From the Evening Leader:

Area handicapped children had an opportunity to spend time outdoors Wednesday morning as part of an annual fishing derby. The Lake Improvement Association and Grand Lake St. Marys State Park have partnered to put on a kids’ fishing derby each year.

“The LIA was the first initially to initiate it,” Grand Lake St. Marys Park Manager Craig Morton said while volunteers from the park campground and LIA set up for the derby.

Morton said the derby is usually held at East Bank Pond but was moved to Eastview Park in Celina this year.

“Because of the harmful algae bloom, we had to move it,” Morton said. “There was still some of the algae in East Bank Pond. We thought it would be safer for the kids here.”

Dave Meyer said the LIA has been putting on the derby for approximately 15 years.

… “The LIA prepared a lunch for them,” he said.

Morton said the LIA earned a wildlife grant this year to help them support this event.

“The bait was donated by a local company in St. Marys,” he said. “Some of the equipment was purchased by the park, some by the LIA. A lot of the poles were given by the Ohio Division of Wildlife.”

Joe Langenkamp was one of the volunteers out at the park early to set up.

“We’re preparing the poles,” the LIA member said. “We’re unwrapping them and baiting the hooks, so when the kids come up all they have to do is put it in the water.”

Morton noted the derby helps gets the kids out of the house.

“In this day and age, any time we can get kids outdoors and out of the house is a really great thing,” he said, adding a lot of children now are spending their time indoors playing video games and such. “This a good way to get the kids out and see doing things outdoors is fun.”