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August 28, 2014

Getting ready to give!

(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
Volunteers filled a meeting room today to plan for the Whitley County United Way's annual giving campaign, sharing ideas and enthusiasm for the days ahead. The campaign officially kicks off on September 16.
Above, clockwise from left,  are 2014-2015 United Way of Whitley County campaign ambassadors Jill Jordan, Shelby Longenbaugh, Dan Weigold, April Whetstone, Laurell Hodges, Gary Parrett and Leslie Von Seggern.

Details offered for Autumn Harvest Festival car show at the fairgrounds on October 18

Article provided

In conjunction with the Autumn Harvest Festival craft show & flea market, the 4-H Clubs Inc. will be hosting a Car Show on October 18. The entry fee for the event is $15 ($10 before October 1, 2014). Registration will be from 9 to 11 a.m., with the judging from 11 to 2 p.m. and awards at 3 p.m. Awards will be presented for Best of Show, People’s Choice and more.
Dash plaques will be presented to the first 100 entries. The show will be held at the Whitley County 4-H Fairgrounds.
Please come out and support the Festival as all proceeds will go to the Whitley County 4-H program. For more information, call 244-7615.

Mothers, sons invited to Parks' Halloween Party

From reports

The Columbia City Parks Department announced their Mother-Son Halloween Party scheduled for Friday, October 17 from  6 to 9 p.m. at the Morsches Park Pavilion. A dinner will be served. Other activities will include a bounce house, hay rides, games and contests. Prizes will be awarded for most creative costume, best theme costume and best costume.
Admission is $10 per person.
The event is sponsored by the Columbia City Parks Department.
For more information, call the Park Office at 248-5180

Youths celebrate 10 years in 4-H

(Talk of the Town photo provided)
This year's 2014 Whitley County 4-H Fair marked the tenth year in the club for 42 local youths, a few of which gathered above during the fair for a photograph to commemorate the occasion. Whitley County 4-H'ers reaching the 10 year mark this year include: Brooke Alexander, Kristine Bechtold, Laura Bray, Jacob Bridegam, Anna Chapple, Molly Drew, Haley Fulkerson, Drake Geiger, Trevor Gilbert, Logan Harris, Trey Hinen, Austin Johnson, Kane Johnson, Claire Keister, Anthony Kinney, Krista Kneller, Erin Knepple, Morgan Koontz, Jared Lamle, Kaitlyn Moore, Ethan Nicodemus, Morgan O’Reilly, Danielle Oliver, Adam Patrick, Kelsie Peterson, Aaron Pettigrew, Brooklyn Pettigrew, Ashlynd Pleus, Hannah Schaefer, Eryn Schinbeckler, Devin Seabaugh, Justin Sheets, Michelle Shively, Sara Thompson, Cole Uecker, August Von Seggern, Courtney Wait, Makayla Wakeman, Breanna Waugh, Benjamin Western and Brittney Zolman.

Community input sought to help uncover 'Our Story' in Northeast Indiana

Community input sessions set for September 18 and October 1 in Whitley County

By Courtney Tritch

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership is launching a new project, the Our Story Project, and is seeking public input to help change the way we speak about our region. Workshops will be held in all 10 counties within Northeast Indiana and public participation will help establish the region's reputation--who we are, where we are going as a region and what Northeast Indiana will be known for. With key messages defined, people and organizations throughout Northeast Indiana will be able to tell a unified story about Northeast Indiana. 
The workshops will consist of a series of interactive, proprietary exercises aimed at building and refining Northeast Indiana's story.
"By the end of this project, hundreds, if not thousands, of Northeast Indiana residents will have had a hand in shaping our story. We look forward to discovering what common themes emerge from all of the input," said Courtney Tritch, vice president of marketing at the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. "This is a unique approach that hasn't been done on this scale before." 
The workshops will be conducted in two phases. The first phase of workshops will focus on discovering the region's personality, while the second phase of workshops will center on how we talk about the region. The public is invited to attend any phase one and/or phase two workshop.
The first phase of workshops will be held the week of September 15:
    Monday, September 15 from 7:00-10:30 am at Ramada Inn, 3855 Indiana 127, Angola
    Monday, September 15 from 2:00-5:00 pm at La Quinta Inn, 306 Touring Drive, Auburn
    Tuesday, September 16 from 7:00-10:30 am at Impact Institute, 580 Fairview Blvd., Kendallville
    Tuesday, September 16 from 12:00-3:00 pm at LaGrange Public Library, 203 W. Spring St., LaGrange
    Wednesday, September 17 from 7:00-10:30 am at Girls Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michiana, 10008 Dupont Circle Drive East, Fort Wayne
    Wednesday, September 17 from 2:00-5:00 pm at Region 8 Education Service Center, 251 W 850 N, Decatur
    Thursday, September 18 from 12:00-3:00 pm at Wells County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development, 211 W. Water St., Bluffton
    Thursday, September 18 from 5:30-8:30 pm at Parkview Whitley Hospital, 1260 E. State Road 205, Columbia City
    Friday, September 19 from 7:00-10:30 am at Wabash County Chamber of Commerce, 210 S. Wabash St., Wabash

The second phase of workshops will be held the week of September 29:
    Monday, September 29 from 7:00-10:30 am at Ramada Inn, 3855 Indiana 127, Angola
    Monday, September 29 from 2:00-5:00 pm at Waterloo Train Depot, 215 W. Van Vleek St., Waterloo
    Tuesday, September 30 from 7:00-10:30 am at Noble County Public Library, 813 E. Main St., Albion
    Tuesday, September 30 from 2:00-5:00 pm at Shipshewana Event Center, 760 S. Van Buren St., Shipshewana
    Wednesday, October 1 from 7:00-10:30 am at Parkview Whitley Hospital, 1260 E. State Road 205, Columbia City
    Wednesday, October 1 from 12:00-3:00 pm at Manchester University, JYSC Hoff Room - 2nd Floor, North Manchester
    Wednesday, October 1 from 5:30-8:30 pm at Huntington University, 2303 College Ave., Huntington*
    Thursday, October 2 from 7:00-10:30 am at Clock Tower Inn, 1335 US 27 N, Berne
    Thursday, October 2 from 12:00-3:00 pm at Wells County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development, 211 W. Water St., Bluffton
    Thursday, October 2 from 5:30-8:30 pm at Pizza Hut Corporate Office, 7100 W. Jefferson Blvd., Fort Wayne
    Friday, October 3 from 7:00-10:30 am at Huntington University, 2303 College Ave., Huntington*

Seating is limited. RSVPs will be taken on a first come, first served basis. To reserve a spot, visit www.neindiana.com/rsvp.
The Our Story Project is sponsored by 21Alive, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and Parkview Health.
For more information about the Our Story Project, visit www.neindiana.com/ourstory.

August 27, 2014

Artist Sarah Creason to participate in healing art workshop with Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana, Artworks Galleria

From reports

Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana and Artworks Galleria are partnering to offer a series of eight workshops based on the international bestseller, “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron.
Many people have found the creativity exercises and learning in “The Artist’s Way” to be helpful in the physical and emotional healing process, including cancer survival. Facilitators Jane Caldwell, Janet Stephenson and well-known local artist Sarah Creason will offer hands-on experiences to help participants overcome limiting beliefs about creativity and fears that can inhibit the creative process. The workshops will also explore the link between creativity and mind and body health.
The workshops will be held Wednesdays in September and October with dates set for September 10, September 17, September 24, October 1, October 8, October 15, October 22 and October 29 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Artworks Galleria at Jefferson Pointe (behind Panera).
To register, call 260-484-9560 or 866-484-9560 and reserve a seat by Friday, September 5.
Class size is limited to 12 and the cost is $10, due prior to the first class. All participants will receive the book "The Artist's Way."

A vote for convenience: Hours set for absentee voting in Whitley County

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

The November General Election really isn't that far away. Be sure to have your vote counted by participating in absentee voting at the Whitley County Courthouse. You do not need to have a reason to vote early -- it's an opportunity available to every registered voter to make it a more convenient process.
According to Jessica Hockemeyer, Whitley County Voter Registration & Election deputy, residents will have many opportunities to cast their vote, but they first must be sure they're registered. The last day to register to vote in the election is Monday, October 6, 2014.
Absentee voting will begin the following day, October 7, and continue to be offered to Whitley County residents weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Clerk's office inside the courthouse through October 31 (except for Monday, October 13 when the office is closed). You can again vote from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on November 3.
Additionally, voting times will be offered from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 25 and Saturday, November 1. If you miss all of those dates, you can, of course, wait until the election and vote on Tuesday, November 4 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. in precincts across the community.
For further information, contact the Whitley County Clerk's Office at 248-3164.

August 26, 2014

Building for the Future: South Whitley's Amish community builds new school

(Talk of the Town photo by TRSmith of the Tribune-News)
Serene and lit by the sunlight, the new Amish classrooms are tidy and comfortable.

By TRSmith of the Tribune-News

The Country Meadow Amish School Board hosted a benefit supper and open house for folks to tour the new school building and grounds recently in South Whitley.
David Swartz, a school board member, said the building has been two years in the planning and making.
Friday the two 74-feet by 36-feet classrooms along with the 30 feet by 40-feet playroom were filled with picnic tables and benches to seat many supper guests. The classroom spaces, one for students in grades one through four and the other for grades five through eight, will be reset with desks before school starts. Margaret Ann Hilty will teach the little ones and Marvin Graber, the big ones.
Swartz said the north school, on Whitley Road, has had 80 students for some time, making for crowded conditions.
“This is closer for the children,” he said, “now we’ll have 40 people in each school."
The interior is not, of course, fancy. The walls and high ceilings are covered in bright white, hygienic plastic panels. They reflect the light back into the rooms which are lit by one source, sunlight, and it is allowed in through the building’s many windows.
The cement floor will be kept warm the aid of coal-burning stove and an in-floor radiant heating system. Water will be drawn with the aid of an air pump which sits on the southeast side of the building.
Between the two classrooms is a mirror image closet system, each divided into eight large areas with four hooks for coats each and  two deep shelves overhead. Swartz explained that the enormous closet system can be rolled to either end of a class room to open the double classroom space for meetings.
Large charts for making printed and cursive letters in English and German were on display in both rooms along with requests for cooperation from the students’ parents; a teacher’s creed called “It’s All By Faith” and a list of 10 Commandments from the Exodus chapter of the Bible.
A maintenance building stands to the north of the school building and the restrooms are also located here. Further south is a hitching post for children or visiting parents who travel to school by horse and buggy.
Swarts said there’s no particular age requirement for buggy drivers, it depends on the personality of the child and how responsible they are. Many of the children will arrive and leave by a Whitko public school bus because the corporation offers transportation to the Amish students. Classes will begin around 8 a.m. and finish around 2:15 p.m.
A full-size basketball court stands between the two buildings. During the open house, the court was covered by a tent to shelter the many guests. A half-court, volleyball court and baseball diamond are on the west side of the property. Playground equipment, swings and a teeter-totter, are on the east side of the school.
In addition to Marcus Swartz, other members of the school board include Marcus Swartz, John Eicher and Joseph K. Swartz.

Hearts of Gold: Limb-different coaches volunteer time to train young athletes

(Talk of the Town photo provided)
Whitley County resident Gavin Brown, 5, recently attended the NubAbility Athletics Camp in DuQuoin, Illinois. While there, he met and worked with coach Nick "The Inspiration" Palmer, a mixed martial arts fighter and kick boxer from Wyoming, Minnesota, who taught him some excellent wrestling moves. Palmer was one of more than 30 limb different coaches from all over the US who volunteered their time to teach children. NubAbility is a non-profit organization that provides a weekend sports camp for limb different children.  "Our whole family participated and it was such an amazing experience for all of us, but especially Gavin who has a congenital hand difference," said Gavin's mother, Angela Brown.
For more information about this wonderful camp, visit http://nubability.org/ 

Banks honored for his work on behalf of disabled veterans

(Talk of the Town photo provided)

The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) recently named State Senator Jim Banks of Columbia City as their Legislator of the Year. Banks received the award for his efforts in establishing the Indiana Veteran Recovery Program and Fund.
During the 2014 session, Banks authored Senate Enrolled Act 180 which directs the Indiana State Department of Health to further study the implementation of programs for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or traumatic brain injuries.
“Senator Banks understands the need to help our veterans now,” said Kent Morgan, DAV Indiana legislative chairman. “As a military member, Banks understands the veteran community and their horrific need to start treating those with PTSD and other traumatic brain injuries. On behalf of Hoosier veterans, we are privileged to give this award to Senator Banks.”
Morgan added that SEA 180 is one of the most important veterans bills in the history of our state.
 “It’s an honor to be recognized by the Disabled American Veterans,” Banks said. “This organization is focused on advocating for the betterment of all Hoosier veterans. I look forward to working with them in the future.”

O'Connor awarded scholarship to pursue degree in radiology technology

From reports

Ashley O'Connor, the daughter of Sean and Jennifer O'Connor of Columbia City, has been named as the recipient of a local vocational scholarship.
O'Connor is a graduate of Columbia City High School and plans to pursue a career in radiology technology.  An active student at CCHS, she was involved in track, theater, band, National Honor Society, SAVE, FCCLA and Key Club. She maintains an active lifestyle, hiking, running and camping. This week, she began studies at IPFW.
O'Connor was selected from several entries for the scholarship, presented locally by Signature Giving. The application process included an essay describing where the student saw themselves in five years and how their future career will make Whitley County a better place.

August 25, 2014

Out with the old...awaiting something new?

(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
At the crack of dawn, contractor Kim Reiff, owner of Kim L. Reiff & Sons, began placing barricades and tape around the former Eagles Lodge in downtown Columbia City. Reiff, standing above, securing one of the barricades, has been awarded the bid to demolish the property. He said his crew began intial work today and he anticipates walls and earth-moving to begin sometime next week. Under the guidance of the Columbia City Redevelopment Commission, the aged property, including an adjacent parking lot that has begin to cave in, will be razed and prepared for a yet-unannounced project in the downtown corridor.

The property was purchased from the Fraternal Order of the Eagles in the latter part of 2013 for $165,000. The Eagles have since moved to a new location on South Main Street in Columbia City.


Supporters gather to celebrate the work of the Tippecanoe Watershed Foundation

(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
Supporters of the Tippecanoe Watershed Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of water in the Upper Tippecanoe Watershed, were invited to a luncheon in North Webster last Saturday, celebrating a year of continuous projects aimed at improving the water and wetland environments. Over 100 studies and pollution reduction projects have been completed in recent months.  A few examples include restoring stream banks and wetlands, creating sediment traps, installing filter strips, fencing livestock out of streams, improving storm drains and creating rain gardens and encouraging the creation of natural shorelines on area lakes and streams.
The Tippecanoe Watershed includes a vast area of north central and northwestern Whitley County, including lakes and rivers such as Goose Lake, Old Lake, New Lake, Loon Lake and Crooked Lake. Above, among the attendees were Tony Romano of Loon Lake, Jane Loomis of Old Lake and Aileen Meier of Crooked Lake, all in Whitley County.
For more information about the Tippecanoe Watershed Foundation's work, visit www.tippecanoewatershed.org

GOP chairman says caucus to find new auditor set for September 3

One candidate has announced plans to run for the seat

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

The process of finding a new auditor for Whitley County moved a step further over the weekend when Whitley County GOP chairman Matt Boyd announced that he had selected a caucus date.
The former auditor, Jennifer McGuire, a Republican, tendered her resignation to Governor Mike Pence on Tuesday, August 19, amid an investigation of her office.
Boyd said that on Wednesday, September 3, at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room C of the Whitley County Government Center, a caucus of Whitley County Republican precinct committee members will determine a new auditor to serve until the end of the year. While the public may attend, only precinct committee members will vote per caucus election rules.
In order to become a candidate in the caucus, one must be a registered voter in Whitley County and file a form CEB-5 with the Whitley County Republican party chairman, Matt Boyd, between now and 72 hours before the caucus starts, which is Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 7 p.m.
"The form CEB-5 needs to be notarized and the easiest place get the form and get it notarized is the Whitley County Voter Registration Office on the 2nd floor of the Whitley County Courthouse," stated Boyd.
As of today, one candidate has filed the necessary paperwork -- reportedly Steve Hively, a certified public accountant, will run in the caucus.
Boyd said he's willing to answer any questions about the office and about how the caucus process works. Boyd can be contacted via email at mattboyd@centurylink.net
Because McGuire was the only candidate on the ballot for the November general election and it is too late to remove her or add other candidates, she will need to resign again in January. At that time, Boyd will schedule a second caucus to replace her for the full term.

Snapshots: Residents hit the street for tasty travelin' meal in South Whitley

Sendoff party planned in honor of State Senator Jim Banks

Gathering will be held September 3 in Columbia City

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

In the final days before his deployment to Afghanistan, friends of State Senator Jim Banks are planning a sendoff party in his honor.
The party will be held on September 3 at about 7:30 p.m. in the Whitley County Government Center. All constituents and friends are invited to attend.
Banks, a Whitley County resident and father of three, has been called to active duty by the US Navy. He will leave for Afghanistan on September 6.
A caucus is being planned to find a replacement to serve in Banks place during the 2015 Legislative Session. Banks is anticipated to be serving a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan.
Amanda Banks, wife of Jim Banks, has announced that she will run for Banks seat in the caucus.

Whitley, surrounding counties under storm watch

From reports

The sky may be blue right now, but thunder can be heard not far off in the distance.
The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch until midnight tonight, Monday, August 25 for several counties in Indiana this evening, including Whitley, Kosciusko and Huntington Counties.
The storm may include damaging wind gusts of up to 70 mph and large hail.

August 22, 2014

Ann Arbor show features Roy Sexton; Sexton discusses life in a small town during interview

Save the date for cheeky ribaldry! The Penny Seats' musical revue Tomfoolery will run at Conor O'Neills in Ann Arbor the first four Thursdays (2, 9, 16, and 23) in October! More info at pennyseats.org – the show celebrates the music of Tom Lehrer, a comic misanthrope who makes Lewis Black and Jon Stewart seem like Mr. Rogers and Spongebob Squarepants.  The show features Laura Sagolla, Brent Stansfield, Matt Cameron, and Roy Sexton (son of Columbia City's Susie and Don Sexton) and is directed by Lauren London with music direction from Rebecca Biber and choreography by Victoria Gilbert.


Gen X knows Lehrer best as having written the songs for Electric Company (“Silent E”) but he also wrote a number of satirical songs in the 50s and 60s for shows like That Was the Week That Was, The Frost Report, and The Steve Allen Show as well as his own concert performances. Lehrer observed, “I know it's very bad form to quote one's own reviews, but there is something the New York Times said about me [in 1958], that I have always treasured: 'Mr. Lehrer's muse [is] not fettered by such inhibiting factors as taste."


ALSO, enjoy this interview of Roy's mom Susie, a columnist here at Talk of the Town, on Fort Wayne's Patty's Page talk show.  Click here to view. Susie discusses the experiences of growing up in small-town Columbia City, the high and lows and the delights and frustrations of writing her columns and books, her love of animals and movies and fun, the importance of always keeping an open mind, and many more wide-ranging topics.