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January 26, 2015

Delays

Whitley County Consolidated Schools, Smith-Green Community Schools and Whitko Community Schools are on two hour delays this morning.

January 25, 2015

Whitley County is under a travel advisory

Whitley County is under a travel advisory, the lowest level advisory, due to slick, snow-covered roadways. This advisory serves as a warning to motorists to remain cautious and travel with care. Whitko Community Schools have already announced a two-hour delay for Monday morning classes.

January 22, 2015

Boston to Chicago: Whitley County musician moves to the front of the line for America's Got Talent

(Talk of the Town photo provided)
Whitley County musician Trent Boston may be on the brink of his big break when he performs in an audition for the television show America's Got Talent.

By Jennifer Zartman Romano


Trent Boston has made music his life. Now, he's on the brink of what may very well be his big break.
On Sunday, Boston has been invited to take a coveted spot in the front of the line and audition for the nationwide performance program America's Got Talent on the Chicago leg of their cross country tour.
"I have been playing music for about 15 years and was inspired to play the drums first at church," says Boston. From there, his interests and talents led him to learn the guitar, piano and begin working on vocal performance as well. Not long after, he began writing his own original music and recording it.
Boston describes his unique blend as "bluesy, soul music" saying he enjoys music that is, "anything that you can feel when you hear it. I love to jam blues guitar riffs and leads."
Sunday's opportunity to perform in Chicago will be something big and new for Boston when most of his regular gigs have been local and regional. "I've never done anything like this before," he said.
"I've played places like BrewHa, The Center for Whitley County Youth, Calhoun Salad Soups, and Spirits, YOLO Event Center, EarlyBirds, the Mocha Lounge, The WunderKamer Company and many other local venues," Boston says.
Boston learned about the potential opportunity to audition for the show and, on a whim, gave it a try.
"My friend hit me up and said K-105 fm is giving away passes if you are good enough," said Boston. "So I called in and auditioned for them and received a Front of the line pass to the Auditions in Chicago."
Boston has a feeling this could be an important step he has to take.
"I just felt this is what I'm supposed to do," he said. "I was actually going to try out for The Voice in February, but this just kinda happened so I went with this instead...felt like destiny to me."
Boston's initial audition was over the phone and he, along with three others who auditioned this way, were given the opportunity to attend the Sunday auditions and be first to be heard.
Boston said he's not certain what date his audition might air or when he will be notified if he makes it to the next round.
Surprisingly, Boston says he's not practicing right now -- but actively resting his voice.
"I'm not nervous, but incredibly excited about what comes from this amazing opportunity," he said. While he can't reveal what song he'll perform, he is putting some thought into what he'll wear. He plans to wear a shirt designed by Anton Babich in Fort Wayne. When asked if he's going to have something in his pocket for luck, he was quick to respond, "No talisman...just my guitar -- which is pretty special!"
On Sunday morning, Boston and a large entourage, including his mother, stepfather, sister, brother-in-law, best friend Josh and photographer David Allon, will all pile into a minivan enroute to the Windy City. Boston's two sons will be cheering him on at home and will be in his thoughts as he prepares for whatever might come next.

Valentine project ensures life-saving mammograms are available for women in need

Article provided

Honor a special person in your life by purchasing a “Valentine for Life” from the Whitley County Giving Circle for Women’s health.
Your tax-deductible donation will help to provide free mammograms for local women who cannot afford and will not otherwise receive this critical cancer screening. Valentine cost is $5 with all proceeds to benefit the free mammogram program ran in partnership with Parkview Whitley Hospital.
Valentine cards with matching themed envelopes will be sent to each person on your Valentine list with a special message letting them know of a donation in their honor to the mammogram program. This marks the 12th consecutive year that the Giving Circle has been able to offer this life changing program to local women in need. This year, let your Valentines be true gifts from the heart that make a lasting difference.
If you have not received a Valentine for Life brochure and would like to, please contact Chelsey Barrell at chelseywccf@gmail.com or by calling the Whitley County Community Foundation at 244-5224.

The deadline for submission is February 7 to ensure the Valentines are received by February 14.

Father Daughter Dance tickets are sold out

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

If you thought you'd just wait a day or two and pick up those Father Daughter Dance tickets, you waited too long.
As of minutes ago, the Columbia City Parks Department reports that all tickets for the February 6, 2015 dance are sold out.
For those who want to be first in line for tickets, the Columbia City Parks Department will add your name to an email list for next years tickets by calling the park office at 248-5180.

Farm Credit Mid-America presents $10,000 gift to Huntington University's ag program

(Talk of the Town photo provided)
Dr. Sherilyn Emberton, president of Huntington University, accepting the donation from the Farm Credit staff. Above, from left, are Andrew Glasscock, Greg Freck, Kim Penrod, Laura Gentis, Dr. Sherilyn Emberton (president of Huntington University), Lori Cates (back row), Kristen Lovell, Ginna Rybolt and Angie Franklin.

By Heather Barkely


Farm Credit Mid-America has gifted $10,000 to Huntington University’s new Institute for Agricultural Studies.
“We are excited that Huntington University is expanding their curriculum to include agricultural studies,” said Laura Gentis, regional vice president for Farm Credit Mid-America. “Farm Credit understands the importance of bringing agricultural education and knowledge to our community. We also have programming specifically for young and beginning farmers who want to be a part of agriculture and rural America. By partnering with Huntington University, we are able to accomplish this mission through our support.”
Farm Credit Mid-America is an agricultural lending cooperative owned and controlled by its customers. With more than 1,100 employees, Farm Credit serves nearly 100,000 customers throughout Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.
“Farm Credit continues to lead in their support of all things agriculture for our region,” said Dr. Sherilyn Emberton, president of Huntington University. “HU is honored to partner with Farm Credit in bringing quality agriculture education for the business community and students of our state.”
Established in the fall of 2014, HU’s Institute for Agricultural Studies promotes a Christian perspective on agriculture, which recognizes a responsibility to be good stewards of God’s creation and to examine questions of sustainability and justice.
HU’s agribusiness program, set to enroll students in fall of 2015, is intended to meet the growing need for agribusiness professionals and includes concentrations in agrimanagement, agrimarketing, agrieconomics and finance, agrientrepreneurial small business management, crop production, communication and public policy, and ministry and missions.
For more information about the program, log on to www.huntington.edu/agriculture.

January 21, 2015

Eight candidates file for City races

From reports

The Columbia City Council, Clerk-Treasurer and Mayoral races are already heating up. As of last Tuesday, the race includes eight candidates.
Four incumbents have announced their plans to run again, including Rosie Coyle for Clerk Treasurer, Ryan Daniel for Mayor, Dan Weigold for Council Member At-Large and Nicole Penrod for City Council Southeast. Coyle, Daniel, Weigold and Penrod are all running on the Republican ticket.
Four new candidates have stepped forward to run in the election as well. Dick Buchanan will run for Mayor on the Democratic ticket. Tad Varga is running for City Council Northwest, Walt Crowder is running for City Council Northeast and Jennifer Zartman Romano is running for City Council Southwest. Varga, Crowder and Zartman Romano are running on the Republican ticket.

'Our Story Project' gets to the heart of the region

(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
Whitley County Chamber executive director Doug Brown, seated above at far right, speaks to local residents at last Friday's The Grow Network meeting about the regional Our Story project outcomes and how to use that information within the local community.

By Courtney Tritch


Who are we and where are we going as a region? Those were the questions the Our Story Project posed to Northeast Indiana. More than 800 people weighed in through in-person workshops and an online workshop, and last week the results of the project were released by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, which spearheaded the project, at a public reveal event held at Manchester University's Fort Wayne campus, above.
Last Friday, Doug Brown of the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce gave an overview of the Our Story project and results at The Grow Network meeting at Brew'ha. Brown, along with Chamber marketing director Jennifer Zartman Romano, attended the input workshop sessions. Last week, Brown attended the regional unveiling for Our Story and brought those results back to Whitley County to share, at right.
"It was great to see so many Whitley County residents not only participate in the workshop process, but at the reveal as well," said Brown. "I felt like the results showed an accurate depiction of who we are and the process has provided us with some valuable tools to describe who we are locally and as a region."
"When you know who you are, you gain clarity in how you talk. With all of the input gathered through the Our Story Project, our region now has an authentic story to tell," said Courtney Tritch, vice president of marketing at the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. "Through the process we also discovered an essential piece to our story: how the region wants to evolve."
The results of the Our Story Project center around five conclusions:
People in Northeast Indiana know who the region is regardless of where they live. Perceptions of the region's personality stayed consistent from county to county.
- The region knows who it's not and what it doesn't want to be.
- Northeast Indiana residents want the region to be bigger, bolder and more assertive.
- Societal change is needed for a lasting legacy. The region must focus attention on being more inclusive in order to bring more people together, attract new talent and inspire growth.
- Northeast Indiana has a compelling cause, boiling down what the region stands for into three words: unleashing genuine strength.
The purpose of the Our Story Project was to create a master narrative for the region. The narrative focuses on five message platforms that anyone can use to talk about Northeast Indiana -- and be assured that it's the region's authentic story:
Time-Honored American Strength: As a region, we represent the best of what it truly means to be American. Since 1794, our tenacious drive to succeed is matched only by our unwavering resolve and strength. Together we collaborate toward a shared vision of growth, and an ever stronger community. Hard work, innovative craftsmanship, and a "don't quit" mentality are a foundation for all that we do.
Spirit of Collaboration: As a region, we know that the contribution of many trumps the success of the individual every time. We count on each other and value our sense of team and family, creating and leveraging partnerships and working together. We are united for the common good.
Progressive Leadership: The pride and confidence of our region is rooted in our constant determination and creative ability to adapt. As leaders, we move forward despite opposition, to persevere and advance our community. We take calculated risks to realize progress, all founded by our industrious attitude and dependable people.
Uphold and Embrace: We endeavor to progress while respecting our heritage. Likewise, we aspire to leave a legacy for future generations, by strengthening our community through a spirit of inclusiveness. The region seeks to honor the best in our traditions, while maintaining an openness to new ones.
Big-Hearted Hospitality: As a region, our friendliness and hospitality are a guiding force for how visitors perceive us. We welcome visitors with an easy-going smile and a welcoming hand. Our region empowers and encourages communities to be respectful of others and look out for our neighbors.
The Our Story Project Results, complete with messaging examples, can be found on the Regional Partnership's Vision 2020 website. A condensed version of the results with users' guide is also available to download.
This new "voice" of the region is already being integrated into current and future marketing efforts by several organizations in the region.
For more information about the Our Story Project, visit www.neindiana.com/ourstory.

House Republicans launch new website

From reports

Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives Brian C. Bosma announced the launch of the Indiana House Republicans new website, www.indianahouserepublicans.com.
The House Republican Caucus website features a new, user-friendly layout that automatically adapts to mobile devices and tablets.  The website also allows the public to download legislator contact information, photos and publications.

Preparations underway for Whitko Wrestling's Folkstyle Open on Sunday

From reports

The Whitko Wrestling Club will host a Folkstyle Open on Sunday, January 25 at Whitko High School in South Whitley.
The event begins with weigh-ins from 6:30 to 8 a.m. Wrestling begins at 9 a.m.
On-site registration will be available during weigh-ins. Pre-registration must take place on or before Friday, January 23 at 9 p.m. is highly recommended, but not required. Pre-registration must be completed through Trackwrestling via Whitko Folkstyle Open. Any wrestler not pre-registered will NOT be allowed into on-site weigh-ins past 8 a.m. Registration is $15 per person and fees will be collected upon arrival. Please make checks payable to Whitko Wrestling.
Awards will be given in multiple weight classes. Weight classes include: PEE-WEE Born 2009-2010 35, 40, 45, 50, and 55. 65, 75, 85   BANTAM Born 2007-2008 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 90, 105, 120 (10 lbs. maximum difference)   INTERMEDIATE Born 2005-2006 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 87, 95, 103, 112, 120, 140, 160, 180 (15 lbs. maximum difference)   NOVICE Born 2003-2004 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, 90, 95, 100, 105, 112, 120, 130, 140, 165, 190, 215 (20 lbs. maximum difference)   SCHOOLBOY Born 2001-2002 70, 77, 84, 91, 98, 105, 112, 120, 128, 136, 144, 152, 160, 175, 190, 210, 265     If there is no one in your weight class, a wrestler will have the option to go up a weight in order to try and get a match.  There will only two coaches per mat.
A wrestler’s age on the day before tournament will determine their age group. Proof of age will be required if wrestler is challenged within the first two rounds of competition.  A birth certificate is the only form of validation that will be accepted.
The community is also invited to attend the Whitko Folkstyle Open. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for children and free for children ages 3 and under. Coolers may be brought in but a $5 surcharge will be assessed for any cooler that is larger than a sack lunch.
The event will be held according to Modified High School Rules All Age groups will be Three (3) 1 minute periods. Singlet or shorts and shirts are required.
For more information, contact Frank Bumgardner at (260) 578-7022 or email whitkowrestling@yahoo.com

Whitley County Community Foundation's $64,000 in grants will go a long way in supporting good projects in the community

(Talk of the Town photo provided)
The Community Foundation recently granted $5,000 to Camp Invention. The summer day camp is offered at Columbia City High School and allows students in grades 1 through 6 to enhance their science and technology skills.

Article provided


Reflecting the on-going generosity of local donors who have chosen to invest their charitable gifts here at home, the Whitley County Community Foundation’s Board of Directors was recently able to approve over $64,000 in grants to 13 local projects from the Community Foundation’s Greater Good Fund.     
“The following grant recipients represent a wide variety of interests but share the common goal of improving the quality of life in Whitley County,” said September McConnell, executive director of the community foundation. “These organizations have illustrated their commitment to this community and as a result,  members of the Foundation’s Grants Committee and Board of Directors have acknowledged the merit of their programs as well as their continued dedication and hard work by awarding the following grants,” she added.
Grant recipients include:
ACRES LAND TRUST -- $3,500 for increasing the number of acres of protected land in Whitley County by expanding an existing dedicated forest preserve.  
TROY Center Alternative School -- $10,000 for tuition assistance for at-risk students.
CAMP INVENTION -- $5,000 to help fund the Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM) enrichment program for Whitley County students in grades 1-6 next summer.
CANCER SERVICES OF NORTHEAST INDIANA -- $5,000 to help support their client advocate program in Whitley County. Funded in part through The Whitley County Giving Circle for Women’s Health, and The Shirley Gates Fund.
CATHOLIC CHARITIES ECHO Program -- $2,500 for the case management program that works with pregnant and parenting teens through Columbia City High School. Made possible in part with funding from the Whitley County Giving Circle for Women’s Health.
THE CENTER FOR WHITLEY COUNTY YOUTH -- $5,000 to use as a challenge match for first time donors to the organization.
COLUMBIA CITY PARKS DEPARTMENT -- $5,000 to help build Every Kids Dreamland, a handicapped accessible playground for local youth.
EARLY CHILDHOOD ALLIANCE -- $1,000 for their Parents as Teachers program.
ONE COMMUNITY -- $3,000 to purchase food for their free lunch program for South Whitley senior citizens.
WHITLEY COUNTY CONSOLIDATED SCHOOLS -- $10,000 for initial implementation of an education program focused on the benefits of investing in the educational capabilities of the school system.
WHITLEY COUNTY COUNCIL ON AGING -- $8,500 to assist in securing a grant from the Indiana Department of Transportation for a new Whitley County Transit van.
WOLF LAKE FREE HEALTH CLINIC -- $7,000 for support of patient programs. Made possible in part with funding from the Whitley County Giving Circle for Women’s Health.
WHITKO MIDDLE SCHOOL -- $3,750 for Project Lead the Way materials.
The Community Foundation is currently participating in a unique opportunity to grow its unrestricted grant making fund – the pool of money that was able to fund the grants listed above. Every $1 donated to the Whitley County Community Foundation’s Greater Good fund will be matched with $1 from Lilly Endowment. “A $5 gift will actually bring in $10; $100 will bring in $200, and $5,000 will be worth $10,000,” explained McConnell. “The larger our Greater Good Fund grows, the more money we have available to fund important projects in our community.”
The Foundation is trying to raise $250,000 in unrestricted gifts this year. Tax deductible contributions can be mailed to WCCF, 400 N. Whitley Street, Columbia City, IN 46725, or made via the PayPal button ON WCCF’s
website(www.whitleycountycommunityfoundation.org)
For additional information, contact the Foundation at 244-5224.

Noble County Extension to present pesticide recertification program

Article provided

Purdue Extension in Noble County will be hosting a private pesticide applicator recertification program (PARP) for commercial fruit and vegetable producers on February 18 starting at 1 p.m. The program will take place at the Purdue Extension office, Noble County Complex-South, 2090 N. State Road 9, Albion, IN.
Local producers will learn from Dr. Rick Foster, Purdue entomologist, about updates on commercial fruit and vegetable pests during the meeting. Newer pests, like spotted wing drosophila, will be covered, as well as more common perennial pests that have challenged producers for years. Management options will be discussed. In addition, John Woodmansee, Extension Educator in Noble and Whitley Counties, will discuss driftwatch.org. Commercial producers and pesticide applicators use this site to outline and be aware of sensitive commercial crops so that potential problems with pesticide drift can be minimized.
This program counts as one of the three required programs private applicators are required to attend during the 5-year span of their active license to avoid the need to re-test.
Participants are asked to RSVP to Purdue Extension in Noble County, 260-636-2111 or email sweeks@purdue.edu, by February 16. The day of the program, check-in and payment of the $10 PARP fee will occur from 1 to 1:30 p.m. The program will run from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., and signing of the official PARP forms will follow the conclusion of the program at 3:30 p.m.
A program flyer is available at www.extension.purdue/noble. Those with further questions may contact Purdue Extension in Noble County at 260-636-2111.

Winter weather advisory in effect until 11 a.m.

The Whitley County Emergency Management reminds residents that a winter weather advisory is in effect until 11 a.m. this morning, January 21. Freezing drizzle along with slight ice accumulations will leave roads slick. Fog is possible.

Icy roads result in closings

Update at 8:15 a.m.: Due to icy roadways, Whitley County Consolidated Schools, Smith-Green Community Schools and Faith Christian Academy students are closed today.

January 20, 2015

A gift with strings attached: Officials anticipate tearing down building once it's given to the City

(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
Bearing the name "Alice" in downtown Columbia City, the building above is likely to be torn down in the near future as it continues to deteriorate and appears to be leaning toward the alley.

By Jennifer Zartman Romano


Columbia City's own leaning tower, the Alice building become the latest casualty of the wrecking ball.
On Tuesday, councilman Ben Romine spoke about ongoing discussions with the Redevelopment Commission to take ownership of a rapidly deteriorating building in the center of the downtown area on Van Buren Street.
Romine, a member of the Redevelopment Commission, spoke before the Columbia City Council about the building Tuesday night.
Once the site of Due's Restaurant, the building was held by a non-profit and the individual now responsible for the building, who lives in Canada, has said they are willing to donate it to the city.
Unfortunately, it's a gift with strings...attached to wrecking ball.
"It's in a major state of disrepair," Romine said. "Not much can be done with it," he added, saying the building has now been reviewed by a realtor, an inspector and others who agree that it would be best to tear it down.
Utilities have not been running within the building for months and the roof on the back of the building has fallen in, bringing with it water damage and pests.
"It's not worth saving," Romine said.
Romine said that estimates to tear the building down totalled $60,000. "That's a lot of money to put into a project," Romine said, but added it was his feeling that sooner or later, the city would have to deal with the issue as the unstable building continues to crumble and heave westward.
"If we have the Redevelopment Commission interested in doing something and able to oversee some costs and restoration afterward, I think we should consider giving the Redevelopment Commission funds to help with the demolition," said Mayor Ryan Daniel. Daniel suggested taking the $60,000 out of the city's rainy day fund to pay for demolition.
"I think it's an important project for our downtown," Daniel said. "We're ultimately going to have to deal with it."
Once the building is town down, nearby utility lines could be buried.
Councilman Bill Simpson asked Romine what could be done with the relatively small space following demolition. Romine responded that a facade could be created to preserve the look of the downtown and that the space behind the facade could be used for parking or unknown future development projects.
Daniel asked the council for consensus to move $60,000 out of the rainy day fund for the project, which was met with unanimous support. A firm plan will be set in place soon.

Banks' bill giving veterans hiring preference passes committee, moves on to full Senate

By Brady Hagerty

Legislation authored by State Senator Amanda Banks of Columbia City allowing employers to give hiring preferences to veterans passed the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and the Military today by a vote of 6-0.
Senate Bill 298 would allow private-sector employers to adopt a veterans’ preference policy for hiring, promoting or retaining a veteran in employment. Indiana is one of 40 states that currently permits public sector hiring preference for veterans, but it does not allow the private sector to do the same.  
“Many Hoosier veterans, specifically post-9/11 veterans, have struggled to find work when returning to civilian life,” Banks said. “This legislation wouldn’t mandate private employers to adopt such policies, but rather, would permit them to do so. My hope is that we can follow in the footsteps of 13 other states that have passed similar laws by supporting Hoosier veterans and empowering private-sector employers in Indiana.”
Banks said that Indiana’s veteran unemployment rate is nearly 16 percent, whereas the national unemployment rate for veterans is about nine percent.
Banks’ bill now moves to the full Senate for further consideration.

Tickets for annual Father Daughter Dance selling briskly

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

If you haven't purchased your tickets yet for the Columbia City Parks Department's annual Father Daughter Dance, you'd better make it a priority soon.
Parks director Mark Green told the Columbia City Common Council last Tuesday that 225 tickets have already been sold -- meaning that just half remain.
Tickets went on sale last Monday for the event which will be held February 6, 2015, from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Whitley County 4-H Center.
The evening of dinner, dancing and fun will include a meal catered by Gary and Heather Parrett and photography by Melissa DeWitt Photography.
Tickets are $15 per person. Tickets can be purchased weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the park office in Morsches Park.

Several scams reported locally

From reports

Local residents are reporting two different telephone scams circulating right now.
In the first scam, an individual calls identifying themselves as representatives of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and unlike many phone scams, the individual making the call sounds very polished and professional.
In the second scam, someone identifying themselves as a NIPSCO employee calls to inform the resident about bill that is overdue and needs to be paid immediately to avoid an interruption in service.
NIPSCO is attempting to assist with this and other kinds of scams and they're urging anyone who receives these calls to report them by calling a 24-hour hotline at 1-800-4-NIPSCO.
At any time, when you receive a call, email or mailed information that does not seem to be legitimate, do not provide personal information. Ask a lot of questions and report concerning phone calls to the authorities.

Churubusco Town Council grants abatement for C&A Tool expansion

From reports

The Town of Churubusco has given a local company it's vote of support -- in the form of a tax abatement.
With a $3.2 million investment from C&A Tool, town council approved a 10-year tax abatement for $135,000. The initial abatement amount is 100 percent and falls by 10 percent each year thereafter.
C&A Tool added 26 jobs last year and made 105 new hires, employing more than 500 employees. The annual payroll for C&A Tool is estimated at $23.2 million.

January 19, 2015

Morsches Park skating rink creates frozen opportunity for family fun

(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
Visible from US 30, a winter ice skating rink is taking shape in Morsches Park. The structure is now in place and once temperatures drop, the free community skating venue will open.

By Jennifer Zartman Romano


Imagine for a moment the idyllic scene of families dressed in their warmest coats, hats and mittens, puffs of air billowing above them, twirling and tagging along on ice skates.
This imagery will become reality soon as plans to complete a winter ice skating rink in Columbia City's Morsches Park are well underway.
According to Columbia City Parks Department director Mark Green, parks staff have been busy constructing the rink walls on the T-ball fields inside Morsches Park on the city's east side. The 80 x 95 foot frame is now in

place and a liner has been installed. Water will fill the liner, freeze and create a natural rink -- without any mechanical means to keep it frozen.
"It will only be open when it's frozen," Green said of the ice rink. "It will be dependent on the weather." A long, cold winter will ensure many hours of skating.
"I'm excited for it," Green told the Columbia City Council Tuesday evening. "It's another thing for kids and adults to do. It's not as nice as what Fort Wayne has...and there is no Zamboni down there to clean it."
Rules for the use of the rink will be posted nearby once it is complete. There will be no fee to skate there and hockey will not be allowed -- just skating.
"If you have skates and want to use them, you'll have a place to use them," Green added.

Fritz Martin appointed to Economic Development Commission

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

Columbia City resident Fritz Martin was appointed to the Economic Development Commission Tuesday evening.
The Columbia City Common Council acted to make their appointment to the group that meets infrequently to approve targeted areas economic development activities.

LWC Class 14 continues year of discovery

(Talk of the Town photos provided)
Above, LWC class members, from left, John Horner of Parkview Whitley Hospital, Ryan Sims of Micropulse, Lauren Brown of Poptique Popcorn and Katie Kinsey of Passages present their portion of the county tour report at Leadership Whitley County's November session. Below, class members and student representatives Kathryn Doehrmann, at left, of Eagle Tech Academy and Peyton Brandt, at right, of Churubusco High School work together on a collaborative exercise at LWC's December session held at South Whitley High School.

Article provided


Leadership Whitley County Class 14 members focused on two key components of servant leadership during their last two sessions of 2014.  
C & A Tool graciously hosted the November session, which was sponsored by J & K Communications.  The morning kicked-off with a trust activity involving blindfolds and specific activities.  This icebreaker provided an excellent opportunity for class members to reconnect, build trust among each other and recognize non-verbal cues.   Following a debriefing of the exercise, LWC participants provided informative and entertaining reports on their county tour experience conducted in October. Small teams visited different locations within Whitley County, pictures taken were assembled in collages and each group presented their tour report as the awareness portion of the November session.  A variety of interesting facts relating to Whitley County were shared in the reports.  Class members had the opportunity to visit with a variety of individuals & companies during their tour, including Fox Products, Whitley Manufacturing and the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce
 The main topic for the day focused on diversity facilitated by new trainers Martha Martin and Christina Battell of PQC Consulting.  The program focused on diversity of thoughts, attitudes, assumptions and stereotypes.  Class members were asked to discuss diverse characteristics of others we see, as well as those that may not be visible.  Participants engaged in a variety of interesting dialogue and group activities throughout the three-hour program.
Following the session, the LWC class enjoyed a catered lunch by Bart's BBQ and a tour of the C & A Tool facility by LWC alum and C & A Tool employee Matt Russell. 
 The December session of Leadership Whitley County convened at the media center of Whitko High School in South Whitley, hosted by LWC Alum Patty Weybright.  The morning kicked off with an awareness session featuring a panel of local non-profit organizations.  Panel members included:  Mark Green - Columbia City Parks Department, Kameron Bailey - Whitley County Family YMCA, Maureen Shippy and Teresa Ladd - Junior Achievement of Whitley County, Shawn Ellis - BABE of Whitley County, and Hank Workman and Lori Bianski of The Forklift.
At their September retreat, class members identified local programs where they would like to volunteer.  From this input, the panel was assembled.  Each panel member had the opportunity to provide an overview of their organization, detail its benefits to the community, connect with class members and highlight areas for possible volunteer involvement. 
 The main topic for the day focused on compassionate collaboration.    Dynamic facilitators for the day were Ben Rheinheimer and Betsy Bontrager of uLEAD, based in Milford.   The session including a variety of lively activities followed by discussion on their application to servant leadership and how they might apply in community  leadership situations.   The December session was catered by Jill Daniel and sponsored generously by J & J Insurance.
As the LWC program continues into 2015, class members will experience programs focusing on public speaking, conflict management and personal mission.  A celebration graduation will be held, recognizing all class members on Thursday, April 16, 2015. 
For more information on applying for the 15th Leadership Whitley County class which starts next September, supporting the program, or having an informational presentation made to your business or organization, send an email to info@leadershipwc.org or visit LWC's website at www.leadershipwc.org

Whitley County Relay for Life to launch Tuesday with kickoff event

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

Whitley County's Relay for Life will host a kickoff meeting on Tuesday, January 20, beginning at 6 p.m. at Parkview Whitley Hospital. Anyone interested in participating in the 2015 Relay for Life is invited to attend.
Event organizers say individuals may register as a participant, survivor or a team Tuesday evening.
The 2015 Whitley County Relay for Life will be held June 6 at noon and will last until 6 a.m. on June 7 at Indian Springs Middle School. This year's theme is "Lights, Camera, CURE!"
Relay For Life is a fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. Teams of people camp out around a track, walking together for 18 hours in support and in memory of those lives cancer has touched. Food, games and activities also provide entertainment and build camaraderie at this family-friendly, community event.
Relay For Life began in May of 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt walked and ran for 24 hours around a track in Tacoma, Washington. Klatt's efforts ultimately raised $27,000 to help the American Cancer Society fund a search for a cure for cancer. The following year, 340 supporters joined the overnight event. Since then, the Relay For Life movement has grown into a worldwide phenomenon, raising nearly $5 billion for a cancer cure.
For more information about the Whitley County Relay for Life, contact relay specialist Terrell Brown at terrell.brown@cancer.org or local event lead Tammy Gross at aunt46723@yahoo.com. Information can also be found online at http://relayforlife.org/whitleycountyin

'Busco police force to gain one half-time officer

From reports

The Town of Churubusco will be adding a fifth police officer in the near future in hopes of lightening the workload for the force.
The town currently employs four full-time officers, but will add a fifth, part-time position to reduce overtime hours. The only anticipated cost for adding the part-time officer is expected to be the cost of uniform and other items needed to outfit the officer.
The Churubusco Town Council approved the creation of the part-time officer position as presented by town marshall Mike Engle.

Dresses, accessories accepted for annual prom dress giveaway at CCHS

Article provided

It’s that time of year again -- Columbia City High School is now accepting donations of clean prom dresses, formal gowns and accessories.
Items can be dropped off at CCHS's main door between the weekday hours of 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
The annual prom dress giveaway is scheduled for Wednesday, March 11, 2015, at CCHS in the staff lounge from 3:30 to 5 p.m. The event is open to any girl that wants or needs a prom dress.

No Tree Board meeting Tuesday

From reports

The Columbia City Tree Board meeting originally slated for January 20, 2015, has been cancelled due to the lack of an agenda.