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May 24, 2016

Calhoun, Cook sworn in to CCPD


(Talk of the Town photos by James Romano) 2NewOfficers516b.jpg
Two new police officers were official sworn in to the Columbia City Police Department recently. Above, City Clerk-Treasurer Rosie Coyle performs the swearing in ceremony in City Council Chambers for new officers David Calhoun and Caleb Cook while Chief Tony Hively and Captain Gary Parrett observe. The new officers were joined at the ceremony by family members and other fellow officers. At right, Chief Hively and Captain Parrett welcome Calhoun to the force.

Due to recent retirements, the Columbia City Police Department is accepting applications for full-time police officers. Detailed information and applications are available online at or at the city dispatch center located on the first floor of City Hall, 112 South Chauncey Street in Columbia City. Applications may be mailed in or dropped off at the police department. The application deadline is 3 p.m. on Monday, June 20, 2016.

Suspects reportedly caught for lighting park on fire


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Over the weekend, vandals left their marks on the newly erected Every Kids Dreamland park on Columbia City's west side, lighting a portion of the equipment on fire. The fire was reportedly extinguished by a passing resident, Brad Banks of Columbia City, who saw the flames and doused the fire with bottled water he had on hand.
On Monday, the Columbia City Parks Department and Columbia City Police Department issued photographs taken from surveillance of the park, showing two individuals in the park at the time. Within a matter of hours, after the images, above and at right, were shared with media and via social media, the Parks Department reported that two suspects had been apprehended by the Columbia City Police Department for the crime.

Another recent act of vandalism, the defacing of graves in Greenhill Cemetery, is still unsolved. A $1000 reward is still in place for informtion leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved. Tips can be given anonymously. For more information, call the Columbia City Police Department at 248-5121.

Train derails in South Whitley late Monday night

From reports

Shortly after 10:30 p.m. Monday, a train derailment was reported in South Whitley near the intersection of SR 5 and the railroad tracks on the north side of the town. Initial reports indicated as many as nine cars were involved in the derailment.
Residents in the proximity of the derailment were evacuated due to concerns about potential issues involving chemicals in the crash, however, residents were allowed to return home around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday. SR 5 was reopened to traffic Tuesday morning when debris had been cleared from that area. Other railway intersections in South Whitley remain closed.

US 30 closed at West Lincolnway following fiery semi crash

From reports

Motorists should avoid US 30 at West Lincolnway following a two vehicle accident involving a semi and a car hauler engulfed. Both were engulfed in flames in the eastbound lane and the highway is closed. The accident occurred just west of the intersection. It is unclear how long the eastbound portion of the roadway will remain closed. Traffic is stalled in both directions.
Samaritan responded to the scene, however the status of any patients is unclear.

May 23, 2016

Train derailment reported in South Whitley

Motorists should avoid South Whitley for the next several hours due to what is initially being reported as a 9-car train derailment. Crews were called to the scene at about 10:40 pm tonight. This has occurred at the intersection of the rail line and SR 5 on the town's north side. Power lines have been struck and debris is on the roadway. The extent of the damage or any potential injuries is not yet clear. Emergency crews are on the scene and assessing the situation. Homes in the vicinity are being evacuated due to potential concerns about spilled chemicals.

Perkins telling tales of John Dillinger at South Whitley Community Public Library

Notorious criminal John Dillinger eluded law enforcement for more than a year as he robbed banks and committed other crimes all across the state of Indiana, including Whitley County. On Thursday, June 23, at 6:30 p.m., join us as story performer Sally Perkins tells the tale of Dillinger at the South Whitley Community Public Library. In her program, The Charm, the Harm, and the Daring of Dillinger, she traces the life of a run-of-the-mill boy who inadvertently received a world-class criminal education that propelled him into a criminal career. In following John Dillinger from boredom to desperation to sheer audacity, the story depicts the infamous trickster who outwitted law enforcement in a 14- month wild chase in and around the state of Indiana. Sally Perkins performs stories of all sorts-- historical, personal, folk, ghoulish--to audiences of all ages. She has received several commissions to create and perform historical stories on characters like John Dillinger as well as locations like The Old Centrum, now the Indiana Landmarks Center. She is currently working on a commission from Indiana Landmarks and Storytelling Arts of Indiana to create and perform a one-hour story on Butler's Hinkle Fieldhouse, to premier on June 4 at the fieldhouse! (See her for ticket information!)
This summer she's been invited to tell a story at the National Storytelling Network Conference in Kansas City.
Holding a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas, Sally has taught rhetoric and public speaking for over many years, currently teach- ing as an adjunct faculty member at Butler University. On her best days, you can find her telling stories at the bed- sides of children at Riley's Hospital for Children.

Deadline moves up for Lilly scholarship

The Community Foundation of Whitley County has announced an important change in regard to the next Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship which will be awarded in May of 2017. Would-be applicants should note a change from year's past in the application deadline. Applications for the 2016-17 Whitley County Lilly Community Scholarship will be due Friday, September 9, 2016. The change in the scholarship award process is in effect for all Indiana Community Foundations. To apply, a student must reside within Whitley County, be on course to graduate by June 30, 2017 from an accredited Indiana high school, and intend to pursue a full-time baccalaureate course of study in the fall of 2017 at an accredited public or private college or university in Indiana. Applications will be available on the Community Foundation's website at on August 1, 2016. The application deadline is Friday September 9, 2016. Questions should be directed to Chelsey Barrell, Communications Coordinator at 260-244-5224.

May 22, 2016

Old Type Writer

Sending birthday greetings to Old Type Writer columnist Susie Duncan Sexton. This month, her son Roy Sexton steps in with a column about her recent birthday celebration with Johnny Mathis....

May 19, 2016

Many gather to celebrate dedication of Churubusco Main Street project


(Talk of the Town photos by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
A group of more than 40 gathered on May 4 in downtown Churubusco to attend a dedication ceremony for the recent Main Street Churubusco project. A ceremony was held near the turtle and new clock in downtown Churubusco where town councilman Frank Kessler addressed the crowd, offered remarks and thanked the many individuals who had been involved in the project. Former Indiana Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann also spoke about the ways Churubusco, like her hometown, had utilized the Indiana Main Street program to achieve revitalization and restoration in their downtown.CMainSt516b.jpg
Whitley County Chamber executive director Doug Brown, who serves on the business development committee for the Churubusco Main Street organization, was among those in attendance.
"This project is a great testament to the difference a few people can make in the community. We all benefit from this," Brown said.
Utilizing a $400,000 grant, Churubusco Main Street was able to repair and redesign the streetscape in the historic downtown area of Churubusco. Projects included new sidewalks, an attractive new town clock, benches, streetscapes and more.
Above, members of the Churubusco Main Street Assocation celebrate the completion of a successful project.
At left, Churubusco Town Councilman Frank Kessler provides opening remarks at the dedication ceremony. Town Clerk-Treasurer Madalyn Sade-Bartl stands nearby.
At bottom, a large crowd of leaders from across Whitley County gathered to observe the celebration.


INDOT plans bridge maintenance on US 24

From reports

The Indiana Department of Transportation announces that bridge maintenance will begin on U.S. 24 over Aboite Creek, between Redding/West Hamilton Road and Witling Boulevard in Allen County, on Monday, May 23. Work will include bridge joint repairs.
Motorists can expect the road to be reduced to one lane in each direction while work is completed in both the northbound and southbound lanes. 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 late July, weather permitting. The repair of the U.S. 24 bridge over Aboite Creek is being done in combination with bridge repair on several bridges in Adams, Allen, Huntington, LaGrange, Miami, Steuben and Wabash counties. The combined contract was awarded to R.L. McCoy for $842,000.

Churubusco United Methodist Church to host rummage sale in June

From reports

Churubusco United Methodist Church will host a rummage sale on Thursday, June 2 and Friday, June 3 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and also on Saturday, June 4 from 9 a.m. to noon. 
On Thursday, a bake sale will be held at the church from 9 a.m. until all items are sold. Proceeds from the bake sale will support Henderson Settlement and the Bashor Children's Home.
The church is located at 750 North Main Street in Churubusco.

May 18, 2016

Whitley County Chamber of Commerce joins member United Oil in celebrating milestone 50th anniversary

UnitedOil50th516.jpg(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
United Oil's 50th anniversary was celebrated recently by the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce. Above, from left, is Jill Lane of Orizon Real Estate, Cindy Murphy, Deb Smith, Cory Lusch, Michelle Alt, Joe Dorsey - general manager, Leslee Derbeck of Star Insurance, Patti Ledgerwood, Pete Allen of Star Financial Bank, Dave Gardner - owner, Thad Coverstone, Bill Auer - owner, Laura Auer, Brian Beeber, June Keiser of J&J Insurance Solutions and Doug Brown, executive director of the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce.

Article provided

A long-time Whitley County Chamber of Commerce member, United Oil celebrates their 50th anniversary this year. The Whitley County Chamber Ambassadors recently stopped by United Oil to congratulate them on this milestone year.
United Oil opened in 1966 with just six employees in two locations, including a main office and plant in Fort Wayne and a plant in Harlan.
With considerably growth and expansion during the 1980s, United Oil eventually opened a facility on South Line Street in Columbia City where they built the Citgo Deli. Whitley County resident Bill Auer was put in charge of local operations and the business continued to grow and in 1986 acquired the Gerber & Sons Oil in Woodburn. The company purchased G&S Oil in 1989 and Dave Gardner joined the company. During the 1990s, locations were added in Columbia City, South Whitley, Pierceton and Fort Wayne. A propane division was added in 2005.
In addition to their membership in the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce, United Oil Corp. holds memberships in the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA).
Today, the company has grown to include 37 employees at six locations across a nine county area.
More information about United Oil is available on its website at

First 'Regional Cities' funds designated for downtown Fort Wayne project

GreatLakesCapital516.jpg(Talk of the Town graphic provided)
The Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority shared on Tuesday that they would be investing $2.8 million of the Regional Cities' monies into the Skyline Tower project in Fort Wayne. An artist's rendering, above, shows that the project is expected to look like.

By Abby Gras

The Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) announced plans Tuesday to allocate $2.8 million in state funding from the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative to help fund the Skyline Tower in Fort Wayne. This is the first project to receive state funding through the Regional Cities Initiative, which will allocate a total of $126 million toward quality of place projects across three Indiana regions.
"The Indiana Regional Cities Initiative is on a roll in the Hoosier state, and the Skyline Tower project marks one more step forward as we work to retain and attract top talent for generations to come," said Governor Mike Pence. "Across the state, communities are crossing county lines to plan and build Indiana regions into nationally recognized destinations to live, work and play. I commend our local elected officials, economic development professionals, business executives and Hoosiers throughout the 11-county Northeast Indiana region for their collaboration and swift action to advance regional development."
The $40 million, 12-story, 170,000-square-foot urban, mixed-use project adjacent to the new Ash Brokerage headquarters in downtown Fort Wayne will house 124 modern apartments as well as second-floor office space and first-floor retail space, including Ruth's Chris Steak House and Another Broken Egg. Two businesses, Great Lakes Capital and Bradley Company, have already committed to relocating their operations and at least 70 employees into the new office space.
"Additional residential housing for downtown Fort Wayne is in demand as we look to attract more talent to the area," said John Sampson, president and chief executive officer of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. "The Skyline Tower is exactly the kind of project for which the Regional Cities Initiative is designed - to encourage investment that makes Northeast Indiana a place people want to live and work. The project is already attracting other exciting and vibrant investments in the central city."
Northeast Indiana's Road to One Million plan outlines a short-term goal of 38 regional development projects in 11 counties totaling $400 million in quality of place investments, as well as a vision for more than 70 projects and $1.5 billion in public and private investment over the next 10 years. The plan, which aims to attain one million residents by 2020, acknowledges the need for increased class-A downtown residential units in Fort Wayne with the goal of achieving 2,000 total units.
The region's plan is part of a statewide initiative spearheaded by Governor Pence to combat population stagnation as Indiana, like many of its Midwestern neighbors, remains a net out-migration state. Because of the initiative, 70 percent of the state's population now lives in a region with a bold and viable plan for transforming its future.
"Skyline Tower is going to be a tremendous addition to our downtown as we continue to see momentum and record investments in Fort Wayne," said Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry. "The city of Fort Wayne appreciates and values the commitment by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and the RDA to move unique initiatives forward to enhance current and future economic development opportunities. Projects like Skyline Tower strengthen our position as a regional destination place for individuals, families and businesses."
Just last week, Governor Pence joined North Central Indiana to break ground on the Studebaker facilities renovation, one of the region's marquee projects outlined in its Innovate Indiana plan. The four-phase, $165.7 million project will anchor the establishment of South Bend's Renaissance District and, once complete, is set to be the largest mixed-use technology campus in the Midwest.

Indiana Homeland Security Foundation accepting scholarship applications

Article provided

The Indiana Homeland Security Foundation is now accepting applications for the Secure Indiana Scholarship Program.
Thirteen scholarships are available to reward Hoosiers who volunteer with public safety organizations. Scholarships are funded through the sale of "Secure Indiana" license plates and are made available to both full-time and part-time college students.
Eligible applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Attend or will be attending an accredited Indiana College.
- Must have at least a 2.8 grade point average on a 4.0 scale.
- Volunteer with a public safety organization such as a fire department, emergency management agency, law enforcement agency or emergency medical services. This must be validated by the agency's chief executive.
A full-time student with at least 12 credit hours is eligible for a $2000 scholarship and a part-time student with at least six credit hours is eligible for a $1000 scholarship.
The deadline to apply is July 15, 2016. Those who are interested in submitting an application can contact the Indiana Department of Homeland Security Grants Management at
For more information on the Indiana Homeland Security Foundation, visit