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March 1997 NearNormal News

Jim Jacobs

Well, it's happened again! The NNG is the subject of another feature articlein the NSS NEWS. Authored by NNG president, John R. Marquart, the article,"Near Normal Grotto Protects Bats in Illinois", presents a history ofthe BlackBall Mine project, which has been the main focus of the NNG's firstfive years of existence. We're grateful for the initial vision of Don Coons,who understood that a fledgling grotto needed a project such as this to helpdefine itself. He presented the idea of surveying the BBM at the very first NNGmeeting as a good training project for the group. The NNG also received somefavorable ink in the Illinois State University student newspaper, The Vidette.The feature story, "Local Cavers Find Fun in Dark Places", includes a3-column picture of Brian Braye enjoying life in a crawlway, although thepicture caption mis-identifies him as John Marquart. Photocopies of the articlewill be available at the next meeting. The Executive Committee has been meeting(via email), and presents the adoption of the following as "StandingRules" of the NNG. The following proposals are little more than formalstatements of the way we have already been doing things on an informal basis.

1. Dues:

a) "student dues" (halfprice) shall continue to be defined as "through high school", ratherthan "through college", The main reason for dues is to produce theNear Normal News. Since high school (and younger) student members are typicallydependents of members, they don't get a separate NNN, since we only send onecopy per household. College students are usually on their own, and/or receivetheir own copy of the NNN.

b) Dues are figured on the grottofiscal year, rather than on the date the individual member joins. Too muchbookkeeping would be required to keep track of individual dues dates.

c) The treasurer can hold dues paid inadvance of a given year until the beginning of the year in which they are to beapplied if it helps the bookkeeping and/or tax accountability question.

d) Dues paid by new members on or afterAugust 1 will be counted as being paid for the following year. (It's likegetting 1/3rd of a year free the first time around.)

e) Members who have not paid their duesby the time the March issue of the NNN is mailed, will be informed of such bythe addition of a Blue Dot to their address label. This issue will be the lastmailed until dues are paid. The treasurer MAY also elect to send a card orletter of remainder. Members in default of dues will be dropped as of May 1.

f) The bylaws already state thatdropped members will be automatically reinstated upon payment of current yearsdues. (They don't have to make up dues for missing previous periods).

2. Membershiproster.

a) The Treasurer will be the officialkeeper of the current membership roster. All additions, deletions and changesshould be relayed to the Treasurer as soon as possible. The actual printing anddistribution of the list may be delegated.

3. The Bylaws:

a) The Executive Committee will reviewthe current Bylaws and suggest alterations where appropriate.

b) The finalized version will be postedon the NNG web site by Len Storm. Suggestions may be brought up at the meeting.

John Marquart plans to represent the grotto at the Illinois Spelological Surveymeeting in Springfield, Sunday, March 16. He will deliver an annual report ofthe NNG's activities for the year, as well as cave reports for Bird's Eye Caveand Twin Cave In LaSalle County. These two small caves were brought to ourattention by Larry Bird, and pushed by Lara Storm. John also reports that heplans to suggest that an ISS web site be set up and linked to other cavingsites. This may serve to publicize the existence and mission of the ISS.

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Julie Angel

On January 30th, I spent another interesting and educational day helping SamPanno, geologist with the Illinois State Geological Survey, take water samplesinside Illinois Caverns. Also along for the day were Pius Weibel and IvanKrepac; ISGS geologists, and Harry Hendrickson, DNR Educator out ofSpringfield, IL. We headed for Collinsville, IL the night before to get anearly start the next morning. The evening was spent labeling sampling bottleswith I.D. numbers for the next day (it's much quicker work in the cave if youdon't have to stop to write numbers on each bottle.) Bottle sets were madecontaining three bottles each; one sterilized glass bottle for bacterialsamples and two sterilized plastic bottles for water to be used in other tests.The bottle sets were put into ziploc bags, and we were ready for the next dayswork. Boy...do those guys get an early start on the day! We had eaten ourbreakfast, packed the vans, and were heading out of the parking lot by the timethe sun came up!! Our first stop was to sample the resurgence of IllinoisCaverns. It was on private property, and we got lost 3 times before reachingour destination. John M. asked me if I could find this place again. With awhole lot of luck.....MAYBE!! Driving along the gravel roads of Monroe County,we realized that they had endured one heck of an ice storm in the last week.This was confirmed when we arrived at the steps of Illinois Caverns and foundthem coated with the thickest mess of ice I've ever seen! I began to think ofall the glass bottles that were in the two backpacks I was carrying andwondered how in the world we were going to get down there without breaking ournecks. Words came out of Sam's mouth that I've never heard him use before- Hewas not pleased with the situation. We decided to slowly inch our way down thesteps on our backsides, holding onto the railing, and hope that the sun wouldmelt most of the ice before our return to the surface. It was 9:30 a.m. We madeit to the bottom in one piece and the warm cave air sure felt good!!! We hikedto a spot just past the "dragon" in main cave and began our sampling.Water was to be sampled from the main stream passage, side passages such asCascade Canyon, Rimstone River, etc., and seeps from the walls and ceiling.Readings were taken for temperature (low temp. indicated direct surface waterseep), PH, conductivity (the more dissolved minerals, the higher the electricalconductivity), and water was gathered for bacterial and pesticide tests. Inall, we sampled 23 sites that day and left the cave around 4:30 p.m. We wererelieved to find that mother nature had melted most all of the ice from thesteps. It was on to Waterloo for a great meal at the restaurant downtown beforeleaving for home. Ivan and I spent the next 1 1/2 hours filtering water samplesin the back seat of the van on the way to the lab in Centralia, IL. Each of the23 samples had to be poured into a filter, and then back out into two separatebottles. On bumpy roads, this job was a pain, especially when it came time toadd the acid!! We had cave water all over us by the time we were finished.Harry Hendrickson was there to observe the sampling procedures for thepossibility of planning a "Cave Watch" program for Illinois, similarto Riverwatch. He was to meet with DNR officials and Phillip Moss of ISS inlate February, and will be at the March ISS meeting to discuss the feasibilityof such a program. It was a good opportunity for me to jump in and tell himabout our grotto. I told him that I was sure we would be interested inparticipating if such a project were to be started. I filled him in about ourinvolvement at Blackball and the fact that many of our members are quiteknowledgeable about geological, biological, and conservation aspects of cavesand karst. Harry envisions using high school groups to sample some of theeasier access caves and saving the grottos for the "tougher to getto" caves. This sounds like a great program if they can get all thedetails worked out. It was estimated that each group would need equipment(provided by DNR) worth about $100.00. Tests from the samples would beperformed in a lab similar to the one in Centralia. John M. plans to attend theMarch ISS meeting so we can look forward to hearing of Cave Watch plans at ournext meeting. Last I talked to Sam, bacterial tests showed that bacterialcounts were almost as high as they were in the summer, which isn't good news.Yuk!! Results from the pesticide tests were not back yet. He plans to go backin April, preferably after pesticides are applied and just after the first bigrain. This will help determine what amount of pesticides are making their wayinto the cave at application time. More on this later!!

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Julie Angel

If you received your March newsletter with a "blue dot" by yourname, we are still looking for your 1997 dues. Dues are $10.00, $5.00 forstudents, and are payable to the Treasurer. Those who still owe dues after May1st will be removed from the newsletter mailing list until dues are paid.Please send your check made out to "Near Normal Grotto" to JulieAngel, 2305 Brookhaven, Champaign, IL 61821. You can also pay at the nextmeeting. We need to keep our account in good shape to help pay our newsletterexpenses so keep those checks coming! Thanks!!!!

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Don Coons

During the NSS convention (June 23-27), a group of visiting cavers,professors and politicians from China will need host families. They will belanding in Chicago approximately one week before convention, and leaving abouta week after. During that period, they will need housing, transportation andfood. (They extend these courtesies to our American cavers during theirvisits). This exchange arrangement is necessary, because they are not allowedto spend their currency outside the borders of China. We will be planning areturn trip to China, and would like to include a wider group of participantsthan the CRF-based groups that have participated in the past. If anyone isinterested in getting in on the ground floor, this is your chance.

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Julie Angel

The Illinos State Geological Survey is sponsoring a field trip April 19,1997 to the cave and karst area of St. Clair and Monroe Counties. The day willculminate with an optional trip into Illinois Caverns. Sam Panno indicated thatit would be a big help to have some volunteers; either to be present at certainspots in the cave to make sure no one "strays" from their group, or possiblyto help lead groups to point out features of the cave. I told Sam that I wouldtry get 5-10 grotto members who know Illinois Caverns to help out. Please letme know if this is something you would be willing to do. It would be anotheropportunity for our grotto to get to know people from ISGS and to show ourwillingness to be involved with projects. All the activities planned for thatday sound very interesting. Please call or e-mail me if you are interested inhelping out or if you want more information!!

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The Spring MVOR will be hosted by Club 69, May 2-4 at beautiful RiverviewRanch in Bourbon, Missouri. There will be guided and self-guided cave and canoetrips available. Campsites are available along the Meramec River. There willalso be an on-site banquet, friday night howdy fire and slideshow, saturdaynight bonfire, DJ and sauna, door prizes, etc... Guest speakers will be JoeWalsh and Pam Saberton. Riverview Ranch has an on-site store, limited shower facitities,and cabins. Cabins must be reserved by contacting them directly,1-800-RIV-VIEW, or (573) 732-5544. Reservation forms will be available at themeeting.

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January 31, 1997

Called to order at 7:08pm by president John Marquart. Present: Members: JohnMarquart, John Walther, Jim Jacobs, Marty Jacobs, Norm Rogers, Greg Phillips,Mark Belding, Chris Dinesen, Julie Angel, Beth Reinke, Leonard Storm, LaraStorm, Tonja Fraser, Larry Bird, Dave Carson, Angela Carson, D.C. Young, TimSickbert, Tim Shaffer, Kevin Rasmus.

Guests: Ellen Myers, Ken Mager, Linda Alwes, Donna Simms, Angela Neller,Earl Neller, J.L. Turner, Marilyn, Frances, and Laurinda Buerkens, DebbieMatlock, Andy Hedberg

OFFICER REPORTS: The minutes of previous meetings were approved as printedin the January NNN. Treasurer's report approved.

OLD BUSINESS: The fate of the ISU Outdoor Program still seems to beunsettled.

NEW BUSINESS: Vice President Beth Reinke has the master copy of themembership roster, and will work with the treasurer to keep it current.

TRIP REPORTS: Tonja reported on the weekend cleanup trip to Mammoth Cave.Julie Angel reported on collecting water samples with Dr. Sam Panno. She alsoreported on the possibility of a Cavewatch group being formed, using thecurrent Riverwatch group as a model. A group of this type may be able to usehelp from grottos and high school groups. Tim Sickbert discussed a trip toIllinois Caverns. He also mentioned that Tim Shaffer had traveled to southernIllinois to do some work with Dave Mahon. They found a new 30 ft. pit.

PLANNED TRIPS & ANNOUNCEMENTS. The next meeting of the Ill SpeleologicalSurvey will be Sunday, March 16 in Springfield. There is still talk of a"behind the scenes" field trip tour to Brookfield Zoo this spring.Tonja is coordinating.

Meeting adjourned.

The Program, "Bats of Illinois and Elsewhere: Twenty-five Years ofStudying Some of the World's Most Fascinating Animals", was presented byDr. Thomas A. Griffiths, Professor of Bilology, Illinois Wesleyan University.

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February 28, 1996

Called to order by president John Marquart at 7:10. Present: New member,John Roark, Tim Sickbert, Brian Braye, Beth Reinke, Brian Scheidt, Lara Storm,Linda Alwe, Tonja Fraser, D.C. Young, Julie Angel, Jim Jacobs, Norm Rogers,Greg Phillips, Rich Bell, Chris Dinesen.

The minutes of the January meeting were read by secretary Jim Jacobs andapproved as read. Treasurer Julie Angel reported that the last issue of the NNNwas printed free due to errors and delays by the printer.

OLD BUSINESS: There is nothing doing on the proposed memorial for ArminKrueger at this time.

NEW BUSINESS: John M. will attend the ISS meeting on the 16th. D.C. Youngstated the NNG Bylaws and Constitution should be on the webpage. There wasgeneral agreement to this idea.

TRIP REPORTS: Julie Angel helped with a Boy Scout Troop overnight at BlueSpring Caverns. Tim Shaffer and Dave Mahon have done work in Hannibal's 6thStreet Cave. There will be an April 5th trip to Wayne's Lost headed by NormRogers. There is a trip to Broome Moore Cave, in Perry County, Mo., March 21and 22. Norm Rogers has maps and info. The Ill. Dept. of Nat. Res. field tripsto Columbia and Waterloo will be April 19. Dr. Pano asks for help in escortingfolks through Ill. Caverns. The NSS national convention will be in Sullivan,MO, June 23-27. Brian B.'s church group is going to Illinois Caverns. Julie A. willgive a caving talk to the University Women's Club for "Explorer Day".Tonja F. also has talks planned. Meeting adjourned.

Chris Dinesen gave a slide show on Illinois Prairie Grass area restorationprojects.

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