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October 22, 2014

Businesses, non-profits recognized during Whitley County Chamber of Commerce’s Recognition Night

(Talk of the Town photos by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
Above, the Johnson family celebrate their company, Numerix Inc., being named as the Chamber's 2014 Small Business of the Year. Clockwise from upper left is Denise Johnson, Jeff Johnson, Elizabeth Johnson, Erika Johnson and Emily Johnson.

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

Businesses, non-profits recognized during Whitley County Chamber of Commerce’s Recognition Night
Many of Whitley County’s most loved businesses and non-profit organizations were recognized for their commitment to the community during the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce’s annual Recognition Night celebration. The celebration was held October 21, 2014, at The Van Buren in downtown Columbia City.
A record-setting audience gathered to  celebrate the successes of a vital community with the presentation of awards. Chamber executive director Doug Brown was joined by Chamber Ambassador Shawn Ellis in emceeing the event.
“Each year, we look forward to the Recognition Night as an opportunity to celebrate our members and the contributions they make not only to our county’s economy, but to the betterment of our community as a whole,” said Whitley County Chamber executive director Doug Brown. “The awards are a small way we can highlight our best and brightest for the good work they do each day.”
Large Business of the Year nominees included: Star Bank and Insurance, Micropulse and Eagle Tech Academy. Micropulse was selected as the recipient of the 2014 Large Business of the Year award.
Small Business of the Year nominees included: Downtown on the Square, Eberly Photography, Crossroads Bank, Numerix, TalkoftheTownWC.com and Line Street Veterinary Clinic. Numerix was named the 2014 Small Business of the Year award recipient.
The Jewel of the Community nominees included: Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana, United Way of Whitley County and Peabody Public Library. Peabody Public Library was selected as the 2014 Jewel of the Community award winner.
Each award recipient received a large, engraved trophy and each nominee was presented with a certificate.

Additionally, after collecting the nominations of the Whitley County Chamber Ambassadors, a group of highly committed Chamber volunteers, Randy Holler was named the 2014 Chamber Ambassador of the Year for his dedicated support of the Chamber.

Five inducted into Chamber's Hall of Fame

(Talk of the Town photos by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
At right, inductees into the Whitley County Chamber's Hall of Fame accepted their awards at the annual Recognition Dinner Tuesday night at The Van Buren in downtown Columbia City.

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

Five Whitley County residents have been named for inclusion in the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce’s Hall of Fame. The award was created to recognize individuals who’ve served their community in quiet, yet meaningful ways over the years.
2014 Hall of Fame award inductees include: June Keiser, Greg Fahl, Kay Fleck, Rex Schrader and the late Tim Hearld.
“Each of our Hall of Fame award recipients exemplifies the thoughtful, giving spirit we appreciate in our citizens,” said Chamber executive director Doug Brown. “We have been looking for a way to recognize those who work quietly in our community, doing good deeds for the sake of others. Our newly created Hall of Fame will help us to publicly thank those individuals who dedicate their lives to the well being of others in a big way.”
Each inductee received an engraved trophy and their name will be included on a larger award that will be housed in the conference room at the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce.
In all, fourteen individuals were nominated for the Hall of Fame this year, including: Randy Holler, Randy Grimes, Susie Duncan Sexton, Jim Thompson, Gary Parrett, Dave Sewell, Dick Buchanan, Dr. James Hanus and the late Jerry Walker.
After reviewing the nominations, the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors chose five inductees during their October board meeting.
The awards were presented at the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce Recognition Night, held October 21, 2014, at The Van Buren in downtown Columbia City.

CCHS, Eagle Tech Academy students learn more about interesting careers

(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
Area adults representing a variety of different career avenues were present last week for a Careers Day at Columbia City High School. Both CCHS and Eagle Tech Academy students were able to attend small group meetings with professionals working in careers of interest to them throughout the afternoon. After the discussions, students could ask questions.

WJHS radio station to benefit from fundraising dinner on November 4

From reports

WJHS 91.5 FM, Whitley County Consolidated Schools' high school radio station, is proud to present “Dinner with the Coaches Night” on Tuesday, November 4, 2014, at 6 p.m. The event will feature special guests Coach Benedict and Coach Shearer, Columbia City High School's boys' and girls' basketball coaches. 
Dinner will be prepared by Daniel Menu & Party. A Q&A session to preview this year’s high school basketball teams will follow.
Tickets are available at Columbia City High School and at Brew’ha coffee shop.
All proceeds go to WJHS to improve the educational opportunities for students.
Please contact WJHS for any additional information at 248-8915.

Nominations needed for Heart of Gold awards, deadline extended until October 31

By Chelsey Barrell

The deadline to submit nominations for the 2014 Whitley County Community Foundation's Heart of Gold Awards has been extended in hopes of gaining more nominations. The deadline to recognize another's selfless acts of kindness in the community is now October 31, 2014.
Nominations may recognize any Whitley County resident, regardless of age, who enhances another’s life.
Any Whitley County citizen may propose someone for a Heart of Gold Award simply by filling out a nomination form which can be found at the Community Foundation, 400 N. Whitley Street, or online at www.whitleycountycommunityfoundation.org .  Persons who received Heart of Gold nominations in years past can also be eligible in 2014 as long as they are nominated for a different act of kindness.
This is not an essay contest and anyone needing assistance filling out a nomination form should contact the Community Foundation at 244-5224.  Excerpts from actual nomination forms may be reprinted in local newspapers and should be suitable for sharing with the public.
All nominees will receive a heart-shaped medallion inscribed with their name.  Three overall winners will each have the opportunity to direct a $1,000 grant to a Whitley County charity or service organization of his/her choice, which works to enhance our community.
To choose the special winners, the Heart of Gold committee will take into account whether the nominee: Identified a need and filled it; recognizes opportunities and acts upon them; shares his/her time and energy for the sake of others; overcomes unusual challenges to serve others; renders a service which changes a life; works to create positive change; inspires others to volunteer; or performs an exceptional act of kindness. All nominations should be sent to the Community Foundation or may be sent by email to chelseywccf@gmail.com; include HOG Nomination in the subject line.

October 20, 2014

Trick or Treat hours for Whitley County and beyond

(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
Whether you're planning to take the children trick or treating... or you want to be prepared for the scores of little ones that will knock at your door, we've got the hours for festivities in all Whitley County communities at last:
The Town of Churubusco will be observing Trick or Treat hours on Saturday, October 25, from 4 to 7 p.m.
The City of Columbia City announced that Trick or Treat hours are 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, October 31, around the community. Children are invited to stop by the Columbia City Fire Station where they will be handing out candy and glow sticks.
Trick or treat hours in South Whitley are Friday, October 31 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Larwill's trick or treat hours are Friday, October 31 from 6 to 8 p.m.

In nearby Pierceton, trick or treat hours are Friday, October 31 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Columbia City Youth Council announces Halloween costume contest and parade on November 1

(Talk of the Town file photo)

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

Don't be so quick to pack away those Halloween costumes after October 31!
This year, there's a new plan in the works in Columbia City to put on a children's costume parade in the downtown area -- with prizes too!
The Columbia City Youth Council, a panel of teens that meets monthly in Columbia City, has decided to put on a Halloween Parade and costume contest on Saturday, November 1, 2014, at 6:30 p.m.
Youngsters dressed in costume are invited to gather at 5:30 p.m. in the parking lot at the northwest corner of Line and Van Buren Streets. The parade begins at 6:30 p.m. and will go eastward along Van Buren, south on Chauncey and come to a conclusion near the gazebo.
Participants' costumes will be judged throughout the parade and results will be announced shortly after it ends. Awards will be presented for the best costumes in the following categories:
- families
- children 5 and under
- elementary school students
- middle/high school students
- dogs
Parade participants will be assigned a number that corresponds to the costume category they will be competing in.

Local Purdue Extension office presenting free nutrition classes in Whitley County

Article provided

How can you tell if a food is nutritious? Is there any easy way to make your kitchen safe from germs? What is a portion size?
The Purdue Extension-Whitley County has those answers and more. Starting in November, free classes with be offered through the Family Nutrition Program (FNP), a research-based SNAP-Ed funded initiative (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education) that targets individuals and families with limited resources who reside in Whitley County.
“Our free, informal and easily accessible educational programs can help participants develop knowledge and skills for daily life,” said Family Nutrition Program Assistant, Carol Flowers. “The classes we offer increases the ability of individuals and families with limited resources to utilize their food dollars and food stamps appropriately and provide a safe meal environment.”
Flowers will be offering the behavior-focused nutrition education to help individuals and families to select nutritious foods that fit within their budget. Classes will be held at the Purdue Extension-Whitley County located at 115 S. Line Street. Through demonstrations and hands-on activities, participants can learn how to:
- invest food dollars into the best nutritious food choices
- stretch food dollars to last the whole month
- make healthy choices when eating out
- protect their family from food-borne illnesses
- plan meals their family will love
Class size is limited and reservations are required. To sign up or for more information, contact the Purdue Extension at 260-244-7615 or 260-625-3313 or via email at cflowers@purdue.edu

October 18, 2014

The Haunted Jail delights in frights

(Talk of the Town photo)
The top haunted house in the region is open once again this year, living up to its reputation -- as judged by the screams that can be heard from the bowels of the eye-catching old space in downtown Columbia City on East Market Street. The Haunted Jail is open Fridays and Saturdays from 7 to 11 p.m. and school nights from 7 to 9 p.m.  A new feature this year, the jail is featuring four stories worth of fear and misery.
Admission is $13 per person for regular tickets and $18 per person for VIP tickets.
The Haunted Jail remains open now through November 2 and will reopen for the weekend of November 7-9.

Above, a group of high school students await their VIP tour Thursday night.

Classic horror film 'Night of the Living Dead' showing tonight in South Whitley's Hagan Park

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

Looking for something creepy to do tonight?
Consider attending the 2014 FREE Movie Night in South Whitley's Hagan Park this evening, Saturday, October 18. The featured movie will be the George Romero classic "Night of the Living Dead."
All ages fun, games, refreshments and activities begin at 5 p.m. The movie starts at 7:30 p.m.
For more information and updates, visit the Facebook page: Horror Trail at Hagan Park

Festivities ongoing now throughout the day at the 4H Autumn Harvest Festival

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

The highly-anticipated, first-ever Autumn Harvest Festival is this Saturday, October 18, 2014, at the Whitley County Fairgrounds, boasting a full schedule of events, punctuated by a car show, craft and flea market and pumpkin ice cream!
All proceeds from the day will benefit the Whitley County 4H program. Organizers have been busy planning the event for months and they're already looking forward to next year, intending
to make this an annual event.
Here's the festival lineup:
6:30 am – Setup for Craft Show & Flea Market
9:00 am – Craft Show & Flea Market Open – Sheep Barn
9:00 am – 11:00 am – Car Show Registration – Porch of Ag Museum
9:00 am – Sarah’s Pecan Rolls – Shelter House
10:30 am – Music by Pat Murphy – Ag Museum
10:00 am, Noon, 2:00 pm – Apple Cider Press demonstration
Noon – Weigh in for Pedal Pull – Feeder Calf Barn
12:30 pm – Pedal Pull – Feeder Calf Barn
1:00 pm – Kettle Corn – Near Ag Museum
1:00 pm – Milk “Daisy” the Cow – Ag Museum
1:30 pm – Homemade Pies – Shelter House
3:00 pm – Car Show Awards & cars released - Ag Museum Porch
4:00 pm - Craft Show & Flea Market Closes
All day – Antique Tractors on Display
All day – 4-H History Presentations by Jeanette Brown – Ag Museum
All day – Ag Museum and Shelter House Open

October 17, 2014

CCHS Marching Eagles advance in competition

(Talk of the Town photo provided)
Celebrating a win requires an investment of time and the Columbia City High School Marching Eagles certainly put in the time -- 257.7 hours of practice time to be exact!
In all 38 kids arrived at band camp in July with one goal in mind -- winning their division. Now, months, practices and competitions later they are just one step away from achieving that goal.
Last weekend, the Marching Eagles, above, performed at Homestead High School for the qualifier round to advance to the Scholastic Finals.  They not only exceeded the needed 60 points to go on, but placed 7th out of 14 schools.  These 38 students have managed for the first time in school history to go to the finals in their division, slated for October 25 at Lawrence Central High School in Castleton, Indiana. 
The students have worked extremely hard and have represented Columbia City and CCHS well. The joy they show when performing reflects the pride in their school, their community and their commitment to each other.

Passages' celebrates 60 years on October 27

From reports

On October 27 at 7 p.m., Passages celebrates 60 years in our community. The event will be held at the Creative Learning Center facility at 333 North Oak Street.
The celebration begins with a short business meeting from both Passages and Whitley Crossings, recognizing new board members and honoring out-going board members.
This year’s guest speakers will include  Kim Opsahl, president and CEO of INARF and John Dickerson,  executive director or Arc of Indiana.
An outstanding community partner will be honored. Additionally, the first Jim and Kay Fleck Advocacy Award will be given.
Light refreshments from The Cake Lady LLC will follow the program. This is a free event to attend, but a reservation is requested.
Please RSVP to Tammy Nickolson at 244-9317 or tnickolson@passagesinc.org

Annual Whitley County Extension Homemakers' Holiday Bazaar and Quilt show just weeks away

By Shelley Eberly

The annual Holiday Bazaar and Quilt Show, sponsored by the Whitley County Extension Homemakers, will be held on Friday and Saturday, November 7 & 8, 2014, at the Whitley County 4-H Center on Squawbuck Road in Columbia City.
The show hours are Friday, November 7, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, November 8, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Shop at the bazaar for special gifts you have been searching for. Many of your favorite crafters will be returning. You can also visit with those who are participating for the first time.
Additionally, plan to visit the Quilt Show and see the work of area quilters. You can also vote for your favorite!
Food will be available for purchase as well.
If you have any questions about the event, you may call the Extension Office at 244-7615 or 625-3313.

Fundraiser set for Julie Brommer in November

From reports

Family and friends of Julie Brommer are wanting to do anything they can to support her fight against cancer. As a result, they're planning a spaghetti dinner fundraiser in her honor on Saturday, November 15 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church in Columbia City.
Brommer was diagnosed with liver and colon cancer, in addition to needing a kidney and pancreas transplant.
The cost is $8 for adults, $5 for children ages 3 to 11 and free for children ages 2 and under.
A cookie sale and silent auction are also planned.

Giving Gardens of Indiana making a difference locally with Whitley County Food Drive

Article provided

October 25 is National Make a Difference Day. Giving Gardens is coordinating a Whitley County Food Drive to observe the day.
The community can donate perishable and non-perishable foods throughout the week (Oct 18–24, 2014) at drop-off locations around the community, including: Whitley County Family YMCA and the Churubusco Community Child Care Center.
Collected food will be dispersed to local feeding programs including: Boomerang Backpack Program, Grace Lutheran Church Food Pantry, Fork-Lift Project and the mid-week meal at Columbia City United Methodist Church. Suggested food items to donate to promote healthier meal choices to those in need: bread, apples, pasta noodles, flour, oils, jelly, honey, canned beans, canned meats, sauces and salad dressing.
"Together we can make a difference in our community," stated Angela Knezevich of locally-based Giving Gardens of Indiana.

Hoosiers participated in 10-state earthquake drill Thursday morning

From reports

Individuals in Indiana and 10 other states participated in an earthquake drill Thursday morning.
The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut brings together participants from Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, to practice actions to take during an earthquake. More than 2.7 million participants registered for this year’s ShakeOut, more than 477,000 of which were from Indiana. More than seven percent of Indiana’s total population registered for the event.
Nearly 26 million individuals have registered for this year’s various Great ShakeOut drills across the globe.
The ShakeOut provides registrants the opportunity to practice actions to take in the event of an earthquake. During an earthquake, Hoosiers should drop, take cover under a sturdy object like a desk or table, and hold on until the shaking stops. Those unable to drop due to a disability or other condition should get as low as possible and protect the head and neck.
Participants from Indiana included local and state government organizations, schools, businesses, healthcare facilities, disability organizations, and youth organizations, among several others.
For information on how to prepare for an earthquake, visit GetPrepared.in.gov.