Fridays at Scales Lake and movies in the park at Friedman Park. The parks foundation hopes to use the money and awareness that these events generate to serve the community for years to come.
“It is important that people will use the trails that we build, and we want people to come out and be supportive so they can be maintained...attendance at Friedman was up four times in the last year,” Meny said. “We hope that people think about the future and invest in their kids and allow them places to be outside. People need to support organizations that take care of your community facilities.”
Chemo Patient Blessings is a new organization in Warrick County aiming to help support patients going through chemotherapy, or, as founder and organizer Kenda Cecil put it, “Chemo Patient Blessing Bags is a youth lead community service project committed to providing gift bags filled with items to provide comfort to patients undergoing chemotherapy. I am collecting the items and then the Warrick 4-H STEM club will assemble the bags. I will then deliver to Chemo Buddies who will gift the bags to patients on their first day of treatment. Hopefully the Chemo Patient Blessing Bags can provide some needed items as well as put a smile on the patient’s face.”
Chemo Patient Blessings is taking donations until September or early October. The bags will also be completed using a Youth Engaged Service (YES) grant.
“I applied in early May and began collecting donations for the project at this time, “Cecil said. “After receiving some item donations from family and friends, I decided to commit to the project with or without the grant. I’m proud to say that the Chemo Patient Blessing Bags Community Service Project led by Alexa Cecil was a recipient of the YES Grant, provided by the Indiana 4-H Foundation and sponsored by the Nola Gentry Charitable Trust and Corteva Agriscience. Chemo Patient Blessing Bags was one of only 16 statewide projects funded by the grant.”
She decided to start Chemo Patient Blessings after seeing her own family struggle with chemotherapy and realizing how difficult it can be firsthand.
According to Cecil, the reception to the organization has been excellent so far. They have a Facebook page at Chemo Patient Blessing Bags Community Service project Alexa Cecil. As of now they have received donations from dental offices, local business, friends, family and several anonymous donors.
Anyone who wishes to make a donation to the organization can do so at their collection stand at the Warrick County Fair or at their Hooray Children’s Shoppe at 103 State Street in Newburgh. The organization also has an Amazon wish list found under “Community Service- Chemo Patient Blessing Bags (Alexa Cecil).” They prefer item donation but if one wishes to make a monetary donation it should be taken to the Warrick County 4-H office and given to the staff. If a business wishes to donate, the organization has a 501©3 form they can provide.
“We appreciate all donations. No donation is too small. Our goal is 75 bags...My goal with the blessing bags is to help provide an item of comfort or that brings a smile during this difficult time,” Cecil added.
The following is a list of items that the organization is still in need of receiving:
Restaurant coupons or gift cards
On Tuesday, July 27, the Warrick County Soil and Water Conservation District will be hosting a field day to assist attendees in better understanding and utilizing cover crops. The event will be held at Rudolph Farms at 187 South Yankeetown Road in Boonville from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. This is the first event of its kind to be hosted by the Soil and Water Conservation District in Warrick County. Cover crops are crops planted in fields that are not meant to be harvested but instead promote soil health and biodiversity, as well as suppress weed growth.
The Soil and Water Conservation District is a governmental organization that was founded in the 1930s following the Dust Bowl. Its goal is to promote environmental health and preservation of natural resources, particularly for agricultural purposes. Every county in the United States has one and they have been in Southern Indiana for decades now, with Vanderburgh County’s being among the first in Indiana. The organization comprises a five member board, generally farmers, business people, elected officials and anyone else with a concern for the natural preservation of the area.
“We are able to make a lot of changes and do a lot of good locally,” Holly McCutchen, executive director of Warrick County’s district, said. “Sometimes the work that we do pushes other counties to improve as well. We share information and spread awareness about natural resource conservation, and we spend a lot of time pursuing grants. We recently received a grant for water to prevent overgrazing. We use the money to pay for movable fencing to preserve different parts of a pasture and provide better irrigation. We do both urban and rural work in the county. Education is big and we do both adult and children’s education programs.”
According to McCutchen, the goal of the field day is to help with cover crops.
“They are hard to establish and can be difficult to remove to plant your primary crops...We are going to dig soil pits to show how cover crops interact with soil,” McCutchen said. “We will provide a soil health trailer. Our goal is to educate. There will be difficulties and setbacks with cover crops so it is important to provide information about them.”
The event will also feature guest speaking from John Pike of Pike Ag as well as Travis Gogel, an NRCS Soil Scientist.
The district’s current plan is to make this an annual event, as they are trying to focus more on public outreach and education in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The district is also planning to hold a cover crop loyalty contest as a way to provide more personal information on how to plant cover crops for individual participants. McCutchen said that the district is hoping for the field day to be attended by people from across Warrick County who are interested in the success of cover crops.
Those who wish to register for attendance can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 812-897-2840 x3.
This weekend the Warrick County Antique Steam and Gas Engine Club is holding their Summer Show at Thresherman’s Park at 2144 New Harmony Road in Boonville. This will be the 58th year of the event, which is held on a bi yearly basis, with the Summer Show being held in June and the Fall show held in October.
The main events will be Case Steam Engine and International Tractor, but there will be many other events held at the show that evoke the vintage feel that the club helps keep alive. Among these is an authentic log cabin display, using an actual log cabin from the 19th century, which was moved wholesale from East of the University of Southern Indiana and given to the club. There will also be steam saw-milling and threshing, giving attendees a look into the lifestyle that those in the area used to live over a century ago. The event will feature horses and mules working, a blacksmith, a museum and gift shop.
There will be several tractor and engine based events including a kiddie tractor pull as well as tractor games and hit or miss engines of various sizes, including a large 60 horsepower engine and a 50 horsepower engine. The Boonville train depot was also moved in its entirety to the park for use by the club, and it will be on display at the show. There will be a massive flea market for attendees to peruse and a church service at 9 a.m. Sunday.
“We held the show last year as the health department came in and made sure we met all the health codes,” organizer Time Forston said. “A major reason we were able to hold it is that we use our own property and it does not require a lease or anything. We had one of our biggest events ever and we had many new attendees who wanted some kind of event to go to. We had masks and social distancing to allow people a chance to get out and experience something different. We’ve had people all the way from Florida and California come to our events.”
He also explained that the organization has been very well received by the community recently at both their shows and their Smokin’ for Garrett Barbecue cook off which is held every Fall.
“The best aspects are the club members. We have a good group that work together to put things on,” Forston said. “We have 300 members on the roster and 100 active members. They all enjoy doing this stuff and we enjoy putting things on for them to participate in.”
Admission is free for anyone under 14, $5 for those 14 and up and $3 for seniors. The show will be held all weekend beginning with a breakfast at 7 a.m. Friday and beginning every other day at 8 a.m.