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November 15, 2018

Green, Schmitt and Hurley honored for saving woman's life following fiery crash


(Talk of the Town photo provided)

Deputy Scott Schmitt, Thorncreek Township firefighter Adam Hurley and Thorncreek Township Fire Chief Greg Green were recognized by the Indiana Volunteer Firefighters Association with an award for saving a life. The trio was presented with the award for saving the life of a woman after freeing her from a burning car following a crash in February. 

7th annual Whitley County Lighted Christmas Parade is November 23

From reports

Excitement is building for Santa Claus' arrival in Whitley County next week with the seventh annual Whitley County Christmas Parade slated for Friday, November 23, 2018 at 6 p.m.
The parade, featuring illuminated floats and walking units, will lineup near Eagle Tech Academy, heading south on Walnut Street, east on Van Buren Street and then south at the corner of Chauncey and Van Buren Streets in downtown Columbia City.
Santa will, of course, be the featured parade participant -- arriving in a surprise fashion to delight the young and young at heart as he does each year. Santa works to create a unique float (or two) to celebrate this arrival in style and it is all a surprise that won't be revealed until parade night!
As soon as Santa arrives at his house, located on the corner of Chauncey and Van Buren Streets, a tree lighting ceremony will begin with musical performances by the Whitley Community Children's Choir and the Columbia City High School Marching Eagles Band.
Activities will be planned in downtown Columbia City on parade night at several local businesses. Children can make an ornament and enjoy refreshments at the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center. Refreshments will be available at the Chamber as well.
Sponsors for the parade include SRC, Northeastern REMC, City of Columbia City, Passages Inc., The Clugston, Teghtmeyer ACE Hardware, Morsches Builder's Mart, Coffee News of Northeast Indiana, Rabb Water Systems, Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center, Talk of the Town and J&K Communications, Eberly Photography & Videography, Charlie & Joe Wigent, The Clark Family, The Gaerte Family, The Lowrance & Henney Families, The Romano Family and The Schmitt Family.
Updates can be found on the Whitley County Lighted Christmas Parade page on Facebook.

Old Type Writer

Our esteemed columnist Susie Duncan Sexton has returned with her latest installment of Old Type Writer. You can read it all by clicking here.

Columbia City residents invited to enter decorating contest

From reports

Christmas lights sparkle from porches and peaks across Columbia City, adding to the excitement of the upcoming holiday season. Some residents decorate for the joy of it -- and others have a competitive spirit, vying for prizes and prestige in the annual Columbia City Community Christmas Decorating Contest.

"As chair of the Columbia City Community Christmas Decorating Contest, I hope local homeowners will once again participate in our annual decorating contest," stated Columbia City Councilwoman Jennifer Romano of Columbia City's Southwest District.

The contest has been going on for many years now, creating traditions in neighborhoods across Columbia City and enabling local residents and families to bundle up, climb in the car with some cocoa and admire light displays around the city.

"Every Christmas season, my children, nephews and niece really look forward to driving around the city to check out the creativity and Christmas spirit on display. I'm excited to see this heartwarming tradition continue," Romano added.

Participation is easy -- just decorate with lights and festive decor in whatever way you choose! Be creative, have fun and you might win. Prizes will be awarded in four quadrants of the city and one overall winner will be chosen as well.

"With all of the Christmas decorations going up around Columbia City already, we'd really like homeowners to have their displays up by Friday, November 23, 2018, if possible this year. The committee will be judging residential light displays the following week. Be sure to have your lights on each evening during the following week as our committee travels around to judge the displays," said Romano. "We will choose winners from each corner of the community and they'll win cash prizes, plaques and be recognized during one of our Council meetings in December."

"Residents are welcome to nominate their neighbors or even their own displays. Simply send us an email with your address and we will make sure we look at it," Romano added. Email nominations to jromano@columbiacity.net

Romano said the committee will judge displays, weather permitting, during the week of November 26-November 30. Winners will be publicly announced in December during a City Council Meeting.

If you have any questions or would like to recommend an address for the committee to check out this year, send an email to jromano@columbiacity.net

Young Family Scholarship to benefit graduates in Green Township

From reports

The Community Foundation of Whitley County is pleased to announce the establishment of The Young Family Scholarship, open to graduating students residing in Green Township and attending Churubusco High School. The scholarship was created through a testamentary gift made to the Community Foundation in 2017 through the estate of Ruth Anna Young. The scholarship may be used toward the tuition costs necessary for completion of a two- or four-year degree from an accredited, non-profit college or university.

Students eligible for the scholarship should complete an application, currently available on the Community Foundation's website at www.cfwhitley.org no later than December 18, 2018. The first award recipient will be announced in the spring of 2019. For additional information, contact September McConnell, CEO of the Community Foundation of Whitley County at sepwccf@gmail.com or by calling 260-244-5224.

Tis' the season...to watch out for deer on the roads

By John Woodmansee

My wife and I have had the unfortunate experience of hitting a deer with our vehicle - twice - right after we had purchased new vehicles. (Why can't they hit our older, junkier vehicles)? One of those deer actually ran into us! Damage is expensive to repair, and it can also be dangerous.

Brian MacGowan, Purdue Extension Wildlife Specialist, recently urged Hoosiers to watch out for deer on the roads.

"Currently, experts estimate about 30 million white-tailed deer throughout its range," said MacGowan. "There are probably more white-tailed deer in North America today than at the time of European settlement."

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there are approximately one and a half million deer-vehicle collisions in the United States each year, resulting in about 150 deaths and over $1 billion in vehicle damage. Deer were struck in 3 out of 4 vehicle-animal crashes. Next in line were cattle, horses and dogs. The month with highest risk of collisions with deer is November.

"While deer-vehicle collisions can happen any time of year, October to December is the peak," said MacGowan. "Most collisions occur from dusk to dawn on high speed rural roads." In Indiana, if a deer dies following a collision with a motor vehicle, a conservation officer, DNR property manager or other law enforcement officer may issue a permit to an individual to possess the deer.

Many tactics have been tried over the years to reduce collisions. MacGowan said that most of these have proved ineffective or at least need more investigation. "One common approach that does not work is the deer whistle," he said. "While manufacturers contend that deer can hear the whistles up to a quarter mile away, published studies have not verified their effectiveness or whether or not deer can even hear them." The lack of deer response to deer whistles may be because deer don't recognize the sounds as threatening or they have too little time to react, MacGowan said.

If you are waiting on the magical answer to avoid all deer collisions, I'm afraid you are going to be disappointed.

"There is no foolproof way to prevent deer-vehicle collisions," said MacGowan. "Hunting is the most biologically and economically effective method of maintaining Indiana's deer herd at an optimal level - all else being equal, less deer translates to reduced probability of hitting a deer." He said that fencing deer from roadways has been proven most effective at reducing accidents at specific locations, but it is very costly to construct and maintain.

MacGowan said there are common-sense precautions all drivers can take to reduce the risk of deer-vehicle collisions. The Insurance Information Institute recommends the following driving tips.

  • Be vigilant in early morning and evening hours, the most active time for deer.
  • Use your high-beam headlights.
  • Slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten the deer away.
  • Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path. Do not swerve. It can confuse the deer as to where to run. It can also cause you to lose control and hit a tree or another car.
  • Be alert and drive with caution when you are moving through a deer crossing zone.
  • Obey posted speed limits and always wear your seatbelt. Most people injured in car/deer crashes were not wearing their seatbelt.
  • Look for other deer after one has crossed the road. Deer seldom run alone.

Read MacGowan's original article on Purdue Extension Department of Forestry and Natural Resources' Got Nature? blog at: https://www.purdue.edu/fnr/extension/got-nature-blog/.

Indiana students invited to pitch ideas

From reports

Applications for the 2019 Innovate WithIN™ pitch competition, a statewide initiative hosted by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), Indiana Department of Education (DOE) and Ball State University, are now open to high school students across Indiana. Student teams are invited to submit video pitches online before February 6, 2019, and new to this year's program, middle school students interested in entrepreneurship are invited to register for workshops offered at the regional competitions in early 2019.

"As a state, we're committed to cultivating Indiana's entrepreneurial ecosystem and that effort begins in the classroom," Governor Eric J. Holcomb said. "Through this unique partnership, Innovate WithIN is encouraging Hoosier students to hone their creativity and critical thinking skills to come up with innovative ideas that solve 21st century problems. We're excited to kick off this second annual pitch competition and can't wait to see the game-changing ideas our students develop."

Innovate WithIN, which is in its second year, gives Hoosier students the opportunity to create their own business plans and showcase entrepreneurial ideas throughout the state. The overall winners of the state competition will each receive a $10,000 cash prize, $10,000 toward one year of in-state tuition, internship opportunities and mentoring services. 

Participants are invited to work individually or in small groups to submit an innovative idea for a business, product, service or venture. Students will then receive feedback from experienced professionals while competing against like-minded youth from across Indiana through three rounds:

  • Round One: Video pitch submissions due February 6
  • Round Two: Regional pitch competitions hosted from March 4 to March 15
  • Final Round: State pitch competition for regional finalists hosted in April

After completing video pitches and regional competitions, the finalists from each region will be invited to Indianapolis for the final round of the competition, pitching their ideas to a panel of judges from Indiana's entrepreneurial community.

"The University is proud to partner again this year with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and the Indiana Department of Education on a pitch competition that is bolstering the next generation of entrepreneurs around the state," said Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns. "This association is a natural fit for us because Ball State has long been associated with innovation and entrepreneurship--100 years ago the University was founded by five Ball brothers, who were major industrialists of their time. We were founded by entrepreneurs, and we are now propelled by an innovative, immersive approach to education."

In 2018, the inaugural Innovate WithIN™ competition drew 86 online applications from more than 290 Hoosier students at more than 65 high schools. The overall winners, Colin Wareham and Jackson Ramey from Noblesville High School, created a set of board games called Educaid to help students learn principles like entrepreneurship, marketing and management. Wareham and Ramey, along with the other finalists, received mentoring services through the StartEdUp Foundation, which focuses on engaging students and teachers through innovation and entrepreneurship in the classroom. StartEdUp helped develop and execute the students' ideas through its network of mentors and advisors.

"With great educators at the helm, Indiana classrooms have become incubators for innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit," said Dr. Jennifer McCormick, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction. "The Innovate WithIN pitch competition is an excellent platform for students to showcase their skills. I am proud of our talented students and grateful for the teachers, parents, and communities behind them."
In addition to the pitch competition and mentorship opportunities, the 2019 Innovate WithIN™ pitch competition will expand to middle school students through ideation sessions at the regional competitions. Open to grades six through eight, these students will participate in workshops aimed at fostering entrepreneurial and critical-thinking skills while also introducing them to real-world business concepts.
As part of Governor Holcomb's Next Level Agenda to make Indiana a hub for innovation and develop a 21st century skilled and ready workforce, the state is committed to helping cultivate innovative ideas in the classroom. The Innovate WithIN™ pitch competition fosters an entrepreneurial spirit among our leaders of tomorrow, empowering students to hone their innovative thinking.

Submit applications and learn more about the program at InnovateWithIN.org.