Outdoor News Publications 2015 "Person of the Year" Awards

April 22, 2015

Outdoor News, Inc., Honors Seven with Person of the Year Awards

Outdoor News, Inc., publisher of locally written fishing and hunting outdoor newspapers in seven Great Lake states, recently announced the recipients of the 2015 Person of the Year honors for individuals in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and Illinois. The company annually honors men and women for their efforts in promoting the hook-and-bullet sports and forwarding the cause of conservation.

The Ohio Outdoor News Person of the Year for 2015 is Karen Metzker, president of the Lake and Trails Organization in northeast Ohio. Metzker has run the Lake and Trails Organization for many years, offering kids the opportunity to learn about the outdoors through a series of "outdoor camps" in the spring and fall. Metzker holds these events every year in Ohio to teach hundreds of youth about camping, fishing, and general other outdoor skills.

Staff at  Pennsylvania Outdoor News named Bill Anderson, of Tyrone, Pa., its Person of the Year for his unrelenting efforts to protect and improve the Little Juniata River. The limestone-influenced stream in Pennsylvania’s Blair and Huntingdon counties has emerged to be among the Keystone State’s very best wild-trout streams. Anderson has been the president of the Little Juniata River Association since 2004. Although Anderson did not start the group, he has been a driving force for river conservation for the past decade. Under his guidance, the organization, working with partners such as the Pennsylvania Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the state Fish & Boat Commission, has purchased property protecting important headwaters, invested in access areas for anglers, built trout-habitat devices, planted trees and riparian buffers, and undertaken studies of aquatic life.

Michigan Outdoor News honored Bob Jacobson of Prudenville, Mich., as the 2015 Michigan Person of the Year. Jacobson is the past president of the Michigan Conservation Foundation – a conservation organization formed by sportsmen in 1982. For decades he has been a staunch supporter of forest management in Michigan, fought endlessly for the protection and wise use of the Pigeon River Country State Forest, and single-handedly gained support – both financially and from government entities – to build a wildlife-viewing platform on Houghton Lake, Michigan’s largest inland lake.

Hailing from White Bear Lake, Minn., John Molkenbur, was profiled in the March 27th edition of Outdoor News as the Minnesota honoree. Molkenbur has spent decades volunteering for conservation-related causes, especially in the waterfowling realm. He founded the Minnesota Duck and Goose Callers Association, co-founded the White Bear Lake chapter of Ducks Unlimited, and is the current president of the Wood Duck Society.

A key individual behind the nation’s first high school competitive bass fishing tournament was Dave Gannaway, of Mackinaw, Ill., who retired as assistant executive director of the Illinois High School Association in 2010. The model Gannaway created in Illinois for the bass fishing tournaments has been used successfully by other schools around the nation, and this program has also served some college-bound youth as a stepping stone to the college bass fishing circuit. Gannaway’s efforts earned him the Illinois Outdoor News Person of the Year honors. Gannaway himself is an avid outdoorsman and conservationist. His interests include waterfowl and deer hunting and of course, bass fishing.  

Raymond “Mickey” Elliott is the New York Outdoor News Sportsperson of the Year. Elliott, of Ballston Spa (Saratoga County), has been a tireless advocate for the state’s sportsmen and women on a number of fronts for 50-plus years.  A member of the New York State Outdoorsman Hall of Fame, Elliott has been active in the New York State 4-H Shooting Sports Program, the Hunters Feeding the Hungry venison donation program, teamed with DEC law enforcement in hosting a fishing tournament for special needs children, mentored numerous young hunters, and lobbied Albany lawmakers on various sporting and gun rights issues.

Marc Schultz, of Onalaska, Wis., has been named the Wisconsin Outdoor News Conservationist of the Year for 2014. Schultz has a long history of serving Wisconsin’s natural resources through volunteer work. He chairs the Conservation Congress La Crosse County delegation and the La Crosse County Conservation Alliance. He serves on a number of board and committees, including the local harbor commission, lake association, emergency planning commission, conservation district, and Mississippi River citizens’ commission. Born and raised in Chippewa Falls, he graduated from UW-Stevens Point with a masters in natural resources, served three years in the U.S. Air Force, then worked as a UW-Extension agent until he retired.

Each of the recipients received an engraved plaque honoring their Outdoor News Person of the Year recognition.

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