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March 25, 2015

Clifford, Gaff, Eiler and Worrick elected

(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
Five individuals were nominated to run for four spots on the Whitley County Purdue Extension board of directors Wednesday night during the annual meeting at the Whitley County 4-H Center Building in Columbia City. Nominees included Ed Clifford, Rex Eiler, Al Gaff, Jacie Stahl and Jacie Worrick. In the end, Clifford, Gaff, Eiler and Worrick were elected to three-year terms on the board.
Doug Ferrell and Kyle Johnson were recognized for their volunteer commitment to the board and have completed their terms. Each received a certificate for their achievement on Wednesday evening. They are shown here with Extension educator Cindy Barnett.
Above, from left in front, are board members Judy Kreider, Sharon Hesting, Lucy Draper, Anne Waybright, Jacie Worrick, Katie Geiger and Doug Ferrell.
Row two, from left, includes Al Gaff, Tony Reust, Doug Sheetz, Jeff Geiger, Ed Clifford, Rex Eiler and Kyle Johnson.

Eagles open season at Bishop Chatard

By Jeff Kumfer

The Columbia City Eagles boys’ volleyball team was in Indianapolis on Saturday for their season opening tournament at Bishop Chatard High School. The squad of sophomores, one junior, and 3 seniors Eagles squad opened pool play against Fishers, a new team in the IBVCA membership. The Eagles struggled to put together points until the end of the first set, where they rallied from 16-21 to win the set 26-24.  The second set followed the pattern of the first set closely, where the Eagles found themselves in a deeper hole 11-23 before recovering to win 26-24.
Columbia City faced off against Noblesville High School in their second match of pool play. Noblesville and the Eagles played fairly evenly matched in the first set, but Noblesville used their experience to claim a victory at 23-25.  Noblesville took advantage of the set 1 win to take the second set 15-25.
In the third match of pool play, Columbia City faced off against Southport High School, another experienced team with freshmen and junior varsity membership.  Columbia City moved a new player into the setting position in hopes of improving the performance of this young team.  The Southport squad was just too ready offensively, and hammered home multiple kills to give the Southport Raiders the match at 16-25 and 18-25.
In the only crossover match of the day, Columbia City faced Hamilton Southeastern, another experienced squad.  The Eagles struggled with Hamilton Southeastern’s height advantage, and got multiple blocks from junior Daniel Boren, but could not find the holes to put multiple points together.  Another line up experiment, and Hamilton Southeastern’s solid defense gave Columbia City another loss at 19-25 and 17-25.
The Eagles were led for the day in service aces by Kam Bontrager with 3, kills by Kam Bontrager with 18, and blocks by Daniel Boren with 22.
The Eagles will be back in action next Saturday, March 21, at Zionsville High School.

Key Club seeks donated items for upcoming benefit garage sale on April 18

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

Members of the Columbia City High School Key Club are working to plan their annual garage sale.
Once again this year, the sale will benefit Riley Children's Hospital according to club fascilitator, Rebecca Mapes.
"The students have been working hard to collect garage sale items for our free-will donation sale," Mapes said. "Last year, Key Club was able to raise well over $1000 to donate to Riley."
The students are currently accepted donated items for the sale, including household goods, clothing for men, women and children, toys, outdoor items, various pictures and furniture. 
The benefit sale is slated for April 18 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the multipurpose room at Columbia City High School.
For information on donating items to the sale, contact Rebecca Mapes at mapesrs@wccs.k12.in.us

Brommer named 2015 Lilly Endowment Community Scholar

(Talk of the Town photo provided)
Lyndsey Brommer, below, has been named as the recipient of the 2015 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship.

By Chelsey Barrell

Lyndsey Brommer, a senior at Columbia City High School, has been named the Whitley County Community Foundation’s 2015 Lilly Endowment Community Scholar. In addition to the four-year scholarship to the Indiana college of her choice, she will also receive a $900 yearly stipend for required books and equipment.
Brommer is the daughter of Randy and Julie Brommer of Columbia City. She plans to attend Grace College to pursue a degree in Behavioral Science with a minor in the medical field. During her high school career she has been an active participant in FFA, Whitley County 4-H, National Honors Society, Varsity Girls Basketball team manager and numerous other activities. Lyndsey is also an active volunteer in many local organizations and programs such as: Passages Inc., Miller’s Merry Manor, Relay For Life, Parkview Health and more.
“Winning this scholarship means more than the world to me,” Brommer said. “I am honored to be a part of this community that gives back to the youth and makes dreams come true. I am overly excited to reach for my goals and make the community proud! I want to thank the community and everyone closest to me for raising and teaching me to be the best me I can be.”
This year 43 applicants participated in the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship selection process. The Community Foundation’s Scholarship Committee narrowed the field to four finalists based on scholarship need, perseverance, financial need, work history, community service, school activities, and interview performance. Finalists also included Cole Bechtold of South Whitley, Madison Bieber of Churubusco, and Brett Roberts of Columbia City. The Scholarship Committee’s recommendation was forwarded to Independent Colleges of Indiana for final approval.
ICI is a nonprofit corporation that represents 31 regionally accredited degree granting, nonprofit, private colleges and universities in the state. The scholarships are the result of a statewide Lilly Endowment initiative to help Hoosier students reach high levels of education. There have been over 142 scholarships awarded statewide.
Whitley County has had a total of 34 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship recipients, including Brommer, since the first scholarship was awarded in 1998. The total amount awarded through this scholarship to Whitley County students exceeds $3 million.

Roberts, Bechtold and Bieber recognized as Lilly Scholar finalists

(Talk of the Town photos provided)

Three teens have been recognized as finalists for the Lilly Endowment Scholarship. From left is Cole Bechtold of South Whitley, Brett Roberts of Columbia City and Madison Bieber of Churubusco.

Each finalist will receive a $1,000 scholarship from the Whitley County Community Foundation.

March 24, 2015

Construction to begin soon on Every Kids Dreamland, parks director confirms $25,000 gift from Steel Dynamics

(Talk of the Town photos by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
City parks director Mark Green shows an artist's rendering of the new Every Kids Dreamland that will be built where the former wooden Kids Dreamland playground was. Below, a closer look reveals the towers, ramps, slides and swings that will set the backdrop for countless future great adventures for young ones in Whitley County and beyond who might travel here to visit the new, universally accessible playground.

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

Driving past the site of the former wooden, community-built Kids Dreamland, it looks as though nothing was ever there. No soaring towers for imaginations, no swings to pass the warm spring days.
Last week, crews from WJ Carey donated their time and equipment to raze the structure, recently deemed too dangerous to continue standing.
"It was great and fun and kids loved it, but it was very high and it was on pea gravel," said city parks director Mark Green. "We had some major (safety) violations there. I was urged to take it out about five years ago."
And while the effort to raise the approximately $159,000 to build a new park on the spot had not yet reached the fundraising goal, Green felt it was necessary to take the old park down before anyone was seriously injured.
On Tuesday evening, however, Green learned that a local enterprise would make the final installment on the fundraiser, enabling the new project to move forward.
"We were $25,000 short," Green said. "I was able to talk to SDI (Steel Dynamics) last week and in talking to them, they told me they were going to finish off our fundraising," Green added, confirming that SDI would contribute the final $25,000 needed to begin creating the new playground, Every Kids Dreamland.
"I want to thank them," Green said, beaming. "That's a huge donation and a lot of money to give to the parks."
Green said with funds now raised, construction for the new park will begin in May and expected to go relatively quickly, ensuring that by summertime, youngsters will have a new place to play.
A couple of weeks ago, Green presented information about Every Kids Dreamland at the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce's Whitley County EXPO.
"The EXPO was an eye-opening experience to find out how many people were interested in this project," Green said. Green shared a story about a woman who approached him to talk about Kids Dreamland and her concerns about it being torn down and replaced. The woman and Green were both moved emotionally when, a few minutes later, a family approached Green and shared their excitement that at last the community would have a park that could be enjoyed by their whole family -- including a disabled family member. Green said it was situations like this that make it an emotional project.
"It's a relief that the fundraising is now over and it's nice for people to know we are going to replace it," Green added.
Green applauded Maddie Hinen, a local teen, who got the ball rolling on this project and to the Whitley County Community Foundation, Dekko Foundation, Anthony Wayne Services and many others who had a role in the fundraising effort. The Whitley County Dazzlers hosted two performances to help raise funds for the park and local school children contributed their pennies for the project.
"W are really excited that we're going to be able to get this up this summer and that there isn't much of a lapse between Kids Dreamland and Every Kids Dreamland," said Columbia City Mayor Ryan Daniel. Daniel said he hopes to find a way to recognize the many, many people involved in bringing the new playground to the forefront.
"This is another amenity that sets Columbia City apart from many other small communities in Indiana. It's something we can boast for quality of life," Daniel said. "It's going to be the pride of our community."
The new Every Kids Dreamland will be similar in size to what was there originally, with new towers, ramps, slides and swings. The new structure will be more durable and easier to care for, Green shared.

WCCS adjusts schedule to make up for lost time

From reports

Whitley County Consolidated Schools representatives announced this morning that the schools would add 15 minutes to the beginning and end of each school day to make up for time lost during the recent winter snow days.
Beginning Thursday, April 9, the school day will be exteded by 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon -- making the school day begin at 7:15 a.m. and ending at 3:35 p.m. This will enable the school to make up for 3 lost days.
The last day of school is currently scheduled for Friday, March 29, 2015.

One Community hosts celebration for Whitko Academic Team

From reports
Cheers and celebration rang out last Thursday evening for students, coaches and family members of the Whitko Academic Team. 
Students were celebrated for their team’s achievements and efforts this past school year. Those who attended enjoyed the fruits of their labor with a banquet hosted by One Community.
One Community is a non-profit based out of South Whitley which strives to connect individuals of all generations throughout their local community and schools. Team coach, Randy Lemler, was pleased with his team’s results this year and remarked that they had recently taken second and third place ribbons in two categories at their most recent competition at Bishop Dwenger on Monday.
Lemler spoke with appreciation for his teams and coaches and presented students with certificates of achievement to mark the occasion.
A spokesman for One Community, Nate Haywood remarked, “Supporting the students who haveworked hard this year is important, and we take pride in applauding our student body in their successes.” 
The Whitko Academic Team will compete in their next competition at Northridge High School on Tuesday, April 22, at 6 p.m.

Stutzman staffers offer mobile office hour

From reports

Representatives from Congressman Marlin Stutzman's office announced this morning that they will offer a mobile office hour tomorrow, Wednesday, March 25, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. to hear any concerns from Whitley County residents. They can be visited in Columbia City Council Chambers, City Hall.

Cruise in for the annual JA Car Show in August

Businesses, non-profits urged to reserve booth spaces now 

(Talk of the Town file photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
The annual Junior Achievement Car show is slated for Saturday, August 1, 2015. Interested individuals who'd like to host a business or non-profit booth at the event are urged to contact JA committee members now to reserve a space.

By Maureen Shippy

Junior  Achievement of Whitley County invites you to participate in their annual Car Show on Saturday, August 1, 2015.  The show begins at 8 a.m. in downtown Columbia City in the vicinity of the Whitley County Courthouse Square.
Show registration will close at 10 a.m.  Judging ends at 11 a.m. and prizes will be awarded at 1 p.m. for the Top 3 in each category.  Dash plaques will be handed out for the first 100 entries registered. Registration is $15 at the gate.
All proceeds benefit the nearly 2,700 Whitley County students participating in Junior Achievement. Booth space is available to rent on the square for vendors.  Booth space is $20 for a non-for-profit and $25 for all others.
For more information, contact Julie Copeland at  Julie.Copeland@spsx.com or call (260) 609-6039.
Junior  Achievement  is  the  world’s  largest  organization  dedicated  to  inspiring  and preparing young people to succeed in a global  economy.  Locally,  all  Whitley County programs  are  funded  by  businesses  and  individuals  donating  their  time,  talent  and money to the program. If you would like to help sponsor a class or one of the many other programs that JA offers in Whitley County, please contact Maureen at (260) 484-2543 or maureen.shippy@ja.org
To learn more about other JA programs, you can visit their website at www.jani.org.

Cancer Services' 13th annual Lapper, Survivor's Day Celebration is May 16

By Stacey Stumpf

Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana will hold the 13th Annual Lapper and Survivors Day Celebration on Saturday, May 16, 2015. Registration for the race begins at 9 a.m.
The Lapper is a special event to honor or memorialize people touched by cancer and is a fundraising walk to benefit Cancer Services’ clients. All of the money raised at the event stays in Northeast Indiana to help our friends and neighbors with cancer.
Lapper participants are encouraged to walk as many laps around Brotherhood Place Office Park as they can. The point is to test their endurance and push past their comfort zone just as people with cancer do every day.
Register for the walk online at www.lapper2015.kintera.org. Registration forms are also available at Cancer Services.
Walkers who register by May 1 and raise a minimum of $25 will receive a commemorative Lapper t-shirt. Water and fresh fruit are provided during the walk, which takes place rain or shine.
After the walk, the public is invited to join us for the Survivors Day Celebration at 11 a.m. The celebration includes food, music and games to entertain the whole family.

Cancer Services’ mission is to enhance the quality of life of those affected by cancer by providing meaningful resources, information and compassionate assistance. Last year, more than 2,500 local people with cancer and their families received emotional support and practical resources for their cancer journey. Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana helps people who live in Allen, Adams, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties.
For more information, visit www.cancer-services.org

March 23, 2015

Dustin Lynch will headline Whitley County 4-H Fair concert in July

From reports

On Friday evening, Whitley County 4-H leaders announced that top 10 country performing artist Dustin Lynch will be the headlining act at the 2015 Whitley County 4-H Fair concert.
Lynch will perform on Tuesday, July 21, 2015, at the fairgrounds. Tickets will be $25 and will be on sale soon. A limited number of tickets were sold over the weekend, but presale ticket sales ended at midnight on Sunday.

Smith-Ferrell family celebrates more than 150 years of farm ownership

(Talk of the Town photo provided)
The Smith-Ferrell family of Whitley County has received the Hoosier Homestead Award. The award was presented by Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann at the Indiana Statehouse. State Representative Christopher Judy joined the family in celebration of their award.
The Hoosier Homestead Award Program recognizes farming families who have owned and operated the same farm for 100 years or more. Families who have owned a farm for 100 years were presented with centennial awards, while those with 150 and 200 years of ownership were presented with sesquicentennial and bicentennial awards.
The Smith Farm, located in Whitley County, has been in operation since 1852. They received the sesquicentennial award for over 150 years of ownership.
“For over a century and a half, the Smith family has devoted their time and energy into maintaining their family farm, and I commend them for their efforts,” said Judy. “Indiana has a rich agricultural heritage. This award honors these families for providing the structure and backbone to continue to grow our Hoosier economy.”
The program was established in 1976 to acknowledge the contributions made by these farming families to Indiana’s economy, reputation and overall advancement. Since its inauguration, the program has recognized more than 5,000 farms for their dedication to Hoosier agriculture.
Two awards ceremonies are held each year, in the spring and summer, to commemorate the achievements of the many outstanding Hoosier farmers across the state.
For more information on the Hoosier Homestead Award Program, visit www.in.gov/isda/2337.htm.  

Whitley County Historical Society to host annual meeting luncheon on Saturday

From reports

The Whitley County Historical Society will hold their annual meeting, a luncheon, on March 28, 2015, at noon at the Whitley County Agricultural History Museum and 4-H Learning Center.
Keynote speaker Ron Zboril of Cambrindge, Ontario, Canada, will discuss the Old Northwest, the beginning of the State of Indiana and the midwest. This meeting is part of the Historical Society's celebration leading up to Indiana's Bicentennial in 2016.
Tickets to the luncheon are $14 per person.
Reservations are needed by March 25 by calling the Whitley County Historical Museum at 244-6372 or via email at wcmuseum@whitleygov.com

Prominent Notre Dame sociologist to speak Tuesday evening as part of Forester Lecture Series

By Heather Barkley

Dr. Christian Smith, prominent sociologist from the University of Notre Dame, will speak on “Persons of Faith Navigating Emerging Adulthood” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, as part of Huntington University’s Forester Lecture Series.
His discussion will take place in the Zurcher Auditorium of the Merillat Centre for the Arts. The event is free and open to the public.
Dr. Christian Smith, Ph.D., is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Sociology and director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame. Smith’s research focuses primarily on religion in modernity, adolescents, American evangelicalism and culture. Smith received his Master of Arts and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University in 1990 and his Bachelor of Arts from Gordon College in 1983. Smith was a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for 12 years before his move to Notre Dame.
Huntington University presents the Forester Lecture Series each semester. The lectures are designed to bring interesting persons and topics to the attention of students and the regional community. The Forester Lecture Series is open to the public and free of charge. The Forester Lecture Series at Huntington University is coordinated by Dr. David Alexander, assistant professor of philosophy. For further information, contact Alexander at dalexander@huntington.edu or (260) 359-4305.

Poor road conditions result in delay for some trash customers in Columbia City

From reports

Some Columbia City residents might notice their trash was not picked up today as scheduled. According to the City, deteriorating road conditions due to the snowfall this afternoon resulted in some residential trash in the Cambridge Crossing and Heritage Homes subdivisions not getting picked up today. Residents are advised to leave their trash cans at the curb until Tuesday evening. Advanced Disposal is expected to pick up today's remaining trash on Tuesday.

March 20, 2015

4-H Concert news will be revealed tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Whitley County 4-H Fairgrounds

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

Excitement is building regarding a big concert announcement coming this evening pertaining to the 2015 Whitley County 4-H Fair.
As guests gather for the annual 4-H Fun Night tonight at the Whitley County 4-H Fairgrounds from 4 to 7:30 p.m., many will want to be on hand in the 4-H Center for the big concert announcement at 6:30 p.m. A limited number of tickets to the yet-unnamed concert during this year's fair will be available for purchase tonight.
In addition to the fish and tenderloin dinner and concert announcement tonight, March 20, there will also be two important check presentations from underwriters helping to support 4-H activities.

New laws govern motorcycles, other motor driven cycles

(Talk of the Town photo by Christian Heritier)

Warmer weather means motorcycles will soon again be a part of our Whitley County landscape. 
Whitley County Prosecuting Attorney Matthew J. Rentschler reminds residents of recent changes in laws regarding motor driven cycles.  Changes to Indiana traffic laws created three classes of motor driven cycles: motorcycles, Class A motor driven cycles and Class B motor driven cycles. The three classes come with different license and insurance requirements, as well as operating restrictions.  
“Citizens should become familiar with the change in laws to avoid traffic violations,” said Prosecutor Rentschler. “Knowledge of Indiana’s motor driven cycles laws keep you legal on the street and help avoid a traffic stop while riding for pleasure or on your way to work.”
A major change is the new Class B for motor driven cycles of 50 cc (cubic centimeters) or lower.  Class B operators need a valid driver’s license or driver’s permit (no endorsement required) or an unexpired state of Indiana-issued identification card with a Class B MDC endorsement. A person with a Class B MDC is allowed to operate their vehicle while their operator’s license is suspended, so long as they have a Class B MDC Endorsement on an unexpired Indiana-issued ID card.
Other regulations specific to the Class B motor driven cycle:
• A driver must be age 15 or older.
• The driver must operate the MDC near right-hand edge of roadway unless passing another vehicle or preparing for a left turn.
• A Class B MDC may not be operated at more than 35 miles per hour.
• A Class B MDC may not be operated on an interstate highway or a sidewalk. 
ALL motor-driven cycles (MDC), regardless of size, must be registered and the driver must have some form of license or endorsed ID to be operated on a public highway.
No matter which type of motor driven cycle you drive, the following ALWAYS apply:
• Helmet required for those under 18.
• No texting and driving.
• Must operate in a position astride the seat.
• All motor driven cycles must display a license plate.
• Headlamps must be illuminated at all times while operating.
For more information on motor driven cycles, go to your local license branch or the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles website:  www.in.gov/bmv.

Indiana Court of Appeals to hear oral argument at Huntington University

By Heather Barkley

Indiana’s second highest court will conduct oral argument at Huntington University at 1 p.m. on Monday, March 23, in the Zurcher Auditorium of the Merillat Centre for the Arts. This event is free and open to the public.
The event marks the court’s first visit to Huntington and was prompted by an invitation from Dr. John Noble, director of the university’s Center for Non-Western Studies and assistant professor of Bible & religion.
A panel of judges — John Baker, Melissa May and Paul Mathias — will hear Hunt v. State, a criminal case on appeal from Elkhart Circuit Court. Appellant Jeffery Hunt argues that his 120-year sentence for four felony convictions, including Class A felony robbery while armed with a deadly weapon resulting in serious bodily injury, is inappropriate.
The judges will answer student questions after the argument, but not about this case.
The Court of Appeals hears oral arguments across Indiana to enable Hoosiers to observe the court in action and learn more about its indispensable role in Indiana government. The court has conducted more than 400 “Appeals on Wheels” events since its 2000-2001 centennial. This argument marks the court’s seventh Appeals on Wheels event this year.
Please note the instructions below for courtroom etiquette and decorum for the public:

Courtroom Etiquette & Procedure
No cell phones, no cameras, no talking, eating or drinking. Also, the bailiff will call the court to order by banging the gavel and telling everyone in the room to rise or stand.

Question-and-Answer Session
After the oral argument, the judges will conduct an informal question-and-answer session about the law, justice and the judiciary in general – but not about the case they have just heard.

For more information about the court, visit www.courts.in.gov/appeals.
The Centre for Non-Western Studies at Huntington University was formed in 2009 to support inter-disciplinary research and teaching linked by a shared common interest in Non-Western politics, culture and society.
Based in HU’s Department of Bible & Religion, the Centre brings together a number of renowned academics at Huntington University working in the fields of Bible and religion, business, English, history and political science, ministry and missions, TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), social work and sociology.
The centre has been specifically designed to empower students to address diverse cultural issues and challenge them to become intelligent inter-cultural consumers for their generation. To learn more about HU’s Centre for Non-Western Studies, log on to www.huntington.edu/institutes-programs/centre-for-non-western-studies/.