Friday, October 16, 2009

Halloween Events

October 2009

Dear Supporter,

It’s been a busy fall for me. I recently finished helping instruct our bi-annual firearms qualifications and now I am assisting with Police Academy Firearms Training, plus I will be facilitating a Team building day for our Emergency Response Team (SWAT Team). Add in a couple of vacation days and I have barely been at the Police Center. On Columbus Day we took a group of children out to release pheasants (I will post photos and maybe a blog when I can find the time).

The following events will be held this month. We are very much in need of help for these events. You may help by providing donations of: Pumpkins, candy, pumpkin carving kits, candles, decorations, food, drinks, cups, paper plates, napkins or a check to help us pay for supplies.
Pumpkin Picking - Monday, October 26, 4:30pm: We bring the kids to a field where they pick their own pumpkins. 200 pumpkins are needed for the pumpkin carving contest. Then we return to the Police Center to decorate for Halloween and enjoy snacks.

  • Pumpkin Carving Party- Tuesday, October 27, 5:00pm: We invite area families to the Police Center to carve pumpkins and enjoy a free harvest meal.

  • Halloween Safety Center -Saturday, October 31, sponsored by Neighborhood Watch, who provides the cider and cookies. The Police Center will be open and staffed from 4:30pm-9:00pm to inspect children's candy. Volunteers wear costumes and provide refreshments to kids and parents.

  • Haunted Hay Ride – date to be set depending on the amount of funds we receive.

If you are interested in helping or have any questions, please call me at (315)471-3257.
By the way, please subscribe to the blog if you haven't already done so. You can have updates come to your email automatically, or use a reader to check out our notices. It saves us money and serves you better. Head to and click on the links to subscribe.

Sincerely yours,
Officer Clarke

Monday, August 17, 2009

Picnic with Police & Fire Departments 2009

Our Picnic with the Police and Fire Departments was a success with over 800 people signing in at the picnic. The day started out cloudy (which was nice while we worked to set up for the picnic). Once the clouds cleared and the sun came out it warmed up quickly.

Our first hour started out slow with only 30 families signing in. Word spread quickly and soon we could see the families with strollers coming our way. The food line grew longer as our volunteers worked fervently to keep up with the demand . Families were allowed to eat as much and as often as they wanted. Once parents fed their children it was off to participate in the numerous opportunities for fun. Families could cool down by walking through the sprinkler or by enjoying a free snow cone. Children received three tickets to play the games, winning a prize at each game. Children could get their face painted, bounce around in a bouncy tent or get their photo taken on the Fire Truck. We are still trying to cope with the loss of Polaroid film. It was so, convienant to snap a child's photo and instantly hand the photo to mom or dad. We are continuing our efforts to take photos, transfer the photos from memory sticks to the printer, print the photos and get them to parents in a timely mannor. We seem to generate a lot of frustration with parents over the time it takes. I think we will have to purchase another compact printer in order to speed the process up. Our other choice is to stop taking the photos with the Fire Trucks and with Santa at Christmas. I will have to think it over a bit more.

Chief Miguel and Deputy Chief Fowler came to the picnic for a visit and to thank our volunteers.
The pace throughout the day remained steady with families leaving once their bellies were full and their game tickets were gone, only to be replaced by new families who were just arriving. In all 236 families signed into the picnic. Families ranged from a single child to eight children. In addition many families brought along a relative or a neighbors child. It was a great time for all.

Thank you, to all of my volunteers who worked very hard in the heat all day long. I had no problem finding help to get meat or water from the refrigerated tractor trailer G&C Foods allowed us to use. Volunteers would jump up in the cool trailer and stay there for a few extra minutes.

And thank you, to all you folks who made donations to make the picnic possible. During these tough economic times we are finding our donations are down. I certinally understand why people cannot give right now. I am especially grateful for those of you who still manage to help us even though you could use a little extra help yourself. Times are tough. Thanks to you, we were able to put a lot of smiles on many little faces. Check out our Flickr site for more photos of our picnic. Click on the link below. I love looking at the photos over and over again.

God Bless,

Police Officer
James K. Clarke

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Upcoming Picnic with the Police And Fire Departments

Our Annual Picnic with the Police & Fire Departments is this Thursday August 13th in Washington Square Park from 11-4pm. Free food, drinks, game prizes and photos with Police and Firemen. Come on down to the Park for a fun time.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Summer Camping Trip

Our Summer Camping Trip was wonderful. At first we were a little worried about the weather. We set a couple of pop -ups so, we could get under them if it was rainy. We did have a few spotty showers but nothing which hindered our activities.

A child from past summer trips with the Police Center (now 33 yrs old) came along on the trip with us. He has been spending time at the Police Center getting some community service hours in. The timing for me could not have been more perfect. I had not considered taking him along on the trip. Then a few days before the trip he said "You know Officer Clarke it has been a long time since I have been on a trip with you." He was right. It had been a long time. He was on one of our very first camping trips held through the Police Center. It took place more than 15 years ago. I remember my initial plans were to take the group on a Whale Watching / Deep Sea Fishing Trip to Gloucester, MA. I even had a business that was willing to pay $5,000 of the tab. I had done it several times before with groups outside of work and was confident I could do it with this group. Community Policing was new back then. My bosses were not very receptive to the idea. One boss suggested "What if there is an earthquake under the sea and the boat we are on gets swallowed up"? I have to admit, I hadn't given much thought to that happening. But then again I never heard of it happening. Back then our police administration was stuck in a rut with the traditional ways we should do police work. They were at least listening, but boy did I have some tough times getting them to allow me to do things back then. Although, we still have a ways to go, we sure have come a long way in proactive policing over the years.

The Whale Watch never happend but my bosses agreed to a camping / canoe trip to Eighth Lake in the Adirondacks (our very first trip). I had lots of past experiance on canoe trips as a teen and lead numerous trips with church youth groups over the years. Prior to the trip we took the group to Jamesville Beach for canoe trainning. the kids would practice paddling in the front and rear of the canoe and before the training was over, everyone, had to tip a canoe over on purpose. I enjoyed watching the kids progress from outta control canoes, to wanting to flip their canoes over numerous times. It's amazing how in a few hours they become comfortable in the canoes. That was a great trip years ago. It rained off and on that weekend but our last day in the rain, the kids still wanted to go to Enchanted Forrest. So, we went. I still have photos of that trip on my "FUN TIMES" bullentin board in the Police Center Office.

Jason, was on that first trip. Now he was going to join us in chaperoning 15 children on a camping trip to Black Lake. When you bring 15 children ranging in ages from 7-15 on a trip, they require lots of attention and there is never enough of us adults to go around. The days are filled with requests "Can you put another worm on my hook?" "Can you get my pole unstuck?" Can you take my fish off the hook?" "When are we gonna eat?" "Can we go out in the boat now?" "Are we gonna do "SNORES" tonight in the fire?" "Can we go tubing, ride the ATV, take the canoe out?" etc... etc... Generally, we don't have enough time to give the children canoe lessons cuz we are too busy untangling fishing poles, feeding and watering the kids. In other words just trying to keep up (you moms all know what I am talking about). Having Jason on the trip was a great help which allowed for canoe training. Although, Jason had not been in a canoe for a long time he still possessed all the skilles we taught him years ago. One by one Jason, would take a child out front of camp in a canoe and spend time teaching them the fundamentals of canoeing. I have 3 usable canoes at camp and one in need of repair. This allowed four of the kids to paddle around out front of camp at a time and one canoe for me if I needed to paddle out and help them with anything. Sometimes the wrong pairs would partner and they just couldn't paddle well together. The children spent a lot of time in the canoes over the weekend. It was strange that I couldn't convince them to bring their poles out and fish from the canoes??? They would all want to crowd on the dock at the same time and try to fish.

Our weekend really, was great. The kids caught frogs and snakes, oh yeah and fish. I took them all tubing (would have done more but my power trim broke). They fished from the boat, rode ATVs, sat around a campfire, cooked smores and did a lot of swimming. The lake is weedy, with a soft bottom. I get a kick outta watching the new kids we bring on our trips. The children who have been before wade right out in it with out a problem. The new kids ask questions about fish biting them and make horrible faces as they wade in. By the end of the weekend we can't keep em outta the water.

I was thankful for Jason on this trip. Jason was a great help. It was kinda neat having him on another trip so, many years latter. I have only seen him once since the trip. He has completed his community service hours and is back to being busy with his own life.

My Dad used to say "Life is strange" referring to the course of events which pass our way. I am grateful to God for the people and events he has led my way during the course of my life. The good Lord always seems to know what I need and when I need it. I am not just talking about a body to help with a trip. I am referring to visually witnessing the fruits of your labor. During a conversation with Jason he said "Officer Clarke, I can't believe all I had on these trips with you when I was a kid." "I can see it better now." "I wish, I would have listened more and done some things different in my life." "This is a great thing you do for all of us."I enjoyed having Jason around for the weekend. I'll bet a need was met in Jason's life during the trip too.

Thank you, to all you folks who support us with donations of supplies and the finances we need to make these trips possible. You have filled the lives of nummerous children with great memories. You have filled my life as well.

Thank you,

Officer Clarke.

To see more photos go to click on a photo it will bring you to Flickr

Monday, July 20, 2009

Summer Events

Dear Supporter,
I hope everyone is managing to find ways to enjoy their self during this cool, wet, summer. I am beginning to wonder if we are even going to have a summer. I am making the best of summer, getting a lot of time with area children who are out of school and enjoying time up to camp with family and friends.

Occasionally, someone glancing over our photos or a list of our youth programs will ask me questions like…… Do you think it is worth it with these kids? Do you think Police Center Programs keep any of these kids from committing crimes? Do you think you ever, really, turn any of these kids around? Before answering the question I find myself stumbling for the right words. How do I describe the expressions of joy, laughter and excitement I have witnessed on literally thousands of children’s faces over the years of working with city families? And how do I explain it in a couple of sentences when I need an hour to properly answer the question? The short answer is yes, yes and yes. The long answer starts with the reminder “They are children” their social level, race, IQ, parent’s behavior and sometimes even their own bad behavior should not influence our commitment to help them. I don’t have huge expectations of transforming their lives during the short amounts of time I spend with them. Rather, my expectations are of myself, that I might enrich their lives in a meaningful way. Sometimes this results in children choosing to finish school or obtaining a career in Law Enforcement. Often it results in a more positive opinion of Police (not of all police but at least some). The one thing our programs always produce is good memories. Memories of a time when adults (Police and civilian) focused on making a child’s life a little bit brighter. I have many experiences of children and adults who years later shared stories about a past trip or Police Center Party. The sharing of those memories (with adults who were once children) reminds me of the awesome privilege God has given me to reach out to these kids. Yes, it is worth it. Yes, it keeps some kids from committing crimes. And Yes, it turns some kids around.

This past week I received two quotes from friends of mine, one on Twitter and one on Facebook.
“Children are always the future…invest everything you have in them”.
The Soul is healed by being with children”.
I have found both to be true. Sorry, I don’t know the authors.

Our free breakfast and lunch program is well under way with 30 children coming in for breakfast and 60 children for lunch. We are in need of soap, trash bags, paper towels and toilet paper to help us with the program.
Our Summer Fishing Trip to Black Lake is this weekend July 24-26. If you are interested in helping us out with the trip you may help in any of the following ways:
· fishing poles, lures, life jackets, sunscreen, bug spray, etc.
· Bait, worms, minnows
· Food, drinks, snacks, paper plates, bowls, cups, napkins, paper towels
· Clothing, water shoes, towels.
· Gas cards – we will be using a lot of gas for vehicles to transport everyone to camp, for the boat and the ATVs.
· Monetary donations for food, gas, fishing equipment and any other expenses for the trip. Checks may be made out to Northside Community Police Center Fund.

Our Picnic with the Police and Fire Department is scheduled for Thursday 13 August (Rain date Friday 14 August). This is a big event serving nearly 1,000 people. We need lots of help. If you or one of your employees would like to volunteer, please contact me.
Items needed for the picnic are hamburgers, hot dogs, rolls, drinks, ice, snacks, napkins, paper plates, cups, photo paper and ink (to print our photos for the kids), game prizes, face paints etc.

This is a community picnic; please encourage your employees to stop by for lunch. Bring your families out for a fun time. If you or your employees come to the picnic have them find me and I will get meal tickets so there is no waiting in line at the sign up table.

I am truly grateful for the support we receive from you folks who have been faithful to our programs over the years. The lives of thousands of young people have been touched in a positive way because of your support. Thank you, for caring enough about the families we serve to give of your time and resources. Together, we are making a difference.


James K. Clarke
Police Officer
North Community
Police Center

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pheasant Program Cover/Food Plot

I spent the weekend along with some helpers planting a 1/2 acre cover/food plot for The Pheasant Program. The Pheasant Program at the Police Center provides area children the opportunity to support the Department of Environmental Conservation's Pheasant-Rearing and Management Program. Area youth volunteer time in the raising of the pheasants; which are raised in large netting pens at Jamesville Corrections Facility. Adults and youth spend time preparing the netting pens, feeding and watering the newly hatched birds, the placing of blinders on the birds in July (to prevent them from fighting) and the release of the pheasants onto public lands from late August to October. Each trip to the pens (for feeding or blinders) or to the woods (to release the birds) is an exciting time for the children.

One of the biggest predators of the pheasants are hawks. The hawks perch on top of high trees or circle high in the sky over the fields where the pheasants often feed. Once the hawks spot a pheasant they swoop down and try to catch them. This year I thought I might try planting a half acre of corn near where some of the pheasants are released to see if the pheasants use it for food and cover. The tall corn stalks shield the pheasants from the sharp eyed hawks and offer the pheasants a food source. If I find the pheasants use the corn plot, I may plant more plots in release areas next year. An additional benefit is that I planted sweet corn rather than cow corn. Once the corn is ripe I will bring a group of kids up to pick some corn to bring home and we will fish in the pond while we are there (another fun outing).

The DEC's Pheasant rearing program was on Gov. David Patterson's chopping block. People often do not realize the amount of free labor and services (feed, gas for transporting the birds to release sites, etc.) which sustain programs such as the pheasant program. Nor, do they realize the positive impact it has on the folks (young and old) who participate in raising and releasing the birds (during the weekdays prisoners at the Correction Facility care for the birds). And I haven't even gotten to the sportsmen for whom the program is intended. Yes, many of the birds may end up in a hunters pot for dinner. However, others benefit from watching or listening to the pheasants even if they don't hunt them. I don't hunt the pheasants I release but I enjoy watching them in the fall from my bow stand when they sometimes walk or fly by. This Spring while turkey hunting I heard several pheasants cackle which is an indication a few have survived the hunters, hawks, coyotes and the winter.

I am thankful Gov. Patterson has allowed the program to continue. Should he again, consider cutting the program, I hope he takes a look at all the hard workers (who are not paid a penny from the State) who support and benefit from the program.

If you would like to join the group from the Police Center on one of our pheasant outings, contact us at 471-3257 and we will include you on our next time out.

Officer James K. Clarke

Bullhead Fishing Trip

Our Spring Bullhead Fishing Trip provided the children with plenty to do. The children enjoyed exploring nature. They caught frogs, turtles and plenty of bullheads (over 100). The frogs and turtles were released after close examination by each of the children. The bullhead were cleaned and each of the children had their share to bring home for a meal. Boating, canoeing, swimming, riding the four wheeler and sun bathing were all part of the weekend activities. Both nights were a little too breezy for a fire to make smores. The bullheads were keeping us too busy anyways. It was a great weekend and I enjoyed myself as much as the children. Allowing them the opportunity to experience the outdoors is a real treat for them. The children ask so many questions and often make the funniest comments when exploring along the lake. Thank you for helping make this trip possible.

Thank you,

Officer James K. Clarke

Easter Party 2009

Our Easter Party was fun for all who attended. We had plenty for families to eat. They filled up on hot dogs, hamburgers, boiled eggs, chips and drinks. Eggs were provided for everyone to color. The Easter Bunny spent a lot of time mingling with the children. We put together 375 Easter Baskets for children.
We took lots of photos, which are up on Flickr. If you would like to get a better feel for the fun families had, click on flicker over to the side, select our Easter Photos, view them in a slide show. We include the good photos and some poorer ones too. Children go online while at school and look for their photos. Even a blurry photo is exciting for them if they are in it. Thank you, for supporting our events for area families.
Thank you,
Officer James K. Clarke

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Children's Easter Party

Dear Supporter,

The Police Center Mailing List consists of 1,000-1,200 addresses. Our mailings have served as a way to keep you informed of the various programs offered at the Police Center. Over the years a small percentage of you have become actively involved with the Police Center and have been crucial to the success of our events. In addition, some of you have been a source of encouragement by your phone calls or notes praising our efforts. There are a much larger percentage of people who receive our mailings but we have not heard from them. This allows us to wonder if our letters are being read and enjoyed or being discarded as junk mail.

With the cost of each mailing almost .50 we are not being good stewards of our funds or to our environment if the mailings are being discarded rather than read. Therefore, we will be making an effort to cut back our mailing list. If you are on our list and we have heard from you in the past year, don’t worry, you will remain on our list. If we have not heard from you and you would like to remain on our list, simply call or email us with your name and address and we will keep you on our list.

Updates on our programs are also available via our website & blog seen from the north side. If you sign up on our blog, you will receive an email notification every time we make a new post to our blog. You may also view, download and print photos from our events by clicking on the Flickr link.

Our next big event is the Easter Party on Wednesday, April 8, 2009 at 5:30pm. We will be offering an earlier Pre-Party Event at 4:30pm for the families of our supporters. Please, feel free to bring your family in to participate (please call in advance with the number attending).
We are anticipating over 300 children to color Easter Eggs, visit with the Easter Bunny and receive a free Easter Basket. We also, provide food and drinks so, families don’t have to prepare a meal at home. If you are interested in helping out, we could use the following items:

  • Hotdogs, hamburgers, rolls, chips, ketchup, mustard and drinks

  • Eggs (lots and lots of eggs) and coloring kits (deluxe kits, make their own designs)

  • Easter Candy (we need lots of candy) and Easter Baskets or buckets

  • Paper plates, cups, napkins and paper towels

  • Monetary donations (enable us to purchase needed items)

  • Volunteers to assist with cooking, serving, egg coloring, set-up and clean-up

We are always looking for ways to help families. I was recently approached by an individual from MassMutual Financial Group. I was informed of a free Life Insurance program called LifeBridge. It’s a $50,000 Life policy to be used for the educational expenses of children who suffer the loss of the insured parent. Some requirements for eligibility are:

  • Between the ages of 19 and 42;

  • Currently employed (either full or part time) with a total family income between $10,000 (minimum) and $40,000 (maximum);

  • The parent or legal guardian of one or more dependant children under the age of 18;

  • A permanent, legal resident of the US;

  • The only family member who has applied for the LifeBridge Program; and
    In good health as determined by MassMutual’s underwriting guidelines.

A MassMutual Representative will be at the Easter Party to assist anyone who is interested in completing an eligibility form. If you know someone who meets the eligibility requirements encourage them to come to the Easter Party and apply.

Another event we will be holding in April / May is our Annual Bullhead Fishing Trip. We take area children to my camp on Black Lake for a fun-filled weekend of fishing. The children have a great time and we always catch plenty of fish. If you would like to help we could use the following items:

  • Food for the weekend (eggs, bacon, bread, milk, cereal, juice, meats, potatoes, vegetables, snacks, soft drinks, paper plates, cups, napkins, paper towels, etc.

  • Fishing poles, line, hooks, sinkers, worms, minnows, etc.
  • Lantern fuel, mantels, propane, etc.

  • Monetary donations for transportation and any other needed items.

If you have any questions on our events please call our office at 471-3257.

I have received many visits, calls and emails concerning my Mom’s health. Thank you, for all the support and prayers. Mom went through her 2nd chemo treatment for her liver cancer. She is in good spirits and talking about bullhead fishing. I am looking forward to taking her fishing.

Officer Clarke

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Syracuse Police in 2009 St. Patrick's Parade

Syracuse Police march along the parade route.

Syracuse Police march near Clinton Square.
(With apologies for the video quality.)

Be sure to check our Flickr site for more photos from the Syracuse St. Patrick's Parade 2009!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Syracuse St. Patrick's Day Parade Tomorrow

Tomorrow, Saturday, 14th March, is the Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. The Parade begins at noon with the route starting at S. Salina St. and Erie Blvd West, ending on S. Salina St. and W. Onondaga St.

Looks like tomorrow will be a nice day (sunny 43-46 degrees), not bad when compared to some of the past years. So, get your families out for a fun time and enjoy the parade.

The Syracuse Police Department will be towards the very front of the parade. I plan to march in the parade tomorrow. If you are on the west side of S. Salina St. be sure to give a shout out if you see me pass. 

More importantly, give a loud shout out to all the police and fire fighters as they march past. We are fortunate to live in a community with some truly dedicated public servants. Be sure to let them all know you appreciate them by giving a loud shout out as they pass. 

Hope to see you there.

Officer Clarke

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thanks for the Dough

Thank you to those who turned out for the "Dough Raiser" on Tuesday. We're waiting to hear from Uno's regarding the amount that was raised. Your support is appreciated.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Dough Raiser for the Police Center

Hey Folks,

Please, remember the UNO CHICAGO GRILL Dough Raiser at Carousel Mall. On Tuesday February 24th, up to 20% of your check may be donated to the Police Center Fund. Invite family and friends to join you for dinner at the UNO CHICAGO GRILL in Carousel Mall. Use the coupon from our mailing or inform your server, you are there to RAISE DOUGH for the Northside Community Police Center. I am planning to eat lunch at the Uno Grill and will also be there from 5:00PM-10:00PM. Ask your server where I am in the restaurant and be sure to visit our table. If you have any questions, call our office during the day at 471-3257.

See you there,

Officer Clarke

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ice-Fishing Trip 2008

The children pose for photos on the snowmobiles. They are not riding them cuz they would not be driving and they would be wearing helmets.

A couple of the older boys man the tip-ups outside the Ice shanty.

Twenty one of us spent the weekend together on our Ice-fishing Trip. We all had a great time enjoying winter activities together. This year was especially meaningful for me because several of our older kids who came on the trip, have not been in a number of years. It was fun reminiscing about how much they enjoyed the trip when they were younger and to be there at their current age along with the other younger children. It's was such a joy to have them there to help out with all the hole drilling and setting out the tip-ups.

The weather was beautiful. We had blue, skies and warm temperatures (just above freezing). The wind chill made it a little cold when we were out on the lake but the fishing holes didn't ice over because of the temperature. Not having to chip out the holes every few minutes is a big plus when ice-fishing. We didn't catch any pike on our tip-ups but the children caught plenty of pan fish on their hand-lines. Many of our children won prizes in the Youth Division of the Fishing Derby. Some of the prizes we won were $50 cash, $25 Walmart gift certificate, case of soda and others.

The younger children spent a lot of time sledding and playing in the snow. The older kids rode the snowmobiles almost non-stop. They put over 300 miles on each of my four snowmobiles over the weekend. Many of the miles were done by taking turns riding out to the island and back 1/2 mile out in front of camp. They also took turns riding on a longer trips with us adults, five miles down the lake to the store, to gas up the snowmobiles. In the evening we made popcorn and put a movie in the DVD player for the younger ones. For the older kids it was more snowmobile riding. It would get a little tight at night when we set up the cots and rolled out the beds. Five of the older boys slept in the camper so, we managed to work it out. First thing in the mornings we had to break down the cots and roll outs so we had enough room to eat breakfast. These youngsters sure could pack away a big breakfast (eggs, bacon, waffles, home fries, juice). Then it was outside to play. We had a fun filled weekend. Thanks to all you folks who made our trip possible. To view more photos of our trip go to flickr.

Please, remember, our Chicago Uno Dough Raiser at Carousel Mall on Tuesday February 24. If you don't have a coupon, advise the server you are participating in the Police Center Dough raiser.

Thank you,

Officer Clarke

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Winter Weekend

I just came back from a few days at my camp. I haven’t been up in a while, and I figured I better check things out before I bring the kids up for our Annual Ice-fishing Weekend.

This has been a hard winter. The snow is a little deeper, and it’s been a lot colder. The temperature went down to -25 degrees Monday night. I hadn’t planned on lying on the ground under my camp for over an hour, but I had to crawl under there with my portable propane heater to thaw out my pipes. They froze overnight while I was there. My lab would crawl under every few minutes and lick my ear. It was irritating and at the same time comforting to know she was checking in on me. I am just thankful none of the pipes broke.

Last year we drove my four-wheeler and a snowmobile out to our tip-ups and ice shanty. With all this snow, I am not sure the four-wheeler will work this year. Recently, a friend sold me his two older snowmobiles and a trailer for $3,000. My son and daughter tested them out for a few miles, so I think they will work out well for our fishing trip. I already towed the snowmobiles up to camp and pulled the ice shanty across the lake to the place we will be fishing. 

The lake has a foot and a half of ice on it; I made sure to measure it before venturing out too far. I will be tuning up my power auger before the trip to ensure it is ready for the 200 or so holes we will be drilling.

I am planning to go up again this weekend with another truck full of gear. We need a lot of stuff to supply the 20 of us for a weekend. I am going to tow up another snowmobile and pull another ice shanty out onto the lake. I will definitely need to get the farmer across the street to plow out the road down to the camp. I already spoke to him about it. Right now I am feeling like I am a little ahead of things as far as the trip goes.

On a more somber note, my mother was just diagnosed with liver cancer. I took her in for a procedure where a tube is placed through a vein in her leg right into the cancer area and injected with chemo. She was home the next day, and she stayed up for a late night of playing cards with friends. Last night I visited her, and she said she was feeling weak. 

She has come along to help out on my past few fishing trips. She cooked for 12 of us kids growing up, so 20 orders of waffles is no problem for her. Before yesterday she was still planning to come along on the trip, but it now looks like she will not be joining us. The doctor said that one whole lobe was covered with cancer and the procedure would only slow the effects and help her to be more comfortable. Those of you who pray, I would greatly appreciate your prayers for her and my family during this trying time. Our family’s faith in the Lord is solid—we all know we will meet in Heaven some day, but times like these are still tough. Your prayers and support were an encouragement to me just a little over a year ago when my Dad lost his brief bout with cancer.

The dates for the ice fishing trip are February 6th-8th. The Black Lake Fish and Game Association Fishing Derby is only on Saturday this year. We will be entering everyone in the derby. They have a great youth division and generally many of our children win prizes.

If you are interested in helping us out with the ice fishing trip, you may help in any of the following ways:
· Ice-fishing line, poles, lures, tip-ups, small propane tanks for lantern and heaters, etc.
· Bait, grubs, wax worms, large minnows ($1.25 ea. We generally use 250 pike minnows)
· Food, drinks, snacks, paper plates, bowls, cups, napkins, paper towels
· Clothing (socks, mittens, scarves, mittens, etc) special thanks to a group that helped us get boots for children this year.
· Gas cards – we will be using a lot of gas for vehicles to transport everyone to camp, for the snowmobiles, and the ice auger.
· Monetary donations for Black Lake Derby entry fees, renewal fees for our Adventure Explorer Post (this provides our liability insurance through the Hiawatha Seaway Council for all our trips throughout the year, pizza and wings (Friday night), gas, minnows and any other expenses for the trip. Checks may be made out to Northside Community Police Center Fund.

Another way to support the Police Center is by simply going out to eat. I was recently contacted by a parent of children who attend our events. She works at UNO Chicago Grill in Carousel Mall and has offered to “RAISE DOUGH” for the Police Center on February 24th, 2009. 

All you have to do is go to UNOs on Tuesday, the 24th of February, present them with a RAISE DOUGH coupon, and order your meal. Up to 20% of your check goes to the Police Center. 

I am planning to eat lunch there and then return for dinner from 5:00-10:00pm. It would be a great time to meet some of you folks who support the Police Center. Be sure to ask your hostess where I am so we can visit. You may drop off or mail donations to our office at 255 Wolf St. If you have any questions on the above events, please give me a call at 471-3257.

Officer Clarke