Monday, January 29, 2007

A Conversation with Doug Kimmel

The Marion Daily's Cherri Flinn sits down with Williamson County Airport Manager Doug Kimmell in this week's conversation piece.

What jumped out at me was where the reservations were coming from for the new air service to Chicago.
Doug: ... Pursuing getting an additional carrier is something we all knew we wanted to achieve.

Cherri: Isn't that the struggle all small airports face?

Doug: It really is. That's one of the unique things about the opportunity we have right now of starting service to Chicago from here, and also from Decatur and Quincy as well. They are very similar airports as far as size and the markets that they represent. So far, 95 percent of the reservations have come from this market.

I guess now with the new air service beginning we can start talking about a need for a new airport terminal, especially when they start looking for a third airline.

A new terminal isn't a new proposal. It was being talked about when I covered the airport board back in college which around the same time as the development of the Illinois Centre mall.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Friends Group at Refuge Seeks Members

The Friends of Crab Orchard Refuge, a non-profit volunteer support group to the wildlife refuge is calling on the public to get more involved.

Dues are $10 for individuals, $100 for corporations and $250 for a lifetime membership. Members also receive a 10 percent discount on any purchases in the store at the Visitors Center on Route 148.
Not only has a new year begun, but we are also ready to usher in a new era for the Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge. With the adoption of the CCP (Comprehensive Conservation Plan) there will be come exciting new times for those of us who enjoy helping the Refuge.

... We still need your help — both financially and physically, if possible, in our effort to support the implementation of the new guidelines for the Refuge.

Meetings take place each month on the first Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Visitor Center.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Deer Harvest Up in Williamson

The figures for the 2006 Illinois Firearm Deer Harvest show a decent increase in the number of deer harvested this year in Williamson County.

Hunters took out 1,330 during the first season and 678 in the second season for a total of 2,008. That's up from 2005 when they only bagged 1,884.

Williamson County ranked 15th this year overall. We were 14th last year.

Pike County in western Illinois remains the champ with 3,795 deer harvested. Neighboring Adams County came in second with 3,061.

Here in the region we were beat by Jackson at 2,596, Jefferson at 2,710, Marion at 2,218, Pope at 2,218 and Randolph at 2,763, Union at 2,127 and Wayne at 2,032.

Some of the differences can be explained simply by geography, Jefferson and Marion are 33 percent larger than Williamson. In the region, all but Pope County are larger than us.

Still, one of the reasons for Pike and Adams Counties' success is in part a well-developed system of hunting leases for private lands. In going through the old files I found a proposal about a decade old to do something similar here in Williamson. I'm not an expert in hunting, but it's something we will definitely look into as we work on a county-wide Tourism Development Plan.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Fun With Web Stats... and Squirrels!

Thanks to a report we have to fill out for the Illinois Bureau of Tourism I've been on our stats page for this website today.

I'm impressed with our most recent stats on our site visitation and highly amused at one in particular.

The new website went active in late September. For those last few days we had 1,277 unique users.

In October it grew to 12,037, then declined some in November to 10,790 before shooting up to 33,283 last month in December. Already, we've had 1,529 users on our website yesterday, including eight people at the first hour of the New Year.

What's amusing to me is how one person found our website. They searched for best eating squirrels on Google and our Outdoor Hunting Guide came up as the fourth listing.

Apparently the following bit of text is found in our hunting guide:
While fewer people hunt during early October, some of the most enjoyable hunts and best eating young squirrels are taken during this time of year. ...