Outdoor Camp is scheduled for April 4.

City’s Contract Review Committee to meet



Shawnee’s Contract Review Committee will gather on Wednesday, March 26, to review several community service contracts.


Among these are:

• Discuss and consider renewal of the YMCA contract for FY 2014-15 for the

management and operation of the Community Center.


• Discuss and consider renewal of the contract with Senior Citizens Center, Inc.

for operation of the Municipal Auditorium for FY 2014-15.


• Discuss and consider renewal of contract with Shawnee Economic

Development Foundation for FY 2014-15,


• Discussion of contract with Central Oklahoma Community Action

Agency/Central Oklahoma Transit.


6. Discussion and consideration of request for funding from Safe Events for



7. Discussion of contract with Shawnee Convention and Visitors' Bureau.


The meeting begins at 9 a.m. in the Emergency Operations Center in the basement of city hall, 16 W. Ninth.



State Game Warden Mike France, assigned to Pottawatomie County, has announced the annual Outdoor Camp for Shawnee Middle School seventh graders will be Friday, April 4, at Kiwanis Park at Shawnee Twin Lakes.


The makeup day for inclement weather has been set for Monday, April 7. The camp begins around 9 a.m. and students are returned to school in time for their normal end of day.


France also said he is getting lots of calls concerning Controlled Hunts. He said those should be out by the end of March, or early April.



Shawnee’s Police Foundation banquet is scheduled for Tuesday, April 8, in the conference center of the Expo Center. Social time starts at 6:30 p.m. followed by the banquet beginning at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $25 a person and $250 for a table of eight.

Guest speaker for the evening will be improvisational actor, humorist David Browning, also known as the “The Mayberry Deputy.”


Oklahoma Equestrian Trail Riders Association Inc. (OETRA), is hosting its spring trail ride in Chandler at Bell Cow Lake. The ride is named in honor of trail riding ambassador, Mary Ben Marshall, who is 91 years young and a longtime member of the association. Held Friday, April 11 through Sunday, April 13, trail riding enthusiasts are invited to bring their own horses to enjoy the many miles of trails around Bell Cow Lake for day riding or even overnight camping with their horses in the equestrian campground. The trails at Bell Cow are well marked and horses do not need to be shod.

Organized activities include a Friendship Stew at 6 p.m. Friday (bring a canned vegetable for the stew, and cornbread or a dessert to share). On Saturday night, there will be a covered dish dinner. OETRA provides the meat, drinks and paper goods at all the meals and participants bring a side dish to share.


In honor of the club’s 40th anniversary this year, a large sheet cake will be shared with everyone at the ride. Saturday evening, Cassie Smith and her Arabian gelding Shy will demonstrate some of the steps that Cassie takes to prepare for the trail. Cassie’s use of natural horsemanship training methods has allowed her to develop a truly amazing relationship with her horse. You can’t help but become inspired as she and Shy show us how they share a special level of communication born of trust, empathy and understanding.


This information is sent along by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.


This month wildlife experts are starting the third annual helicopter survey to assess lesser prairie-chicken populations across the bird's range in New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado.

The historic first effort to conduct a large-scale, helicopter-based survey to locate lesser prairie-chicken breeding areas or leks across the High Plains region in all five states occurred March-May 2012 and encompassed more than 300,000 square miles. Several previously unknown leks were detected, despite severe drought across the region. Survey teams also detected leks in Kansas beyond what was thought to be the northern extent of the bird's historic range.

Last year's 2013 range-wide survey revealed population estimates of 17,616, down from the 34,440 birds estimated in 2012. The population decrease was predicted by biologists because of the persistent drought that has plagued the region in recent years.

Lesser prairie-chicken populations have fluctuated historically due to weather and habitat conditions. In fact, populations were so low during the droughts in the 1930s and 1950s biologists feared the species was almost extinct. However, when the rains returned, the populations rebounded.

Bird numbers have been largely increasing in Kansas for the last 15 years, while populations have declined in parts of the southern portion of the range. Some biologists believe this northward expansion may represent a shift in the population of the species caused by climatic conditions associated with changing precipitation patterns.

"Besides rain, what will really help is on-the-ground conservation efforts we're putting in place with the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-wide Conservation Plan," said Bill Van Pelt, Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies grassland coordinator. Van Pelt noted how the five-state plan provides ways for industry to be supportive and landowners to enroll in voluntary conservation agreements.


If you have ideas or something of interest for this column, please call me at 214-3922 or email me at michael.mccormick@news-star.com. Please include your name and a phone number for contact purposes.