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December 17, 2014

The Lighthouse receives grant from Foundation's 2014 Charity Tree contest at the Walk of Trees

(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
Chelsey Barrell of the Whitley County Community Foundation, above, puts finishing touches on the Foundation's tree at the annual Walk of Trees inside the historic Clugston senior apartment building in downtown Columbia City. Once again this year, the tree welcomed guesses about how much faux money was on the tree. Below, in this photo provided by the Foundation, Esther Smith accepts a grant for $763 from John Slavich of the Whitley County Community Foundation.

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

They say money doesn't grow on trees -- but for Whitley County resident Esther Smith, it certainly did this week.
Smith made the correct guess about how much faux money covered the Whitley County Community Foundation's Charity Tree at the 2014 Walk of Trees in downtown Columbia City. After scanning the tree and the small bills hung all over it, Smith guessed $725 -- which was the closest guess to the actual amount on the tree: $763.
For making the correct guess, Smith won a very real monetary gift -- a $763 grant to designate the charity of her choice.
"The closest guess without going over would get the opportunity to direct a grant in the actual amount to their favorite Whitley County 501(c)(3) charity," said Chelsey Barrell of the Whitley County Community Foundation.
Barrell said Smith planned to designate her $725 grant to the Interfaith Mission, the entity that oversees The Lighthouse Shelter, Whitley County's homeless and transitional living shelter.
Barrell was pleased with the community's participation in the Charity Tree contest this year.
"This year, we had 65 entries with guesses ranging from $50 to $1000," added Barrell. "Thank you to everyone who participated in the event."

Reduced to rubble

(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
Crews with Kim L. Reiff & Sons LLC began razing a long-vacant property, remembered by some as the former Barnett Station, at 315 West Van Buren Street in Columbia City.
In October, an order was issued by the City of Columbia City giving owners 60 days to repair or remove the structure -- with a deadline of December 29 before the city would act. Officials cited concerns for public health and safety as the building was in bad shape and had been sitting vacant for quite some time. By nightfall, most of the structure had been reduced to a pile of rubble. It is not yet clear what future plans for the site might include.

TROY Center student make merry memories caroling in the community

(Talk of the Town photo provided)
Students from TROY Center School in northwestern Whitley County spread holiday cheer around the community today, stopping at several non-profit locations in the community, including the Whitley County BABE Program on North Line Street in Columbia City. The teens brought joyful songs and smiles to the faces of everyone they visited.

For more information about TROY Center School, visit http://www.troyalternativeschool.com/

Tippecanoe Watershed Foundation invites entries for annual photography contest

From reports

The Tippecanoe Watershed Foundation is once again inviting photographers (amateur or professional) in the area to submit photos of the Upper Tippecanoe Watershed for their annual photography contest.
Each year, the contest welcomes entries from around the area, capturing the beauty of lakes including Crooked Lake, Old Lake, New Lake, Goose Lake, Loon Lake and Troy Cedar Lakes in Whitley County, along with surrounding marsh areas in northwestern Whitley County. Entries capturing the watershed's locations in Kosciusko and Noble Counties are welcome as well.
The deadline to submit entries is approaching on December 31, 2014, at midnight.
For additional information about the contest and to submit entries online, visit the Tippecanoe Watershed Foundation's Facebook contest page at

December 16, 2014

Whitley County loses 4H enrollment challenge, Addison takes a pie to the face

(Talk of the Town photo provided)
Whitley County Extension educator David Addison gets a pie in the face from Noble County 4H’er Zander Brazil as part of a contest for 4H enrollment. Noble and Whitley Counties had a contest to see which county could sign-up the most 4H’ers in the month of November. Noble County won and Brazil was selected to put the pie in the face of the losing educator.
It is not too late to enroll in 4H just go to in.4honline.com and enroll today.
The enrollment deadline is January 15.

Peabody Public Library publishes new cookbook

From reports

The staff and Friends of the Peabody Public Library have published their first-ever cookbook entitled "A Literary Feast." The book is now available for purchase at the library featuring over 350 recipes that have been taste tested and determined to be delicious enough for you to share with your family. The books are $12.50 each and may be purchased at the Peabody Public Library's circulation desk.
Proceeds support the library.

Schroyer's Variety and Hardware, Madalyn Sade-Bartl recognized by Churubusco Chamber of Commerce

(Talk of the Town photo provided)
On December 11, the Churubusco Chamber of Commerce held their annual dinner and announced several award winners.
Above, holding the plaque, Lori Shroyer-Fulk accepted the 2014 Churubusco Business of the Year award for Schroyer's Variety and Hardware Store.
At right, standing at right, Madalyn Sade-Bartl was named Churubusco Citizen of the Year for her efforts in organizing numerous community activities include the Churubusco Garage Sales and tree lighting ceremony.
Awards were also presented to Chamber secretary Beth Brown who has served more than 15 years and to John Schmidt for serving as Chamber treasurer for many years. Brown and Schmidt are stepping away from their positions.

Banks officially sworn in as State Senator

(Talk of the Town photo provided)
Amanda Banks of Columbia City was sworn in today, Tuesday, December 16, an is now officially State Senator of District 17. Banks was elected by a caucus to temporarily fill her husband's vacancy while he serves the US Navy in Afghanistan. Banks was sworn in with a Bible held by her mother.

By Brady Hagerty

Standing in the Indiana Senate Chamber, Senator-elect Amanda Banks took the oath of office today, officially becoming the State Senator representing Senate District 17.
Banks was elected, in accordance with state law, December 4 by a caucus of precinct committeemen to temporarily fill the Senate seat held by her husband, State Senator Jim Banks, during his deployment to Afghanistan with the U.S. Navy. 
“Representing the residents of Senate District 17 has been a part of my family’s life for the past several years,” Banks said. “I’m honored to have the opportunity not only to continue the leadership and values that the district has come to know, but to offer new perspectives on important issues that stem from my unique experiences as a policy analyst, wife and mother.” 
Banks majored in public policy at Indiana University. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree and a business certificate from the Kelley School of Business. Professionally, she has served as a federal policy analyst for Focus on the Family and as communications manager for the American Red Cross Indiana-Ohio region.
Currently, Banks is the vice-president of Allen County Right to Life and co-host of “I Choose Life News and Views.”
“I can’t think of a more qualified and capable person than Amanda to represent the people of Senate District 17 while Jim is deployed overseas,” said Senate President Pro Tem David Long of Fort Wayne. “She joins an impressive group of new senators who will bring fresh ideas and perspective to the Senate during the 2015 session.”
During the 2015 legislative session, Banks will serve on the Senate Committee on Education and Career Development, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Transportation, the Senate Committee on Pensions and Labor and the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and the Military.
Banks’ office can be contacted by email at Senator.Banks@iga.in.gov or by calling her legislative assistant, Ian Hauer, at 317-232-9808 or 800-382-9467.
Traditional mail can be addressed to 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204.

Grace Lutheran Church will host Advent service Wednesday night, community welcome to attend

From reports

Grace Lutheran Church in Columbia City is hosting an Advent worship service this Wednesday, December 17, at 7 p.m. at the church. Anyone is welcome to attend.
Grace Lutheran Church is located at 204 North Main Street in Columbia City.

December 11, 2014

Little Hands bring big comfort to local hospital patients with small gifts

(Talk of the Town photo provided)
Little Hands will be traveling to Whitley County Parkview Hospital to deliver goody bags filled with coloring books, crayons, mouth wash, toothpaste, hair brushes, playing cards, shampoo, conditioner, chapstick, and small toy, and playing cards! These can be used for patients at the hospital to comfort and make the time go a little quicker during their stay. Little Hands made 40 busy bags as their hands-on community project.  Little Hands, Big Hearts, Great Starts, INC is made up of 10-12 children that are gaining knowledge of different ways to have an impact on their community. Participants in this project included Addilynn Richmond, Adrian Kaley, Sam Newman, Braylin Bishop, Reece Davis and Carsyn McMeeking.  If you have ideas or suggestions you can share them on their facebook page or on our website at giving@littlehandsbigheartsgreatstarts.com 
Please feel free to call 244-6632 and ask for Angela for further questions or information about our program.

Dane Drew named youngest Farm Bureau president in Indiana

(Talk of the Town photo provided)
Dane Drew, above, has been elected president of the Whitley County Farm Bureau. 25-year-old Drew is officially the youngest county Farm Bureau president in Indiana.

From reports

Dane Drew, a resident of rural  Richland Township, has been elected president of the Whitley County Farm Bureau serving in that position until September 2016. 
Drew graduated from Huntington University with two bachelor's degrees, one in marketing and the other in business administration. He also graduated with an Associates degree in business administration with concentrations in marketing and human resources from Ivy Tech.
Drew has previously been involved with the Whitley County Young Farmers organization serving as their treasurer and their representative on the Whitley County Farm Bureau board of directors. He succeeds Kent Hoffman who was elected to complete the term of Kevin Ousley who was elected as the District 2 Director for the Indiana Farm Bureau in October of 2013 and had to step down as the Whitley County President. 
Drew indicated that one of his focuses will be on educating young people on the importance of agriculture to Whitley County both in the past and in the future.
Whitley County now has the distinction of having the youngest Farm Bureau county President in Indiana with Dane being 25 years-old.

Community Voices

Tonight on Community Voices, we learn about the retirement of Gene Rohrer, Whitley County Veterans Service Officer and all he's accomplished in this dynamic role since 2007. Click here to read his column.