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September 22, 2017

Photography begins for Whitley Chamber 360 map project

From reports

The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center is launching a web-based, high definition interactive virtual map project in the coming weeks called the Whitley Chamber 360 Map project!
The Whitley Chamber 360 Map will feature aerial photography, dynamic exterior and/or interior photography, Google enhancements and information making it a highly useful tool for visitors to Whitley County, potential new residents, new residents, economic development efforts and more. Additionally, this is a helpful tool for residents looking for information about goods, services and venues in Whitley County.
The Whitley Chamber 360 Map will include portals on the Chamber website as well as other participating websites. Additionally, a kiosk with the map is planned for the community access at the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center office at 128 West Van Buren Street in downtown Columbia City. This project is being built in cooperation with Chamber member Clear Vision Media.
This is a one-time fee to participate -- not an annual fee!
Shooting for businesses and non-profits Chamber membes wanting to get on the map will be scheduled now through September 28, 2017.
If you miss your chance, you may not be able to get on the map again until Spring 2018.
The Chamber hopes to include ALL business and recreational areas of Whitley County.
To get on the Whitley Chamber 360 Map or more information, contact or call (260) 248-8131.

Volunteers needed to keep Whitley County Community Christmas Celebration alive

From reports

The Whitley County Community Christmas Celebration will hold it's second meeting of the season on October 1 at 4 p.m. in the Jericho Room at the Columbia City United Methodist Church.
There are several committee chairs open to anyone with a desire to keep this event going, including: Publicity, Cast Coordinator for the live nativity, Refreshment Coordinator(s) for inside the Courthouse and for the cast and Costume Coordinator. These are always open meetings for anyone wanting to learn more about the Community Christmas.
Other upcoming meeting dates include October 15, October 29, November 12 and November 26.

Chamber invites community to nominate Whitley County's best businesses, non-profits

From reports

The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center invites the community to think about the businesses and non-profit organizations that best serve the citizens of Whitley County -- and consider nominating them for awards during the 2017 Chamber Champions: Annual Member Recognition Dinner on October 26, 2017, at 6 p.m. at Ceruti's Eagles Nest Event Center. Invitations will be mailed soon!
Several awards will be presented this year, including:
Large Business of the Year (more than 50 employees)
Small Business of the Year (less than 50 employees)
Jewel of the Community (non-profit organization)
Employer of the Year
"We are inviting the community to tell us about the organizations and businesses have exceeded their expectations or gone above and beyond in some way," said Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center executive director Jennifer Romano. "The only criteria is that they must be a Chamber member in good standing. Our members can be found online at We know there are great stories out there and we want to hear about how our members are improving life in Whitley County."
The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center is also creating a new award this year, enabling employees to nominate their employers for going above and beyond.
"We are inviting people to nominate the Whitley County Employer of the Year," Romano added. "This would ideally be a business or organization that demonstrates a higher level of respect and appreciation for their employees -- a place that raises the bar in terms of employee relations and retention."
Submitting a nomination is easy. Simply send an email to with the name of the business or organization you're nominating and a couple of sentences about why they should be considered. Please also include your name and telephone number in case follow up information is needed. Nominations can also be mailed to:
Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center
Attn: Awards Committee
PO Box 166
Columbia City, IN 46725
All nominations must be received by Wednesday, September 27 at 5 p.m. A panel of judges will review the nominations and select the winners. The winners will be formally announced and recognized on October 16 at the annual dinner.
To request a nomination form or for additional information, contact the Chamber at (260) 248-8131.

Nu Thetas hosting 21st annual bake sale on October 14

From reports

The Nu Theta Chapter is hosting their 21st annual Craft Auction & Bake Sale on Saturday, October 14, 2017, at 1 p.m. at VFW Post #5582, located at 415 East Chicago Street in Columbia City.
The VFW Auxiliary will be serving lunch starting at 12 p.m.
All proceeds go to charity. Only cash or checks will be accepted.
Door prizes are planned.
For more information, contact Carol Hursey at (260) 249-0795 or Nancy Sherrick (260) 691 - 2416.

Bees or wasp...what should you do?

By John Woodmansee, Whitley County Purdue Extension Educator

Recent calls to the Purdue Extension office have prompted me to re-visit a topic I wrote about last year about this time: bees or wasps that form an elaborate nest and function as a colony. We call them "social" bees and wasps. These insects can sometimes create problems in or around homes.
As opposed to social bees or wasps, "solitary" bees, as the name implies, form a single nest for rearing young, do their own thing, and rarely sting. Examples of solitary bees include the cicada killer, carpenter bees and mud daubers. Bees and wasps, as a general rule, are all beneficial insects. The beneficial work these insects perform include pollination of vegetable, fruit and nut crops, and the predation of other insect pests.
However, when bees or wasps invade homes, cause damage by their nesting activity, or interfere with other human activities,"beneficial" is not the first word that comes to mind. It's also hard for us to think of bees as beneficial insects when we have lasting memories of getting stung as a child, let alone those who have allergic reactions to bee and wasp venom.
Examples of social bees and wasps that can give homeowners problems include honey bees, bumble bees, yellowjackets, paper wasps, and hornets. These insects are covered in Purdue Extension publication E-44-W, authored by Purdue Extension entomologist, Tim Gibb, entitled, "Social Bees and Wasps."
Honey bees have been known to establish their colony inside a wall void, chimney, or attic. I have received calls from people over the years that report honey dripping down the inside of their wall. Of course, the only effective way to deal with this problem is to deconstruct the wall, remove the colony, clean the wall void, and reconstruct the wall. Local beekeepers love to retrieve wild honey bee swarms, but are less enthusiastic about getting a swarm from a home. Many of them are registered withIndiana Department of Natural Resources on their "swarm list." See:
Bumble bees, another good pollinator, typically form smaller underground colonies, but these colonies may be in a homeowner's yard near his home. They defend their nest and can be a significant stinging threat.
One of the more common social wasps to present problems around a home is the yellowjacket. These are the shiny yellow and black wasps you typically see around garbage cans in a city park. These wasps can form underground nests or nests in buildings. They defend their nest and can present a significant stinging threat. Colonies can become quite large by late summerand fall.
Paper wasps build single, exposed nest combs typically suspended from eaves or outbuildings. They can potentially sting. European paper wasps have become more common in Indiana and can form elaborate nests in voids of lighting fixtures, gas grills, and other infrequently used spaces.
The baldfaced hornet is most readily identified by the shape and location of their nest. These insects build the familiar large grayish, pear-shaped or football-shaped nests that often are suspended in trees or on sides of buildings. If you've heard the phrase, "mad as a hornet," it should give you a clue as to why you shouldn't mess with these nests.
European hornets can build colonies in areas similar to that of structural nesting yellowjackets.
Pest control companies may need to be employed for safe control of some of these bees and wasps. Otherwise, if some areas can be avoided until winter, most nests will be abandoned and not reused next year. The exceptions are honey bees (perennial nests) and European paper wasps (can reuse old nests). Make efforts to conserve bees and wasps if possible. For more information about social bees and wasps, including control strategies, search for Gibb's publication at The Education Store for Purdue Extension at: Extension - Whitley CountyWhitley County Courthouse Annex115 South Line StreetColumbia City, IN 46725-2325 Phone: (260) 244-7615 or (260)

Alexia Aung selected as Whitley County Distinguished Young Woman


(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
Whitley County's Distinguished Young Woman pageant was held recently in Columbia City, bringing together a group of talented, intelligent young women in the spirit of competition. In the end, Alexia Aung of Churubusco High School was selected as Whitley County's Distinguished Young Woman and the spirit winner. She is shown above with long-time program director Pamela Thompson. Other winners included Sydney Korte - first runner up and scholastic; and Brein Gross - second runner up and talent winner. Aung and Gross attend Churubusco High School. Korte attends Columbia City High School.
Other contestants in this year's event included Isabel Hunter, Alyssa Duff, Alayna Trier, Kellie Frei, Rozlyn Bishop and Kaleigh Craig.

State Police plan seat belt blitz

From reports

Indiana State Police Commercial Motor Vehicle Officers and Motor Carriers Inspectors will be participating in a statewide blitz September 24-30 that will concentrate on Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) seatbelt enforcement and education.
A goal for the Indiana State Police Commercial Motor Vehicle Division is to reduce the number of CMV crashes, which will also lower the number of injuries and fatalities related to those crashes. Education is a key component of this effort as troopers continue to emphasize to commercial vehicle carrier companies, their drivers and the drivers of passenger cars about the importance of voluntary compliance with seatbelt and traffic laws. It is an undisputed fact that proper seatbelt use reduces the possibility of injury or death the result of a crash.
Specific to commercial vehicle drivers, some operators are not properly wearing their seatbelt. "Unfortunately, we are finding - more often than not - that many CMV drivers are using a device on the shoulder strap portion of the safety belt that is designed to reduce tension on the shoulder," stated Indiana State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division Commander Major Jon Smithers. "The loosening of the shoulder strap can compromise the effectiveness of the safety belt and is also in violation of the Indiana seatbelt law and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations."
Through continued education and enforcement of Indiana's seatbelt laws, lives can be saved. While our stated goal is voluntary compliance, in those situations where a traffic ticket is warranted, commercial vehicle operators will be cited for seatbelt violations.
It is important to note that semi-tractors do not have any type of air bag safety system installed within the cab of the truck, as compared to airbag systems installed in modern passenger cars and pick-up trucks. Unsecured commercial truck drivers involved in crashes can be thrown out of the driver's seat resulting in a secondary crash when the truck is not brought to a controlled stop.
More information on the Indiana State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division can be found at Click on the link "Commercial Vehicles."

Safety Belt Facts and Tips:

- Safety belts are proven to help drivers maintain control of the vehicle when involved in a crash, thus minimizing the chance of injury or death to you, your passengers, and other motorists.

- Safety belts can prevent you from being knocked unconscious in a crash, improving your chances of escape from a burning or submerged vehicle.

- You are four times more likely to be fatally injured when thrown from your vehicle the result of a crash. Your safety belt can keep you from being ejected.

- Driver error, severe weather, mechanical failure, and tire blowouts can all cause crashes. Safety belts prevent injuries by protecting your head and spinal cord.

- Safety belts are necessary even at low speeds. In a frontal collision at 30 mph, an unbelted commercial vehicle driver hits the windshield at that speed.

- Seat, lap, and shoulder belts can be easily adjusted to fit comfortably and correctly.

- Buckling up takes only about three seconds and can make a difference for a lifetime.

September 21, 2017

Historic Blue Bell Lofts hosting open house Saturday


(Talk of the Town photo provided)

Historic Blue Bell Lofts will host an open house on Saturday, September 23 from 2 to 6 p.m. at their facility, 307 S. Whitley Street, Columbia City. The recently renovated facility was formerly the Blue Bell factory, a worldwide manufacturer of clothing. The apartment, shown above, is one of several available in the complex, maintaining the building's charm with a new life of usefulness.
Model apartments will be open for viewing, door prizes will be awarded and refreshments provided. Attendees can also enter to win a 32-inch TV or a $1000 VISA gift Card.

September 20, 2017

CCHS student recognized for high score on PSAT

From reports

Principal Jennifer Reiff of Columbia City High School announced today that Eric Burkholder has been named a Commended Student in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program. A letter of commendation from the school and National Merit Corporation, which conducts the program, will be presented by the principal to this scholastically talented senior.
Burkholder is one of 34,000 students nationally who are recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Commended students place in the top 50,000 scorerers of more than 1.6 million students who entered the 2018 competition by taking the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

Pyrotex plans to add jobs, invest in new equipment

From reports

Local business Pyrotek Inc. announced plans to manufacture in Columbia City its newly-patented technology for filtering molten aluminum. The new line will utilize lasers and robotics to produce filters for the foundry industry. The company will invest in new equipment for the Columbia City facility, which will increase production capacity, and create six new jobs and retain 58 jobs.
"The selection of Pyrotek Columbia City as the manufacturing location for Pyrotek's new molten aluminum filtration technology is a testament to the sustained excellent performance of our Columbia City team," said Dave Lee, U.S. Divison Manager at Pyrotek. "We are excited about bringing this new technology to market and we appreciate the support we continue to receive from our customers, our local workforce and others like the Whitley County EDC."
"We are pleased that Pyrotek has chosen its Columbia City facility for the introduction of its new advanced manufacturing technology," said Whitley County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) President Jon Myers, "It is a strong vote of confidence in the expertise or our local workforce."
The Whitley County Redevelopment Commission and Whitley County Council approved a $15,000 training grant at the request of the Whitley County EDC.
"The County is pleased provide assistance that will directly help to upgrade the skills of our local workers and allow them to train for the ever-increasing number of good paying jobs in advanced manufacturing," said Whitley County Commissioner George Schrumpf.

English Bonter Mitchell Foundation pledges support of music education at IPFW

From reports

Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) is proud to announce that the English Bonter Mitchell Foundation has donated $1 million to the university for its efforts in creating the Purdue School of Music on the Fort Wayne campus. The grant will serve as a transformational catalyst that supports a vision to create a top music program by funding new degrees in music technology and jazz performance studies; a graduate program in music therapy and music education; post-baccalaureate international performers certificate; national music festivals and symposia on campus; real-world experience in Nashville; and a world-class addition of a recording studio to the Rhinehart Music Center.
"We are extremely grateful for this gift and the opportunities it creates to inspire, challenge, and celebrate our outstanding music students," said Chancellor Vicky Carwein. "English Bonter Mitchell has been a great supporter of the university in many ways, contributing more than $6.3 million over the years, and this gift shows its continued commitment to student success and higher education in our region. We look forward to being able to continually offer exceptional opportunities to our talented students who will become future musicians and contributors to our community and beyond."
In late 2016, the Purdue University and Indiana University Boards of Trustees voted to realign IPFW into two separate operating entities.* As a result, going forward the music degrees earned on the Fort Wayne campus will be conferred by Purdue, becoming the only music degrees within the Purdue system. "For years, our university has housed tremendous vocal, instrumental, and music technology programs," said Greg Jones, chair and professor of music. "As the campus takes a new place in the Purdue family, an unprecedented opportunity exists to make history by growing the Department of Music into a School of Music, the first in Purdue University's history."
"English Bonter Mitchell is excited about the future of Purdue Fort Wayne and to come alongside the university as they envision the first Purdue School of Music," said Mike Eikenberry, foundation chairman. "Our foundation embraces projects that will enhance our community. For the university to build a premier School of Music, it will bring notoriety to Fort Wayne, to the northeast region, and beyond. We look forward to seeing the progress ahead for this institution."
Goals for the new Purdue Fort Wayne School of Music include enhancing and building programs to better serve students, including:
enriching the music technology offerings with a new degree that will allow for interdisciplinary paths in sound recording technology, music business, and commercial music;
expanding the existing jazz minor into a degree in jazz performance studies;
developing new graduate programs in music to meet increasing regional demands in music therapy and music education; and
creating the first-of-its-kind post-baccalaureate international performers certificate that combines intensive applied and ensemble training with English as a second language training (ESL).
"This tremendous gift is another recognition of the truly superb musicians we have on our faculty who guide our talented and eager aspiring musicians," said John O'Connell, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. "This gift affords us the opportunity to continue to enhance our local, regional, national, and international reputation as we have been doing steadily in the last three to five years."
Other goals for the school are to increase the number of national music festivals and symposia on campus as well as festivals and workshops for developing artists; amplify training and national reputation with appearances of student performers and ensembles at prestigious regional, national, and international venues; and enrich partnerships with Sweetwater, a national leader in music technology, to offer students distinctive experiences in sound recording, business, and live sound production.
"We are deeply appreciative to the English Bonter Mitchell Foundation for this wonderful, transformational gift, as well as the continued support they provide us for programs such as the Omnibus Lecture Series," said Angie Fincannon, vice chancellor for advancement. "I truly believe that this bold gesture of support models a partnership that can make a tremendous impact on this community and appreciate the foundation's support and encouragement."

Elected officials to host 'Coffee with Andy and Chris' at South Whitley Town Hall

From reports

State Senator Andy Zay and State Representative Chris Judy will be hosting their first "Coffee with Andy and Chris" town hall event from 8 to 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 30 at South Whitley Town Hall.
They will be inviting constituents to join them for coffee, talk about issues concerning them and learn more about their work on Summer Study Committees.

Whitko plans executive session

From reports

An executive session of the Whitko School Board of Trustees will be held at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, September 27, 2017. The meeting will be held in the Administration Office at Whitko Middle School in Larwill. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss certain matters concerning establishment of a collaborative relationship .

September 19, 2017

Road work begins Thursday on CR 800 East

CR 800 E will be closed between Covington Road (south of 700 S) and State Rd 14. The closure will occur on Thursday Sept. 21st and Friday Sept. 22nd between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. on both days. Traffic WILL NOT be able to get through the closure during the noted work hours, however, the road will re-open at all other times.