Tourism grant request in cross hairs

Group seeks $3,000 to take ill children hunting, fishing
2010-02-21T00:05:00Z Tourism grant request in cross hairsBy Bob Kasarda - bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com
February 21, 2010 12:05 am  • 

CHESTERTON | Lisa Payne said she and others plan to be on hand Wednesday when the Porter County tourism board considers a $3,000 grant request from an organization that provides hunting and fishing dream trips to children with life-threatening illnesses.

"I'm sorry," she said, "that is so wrong on so many levels and dangerous."

While describing herself as an animal lover, Payne said her concern is not based in some blanket opposition to hunting. Rather, she said she is disturbed by the combination of ill children, weapons and wild animals.

Yet Garry Burch, northern Indiana co-ambassador for the national Hunt of a Lifetime group, said what he can't understand is someone interfering with the dreams of a child facing a life-threatening illness.

"People who want to put their foot in it, it's hard to comprehend," he said.

Recipients of these trips, which has included four or five children from northern Indiana, are from families in which hunting and fishing are an integral part of their lives.

"Not every kid wants to go to Disney World," he said.

The grant request will be taken up by the Porter County Convention, Recreation and Visitor Commission board at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the tourism bureau, on the east side of Ind. 49 between Interstate 94 and U.S. 20.

Hunt of a Lifetime is seeking the matching grant funds to help market a fundraiser planned for April 2 at Chesterton High School featuring local country music singer Nicole Jamrose, said PCCRVC Executive Director Lorelei Weimer.

While most of the $50,000 in grant money designated for festivals and special events has already been designated for the year, $7,400 is still available for last-minute applications, she said.

Grant applications are weighed on several factors, including the event's ability to draw visitors from outside Porter County and the group's ability to host and promote the event, Weimer said.

The PCCRVC board has viewed the request, but action has been stalled in anticipation of seeing whether the County Council reappoints Dave Canright, formerly a county commissioners' appointee, to the board Tuesday evening, she said. Canright has headed up the committee that reviews grant applications..

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