Governor Corbett Bows to Sportsmen
Inside the Outdoors, January
25, 2013

Frank Felbaum, President of the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, just sent me his press release announcing that Governor Tom Corbett finally bowed to the wishes of sportsmen with a moratorium on implementing the new Small Games of Chance reporting requirements. This is certainly good news for sportsmen and all like-minded civic organizations.

It seems in the governor’s rush to privatize the PA Lottery and close the state liquor stores, he failed to anticipate the serious impact the new law would have on volunteers struggling to raise money for critical programs like Meals on Wheels, veterans aid, and conservation in these touch economic times. While it’s only a temporary moratorium, it will give the governor’s staff more time to consult with the legislature. It’s called democracy. Judging by the recent surprise announcement of the Westmoreland prison closure, they still have a tin ear.

Felbaum, some of you may remember, owned a fishing tackle business in Youngstown, was a founding director and later president of the local Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and TU State Secretary. He’s been representing Pennsylvania sportsmen for many years in Harrisburg all the while retaining his FTTU membership.

Frank, Bill Fodiak of Trauger, and I put together a magazine back in the late 70’s, if my mind serves me right, called the Sportsmen’s Diary. At that time, there was only a limited amount of publicity for the great outdoors. It was by writing and doing photography that I was introduced to the natural environment and the many outdoor opportunities of the Laurel Highlands where we live.

At that time, Felbaum’s day job was teaching vocational arts in the Greater Latrobe Schools. I furthered my career by establishing Pee Vee’s, hopefully planning to make a go out of that profession and doing a bit of fishing on the side eventually converting it to a fishing lure and tackle shop. We both learned that our most important job was making sure the next generation can still enjoy a heritage of fishing, hunting and recreating in a healthy environment.

Anyway, Act 2 of 2012, the now-infamous Small Games of Chance law hasn’t completely disrupted plans for the upcoming 40th Anniversary Forbes Trail Trout Unlimited Banquet, March 2, at the American Legion, Ligonier St., Latrobe. There will still be the quality of prizes most sportsmen only dream of owning, and dozens and dozens of them.

The chapter has always played by the rules, but this year the administrative costs are double thanks to ‘the Act’. So, the dinner tickets are now $30 instead of $25, which compared to other organizations in the area, is still the best deal around. At the door, TU members will be helping one register with legible handwriting to keep the IRS off their back. In discussing ‘the Act’ with one interested party recently, the question arose, “Why bother?”

This banquet will honor the many volunteers who in the past kept Westmoreland County’s heritage of trout angling and clean streams alive for the past 40 years. It will fund our future.

Tickets are available at The Angler’s Room – 333 Route 217, one mile north of Kingston Dam (724-537-0683); and Ligonier Outfitters – 127 W. Main St., Ligonier, Ligonier (724-238-4900).

While attending one of the monthly meetings two weeks ago, I learned about some of the many prizes that will be given away at the upcoming banquet. These include a 40th Anniversary custom fly rod with an included outfit valued at $600, an Orvis Access Fly Rod outfit valued at $500, an Orvis Avis Steelhead Fly Rod Outfit valued at $500, a framed trout art print titled, “Back Country Brown,” valued at $250, a Ned Smith National Wild Turkey Federation artist’s proof, valued at $250, a “Real” SEAL watch and a Garman Topo GPS. As stated before, these are just a few of the many, many prizes available.

Buy tickets today. Don’t wait too long. Missing out may result in not winning great prizes, eating good food, meeting new people and seeing friends one hasn’t seen maybe since the last banquet. Also it will give one a good feeling knowing that he is contributing to a non-profit organization that promotes conservation, restoration of resources and education of both young and old alike.

For all FTTU information, log onto its website.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.