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February 20, 2017

School board considers sale of WJHS radio station, alumni plan to speak out

From reports

Since the 1980s, students with an interest in media and broadcasting have had an opportunity to grow their skills at WJHS, Columbia City High School's radio station.
Many have gone on to pursue careers in journalism, media, broadcasting and technology -- all fondly remember the skills they learned at WJHS, 91.5 FM.
All of this may draw to a close soon, however, as the Whitley County Consolidated Schools' board of trustees will vote Monday on whether to sell the station's license, with board members citing rising costs and low enrollment in the programs.
Alumni from the program, however, don't want to let it go and believe there are many options available to not only save the station, but make it profitable and a local asset.
Anyone with an interest in the matter is invited to attend the Whitley County Consolidated Schools' board meeting on Monday, February 20 at 5:30 p.m. at the WCCS administration wing inside the Eagle Tech Academy (Marshall School building).

Check out a state park pass at Peabody Library for admission to parks across Indiana

From reports

Thanks to a collaboration between the Indiana DNR and the Indiana State Library, Peabody Public Library has one of 240 state issued state park passes that can be checked out by library patrons and used at parks around the state.
The passes provide access to 32 state parks and state forest recreation areas in Indiana. This is the second year for the program and the program's continuation will be determined by how often the passes are checked out and used. Users will be asked to complete a brief survey when they pick up the passes.
A pass may be checked out for seven days and is restricted to Peabody Library patrons only. The pass covers the entrance fee to the park only. It may not be used for requests, reservations or renewals.
A patron must wait three days before it can be checked out for an additional seven days.
A late fee of $1 per day will be charged if the pass is not returned on time and a $50 replacement fee will be charged for a pass that is not returned.

INDOT extends deadline on 2017 Paint the Plow campaign

Article provided

The Indiana Department of Transportation continues to accept applications for the 2017 Paint the Plow campaign, a community outreach program designed to promote safety and awareness of INDOT's Winter Operations all year long.
INDOT Fort Wayne District invites high schools within district boundaries to paint an INDOT snow plow blade with original artwork to represent their school. Applications and additional program details can be found HERE. Applications will be accepted through March 15.
In addition to being seen in full service during the winter weather months, the blades may be used at events within the school's community to enhance public awareness, promote safety and foster greater appreciation of both INDOT and the school's art program.
Paint the Plow is open to all high schools and career-technical schools in Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Elkhart, Grant, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Miami, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties. Consideration will also be given to schools in Blackford, Fulton, and Jay counties, as portions of these counties are located within the district boundaries. Only students who are currently enrolled in the applicant school may participate in the creation, execution and completion of the art project.
For more information or questions about the Paint the Plow campaign, contact Nichole Thomas at 260-969-8219 or by email at nhachathomas@indot.in.gov.

Chamber, Columbia City Police Department partner for active shooter training

The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce joins the Columbia City Police Department in providing a Civilian Response to an Active Shooter Training Workshop for local business owners, managers, human resource professionals or safety officers to provide an overview of how to respond if a tragic situation were to unfold at their business or non-profit organization.
An initial workshop slated for March 1 is full, however the Chamber is creating a list of individuals who are interested in attending a future training session.
Led by Columbia City Police Chief Tony Hively, the training will educate attendees from across the county on the methods of response that could be effective in counteracting a violent episode in the office or workplace.
The training is provided free of charge and handouts will be provided. Light refreshments will be available.
To be added to the waiting list, email  jennifer@whitleychamber.com

February 16, 2017

CCHS FFA to host fish and tenderloin fry

From reports The Columbia City FFA will be hosting an all-you-can-eat fish and tenderloin meal to kick off National FFA Week and help raise funds for the chapter. The CCHS FFA Fish and Tenderloin Fry by Dan's Fish Fry is slated for Saturday, February 18 from 4- 7:30 p.m. at CCHS. The dinners are all-you-can-eat. Tickets can be purchased at the door -- Adults for $11 and Children for $8, and children 5 & under eat for free.

February 15, 2017

Regional Development Authority hears request from Columbia City asking to fund Russel and Evelyn Fahl Aquatics Center

From reports

The Board of the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) met Tuesday to consider requests for Regional Cities Initiative funding for projects submitted by The Landing and the Clyde Theatre Renovation Project in Allen County, as well as several other projects including a grant request of $861,304 for the proposed Russel and Evelyn Fahl Aquatics Center in Columbia City. The request represents 20% of the funding for the $4,258,751 project.
Columbia City councilman Tad Varga, who has been a supporter of the project and has been spearheading much of the fundraising, reported to fellow Columbia City Council members Tuesday evening that the request went well and he's optimistic about the outcome. It will be several weeks until it is clear whether the project will receive funding. Thus far, millions of dollars have been earmarked for projects across northeast Indiana, however no dollars have been awarded to projects in Whitley County to date.
The RDA Board voted to support two projects including:
The Landing in Allen County, which requested a $6,904,023 grant, representing 20 percent of the $34,520,117 of the project's total cost; and
The Clyde Theatre Renovation Project in Allen County, which requested a $1,000,000 grant, representing 20 percent of the $5,030,000 of the project's total cost.
"We are developing national brand identity for Northeast Indiana. We know it will take creative and groundbreaking projects across the region to meet our goal of increasing regional population to 1 million residents. Fort Wayne's vibrant downtown serves as the urban core of our region and today's funding illustrates the critical role all of our regional counties play in the Road to One Million plan and our mission to attract and retain talent," said RDA board chairman Bob Marshall, executive vice president of Campbell & Fetter Bank.
The Board's recommendation now goes to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) for review and final approval to receive funding.
The board also heard presentations from seven other projects including:
Riverfront Park Fort Wayne Phase I in Allen County, which requested a $5,276,000 grant, representing 20 percent of the $26,381,000 of the project's total cost;
Eagles Theatre Project in Wabash County, which requested a $996,567 grant, representing 20 percent of the $4,982,838 of the project's total cost;
Wabash Trails in Wabash County, which requested a $960,236 grant, representing 20 percent of the $4,801,180 of the project's total cost;
Strawberry Valley Cultural Trail in LaGrange County, which requested a $254,000 grant, representing 20 percent of the $1,270,175 of the project's total cost;
Fishing Line Trail in Noble County, which requested a $175,000 grant, representing 17 percent of the $1,023,673 of the project's total cost; and
Kendallville Outdoor Recreation Center in Noble County, which requested a $400,000 grant, representing almost 17 percent of the $2,388,132 of the project's total cost.
The RDA also reported on the progress of the following Road to One Million projects, which are either approved or under review by the RDA or the IEDC:
Skyline Tower;
Trine University;
University of Saint Francis;
Embassy Theatre;
The DeKalb County YMCA;
Little River Trail;
Manchester Early Learning Center;
Buffalo Street Redevelopment Project;
Fort Wayne Regional Trails;
South Adams Trails;
The Enterprise Center;
The United Brethren (UB) Block;
Posterity Heights Scholar House; and
Michiana Event Center;
The Landing; and
The Clyde Theatre Renovation Project.
In addition, the RDA voted to temporarily suspend review of new projects.
"The Regional Cities funding that has been requested exceeds the amount we have available to disperse. Until we resolve that, we will have to temporarily suspend the review of new projects," said Michael Galbraith, director of the Road to One Million at the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.
The RDA is responsible for disbursement of the $42 million in funding granted to the region through the Regional Cities Initiative. The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, which helped lead the effort to secure the Regional Cities Initiative funding, also provides staffing support to the RDA.
As of February 2017, the Northeast Indiana RDA has recommended $33.8 million in funding to the IEDC, leveraging $130.6 million in private investment in the region.
The purpose of the Regional Cities Initiative funding is to attract and retain talent by providing financial support for game-changing quality of place projects that will increase economic growth, lead to population growth and enhance the region's national brand identity. Northeast Indiana won the Regional Cities grant in 2015 with its Road to One Million Plan that outlines more than 70 projects and $1.5 billion in investment over the next 10 years.
To learn more about the Northeast Indiana RDA, visit the new website at http://www.neindiana.com/rda.

Reserve booth space now for 2016 Whitley County Chamber EXPO

Whitley County EXPO is March 11 at Indian Springs Middle School

From reports

The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce will host the Whitley County Chamber EXPO on Saturday, March 11, 2017. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Indian Springs Middle School. The popular, well-attended annual event highlights great businesses and non-profits in Whitley County and the surrounding area.
"Our annual Whitley County Expo provides an outstanding opportunity to see and sample the great things our local businesses and non-profits have to offer," said Chamber executive director Jennifer Romano. "From the perspective of someone considering becoming a vendor, it's an incredible way to market yourself and to reach out to hundreds of people in one place in a matter of hours. There are few opportunities to do that this easily or affordably."
Admission and parking are free for the annual event that draws a sizeable, enthusiastic crowd representing a great cross-section of Whitley County.
Under one roof, attendees will enjoy live entertainment, sample delicious food, shop local booths and learn more about products and services offered in and around Whitley County. Activities will be changing and ongoing throughout the day. 
A limited number of booths are still available. Booths are $215 for Chamber members, $280 for non-members, $75 for a member food booth and $30 for member non-profits.
For more information about an EXPO booth or Chamber membership, contact the Chamber at 248-8131 or via email at office@whitleychamber.com

NREMC names incoming President and CEO

Eric Jung will replace retiring Gregg Keiss on April 3

From reports

The Board of Directors of Northeastern Rural Electric Membership Corporation (NREMC) announced Tuesday that effective April 3, Mr. Eric Jung of Makanda, Illinois, will be its new President/CEO.
Jung succeeds Gregg Kiess, who recently announcedhis retirement after 40 years with NREMC, the last 18 years as President/CEO.
Jung's arrival at NREMC extends his nearly 15 years of senior management experience both inthe U.S. Army as well as with South Eastern Illinois Electric Cooperative (SEIEC).
Jung has served as the Manager of Engineering and Purchasing at SEIEC for the past 10 years where his responsibilities included managing direct reports in the Engineering, Dispatch, Metering and Warehouse departments along with serving as the primary contact for SEIEC's key accounts. Jung has also successfully served in the U.S. Army as a Finance Officer where he was the Company commander of 86 total personnel and Operations center director for Battalion command. Jung is a passionate team leader focused intently on the core mission of the electric cooperative, serving its members.
A Southern Illinois University graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering withan emphasis in Power Systems, he also holds an MBA from Southern Illinois University withBeta Gamma Sigma honors.
Among other professional and civic associations, Jung is a board member of the Milsoft Engineering Analysis Advisory Board, the Aclara iiDEAS AMI SoftwareAdvisory Board and the Unity Point District 140 School Board.
Northeastern Rural Electric Membership Corporation, headquartered in Columbia City, Indiana,is a member-owned cooperative that supplies electric power to members in portions of Allen, Huntington, Kosciusko, Noble, Wabash and Whitley counties in Northeastern Indiana. Nearly 30,000 households and businesses receive power from Northeastern REMC.
Northeastern REMCis governed by a nine-member board of directors elected by and from the cooperative'scustomer/members.

State of the City: available for online viewing

From reports

Columbia City Mayor Ryan Daniel presented his annual State of the City speech at a luncheon hosted by the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce at the Peabody Public Library last Friday afternoon, drawing an impressive crowd eager to hear about the city's plans for 2017 and beyond.

The event was recorded and can be watched here: http://columbiacity.net/events/2017-state-of-the-city/

INDOT seeks members for ADA Advisory Group

Article provided

The Indiana Department of Transportation is seeking applications from Indiana residents for membership in its Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Community Advisory Working Group.
INDOT seeks membership from a broad cross-section of Indiana for its ADA Advisory Working Group. In particular, individuals with disabilities, or those who provide services to persons with disabilities, are encouraged to apply.
There are now two ways to participate. Statewide Advisory Group members are expected to travel to six meetings around the state - one in each INDOT regional district. Applicants who prefer to represent their area may participate on a regional committee that will meet with the Advisory Group once each year.

About the Advisory Group, Transition Plan
Selected Advisory Group members provide information and recommendations regarding INDOT's ADA Transition Plan, including efforts to increase the public involvement of persons with disabilities in transportation planning. Discussion and advocacy is limited to INDOT matters including programs, pedestrian facilities in INDOT right of way, and where INDOT works with local governments.
The ADA Transition Plan outlines INDOT's policies and practices for removing barriers to accessibility in its programs and at its facilities, including pedestrian facilities in state right of way such as sidewalks, curb ramps, crosswalks and pedestrian signals. The document is available for review in Microsoft Word and PDF format on INDOT's website at www.in.gov/indot/3036.htm.