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July 28, 2016

Whitley County Sheriff's Department asks for community's help in finding missing local person


(Talk of the Town photo provided)
The Whitley County Sheriff's Department is attempting to locate a missing person, Marcus Wolfe.
The department reports that Wolfe was last seen in Columbia City on Monday, July 25, 2016, and was supposed to be traveling home to South Whitley, but did not arrive. He should be driving a black late model 2 door Saturn.
If you have had contact with Marcus Wolfe or know where he may be, please contact the Whitley County Sheriff's Department at 244-6410 opt. 1.

United Way of Whitley County awards $85,450 to worthy organizations serving the community

From reports

United Way of Whitley County announced today that they have awarded $85,450 in community grants to local programs and organizations serving residents of Whitley County. The grants provided are the result of individual and corporate contributions made through United Way's 2015 annual fundraising campaign. The generosity of hundreds of people throughout Whitley County made it possible for United Way to award grants to programs that play a critical role in reaching people in need and providing them with the means to create a better life for themselves.
Grant recipients for 2016-2017 include:
One Community, Inc.
Camp Invention
Kindergarten Countdown
Junior Achievement
Gradway-Whitko High School
Passages, Inc.
TROY Center Alternative School
Churubusco Childcare Center
The Center for Whitley County Youth
BABE of Whitley County
Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana
NE Indiana CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate)
YWCA Domestic Violence Services
United Way's volunteer board of directors, along with other community members, selected the grant recipients after a comprehensive application and interview process that began with 16 program applications totaling $168,300 in grant requests. Ultimately, programs and funding amounts were selected based on a series of factors designed to ensure the greatest return on investment for donors who support the community through their United Way contributions. 
United Way awards grants to programs and organizations with a focus on three main impact areas: Education, Financial Stability, and Community Chest (Crisis Response).  Of these impact areas, education related programs that augment the work of the schools and enrich student learning received $61,450, with the area of community chest receiving $14,000, and financial stability $10,000. 
United Way grant funds will support thirteenprograms that reach approximately eight thousand residents throughout Whitley County in the coming year; equal to twenty-five percent of the county population.
"These grants will impact the lives of thousands of people in our community.  There are significant needs throughout the county and United Way is grateful to work within the community to provide for those needs through the generosity of our gracious donors.  It is important for our donors to know they have the ability to make a profound impact on someone's life through their financial contribution to United Way," said executive director Cindy Baker.
In addition to grant funding, United Way will also distribute donor designated contributions to area programs and services in the amount of $16,848 for a total of $102,298 in community investments.
United Way of Whitley County brings together compassionate people who are committed to improving lives in our community.  For 43 years, we have worked to help residents of Whitley County achieve and maintain self-sufficiency by focusing on three key areas of community impact: Education, Financial Stability, and Community Chest (Crisis Response).  United Way works with local businesses, human service agencies, schools and governmental institutions to ensure contributions do as much good as possible throughout our community. 
The organization invited the community join in improving the quality of life in our community by volunteering with United Way programs and other meaningful service opportunities; advocating by telling friends and colleagues about your involvement with United Way; or by giving a financial gift to support community programs that provide a better quality of life for all of us.  Great things happen when we LIVE UNITED.
For additional information, to volunteer, or make a financial contribution to United Way please contact executive director Cindy Baker at 244-6454 or visit

American Legion Post 98 hosting hog roast August 6

From reports

American Legion Post 98 Riders will host a hog roast on Saturday, August 6 beginning at 4 p.m.  Meals are $5 per plate. Acoustic Rush will perform from 6 to 10 p.m.
American Legion Post 98 is located at 430 West Business 30 in Columbia City.

Motorists should anticipate delays during Schuman Ditch bridge repairs on US 30 Friday

From reports

A lane restriction planned for US 30 on Friday could impact travel for motorists traveling on Whitley County's west side.
The Indiana Department of Transportation announced that bridge maintenance will begin on US 30 over Schuman Ditch, between CR 550 W and CR N 450 W in Whitley County, on Friday, July 29, weather permitting. Work will include bridge deck and joint repairs.
Motorists can expect the road to be reduced to one eastbound lane while work is completed. INDOT reminds drivers to use caution and consider worker safety when driving through an active construction zone.
Work on the bridge is expected to be complete by mid August, weather permitting. The repair of the US 30 bridge over Schuman Ditch is being done in combination with bridge repair on several structures across the Fort Wayne District. The combined contract was awarded to R.L. McCoy for $530,000.

July 27, 2016

Cutest Kids Contest nets $5726 in support of Whitley County BABE program


(Talk of the Town photos provided)

When the Whitley County 4-H Fair ended -- the annual Whitley County BABE Cutest Kids Contest also drew to a close.
In all 91 children entered the contest and 572,000 penny votes were cast, raising a total of $5726 for the local non-profit organization that serves children ages 0-5.
"Every vote will continue to support BABE and our efforts to boost healthy bodies, bellies and brains of the youngest in Whitley County," stated a program representative.
Winners this year are as follows:

0-1 year old winners:
Evelyn with 85,451 votes (Parents: Ben & Jarin Shively)
Austin with 26,773 votes (Parents: Kyle & Christa Wood)

2-3 year old winners:
Kambry with 21,557 votes (Parents: Casey & Katie Myers)
Hayden Clifford with 20,491 votes (Parent: Elizabeth Hardesty)

4-5 year old winners:
Callaghan with 21,530 votes (Parents: Casey & Katie Myers)
Loren with 17,874 votes (Parent: Alicia Elder)

6-9 year old winners:
Jordan with 57,556 votes (Parents: Gary & Heather Parrett)
Cordelia with 11,161 votes (Parents: Aaron & Abie Sauter)

Local youth invited to participate in annual Conservation Day Camp

From reports

The Whitley County Soil and Water Conservation District will once again host Conservation Day Camp. The camp will be held from 9:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 2. The cost is $10 per child and is open to children ages 9-13.
For more information or to register, contact the Whitley County Soil and Water Conservation District at 244-6266 ext. 101 or email

Castle Gallery's Summer Show '16 was a hit


(Courtesty of Castle Gallery)
Katarzyna Kociomyk's "Deliquescent" was one of several pieces of artwork featured in Castle Gallery's recent Summer Show '16. Castle Gallery Fine Art is located at 1202 West Wayne Street in Fort Wayne. Castle Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 426-6568 or visit

Shoe Sensation to celebrate grand opening with fanfare, prizes Thursday morning

From reports

Shoe Sensation, a regional chain of name brand family shoes stores, is excited to launch its grand opening and ribbon cutting in Columbia City this Thursday, July 28 at 9 a.m.
The first 100 customers will receive a free gift courtesy of Shoe Sensation. Customers will also able to register to win a free pair of shoes for their entire immediate family during the first four days the store is open.
Shoe Sensation will showcase over 10,000 pairs of first run shoes as well as a large assortment of fashion accessories and shoe care products. National brands such as Under Armour, Nike, Clarks, Skechers, and many others will be conveniently available for the whole family. The store will carry a large selection of men's, women's, children's, and athletic footwear in a better-branded merchandise mix. Shoe Sensation will be an easy-to-shop environment where associates will deliver exceptional customer service.
"We have been very well received in Columbia City and in the surrounding communities. We are eagerly looking forward to assisting our customers with all their footwear needs and becoming an active part of the Columbia City local family. Although we are a regional chain, we strive to maintain a fundamentally local focus and we are looking forward to being a part of the local community. The huge selection of name brand shoes and great prices at Shoe Sensation will be a great addition to the retail landscape. Our staff will be offering great personal service along with our layaway, special order and other programs as well as great shoes" says Taylor McAdams, public relations coordinator.
Shoe Sensation, Inc. has selected Adrienne Williamstant to be the manager of this location. Williamstant has recently moved to the area. Previously, she was the manager for an orchard in Sheridan, Indiana, and was also the manager for Lane Bryant and L S Ayres in the Indianapolis area. "Shoe Sensation is striving for excellence in bringing the customer a great selection of name brand shoes for the family while offering a remarkable shoe shopping experience" says Williamstant.
The Grand Opening and ribbon-Cutting will be held at the Shoe Sensation store located in the Towne & Country Shopping Center at 494A W. Plaza Drive. Shoe Sensation is excited to have the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce staff and Chamber Ambassadors attend our event and is excited to have Columbia City community members attend the event as well.

July 26, 2016

City ready to make a splash with aquatics facility fundraiser

Aquatics716a.jpg(Talk of the Town graphics provided)
Artist's renderings, above and below, show the proposed aquatics facility that the City of Columbia City and the Columbia City Parks Department have launched a fundraising campaign to build.

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

With the Burnworth Pool lacking heat and continuing to limp along in what has been called it's final year, the City of Columbia City and the Columbia City Parks Department continue to look at options to replace it.
Recently, volunteers close to the project established a fund through the Community Foundation of Whitley County to help collect donations to assist in the construction of a new aquatics facility to replace Burnworth Pool in the same location.
On Monday, utilizing social media, the City of Columbia City and the parks department began soliciting donations through a personalized brick fundraising campaign. Aquatics716b.jpg
A new aquatics facility for Columbia City is estimated to cost approximately $3.5 to $4 million according to Columbia City Mayor Ryan Daniel. And while that figure looms large -- local residents are hopeful it can be raised through the gifts of many. For $75, supporters can purchase a brick that Daniel said would be used in the construction of a pathway to the facility. "The final positioning of the bricks is yet to be determined, but it will be a prominent position at the facility," Daniel assured.
"We started selling bricks today that people can purchase with their names on them," Columbia City Parks Department director Mark Green regarding the fundraiser. "These bricks will be placed outside the entrance of the new aquatic facility when it is built. Our goal is to sell 500 bricks, so we will see how that goes."
Daniel and Green are optimistic that the funds needed for the project can be raised through the brick fundraiser, larger private gifts and through grant funding. In many ways, they're leaving no stone unturned in the effort.
"We are trying to raise it all with donations," Green said. "We hope there is enough community support to fund the project."
In addition to the bricks, Green said there will be more options to support the project.
"If anyone is interested in making a larger, more significant sized, donation we have several opportunities to name the equipment that will be inside the water park.  They would just need to contact me at the park office to discuss that possibility," Green added.
Looking outside Whitley County, organizers are optimistic that the project might be supported through a large grant and other initiatives.
"Next week could prove to be an important week for us as we look forward to hearing back from one of the grants that we applied for a few months ago.  It is possible that we could receive a large matching grant very soon," Green continued. "This aquatic facility is also a Regional Cities project, so once we achieve around 80 percent of the funding needed, we can ask for help from the Regional Cities funding in hopes to complete the fundraising."
As for when the project might begin, officials aren't clear.
"This really depends on money," said Daniel. "If we can get fundraising to ramp up over the next few months, we can break ground at the start of 2017." But, even if the project got started soon, it could take over a year to construct.
It's a big dream for Whitley County -- but a dream that many seem to share.
"There is an overwhelming amount of vocal support for this project. Families, older citizens, and certainly kids have all become excited for this great quality of life amenity," stated Daniel.
"From what I have heard from several people, they are very excited about the possibility of having an aquatic facility like this in Columbia City," Green continued. "We believe it can make a large economic improvement to our community and give our local families a great time to spend time together during the warm months."
Donations in any amount will be accepted and Green and Daniel agree that there are other ways residents can assist as well.
"Certainly monetary donations are the biggest assistance we need in the process. Promoting the project to friends and family on social media is a great way to spread the word," said Daniel.
For more information on the aquatics facility brick fundraiser, contact Mark Green at 248-5180 or visit

Bringing history to life

CivilWarReenact716.jpg(Talk of the Town photo by Christina Schilling)
Several members of the 30th Indiana Volunteers, a regional Civil War reenactment group, gathered on Saturday as part of an event at The Woodlands Senior Center in Columbia City. During the event reenactors, including Dr. Russ Gilliom of Churubusco, Steve Smith of Fort Wayne, Chuck Jones and James Romano, both of Columbia City, along with other volunteers, fired a cannon, gave a musket demonstration, period dancing demonstration. Additionally, volunteers were present providing educational information at booths showing historical medical care, Confederate troops and one displaying period clothing. Above, standing far right, Steve Smith explains the steps necessary to firing the cannon.

Impact CNC plans $2.1 million investment, will add nine jobs by fall 2016

From reports

On Tuesday evening, the Columbia City Common Council unanimously approved a 10-year tax abatement on new equipment to aid locally based Impact CNC, LLC, in their efforts to expand operations in Columbia City and adding nine new jobs this fall.
A production machining company, Impact CNC is located at 1380 S. Williams Drive in Gateway Industrial Park, and also has a second location at 802 E. Short Street in Columbia City. In addition to adding nine new jobs to its current 78 employees, the company plans to invest $2.1 million in new machinery at the Short Street location. 
"We are very excited to be growing in such a great community," said Impact CNC founder and owner Jerry Busche. "We will continue to invest in these plants because of the excellent workforce and the business friendly environment that the City and Whitley County have to offer."
This homegrown Hoosier company shares ownership with PDQ Tooling, which designs and manufactures custom indexable cutting
tools for the production machining industry, and PDQ Workholding, a manufacturer of hydraulic fixtures and work holding solutions for
the CNC machining industry. In 2013, PDQ Tooling announced plans to invest more than $7.2 million to lease and equip a facility in
Gateway Industrial Park, and since then the company has only continued to grow. 
"Impact CNC is just another shining example of what happens when Whitley County's world-class entrepreneurs compete in the global marketplace," said Whitley County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) president Jon Myers. "Our businesses, our people and our communities win and will continue thrive."
The City of Columbia City approved 10-year tax abatement for the project at the request of the Whitley County EDC.   
"The City is happy to partner with this innovative and growing company in its expansion plans," said Columbia City Mayor Ryan Daniel. "With the help of Impact CNC, Columbia City is continually focused on growing our economy and providing a community that succeeds. We are truly building a future together."
Impact CNC is currently hiring. Interested applicants should apply at

July 25, 2016

Scholarships, awards presented during Whitley County 4-H Fair

From reports

Top awards were presented recently at the 2016 Whitley County 4-H Fair recognizing work ethic, effort and commitment to 4-H. 
Isabella von Seggern was the recipient of the BV Widney Award.
Lexie Schuman and Hannah Bridegam received the Hester Adams Award.
Jessica Wietfeldt and Justin Johnson were named Whitley County 4-H Ambassadors. Honor recipients were Rozlyn Bishop and Alexus Sroufe.
Natalia Johnson, Malachi Sproles and Veronica Palmer were honored with Helping Hands Scholarships.
Rozlyn Bishop was the recipient of the Jim Teghtmeyer Memorial Award.
Tenure awards were presented to Hannah Bridegam and Lane Wolf.
Hannah Bridegam received the Dean Hoffman Memorial Beef Scholarship.

Etna Farmers Market is open for the season


(Talk of the Town file photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)

Registration open for 2016 Whitley County Chamber of Commerce Golf Outing

From reports

The annual Whitley County Chamber of Commerce Golf Outing is a great event for networking and promoting your business. The 2016 Whitley County Chamber of Commerce Golf Outing is scheduled for Thursday, August 25 at Eagle Glen Golf Course in Columbia City. Lunch and registration begin at 11 a.m. with play beginning at 12 p.m.
Team registration includes play for four, cart, lunch and a hole sponsorship for $400. Individuals can enjoy lunch and play for $100. Those interested in attending the luncheon only may do so for $15 per person. Cheats packages for the Florida Scramble style golf outing are $40 each.
For information about sponsorship of the Chamber Golf Outing or to inquire about registration, call the Chamber office at 248-8131 or email
All proceeds from the event support the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce, a 501(c)6 non-profit member organization that aims to provide and improve networking, marketing and connectivity of local businesses and non-profit organizations in Whitley County and beyond.

July 22, 2016

Luckey Hospital Museum hosting dinner, tours Saturday night

From reports

Luckey Hospital Museum in Wolf Lake invites the community to enjoy dinner and tours on Saturday, July 23 from 4 to 8 p.m.
A meal will be served along with tours of the former hospital,entertainment and door prizes. The event is $15 per person.
Luckey Hospital Museum is located at the corner of US 33 and SR 109 in Wolf Lake.
For more information, visit

Shepherd's Brass Quintet to perform in 'Busco tonight

From reports

The Churubusco Public Library will host Shepherd's Brass Quintet in the library parking lot this evening, Friday, July 22, beginning at 7 p.m. The concert is free to the public and made possible with a grant from the Community Foundation of Whitley County.

Chapman's Brewing Company hopes to open brewery, taproom in downtown Columbia City by late August

(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
Most recently home to the CC Deli and Watering Can Florist, the east section of the Central Block building in downtown Columbia City is under renovation to become the new home of Chapman's Brewing Company. The brewery and taproom are expected to open in late August.

From reports

Chapman's Brewing Company is expanding its operations and adding a brewery and taproom location in downtown Columbia City. The news was shared today jointly by the City of Columbia City and the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation.
Chapman's will remodel the former Watering Can and CC Deli Building at 118 W Van Buren Street in downtown Columbia City. The anticipated opening date for the Columbia City taproom is August 26, 2016, subject to local and state regulatory approval. CentralBldg716.jpg
Chapman's Founder, Scott Fergusson shared that the Columbia City location will serve as a research and development facility where new craft beer recipes will be created as well as beers unique to Whitley County.
"Columbia City has a rich brewing history, with the Walter-Raupfer Brewery having the capacity to make over 2 million pints of beer a year," said Fergusson, "Columbia City's downtown is perfect for Chapman's-our friends and neighbors can enjoy a pint or growler of the best local beer around."
Chapman's Brewing Company was founded in 2012 in nearby Angola, Indiana, and began production in October 2013. In just two years Chapman's has grown over 100% each year and sees local communities as the key to its success. In addition to the Angola and Columbia City locations, Chapman's also recently partnered with Fortezza Coffee to add a taproom location, and create a shared contemporary taproom and coffee shop space in downtown Fort Wayne.
Fergusson and the Chapman's team generated excitement back in February when they supported the Leadership Whitley County (LWC) program by participating in 'Tap into Whitley: Brewing Local Economies.' The event was hosted by an LWC project group, and focused on the economic impact of the craft beer industry.
Chapman's generously provided craft beer for tasting, and Fergusson shared his insight on the craft beer market, how Chapman's got started, growth plans for the company, and also shared that Whitley County was a target location for potentially opening a taproom. In addition, Chapman's partnered with Downtown on the Square to bring Chapman's on tap later that evening after the event.
"I think we are all delighted by this unique business, which will create a destination in downtown Columbia City and enhance our local quality of life," said EDC President Jon Myers, "I am particularly proud of the participants in our Leadership Whitley County program, who identified this opportunity and made the personal connections necessary to help make it happen."
Chapman's provides more than exceptional handcrafted beer. Chapman's believes in providing jobs for local Hoosiers, values its employees and neighbors and continuously seeks opportunities to build relationships and partnerships within its communities.
"We live in an incredible community-one that can grow and produce with the best in the world," said Fergusson. "Local craft beer is no exception. We are committed to staffing our brewery with the friends and family you already know."
Chapman's supports local musicians and artisans, restaurants and food trucks and local nonprofit organizations. A core focus of Chapman's is becoming a part of the community they serve. Chapman's supports other community and nonprofit events and has worked with organizations such as The Eel River Pheasants Forever, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, The Fort Wayne Children's Zoo, Trine University and more.
"We're pleased that Chapman's has chosen to locate to our great community," said Columbia City Mayor Ryan Daniel. "They will bring a renewed energy and gathering space to our downtown, which complements the efforts of many people in its revitalization. We're excited to welcome this innovative company to Columbia City."
To learn more about Chapman's Brewing Company visit You can also stay connected by following Chapman's on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Pack a picnic and watch the Penny Seats Theatre production of Xanadu

(Talk of the Town photo provided)Xanadu716.jpg
Penny Seats Theatre Company's production of 2007 Broadway musical smash, Xanadu (based on the 1980 cult classic movie of the same name), with a book by Douglas Carter Beane and music and lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar, runs July 14 through July 30 (Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays) at Ann Arbor's West Park Band Shell.
The Tony-nominated musical comedy tells the tale of a Greek Muse's descent from Mt. Olympus to Venice Beach, California, to inspire a struggling artist to achieve the greatest artistic creation of all time - the world's first roller disco. With direction by R. MacKenzie Lewis and choreography by Sebastian Gerstner, based on concepts by Phil Simmons, the show will feature performers Paige Martin (Ann Arbor), Matthew Pecek (Adrian), Roy Sexton (Saline), Kasey Donnelly (Ypsilanti), Allison Simmons (Holland), Sebastian Gerstner (Ann Arbor), Logan Balcom (Hillsdale), Jenna Pittman (Waterford), and Kristin McSweeney (Ypsilanti). Encore Musical Theatre Company's Thalia Schramm and Matthew Brennan provided assistant direction. Musical Direction is provided by Richard Alder, costuming by Virginia Reiche, and set design and technical direction by Steve Hankes.
Advance tickets are available for $10 at the group's website,  Although the curtain goes up at 7 p.m. each evening, pre-show picnicking is encouraged for audience members, and the group will sell water and concessions at the park as well.
At right, Roy Sexton, formerly of Whitley County, performs as Danny alongside Paige Martin as Kira in Xanadu.

Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum will participate in 'Rolling into Roanoke'

From reports

The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum has been invited as a special guest to attend one of Indiana's up-and-coming premiere car shows, Rolling into Roanoke. The event takes place this Saturday, July 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In 2015, its second year, Rolling into Roanoke brought in over 700 cars and 4,000 visitors to downtown Roanoke, Indiana. The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum is proud to be invited to a car show of this magnitude and to be one of the special attractions. A 1961 Dragmaster, a front engine rail dragster will be on display.
"The historic Roanoke downtown setting paired with automobiles of all makes and models, from old to new, makes this a special event and one that the museum is proud to attend," said Sam Grate, collections manager.